VIDEO Twenty Bushels of Apple Seeds

He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

John Chapman, known as Johnny Appleseed, traveled throughout the Midwest, planting seeds for 45 years. It’s estimated he spread more than twenty bushels of seeds, and each bushel contained an estimated 300,000 seeds. During the Prohibition, the government cut down most of his trees to curtail hard cider. But one tree survives to this day. It’s in the courtyard of the Johnny Appleseed Museum in Urbana, Ohio. It’s old, but several branches have been grafted onto other trees, so the harvest continues.

Chapman knew the relationship between sowing and reaping. We always reap more than we sow. That is the harvest principle, which works with the concept of giving. When Paul mentioned sowing and reaping in 2 Corinthians 9, he had in mind the sowing of our financial gifts.

This doesn’t mean we’ll come into lots of money if we give to the Lord’s work. As many people have experienced, wealth can be fleeting, but if we faithfully sow into His kingdom, we will reap blessings in both time and eternity far beyond our original gifts. Choose an investment that is reliable, is guaranteed to never fail, and yields great rewards: Invest in the kingdom of God.

Giving to the Lord is but transporting our goods to a higher floor. Quoted by Paul Lee Tan


06 THE PRINCIPLE OF SOWING AND REAPING

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Able and Available

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

My husband was at work when I received news about my mom’s cancer diagnosis. I left him a message and reached out to friends and family. None were available. Covering my face with trembling hands, I sobbed. “Help me, Lord.” A resulting assurance that God was with me comforted me through those moments when I felt utterly alone.

I thanked the Lord when my husband came home and support from friends and family trickled in. Still, the calming awareness of God’s presence I sensed in those first few hours of lonely grieving affirmed that God is readily and faithfully available wherever and whenever I need help.

God is always able and available to help us.

In Psalm 46, the psalmist proclaims God is our sanctuary, strength, and steadfast supporter (v. 1). When it feels as if we’re surrounded by chaos or everything we thought was stable crashes down around us, we don’t have to fear (vv. 2–3). God doesn’t falter (vv. 4–7). His power is evident and effective (vv. 8–9). Our eternal Sustainer gives us confidence in His unchanging character (v. 10). The Lord, our secure stronghold, remains with us forever (v. 11).

God created His followers to prayerfully support and encourage one another. But He also affirms He is always able and available. When we call on God, we can trust Him to keep His promises to provide for us. He will comfort us through His people as well as through His personal presence.

Lord, thank You for assuring us You’re always accessible because You’re always with us.

God is always able and available to help us.

By Xochitl Dixon 

INSIGHT

Being a member of the kingdom of God brings a sense of personal security. In Psalm 46, God’s sovereignty is eloquently compared to a mighty fortress against which the waters of chaos and death can do no harm (vv. 1–3). This brings a response of worship in a troubled world (vv. 4–9). What relief it is to follow the admonition “Be still, and know that I am God,” for God “will be exalted among the nations, [He] will be exalted in the earth” (v. 11). God’s power and presence give an inner stability to the believer that nothing else can. Our righteous God of grace is ready and available wherever and whenever we need help.

How does this passage bring a sense of calm to your situation?

For further study read Navigating the Storms of Life at discoveryseries.org/hp061.

Dennis Fisher

Called to Ministry

Colossians 4:7-18

The last chapter of Colossians contains a long list of people who served alongside Paul. What’s not highlighted in these verses is these individuals’ talents, skills, abilities, wealth, or position in society. Instead, Paul focuses their character, their service for Christ, and his love and appreciation for each one.

We are each called to ministry in one form or another. Although we tend to think of ministry as something that’s done inside a church, in reality it encompasses everything we do all week long, no matter where we are. In God’s eyes, there’s no division between sacred and secular activities.

For example, while Luke was a physician by profession, he was also an evangelist, a missionary, and a divinely inspired writer of Scripture. His career was not his primary source of purpose and self-fulfillment; rather, it was a means through which he served Christ by ministering to others. A faithful friend and traveling companion to Paul, Luke offered him encouragement and comfort until the day of the apostle’s execution (2 Tim. 4:11).

Luke was perfectly suited for the work the Lord planned for him. He had an analytical, detailed mind which made him a skilled doctor. It also served him in carefully investigating and writing an accurate account of Jesus’ life (the gospel of Luke) and the events of the early church (the book of Acts).

Each of us has been created and fitted by God to fulfill the particular ministry He’s chosen specifically for us. We have been placed on this earth not simply to enjoy ourselves, accumulate wealth, and achieve prominence but to serve the Lord. Our responsibility is to respond with obedience to His call.

Jesus in the Flood

“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:38-39)

The Lord Jesus Christ not only believed in the special, recent creation of all things by God (note Mark 10:6-8), but also in the worldwide Flood of Noah’s day, including the special preservation of life on the Ark. The Flood in which He believed was obviously not a “local flood,” for He compared it to the worldwide future impact of His Second Coming.

Neither was it a “tranquil flood,” nor a “selective flood,” for Jesus said, “The flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:27). It is clear that He was referring to—and that He believed—the Genesis record of the great Flood! There it says that the whole earth was “filled with violence” (Genesis 6:13), having first been filled with people, and that the resulting world-cleansing deluge was so cataclysmic that “every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth” (Genesis 7:23). Indeed, “the flood came, and took [literally ‘lifted’] them all away.”

This is what Jesus said, and what He believed, and therefore, those who are truly His disciples must also believe this. The destructive effects of the Flood can still be seen today not only in the biblical record, but also in the abundant evidences of cataclysmic destruction in the rocks and fossil graveyards all over the world. To refuse this evidence, as do many modern intellectuals, can only be because they “willingly are ignorant,” as Peter said in referring to this testimony (2 Peter 3:5). HMM

He will joy over thee with singing

Zephaniah 3:8-20

The prophet Zephaniah appeared at the close of Josiah’s reign. We will read a portion from his prophecy.

Zephaniah 3:8, 9

After wrath will come mercy. The language of men has become impure with sin. and their tongues are confounded with diverse forms of speech; but when the Spirit of God descended at Pentecost he sanctified human lips to the Lord’s service, and gave an earnest of that future day in which with one voice all nations shall praise God.

Zephaniah 3:10

From afar shall Israel return to their land, and the most distant nations shall be converted to the Lord. O long-expected day, begin!

Zephaniah 3:11

The cause of shame would be removed by sanctifying grace, and then they would enjoy peace with God.

Zephaniah 3:12

When boasting is excluded, trust begins, and the poorest are then made rich in grace.

Zephaniah 3:13

What a choice promise! Sin both starves and disturbs the soul, but grace brings both food and rest.

Zephaniah 3:14, 15

Joyful is the presence of God: what evil can harm us when Jesus is near? The fulfilment of this promise to Israel is yet to come, but believers in their measure enjoy it even now.

Zephaniah 3:16, 17

A marvellous expression. Think of God himself as singing! “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride so shall thy God rejoice over thee!” Creation could not make Him sing, but the work of grace is above measure dear to his heart, and makes him “rejoice with joy”—a very vivid and forcible expression.

Zephaniah 3:18

When in exile they could not hold their solemn feasts, and this was a burdensome reproach to them; but God will gather them, and their reproach shall be rolled away.

Zephaniah 3:19, 20

Persecution and contempt will come to an end, and the saints shall in the latter days be accounted the excellent of the earth. Shame and reproach are the cross which Christians must carry for their Lord’s sake, but the loving providence of God will change all this ere long, to the confusion of our adversaries and his own eternal glory. Let us hope and quietly wait, resting in the love of God.

The covenant of grace all blessings secures, Believer, rejoice, for all things are yours; And God from his purpose will never remove, But love thee, and bless thee, and rest in his love.

 

Yes Christ Will Rule

I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

I am not surprised that I still meet people who do not believe that Jesus Christ is going to return to earth. In fact, some of them, armed with their own Bibles and interpretations, are insistent on setting me “straight.”

One gentleman has written saying that I have it all wrong, and that Paul did not mean what I had said he meant, as I applied Paul’s statement to everyday life.

I took time to write a reply: “When it comes to saying what he meant, Paul’s batting average has been pretty good up to now. So, I will string along with what Paul plainly, clearly said.”

I did not figure I needed someone to straighten me out—particularly someone who had decided the Bible does not mean what it says.

No one is going to argue me out of my faith in what God has revealed and what God has said. As far as I am concerned, it is a fact that Jesus is coming again! The question I do raise is this: Are we prepared spiritually for His coming? Are we tolerating conditions in our midst that will cause us embarrassment when He does come?

 

A Heavenly Escort

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest.” Gen. 28:15

Do we need journeying mercies? Here are choice ones — God’s presence and preservation. In all places we need both of these, and in all places we shall have them if we go at the call of duty, and not merely according to our own fancy. Why should we look upon removal to another country as a sorrowful necessity when it is laid upon us by the divine will? In all lands the believer is equally a pilgrim and a stranger; and yet in every region the Lord is His dwellingplace, even as He has been to His saints in all generations. We may miss the protection of an earthly monarch, but when God says, “I will keep thee, we are in no real danger. This is a blessed passport for a traveler, and a heavenly escort for an emigrant.

Jacob had never left his father’s room before: he had been a mother’s boy, and not an adventurer like his brother. Yet he went abroad, and God went with him. He had little luggage, and no attendants; yet no prince ever journeyed with a nobler bodyguard. Even while he slept in the open field, angels watched over him, and the Lord God spoke to him. If the Lord bids us go, let us say with our Lord Jesus, “Arise, let us go hence.”

 

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