Tag Archives: Sow

The Mind of Christ – Praying and Seeking God’s Face

Humility is a must if we want our prayers not just to be heard BUT accepted by God (see ‘The Link between Humility and Answered Prayer’). When we humble ourselves and pray to the Father, for many of us, the first thing that He shows us is the reason why He has not been able to say yes to us. When we go to God in humility, He shows us the true condition of our hearts – those portions of our heart that have not been broken up and so cannot bear the good fruit we have requested. The truth is that when we go to our watchtower – that quiet place where we cannot be reached or disturbed; that place of solitude where we can humbly set our sight on God in prayer – our vision becomes clear and we can through His help see the true and full layout of our land (our heart). I love the way this truth is written in the book of Habakkuk. There, the word of God says:

I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me,
and what I will answer when I am corrected – Habakkuk 2:1 – 2

It is through fasting and praying that we stand our watch and set ourselves on the rampart. When we do this, God reveals to us what we truly look like and corrects our prideful and flawed attitudes and image. If we are at all smart and want to shorten our wilderness experience, we will not try to argue with God when He corrects us but instead will apologetically fall on our face, say sorry, and agree to what He tells us to do.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Prayer is a key ingredient in discovering what is keeping us from God best!

After we have sought the Lord and He has corrected us, the right response is to break up our fallow ground. If we do not, anything we do is simply a waste of time – just as a farmer who plants on soil that has not been prepared is simply wasting his seed. The house of Jacob did not understand this during the time of Prophet Isaiah. They did not understand why God was not responding to their fasting, praying, and reading His Word. They asked God ‘Why have we fasted and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls and You have not taken notice?’ To this, God in essence replies ‘You have sin. You keep on doing the ‘right’ things but you have not corrected your erroneous ways’. The 58th chapter of Isaiah describes this very well – one excerpt from the chapter is given below:

“Tell my people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily, and delight to know to know My ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and did not forsake the ordinance of their God…they take delight in approaching God – Isaiah 58:2

Our refusal to be corrected by God is the biggest impediment to us progressing in life. No amount of fasting, prayer, seeking or any other magic formula will do. We can ask, but His response will always be ‘Clean house in this area I have shown you first’.

Just as a piece of jewelry is just another lost item in a very junky house, the seed of the word of God gets lost and quickly losses its value if not sown into a receptive heart. The word of God tells us that the pre-requisite to seeking the face of God (seeking the word of God) is breaking up our fallow ground. Once prayer has revealed the location and depth of the ground we must break up, we must actively begin the digging with the help of God by exercising forgiveness, letting go of past baggage, journeying through our childhood to rid ourselves of past hurts, and laying all of what we are at His feet.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: After prayer has revealed the junk in us, we must begin the process of ‘cleaning house’ if we are to find the face of God!

Glory to God that we do not grow weary in seeking His face but persevere, we will find it and He will shower us with the riches of His inheritance. Hallelujah!

Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you – Hosea 10:12

So, why is important to pray and seek the face of God? It is the only way we can experience the flood of His goodness (righteousness) in our lives.

Here are the practical steps we have seen so far to set ourselves up to experience the flood of His goodness:

  • Humble ourselves (see How can I grow in Humility?)
  • Fast and pray to discover unsavory areas of our lives (see Habakkuk 2:1 – 2)
  • Deal with the junk that God reveals is present in us by His power (see John 15:2)
  • Seek His face (His word)

Food for Thought: We experience the blessings of God when we till the land of our heart

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A Tale of Two Masters – Why practical love is critical to success

If we want to be successful, we are wise to study and develop the traits and qualities of those that are successful. Similarly, it is also prudent to study and avoid the traits and qualities of those that fail. No study on success is complete without studying Jesus Christ for He was the most successful man that ever lived – as if the feat of remaining sinless alone was not enough of a titanic accomplishment, He successfully achieved His mission of saving humanity after approximately three years of ministry! Therefore, since this Man tells us to care for another (see John 13:34 – 35), we are prudent to follow in His footsteps and teaching and do so. If we obey this commandment, we are blessed for our obedience. But if we choose to disregard this teaching, we do so at our own peril. While the bible contains many references to love and sowing, I find that the obscure story of Naaman and Gehazi highlights how critical to success having a caring (loving) heart and attitude towards people is.

Naaman was a leper (see 2 Kings 5:1)! In the Old Testament days, he should have been an outcast who was shunned by society. Yet, when we look at his resume, we find that he was a mighty man of valor (boldness in the face of great danger) and he was a commander of a nation’s army. Not too shabby! Upon looking at his references, we find that he was described as a great and honorable man by a king! Okay, so the man was successful. But how did Naaman ever get the opportunity to attain such an esteemed position? While your guess is as good as mine for the bible does not explicitly say, what we can say is that his caring attitude towards people contributed to his success. Let’s explore further.

“Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy”” – 2 Kings 5:3

Upon first glance, it is quite baffling that a girl who was whisked away against her will from her friends, family, and society during a raid and forced to serve Naaman’s wife would volunteer the information about Elisha’s pedigree to her kidnapper. Thinking about it, the only plausible explanation is that she liked Naaman and so was moved with compassion for him. If Naaman had treated her badly, she would not have been so forthcoming with her disease curing information. And without the servant girl’s information, Naaman may never have been cured!

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: People who we treat well and care for tend to come to our aid in time of need and volunteer potential life-changing information.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: People who are well-liked tend to be privy to extra information that makes them more productive than people who have the same ability but are disliked.

“And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”” – 2 Kings 5:13

Though the servants approached Naaman with reverence, respect, and diffusive language (hence the use of my father) for Naaman was livid (see 2 Kings 5:11 – 12), the key point is that they were bold to speak. Why? It is because they knew what kind of a man he was and cared for him, otherwise they would not have dared for they were potentially risking their position or life in speaking out.For his part, Naaman was wise to keep himself approachable despite his position for he understood he did not know everything and could make mistakes. And because he kept himself approachable to his subordinates and willing to receive from them, his servants were able to keep him from making a huge mistake when he had allowed his pride to swell-up. Again, if Naaman was an ogre, his servants would probably not have approached him and he would have missed out on his healing.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we sow seeds of care, we reap care. It is the fruits of caring that embolden people to share with us truths that lead us to growth and victory.

Gehazi on the other hand was a fellow that did not benefit from the loving care of his servants. If his servants truly cared for him, they would have told him he was about to make a mistake when he said –

““look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the LORD lives, I will run after him and take something from him.”” – 2 Kings 5:20

Perhaps they did not say a thing because they knew it was pointless speaking. Perhaps they knew he would not heed their advice. Perhaps he had set himself up as unapproachable.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: If we want people to speak truth in love to us, we have to set ourselves up as approachable and willing to receive.

If we really look at it, Naaman and Gehazi were in similar positions. Both of them were in a position of authority (having servants) and could exert influence (Gehazi as Elisha’s student). Furthermore, both of them were about to make big mistakes – Naaman due to his pride, and Gehazi because of greed. The difference is that Naaman’s servants were friend and neighbor to him while Gehazi’s servants were not. Because Gehazi’s servants were not his friends, both he and his entire household were struck with leprosy forever (see 2 Kings 5:27)!

Likewise, no matter how powerful we are in the Lord, we need the help of others to keep us from making mistakes. We increase the chances of others helping us significantly when we swallow our pride, sow seeds of love, and open up our hearts to receive.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: When we set ourselves as being unapproachable (in pride); wall ourselves off and fail to receive from others; we tend to make costly mistakes we otherwise would have avoided.

Note: Gehazi was supposedly the man of God and Naaman the heathen. Yet Naaman was cured of his leprosy and believed while Gehazi who was a believer became leprous. It just goes to show that we will reap what we sow; therefore we should sow love (care).

Food for Thought: When we care about people, we care about ourselves

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