Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Get Ready to Fly

The little caterpillar was cute and fuzzy, but more
importantly, he persisted; he had a purpose.

He Wouldn't Give Up

As I walked down to our mailbox a few days ago, I noticed a small caterpillar crawling along over the rocks. The wind was gusting up to about 30 miles an hour that day, but the little caterpillar kept crawling along.

At times, the wind actually picked the lightweight, fuzzy little guy up and he skittered several feet across the road. Every time the wind lifted him up, when he hit the ground, he just kept crawling in the same direction. Nothing seemed to bother him. He just kept going.

If the little caterpillar stopped crawling because it was too windy, he certainly would have died there on that barren road, which was utterly devoid of food or shelter. Instead, he kept crawling, moving toward some unseen, and likely unknown, destination. 

Like the caterpillar, we often don't know what's up ahead for us. But unlike the caterpillar, we tend to fret and worry, sometimes to the point that we stop moving at all.

But the simple truth of the matter is that if we stop, we are being disobedient. We are also circumventing God's good plan for us.

God has a plan and a purpose for me and for you! Jeremiah 29:11 says: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

We must remember that in addition to having a purpose for us, Christ is behind us, beside us, and before us. He surrounds us with his love - even in the wind - no, especially, in the wind. We must remind ourselves of the great destiny that is ours, in a Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12).

I don't know about you, but knowing Christ, knowing that He is with me to the end of the age, knowing that His word is true and unchanging, and knowing that somehow, He can make all things work together for good, gives me calm assurance - even when the wind blows so hard that it picks me up and sets me down in a place that I wasn't expecting. (Matthew 28:20, Matthew 24:35, Romans 8:28 )

On Our Way to Something Beautiful

We may be bucking the wind now, but we must remind ourselves that we are on a path of purpose.
You see, like the caterpillar on its way to becoming a butterfly - we are on our way to something beautiful.
Keep crawling and get ready to fly.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

One Hundred Times Return

<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>
You've got to put the seed
in the ground before you can expect
a harvest.
What if I told you about an investment you could make that would yield one hundred times your original investment? Maybe even more? Well, if you believed me, you would be asking me for more details and signing the papers. This post tells you exactly how to do that, but let me be clear; we are not talking about finance.

We are talking about LIFE. 

Spring is the season when farmers kick things into high gear. The fields are black and the soil is warming up. It is time to get the seed into the ground if there is going to be a harvest come fall.

I grew up on a farm, so the topic of spring seeding is near and dear to my heart, one that I have spent countless hours thinking about while out on the tractor.

Consider the farmer with thirty bushels of wheat seed stored in his shed. It is perfectly good grain that could be used for feed, or ground into flour and then made into bread. However, that same wheat could be used to plant about fifteen acres and in about four months, yield sixty-five bushels per acre, or 975 bushels. 

Once a farmer puts that wheat in the ground, there is no turning back. It is no longer fit to be eaten. It can't be fed to livestock or ground into flour now.  You couldn't gather it back up if you wanted to. The grain - as grain - is ruined. But give it some time, and those fifteen acres of soil turn green and then gold. Thirty bushels become 975 bushels. Is it worth risking the thirty bushels? You bet.

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives." (John 12:24 NLT) 

Jesus was speaking of His own death, but the same is true for every one of His followers. Unless we "are planted in the soil and die" we will never grow a crop, never reach our full potential.

Death comes before resurrection.

It isn't physical death I am talking about here. Unless I die to my self - my own desires, ambitions, and human pride - I will never know what it is to yield a supernatural harvest - thirty times, sixty times, even a hundred times the initial cost. 

There is nothing more painful to talk about than death to self. Instinct drives us to protect ourselves at all costs. I would be lying if I did not admit that I have struggled with the concept of dying to self many, many times.

I remember as a young person, hearing old people in the church talk about dying to the old flesh. It all sounded so ugly. What were they talking about? 

I love my self. I try to be good. I am not a bad person. I. I. I....

C.S. Lewis is one of my very favorite authors. He probably makes the strongest case for dying to self: 

"Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in." 
(Mere Christianity, page 190-191)

I don't think I can say it any better than that. 
Is dying to your self worth the sacrifice? Absolutely. It is the best investment you can possibly make.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57845872@N08/14069888049">PhoTones Works #5196</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>

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