SEEDTIME LEADS TO HARVEST TIME

Gen.8:22 – While the earth remains,

Seedtime and harvest,Cold and heat,

Winter and summer,

And day and night

Shall not cease.

Small adjustments can effect the rest of your life. Parris and I learned the importance of stewardship as new Christians. Learning to look to God as our Source and plant seeds of faith as a lifestyle has been the way we have lived for many years. As a result a number of things have happened. First, Parris and I have been blessed by the Lord in the good times and the lean times these last forty six years. Secondly, our ministry has been sustained and blessed by the Lord enabling us to be a blessing to many ministries as well as hurting people over the years. Everything from Feed the Multitudes to BTG, as well as our partnership with Second Harvesters is the results of the seed faith living we have embraced. Thirdly, many people in our church have learned giving as a lifestyle and have experienced blessing in their own lives. Here is a quote from Oral Roberts on seed faith living.

“When you give your tithes, think of it as Seed-Faith. Then a wonderful new attitude will possess you. No longer will you think of tithes as a “debt you owe.” You will think of your tithes as “a seed you sow.” That makes all the difference in the world in giving you joy in your giving, because it immediately helps shift your mind into expecting to receive a miracle harvest from God, who is a good God. You see, our giving goes all the way back to Noah to whom, when he came from the great boat in which he and his family survived the Flood, God said, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest…shall not cease”. This is God’s eternal principle of sowing and reaping, of giving and receiving…..Jesus often spoke of the farmer and his sowing and reaping. The farmer in following the eternal law given by God for His universe and His people always gives the seed to the ground first. This natural law comes from the higher spiritual law that you have to continually give to be continually renewed in your spiritual and material resources.”

So go ahead and embrace this miracle way to live as a lifestyle. You will be blessed so that you too can be a blessing to many.

SEED FAITH LIVING

Phil.4:19 – And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I had to relearn lots of things when I first began to pastor this church. I had spent four years in a Jesus Community working for various businesses run by the ministry. I had learned a hard work ethic and the importance of discipline but I had not learned to look to God as my source. In the community the bills were paid and food was supplied. All we had to do was study and put in a hard days work. That was all about to change when Parris and I came to New Orleans. Now we had to look to God ourselves, no one was providing for us. At least no one but God. Here is how Oral Roberts describes this phenomenon of looking to the Lord as your source of total supply.

“Turn your life over to God and start looking directly and personally to Him as THE Source of your supply. Although there are scores of scriptures from Genesis to Revelation concerning God as your Source, the key scripture is Philippians 4:19: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Living in a man-run society and business community, it is easy to get the idea that man is your source of supply. This is where you miss the truth of God’s Holy Word. God often uses man as the means, but God Himself is the Source. All other sources are instruments only. Remember, in looking for your needs to be met, it’s not what is your source, but Who is your source. You may think it’s man you are dealing with, but he is only an instrument. You are dealing directly with God as the loving Being who is the Source of your supply. By looking to Him, you are confident, you are positive, and you are expectant that He will provide.”

It is important to look beyond parents, employers, or government programs for your provision. The Lord uses those things for temporary provision. After all He is the God of ravens and widows.

The second truth that came to us was just as important. Sow a seed in the work of God. God is the source of the harvest, He always uses seed as the tool to initiate the harvest. “Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, shaken together, and running over.” – Lk.6:38

IDEAS LIKE SEEDS FROM HEAVEN

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Sometimes, let’s rephrase that, most all of the time, humans get confused with the whole idea of giving to God. Some get stuck in a religious bondage of rules like i am indebted to God. Others see giving as some sort of get rich quick scheme. Both ideas miss the mark and can cause us to miss the harvest of blessing that the Lord wants to release into our lives. What if God’s harvest on our giving were to come back to us in creative ideas. We sew into God’s work and then He floods our hearts with His kingdom plans. Here is how Oral Roberts describes it.

“God was talking about multiplying our tithes—as seed sown—back to us. He was talking about ideas, concepts , and insights. Everything begins with an idea. God had an idea to create the world. He had an idea to create man. He had an idea to send Jesus. Everybody does what they do with an idea. God begins by pouring an idea out of Heaven. Then it becomes a concept. Once the concept becomes a way of life, God gives you insight or wisdom in how to apply the idea. As a consistent tither who expects miracle harvests from my seed sown, ICI (ideas, concepts, & insights) has been at the center of my life and ministry.”

That’s how all ministries are birthed, a simple idea from the Lord. Feed the Multitudes is a great example of what Oral Roberts called seed faith living. The Lord gave us an idea to give to the poor with a free food festival in 1990 when our church faced financial crisis. FTM became the seed the Lord used to touch the hurting as well as bring financial return into our ministry. We still put on FTM every year to remind us that it is in giving that we step into God’s plan of miracle harvest. Maybe you are struggling financially today. Sew a financial gift into the work of God. Don’t be surprised if the harvest comes in the form of a creative idea that will launch you into a new season of harvest.

SEEDTIME AND HARVEST

Gen. 8:22 – While the earth remains,

Seedtime and harvest,

And cold and heat,

And summer and winter,

And day and night

Shall not cease.

I had to learn quickly about provision when the Lord called me to pioneer a church in New Orleans in 1979. I had spent my previous six years as a Christian living in a Christian community. Like everything else, community living had its pros and cons. For example, it wasn’t easy to turn over the whole pay check every week. We had a common purse so everything went into the kitty. The positive, I had no concern with bills or financial matters, that was someone else’s concern. The problem I was facing in starting a church was this whole provision thing. I had to provide for my family as well as figure out finances for a new church. That’s when someone turned me on to a book from Oral Roberts on seed faith living. Those principles of sowing and reaping enabled us to get started in our ministry with God as the source of our supply. Here are some thoughts from Oral Roberts about seed faith living, these words can be a huge help in your life.

“Noah’s first acts after the Flood were to build an altar and to sacrifice to the Lord. God was pleased and made promises to the human family through the faith of Noah. He also instituted the Law of Seedtime and Harvest: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest . . . shall not cease”. When God created the first living thing, He gave it the ability to grow and multiply. How? Through the Seed. Your life began by the seed principle. Every act of your life since your birth has operated by the seed principle—springing from good seeds or bad seeds you have sown—whether or not you were consciously aware of your seed-planting. The principle continues today. To overcome life’s problems, reach your potential in life, see your life become fruitful, multiplied, replenished (that is, in health, finance, spiritual renewal, family, or your entire being), determine to follow God’s law of seedtime and harvest. Sow the seed of His promise in the soil of your need.”

So have you bought in to God’s plan of provision? Connect yourself to the Lord’s work financially and see God as your source. You too can begin to enjoy the harvest of a seed faith lifestyle.

MY UNCLE’S GARDEN

 

Hos. 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;

Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

My uncle used to have a small farm where he grew various fruits and vegetables. As a child, I was amazed at how much food came from his small plot of land. He had field peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, plums, peaches, cantaloupes, watermelons (can’t forget those); the list goes on and on. Those were the sweetest watermelons I have ever eaten.
The point is this, we live in a fruitful world created by a fruitful God. The seedtime and harvest is intended to be a picture of the abundant provision the Lord has put in this world for all of us. Here are some powerful thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy – Literally, ” in the proportion of mercy,” not in proportion to what you have sown, nor what justice would give, but beyond all deserts, ” in the proportion of mercy; according to the capacity and fullness of the mercy of God; what becometh the mercy of God, which is boundless, which overlooketh man’ s failings, and giveth an infinite reward for poor imperfect labor. If the earth giveth thee larger fruits than it has received, how much more shall the requiting of mercy repay thee manifold more than thou gavest!” Sowing and reaping always stand over against each other, as labor and reward.”

Thinking about that one little piece of land speaks volumes about the fruitfulness of our God. His supply in the physical world only speaks of the other world that is all around us. The spiritual world is the one where our Lord lives. That is the place our hearts long for. There is another abundant supply available for us in that invisible world.The supply of the Spirit to our hungry hearts will come with no limitations. Just as my uncle tended to that little plot of land, we must tend to the spiritual garden of our heart. How do we tend our garden? Plow the ground with prayer, plant the seeds of God’s word. As we do these things, we will be amazed at His abundant harvest in our souls. “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

SEED FAITH

joanna-kosinska-395405.jpg

2Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

The Lord always manages to put the tools in our hands that we need at the proper time. It was 1977 when Parris and I moved back to New Orleans. We had no idea what was in store for us here, thankfully the Lord had a plan. We were planning on running a discipleship house in New Orleans, pastoring a church wasn’t quite on my radar yet. Just before we returned to Nola, my mentor, Mike McIntosh, gave me a copy of Oral Roberts’ book, ‘A Daily Guide to miracles- Seed Faith Living’. That book taught me a very important key that I desperately needed for my personal provision as well as the amazing resources I would need to build a church. Here are a couple of the keys I learned in reading that book by Oral Roberts.

“Give What You Have in Your Hand to Give, SEED FAITH. Note especially these three things as you study this passage. First, God is the One who makes all grace abound toward you and provides sufficiency in all things. All things beneficial for our lives come from God’s hands. Second, we are given sufficiency—even “bounty” so that we might do good works. We are blessed in order to be a blessing to others! The word “sufficiency” means “contentedness,” or “competence”—earmarks of the believer whose life is truly blessed by these characteristics as God increases him. And third, the God who gave you seed in the first place is the One who meets your basic needs, multiplies your seed sown into an abundance you can share with others, and increases you spiritually with love, joy, peace, and all of the other fruit of the Holy Spirit flowing freely in your life (“the fruits of your righteousness”).

How great is our God! We have no lack in Him—only potential!”

These simple truths were huge. First, the Lord is the source of your supply. No matter what channel He decides to use, your provision comes from the Lord. That is huge, look to Him alone for provision. Secondly, the Lord blesses you to be a blessing. Give back into your local church. This is your basic seed that the Lord uses to multiply back to you. We receive everything from God and literally give back out of His hand. The Lord will increase you more and more as you look to Him and partner with Him in your work.

FALLING ACORNS AND CRAZY SQUIRRELS

2Cor. 9:10 ¶ He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

God is an incredible giver. I saw it again, quite by accident, this week. I was walking my dog at my house, just enjoying the quiet outside and the beauty of God’s creation. Suddenly I heard this sound all around me. It was the noise of something dropping over and over again. It was all around me when I realized what it was. Acorns. The yard is full of oak trees and they were literally raining down acorns all around me. That’s when I was taken again by the excessive nature of God. Thousands of acorns in my yard. How many acorns do you really need for just a few trees? Seeds were falling down all around me and then I got it; the Lord provides for us by His seeds. God’s provision is constant and excessive, it never stops. Think of all the acorns in the world. They are not only seeds for sowing they are also food for the squirrels. Here is how Adam Clarke explains today’s verse.

“The word ‘epichoregeo’, he that ministers, is very emphatic; it signifies he who leads up the chorus, it means also to join to, associate, to supply or furnish one thing after another so that there be no want or chasm. Thus God is represented, in the course of his providence, associating and connecting causes and effects; keeping every thing in its proper place and state of dependence on another, and all upon himself; so that summer and winter, heat and cold, seed time and harvest, regularly succeed each other. Thus God leads up this grand chorus of causes and effects: provides the seed to the hand of the sower; gives him skill to discern the times when the earth should be prepared for the grain, and when the grain should be sowed; blesses the earth, and causes it to bring forth and bud, so that it may again minister seed to the sower and bread to the eater; and, by a watchful providence, preserves every thing. The figure is beautiful, and shows us the grand system of causes and effects, all directed by and under the immediate guidance and government of God himself.”
The Lord even convinces the squirrels to bury some of their acorns in the ground. I have to be as sharp as the squirrel, I can’t eat everything the Lord gives me, some of it has to be planted.

BAD BREATH

Acts 9:1 Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord,

Do you have bad breath? I am not talking about the stinky kind, but bad breath nevertheless. You see we can only breathe out what we breathe in. The question we have to ask ourselves is this, ‘what atmosphere am I inhaling every day?’ If I put myself in an atmosphere where I am breathing in immorality, that’s what my breath will consist of. Whether it is uncouth profanity or just something not so overtly sinful like politics or athletics. Whatever atmosphere we live in and inhale is what is going to come out of us. If you inhale bad stuff, bad stuff is what is coming out. In the same way, breathing in God and His word fills us with life. Paul was breathing hatred against the church. This is how Stanley Horton describes it.

“‘Breathing out’ here is literally ‘breathing in’. In the greek it indicates it had become characteristic and continuous. In other words, Saul created an atmosphere around him of threats and murder so that he was constantly breathing it in. As oxygen enables an athlete to keep going, so this atmosphere kept Saul going. He put many in prison and voted to put them to death.”
Robertson’s Word Pictures paints the picture of Saul and his fierce anger against Christ and His people.

“Breathing threatening and slaughter… means that threatening and slaughter had come to be the very breath that Saul breathed, like a warhorse who sniffed the smell of battle. He breathed on the remaining disciples the murder that he had already breathed in from the death of the others. He exhaled what he inhaled. The taste of blood in the death of Stephen was pleasing to young Saul and now he reveled in the slaughter of the saints both men and women. In 26:11 Luke quotes Paul as saying that he was “exceedingly mad against them.”
Thankfully Paul had an encounter with God and the atmosphere of His life was radically and permanently changed. He was touched powerfully by the Lord and was filled with the Holy Spirit. This Holy Spirit atmosphere became the new environment for Saul to live in. He was now breathing in life and breathing out life. Much of the New Testament is the result of this fresh breath of life. Take a few moments and think about the atmosphere you are living in. Take steps to change it, get rid of that bad breath.

MY UNCLE’S GARDEN

Hos. 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;

Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.

My uncle used to have a small farm where he grew various fruits and vegetables. As a child, I was amazed at how much food came from his small plot of land. He had field peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, plums, peaches, cantaloupes, watermelons (can’t forget those); the list goes on and on. Those were the sweetest watermelons I have ever eaten.
The point is this, we live in a fruitful world created by a fruitful God. The seedtime and harvest is intended to be a picture of the abundant provision the Lord has put in this world for all of us. Here are some powerful thoughts from Adam Clarke on today’s verse.

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy – Literally, ” in the proportion of mercy,” not in proportion to what you have sown, nor what justice would give, but beyond all deserts, ” in the proportion of mercy; according to the capacity and fullness of the mercy of God; what becometh the mercy of God, which is boundless, which overlooketh man’ s failings, and giveth an infinite reward for poor imperfect labor. If the earth giveth thee larger fruits than it has received, how much more shall the requiting of mercy repay thee manifold more than thou gavest!” Sowing and reaping always stand over against each other, as labor and reward.”

Thinking about that one little piece of land speaks volumes about the fruitfulness of our God. His supply in the physical world only speaks of the other world that is all around us. The spiritual world is the one where our Lord lives. That is the place our hearts long for. There is another abundant supply available for us in that invisible world.The supply of the Spirit to our hungry hearts will come with no limitations. Just as my uncle tended to that little plot of land, we must tend to the spiritual garden of our heart. How do we tend our garden? Plow the ground with prayer, plant the seeds of God’s word. As we do these things, we will be amazed at His abundant harvest in our souls. “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

KATRINA LAND

“KATRINA LAND”

MERRY WEDNESDAY –BY PARRIS BAILEY

“When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Ps.126:1-6

I don’t know why but when the anniversary of Katrina rolled around I found myself thinking of everything that happened. I also found myself traveling the same route when we evacuated up to my mother’s house in North Carolina. I am sure for the most of us, our feelings are bittersweet. Paul’s says, “sorrowful yet rejoicing”. We saw the provision of God but the experience was a bit painful!
Last year also at this same time Hurricane Isaac hit our city. We didn’t evacuate and though a small storm compared to Katrina it camped out over the city and gave our church a beating of one million dollars in damage. All of this has made me look back and contemplate how “God works all things together for the good.” Katrina took us up all the way to Pittsburgh to drop off our youngest child to finish her 12th grade with our eldest son. I wasn’t a happy camper about this decision at all. Our home was damaged and I just couldn’t drag my child back to NOLA as Frank and I would literally jump from home to home the next 6 weeks. While running with the dogs up there, I found myself crying out and He began to speak to me about “children are lent of The Lord” and He wanted to “show me His glory”. I leaving my senior, another son went to New York and my 2nd son and his family to Virginia. Frank went running that day worried about staff and payroll. While praying He begin to see hundreds of checks that we gave to the needy, missionaries and other charities over the years that he heard The Lord say “as you sowed all those years to others, the time of reaping will begin”. I knew the blessing comes in obedience so back to NOLA we went.
The rest is history, Victory shined as a light feeding thousands and giving away food for years. We had trailers on our back property for families and hosted hundreds of responders. The purchase of the Broad St Mission was bought from Katrina donations around the world, turning it into a soup kitchen for years then four years ago Mary’s Song Restoration Center was birthed.
Isaac hit and basically finished off what Katrina had started on our sanctuary on Airline. One year later we find ourselves sitting in a beautiful remodeled building that most likely we could have never afforded.
I am not sure what you may be facing, but I pray He gives you grace to jump over your troop and leap over your wall. You probably will jump right into the arms of God.