VIDEO Fields are Ready for Harvest

Do you not say, “There are still four months and then comes the harvest”? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! John 4:35

The Lord had a special burden for Samaria—the little territory north of Judah inhabited by those who had survived the Assyrian Invasion of 701 B.C. and who had intermarried with pagan settlers. The Jewish leaders disparaged these people, but Jesus visited the region, told a parable about a Good Samaritan, and directed His disciples to take the Gospel there after His resurrection (Acts 1:8). In Acts 8, the evangelist Philip led a revival in this region. Paul and Barnabas also made a trip into the area (Acts 15:3).

Jesus foresaw all this in John 4, when He led His disciples through a village in Samaria. There He sat by the well talking to an immoral woman, evangelizing her. Deeply moved, she went into town and told everyone about Him. As the townspeople returned to meet Him, Jesus told the disciples that even though it wasn’t harvest time, they were seeing a spiritual harvest.

Where others saw riffraff, Jesus saw revival.

Let’s look at the world like that today—white for harvest!

As there are no little people in God’s sight, so there are no little places. Francis Schaeffer


The Fields are Ready for Harvest – John 4:34-38

God Understands

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:5

After a recent move, Mabel’s seven-year-old son, Ryan, fussed as he prepared to attend a summer camp at his new school. Mabel encouraged him, assuring him that she understood change was hard. But one morning, Ryan’s out-of-character grumpiness seemed excessive. With compassion, Mabel asked, “What’s bothering you, Son?”

Staring out of the window, Ryan shrugged. “I don’t know, Mom. I just have too many feelings.”

Mabel’s heart ached as she comforted him. Desperate for a way to help him, she shared that the move was hard for her too. She assured Ryan that God would stay close, that He knows everything, even when they couldn’t understand or voice their frustrations. “Let’s set up a visit with your friends before school starts,” she said. They made plans, grateful that God understands even when His children have “too many feelings.”

The writer of Psalm 147 experienced overwhelming emotions throughout his faith journey and recognized the benefits of praising the all-knowing Maker and Sustainer of all, the Healer of physical and emotional wounds (vv. 1–6). He praised God for the ways He provides and “delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (v. 11).

When we’re struggling to make sense of our emotions, we don’t have to feel alone or discouraged. We can rest in the unlimited understanding of our unchanging, loving God.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How does knowing God understands your most intimate needs help you trust Him while you process your emotions? What emotions seem most difficult for you to place into God’s mighty and merciful hands?

Sovereign God, thank You for assuring me that You understand and care about my emotional and physical needs.

True Greatness Wanted

Matthew 20:20-28

There is a great contrast between the world’s value system and the Lord’s. The danger for believers is that we can easily slip into the culture’s way of thinking without realizing that our perspective is out of line with God’s.

This is vividly illustrated in the request of James and John’s mother. She wanted greatness and honor for her sons but sought it in a manner contrary to the Lord’s ways, which caused discord among the disciples. Self-promotion isn’t the way to esteem or harmony with others. Jesus’ life illustrates the exact opposite. He didn’t come to be served but to serve and give up His life to ransom lost sinners (Matt. 20:28).

As Christians, we are to emulate Jesus’ submission to the Father and spirit of servanthood. Whether in ministry or secular employment, we must consider ourselves as servants and our work as being under the Lord’s authority. This means we are to humble ourselves and submit to those who are in charge, valuing them and even overlooking bothersome character traits or habits—we are to serve them as if we were serving Christ Himself. We may never be applauded for our work here on earth, but our reward is in heaven.

Be Cleansed by the Word

“Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9)

Psalm 119:9-16 provides key instructions for those who would seek to please their Creator with a godly life.

“Taking heed” (Hebrew shamar—guarding) of God’s Word is the foundation upon which a godly life is built (vv. 10-11). The psalmist sought God with his whole heart and pleaded with God to prevent him from wandering (Hebrew shagah—to stray through ignorance). That plea was then turned into a confirmation and an understanding: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (v. 11).

With the assurance of these foundational elements, the psalmist promised the Lord that he will organize his life so that he “will not forget thy word” (v. 16).

Similar to the apostle John’s assurance in his first epistle, the psalmist recognized behaviors that he was already exhibiting. His “lips” have “declared” the judgments of God (v. 13). He knows that he has “rejoiced in the way” (v. 14) of God’s revealed testimonies as much as the ungodly have boasted of gaining wealth. He is no stranger to godly living and loves the way of God, seeking to excel in holiness (1 John 5:3).

The section closes with two “I will” promises, surely based upon his earlier commitment to cleanse his way. The psalmist promised to “meditate in [God’s] precepts, and have respect unto [His] ways” (v. 15). This assumes time, study, and careful thought about the purposes and intent of God’s message. It is not a promise to sit comfortably and “clear one’s mind” of cogent thinking, waiting on some voice to reveal truth. The psalmist can then “delight” in the statutes of the Word (Psalm 119:16; Romans 7:22).

As we seek to know God’s great Word, may His works refresh our hearts and delight our lives. HMM III

An Arrow of Infinite Desire

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

—Matthew 5:6

 

These words are addressed to those of God’s children who have been pierced with the arrow of infinite desire, who yearn for God with a yearning that has overcome them, who long with a longing that has become pain.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6)….

A dead body feels no hunger and the dead soul knows not the pangs of holy desire. “If you want God,” said the old saint, “you have already found Him.” Our desire for fuller life is proof that some life must be there already….

In nature everything moves in the direction of its hungers. In the spiritual world it is not otherwise. We gravitate toward our inward longings, provided of course that those longings are strong enough to move us. Impotent dreaming will not do. The religious urge that is not followed by a corresponding act of the will in the direction of that urge is a waste of emotion.   SIZ017-018

Oh, God, I have that longing to know You, that hunger and thirst for righteousness, that “desire for fuller life.” Move me along in the direction of that hunger, Lord, and give me the strength to follow “in the direction of that urge.” Amen.

 

Sinning in Silence?

He was in the world…and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. —John 1:10-11

 

At this hour in world history the state of religion is such that the Church is in grave danger of losing [the spiritual treasures of God’s wisdom]. Her gold is being turned to copper and her diamonds to glass. The religion of Cain is now in the ascendency—and marching under the banner of the cross.

Even among those who make a great noise about believing the Bible, that Bible has virtually no practical influence left. Fiction, films, fun, frolic, religious entertainment, Hollywood ideals, big business techniques and cheap, worldly philosophies now overrun the sanctuary. The grieved Holy Spirit broods over the chaos but no light breaks forth. “Revivals” come without rousing the hostility of organized sin and pass without raising the moral level of the community or purifying the lives of professing Christians. Why?

Could it be that too many of God’s true children…are sinning against God by guilty silence? When those whose eyes are opened by the touch of Christ become vocal and active God may begin to fight again on the side of truth. GTM179-180

 

Extraordinary Love

Ephesians 4:32

We are living today in a post-Christian environment. Christianity may have been the “faith of our fathers,” but we now live in a secular society where faith centers far more on bank accounts, insurance policies and the pursuit of transient pleasure. Love’s meaning has shriveled to instant self-gratification.

The love we demonstrate must not be on the level of that which we see around us. Our love must be a transcendent love, which recognizes the supremacy of God, emulates the love of Jesus and seeks the enlightening guidance of the Holy Spirit. We are made for heaven, thus our love must transcend the secular and finite limits of this world. We must seek to saturate ourselves in Scripture and prayer, so that the love we bring to family life will have at its roots a transcendent, eternal quality.

In this “every man for himself” world, our love must be a tender love (Ephesians 4:32). This must extend to the home where roughness and rudeness replace courtesy and respect. It may be difficult to be tenderhearted after a stressful day at work. We must not underestimate the struggles of our children as they grow to maturity—struggles of acceptance, struggles academically, struggles with peers and friendships, struggles with self-identity. This is the time for tender love, a clear demonstration of caring, understanding and support—a time for simply telling them that they are loved unconditionally.

If there is a place for tender love, there is also a place for tough love. Today there is a need for a return to Christian discipline, and parents must not ignore this important role. Tough love is neglected at peril. Often tough love is simply the courage to say “no” to a child’s unrealistic wishes.

When I lived in Sri Lanka, where the two seasons are hot and hotter, I loved to walk along a particular road in Colombo. It was arched by trees which provided not only shade, but a significantly cooler temperature. I often thought how remarkable it is that without fanfare the trees absorb the intense heat of the day and transform it into a refreshing coolness.

How similar this is to God’s purpose of a transforming love for each of us. He wants us to absorb hurts and anger and frustration and misunderstanding, and through His grace transform them into love, peace, forgiveness and harmony. This is the experience of holiness, the Christian lifestyle taught in Scripture, and the extraordinary love supremely exemplified by Jesus in every experience of His earthly life.

Dudley Coles, The War Cry