Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jesus Is Your Qualification 4 God’s Blessings

Deuteronomy 28:2 - And all these blessings shall come upon u & overtake u…

God loves 2 bless u. He has even declared that “blessings shall come upon u & overtake u”. This means that u can’t run fast enough 2 escape them! When u turn one corner, there is a blessing waiting 4 u. When u turn another corner, u run smack into another blessing!

Now, u may think that u don’t qualify for God’s blessings bcoz of the preceding verse which says that these blessings will come 2 pass only if u diligently obey God’s voice and keep all of His commandments. You know that no matter how hard u try, u just cannot keep all of God’s commandments. In fact, the Bible says that if u fail 2 keep just one commandment, u fail 2 keep all. (James 2:10)

My friend, I have good news 4 u: Jesus is the one who qualifies us for every single blessing bcoz He has kept all of God’s commandments. When He died for us on the cross, He not only fulfilled all of God’s commandments, He also redeemed us from the curse of the law. (Galatians 3:13) Note that He did not redeem us from the blessings of
the law, so the blessings are still ours today!

As u read the list of blessings in Deuteronomy 28, starting with “Blessed shall u be in the city… in the country… the fruit of your body… your basket… when u come in… when u go out…” (Deuteronomy 28:3–13), I believe that Jesus is saying 2 u, “Like the blessings? Then take them by faith!”

You may say, “But I don’t deserve them.” Yes, u don’t deserve them, but u still get them bcoz of Jesus. That is God’s grace! The law says, “You must deserve the blessings.” But the law is no longer here. Grace is here. So take the blessings by grace through faith. Believe God for the blessings.

Today, it is no longer a question of how much or how well u have kept God’s commandments. It is a question of how much u can believe God for His blessings. All the promises of God in Christ are “Yes”, and bcoz u are in Christ, u can say “Amen!” 2 His blessings! (2 Corinthians 1:20)

When the Crop Permits

Francis Frangipane
Certainly, the period prior 2 Christ's return will be both difficult and perilous. Scripture warns that God's voice will shake all things, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. Everything that can be shaken, will be shaken and removed (Hebrews 12:27).

Yet, there is more on the calendar of God than increasing judgments and the rapture. There will also be the advance and establishing of God's Kingdom (Daniel 2:44; Matthew 24:14; Matthew 13). A spiritually mature people will serve as the vanguard of His Kingdom. Before the Lord is glorified in the earth, He shall be glorified in the Church (see Isaiah 60:1-3; Ephesians 5:27). Indeed, the attainment of Christlike maturity in those who pursue the Lord shall not be a mere sidebar on the scroll of end-time events; it will be the main attraction.

Listen carefully 2 what Jesus taught. He said,
"The Kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes 2 bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows – how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, bcoz the harvest has come" (Mark 4:26-29).

Jesus likened the Kingdom of God  a Farmer waiting for the maturing of His crops. During the harvest season, farmers are concerned about two primary things: the quantity and quality of the harvest. I live in eastern Iowa. Some corn and soybean fields, which may have started strong, fail or are stunted due 2 unusually high or low temperatures or lack of rain. As a result, farmers plow under their fields bcoz their crops did not reach maturity. There was no "mature grain in the head."

Just as the farmer will not harvest without the grain becoming mature, so God is seeking a crop of Christ-followers that have reached spiritual maturity. God is after full stature, not just full numbers. Take note: Jesus said, "when the crop permits," God puts in the sickle. The return of Christ isn't about a certain "day or hour," for it is the spiritual stature of the harvest that triggers the great unfolding of end-time events. You see, God is not looking at His watch; He's looking at His crop.

What does spiritual maturity look like? Recall Paul's words. He wrote, "We are ready 2 punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete" (2 Corinthians 10:6). What does complete obedience look like? It looks like Christians taking "every thought captive 2 the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). Again, God is looking for Christlikeness 2 ripen within us as we approach the end of the age. Indeed, our maturing can actually hasten the coming of the day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:12).

" the image of God" is the seed-idea purposed by the Almighty from before time began (Genesis 1:27). It does not in any way mean we think we are gods or that we take Christ's place; it means Christ has truly taken our place (Galatians 2:20). The original plan was for man 2b conformed 2 Christ. This is what the "mature head in the grain" looks like: mature Christlikeness.

For too long we have assumed that only the numeric size of the harvest was the focus of the Father. Certainly, the number of people saved is pivotal: "the fullness of the Gentiles" must come into the Kingdom (Romans 11:25). However, the Almighty does not just want numbers; He wants spiritual maturity.

Thus, the Lord is not looking at a calendar thinking, "Oh, it's the year 2011 (or 2020, etc.). I have 2 destroy the world on that date." No. A farmer does not reap his crops without first walking his fields, holding samples of the grain, and studying the moisture and integrity of the seed head before he begins his harvest. Again, the maturity of the crop determines the day of the harvest.

So many Christians are frozen in spiritual immaturity. They are easily offended, often distracted and without prayer or spiritual discipline. We think God is requiring of us simply 2 hang on, yet the Lord is looking for more. Paul says the goal of God in the Church is that "we all attain 2 the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, 2 a mature man, 2 the measure of the stature which belongs 2 the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

Even now, Believers around the world are becoming increasingly more Christlike. They live in India and China, Africa and South America, Europe and North America, and places beyond. Yes, they are comparatively a little flock, yet "with unveiled face," they are "beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord" and "are being transformed into the same image from glory 2 glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18). When this crop permits, the Father shall put in His sickle, for the harvest has come.

Let's pray: Lord Jesus, as You continue looking for spiritual completeness in the harvest, help me 2 grow 2 full stature, that I may truly represent a planting which has grown up into Your likeness.

Francis Frangipane
Ministries of Francis Frangipane


... We May Need What We Don't Like

Have u experienced certain things in your life that u did not like at the time, but later realized were needed?

May I share a few things I don't like?
Recently I was driving through a dangerous snow storm going 2 Pittsburgh, PA 2 minister. I don't like snow storms, especially driving in them. Another thing I don't like is big eighteen wheeler trucks flying down the highway, passing me by when I am driving. When they pass u by they can throw stones at your car and crack your windshield.

This snow storm was beating down hard but the roads were well-salted. But, my windshield solvent line had become frozen and my windshield became coated with salt, making it almost impossible 2 see. The windshield wipers only made it worse. I felt dangerously blinded. Then all of a sudden I noticed something. Every time an eighteen wheeler passed by and got ahead of me, its tires would throw water up on my windshield and I could see. Because of the storm there weren't many trucks on the road so I began 2 pray for more trucks on my highway. "Lord, please send me more trucks." When I could faintly see a truck that was way ahead of me, I would speed up 2 catch up, so it could throw water on my windshield. The trucks became my deliverance through the storm.

Another time when I was driving in a snowstorm a huge truck ahead of me was going slower than I wanted. Although the roads were treacherous, I decided 2 take a risk and pass this humongous hindrance 2 make up for lost time. As I began 2 turn into the passing lane, I noticed a huge snow plow in front of the truck and it dawned on me I needed 2b behind the plow or I might never get 2 where I was going. Again, what I didn't like, I needed.

Lord, Why Have Our Troubles Come Upon Us Like an Avalanche of Snow?

Job 38:22, "Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow?..."

Again, driving recently in another snow squall, I cried out 2 the Lord, "How could the Apostle Paul say that his and our many troubles are just a 'light' affliction compared to the glory that is 2 be revealed in us. Was Paul crazy? Lord, show me what Paul meant and show me what my struggles and overwhelming problems look like 2 You. How do You see them from Your point of view?"

The Lord responded, "Son, look at just one of those snowflakes! You see it and then it's gone! That is what all of your avalanche of troubles look like 2 Me in the eyes of eternity. They are as light and short-lived as the life of a snow flake. That is what I see."

Corrie Ten Boom, speaking at a conference, kept looking down as she spoke as if knitting something. Near the end of her teaching someone asked her why she was looking down and not paying much attention 2 the people. She held up a tapestry she was doing needle work on. Holding up the side that was frayed and hard 2 make sense of, she explained, "On this side of eternity our lives many times look like this." Then she turned the tapestry over and said, "But from God's eternal point of view, He sees something beautiful and good."

Lord, help us 2 understand that what appears 2b a blizzard of problems is actually a treasury of snow.

Bill Yount
Blowing the Shofar Ministries