Sow the seed and be encouraged

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Today a former pupil recognised me and came up to me in a supermarket and greeted me. He was with his parents, grandfather and sister and I know  they are Muslims. I asked how he was doing, introduced my family and spoke to his parents.

I taught him 6 years ago.

What I found really significant was that this young man remembered me as an RE Teacher (and he said that twice) but I had never taught RE at that school, and I told him, I was a languages teacher.

When I thought about this, I realised how often at that Church of England High School I had shared my faith with the pupils. I shared my testimony with my form and lived my Christian life in front of them.

And six years on this young man remembered that more than any foreign language I taught him.

You see, I had sowed a seed of the Gospel in his life. He was so pleased to see me, his former teacher, and God spoke to me that tonight He is going to speak to this young man. God did not forget about that seed. He WILL make it grow.

How many seeds of the Gospel have we sown in people’s lives? I have sown many over the years. I can’t remember how many I have sown, how many times I have shared my faith or simply spoken one word. But God remembers each one and He is carefully watching over them. He is watching over His Word to perform it.

Psalm 126:5,6 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping , bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

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I am so expectant that God is going to bring a harvest of souls! Those seeds that have been sown are going to start growing this year. Some have been lying dormant. NOW is the time when God is going to breathe life into them. Be encouraged, brothers and sisters and keep sowing the seed of the Gospel.

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Elisha and the Widow’s Oil

_20170318_1810532 KINGS 4:1-7

This woman was in dire need. Her husband had died and a creditor was coming to take her two sons away to be slaves. This woman’s husband had been the son of a prophet; he was a man who feared the Lord and Elisha had known him. So, the woman appealed to Elisha to help her. She was not in a good situation and she sought the man of God.

Elisha was willing to help her and asked what she had in her house. This woman did not have a house full of belongings. All she had was a jar of oil.

A quick question – what do you have that God can work with? If she only had that jar of oil, that is what God was going to use.

Elisha told her to borrow empty vessels from all of her neighbours, which she did. She shut the door behind her and started pouring out the small jar of oil into ALL of the vessels. Amazingly, the oil just kept on flowing until ALL of the vessels were full.

This was a miracle! This miracle was dependant on the woman’s faith. Elisha told her, “Do not gather just a few.” She was told to make room for God to do the miraculous. I say to you today, “Do not gather just a few.” Expect God to move mightily on your situation. If this woman had gathered just a few vessels she might not have had enough money to repay the debt and live off the rest. Please, brothers and sisters, do not limit God in your actions, in your thinking, in anything …

You do realize , of course, that God did not need the small jar of olive oil to perform the miracle. But He wants us to commit ourselves fully and take a step of faith. He requires us to lay the foundations for a miracle to take place.

This woman was a spiritual woman and she did not hesitate to respond to the instructions of the Lord’s prophet in faith and obedience, even if it seemed crazy to her. Will we do that?  Naaman was asked to bathe in the River Jordan in order to be healed from his leprosy. He went away in a rage when he first heard this, because he thought this idea was ridiculous. But, eventually he did bathe in the River and was healed of his leprosy.

The things God asks us to do may not always make sense but we must trust Him. He knows what He is doing.

God is our loving Heavenly Father and He wants to provide for us, His children, when we are in need. Psalm 34:10 says, “…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” God provided enough oil for the lady to pay the debt and enough for her whole family to live off. God is not only a generous provider ,but He  has unlimited resources.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. Our Father in Heaven owns everything that is in the world – the animals and the crops etc. He sends the rain and makes the sun shine – He brings the perfect conditions for harvest. He is a rich Heavenly Father who delights in giving us all things.

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things.”

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Jesus – the supplier of human need.

John 6:14.  The feeding of the five thousand. In verse 7 Peter said, ” Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” Our human understanding says, “This is too expensive.” It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a piece. This was a lot of money.

So Andrew said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many.”

There is only so much we can do – we have to rely on God to do the rest. The little we give can be multiplied by God. He only needs our willingness to be involved.

Verses 12 and 13 – Twelve baskets were leftover. God supplies abundantly more than we ask or think.

In Matthew 14:13-21 we learn that before this miracle, Jesus had just found out that his earthly cousin, John the Baptist, had died a cruel death (he had been beheaded).

Matthew 14:13 says that when He heard this, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place. We all need this time to withdraw to a solitary place away from the demands of life to refresh ourselves in God. If you have troubles, run to Jesus. He is the One who can help you. No matter what demands you have on your time or pressures of ministry etc. you sometimes need to withdraw yourself so God can deposit more of His power.

Jesus had to launch a boat out to get time away from the people. Sometimes we need to use extreme measures to spend time with God.

Yet the crowds still followed Him on foot, waiting for Jesus to land His boat. And when He did, they were still waiting for Him. They were desperate.

Matthew 9:36-38 “But when He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.””

The harvest is still plentiful today and workers are still needed. There are still sick people , hurting people and sheep without a shepherd in our towns today. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Will we have compassion on these people and speak to them when we’re busy, when it’s inconvenient, when we’re grieving, tired or hungry?

Jesus’ cousin John had just been cruelly beheaded and Jesus was obviously upset, but He was still able to show compassion for sick people. The circumstances seemed unjust – why did a good person like John have to die and other people probably not as deserving have life breathed into them. It didn’t seem fair, but God was still in control.

(to be continued)