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Produce - A Devotion

Produce
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Psalm 92:12-15 (NLT)
But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the LORD’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The LORD is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”

In the middle of the week, I stop by the grocery store to replenish fresh fruits and vegetables in the household and anything else that we may run out of. Last night was one of those nights, as I was checking out I looked over the food on the conveyor belt thinking about how much our lifestyle has changed over the last couple of years. Carefully laid out before me were fresh fruits like grapes, bananas, strawberries and oranges, along with some bright yellow summer squash. Mixed in were some dried fruits, nuts and granola for midday snacking at work rather than chips, candy or the coveted Little Debbie cakes. However, as the sweet young lady scanned and weighed my purchase the balance due was staggering. There is a price to be paid for fresh fruit and vegetables that seems ridiculous considering that we all have the potential to grow such an abundance at home. It is just about as crazy as the thought that we buy bottled water. Come on think about it. We pay for clean water to be pumped into our home yet shell out more money to bring home little plastic bottles of the same. Next thing you know we will pay for bottled air, thanks to the Lorax and Dr. Seuss for such a suggestion.

The Word of God tells us that the godly should flourish like palm trees growing strong like the cedars of Lebanon. They are transplanted into the House of the Lord to flourish in the Courts of God’s Presence. Even in old age, they bear the Promise of Abraham that they will remain vital and green still producing much fruit. The word “vital” means a source of life. It indicates energy and force that is powerful. Why aren’t God’s People full of life and energy anymore? Where is prosperity in the House of God among His Prized Possessions? What has happened to the Promise of Abundance in the life that Jesus Christ has given us? Could it be that once they considered the cost it was much too high? Or perhaps, fear of dissatisfaction with the Abundance of God has caused them to settle for lesser things due to complete ignorance of the blessings and benefits found in Jesus Christ? I am willing to pay more to have better food choices available for my family. I want them to be healthy. I want them to live longer and fuller lives. So when it is time to pay for my groceries, I do so willingly and ungrudgingly? The Lord is asking His People today are you willing to pay the price of reproduction in the Lord to have His Abundance filter through your life? Do you want to produce?

Genesis 1:11-12 (NLT)
Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

The best place to start is in the beginning so in Genesis we see that God started the process of reproduction as a primary source of His Provision on the earth. Before mankind arrived on the scene, God began process of productivity. This was in preparation for His People. God placed the man in the midst of His Productivity to be provided for and prosper in His Presence. (Genesis 2:8-10) It was intentional for God to provide every single need of humanity with the fullness of His Presence. They would be complete lacking no good thing. They would find shelter, sustenance and serenity in His Midst. (Psalm 36:7-9) But mankind believed the lie there was more to life than this and rebelled against the Lord in the midst of lush provision. No longer depending on the Lord but the lie of the enemy and human understanding – they were forced from the Garden of Eden to fend for themselves in a dark, cruel world. (Genesis 3:1-9) God had enough of His People’s sin one time and wiped out all existence except Noah and his family. The Lord made them the promise that He would never do that again and that as long as time on earth remains there would be seedtime and harvest – productivity on the earth. (Genesis 8:22) So now we are born into the curse of our forefathers to toil and labor on the earth…that is until we meet Jesus Christ and make Him our Savior and Lord. We are promised life more abundantly by His Grace, Mercy and Unfailing Love. But it is completely up to us whether or not we decide to produce anything with it or not.

Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (NLT)
“The LORD your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the LORD, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.”

Adam and Eve were created to live totally dependent on God the Father. They would live in a thriving, loving relationship with complete trust. There would be no boundaries and the Lord would be totally accessible to His People and meet every single need. People chose something different. It is this jaded mentality that focuses on God’s Rejection rather than the Lord’s Redemption that keeps us from living in the Presence of God as He intended. We cannot accept the Goodness of God because we do not fully believe that He is that good. We do not know or comprehend His Unfailing Love and Uncompromising Righteousness where we are concerned and choose the comfort of lack and mediocrity rather than risking our life to gain our soul. We are encouraged to count the cost but if we do not have a clear picture of the benefits of God’s Covenant than we will always choose knowledge of the lesser thing than risking it all on hope. The Lord promised the Children of Israel large and prosperous cities that they did not build. They would be given richly stocked homes with goods they did not produce. Water that they did not draw from wells that they did not dig. They would eat from the crops that they did not plant. In this place, the Lord asks only one thing – “be careful not to forget the Lord who rescued you!” As if that were not enough, after wandering in the wilderness due to rebellion and disobedience, they send spies into the Promised Land. When they return, the men confirm the provision and prosperity of the land just as the Lord had described but then tell the people of the giants who inhabit their kingdom. The people are afraid to go into the Promised Land because they fear the “giants” that live there. Your promise will always be productive. Freedom in Christ allows us to enjoy provision that we do not necessarily produce. We must trust the Lord enough to step into our Promise by faith in order to live in His Presence and Provision. You have not be given the spirit of fear so refuse to receive it. (2 Timothy 1:7) You have been given the Holy Spirit who is power, love and self-discipline. It is time to step into prosperity because it will release God’s Full Potential in your life including His Abundance which is His Inheritance reserved just for you!
Deuteronomy 30:9-10 (NLT)
“The LORD your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the LORD will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. The LORD your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.”

The foods that I purchase at the store to maintain a healthy diet in our home are not enough to produce a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle requires diet AND exercise. It took me over forty years to come that conclusion despite hearing it over and over again my entire adult life. I was sure that if I maintained a good diet, sometimes radical one and other times unhealthy one, that I would be able to keep my weight under control and have a healthy body. I struggled for years to avoid exercise at all costs. My body was not working in unison to achieve my goal so nothing was working at all. The Lord God will make you successful in everything that you do if you obey His Voice, follow His Word, and turn your heart and soul over to the Lord. Not many people will attempt such a feat. It is kind of like New Year’s Resolutions to get healthy. The gym is packed until mid-March and then the crowd dies down, enthusiasm wanes and people fall back into bad habits and stop moving altogether. Productivity requires discipline. You must fully commit your heart, mind and body to seeking the Lord and doing His Will. It’s tough when your human spirit wars against such a change because it requires self to die to find life. The price is too high. Your flesh does not want to be sacrificed for your spirit to live. If you want to be successful and prosper in Lord, it requires a total commitment to Jesus Christ mind, soul and body. Unfortunately, it is all or nothing.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NLT)
Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain and your vats will overflow with good wine.

Obedience is nothing more than a life honoring God. If you honor the Lord with your life, you withhold nothing from Him. Everything in your life belongs to the Lord so if He requires it you will freely give it because you rely on His Abundance wholeheartedly. You know that you will not go without because He promised to provide seed to the sower. (2 Corinthians 9:10) Fear of lack is the primary instigator of poverty in the Body of Christ. We are so afraid to give up anything we have in fear that it will not be supplied that we fail to be obedient and do not honor God with our life including the things in it. Obedience to the Lord produce success in our life no matter what the circumstances appear to be. There is a definite difference between living in the Blessing of God and choosing a much different course. The Blessing of the Lord is this: “The LORD will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom. You must not turn away from any of the commands I am giving you today, nor follow after other gods and worship them.” (Deuteronomy 28:11-14) But the outcome of disobedience is very different and an identifier of most people’s current frustration: “If you do not serve the LORD your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, you will serve your enemies whom the LORD will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The LORD will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until he has destroyed you.” (Deuteronomy 28:47-48) Debt, disappointment and dissatisfaction represent the yoke of oppression on people today. God says just try obedience and see. (Malachi 3:10-12) But in most cases we turn and walk away because it does not seem worth the cost, but I assure you it is!

2 Chronicles 31:4-6 (NLT)
In addition, he required the people in Jerusalem to bring a portion of their goods to the priests and Levites, so they could devote themselves fully to the Law of the LORD. When the people of Israel heard these requirements, they responded generously by bringing the first share of their grain, new wine, olive oil, honey, and all the produce of their fields. They brought a large quantity—a tithe of all they produced. The people who had moved to Judah from Israel, and the people of Judah themselves, brought in the tithes of their cattle, sheep, and goats and a tithe of the things that had been dedicated to the LORD their God, and they piled them up in great heaps.

Faithfulness to the Lord always produces abundance in our life. Now obviously in the scripture above, it is about tithing. Giving God one-tenth of all we produce challenges 90% or more of the Body of Christ. How do I know that? Well, simple statistics less than 10% tithe. However, every time that people showed themselves faithful to God’s Word including the tithe it produced abundance. I know that this is absolutely true in our life. If someone offered me all the money back that we have given by faith, I would flatly refuse. I would not exchange the blessings of faithfulness for any amount of money. For those of you who are slightly uncomfortable with the subject, I will not back down but will move on. Faithfulness to the Word of God will produce an abundance in our life as well. God’s Word is not impotent but powerful. When you bring God’s Word back to Him, He is faithful to honor His Commitment to you. The Word of God cannot and will not return void but must produce all that is promise and accomplish what it set out to do. (Isaiah 55:10-12) When was the last time that you prayed God’s Word? You cannot offer something that you do not have. How do I take in the Word? Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Speak it. Live it. You will produce things in your life in the Spirit that you never thought possible simply by using God’s Word as a catalyst of His Abundance. Don’t take my word for it. Try Him. Test Him. Tell Him. He will work His Word in your life and produce the prosperity you are after because as your soul prospers so will you. (3 John 1:2)

Matthew 13:18-23 (NLT)
“Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

It was never God’s Intention that we should labor and toil to produce good things in our life. People made that choice. So it is up to those same people to choose to prosper and produce in the Spirit of God once more. By returning to His Presence and cultivating His Word, Will and Way in our life – you will become productive once more. But not necessarily as the world produces wealth. The Lord is ready to bless you and prosper your life. He is just waiting for you to rebuild your Temple to make it worth and ready for such a massive abundance. (Zechariah 8:11-13) The Blessing of the Lord is waiting on you! The soil that God is evaluating is that of your heart. It must be good soil to accept the seed. Fertile with faith and brimming with belief ready to accept His Word and hang on to it until if grows and develops into confident hope that produces the impossible outcomes. God is always examining our heart for righteousness so He can plant another seed to grow. The intent and content of our heart determines spiritual productive and supernatural prosperity in our life. (Matthew 7:16-20) It determines the potential of our produce. You can’t get strong tree or healthy fruit from bad seed. (James 3:11-12)

John 15:1-5 (NLT)
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

The only way that you and I will ever produce prosperity in our life is to remain in Jesus Christ. He is the One who died in the ground and came up with new life. Just as God desired us to live in unison with Him in the garden, He has now given us the grace to return to such an existence through Jesus Christ. (John 12:23-25) Apart from the Lord, you can do nothing. Your full potential is in Jesus and will die inside of you unless you remain in Him. We are appointed to be productive. (John 15:16) It has nothing to do with money or stuff but fullness of joy and peace found only in the Lord. (Psalm 4:6-8) The Holy Spirit produces the fruit that we need to have all that God has promised. (Galatians 5:22-23) Righteous character like Abraham allows us to be productive and vital even as we grow older when others would say we are past our prime – the Lord says, “No this is prime time!” The fruit of our salvation is righteous character that keeps us in right standing with God which keeps us productive and prospering in every way, every day in all seasons. (Philippians 1:11) To remain in Jesus Christ and abide in His Love means that we can likewise reproduce everything Jesus did in our life. Miracles will happen. (Romans 7:4-6) God did not intend for us to have to hunt and gather His Produce in our life, but that it would flow from within and water us from the inside out. We were the ones who chose something else. So we are the ones who must choose to live in His Prosperity and produce His Fruit once more. It is a wholehearted decision that is entirely up to you. God did everything necessary to make a way for you to return to His Presence. It is not a matter of if you will be productive but rather when will you produce?

Hebrews 13:20-21 (NLT)
Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.