Scattering Seeds: Choosing to Believe

Did you use to watch the old Tweety Bird and Sylvester cartoons?  Sylvester, the cat,was always trying to pull of some stunt to capture the Tweety.  But no matter what he did, his plans would always backfire or he would get outsmarted by Tweety.

A typical show may start off showing Tweety Bird singing in his birdcage, hanging high from the ceiling.  Sylvester creates a tower so he can reach the cage.  A stack of books is placed on the chair, then a box on top of the books.  The tower continues to grow as more objects are placed on top of each other.  A television, waste basket, then a bowling ball.  Whatever can be found in the room is used to create the tower.  Once finished, we see an shaky column of miscellaneous objects that rise up toward the ceiling, ending just below the birdcage.

No one would ever try to stand on this insane creation.  Unless you are a hungry feline with a hankering for canary.  Sylvester climbs the tower, closing in on his prize.  We watch the tower as it sways, with pieces of the structure falling away as he climbs higher.  When he makes it to the top, he is standing next to the birdcage.   He opens the cage door, reaches in and…well, I don’t want to ruin the ending for you.

We are still studying the parable of the sower.   Jesus tell his disciples the meaning of the seed that is scattered along the path.  The seed is the Word of God.  The path represents the heart condition of some individuals who have received the Word.  In Matthew, the path is said to be those who hear but don’t understand.  It is also written in the gospel of Luke that those along the path are those who hear but don’t believe.

 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.     -Luke 8:12

The devil is looking for every opportunity to take God’s word away from us.  He will try to get us to doubt and even stop believing in the Lord.  He wants our faith in the Word of God to sway like Sylvestor’s tower to Tweety.

You must have faith as you ask Him. You must not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave which is pushed around by the sea.    -James 1:6, NLV

 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.    -Hebrew 3:12,13

When Sylvester constructed his tower, he had faith that his structure was secure.  He climbed it believing that the tower would stand firm under his weight.  He looked past the swaying and swinging of the column and kept his eyes on the prize he as trying to reach.

Believing is a choice.  Doubt is an obstacle.  In the moments when doubt starts to creep into our heads, we must stay focused on the truth.  We must look past our doubts and choose to believe.

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”    -Mark 9:24

 Imagine if Sylvester never climbed the tower.  What if he hesitated because he saw how shaky it was?  What if he stopped because he taught he couldn’t climb that high?  He would have allowed his doubts to deceive him into believing that he would not succeed.  His lack of faith would have prevented him from reaching what was waiting for him up above.

In the cartoons, the cat doesn’t get the bird.  The coyote can’t catch the road runner.  The hunter will never shoot the rabbit.  In the real world, it can seem as if the odds are against us also.  It can be hard to believe, easy to doubt, and commonplace to be skeptical.  But these seemingly impossible odds are by the enemy’s design. His goal is to hide the truth from us.  And when he can’t hide the truth, he’ll work to discredit it.

When we choose to believe in God’s word, we are taking a step of faith.  Believing does not remove our doubts.  It won’t eliminate our unanswered questions.  Believing is not always easy.  But God says he will reward our faithfulness.

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”    -John 11:40

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.    -Romans 10:10

As we scatter seeds, some will fall along the path.  Some will not accept the word of God when they hear it.  But if we stop spreading His Word because of our doubts, then we are like those along the path also.  We must look past our doubts, have faith, and choose to believe the promises that our Father has spoken to us.

Plus, how can anyone come to know the truth if no one will show them the truth.

The man said, “Tell me who he is, sir, so I can believe in him.”    John 9:36, ERV

Lord, You are faithful.  You are all-knowing.  Your word is truth and You will never lie.  You have told us that there is redemption and healing through the blood of Jesus Christ.  We just need to choose to believe it.  Still, we let doubt block our path to you or keep you at a distance.  This world we live in can be skeptical towards scripture.  This world also takes a cynical stance at the sound of Jesus’ name.  But you say if we believe, we will see Your glory.  Father, forgive our doubting and our disbelief.  Thank you for Your faithfulness to us.  Thank You for providing a foundation of truth that we can stand behind when the winds of doubt try to knock us down.   Help us to encourage each other, to lead us away from having a sinful, unbelieving heart.  Keep our hearts from being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  Help us to overcome our doubts, as we choose to believe in You.  Show us you glory as we stay faithful to believing in You.  And strengthen us to speak boldly to others so they may come to also know You and believe.

In Jesus name…Amen

Stayin’ Salty

I attended a bible study small group this week where we discussed Mark 9:42-50.  This passage challenged us to understand the meaning of “saltiness”.  When I think of someone as being salty, I picture a person that is bitter, grumpy, or cranky.  Of course when I think of saltiness I also imagine a bag of chips, or better yet, a large sized order of McDonald’s french fries.  Speaking of french fries,  I have come to learn that my memories of the taste of McDonald’s french fries are so much more delicious than the actual taste of their french fries. As a kid, I remember opening my Happy Meal and getting after the fries.  I can still smell the aroma of freshly cooked, potato-like product filling my nose.  I can still picture the golden yellow color.  I still remember the texture; crispy on outside, warm and velvety inside.  But most of all, I can still taste it.  The fries always seem to be seasoned with just the perfect amount of salt.  Not to bland, not to salty, and the perfect compliment to a huge mound of ketchup.

But anymore I find those fries to be a disappointment.  They are just not the same fries I remember from my childhood.  Maybe they changed the recipe.  Maybe my palate has become more sophisticated  (I’m going with that one).  Or maybe, I have built an image in my mind of what a fry should be and made it more that what it actually was.  So now when I eat fries from that restaurant, they are either to bland, to salty, or to cold.  And the only thing worse than bland french fries are cold french fries.

But suppose the salt loses its saltiness. How can it be made salty again?    -Matthew 5:1

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