Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - June 18, 2017

Today's Reading:

Mark 4:1-20

2 Samuel 9-10

Daniel 5

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading

Today, I'd like to focus on Mark 4 and the parable of the sower. I have blogged about the Parable of the Sower a bit before (on the daily blog for January 6). But there more lessons from this parable, which are noteworthy. Today, I'd want to point out a principle from this parable that I call "the Reaping Principle".

The Reaping Principle is the Scriptural warning that if we serve God we will be blessed. But if we rebel against him, "sowing" (in actions and attitudes) to please our flesh, we'll reap curses, judgment, and painful consequences. 

Why are there such terrible consequences for living with our hearts turned away from God? Why are there curses that correspond with the choice to walk the devil’s way, lusting for him and his pleasures instead? To answer this, it is important to understand the “Principle of Reaping,” also known as the “Law of Reaping.”

If farmers go out and sow corn seed in their fields, they understand that corn plants will grow, ultimately bearing a harvest of corn. This is a physical law. The kind of seed we sow dictates the harvest we will surely reap in time. But, the “Law of Reaping” bears an even deeper spiritual application. Paul speaks about the spiritual applications of this Law in Galatians 6:7-8

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap Eternal Life," (NIV).
Have you ever considered the value of God’s Smile on your life? Just what is it worth to you to know that the King of the Universe is looking upon you, viewing your choices, and is pleased with what He sees? Is it worth the cost of losing an ungodly friendship or a compromising job to keep your Heavenly Father’s Smile? 

We often pray, asking God to bless us. But did you know that you can also bless Him? This is one of the most beautiful "sowings" we can do. And the reaping that comes of it, is the Heavenly Father's Smile - and His blessing upon our lives.

Psalm 103:1 - "…Bless Yahweh, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy Name."
2 Chronicles 16:9 - "For the eyes of Yahweh run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him…"
The concept of having a perfect heart isn’t about being perfectly obedient and without sin. David was a man after God’s Own Heart (Acts 13:22), yet he had traumatic moments of weakness, demonstrated in his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and in his murder of her husband, Uriah.

Having a “perfect heart” and being a person after God’s Own Heart is really about having “eyes” only for Him. It’s kind of like it says in the lyrics of the old love song, “I Only Have Eyes for You.”

When you love someone, it is only natural to want to do things which please them. You go out of your way to do those things. Bringing a smile to the face of your loved one is a tremendous delight. You rejoice at every opportunity to bless them! That’s how we should be with Yahweh!

Because my heart was turned Heavenward in love and adoration for my King, from the time I was a small child, God has blessed me. In every way that matters most, I was abundantly blessed! I have always had a family who loved me, a warm and cozy place to call home.

As a result of “sowing” the seeds of seeking God’s Will over my own, my life was truly blessed. God had granted me the desires of my heart over and over again, just as He had promised.

Over the years, many people have looked upon my life, viewed the tremendous blessings in it and have somewhat enviously commented on my “charmed” existence.
To such comments, I was always quick to reply that there was nothing mystical or magical about these favors, rather it was the blessing of my wonderful God, which these folks were observing.

Long ago, the Children of Israel were camped at the base of Mount Sinai. They had been brought to that Mountain for a Divine Appointment. They were privileged to meet God! But they didn’t love God like Moses did. For him the Day with God was wonderful! For them, the Presence of the Almighty, on that trembling Mountain, was terrifying.

God wasn’t even finished speaking His loving Rules before they rushed to Moses and begged him to make it stop! “Please, Moses, You go talk to God! We’ll listen to His Law when you give it to us. But we are too terrified to continue to listen to Him directly.”

So began a saga of solo journeys in which Moses alone went into the Mountain peaks to meet with the Almighty. On one of those dates with God, Moses was gone for quite some time. Days passed and the people became more and more restless.

Finally, their agitation reached the boiling point; and the people actually constructed a golden calf and began worshiping it, all in the Name of Yahweh.

Having just received the two tables of stone, bearing the Ten Commandments, Moses came down from the Mountain and was horrified to find the people debasing themselves in idolatry! They had taken their “eyes” off the Most High and were no longer delighting to lovingly please Him.

The Children of Israel had left their First Love. They had turned away from “only having eyes” for the One, true God, to “having eyes” for idols – ultimately Satan. In so doing, they departed from their sacred Covenant relationship with God and had the spiritual equivalent of an adulterous affair.
The results of this terrible choice were a series of devastating curses, which fell upon the Children of Israel. But in my opinion, the absolute worst of these was the loss of God’s abiding Presence in their midst. Like a faithful husband who has been betrayed, God moved out! The Sanctuary Temple, where dwelled God’s Shekinah Glory (the bright, fiery Light which rested upon the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place of the Sanctuary) was taken from its customary location in the middle of the Camp, to a new site several miles away. God wanted them to know that He was no longer in their midst. This was the most terrible price they had to pay for allowing their hearts to stray from their First Love! 

Why are there curses as a consequence? What does the Bible mean when it warns that what we sow is what we'll surely reap.

If farmers go out and sow corn seed in their fields, they under-stand that corn plants will grow, ultimately bearing a harvest of corn. This is a physical law. The kind of seed we sow dictates the harvest we will surely reap in time. But, the “Law of Reaping” bears an even deeper spiritual application. 

Paul speaks about the spiritual applications of this Law in Galatians 6:7-8:

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap Eternal Life," (NIV).

Deuteronomy 11:26-28 “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse.  A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of Yahweh your God, which I command you this day:  And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of Yahweh your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.”


 So today, as you go about your day, I encourage you to be prayerfully mindful of what you're sowing. Sow in blessing - and reap the Father's Smile. This is the path to true happiness and success.