Interbay Community Church
Encouraged in Discouraging Times
(2 Corinthians 4:8&9 KJV) We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
There is no doubt that these are hard times for many people. But it is in the hard times that we grow. It is in the hard times that we come together. It is in the hard times that character is developed. This is the time when you can take heart and know from whence your help comes.
Jesus never told us that life was going to be a breeze. In fact if He told us anything it was that there were going to be trials and tribulations and that we were enlisted as soldiers in a spiritual war. He also told us that there would be times when we would fail. As He was preparing the disciples for His crucifixion He told them that all of them would leave him. But then He tells them not to be upset by it but to be of good cheer.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
I do not know what you are going through, but I do know that the other side of this thing is victory for you. What we all have to do is to hang on and dig in. We have to stop putting our faith in man and even in ourselves and really start putting all of our faith in Jesus.
I have heard a lot of complaining this past week and most of it has come from me. And I have good reason to complain. I have been out of work for three months now. I am in a lot of pain form my surgery and my shoulder still hurts and the price of gas is going out of control, which is raising the price of food and electric. We have not had hardly any rain, everything is drying up. OH…. We could all go on and on couldn’t we….. Sometimes I wish I would just tell myself to “Shut-Up!”
Am I walking by faith today or am I walking by sight. And if I am walking by sight then maybe, just maybe I should open my eyes and see actually how blessed I really am. G-D is providing for each of our every need. It is G-D who can lift us up and it is G-D who can take away.
There is a song entitled “Blessed be the name of the L—D.” It talks about how we need to bless the name of the L—D in good times and in bad. The bridge goes like this:
You give and take away.
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say,
L - - D Blessed be your name.
Last week I used gardening as an illustration of our spiritual growth. I want to return to that Illustration today and use it for our encouragement. Jesus compared the Kingdom of Heaven to a man sowing seeds many times. Remember last week we talked about the seeds that were thrown by the way side, and the seeds on the rocky soil, and the seeds in the thorny ground, and the seeds on the good soil which produced an abundance of fruit? We talked about how each of us at times and in different areas of our lives are like each patch of that soil where the seeds are tossed.
The good news is that the seeds that we are talking about are the seeds of the Word of G-D. And we know that His Word will not come back void! So today I want us to look at another illustration that Jesus made to the kingdom of heaven and seeds sown.
(Mark 4:26-29 KJV) And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
The first thing we see in this parable is the deliberate planting of the seeds. “…as if a man should cast seed into the ground,” The seed there is the life giving Word of G-D. Some people think that we are born with this spirit within us. Not according to the Bible. The Bible tells us that we are born of flesh and each of us need to be “re-born,” if you will, in the “Spirit.” That is the “Behold, all things have become new, continuous, moment in our life.
Have you ever had a time in your life when it was like the proverbial light going on? I really believe that there are some “Christians” reading this today that need to have that light come on. There may also be an agnostic or atheist or someone who has been following some religious practice that needs to have that light turn on for them today. It is not about religion. It is not about fantasy. It is not about positive thinking. It is about truth. It is about your eternal soul. It is about being born again, and having your sins forgiven and getting up and taking on the day with victory in your sights instead of the constant agony of defeat.
All of these seeds. The entire Word of G-D points to one person, and that is Jesus. In Hebrew His name is “Yeshua” (The Salvation of G-D) All of history points to this one man. All of creation reveals the truth of who He is. Every seed that has been cast contains the life giving power that is in His name. All you have to do is to receive it, and let it grow.
The next thing we read about the sower and the seed is that the seed grows on its own. We have to give credit where credit is due, and that is with the life giving power of G-D, and G-D alone. Sometimes we credit ourselves for having worked the soil and watered the ground and spread the fertilizer. (and some of us spread a lot of fertilizer)
But the fact is life goes on. And then we see the stages that the plant goes through. We all go through stages of growth. Do not give up on yourself when your in an early stage of development. Have you ever seen a young plant that has been sheltered from the wind and rain suddenly get hit with a little water and it falls right over. Sometimes it is the hard rains that strengthen us. Sometimes it is the rough winds that make us grow stronger. Sometimes it is the dry spells that cause our roots to dig in deeper. Don’t give up before the harvest is ripe.
And that is the point of our message today. That one tiny seed planted in our hearts growing into Christian maturity. We have been designed to bring forth abundant fruit. We have been filled with the glory of G-d, to produce glory to G-D.
So where does that put us today, with all the complaining and grumbling and fear and trepidation? Someone was talking to me this past week about how the governments are trying to form a new geographic region including Canada, the United States and Mexico. They said it was to bee one of ten regions world wide. We have read in the book of Revelation how there would be one world government and then kingdoms before the great tribulation. We have seen recently more tornadoes and earthquakes and cyclones and other natural disasters then ever before in recorded history. We se the cost of living going out of control and wages and jobs going to the way side. We live in hard times, but these are not the times to give up. These are the times to bless the name of the L—D.
Sometimes we can use the world around us as an excuse to stop our own personal growth. Sometimes we can use the situations in our lives that might just have been meant to help us grow as the very things that keep our growth stunted.
Here is what I am suggesting for us today. First receive the truth of who Jesus Christ is and accept Him as your personal L—D and savior. Make it personal. Let Him have full control of your life. Some people are saying that they have already done that. Yet they are the same people who are complaining and fearful and are uncertain of the future. G-D is in control. If you are going through a hard time right now, you can either continue to kick against the pricks of G-D’s leading, or you can let His truth move you to higher ground.
Did you ever know someone who was constantly asking for your advice but never taking it? How about you? Have you listened to the voice of G-D but either you have been to afraid to act on it or maybe you are just not sure that it was really G-d. It is time to step out on faith. It is time to let that seed within you spring forth from its shell and bring new life and produce the fruit of G-D’s glory in your life.
G-D has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love and power and a strong mind. Let’s use it all for His Glory and shine!!!!
(2 Timothy 1:7 KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.