Monday, July 28, 2014

The Parable of the Sower

Luke 8: 4-15
And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.”When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”
10 And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the restit is given in parables, that
‘Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.’
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones thatfell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

I have always read this parable and understood it as four different kinds of people. While reading through it recently, I understood it as four very distinct, and different phases, of the same persons life, mainly mine.

In the beginning I was the soil on the wayside, not really caring to hear God's Word, as I couldn't see what was in it for me, besides I was only interested in having a good time.

I was also the stony ground when I did finally take the time to listen, but not having conviction in my faith allowed it to fall away.

I then was the seed among the thorns. I didn't stand up to the weeds, and the cares of the world silenced the Word. The sad part of this phase of life is, it is the final phase of the soil being matured, and is the most difficult phase to be in as the world tries to overpower the born again believer. 

Thankfully God never left me through all those times in my life and worked the soil of my heart to make me the man of God I am today. I am still working on full production to reach the hundredfold, but at least now I am producing.

When you think of the parable this way, it lets you know, that even though you might be in any of the first phases, God is still there working on your heart.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Shake off the dust

Reading through the book of Acts today, I was reminded what Jesus told His disciples to do when they came in to a town or household that didn't receive them.
It got me thinking of how we spread the gospel today. Do we continue to try to reach people that won't or are unwilling to receive what we are teaching, or do we shake the dust from our feet and move on as Jesus disciples, and Paul, Barnabas, and the early church did?
This  is a tough subject to understand, as we are told to go make disciples of all nations, and to spread the gospel, but at what point do we stop preaching the word to someone? 
At what point do we shake the dust from our feet? I wish I had the answer as none of us want to give up on anyone, as God didn't give up on us, but we can only bring the message and be teachers, at some point we have to shake the dust from our feet and put our energy into spreading the word to those that will receive it.
Acts 13: 46-52 NLT
46 Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47 For the Lord gave us this command when he said,
‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
    to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. 49 So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.
50 Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. 52 And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 10:13-15 NLT
13 If it turns out to be a worthy home, let your blessing stand; if it is not, take back the blessing. 14 If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave. 15 I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.
Mark 6:10,11 NLT
10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.”
Luke 10:10-12 NLT
10 But if a town refuses to welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘We wipe even the dust of your town from our feet to show that we have abandoned you to your fate. And know this—the Kingdom of God is near!’ 12 I assure you, even wicked Sodom will be better off than such a town on judgment day.