Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’” (Matthew 13: 24-30 NLT)
In gardening it is known that weeds are going to grow among the plants. Sometimes the weeds can even look like the plants themselves. To the untrained eye, the weed could easily be mistaken as the plant or vice verse.
In this current world (garden), the righteous and unrighteous are growing together. Often, it is difficult to tell the difference between them. Only God truly knows the plant from the weed. When harvest time comes, He will surely separate them and receive one into His barn (Heaven) and the other into the burn pile (Hell).
However, there is one note of good news: God allows weeds to become plants if they will simply let the Gardner of life, Jesus, transform them through the power of His shed blood. He does not desire to throw anyone into the burn pile, but must do so if they choose to reject the only way to be saved. Let today be the day you are transformed. Ask Jesus to save you today!
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” (Matthew 13:1-9 NLT)
Jesus made a pulpit out of a ship. The congregation stood on the shore. His approach was masterful. Often, we get stuck in conventional thinking. May God help us think with His heart.
As Jesus taught them, He identified for us the various ways people respond to the gospel. Some could care less. Others receive the Word quickly but don't have good soil to deepen their roots. Some get caught up in the daily cares of living. Then there are those who receive the Word and get their roots in good fertile soil. These are the ones that become fruitful in God's garden.
Which one are You?
As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, and they want to speak to you.” Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
(Matthew 12: 46-50 NLT)
Jesus was, in no way, discounting the value and importance of His natural, physical family members. However, He does set the record straight concerning the eternal family. Only those who love Him and desire to obey are His eternal family. We are all created by God, but not everyone truly knows the Creator. Life, no matter how sentimental, if simply temporary and void if we aren;t living with the knowledge and acceptance that our lives are the Creator's to inhabit.
Do you truly know the Creator? He knows you!! All He wants is for you to not only acknowledge His existence, but also, to accept His offer of redemption. Ask Jesus to make you part of the family today.
One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.” But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. “The people of Nineveh will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. The queen of Sheba will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:38-45 NLT)
The greatest miracle in all the world was when Jesus rose from the dead. Nothing is even close second. His resurrection is the exclamation point at the end of the sentence. The empty tomb is evidence enough of God's power. We must seek the savior not the signs.
Furthermore, we must allow Jesus to occupy the empty space of our spirit or we will let it be occupied by demonic things. It isn't good enough that Jesus heals a body only if, indeed, we don't ask Him to reside in our spirit as Lord. Often, people want what Jesus can do for them (physically, materially) yet they reject His being Lord of their lives. Nothing more than a temporary experience if He isn't asked to stay!
“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” (Matthew 12:33-37 NLT)
God is clearly aware of everything we think and speak. If we claim to be His disciple and yet our mouths are not evidence of that profession, then we are simply religious, not transformed. As Jesus says in this passage, our fruit exclaims what kind of tree we are.
Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see. The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?” But when the Pharisees heard about the miracle, they said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and replied, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A town or family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he is divided and fighting against himself. His own kingdom will not survive. And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you. For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man like Satan and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house. “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come. (Matthew 12"22-32 NLT)
The works of God are manifest through the person and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was God in human flesh. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit without measure. When the Pharisees accused Him of casting out the demon by satan's power, they were calling the power of the Holy Spirit an evil thing. If we deny the power of the Holy Spirit, we cannot know Gods redemption or eternal life. Holy Spirit, you are welcome in my life. Do as you please. In Jesus name!!!!
At that time Jesus prayed a prayer: "Oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way! "My Father has entrusted everything to me. No one truly knows the Son except the Father, and no one truly knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son choose to reveal him." Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:25-30 NLT)
God has reserved the revelation of His mysterious ways for those whose hearts are truly His. It isn't a matter of intellectual knowledge, position, or any other human ability. It is simply knowing God in absolute surrender. God wants to reveal Himself to anyone whose heart is after Him. He also desires to carry our burden if we simply allow Him to. He wants to give us the rest our souls truly long for. There is no other source.
Rev. Curtis Norris