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Where are you, right now?

(Or, "Spiritual Growth Chart") - 3rd edition

Mark 4:3-8, 14-20 (KJV) – Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: and it came to pass, as He sowed, some fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.  And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.  And other fell on good ground and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.  The sower soweth the Word.  And these are they by the way side, where the Word is sown; but when they have heard, satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the Word that was sown in their hearts.  And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the Word, immediately receive it with gladness; and have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the Word's sake, immediately they are offended.  And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the Word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word, and it becometh unfruitful.  And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.

Part Three  

Can we withstand the storms of life with grace, our peace and joy still intact, ready to run on, to strive to bear good fruit?  Can we press on through the wilderness, when friends and family, not understanding what God is doing in our life, forsake us?  Can we still feed our spirit with the Word when the spirit of distraction is hounding our every move?  Can we still lift our eyes from the valley when the burdens of life are standing on our heads, trying to beat us down?  Can we still minister to someone when we hurt so much inside that the ministry is buried under despair?  Minister CeCe Winans may or may not have been aware of what God was doing when, through her, He brought the song "Alabaster Box" – Lk. 7:37,38 to life.  The line, "You don't know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box," helps bring forward the point I wish to make here:

This "thorny" stage is our trying stage, the phase where our faith in God is tested.  It is here we are tossed, blown, trampled, downtrodden, shattered, smashed, crushed, and left with little else but our broken spirits to offer to God, for Him to make into what He originally intended.  It is where we learn, if we hadn't learned before, to completely lean on Him.  It is through this brokenness that we must minister.  Revelation 12:11 says, "And they overcame him (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."  Our testimony of how we overcame during our testing period will not only serve to encourage someone else, but will also encourage us, serving as a reminder that through it all, God never left us or forsook us, that "we are more than conquerors."  

When you minister in and of yourself, you retain control of how much you say and reveal of yourself and your story.  When you let the Holy Spirit minister through you, when you let Him have free reign, He often will break you open so that you have no control over what you let out and how you let it out—the Alabaster Box ministry.  No one knows better than God what you had to go through to get to where you are; the friends, family, jobs, homes, everything you had to lose to gain His Son, Jesus, the Christ.  

The Word that God put in you is precious and it will cost you everything.  It costs you you .  It's best not to try to control how we minister to Jesus.  Let Him break you open, and allow what He put in you to flow out.  When you minister to Him, by anointing His feet with your service, your song, your smile, your dance, your shout, your tears, however you praise and worship Him as Lord and Saviour, let it be a sweet savor to His nostrils.  Don't let it be tainted by pride, false humility, worry, self-consciousness, or any of those distractions used to test or tempt us.  Let it be pure and simple, pleasing in His sight.  He wants us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto Him, because it is our reasonable service. – Rom. 12:1

No matter your ministry, or who is around to witness or receive it, it is still ministry unto the Most High God.  "Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord." – Jer. 1:8  Don't let the outward appearance faze or deter you from doing as God has instructed.  The Father knows the heart—yours, and how pure your service; theirs, and how deeply planted the seed.  Don't be too concerned about where their seed is falling, that's between them and The Father, just guard yours and keep it hidden in your heart until He calls upon you to use it for the ministry to which He has called you.

This brings us to our last stage, the stage where we are finally called to bring forth fruit.  Remembering that we are all still in "the Potters hands," we must still submit to God's instruction on how, when, where and why to bear fruit.  How? By "giving ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word," – Acts 6:4 and by "going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature," – Mk. 16:15 using the gifts within us for the ministry to which He's called us.  When?  "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." – 2 Tim. 4:2  Where? In the houses, temples and the entire world, wherever the lost sheep receive you. (See Matthew 10:5, 6, 23; Mark 16:20; Acts 5:20, 42.)  Why? To proclaim the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, "that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." – Lk. 1:4  "Also I say unto you, 'whosoever shall confess Me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God'." – Lk. 12:8  

More to come...

Lovingly submitted,
Psalmist



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