WHAT A BAG OF POPCORN TAUGHT ME

Many churches teach how to sow (tithe/offering) but not many teach how to reap.

There is this crazy generalized idea among Christians, and judgement by non-Christians that if you ARE a Christian, you should be poor.  Poor in every which way, not just financially.

I’m not one of those. I used to be. I used to think it was a sin to have things, to be happy, to enjoy life. Growing up I saw it all the time, if you were Godly, you were poor.

I don’t know of a single verse in the Bible that says we must be poor, sad or unhappy. I do know plenty of scripture that says we are to have and be just the opposite of all that.

Somewhere along the line, we got it all backwards. I’m not going to post every single verse here but John 10:10 sums it all up:

 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 KJV

If what you have is destruction, death and things taken from you…Is your joy gone? Is Your happiness gone? Are you struggling financially? That’s the thief, that’s not God.

I know some will read this and try to justify the “lack” in life but you might as well just keep your doubt and unbelief to yourself. You can speak lack over yourself all you want, don’t speak it over someone else.

We have an active role in our faith. Our words determine our today and our tomorrow. You can choose love over hate. Joy over sadness. Prosperity over poverty. Belief over doubt. Health over sickness.

You choose what you have with the words that come out of your mouth. God himself spoke and created…read Genesis 1 and see how many times it says “God said…”

Your words create your today and tomorrow. You can change your future with the words you speak. You can change your moment right now with the words you speak.

So what does this have to do with a bag of popcorn? Let me tell you. Many people have no problem giving, whether it’s tithe/offering or giving to others when they see a need. That’s called sowing. But the majority of us in that category, have a problem when something is given to us. We don’t know how to receive. Receiving is the reaping side of sowing.

We feel guilty or unworthy when something is given to us. We will say things like “No, no, no, give it to someone who needs it more.” It doesn’t matter what “it” is, if we refuse, we interrupt God’s process of sowing and reaping.

I was in the grocery store one time and the Holy Spirit told me to pay for the woman’s groceries in front of me. She didn’t have much, maybe $25.00 worth. I stepped forward and told her, “God told me to pay for your groceries.” She visibly became upset and refused and said “No, I don’t need you to pay for my groceries.” I tried to explain to her that God wanted to bless her but she flat out refused. I said okay with a smile and backed off.

How many times has God wanted to bless us and we have refused? Is it pride? Is it lack of understanding?

I recently blessed a friend with a bag of popcorn at the movies. When I did, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Some people can receive from Me a blessing the size of a bag of popcorn and some can receive a blessing from Me the size of the theater.”

Wow.

When we refuse a blessing from someone, we block the blessing God has for them for their obedience. When that woman refused to let me pay for her groceries, she blocked a blessing God had for me not to mention the blessing of having her groceries paid for.

Think of it this way. If you plant a garden, sow seeds into good ground, then take care of that garden until the harvest comes in and reap from the garden what has grown, you are operating in God’s divine plan of sowing and reaping.

What happens if you plant the seeds and then never pull weeds or better yet, when the harvest comes in, you don’t go and pick all the vegetables? It becomes overgrown and eventually rots. Nobody benefits.

If you take care of that garden and reap when the harvest comes in, not only do you benefit but more than likely, you are going to have an abundance to share with others because if you don’t share your abundance, it rots too.

Your words create action and action produce your today and tomorrow. Read the following verse and focus on the last six words: he shall have whatsoever he saith

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23 KJV

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A Moment in the Garden

A Moment in the Garden

Playing worship music and letting it drift through the house. Praying in the Spirit relentlessly. Speaking scripture out loud to remind you of God’s goodness and provision. Attending every church service listening for the Word God has for you specifically. Standing in faith. Seeking things out that line up with what you have been believing for.

These things only go so far.

Yes, they only carry you so far.

How can I say that? Because I’m as far as I can get by doing all of this and it has carried me to the garden.

What garden am I talking about? The same one that Jesus sweated blood in.

If you read the story of the events leading up to the crucifixion in Luke chapter 22, you will come to the place where Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. This is where he prayed so hard his sweat dripped as blood. This happens after an angel appears to him and strengthens him.

This is Christ, the Anointed, in such distress that he is sweating profusely because he knows what he is about to endure. He’s so distressed over it that he even asks God to remove this responsibility from him if possible.

I’ve been meditating on this story this week among others. I’ve been in prayer for weeks over a few situations in my life. Wednesday on the way to church, I was aggravated, angry, frustrated, beat down, fed-up, and then some.

I told my husband, “I’m tired of praying about it.” What IT is will be revealed at a later time and this will probably make more sense, maybe.

I wanted to throw in the towel. I felt like a failure as a Christian for reaching that point because of a teaching that I realize now we get off in a ditch with: count it all joy.

I hear many Christians give this advice when their brothers and sisters are in the garden when really what they need is compassion and a hug.

I don’t know where it says Jesus was laughing in the garden. I don’t know where it says Abraham went skipping up the mountain with a smile on his face telling Isaac to “Keep up! This is going to be awesome!” I don’t see where Noah was celebrating the death of the entire world with the exception of those allowed on the ark. I haven’t read where Mary went running out into the streets yelling, “I’m pregnant! I’m pregnant!”, pushing her belly out for those nearby to feel the kicks of our coming Savior.

But did they count it all joy?

Yes.

They still had their moment in the garden though. They still had the moment of feeling the weight of their responsibility bearing down on them. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing people tell me, laugh it off, count it all joy, be happy, smile, and what not.

That is not what “count it all joy” means. James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”

If we continue in verse 3 it says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her prefect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

It means that when we are working our way through tough situations, know that on the other side God’s glory will shine through.

When people tell me I shouldn’t be sad or have a moment of crying or despair, because I should “count it all joy” it makes me feel like I have failed as a Christian. It becomes a stumbling block to me.

I realized this week, even Jesus had his moment in the garden. There were other times he had a moment…he wept, he was angry, he had compassion, he showed love, he was frustrated…but the most important part…

…He sinned not.

He never sinned in these situations. We can have our moments of despair and crying and frustration and we can even tell God how we are feeling without a smile on our face.

That’s what He is there for. He’s our Father. We cry out to Him. We tell Him our heart.

When we tell others they should count it all joy, without compassion or understanding, during the season or situation they are in, we become their stumbling block and convict them of what they are going through instead of leading them to Christ in it.

Counting it all joy is knowing that God has it handled. In my situation that I’ve been praying about, I know that I know that I know that God’s got this but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean I don’t need His strength. It doesn’t mean I can’t grow in the things of Christ.

I reached a low point and said I was tired of praying about it and heard the Holy Spirit say, “but God’s not tired of hearing about it.”

He’s there ALL THE TIME. He’s LISTENING to every word we speak. He does not leave us, He does not forsake us and He’s working all things out for good. When we reach our lowest, He wants to be there and we have to let Him. It brings us to a point where He becomes our everything. We have to cry out for Him. We have to keep our relationship with Him and not turn away because we feel ashamed that we couldn’t keep a smile on our face.

He doesn’t want fake.

He wants a real relationship with you.

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

For the JOY that was set before him but yet he had a moment in the garden where he cried out to God! He knew the resulting joy of the situation and still cried out!

I know the joy that is coming in my situation. I know the testimony that is coming. I still had a moment in the garden. I was a mess earlier this week and then today, in prayer, with a second wind given to me by God, my Father, he had me laughing in the Spirit.

My situation looks the same as it did yesterday. Nothing has changed except I cried out to Him yesterday and today He gave me joy.

 

Luke 22:44 (KJV) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Psalm 30:5 (KJV) For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.