So here you have a sampling of the physical growth that the Lord is providing in Paisley. The link for the rest is https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3464543946711.2138903.1664381823&type=1&l=350b8c446a if you would like to see how everything is coming up these days! :) You know…God’s growth is just plain amazing – in every way there is. I was at a friend’s ranch for lunch yesterday and he has many ponds for fish farming. He is an awesome man of God and has named his ponds after the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). I just love that! He surrounds himself with God’s Word at all turns and consequently, he stays strong in the Lord. It’s a real blessing to be his friend and to spend time with other friends when I am there. God uses our friends to grow us, challenge us and edify us many times. Sometimes it seems that, along with Bible-based preaching, God drives those things home that we need to grow by sharpening us with our friends…whether by example or by word of encouragement. Sometimes those words hurt but as the Bible says…”Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” (Proverbs 27:6). If your friends can’t tell you the truth, how would you ever take it from an enemy?
Sometimes we slack; we take our eyes off the Lord as a particularly enticing view of the world goes by. Hey, we all at one point or another think that we want that piece of pie in the in the world’s sky. But in truth, the carnal man wants that and those that think when you are saved, the carnal man goes “bye-bye” – well, that would not be the case. My Pastor at the Bible Baptist Church in Deland says that you have to put on the new man every day and feed him every day from the Word. Pastor Coppock from Faith always said that you can’t give away what you haven’t put in. Both are so very right and true. It’s easy to get complacent and slack. We take work, money and stuff and throw it up like in giving 110% of that will satisfy the Lord for the time being.
The Lord says to serve and serve hard for Him. Whether it be in work (outside the church), in play or in serving Him, 110% is definitely justifiable. However, when you take that work or play or “church” work and put it in place of worshipping Him and letting Him direct your paths, then you may find that your spiritual life gets dry and the longer it goes on, the more seared your conscience becomes to the sin of placing God on the back burner of your life.
Have I been down this path? Well, have you? I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t at some point in time, stepped away because of the drive of the world to be like others (and no, Christ isn’t in that picture). I led a very sinful life before I got saved and just because I was born again, certainly didn’t mean that my past just faded into nothingness. I’ve noticed that now, when I falter, the pull to do the worldly thing is sometimes much stronger than to flee temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). Apparently the longer you are saved or the distance that separates the time from your unsaved life, doesn’t ever destroy the memories of the past from your psyche. In fact, when things get tough, sometimes instead of looking to the Lord for His Will and answers, we glance back over our shoulders at the past to see if there is an easy way out of our current situation. Reprogramming is hard…they say it’s 28 days to break or start a new habit but they forget to tell you about the lifetime of maintenance afterwards. God loves to help you maintain His path…but…you have to seek Him to have that support. Romans 8:28 says that there is a good reason for everything in our lives but sometimes, we just can’t see that and the world’s solutions seems to be so much more time and heart saving…but that is only temporary.
It is amazing how the Lord has blessed the plants with His water source (which always make them grow better) and given them sun and nutrients they needed to help them grow so well. I look around at all of the plants and think that with continued help from His Hand and the care we give from here, harvest isn’t really too far away. That means picking, canning, freezing…in short, receiving the bounty from the harvest and preserving it for sustenance for the coming months when there is not a big garden. It’s just like storing God’s Word in your heart. You want to constantly read and memorize Scripture, not only so you can apply it to your daily life but for sustenance when you don’t have access to His Word in print, on a computer, cell phone or from a preacher. Those that live in countries where the written Word of God is illegal “can” and preserve most of the Scripture so that from memory they can encourage and edify others and themselves from the refreshing well of God’s Word. The persecution they face would be almost impossible to bear if it were not for the precious Word of God, enabling them with His Strength.
I don’t in any way wish for that persecution but I do wish for their hearts, their willingness to die for their Savior, no matter the cost. When will our faith mean that much to us again? The world mocks Christians here and we think that we are badly treated. When the time comes, Christians in the United States will be treated like those in other countries where God isn’t allowed at all. I fear for all that aren’t so grounded in the Truth that they are willing to die for their faith in Jesus! Lord, please increase my faith! (Luke 17:5)
The cycle of life will continue in the way it does until Jesus comes again. As Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 states there is a time for everything under the heaven: to be born, to die, to plant, to harvest, to kill, to heal, to break down, to build up, to weep, to laugh, to mourn, to dance, to cast away stones, to gather stones, to embrace and to refrain from embracing, to get, to lose, to keep, to cast away, to rend, to sew, to keep silent, to speak, to love, to hate, to make war and to make peace. There isn’t a situation or life experience that isn’t covered by these verses from His Word. God knew then and He knows now that we are sinners, saved by grace and that His righteousness was bought by His Son’s death and resurrection. His Word covers it all and we need that Word imbedded in our hearts and daily “walk-about” lives so that not only are we encouraged but we are a light so that we fulfill His commission of being the light of the gospel.
God help us to not only fulfill the call of Jesus Christ that He has laid on our hearts but to run with that banner, encouraging those that don’t encourage us because they don’t know Christ so that when time runs out, as many people as can be found will be entering the gates of Heaven!