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Posts Tagged ‘Acts 16’

English: Portrait of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Fron...

English: Portrait of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Frontispiece from her book of poems “Three Women” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

                                                                                                                                              

“With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see.”

–Ella Wheeler Wilcox, author and poet (1850-1919)

Observation #1:

We never know when a small deed may plant a seed of faith or encouragement that will reap a bountiful harvest in the life of someone else.

Live attentively to the fact that every deed is a seed. The people around us are watching and listening.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the story of a church elder who once led a worship service for two. It happened over 150 years ago in England. A blizzard on Saturday night made it impossible for villagers to get to the church—including the pastor.

English: Oakwood Park, London N14 - snow storm...

The elder almost sent home the two individuals who had come, an older man and a young boy. But something (Someone?) compelled him to speak. Later he confessed his words came out rather jumbled and brusque.

But. The elder planted a seed that immediately took root. The young boy accepted Jesus as his Savior. His name? Charles Spurgeon—preacher and author extraordinaire, whom God used mightily. People are still impacted by his writings to this day.

(For an example of Dr. Spurgeon’s God-given genius, see the post, “Not Length But Strength,” from last week, May 9).

Observation #2:

Our responsibility is the planting of “deed seeds”; the harvest is up to God.

The same principle that works in the physical realm works in the spiritual realm: A farmer may plant, fertilize, and water, but the germination of each seed is a miracle only God can bring about. Don’t become tightly focused on results.

English: Seedling

English: Seedling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The elder who led Charles to the Lord that snowy, wintry day, had no idea the boy would grow up to have such a profound effect on the world. The gentleman may not have lived long enough to see the results of his deed that morning. But we know, and we marvel.

Observation #3:

The true harvest is not measurable in physical terms, and it’s hidden from view in the spiritual realm.

Only now and then does God give us a glimpse of what our small deeds are accomplishing. Perhaps God planned it that way so pride and self-gratification do not taint the glory of the harvest.

Imagine the joy that elder continues to experience every time a saint comes through the gates of heaven, who has been influenced by Charles Spurgeon—fourth and fifth generation Christians, whose ancestors accepted Jesus because of Dr. Spurgeon. Others have been influenced and encouraged by the preacher’s writings.

The positive influence of a man or woman of God never dies.

Ivan Grohar: The Sower. The motif from this pa...

Ivan Grohar: The Sower. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Such a possibility should translate into enthusiastic motivation for planting seeds wherever we go.

 

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Back in January I wrote a post about meaningful mishaps on the keyboard—typos with significance. Now, four months later, I’ve collected a few more.

Mishap #1:

I meant to type caring, but the screen showed daring. Actually, the two words can be used together in a meaningful way: Sometimes we must be daring in our caring.

My husband, Steve, is a generous tipper. He frequently dares to care with his wallet. Not that we have a lot of money to spare, but we’ve experienced time and again you can’t outgive God. His economy isn’t logical; it’s theological.

Brick Queen Anne

 (Photo credit: TBoard)

A few years ago Steve was traveling out-of-state every few months to visit his elderly parents.  Each time he would stay at a bed and breakfast near the assisted living home. Steve became well-acquainted with the B & B manager and always left her a gracious tip.

In December of 2011, Steve’s dad graduated to heaven. He had served God well and been a mentor to many.  At age ninety-three, he was looking forward to meeting Jesus face to face.

Since we’d be needing several days’ accommodation, Steve called T. to see if she might have a room available for us at the B & B—even though it was very short notice.

“I can accommodate you the first three nights, but that last night, we’re full,” she responded. “However! There is no reason you and Nancy can’t stay with me. My apartment is good-sized, and you’ll have your own suite. In fact, I insist!”

Would T. have made such a generous offer, if Steve had not been so gracious to her? Probably. T is a very giving woman herself. I do know Steve did not give those generous tips in order to receive.

But when we dare to care, God often augments the results.

Mishap #2:

Imagine my surprise to look at the screen and see, not long-standing faith as I’d intended, but song-standing faith.

Turns out, that is quite meaningful. Frequently a song will lift my spirit and affirm my faith. Take Chris Tomlin’s song, Our God. Imagine an energized congregation singing the chorus with passion and volume:

English: Chris Tomlin performing a concert in ...

Chris Tomlin performing a concert in Johnson City, Tennessee, November 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And if our God is with us,
Then what can stand against us?
And if our God is for us,
Then who could ever stop us?

Such an experience has a powerful effect. I find myself standing up straighter. The concerns on my mind fade in importance, and my heart fills with confidence. Yes, song-standing faith works wonders! I need to avail myself of the opportunity more often.

Mishap #3:

The word was supposed to be dailyness, referring to the humdrum routine that occupies more of our time than we’d like. Instead, here’s what I typed: dailymess.

32::3 - A messy room

(Photo credit: WarzauWynn)

M-m-m. Another matter that occupies more of our time than we’d like: the messes we have to clean up, the interruptions, the unexpected turns of events. Such moments generate frustration and raise blood pressure. Not good!

So what do we do when the daily-ness of our lives, which is challenging enough, becomes daily-mess?

To begin, song-affirming faith (Mishaps #2) will certainly help. Remember Paul and Silas, missionaries who traveled far and wide to tell others about Jesus? While visiting Philippi, they stumbled into an awful mess, and ended up in prison. For all they knew, they could be killed the next day. And yet at midnight, these two were praying and singing hymns to God (Acts 16:25).

They were accessing song-affirming faith to combat the mess—the unexpected turn of events in their lives.

And why were Paul and Silas in prison in the first place? They had been daring and caring (Mishap #1, above). They had helped a slave girl, enraged the owners, and were arrested. BUT! God intervened in a miraculous way. An earthquake opened the prison doors. Paul, Silas and the other prisoners could have escaped, but didn’t. As a result, the jailer wanted to know about this Jesus they’d been praying to and singing about. He wanted to know how he and his family could have eternal life. The daring and caring of Paul and Silas paid great dividends—more souls for the kingdom of heaven! (See Acts 16 for the whole incredible story.)

Daring and caring. Song-affirming faith. Both combat the daily-mess of life.

* * * * * * * * *

Thank you, Father, for the affirmations you reveal through my keyboard mishaps: 1) You augment daring and caring to produce amazing results, and 2) Song-affirming faith ushers us into your presence where we experience your power and presence, and 3) You provide strength and perseverance to deal with the daily-mess of life.

Hallelujah!  I give thanks to you with everything I’ve got!  Your works are so great, worth a lifetime of study–endless enjoyment!  Splendor and beauty mark your craft; your generosity never gives out, your miracles are your memorial.  You are the God of Grace and the God of Love!  (Taken from Psalm 111:1-4, The Message.)

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