Sow What Now?!

Impact Question (IQ):  This year didn’t go like you planned…sow what now?!

sowing-wheat

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. (Psalms 126:5 NASB) 

Waiting on the Lord is never easy, but it has eternal benefits.  Sowing seeds of righteousness promises an everlasting reward, but not because of our goodness but God’s grace.  This is for those who have been faithful and have yet to see your season change.  The text speaks of those…is that you?  The praying and waiting has not been in vain.  This year may not have turned out the way you wanted, but God didn’t ignore what you wanted.  He is preparing a harvest, but seeds take time to grow.  God calls for not only the seed to grow, but also the sower.  This season was designed for your maturation not regression.  Here are a few lessons from the text:

  1. Those doesn’t include everybody.  Who are you with? (Ps. 126:5)
  2. How are you investing your God-given resources? (Ps. 126:5)
  3. Don’t let your weeping stop you from working (Ps. 126:5)
  4. God will turn your weeping into reaping (Ps. 126:5)
  5. You’ll have something to shout about (Ps. 126:5)
  6. God’s return policy is iron-clad: you get more than what you invested (Ps. 126:5)

Wait patiently and expectantly on the Lord and you will be renewed.  This is not a prophesy, but a promise.

Rev. Eric R. Levels

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Presence and Not Presents

iMPACT QUESTION (iQ):  Is the Christmas Holiday stressful or sacrificial for you?

Romans 8:32-33“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

I noticed a coworker who looked very distressed today and asked her what was wrong.  She said that she was stressed out because she’s having the family over for the holidays, wrapping gifts, and the only gift that her son had asked for was out of stock and that she was afraid that her son wouldn’t get what he wanted.  I realized that for those that I have spoken with, the Holidays happen to be one of the most stressful times of the year.  People run around frantically trying to find items that will soon be in the back of others closets, stored in attics, or in garages.  We can learn from God that our giving should be sacrificial and not stressful.  God has already given all that is needed for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  Yet we are running towards stress when we search for temporary earthly pleasures.  There is nothing wrong with gifts, until the gifts start controlling the giver.  Our presence is one of the greatest gifts that we can give others.  Our Father gave Jesus so that we can have eternal life and also sent the Holy Spirit.  He wanted to give us the gift of His presence through the Holy Spirit being with us always.  Our Father knows how to give good gifts (Matthew 7:11).  Yet our Father’s greatest gift is His Son and Holy Spirit which is Himself.  Give gifts that will be remembered and cannot be thrown away.  

iMPACT FULFILLED (iF):

1. Resist the urge to shop for others contentment.

2. Recognize that people will remember a moment with you rather than a something made from you.

3. Rest from the obligation of trying to please people.

iMPACT QUOTE (i QUOTE): written by Rev. Eric Levels

Your presence is more important than your presents.

Your time is the most valuable thing you can give, but it’s also priceless to others.

iMPACT CHALLENGE (i CHALLENGE): Reduce the amount of physical gifts given and purchased, and spend more time with the ones you love.  

No Regrets

iMPACT QUESTION (iQ):  What are aspects of your current life that you regret and wish you could change?

Psalm 119:1-8  You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.  You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him.  That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set.  You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it.  Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel.  I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.  I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.

There are a number of things that I regret and wish I could change about the things that I have done and said.  My life has had scattered moments of which I am not proud.  It is true that the imperfect actions of our lives teach us humility and hard lessons that are not easy to stomach.  Yet the road we travel does have the hope of signs that prevent us from making sporadic lane changes and premature exits.  Often times, we make those decisions before consulting the God of our inner-state.  God does not guarantee a life of cruise control, but He does assure that He is in control for those who will allow for him to take the wheel.  We cannot change our past, but we can allow for God to guide our future.  His road leaves behind no potholes of regret, for when you look back, those have been covered by Jesus.  Regret, for those who have received Jesus, is no longer necessary, because blessings await.

iMPACT FULFILLED (iF):

1.   Receive revelation from the Word regarding your next faithful steps.

2.  Recognize that you no longer walk alone.  The Holy Spirit is with you.

3.  Remain consistent with your resolve to trust His direction.

iMPACT QUOTE (i QUOTE): written by Rev. Eric Levels

Don’t let regret bind what Jesus has already freed you from.

iMPACT CHALLENGE (i CHALLENGE):

Write down your regrets on a sheet of paper.  Pray to God regarding them and allow Jesus to forgive them.  Forgive yourself, then rip and throw the sheet away.  God has forgiven you, so do the same for yourself.

Keep It Real

iMPACT QUESTION (iQ):  What would your life say about your faith?

Matthew 6:1 Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. (Message version) I love watching movies. When I see that the actors from my favorite movies have their own lives outside of them, I have a tough time realizing that their written character is not who they really are. Could the same be said of our Christian walk? Is our actual and actor one in the same? We must remember that we are only performing for an audience of One. There is nothing wrong with receiving compliments from God’s creations, but they are just that. Comments from people that compliment God’s concrete character within us. If we really want an Oscar, don’t worry about that because instead of holding gold, we’ll be walking on it in eternity by total dedication to God through the acceptance of Jesus. That’s what amazes people. People see actors every day and are not shocked by them. As a matter of fact, most are considered fake until proven the real thing. However, when the reality of our actions extend beyond cut, those watching, are in awe. That’s when faith has a face.

iMPACT FULFILLED (iF):

1. Set a consistent daily appointment in prayer with God.

2. See God’s love for us in His Word shown while we were yet sinners.

3. Squash the need for people approval.

 

iMPACT QUOTE (i QUOTE): Written by Rev. Eric Levels

God specializes in the real thing. Don’t waste your time with an imitation of life.

We Should Share

  iMPACT QUESTION (iQ): What are you willing to share?

1 John 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Often when I was a child I had a problem with sharing.  I didn’t like sharing anything with anybody because I was afraid that I could never take it back, or if it came back to me, it would not be the same.  I find this very similar to the way we Christians feel about our mistakes.  We have a problem sharing our mistakes because once we tell them, we can never take them back and we are afraid that things will never be the same.  The reality is that we would be right, but that it is beauty of transparency.  Our sin-story is meant to make others sin His-tory.  Sharing our story is meant to change the current condition of someone else’s life.  The wonder in sharing our missteps is that we keep moving in the victory of Jesus instead of defeat.  Love has no room for fear.  Its plate is too filled with a double portion of compassion and forgiveness.  This is lacking in the lives of most because many are starving for that portion.  We would never call someone healed unless at some point they were broken.  We must not forget our past, because it was meant to help someone in the present, in order to introduce them to their future.  Don’t be afraid to share what hurt you, but also don’t leave out Love who healed you.

iMPACT FULFILLED (iF):

1.  Confess your secret sin to someone else who needs to know.

2.  Create a safe place in you for people to share their predicament.

3.  Conquer your fear of judgement from those who hear your mistakes.

4.  Capture this moment to open the door to introduce Jesus to others.

iMPACT QUOTE (i QUOTE):   Written by Rev. Eric Levels       

1.  “Pain was often the pathway that people took in order to seek Jesus.  Don’t let the pride of our past pain keep someone from Him.”

2.  Being human is a dirty business, but don’t let the rain in your life cause you to be stuck in the mud of your mistakes.

3.  Don’t worry about your resume`.  You’ve got the best reference in Jesus Christ, because He’s all you need.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

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 Hebrews 12:2

 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Impact Question (IQ):  What are current dilemmas that are placed before you?

I have found that often the dilemmas that lie in front of me are the same circumstances that produce victories and strength behind me.  When faced with adversity never get sidetracked with the difficulties of life.  Have eyes for the purpose behind the pain.  God never plans a harsh reality without a hope-filled rescue.  Your faith may become blurred by life’s tragedies, but don’t let it blind you.  Even if it does, God specializes in giving new vision.  The eyes of faith have a prescription that is designed to prepare us to see a promised future.

Impact Fulfilled (IF):

1. Resist the urge to create pity parties for yourself.

2. Reflect on what God may be trying to reveal to you in this season.

3. Read God’s Word to determine biblical relevance to your current

situation.

4. Rely on God’s assurance of an expiration date to burdens now and later.

Impact Quote (I Quote):  “Set your sights on the Master’s plan within the messy predicament.” – Rev. Eric Ryan Levels

“Know that your story has already been written.  Just be sure to read the lines and cues that God intended and don’t get creative and improvise, or add to what’s already there.  Trust the divine Director’s vision.” – Rev. Eric Ryan Levels