Harvest Principle

 

garden harvestI really like this time of year because I love fresh vegetables from the garden. My wife’s parents have a nice-sized garden each year. They plant corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans; to name a few. I don’t usually help as much on the planting side because of work conflicts. I usually help with harvesting as we help freeze and can the vegetables for later use. It is crazy how some years, the garden produces more than others. It takes a lot of time and effort to work a garden, but it seems to me that the food taste much better than what I can purchase at the grocery store.

Paul talks about the law of the harvest in his last chapter to the church at Galatia. He declares that it’s a principle or a law of sorts. Check this out…

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the SpiritLet us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. (Galatians 6:7-10 CSB)

There have been springs and early summers where we didn’t get much rain, but we still almost always harvest more than is planted. This law is universal in all sorts of applications.

Paul is speaking clearly about my relationship with God. If I want to grow, I must invest some time and energy. He is challenging the church at Galatia to sow in the Spirit instead of the flesh. Sowing in the Spirit reaps eternal rewards as well as blessing while here on the earth. I can’t quit sowing seeds of kindness just because I’m tired. I’m paying it forward and it’s always wise to do good things even when I can’t see how it could possibly benefit me or anyone else. Doing good to others is “paying it forward” – a harvest will come from our genuine, loving, good deeds.

If I sow love and care in my relationships, they flourish.

If I ignore my relationships, they die.

If I use my money to carefully invest and give; the return or what comes back to me is a blessing.

The Lord gives me counsel often on more ways to creatively invest in others and that ends of blessing others and me. I am wealthy in relationship because I love people and do my very best to show proper respect and love. That is the harvest principle at work.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

 

Excel

square grunge red no limits stampThis word carries with it the intent to surpass or do extremely well in whatever activity I’m involved with. It is part of the word “excellent” as well. I believe that those who give their very best end up excelling. In the sporting world, there are some sports where a gifted athlete combines his/her gifts with the discipline of preparation and they are crowned champion, whether it’s the Olympics, Super Bowl, NBA championship, etc.…

Paul, in writing his second letter to the church at Corinth, puts a strong challenge out there for them to give to another church that has been struggling. Giving is one of the biggest blessings that I can do for others. Paul makes an incredible appeal to give that really challenged me even this morning. Check this out…

Now as you excel in everything—in faith, speech, knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love for us—excel also in this act of grace. I am not saying this as a command. Rather, by means of the diligence of others, I am testing the genuineness of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ: Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10 And in this matter I am giving advice because it is profitable for you, who began last year not only to do something but also to want to do it. (2 Corinthians 8:7-10 CSB)

He approaches the subject of giving by linking it to grace. If I give from a grace-filled heart, my gift will be generous.

I believe my giving reflects my faith.

I believe my giving reflect His Grace in me.

I believe my giving reflects the genuineness of my love for God. Talk is cheap – obedience is expensive.

I believe my giving profits me with blessing upon blessing.

When I committed to being a giver, I became a receiver of the blessing.

I believe that the Lord wants me to excel in my love for Him. One of the ways I can express my love for Him is the discipline of giving. I give before I invest. I give before I spend. I give before I eat. I give to Him first – period.

I am never more like God than when I give….  16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Unity

Many hands together: group of people joining handsI like this word in many different contexts. I like it when my wife and I are in unity (this contrasts with when we have extremely different ideas about an issue). I also like it when my family is in unity. Unity doesn’t mean we always agree, but I do think it means we are always agreeable. It is not always easy for sure, but I think unity means that I’m keeping my eye on the big picture. I see unity as agreement on the big picture items. Unity is defined as: “the state of being one; the parts of a whole; oneness of mind; harmony and agreement”.

This word jumped out of a Psalm of David – a song of assents and it reminded me of what a beautiful concept unity can be. Check this out…

How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
running down on Aaron’s beard,
    down on the collar of his robe.
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
    even life for evermore. (Psalm 133:1-3 NIV)

Unity is sometimes very difficult to achieve because I or the other person want our way. Unity can only be achieved when we are all working for the greater good of any team that we are part of. I believe every group I’m part of needs a mission. I didn’t say that they need a mission statement, although I think it’s an excellent idea. A mission statement is simply our mission in writing. In my family, we seek to honor God in our choices and decisions every day. It’s not written down anywhere, but we know it and try to live it out. At Southern Hills Christian Church where my family and I serve, the mission is: Disciples who make disciples.  At Metro West Realty, our team of REALTORS rally around a mission of: EXCELLENCE. Always.  I know that there are other organizations that I am part of that are on mission. If we get “off mission” then the tensions begin quickly.

Unity is an incredible concept and can be very fulfilling to be part of. If there is to be unity, then I can’t always have everything “my way or the highway”. I must seek common ground underneath the mission.  I have been part of organizations where there was no unity and it can be frustrating. When unity disappears, dysfunction comes on the scene. There are so many instances where the Lord has “sanded my rough edges off” and helped me see the big picture. I need to remember that any organization that I’m part of is only as strong as the unity of all its members.  I do believe that everyone needs a big picture view even in the trenches of debate and discussion.  I love the last line of this passage: ”for there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life for evermore”.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Mercy – Hope – Respect

Man praying with the BibleIt’s a new day! Yesterday is now in the rear-view mirror – today is another chance to make good choices and wise decisions. I was reminded this morning how much I need mercy. Mercy is defined as: compassion, forbearance, kindness, blessing, pity, benevolence, the power to pardon and divine favor. I live in the shadow of this word every day and I’m profoundly thankful that the Lord shows me mercy daily.

As I read this Psalm of Assents this morning, I was reminded that along with mercy, I have found hope and I live in respect for the Lord out of that mercy & hope. Check this out…

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his Word I put my hope. (Psalm 130:1-5 NIV)

The more I study the Word of God, the more respect and reverence I have for the Lord. He has NOT kept a record of my sins. I am aware of my sin most days and I’m naïve toward the mercy He has poured out on me. I am profoundly thankful and humbled to think of how He not only forgives me and shows mercy, He calls me His kid. The moves my heart. In His Word, I find that mercy and forgiveness displayed often. In His Word, I find Provision, Protection, Direction, Instruction, Help, Hope, Profound Love. The Lord is in a category all by Himself. He is not just another god – He is the Only God and He forgives and forgets my stupidity. His heart melts when I say I’m sorry. His mercy and forgiveness is immediate. His Presence is constant. His Word teaches me more and more about His heart, Who He is and I’m invited to know Him more personally.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Blessing & Prosperity

Gratitude Word CloudThese two words fit together like a hand and a glove.  I like both words. Blessing on one hand, is a gift or favor from God. Prosperity is a successful, thriving condition – especially regarding finances (dictionary.com). I have never been one who promotes a “prosperity gospel” – meaning if you follow the Lord, you will be wealthy and all will be well with you. I believe that if I follow the Lord fully that troubles and trials will still come. They will often come with a vengeance because the enemy doesn’t like my allegiance to the Lord.

The Psalmist speaks a bit about the prosperity and blessing from God. Check this out…

Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
    who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
    blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    round your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing
    for the man who fears the Lord. (Psalm 128:1-4 NIV)

I do believe that God honors those who fear Him. I believe He will make our paths straight when we trust in Him. (Proverbs 3:5-6) I don’t believe that the Lord will remove the hardships and times of struggle just because I follow Him. He has walked with me through hardship and struggle and because of His Presence, my perspective is changed significantly.

I am blessed because of The Lord’s Presence in me. I am thankful and I’m praying daily for a grateful heart to Him for His blessing. I’m not naïve that there will not be tough times. I believe that I have help from Him and that changes everything. I know where my hope lies. I know that this life is not the end game. I know that He loves me. I am blessed with an amazing family and I walk in respect and reverence before the Lord. I am blessed with a job that serves others and compensates me well for my service. I am blessed and I certainly want to be a blessing to others. I want others to know the “peace that passes all understanding” that I’ve found in my walk with Him.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Thankful For Grace

Gratitude Word CloudAs I wake up later on this day of thanksgiving here in the US, I’m reminded of the many blessings upon my life. I have a thankful heart. Sometime several months ago, I felt pressed by the Lord to ask Him for a thankful heart. I have been praying for a thankful heart every day. I woke up this morning and my heart is full with thankfulness – not just because it’s thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for.

Job was about finished talking. He was still struggling with the loss of his family, his possessions and his health. He was still not cursing God. He actually started reflecting on his journey with the Lord and his thankful heart began coming out. He became vulnerable and humble before the Lord. Check this out…

1 ‘I made a covenant with my eyes

    not to look lustfully at a young woman.

2 For what is our lot from God above,

    our heritage from the Almighty on high?

3 Is it not ruin for the wicked,

    disaster for those who do wrong?

4 Does he not see my ways

    and count my every step?

5 ‘If I have walked with falsehood

    or my foot has hurried after deceit –

6 let God weigh me in honest scales

    and he will know that I am blameless –

7 if my steps have turned from the path,

    if my heart has been led by my eyes,

    or if my hands have been defiled,

8 then may others eat what I have sown,

    and may my crops be uprooted. (Job 31:1-8 NIV)

I don’t deserve the blessings I have. I have sinned and stumbled many times, yet the Lord restores my soul. His grace is amazing and relentless. He loves me too much to leave me where He found me. He always helps me up when I stumble. I’m so thankful for His grace. I’m so thankful for His patience with me. I deserve punishment even to death, but instead He gives me a life beyond my wildest dreams. As I enjoy a day of Thanksgiving with my family today – I’m still stunned by the depth of His Grace and His Mercy. #thankfulbeyondwords

Pressing On!

Dwayne