The rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bring forth and bud that make it give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. It is the same with My word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it (Is 55:10-11).
Sorry about writing about this verse again, but I am so excited about it. As a believer (and a teacher), when I discover something wise, helpful, or true, I feel compelled to share it. But sometimes I feel unsure of myself or how to approach people with the truths of God’s word, even when I think that it will really help them. This verse is a reminder that the result is not my concern. As long as I am obedient in what I say (or don’t say), God will accomplish what He wants with it, when He wants, where He wants. And it will prosper.
[Just as the rain causes the grain to grow] it is the same with My word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it (Is 55:11).
I have heard this verse paraphrased as, “The word of God never goes out void, “ but the complete verse is so power-packed.
Our grandson recently told his little friend who doesn’t believe in God about Jesus (I would have loved to have overheard that conversation). And even though he’s only seven, that seed was planted. Maybe someday, when we are long gone, in desperation, this young man may call out to the Lord. And God will meet him there. His word always produces fruit. And it will prosper everywhere it’s sent.
That innocent little conversation may save his life—or save his eternal life.
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Prov 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:6-7).
These words from James can be found three times in scripture. It makes me think that God is writing this in all CAPS followed by a series of !!!!!!! Pride is at the root of every sin. It began before the Garden of Eden when the enemy was banished from Heaven. It continued in Adam and Eve, and it continues in every human heart when we resist submitting to a holy, perfect, and loving Father.
If we could step back and ask ourselves objectively why would we resist submitting to a loving, generous Father who knows us—our past, our character, our short-comings, and whose plan for each of us is good and perfect.
Submitting is a difficult battle because it is so complex yet crucial. Each of these pride verses is either followed or preceded by a warning about the enemy looking for someone to devour. Bob Dylan had it right when he said, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
Once again, the Holy Spirit is there to rescue us from ourselves. With His help, and only with His help, can we resist the devil, and he will flee.
The Mind of Christ
Let the mind (attitude) be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5).
When Jesus came to earth as the Son of Man, He became like us in all things except one—sin. By assuming the form of man, He could model for us a number of human situations in which He acted and reacted sinlessly. He was exposed to hatred, but responded in love. He was exposed to the sick; He responded with compassion. He was exposed to temptation; He resisted by quoting the truths of God’s word. He responded to others with gentleness and humility, always putting the needs of others above His own.
Earthly concerns didn’t bother Him because He knew who He was in relation to the Father. We can have that same relationship. We can have the mind of Christ. He showed us the way.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul shall be joyful in my God for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness (Is 61:10).
Sometimes I have to visualize God’s word in order to move away from the Christian clichés and more toward the impact that it carries. When God looks at me, He does not see my mistakes or even my gross sinfulness because I am completely covered with the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
He doesn’t love me more than the vilest criminal or any less than the most sincerely pious saint. To those who have embraced what Jesus did to pay the price for our sin, it’s not our righteousness or lack of it that He sees.
What comfort! What security!
“When He looks at me,
He sees not what I used to be.
But He sees Jesus.”
Listen children to your Father’s instructions, and pay attention in order to gain understanding (Prov 4:1).
I used to really enjoy watching Bob Ross, the soft-talking TV artist whose words flowed with wisdom and comfort as he painted “happy little trees.” Whenever he dripped or blobbed on the canvas, he’d say, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
As believers, our mistakes can be defined as acting outside the will of God, and truth be told, those happy little accidents can sometimes have devastating consequences that we can’t undo or fix.
But God can! His plans are still being accomplished and He can still use us in them. The first step is to acknowledge them, not try to cover up or justify. And just like any loving parent, God teaches us through our mistakes as we grow more and more in the image of His perfect Son.
Then He taught me and said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commandments and you will live (Prov 4:4).
We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
We may feel self-satisfaction when we avoid an unrighteous act, but ungodliness isn’t limited to our actions. We talked before about the power of our words and the importance of replacing words of deceit and lies with the life giving truth of God’s word. But the third area that the enemy attacks is the most vulnerable—our thoughts.
Just as the brain controls the body, the mind is the control center for the soul. Sinful, untrue, or even just negative thoughts can affect our emotions, motivations, and persuasions. If we allow unrighteous thoughts to run rampant, our conscience can become hardened, causing us to speak and even act ungodly or sinfully.
If unrighteous, sinful thoughts of anger, vengeance, pride, covetousness…enter our minds, it is vital that we do not allow ourselves the pleasure of entertaining them. Time to place those thoughts in captivity by surrounding them with God’s powerful words of life and truth.