NEVER GIVE UP ON SEEDS

Elizabeth, from church told of moving.  In doing so she dug up all her Iris bulbs.  I imagined her doing this and realized this was a labor of love.  They languished in the dark garage of her new home for two years before the appointed season arrived when she could plant them.  Much time had lapsed.  What would come of these shriveled, neglected bulbs left so long in a dark and wintry place?  She expressed that she didn't know; but faithful she planted, waited and watched.  Now three years later, the secret code planted by God, the message that He planned when He first created the flower we call an Iris caused each to flourish and bloom in their new home.  I tucked Elizabeth's story away and the joy she had in sharing it; knowing that as a writer I'd use this analogy. 

NEVER GIVE UP ON SEEDS! 
SOME PRAYERS ARE SEEDS.
SEEDS HAVE HIDDEN LIFE.
THEY HAVE A PREDETERMINED TIMING THAT
WAITS IN HOPEFUL CERTAINTY.  
OH YES, SOME MAY LOOK LIKE DEATH.
BUT THE SEEDS YOU'VE PLANTED HOLD
DEEP WITHIN... 
THE RESURRECTED CODE.
THE INFINITE, EVERLASTING HOPE
OF LIFE REALIZED IN CHRIST.
HE PROMISED. 
HE IS FAITHFUL.
NEVER GIVE UP ON SEEDS!     


What has God been showing me?  It is obvious to all that have observed my life over the last three years that God has now taken away everything associated with the past. The challenge I now face is to understand this.

Why do those who love God falter and fail?  Because without God we are essentially powerless.  This powerlessness reminds us of our need to depend on faith as the bridge that brings meaning to loss.  It is an interesting process to walk out what we don't necessarily feel; until feelings poured out before the throne of grace in heartfelt prayer catch up with the reality of His healing grace, love and promises.   Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11: 1). 

God told Pilot:  "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews ; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm" (John 18: 36). 

And because Jesus went to the cross and was then resurrected in glory as evidence of His gift of eternal life to us something remarkable happened. Changed forever were the ancient constructs and unseen rules of engagement in clashes of good and evil for a planet previously given over to the false and deadly rule of the evil one. In other words the rules of engagement in battle under which Moses and Abraham operated were freed to be truly powerful in ways unprecedented.  Grace had triumphed and accomplished what we could not.  Jesus said: "Now judgement is upon this world; now the ruler of this world has been cast out" (John 12: 31). 

And because satan was "judged" we, in Christ, have power to overcome in all circumstances. It is in our grasp to cast out demons, to overcome temptations, to pray for healing and salvation; doing battle for loved ones in the realm of prayer. All prayers are heard and answered.  Some prayers are seeds waiting for a certain time in the flux of a process, in the pain of consequence, in the appointed outcome of a divine timing.  This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know we have the requests which we have asked of Him (1st John 5: 14, 15). 

We can't effectively fight in prayer for what we don't grasp as a  vital concept.  The battle ground is a place we can't see and yet a place whose consequences we do see and experience.   For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8: 6-8). 

Prayer unleashes Holy Spirit power in Christ.  His Holy Spirit defeats the lust of a flesh set on the things below rather than on the hope and light above. It is the Holy Spirit that burns demons by eternal fire and casts them from circumstances and people into the abyss because we pray.  We can't have both the world and Christ.  Nope... can't have God on our terms; can't have it both ways.       

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people (2nd Corinthians 6: 14-16).  Read the entire passage.  Also read James 4: 3, 4.   

This isn't a legalistic mandate, but a grace filled privilege.  The power to do so comes from Him and is evidenced through intimacy with Jesus Christ.  Reading His word and being committed to pray for what is in our sphere of influence to radically change is proof of genuine faith.   

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1st Peter 5: 6). 

So why do some people who claim Christ not risk for Christ?  Why are their reactions fear based; smothered under a mountain of wasteful attachments, withering addictions, and a worldly or denominational logic that steels the strength and power of Biblical truth? 

The one on whom the seed was sown on the rocky place, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away (Luke 13: 20). 

Many of our sons and daughters have trusted Christ as children, but we no longer see evidence of Christ at work in their lives.  Many men and women are unhappy in their relationships for the loss or lack of intimate... the greater intimacy of sharing Christ and growing in Him; together as one. 

And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man (woman) who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of  wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Matthew 13: 22). 

This is such an interesting passage.  In capsule it confirms what I see most often.  People count on what they have accumulated to keep them safe as they grow in years.  Many, even though they have much, are riddled with worry and controlled by fears engendered by a false view of God.  They equate earthly security and possessions with God's favor.  Because they know Jesus, they recognize this as a false belief and yet they hold onto it rather than risk what God may be telling them.  To release that troubled son or daughter they would breath for, to give more generously to God's work, to confront the sin in themselves, allowing the Holy Spirit to challenge them through the knowledge of God.  And most significant... to forgive.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4: 32).  

And then there is another component to this picture.  What is going on in the unseen realm, the 2nd heaven?  The 2nd heaven is a term that can confuse us.  Because "heaven" has been denominationally defined very generically as the place of our eternal destiny we forget that if there is a third there is also a second and a first realm, place, or dimension. The second and the first are under the third and highest place. 

The 3rd heaven is the place Paul wrote of in 2nd Corinthians 12: 2.  It is the place where warring and ministering angels innumerable, give praise to God.  Here they await their orders and I feel long for the privilege of doing actual battle on behalf of God's people.  We have a poetic and evocative picture of this 3rd heaven in God's word.  This is the place you stand when you pray:  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12: 22-24). 

If there is a third heaven (realm or dimension) there is a first and second as well.  What is going on in the second dimension where the powers of darkness and evil territorial spirits dwell?   From that 2nd dimension evil launches its attacks on human beings.  Here is one descriptive word-picture.  Hear the parable of the sower.  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart (Matthew 18: 19b).  How many times have you read God's word and then promptly forgotten it?  You recall a recipe or a complicated work related theory, but you can't recite five Bible verses.  Mad, yet?  Ready to do battle over this?    

As we pray for those in whom we see no evidence of Godly fruit go back to that unseen juncture as you would go back to a memory or a picture in a film.  See how the enemy snatched every precious word of truth, glory and knowledge from the person you love, stealing life as a thief would steal a precious diamond.  Getting madder still; feel that righteous anger?  Specifically pray against what your enemy steals and understand that this power to effect destiny is yours and was given to you when you first trusted Christ.  By an act of prayerful obedience to Jesus Christ decide that you will learn the power and authority of what God has already ordained for you to exercise on a daily basis.  Or do you think that scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us.  But He gives a greater grace.  Therefore it says, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4: 5-7b). 

Power from God to see the seed of prayer flourish and grow is ours.  2000 years ago God defeated death and gave evidence that we could defeat satan in circumstances and lives.  When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: "He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases" (Matthew 8: 16, 17).  Also 1st Peter 2: 24; Isaiah 53: 4, 5.  And He said that we could do the same in Jesus name. 

And now we go back to 1st Peter chapter 5.  Be sober of spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  To Him be dominion forever and ever, Amen (1st Peter 5: 8-11).  

NEVER GIVE UP ON SEEDS...

Pray about everything: tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank Him for His answers.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace (Philippians 4: 6-7).

I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2nd Timothy 1: 12b).

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2nd Timothy 1: 7). 

Paul wrote: ...Through us God caused you to believe.  Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.  My job was to plant the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we who made it grow.  The ones who do the planting or watering aren't  important, but God is important because He is the one who makes the seed grow.  The one who plants and the one who waters work as a team with the same purpose.  Yet they will be rewarded individually according to their own work.  We work together as partners who belong to God.  You are God's field, God's building - not ours.                            (1st Corinthians 3: 5b - 9)  

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