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Sowers and Reapers (Repost)

I’m taking a couple of weeks to do some hiking and praying off in the woods.  While I’m gone I’ve felt that I should repost my Top 10 most read articles.  Some of you have been following me long enough to have read them already.  If so, my prayer is that they will again be a blessing to you.

At one time I did a series of posts about Jesus’ view of His ministry.  To see the original series, click here.

It occurred after Jesus had talked with the woman at the well.  The Lord told His disciples that He had food they didn’t know about. He was talking about finishing the Father’s will.

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
John 4:35-36

In the natural, you can tell when the harvest is coming. You can tell how ripe the wheat is just by looking at it.

In the same way, there should be a spiritual sensitivity to when hearts are ready. It should be just as obvious to us that someone is ready to hear and receive the message of Christ.

One question that needs to be asked when we read this verse is; who is the reaper that’s receiving his wages? The answer should be obvious – it’s Christ!

The Apostle Paul talked about some of the same things.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:5-8

Usually, we think of this reward for our labor as future. But we need to remember what Jesus said. The reaper IS RECEIVING His wages. I HAVE food you don’t know about. The sower and the reaper can be happy together.

It sounds to me like there’s a reward in this life for fulfilling the Lord’s will. That’s something we need to think about.

Who was the sower that Jesus referenced? I believe that He was talking about the woman. Listen to what the townspeople said about her.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:42

What was her reward? I don’t really know. It might have been children or a stable family of her own. We have to wait to find out about her in Heaven.

Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
John 4:37-38

Which is harder – sowing or reaping? I think that it might be the sowing. Especially if we don’t see the fruit of the seed we plant into someone. Sometimes a soul that we spoke the Gospel to is brought into the Kingdom by someone else.

There’s no need to get jealous about it. It’s the Kingdom of God that’s increasing. Everything in our lives is all directly related to the principle of sowing and reaping.

The bottom line is that the Samaritans ultimately believed because they heard Jesus speak. It’s our job to bring people to a personal encounter with Christ. That’s where we receive great rewards.

Question: What are some Gospel seeds you have planted?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2018 in Faith, Ministry, The Gospel

 

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Sowers and Reapers

agricultureIn my last post I talked about Jesus’ view His ministry. He told His disciples that He had food that they didn’t know about. He was talking about finishing the Father’s will.

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.
John 4:35-36

In the natural, you can tell when the harvest is coming. You can tell how ripe the wheat is just by looking at it.

In the same way, there should be a spiritual sensitivity to when hearts are ready. I should be just as obvious to us that someone is ready to hear and receive the message of Christ.

One question that needs to be asked when we read this verse is; who is the reaper that’s receiving his wages? The answer should be obvious – it’s Christ!

The Apostle Paul talked about some of the same things.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
1 Corinthians 3:5-8

Usually we think of this reward for our labor as future. But we need to remember what Jesus said. The reaper IS RECEIVING His wages. I HAVE food you don’t know about. The sower and the reaper can be happy together.

It sounds to me like there’s a reward in this life for fulfilling the Lord’s will. That’s something we need to think about.

Who was the sower that Jesus referenced? I believe that He was talking about the woman. Listen to what the townspeople said about her.

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”
John 4:39

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
John 4:42

What was her reward? I don’t really know. It might have been children, or a stable family of her own. We have to wait to find out about her in Heaven.

Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”
John 4:37-38

Which is harder – sowing or reaping? I think that it might be the sowing. Especially if we don’t see the fruit of the seed we plant into someone. Sometimes a soul that we spoke the Gospel to, is brought into the Kingdom by someone else.

There’s no need to get jealous about it. It’s the Kingdom of God that’s increasing. Everything in our lives is all directly related to the principle of sowing and reaping.

The bottom line is that the Samaritans ultimately believed because they heard Jesus speak. It’s our job to bring people to a personal encounter with Christ. That’s where we receive great rewards.

Question: What are some Gospel seeds you have planted?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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The Results of Resting in Christ

GrapesI’ve been posting about resting in Christ. In my last article we saw the symptoms of not resting in Him. Now I want to see what the Word says about what we can expect if we live in Christ.

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Though hail flattens the forest and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.
Isaiah 32:17-20

Here are the symptoms of a heart that is at rest in the power of the Lord:

A quiet life. This is not talking about the level of noise that’s around you. Living a quiet life means that there’s nothing that comes your way that disturbs your peace of mind. Do you have a peace that surpasses understanding? This is what the Lord wants for His people.

Confidence.   This is the opposite of fear. It’s an assurance that you’re protected no matter what comes your way. It’s the knowledge that God is out for your best, and He knows the way to bring it about. Are you walking in the assurance that God has your life in complete control?

Safety. This is the word shalom. It’s the peace of God. It’s the knowledge that there is nothing that can rob from you. This word is full of meaning. It encompasses every area of your life – nothing missing and nothing broken. Are you able to look at yourself as safe in the arms of the Almighty?

A refuge. This is speaking about a hiding place from the enemy. We can rest in the knowledge that the Lord will not let anything into my life, except that which will bring about His plan for me. Do you know that the enemy can’t touch you, except for what the Lord allows? And if the Lord allows it; that means that it will be for your benefit?

An undisturbed place of rest. This means that you can rest and sleep without disturbing thoughts. Many people can’t sleep because of racing thoughts. Regrets about the day behind them. Anxious thoughts about tomorrow. Do you have a peaceful rest in spite of all that’s going on in your life? This is how the Holy Spirit wants to work in you if you rest in Him.

Sowing is a joy. When you rest in Christ, giving is not a chore to you, but a blessing. You can easily devote yourself to lifting others up because your needs are not front and center. If I know that God’s got me covered, then I can be a blessing to those around me. Do you find it easy to give to others? Are you a cheerful giver?

Freedom of ministry. This is the last section of the verse. You do what you know to do no matter what it looks like around you. Do you perform your ministries even when it looks like it will have no effect?

When it seems like the world is crashing down around you, you’re able to keep moving forward in Christ.

If these phrases describe you, then you’ve entered the rest that God has provided. It’s unfortunate that many believers miss out on the blessing of resting in Christ. We must not be like Israel. They never saw the complete rest God had for them because they didn’t walk in faith toward it. Let us strive to understand and enter what the Lord has for us.

In my next post I’ll begin looking at how to enter this resting place in the Lord.

Question: How does the world view someone who’s resting in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Encouragement, Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Sowing and Reaping in the Spirit

agricultureIn my last post I talked about receiving God’s power through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I realize that this is a controversial teaching in the body of Christ. There are many who don’t believe that it for all Christians.

Many say, “I don’t want it.” They choose not to receive this gift of God. The truth is that this gift is vitally important for the church to do its job. That’s why the enemy would do anything to convince us that it’s not for the church today or not for you personally.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Prayer in the Spirit is vitally important to our spiritual health. I believe that this is how we receive the seed of God’s Word in us. It’s needed to conceive the seed God wants to place into our lives.

In the above verse we see that your mind can’t conceive what God has planned for you. That word is how the translators handled two words in this passage. They are the words placed upon and rise up.

Think about how seeds work in field. The seeds are placed upon, sprinkled over the soil. Then the water and sun work to activate them so that the new plant rises up from the dirt. It happens the same way in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

Spending time in the Spirit allows God to plant His seed in us. Things we could never even imagine that He has planned for us. They enter into the good soil of our hearts. Some of these seeds can only be activated by prayer in the Spirit.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8

We need to understand that there is a sowing and reaping in the spirit. Prayer in the Spirit is not just for the conception of the seed. It must be continued so that the harvest may be brought forth in due time.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:8

That’s why I’m such a proponent of prayer in the Spirit. I’ve seen what it’s done in my life and in others who practice it regularly. There is no substitution for this work of the Lord in us. It’s the power of God actively working in us to bring about His plan for us.

I don’t know how anyone could fully serve God without it. I couldn’t imagine my life without this gift. Don’t neglect it. Spend time praying in the Spirit and allow the seed of God to germinate and take root in your heart. It will change everything.

Question: How has prayer in the Spirit changed your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 

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The Truth about Repentance and Restoration

WeedingThere are times when we pick up a bad attitude towards God. This usually happens when we feel that God isn’t listening to us. We think He’s ignoring us. There was a time in Israel that the people felt the same way.

After they returned from captivity in Babylon, the prophet Malachi was sent with a message from God. Listen to the exchange.

“I have loved you,” says the Lord.
“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’”
Malachi 1:2a

God gets right down to the basics. It’s all about His love for us. He loves us with an everlasting love.

That love is also a tough love. It’s like a parent who will not let their child touch a hot stove. The Bible clearly teaches that discipline flows out of the Father’s love. That’s usually when we get upset.

In the face of God’s love, the people respond with, “How have you loved us?” It’s a slap in God’s face. They’re saying, “Prove it, God.” It implies that they see no evidence of God’s love.

Why this attitude. It could be because they had just returned from Babylon. Their fields were overgrown. They were surrounded by their enemies. The temple they worshipped in was vastly inferior to the one Solomon built.

“Look at what’s happening to me, God. How can You possibly say that you love me.”

The thing is, we do this all the time in our attitudes. Here’s what they didn’t understand. The condition they found themselves in was because of their sin. It got so bad that they were captured and taken from their homeland.

Now they’ve repented. They’ve turned away from the false gods and were brought back to the land of promise. This is where the attitude springs up.

“Lord I repented, why aren’t things like they were before?”

This is what we need to learn as well. Repentance does not equal restoration. How do you get restoration?

Look at it this way. Spiritually speaking, you spent years planting weeds. Now your life is growing nothing but dandelions and chicory. You see the error of your ways and you repent. Immediately you want God to turn all your weeds into porterhouse steaks! I can tell you from the Word of God, and my own experience – it rarely ever happens that way.

What do you need to do? You dig up the weeds, plant new seed, and wait for the new harvest. Yes, you can trust God for an abundant harvest; and even a quick harvest. But there will still be a period of waiting for the blessings to appear.

Repentance and restoration. They go hand in hand. It’s just that restoration sometimes takes a little longer than we want it to. I repent and replant. Then I remember to keep my attitudes pure as I wait on the Lord to restore what was lost.

Question: What has the Lord restored in your life? How long did it take?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2014 in Faith, Revival

 

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Why Work for God?

WorkThere are many believers who never enter into their calling.  Are you one of them?  Don’t miss the point of why God wants us to work for Him and with Him.

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 1:3

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church, commending them on their work for the Lord.  He mentions three aspects that speak volumes to us as God’s people.  We need to take these things to heart if we’re going to be productive in the Kingdom of God.

Our work is produced by faith.  The word for work means what we do for God.  It’s the task to which we’ve been assigned.

We’ve all been called to do something different in the Body of Christ.  Your personality, strengths, weaknesses, and skillsets all combine to bring about the plan God has for your life.

The key is that you must seek God to find out what you’re called to do.  That’s where faith comes into the picture.  How well do you trust God for your future?  Are you willing to give up your agenda for His?

Then, by faith, we must let the Holy Spirit train and prepare us for the work.  Too many believers want to rush ahead and get “on the job training.”  Usually they become tripped up when they run ahead of the Lord.  You need to trust God to bring about the plan He has for your life.

Our labor is prompted by love.  This word labor, in the Greek, literally means your toil that results in weariness.  It speaks of using your strength to accomplish something.

We’re willing to do this for our bosses, because they pay us cash for our strength.  The Kingdom of God has a different economy.  What we do for the Lord is based upon our love for Him, or at least it should be.

Your love for God is expressed in how much time, money and energy you’re willing to expend in His work.  There’s no way around it – there’s something that you need to do for the Lord.

Our trouble is that we want to reap without sowing.  We wait until we want to eat a salad, then go out and plant the garden.  At that point, we blame God that our “salad bowl” is empty.

If you cultivate a love for the Savior, your work for Him will be a lot easier.

Our endurance is inspired by hope.  The word endurance speaks of our ability to persevere through the completion of the work.

This is the hard part.  Once we’ve started the task, we need to keep going.  Hardships, opposition, and even the daily grind of repetition saps our will to continue.

Our attitudes often surprise me.  We’re willing to drag ourselves to our job, even though we’re sick – and our boss will pay us to stay home – just to impress our employers.  Why aren’t we so inspired to impress the King of kings?  This is the secret to walking in the abundant life.

As I focus on the hope, the expectation, held out in the Gospel, I’m able to endure through the hard times.  Then I can see the power of God released in my life.

Question: What do you find to be the hardest part of enduring in your work for God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Ministry

 

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