Sun. May 26th, 2024

God’s Word on Sunday: God’s Word is seed of transformation

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you! – Matthew 17:20

 

3 Keys to the Seed-Faith Principle

Everything in life starts with a seed—including the things we receive by faith. God says in Genesis 8:22, While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest … shall not cease.” The eternal law of seedtime and harvest, planting and reaping, giving and receiving will not change as long as the earth remains.

When we put our faith in God’s hands like a seed we plant, we are giving Him something to work with, and He will send the miracle we need. No matter how small our faith seems to be, it will meet needs and solve problems that appear as impossible to move as mountains.

The seed faith principle in the Bible contains three simple keys:

1. Recognize that God is your source.

Philippians 4:19 says, My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God will use many different instruments to supply our needs—a job, doctors, friends, family—but He alone is the source, and He alone cannot fail.

2. Give first, so that it may be given back to you.

Luke 6:38 says, Give, and it will be given to you.” We must first plant a seed of faith so that God can multiply it back to meet our need. Jesus is talking about giving in the deepest sense of the word — the giving of ourselves to God.

This includes anything we can give: love, time, patience, forgiveness, finances, prayer, and whatever else we may have. Our giving reflects our trust in God, and it links us to His inexhaustible resources for our every need.

3. Expect a miracle.

Mark 11:24 says, Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” The moment we ask God for something — the moment we do our part and plant our seed of faith—we should believe God that the answer is on its way. It’s important to expect our miracle so we can recognize it and reach out to take it when it comes.

And it’s also important to remember that God controls the time and method He will use to give back to us. We must keep trusting Him and expecting our miracle, no matter how long it takes to reach us.

So give God something to work with today. No matter how little you think you have, sow it in joy and faith, knowing you are sowing seeds so you may reap miracles.

Remember: God always sends the right answer at the right time, in the right way. His timing and methods are always exactly right for our lives!

Oral RobertsBy Oral Roberts3 Minutes source


taken from the books of Isaiah 55:10-11; Psalm 65; Romans 8:18-23; Matthew 13:1-23

Ancient peoples believed that rain was a gift from the gods, and it is easy to see why. Without rain or adequate water, life ceases to exist. Crops fail, vegetation withers and dies, fires rage and sand takes possession of the land.

In our own time, drought causes incredible misery and starvation. Water is the gift of life and throughout the Bible it is used as a metaphor for God’s life-giving spirit. Isaiah compares the word that God utters into our world to rain. It brings new life and abundance in every way.

The “Word” of God does not necessarily mean what is written on a page. It represents God’s creative and dynamic will for the world and humankind. It is expressed in creation, Scriptures, and holy men and women. But it also is at work in music, art, poetry and historical events.

Anything that communicates God’s presence and divine will can rightly be called the Word of God. These verses should reassure us that God has not created the world and walked away from it but is always at work.

Scientific sophistication and dismay at the perilous state of the world might tempt us with doubt and disillusionment. But the world is alive with the presence of God, if only we had the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

The Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins recognized that “Christ plays in ten thousand places,” but in most instances remains unrecognized. God is even — or should we say especially — active and creative amidst the chaos and disintegration of both our physical and social world. Faith, hope and love are the keys to opening our awareness to the active presence of God in our midst.

Paul recognized that the old world was dying. The ancients believed that the created order aged and lost vigour just like people do. Because of this, the world also shared in the redemption brought by Christ.

Paul repeated an image that was used in the Gospels by Jesus to describe the birth of the new world order — that of childbirth. The process is painful and can seem to be overpowering, but its completion is joyful and brings new life.

The world groans in anticipation of redemption just as we do, so we must persevere patiently. Perhaps we can feel some empathy with creation, especially since we are responsible for so much of its degradation. Even though God is active in our world, many do not perceive or understand this.

Jesus instructed His listeners — most of whom were waiting for black and white answers to knotty questions — with the parable of the seed and the sower.

The seed, of course, is the Word of God, going forth in the world to accomplish the divine purpose. Why does only a small portion of the seed that was sown bear fruit? What was wrong with the rest of it? Even His disciples needed to have the parable explained to them.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with the seed. The secret of success lay in the quality of the soil, and the soil signified human hearts and minds. The seeds that fell on shallow soil and failed to sprout represented superficiality, cynicism and lack of understanding. It is not enough to simply hear the Word of God; it must be taken into the heart and mind to bring about transformation. Much religion remains at this level.

Other seeds do sprout — the Word is received enthusiastically, but the listener’s life is not devoted to it. Soon the pressures, cares and distractions of everyday life choke the life out of the struggling seeds.

The last seeds bore an incredible yield — 30, 60 or 100-fold. These describe those who heard the Word with understanding, which is the key to transformation and enlightenment and perceiving God’s presence among us. Understanding is the fruit of searching, questioning, reflecting, praying and meditating over the many ways God’s word has come to us.

There are no quick and easy answers, and our role is not passive.

The Word of God has the power to bless and transform us depends solely on our willingness to engage it and follow where it leads, have faith and trust in God, even when it seem harder than you can take, you are alive and well, imagine that, give thanks, be patient and stay faithful throughout the storm, so you can ride the calm peaceful waters after.

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A Mustard Flavored Kingdom

Throughout the age of the Old Testament and into the time of Jesus it was a common metaphor to speak of a kingdom as a tree. We see this in scriptures such as Ezekiel 17:22-2431:6 Daniel 4:10-12 which use a picture of a tree to describe a nation or a kingdom. The Commentary on the New Testament Use of The Old Testament (USA CANADA) talks about how “Mark 4:30-32 is an ironic fulfillment of Ezekiel 17:23 the lowly annual shrub rather than a might cedar, lamb not a lion maybe. The people expected a mighty cedar, but God came as a lowly shrub which would be exalted over all else.”

The lost message of the Kingdom of God hidden here in the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus the great shrub has come to rule the world. Not a mighty cedar or acacia, or mulberry the humble mustard shrub despite its size and appearance had sprouted and would rule over all. Jesus didn’t come as a superpowered reincarnation of King David, He came as the suffering servant and laid hold of a greater kingdom then anyone of that time ever imagined.

The people and religious leaders were looking for a cedar but got a shrub, so they rejected Him. They were looking for a warrior but got a shepherd, so they persecuted Him. They were looking for an angel of death but got the forgiving Son of God, so they killed Him.

They forgot about Isaiah 11:1 and Jeremiah 23:5-6 where God spoke about a humble branch which was coming to rule and exercise judgment on the people. Jesus executed judgment on sin, He rules over His covenant people and one day He will judge those who rejected His Kingship.

We can’t have the benefits of mustard seed faith until we bow down before the mustard tree of Christ.

We can’t have the benefits of mustard seed faith until we bow down before the mustard tree of Christ. None of what we claim to believe matters at all if Jesus isn’t the King of not just the universe but our individual lives. Our faith doesn’t matter, the miracles we see doesn’t matter the lives we see changed doesn’t matter if Jesus isn’t our King and if we don’t act as grateful adopted servants.

Finding a Nest in His Branches

The last part of the parable has Jesus speaking about the birds of the air making nests in the branches of the fully-grown mustard tree. We take this statement for granted and don’t realize that to the disciples this was ridiculous. You see because the mustard tree regrows every year it can’t be developed enough to be ready for the time when birds make their nests. If one tried the branches would be too small or tender to support just a bird on it let alone a nest.

Here Jesus is again speaking in irony, just as the lowly shrub is King of the forest, so to is this tree which couldn’t before support dwelling places for the birds now be able to provide shelter and covering for them (Daniel 4:12).

We see then that Jesus has come to bring us a covering for our lives and that it is a foundational part of our faith. That covering of grace and atonement is our constant reminder that we can trust Him and remain committed to Him despite the problems of the world. Ezekiel used this same picture of birds finding rest in a tree to describe Egypt in Ezekiel 31:6, so how much grander and wonderous should that covering and shelter be for us who follow Christ our King.

Through faith we are able to go from mustard seeds to mustard trees and see great and mighty things happen in our lives. But we are only able to see such a transformation because Jesus the first seed which fell into the ground then died and came back as a King who has brought us under His covering of atonement. Now as redeemed, adopted servants we go out into the world and deposit new seeds into the ground so the whole world can be covered by the offspring of the great mustard tree.

Question: What can you do today to recognize Jesus as the King of your life?

We as humans should consitantly evaluate our journey with God and how prayers, work and faith when combined as a whole yield solid healthy happy peaceful fruit.

Faith That Transforms A Mustard Seed Into A Mustard Tree Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Planting the Seed of the Gospel

You probably know of a family in need of an intervention by God. And so you’ve been praying for them. Don’t stop. Prayer works. But there is another step that you need to take in order to see that family transformed by God’s power.

Acts 16:30-14 shows us what that step is. In this passage Paul and Silas had been flogged and imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel. But at midnight, as they sang praises unto God, there was an earthquake, and the door of each prison cell was opened. But a miracle happened. Although the cell doors were opened none of the prisoners were able to escape. This led the jailer to ask the following question:

Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household. 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. (NLT)

Notice the following:

  1. Gospel: In verse 32 Paul and Silas share the good news about Jesus with the jailer and his family.

  1. Faith: In verse 31 the jailer is told to believe in the Lord and in verse 33 the jailer and his household express their faith in Jesus by getting baptized in water.

  1. Rejoicing: In verse 34 the jailer and his household rejoice because they all have believed in God.

Prayer for a family in need of God’s intervention is necessary. But prayer must be accompanied with step 2, the proclamation of the good news of Jesus.

God has made it so that salvation, transformation and new life can only come about through the sharing of the gospel. In Mark 4:14 Jesus compares the sharing of the gospel message to that of planting seed. It says, The farmer plants seed by taking God’s word to others. (NLT). And Jesus said in Mark 4:20, And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted! (NLT) The gospel message must be planted in people’s hearts before it can germinate and bring about the fruit of salvation. But it can only be planted by people hearing it.

Paul puts it this way in Romans 10:14: How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (ESV)

So continue praying for that family that needs an intervention from God. But also share the good news of Jesus with them. God wants families everywhere to experience the joy that comes from salvation. But for that to happen we must pray and proclaim.

By Pastor John