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YET I will rejoice in the Lord!

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV)
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”

 

Make “YET” be your word in 2021

O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul!

“The ill favored and lean-fleshed kine (cattle) did eat up the seven well-favored and fat kine.”  Genesis 41:4
Pharaoh’s dream has too often been my waking experience. My days of sloth have ruinously destroyed all that I had achieved in times of zealous industry; my seasons of coldness have frozen all the genial glow of my periods of fervency and enthusiasm; and my fits of worldliness have thrown me back from my advances in the divine life.
I had need to beware of lean prayers, lean praises, lean duties, and lean experiences, for these will eat up the fat of my comfort and peace. If I neglect prayer for never so short a time, I lose all the spirituality to which I had attained; if I draw no fresh supplies from heaven, the old corn in my granary is soon consumed by the famine which rages in my soul.
When the caterpillars of indifference, the canker worms of worldliness, and the Palmer worms of self-indulgence, lay my heart completely desolate, and make my soul to languish, all my former fruitfulness and growth in grace avails me nothing whatever.
How anxious should I be to have no lean-fleshed days, no ill-favored hours!
If every day I journeyed towards the goal of my desires I should soon reach it, but backsliding leaves me still far off from the prize of my high calling, and robs me of the advances which I had so laboriously made. The only way in which all my days can be as the “fat kine,” is to feed them in the right meadow, to spend them with the Lord, in His service, in His company, in His fear, and in His way.
Why should not every year be richer than the past, in love, and usefulness, and joy?—I am nearer the celestial hills, I have had more experience of my Lord, and should be more like Him.
O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul; let me not have to cry, “My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” but may I be well-fed and nourished in thy house, that I may praise thy name.
~~~ Charles Spurgeon

Mark 4:14-20 – The Meaning of the First Parable

After explaining WHY He is now speaking to the people ONLY in parables*, Jesus explains the meaning of the Parable of the Sower (actually the Soils).  It is important that Jesus tells them because by understanding this first parable, the disciples will be able to understand ALL the parables. (Mark 4:13)

The SOWER is Jesus here, but also the Old Testament prophets, the disciples, the apostles, preachers, teachers, and all true believers.

The SEED is “the Word” (the Word of God, the truth of God, the Gospel of salvation, the Grace of God in truth, the Word of Christ, the Truth, the Good News, the imperishable Seed, the living and abiding Word of God, Truthful speech, and the “washing” detergent which the Holy Spirit uses when He regenerates believers.**) that the sowers scatter into the world (as per the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20, and Mark 16:15-16).

The SOILS are the hearts of the hearers of the Word.  All of them listen, but their responses differ.  Only a few will truly HEAR the message, receive it, accept it, believe it, obey it…. and ultimately become fruitful.

#1 Soil = No interest.

#2 Soil = Superficial commitment.

#3 Soil = Love of the world is too strong.

#4 Soil = Understanding, believing, are regenerated, and bear fruit.

Long afterwards, Jesus’ brother James, one of those true believers, writes a warning and a call to commitment for us in his book, “Be DOERS of the Word, and not HEARERS ONLY, deceiving yourselves.” James 1;22

 

Jesus gave the crowds ample opportunity to hear his direct teaching (see the previous post), and believe in Him. For those who did, He gives further understanding, to those who rejected Him, he now speaks in mysteries and secrets.  Those who are willing to HEAR, receive more. Those who REFUSE, lose what bit of understanding they had.

** See Romans 10:17, Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5, I Thessalonians 2:13, Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:22-25,