Luke 6:37-38 (NLT)
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
I would love to win the lottery. Every day I check the numbers to see if I have won. At night, I dream about the many ways that I could spend the jackpot and bless my family and friends. If only my numbers would be the lucky draw, then my life would be filled with peace and joy. With all the riches of this world, opportunities would be endless. I would no longer have to go to work each day and depend on my employer to pay my bills. Wouldn’t it be just grand? I would buy a new house, new cars for my family, and plan an exotic vacation around the world. There would be enough for all of us. Can you imagine? The only problem is I don’t play the lottery and I never buy tickets so I do not have any chance of claiming the jackpot because I haven’t a stake in the fortune. All of my attention to winning seems futile if I never take a dollar to purchase the winning ticket. This essentially describes the life of a Christian who prays and asks God for His Best in life without ever giving their heart and soul to loving the Lord with all their mind and strength. Nothing ventured is nothing gained. It would be like Publisher’s Clearinghouse knocking on your door with a prize-winning check and a balloon bouquet because you intended to fill out the form and return it but never got around to it. We love the idea of “return in full – making room for more, running over and poured into” our lap but do not give much consideration to “pressed down, shaken together to make room for more” much less “give and you will receive.” Jesus died so that we could have it all. It doesn’t mean there is not a required investment and it doesn’t mean that the cost is too life considering what the Lord is offering. A lottery ticket is just one dollar but could become millions of dollars to one lucky winner. Faith is described to be the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), but once planted in the Kingdom of God it has the potential to become an oak of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3). In your hand, the seed seems small and insignificant but surrendered to God it holds His Full Potential. Are you dying to win?
Matthew 7:12 (NLT)
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
The passage in Luke along with this passage summarizes the purpose of the Law of Moses and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is all about love. To love God requires loving other people. This gift is not as insignificant as man has made it. Love is a commitment. It is an investment of time, energy and resources even though most people prefer the superficial substitute that the enemy has convinced us to allow. Love is the Call of God in the life of every man and woman who desires to be Children of God. It is to release the responsibility of our life to God and in return He promises to supply everything that we need (Philippians 4:19) and grant the desires of our heart. The Word of God invites us to “trust in the Lord and do good” and in exchange, He will “grant the desires of our heart.” (Psalm 37:3-4) God never requires anything of His People without giving exceedingly and abundant all that we could ask, think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) So what’s the hold up? When the Powerball lottery drawing goes untouched for several rounds, the prize money grows and multiplies until someone wins. When the jackpot increases substantially, more and more people will buy a ticket. From time to time, my husband will pick one up when this happens. As people buy more tickets and invest in the lottery, what happens? The potential winnings grow with each person’s personal investment. Imagine if the Kingdom of God and the Body of Jesus Christ recognized the Lord’s Potential in their life and made investments worthy of the Prize of the High Calling of God in Jesus. The lottery is strictly based on finances. But the seedtime and harvest promised by God is not all about material and financial prosperity it is about fulfillment from the inside out. Those who seek the Kingdom of God will all inevitably find it but those who invest only in this world are not promised a return.
Genesis 8:20-22 (NKJV)
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer,
and day and night shall not cease.”
To become a living sacrifice to the Lord in this life catches the Lord’s attention. By honoring the Lord with our life, He looks on the heart of man past the sin covered by the Blood to his or her true intention. Do you love God? Do you want to see Him face-to-face? The Lord is not Santa Claus or some man in the mall dressed up like him with his face covered who promises to grant the desire of each little child knowing full well that he has no intention to do so on Christmas Day. Santa Claus is not real. He is made up and not with malicious intent but on the principle of doing to others as you would have done for you. We do not give ourselves away because we have believed in so many things that came up short there is nothing left to give the Lord. God made Noah a promise that day that holds true even now. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest…will not cease. Thank you, Jesus. This is God’s Promise for your life. As long as you are willing to take your seed of faith and plant it in the firm foundation of Christ, you will be blessed. Plant it and He will prosper it as long as the earth remains. The only effort that you must exert is that of a farmer who takes the seed, plants it and waits for it to grow. Sounds so easy but seldom do people every get beyond the altar to His Fields of Grace.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (NLT)
Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
How successful would a farmer be who only planted one seed and waited for it to grow? One seed has the potential of one plant but many seeds will grow into a harvest. About ninety percent of people who call themselves Christians do not tithe but still expect God to bless and multiply their life and protect their harvest from the devourer. How can this be? It doesn’t make sense. We began tithing at the beginning of our marriage. With only my husband working full-time and a houseful of children in the first year, tithing was a giant step of faith as we made just over $20,000 a year but we decided to try. When I wrote the check, the voice of doubt would begin to tell me all the reasons why I should tear it up or change the amount. It took everything I had to remain faithful and obedient to the Lord as fear of lack, poverty and discontentment plagued my mind. But we just began to plant that seed day-by-day and waited for the Lord to bless it and He did. But I think those who are seasoned tithers, giving our monetary tithe and offering seems much easier when I consider digging deeper with my faith to become a living sacrifice. I would rather put all my money in the offering plate than deal with people problems. Some days I believe that I would be a more successful Christian and have a better chance of entering the Kingdom of God, if I were the only one on earth. Now is when the real struggle of faith begins to know and understand that there is more to life than this and sometimes I must give up my rights on earth to enjoy the benefits of His Kingdom. You must give to receive and your attitude about giving to the Lord is very, very important. The Bible says that anyone who puts their hand to the plow but turns back is not fit for the Kingdom. If you are faithful tither of your resources to the Lord, good for you, but if you have chosen to tithe your life to the Lord – you are about to win and win big!
Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
God’s Will for your life is to become a living sacrifice. One who is constantly hauling their life up on the altar so the Lord can complete all that He has begun in our life. These are the folks who understand that giving to God consumes our time, treasure and talent. It is an all-or-nothing proposition. If you want to have all that is offered in His Kingdom, it will require you to sacrifice something. Every seed needs a field to grow. The more of your life that you give to the Lord there is now exponential potential that you will experience His Favor and Blessing. God does not need your sacrifice. You have nothing that God has to have. He desires you! He loves you! You are His Child. The Lord wants to take your life and produce a harvest there. A living sacrifice provides the ground for seeds of faith to be planted. However, obedience allows the harvest to grow until it is ready to be consumed. “You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” (I Peter 2:4-5) If we could look at our life as we do a dollar that we about to fork over for a lottery ticket, we might see His Kingdom released in our life. But with no seed in the ground and no faith in our heart, we will never experience God’s Best in our life. We must play to win!
I Corinthians 15:35-37 (NLT)
But someone may ask, “How will the dead be raised? What kind of bodies will they have?” What a foolish question! When you put a seed into the ground, it doesn’t grow into a plant unless it dies first. And what you put in the ground is not the plant that will grow, but only a bare seed of wheat or whatever you are planting.
People justify playing the lottery by saying, “It’s just a dollar…” What if Christians felt the same way about their life without Jesus Christ? Pride tells us we are more than we are really worth when in fact without Jesus Christ, people are nothing more than dying corpses making the best of life until death becomes a reality. Your life is good for about seventy years or so if you are lucky. Lottery players and gamblers rely on luck. But those who seek the Kingdom of Heaven and all of its blessings make investments not wagers. There is no risk. When will Children of God realize that sowing is not bad and reaping is not judgment? We look at it that way with human eyes and not through the Eyes of His Spirit that lives on the inside of us. We have nothing to lose as believers and everything to gain when allow the Lord to take our broken life and make us a new creation. “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.” (Romans 8:12-14)
John 14:26-27 (NLT)
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Worry consumes God’s People today. Lack of knowledge and understanding of sowing and reaping in the Kingdom of God has created spiritual poverty in the church. No one gives anymore. No one serves anymore. They scurry here and there trying to make ends meet feasting on the crumbs of government or surviving in this dog-eat-dog world devouring one another. I interrupt the chaos to introduce an old concept but true Promise of God for your life. As long as the earth remains, the Lord will honor seedtime and harvest. All you must do is continually plant seeds by faith that are tangible and intangible. Piece by piece and bit by bit giving your entire life to God and allowing Him to increase it exceedingly and abundantly over anything we can think or imagine. This is God’s Intention for your life. How much are you willing to invest in victory? Jesus overcame the world. (John 16:32-33) It doesn’t matter what is happening in or around your life, if you will invest in this promise – you will overcome every trial that you are facing. You are going to face trials and sorrows on this earth, but in Jesus you overcome. You must believe it to receive it. You must live it to have it. You must invest your life to have eternal life.
Galatians 5:19-23 (NLT)
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Let the Spirit of God living and breathing on the inside of you take your life and make it a new creation in Jesus Christ. He will produce good fruit in your life and a bountiful harvest with the tiniest seeds of faith and trust in the Lord. You will inherit the Kingdom of God. He may press you down and shake things up to make room for more. Sacrifice your life and comfort gladly and you will have His Very Best – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. Considering the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, I would say that your life is worth more than a dollar. The possibilities of faith are endless, but you have to play to win!
Luke 9:61-62 (NLT)
Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”