November 30 – Prepared Soil

“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” Matthew 13:3

A farmer has much to do to prepare his land for planting. He has to plow and disk and drag the field with his tractor and heavy equipment. Perhaps you have seen a stone boat covered with small and large boulders that were turned up by the plow and had to be hand-removed before the seed could be sown, or who has not traveled the countryside at one time or another and smelled the pungent odor of manure being spread on the soil as fertilizer?  Only after all these preparations can the farmer use his planter which drops and then covers up the seed so that it can grow. After it springs up, cultivation is necessary to keep the weeds down. A harvest can now be expected at maturation of the plant.

In this parable, Jesus is drawing a spiritual parallel. When the seed of faith is sown on stony, thorny, unprepared soil, its chances of survival are low. The heart (soil) of a new believer must be cultivated through your love, compassion, and forgiveness. Jesus never said to make “short-order converts,” but He spoke of making “disciples.” Good decisions are well-thought-out ones. (See Matthew 28:19, NIV.) A disciple is taught to grow and reproduce.  All healthy plants will grow and reproduce seed to grow more plants.

PRAY: “Father, prepare the soil of my heart so that I might hear Your voice and receive Your instructions.   Let my love and friendship cultivate hearts of others to receive Your gift of salvation.   In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

November 29 – Sufficiency of God

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”  II Corinthians 3:5

Have you ever felt like it was just about impossible to live up to the high standards of Christ? This is how the disciples must have felt when Jesus was putting the young rich ruler through the paces in Matthew 19:16-26.

The man declared that he had kept all the commandments from his youth to the present, but Jesus asked him to go a step further. Sell all that he had and give it to help the poor. The man could not do it and went away in sorrow.

When the disciples observed this, they were amazed and asked, “Who then can be saved?” (Verse 25) Jesus answered with these powerful words, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. “ (Verse 26)

Having “sufficient” means having “ENOUGH.” You will never have enough without God. You will never feel rich enough, smart enough, powerful enough, or spiritual enough without putting God on center stage. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. . . .“ (II Peter 1:3a NIV) “And ye are complete in him… “(Colossians 2:lOa) MARVELOUS!

PRAY: “Father God, Head of my home and Light of my path, thank You for Your sufficiency in my life.   I rest in Your completeness .  With You, I have enough.  Amen.”

November 28 – Beware the Leaven

“…he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:lb

Jesus was always the hardest on the religious people of His day. The Pharisees tried so hard to look good on the OUTSIDE, but Jesus knew their hearts. “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” (Matthew 23:27, NIV)

Hypocrisy is rooted in pride. It tries to make you look good at the expense of others. It leads to a critical spirit, critical of everyone except yourself. It focuses on the external and superficial because it has much to hide.

Jesus said that hypocrisy grows and spreads in a man like leaven or yeast does in the making of bread. The Apostle Paul continued that thought when he wrote that “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” (I Corinthians 5:6) A little unaddressed sin in a man will eventually corrupt the whole man.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees today by speaking Li of others, and do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. (See Romans 12:3.) Remember, you are only righteous through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and not sufficient in yourself. (See II Corinthians 3:5)

PRAY: “Gracious, loving Father, forgive me for the sin of hypocrisy. Let me see my brother through Your loving eyes of compassion.  My sufficiency is in You alone.  In Jesus’ Name, amen.”