• 26 “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
• “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”
Get it? You’re the seed! A tiny speck planted in the kingdom of God that grew. Nothing emerges from the dirt full grown. Growth is a combination of day and night in the soil of “thy will be done” for this crop to grow. Growth is almost imperceptible except for comparing then to now. Remember then? Remember now?
You’re the crop! You grew and became one of “the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” But wait, there’s more! God isn’t finished with you yet.
You began as one small seed planted in good soil and inexplicable growth happened. You became part of the crop and now “the harvest has come.” Here’s the Lightning Flash: as inexplicable as it may be, you’re the evidence there really is a kingdom of God happening “on earth as it is in heaven.”
Remember? You’re the harvest!
2 Peter 3:3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4 They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” 5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens long ago by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.
My life has been bookmarked by a long span of relative security and safety. There’s been the comfort of stability that I’ve been able to depend on. I like that. It’s no wonder I’m shocked to discover “that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires”…but God can even use the distress of current events for good. He can still change hearts, even mine. I’m beginning to see how important praying “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” really is.
Peter’s words have reminded me those “last days” probably began way back on that 8th day after creation. God has chosen to fill every “last day” of all that time between then and now with opportunity for his creation: a new day, a new beginning. The keywords of Peter’s message are “they deliberately forget.” They “deliberately forget” it’s God who’s created this kingdom we’re living in “by the word of his command.” It’s God who’s given them the privilege of every one of these “last days” and longs for them to come to their senses and remember his voice.
“Most importantly” all of us who live by faith need to “deliberately” remember when we pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done” it’s much more than just words or wishes. We are agreeing with God’s longing for the hearts and minds of those scoffers to recognize his truly secure, safe and stable kingdom IS NOT of their own making.
2 Peter 1:1-12 Read these verses first in your favorite Bible. Today’s post is from the [SCV] Shirle’s Condensed Version. “Quotes” are from the NIV.
FYI: You have received a faith as precious as that of a disciple. It came with a core of knowledge about God and Jesus that promises abundant grace and peace as you learn to live it daily. What you’ve already received is everything needed for a godly life but there’s more to learn of Jesus’ glory and goodness that will protect you from “corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith” these qualities: goodness, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and finally love. Your faith doesn’t need anything more but these qualities help you learn to live what you know about Jesus and make you effective and productive, right here and now. Don’t be nearsighted, remember how your past sins have been wiped away? How you live your life of faith confirms that.
Live to learn all that God has yet to teach you even though you’re “firmly established in the truth you now have.” That’s what ties every day of this life to the “rich welcome” of the forever ahead.
Luke 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them.
This is our Savior…sweating blood…in anguish…pleading with God to tell him if there’s any other way. This is our Savior completely aware of just how bad it will be to be punished for our sin. This is our Savior who’s repeated concern is still that his disciples “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
It’s heartbreaking to read later in Luke 22:61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
The rooster’s crow confirmed the worst…the Lord’s prediction had come true. They’d all fallen away…and Jesus was going to pay for it.
Repent, pray and remember… Jesus paid for you too.
John 16:31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Quote from My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers
“Jesus was not rebuking the disciples in this passage. Their faith was real, but it was disordered and unfocused, and was not at work in the important realities of life.”
The idea of real faith being slightly unfocused isn’t really a surprise but Chambers comment made me look at the words of this Scripture more carefully. I can put myself there with those disciple’s hearing Jesus, the one I’ve pledged to faithfully follow, speaking these words to me; ‘You will leave me all alone.” Ever done that?
Of course you have! It hurts to remember failing him doesn’t it?
Remembering that reality is one way Jesus leads you to confession and repentance. Jesus knows…”In this world you will have trouble.” Jesus says remember and repent… “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” “I have told you these things, so that…IN ME…you may have peace.” That’s faith that works in the important realities of life. That’s the secret of the peace of repentance.
Repent: view or think of (an action or omission) with deep regret or remorse.
Hebrews 6:1 & 2 TLB Let us stop going over the same old ground again and again, always teaching those first lessons about Christ. Let us go on instead to other things and become mature in our understanding, as strong Christians ought to be. Surely we don’t need to speak further about the foolishness of trying to be saved by being good, or about the necessity of faith in God; 2 you don’t need further instruction about baptism and spiritual gifts and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
Remember my last post? God chose some creative phrasing last Sunday to reveal I have a will and it’s not always in line with his. That’s a fact. Duh! Wasn’t that one of those first lessons I thought I’d learned? You bet it was. That was an experience.
I’m thanking God for caring enough to remind me of those two things again. It’s just another example that longevity is only one aspect of our walk with Christ. This passage reminded me of a sermon by one of the wisest Pastors I’ve known; Leonard Anderson of Crossroads Covenant Church in Forest Lake, Minnesota. The basics of his sermon about walking with Christ were this: “We need to live more of what we know, not just learn more.”
It’s lovely when faith is new and you’re so tuned in to God working in you…and on you. You’re content to ride that crest of newfound faith knowing very little more than Christ and Christ alone; your first love. It seems so “complete” but the time does come when you find you do know more. The blessing of spiritual maturity is God bringing together fact and experience to refresh your heart to remember “We need to live more of what we know, not just learn more.”
Psalm 19 For the director of music. A psalm of David.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
Memories and Northern Lights
• I remember the first embarrassing realization of how ignorant I was about religion and faith.
• I remember when I admitted Jesus had become something personal to me.
• I remember when I first saw myself through Christ’s eyes.
• I remember the display of Northern Lights on the Easter after I’d recognized that reality. I stood out on the deck in the cold Minnesota night to watch “The Skies Proclaim the work of his hands.” I was sure God was letting me know he’d gotten my message.
• I remember (most of the time) what I am like without Christ. I am one of those “sinners.”
• I remember (most of the time) that without these memories I might never have had anything worth remembering at all.