Monday, April 14, 2014

Plant and Grow ... Good Fruit

I’ve come to appreciate the patience of God in my life. If it weren’t for His patience toward me, I’d be in a lot worse shape than I am. If it weren’t for His grace, I’d definitely be hopeless.

So many times, as I’ve read the Old Testament, God shows His patience more so than His justice. Justice would be sure and quick in removing the idolatrous children who tamper with God’s mercy. Yet, God warns and disciplines His children because of love. Somehow, we always run back to the mud pies we’ve concocted, rather than feast upon the delicacies of His grace.

Hosea 10:12 commands, “Sow with a view to righteousness ( that is, sow for yourselves righteousness), reap in accordance with kindness (steadfast love; unfailing love); break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD (it’s time to dig in with God) until He comes to rain righteousness on you.

As I was preaching this passage, you could literally hear the rain gently pour upon our rural sanctuary. It was almost as if God was speaking to us intentionally. “If you will seek first My kingdom and My righteousness, even ‘seed’ righteousness, you will gather in a glorious crop of steadfast love, because I AM raining upon you today.” I know the spirit of our fellowship was connecting to the Spirit of God as He spoke to each and every one. I believe He spoke loudly to me through this interchange.

“It is time…” that we set out to work the soil of our heart to receive the blessings of God. Let me give you some background to Easter week. Read John chapter 2, where Jesus told His own mother at the Wedding of Cana, “It’s not my time yet.” (v.4) Then, jump over to the story of Jesus and His brothers, John chapter 7, verse 6: “It’s not my time yet.” You will also realize that at several points throughout Jesus’ ministry, His enemy tried to seize Him, but “it wasn’t His time yet.”

Now, look at John chapter 12, verse 20 and following. There were some Greeks looking for Jesus, who was a Jew; and Jesus said to His disciples, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (v.23). In other words, “it’s time.” It is from this passage, that we see the final days of Christ on earth before He is crucified. It was time for the Lord to act, because we could not act on our own behalf. We needed Someone to take our sin, nail it to the cross, and defeat not only sin, but death and the grave.

It is because of God’s Amazing Grace that the awful grave could be defeated. Resurrection Sunday is approaching for us. We must live as followers of the Resurrected Lord, confessing sin, believing in His work at Calvary. It is important that we ‘seed’ righteousness in our life through Jesus Christ.

You and I must plant in our own relationships, circumstances, and environments the ‘seeds’ of righteousness in order to retrieve the blessings of steadfast love. But, it will not come until Christ rains upon our life and reigns within our hearts.

Hosea chapter 12, verse 6, returns to declare to you and I, “Therefore, return to your God, observe kindness and justice (that is, hold fast to love and justice, or that which is true), and wait for your God continually [expectantly].” Do not fall prey to the complaint that God has against humanity: Hosea chapter 4, verse 1, “Listen to the word of the LORD,…For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.” We can invest and plant into our future as well as the future of each relationship, the seeds of righteousness. We must.

One preacher said once, “We face the Lord’s return, or revival, or ruin.” Don’t let the world lead you astray. It doesn’t matter how much the world tells you about the Bible, it matters how much the Bible tells us about the world. We need to heed the Biblical mandates to steer clear of hedonism, and pursue the Biblical commands to seek holiness, for without such, we will not see God. (Hebrews 12:14)

Lead your children to pray to God, rather than prey upon His patience. Lead your family to seek the Lord, rather than seek the world. If you spend more time entertaining your family than educating your family in righteousness, the fruit which you bear will be poisonous to the following generations.

Plant righteousness, reap kindness, and wait upon the Lord. He will not fail you, nor forsake you. Let the rain fall fresh upon your soul today.