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The Abundant Life #abundantlife #wordofGod

ThanksgivingOver the past few posts we’ve looked at the parable of the seed planted in different soils.  The message Christ was focusing on should be clear.  In order to prepare my heart for a great harvest, I must come to the realization that the Word of God must be the single crop in my heart.

This is what Scripture means by being single-hearted.  When you have a single crop of the Word planted in your life, you’ve set yourself up for a plentiful harvest.

We have a spiritual epidemic across our nation.  There’s an abundance of the Word of God, with very little fruit being produced.  It’s time to weed out these distractions from the good, rich soil of our hearts.  What we need is the mindset of a farmer when it comes to the Word of God.

“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Matthew 13:23

It’s clear from this verse that in order to see the harvest, I must understand the Word – see that it applies to my life.  I have to go beyond the person who lives too close to the road.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
Luke 8:15

This literally says that I must hold it down fast; keep it secure in my heart.  It has to take root deeply in my life.  I must go beyond those who have rocky soil.

Mark’s Gospel adds that we have to accept the Word. (Mark 4:20)  This means to associate with, delight in.  If you delight in a crop, you’re going to keep it free of weeds.  You don’t want anything choking it out.

The bottom line is that you must persevere.  In actuality it’s never easy to keep a farm or a garden.  It always requires tending.

I must come to the point where I acknowledge that the Word of God is everything to me.  It’s the same principle as in the physical world.

In the past I’ve had a garden.  The fresh tomatoes, peppers, and squash were a welcome sight throughout the summer and fall.  I could proudly say, “This eggplant came from my garden.”  Here’s the difference – I wasn’t a farmer.  I enjoyed the fresh vegetables grown in my garden, but I didn’t need them to survive.

A true farmer, on the other hand, lives by what he grows.  His livelihood is tied to the crops that he produces.  His new car is a result of the crops he harvested.  The renovations to his home are a result of the harvest.  Everything he has is tied up in his ability to produce a bountiful crop.

We must pick up this same mindset in regards to the Word of God.  We live by the Word.  Everything we need for life and godliness is all tied up in the Word. How I relate to the Word determines my destiny.

Hopefully, you can see by Christ’s teaching that it’s not just a matter of getting the seed into the ground.  You can be planting huge amounts of seed and never see a single piece of fruit if you’re not following the basic principles of spiritual farming.

It’s all about getting the right seed into the right ground, then persevering to make sure that the seed can grow and produce fruit unhindered.

Question: How do you cultivate a “farmer’s mindset”?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Are You Setting Yourself Up for Offense? #wordofGod

RockyI’m posting about the different “heart soils” in Luke 8.  Today I’ll deal with the rocky soil.  This is about rocks with only a thin layer of dirt to cover them.  The seed germinates and springs up quickly.  But just as quick, the sun comes out, scorches the plant, and it withers and dies.

Jesus explained the spiritual application this way.

“Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
Luke 8:13

This verse literally says is that these people receive the Word in the middle of joy.  It sounds like camp meeting to me.  There’s excitement in the air.  The whole atmosphere of the meeting is charged with a heavenly joy.  It’s easy to believe in a place like that.

We’re not talking about people who don’t believe what they hear.  They believe it’s for them.  The problem is that what has sprung up so quickly, also withers just as quick.  What is it that withers?

For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25

What withers is the glory of man.  This type of person hears the Word and believes that it’s “all about me.”  That’s why there’s all the joy and excitement.  They think that the Word is for my blessing, health, and prosperity.  Forget about what God’s ultimate purpose is.  It’s me that’s important.

The Lord says that in this rocky heart there is some faith exhibited for a while, but it doesn’t last long.  Eventually trials and testings will come.  When this happens, Jesus literally says that they will become offended.  Why does Christ use this word?

When I go through a time of testing, I realize that it’s not all about me.  I get offended that I’m not the center of all the attention.  I don’t want the spotlight on Christ and what He’s trying to accomplish in me.  I want the priority to be my comfort and happiness.  The result is that I get offended and walk away from the Lord and His plan for my life.

If I want my heart prepared for an abundant harvest, I must assume that the Word of God spotlights Jesus Christ.  I must desire to know His heart.  There are many who read the Bible and pursue God only for what they can get from Him.  The big question on their minds is, “What’s in it for me?”

Instead, we should be focusing on God’s eternal purpose – to draw all humanity into His kingdom.  The blessings of God are great, but they’re not an end in and of themselves.

God has promised us prosperity, but it’s to finance the spread of the Gospel.  God has promised us health and healing, but it’s so that we can minister the Good News of His love to the best of our ability.

All the promises of God should be viewed through the filter of God’s will and plans.  That’s what’s missing in the shallow faith of rocky soil.  We need to keep our hearts clear of the rocks of self-centeredness.

Question: How is God working through you to bring about His purpose?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Do You Really Understand the Word of God? #wordofGod

Dry1The Gospel message hinges upon the giving and receiving of the Word.  How this takes place is of great importance.  We must understand the mechanics involved in the use of the seed of the Word.  If you want to be a successful farmer, then you must study the most excellent techniques.

The Lord told a parable about four different soil types.  He was talking about the human heart.  We must examine our hearts to see if they are conducive to an abundant harvest of the Word.

The first type of ground that Jesus talks about is the soil right by the road.  It’s the worst place to try and grow anything, whether you’re talking about the spiritual or physical garden.

“When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is the seed sown along the path.”
Matthew 13:19

You will notice that this ground is by the road.  This is the busiest place.  All of the dirt and debris from the road is blown onto this soil.  It’s hard and lifeless.  The way Jesus puts it in the original is that these people hear the Word of the kingdom and do not put it together.  It doesn’t mean to understand in the traditional sense.

These are not people who don’t know the meaning of what’s being said.  On the contrary, they understand what the Word is saying; they just don’t want to see how it applies to their lives.  They don’t want to put it all together.

Then, because there is no root of application, it’s very easy for the enemy to come and remove the Word permanently from the person’s life.  It’s as if they had never heard it.

This means that if I want an abundant harvest, I need to do just the opposite.  Whenever I hear a Word from God, I need to assume that it applies to me.  I need to guard the Word that’s placed within my heart.  It must be precious to me.

It also tells me that I can’t live too close to the road.  The more I look at the world, and how it operates, the more I disagree with how the Word functions in me.  I must let the Word work on me and change me as the Lord wills.

That’s why Jesus told us of the importance of knowing our audience.  We have to be careful where we’re planting.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”
Matthew 7:6

There will always be those who have no regard for the Word of God.  They will hear, yet never apply it to their lives.  They allow the devil to steal it and it will never bear fruit in them.

Question: What is something that you have recently heard and applied from the Word of God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Word of God

 

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