Increase (3)

PTAP: The Yeast of the Kingdom

He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough."
-Matt 13:33

The kingdom of God is like yeast, moving all throughout the dough. Believers in the Arabian Peninsula are like that yeast with dough all around. May the Lord move His people by His great will through the Arabian Peninsula.

Pray, O Lord and sovereign God, send us where You will, move us as You desire, and lead the believers in the Arabian Peninsula by Your Spirit. May Your kingdom come and increase throughout this entire Arabian Peninsula as yeast does in dough. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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Pray for Increase!

God woke me up early this morning with a very challenging, yet encouraging, message on my heart: “I’m looking for a return on My investment.”


If you’ve spent any time in the business world, you are familiar with this principle. Those who invest money in a business venture don’t do so just for altruistic reasons—they expect their investment to grow and give them a return. This “Return On Investment” is commonly abbreviated ROI.


God loves us. He wants to meet our needs. He’s a generous Heavenly Father who loves to bless His children. But make no mistake about it: God is an investor.


Take another look at the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The master was a businessman. He distributed his resources to his three servants in differing amounts, but he expected each of them to gain a ROI.


You see, the master was an investor, and he expected his servants to understand that fact. He wanted them to be investors too, gaining an increase on what they had been given.


Let’s understand this clearly: The master didn’t want his servants merely to be CONSUMERS or HOARDERS. He expected them to be profitable INVESTORS.


Two of the three servants in this story got it right. “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more” (v. 16 NLT). According to The Message, this servant “doubled his master’s investment.” This was an impressive 100% ROI.


Sadly, the third servant was a hoarder. He wanted to play it safe, so he merely buried his allotted resources in the ground. When the master returned, this man proudly told him, “I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent” (v. 25 MSG). At least this servant hadn’t consumed everything he had been given, as some of us might have done.


But instead of being impressed, “The master was furious” (v. 26). He had expected the servant to exercise some faith, take some initiative, and gain a ROI.


I saw this principle at work when I inherited some money several years ago. Wary of the fluctuations of the stock market, my first thought was to just put the money in a savings account at the bank, where my inheritance would be safe. But my banker called me one day and confronted me on this. He pointed out that the rate of inflation was higher than the interest rate on my savings account. So my “play it safe” strategy was actually losing money every month.


God has made a huge investment in His people. He gave us His Son and, with Him, everything else we could ever need (Romans 8:32). He promises to bless us, but in turn He expects us to BE a blessing, so that His name and fame are spread throughout the earth (Genesis 12:1-3).


Perhaps you don’t have a lot of money today, but that is not the point. The third servant may have tried to excuse his hoarding by the fact that he didn’t have as much to start with as the others.


The question isn’t what you don’t have, but rather this: What are you doing with the money, time, talents, relationships, and resources you do have? As God is challenging me, let me ask you today: What has the Lord put in your hands? Whatever it may be, He wants you to use it to bless others, thereby gaining a return on His investment.


What ideas has He given you that you’ve never yet acted upon? What teachings from His Word have remained dormant in your heart, never yet implemented? What God-given dreams have you merely buried in the ground?

It's time to ask God to give us His strategies for increase--and then obey what He tells us!



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Fervently Praying for Perfection

...always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Colossians 4:12

As I pray for myself and for others each day, I desire with all of my heart that my prayers to God will be within His will and not my own, so that His purposes and my prayers will not be separate from one another. I think for that reason, the verse above from Colossians caught my eye this morning as I was reading and I realized that when I pray the end product in what I am really asking God to do in all that I bring before His throne is that He perfects and completes each person and each situation I have had laid at His feet.
Yet, in a fallen world filled with sinful people, how is it that God can bring about perfection and completion? On our own we can only try our hardest to do what is right, to follow all the rules, and to flounder through the many mistakes we make hoping each mistake will teach us a lesson to make us wiser the next time around. But, God has another way for those who come to Him and who realize that seeking a perfected life will always come up empty apart from Him. Listen to what 1 Corinthians 1:30 has to say about where all righteousness, sanctification (that is the process of making us holy), and redemption come from: are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption...” 1 Corinthians 1:30
It is only through Jesus that we people with our sin nature can be perfected and complete. It is not in copying Jesus, it is “in” Christ Jesus that this happens and truly what we should be praying to happen within us and within those we pray for each day. Below is a quote from Oswald Chambers on how he relates sanctification to the perfected holiness of God within us:
Sanctification is not drawing from Jesus the power to be holy; it is drawing from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him, and He manifests in me. Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation.” Oswald Chambers
If we desire to be more merciful we do not pray that God shows us ways to be more merciful. No instead we ask Him to be mercy within us so that we can then share His mercy with others. Likewise if we want to our son to be wise in his actions we do not pray that he finds ways to overcome foolishness with wise choices but rather we pray that Jesus becomes wisdom in him so all of his choices are guided by Jesus and are wise beyond human understanding.
In every way that Jesus works in us as we pray and then allow Him to be, will, and do as He pleases within our lives we discover more fully who He is and who He can be in us and through us. The focus comes off of us and goes to Him. We learn that sanctification is not about us getting better in His sight but rather it is about us becoming less and Him becoming more.
He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
I love what Psalm 18 has to say about how God works to show Himself to us as we allow Him to work in us:
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; with the pure You will show Yourself pure...” Psalm 18:25-26
Today, as you are praying for yourself or others, I would encourage you to pray that Jesus fills every person and situation with Himself and remove anything that is not of Him. Look to Him to supply, to work, and to heal each situation from the inside out. Do not become distracted with the sin you see when you pray, but rather purpose your heart to see all that Jesus can be and wants to be through your prayers and petitions in bringing about perfection and completion to what He is working out in this fallen world.
To see this blog and others I have written, visit me at Shedding Light On the Path
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