Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Cares of this World

I've been reading and pondering the parable of the sower (Mark 4:1-23) recently and it has really struck me that currently I'm falling into the second and third categories.
Here is my summary of the facts in the parable:

I've placed myself in the second category, because I do get very excited when I listen to a sermon or read a book and learn a new truth about God's Word. I try to apply the newly acquired truth to my life, but I quickly forget about it as I go through my day or week. Within a few days I can't even remember what it was that had me so fired up.

The third category refers to the "weeds" of this world. There are so much distraction today with the television, the internet, responsibilities as mother, wife, and homemaker, financial concerns, hobbies and other pursuits. I feel that instead of all these things simplifying my life and making it easier, it is only complicating it more and more, filling my days and my mind so that it squeezes out the most important aspect of my life - my relationship with my Creator.

I want to be "fertile soil" and I'm coming to the renewed realization that fertile soil takes work, dedication, cultivation and discipline. The desire to BE fertile soil is not going to ensure that I AM. I must take the time to study the Word, meditate on it, ponder how I can apply it to my life and seek God's guidance in everyday situations.

Location where the seed fell
The result
On the path/road that was hardened by many people walking there.
The birds came to eat it.
The person doesn't really pay attention to what is spoken or read, but is distracted.
On rocky ground with shallow soil.
The seed sprang up but was quickly scorched by the sun.
The person gets excited about the Word, but then forgets quickly, especially when things get tough.
Among the weeds.
It was choked by all the overgrowth and weeds.
The person also gets excited, but is so distracted and busy with worldly things, material things, and their own activities, that the Word is pushed out by everything else in that person's life.
Fertile soil.
It grew and produced fruit, 20x, 30x and some 100x.
The person hears the word and it bears fruit in their life, because they cultivate it, mediate on it and live it every day.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fellowship With God - The Key To Success

An intimate relationship with God is key to success, blessing and freedom from the corruptive influences of this world. 

We're reading 2 Peter 1:2-4 today and asking God to reveal to us His purpose and to give us an understanding of His Word. 

 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

The "knowledge of God" is the core to being blessed. Grace and peace are multiplied in the knowledge of Him. He gives us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him. We should strive to increase our knowledge of Him if we want to see increased blessing and prosperity, grace and peace in our lives. 

What is the "knowledge of Him"? Does it refer to how well we know the scriptures, how many verses we've memorized? How much factual knowledge we have of God? 

I understand the "knowledge of Him" to refer to the ability to know Him personally. Not to know OF Him, like we would know of a celebrity, but to have an intimate relationship WITH Him. Do I KNOW God? Do I have fellowship with Him in such a way that I do not only speak to Him, but He also speaks to me? 

Another important point is that by having this close relationship and knowledge of God, He has given us precious and awesome promises that gives us the divine power to manage and rise above the temptations, decadence and immorality of this world. I don't have to be touched by the negative fear-mongering news reports, immorality, economic turmoil, and pervasive diseases of today's society. We cannot "escape the corruption that is in the world" through our own will-power and on our own strength. Freedom from the bondage of this world can only be achieved through the "divine nature" of God. 

This divine nature that we can walk in comes from the Holy Spirit: 

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. ~ Acts 1:8 

At the time of salvation and accepting Jesus as Saviour, we receive the Holy Spirit which gives us divine power and authority. However, having the Holy Spirit, and walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit are two different things. We can be saved, have the Holy Spirit, but not walk in the divine nature that frees us from the world. We MUST seek the "knowledge of Him". 

We must seek His presence, to know Him better, know His Word, know how He thinks and operates. The only way to do that is to truly meditate on His Word, spend time in His presence and do what He leads us to do. 

Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6 

THEN we can "partake" in His "divine nature" because of the promises He made in His word. One of these promises come to mind in the words of Jesus: 

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. ~ John 14:12 

We see this as a progression: 

Fellowship with / Knowledge of God >>> Promises >>> Divine Nature to overcome the world 

Another verse that supports this "cause and effect" is James 4:7

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7 

We must FIRST submit to God which means we must be in relationship with Him. We cannot submit to someone without knowing that person and what we're submitting to. When we walk in submission we have the "divine nature" that gives us the power to "resist the Devil" and we will escape the calamity that the Devil has planned for us. The part that really strikes me is the blessing and physical outcome of this natural progression - "all things pertaining to life and godliness". 

All things pertaining to LIFE refers to everything we need to live....... clothing, food, money, health, etc. Godliness refers to the "divine nature" in which we can walk. Our physical (material) and spiritual needs will be met.