Years ago a man went through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and northern West Virginia greeting folks by saying, “Hello! I have good news from heaven.” His name was John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed. This pioneer nursery man saved apple seeds and sold them for a penny each. He sold young sapling apple trees for three cents each. He wanted our country’s settlers to not only have a food supply for themselves, but for future generations as well.
John Chapman was quite an evangelist too. He told stories to children and preached the gospel to anyone who’d listen. The Indians referred to him as someone touched by the Great Spirit.
Our forefathers saved and stored seed year after year to sustain them. Seed had to be preserved, kept safe and when the time was right, planted in the earth. Seed was precious . . . valuable.
We too have valuable, precious seed—God’s Word within us.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126:5-6
Are there any Johnny’s or Johnette’s out there? Did you do some sowing this week?
We have good news from heaven!
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Paul, the author of the New Testament book, Philemon, encouraged Philemon to take back his run-away slave Onesimus and receive him as a brother (v. 16). Why? Because Paul had instructed Onesimus in the gospel and felt his life had changed. Paul went so far as to guarantee Philemon he would right any of Onesimus’ wrongs and pay his debts. In other words, he would to whatever it took to have Onesimus in good standing–ready to start a redeemed life.
Interestingly, the name Onesimus means profitable. Paul knew Onesimus had been unprofitable, (v.11) but saw past his past, focused on his potential and became his advocate.
Lord, Thank you for your grace that forgives and changes lives. May I follow Paul’s example and actualize the value of every soul.
The inner chamber, a phrase from Isaiah 26:20, means any place apart. For Edward Wilson, it was the crow’s nest on the ship Terra Nova. He’d often climb to it during his expeditions to Antarctica. He called it his private chapel.
Vesta Mangun’s father, Royal Gibson would slip away to his favorite place of prayer–a secluded oak grove not far from his house. Many miracles and healings occurred throughout his ministry. He knew that power with God came through unwavering faith in His word and in the power of the name of Jesus.
Susanna Wesley, (1669-1742), mother of nineteen children including John and Charles Wesley, would sit down and pull her apron up over her head. Her children knew to be extra quiet during this time so they wouldn’t disturb her time of prayer.
What does this have to do with outreach? Everythng! John 6:44.
We must pray until~
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize
And shout while passing through the air
Fare well, fare well, sweet hour of prayer.
(Last verse of Sweet Hour of Prayer)
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Mmmmm. Roasted grasshoppers. Six grams of protein in each one.
While on a family camping trip, my brother demonstrated grasshopper flambé–one of the many survivalists’ skills he learned in the military. After spearing a grasshopper, he carried it to the picnic table and held his arthropod appetizer over a flaming candle. Assured the grasshopper was fully cooked he allowed it to cool a few seconds before popping it in his mouth. Crunch. Crunch. Swallow. He smiled at his wide-eyed audience and soon four young boys were hunting grasshoppers, all eager to check this accomplishment off their man-card. Besides, God’s word says their clean (Leviticus 11:22).
As strange as it seems, this is exactly what John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus ate in the wilderness, (along with wild honey). He was the voice commissioned to break four hundred years of silence. Clothed with leather and camel’s hair, he heralded the news, Repent ye for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. John 3:2.
Although our clothes and diet are different from John’s, our mission is the same. We are the 21st century voice in this millennial wilderness.
Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!
May this mission drive everything we do–our interactions with our family, co-workers, friends, neighbors, store clerks, waitresses and even the unexpected divine appointments at Walmart and TaMollys.
Hmmm? Grasshoppers and salsa anyone?
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The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favor is as dew upon the grass. Proverbs 19:12
It happens every time we go camping. In stillness, quietness and obscurity, after the moon and stars appear. Atmospheric water vapor condenses into droplets. By sunrise, the ground, picnic table and anything left outside is covered with glistening beads of moisture–dew.
And so it is with The King’s favor, and favor with people (Proverbs 19:12). It happens softly, slowly, in ways we can’t see, yet we know when His favor is upon us.
Bless my friends with favor wherever they go–jobs, stores, gas station, drive-thrus and neighborhoods. May your presence draw in souls. Your promises are true. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
We called a friend to ask if we could borrow his pressure washer.
“Sure as long as you pay me in some of your homemade bread. Deal?”
Making bread is one of our pastimes. It’s amazing how the ingredients can mix into such warm deliciousness.
Jesus told a parable about bread making, (Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:21). Although there are other scriptures comparing leaven to sin, (Matthew 15, Mark 8, 1 Corinthians 5 and Galatians 5), Jesus’ allegory to His Kingdom being like leaven hits home–in the kitchen and in the heart.
When yeast is mixed into the dough then left alone, a change will show.
The dough will soon be twice its size thanks to yeast that made it rise.
The kingdom’s like this Jesus said, like the leaven makes our bread.
Word and Spirit both alive begin to work, deep, deep, inside
and change a life bound by sin, setting it free–new life in Him.
And He in us, hope of glory. Heaven’s leaven. Unseen story.
The saying, going the extra mile, originated during the Roman occupation of Israel. Roman soldiers had the right to ask any able-bodied man to carry all their equipment for one mile. After carrying a soldier’s armaments for one mile, the one who fulfilled this obligation could put down his burden and leave the soldier to carry it himself or seek someone else to serve the next mile.
In Matthew 5:41, Jesus addressed this law and surprised his hearers by saying they should accept the opportunity and even go beyond the required duty by carrying a soldier’s load for two miles instead of the required one mile distance. Say what??
Two thousand years before Jesus’ astonishing statement, Jacob sent his son Joseph on a sixty-mile mission to deliver provisions to his ten sons, Joseph’s brothers, shepherding their flocks in Shechem, (Genesis 37:14). As instructed, Joseph arrived in Shechem and heard his brothers had been there and could be in Dothan. At this point, Joseph made a decision–to return home or continue on to Dothan. After all, weren’t these the same brothers who mocked and despised him?
Yet, through his weariness, frustration and perhaps some hidden reluctance, Joseph manned-up and trudged another nine to twelve miles, a day’s journey, through the wilderness to complete his Father’s desire.
Dear Lord, Make me like Joseph–willing to seize the opportunity to serve others, even if it means going an extra nine miles.