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Fruit Trees in the New Land

February 26th, 2010 Filed under Bible 1 Comment

One of my favorite things about the Bible is that it is so RICH!!  No, this is not about prosperity preaching but rather the wealth found in the Word of God.  One can be a disciple of Christ for years and have read a verse a dozen times and each time the Holy Spirit reveals something new.  A rhema word.  A fresh revelation.  A deeper understanding.  The author of Romans said it best, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33 NIV)

One of my 2010 goals is to read the Bible through in a year.  My pastor, Gregg Matte, has said that Leviticus is the graveyard for many “read the Bible through in a year” plans.  Well, this is exactly where I am right now in my reading, Leviticus – the book of the Law.  However, this morning, the Word almost jumped off the page at me.  It was one of those rhema moments!!

Nestled between the law on having sex with a slave and to not interpret omens are these three verses:

red delicious spartan apple container bins harvestWhen you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten.  And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 19:23-25 ESV)

During the first three years of living in the new land, the Israelites had to plant the seed, tend the sow, pull weeds, pray for rain, pray for sunshine and then at the harvest time, I guess, they threw the fruit away.  In the fourth year, same amount of work but now instead of throwing it away it is given to the Lord as a praise offering.  Then finally, the fifth year comes and they are able to reap what they have sown.

How does this apply to me today as I sit in the middle of the 4th largest city in the US and don’t even have a yard let alone a garden to tend?  Spiritually, there is ground that my forefathers and I have surrendered to the enemy.  As I walk out the statues of God in love for Him, I am gaining back this ground.  I am coming into new lands.  There is great celebration in the victory but for me to have FULL ownership of the land, to no longer be under guardians (see Galatians 4:1-4), there is work to be done.  And this work is hard and long.

I am willing to do the work to gain that full ownership.  Willing to wait a long time between sacrifice and blessings.  I don’t just want to be a squatter on the Promised Land the Lord has granted me but I want full ownership.  The full inheritance!!

How about you?  First, are you even seeking to take back surrendered ground?  To enter into the Promised Land?  Secondly, Have you gained some ground but grown lazy in the labor?  Have a hoe but are just too tired to deal with the weeds?  Finally, are you willing to wait for the fullness of time?  A mark of spiritual maturity is how long you can wait between obedience and reward!

Oh the depths of the riches of God’s Word!!  I don’t understand the law two verses later that says ” do not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard” but I do know that God has a reason for it and in the fullness of time I will know.  However, in the meantime, may I tend my lands well!

Time at LifeHouse

February 22nd, 2010 Filed under Ministry, Walk by Faith 4 Comments

Life has been a bit challenging for me lately.  Here is a quick update on what is happening… After much prayer and counsel, the Lord has confirmed that my time at LifeHouse has ended.  I resigned on the 10th of February and my last day will be March 31st.  There is much sadness in my heart but I have full assurance that this is the next step I am to take.

iStock_000004237399XSmallRecently, a dear friend of mine shared a word with me that has given me a great comfort for me these last few weeks.  “Obedience is more important than understanding.”  As I have been walking this path these last few months, I have often asked the Lord, “Why?” and He has not answered.  He has simply said take the next step.  He truly is only revealing to me my next step and it is long after the sound of the previous foot fall fades that I hear, turn to the right or turn to the left – walk this way.

Praise the Lord that He has taught me to live a very frugal lifestyle and to live debt free.  Because of that, I have the ability to take the time after my last day at LifeHouse to wait, pray, study, rest, etc. so that He may reveal to me the next step.  I don’t know what the future holds but I do KNOW these things:

1.  He holds the future.
2.  He loves me BIG.
3.  This path is for my good and His glory for if there was a better path for me to walk He would have taken me down that path rather than this path.
4.  He who began a great work in me will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.
5.  The plans He has for me are to prosper me and not to harm me; to give me hope and a future.
6.  The plan is much bigger than I can imagine and there is excitement in that.

As the Lord brings my name to your mind, please pray for me as I walk through this new season in my life.

Every Need is Not a Personal Call

February 20th, 2010 Filed under Ministry 2 Comments

Recently, I wrote a guest blog for a friend’s website (www.RussMasterson.com) for a series he is doing called Lies Overheard in Church.  Here is what I shared:iStock_000004084820Large

Lie:  If you hear of a need, you are called to fill it.

As the two women walked into evening worship, one looked frazzled and exhausted – definitely not the countenance one would expect on the Sabbath.  “Jessica, are you ok? Why the downcast face?”  “Oh, Karen, 3 year old choir this afternoon was crazy.   My ears are ringing from the decibel level of the kids’ singing and my knees hurt from sitting in the baby-bear chairs.”  “Jessica, you barely liked your kids when they were three – why in the world are you doing preschool choir?”  “Well, Karen, if I don’t do it, no one will.”

There are countless frazzled and exhausted Christians serving in churches who are serving only because they believe the lie that by hearing a need they are the ones who are to fill that need.  Even, the great evangelist D.L. Moody believed this lie for many years.  Every need is not a personal call for you or for me.  Nor is it even for God…  In Genesis 2, God sees that it is not good for man to be alone but instead of filling that need with Himself, God creates Eve to meet that need.

Too often we will start doing Kingdom work and then ask God to bless it.  That is kind of like a private in the army making plans for the day and asking the commanding officer to make available the needed supplies.  Instead, we need to listen for a personal call from the Lord and then respond in obedience with full assurance that God will provide the necessary supplies – emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

  • Are you exhausted in the “work”?
  • Do you dread doing the “work”?
  • Are you drained after finishing the “work”?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, I am not saying you have missed the call of God but it would be the first place I would look.  What lies do you hear at church?