HCC Monthly Harvest Seed

Matthew 6:25-34 - “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I love the opening verse do not worry about your life. What part? Any of it.

Health, finances, relationships, jobs, family and children and grandchildren. God cares about it all.

All of us deal with worry at different times throughout our life.

Worry is part of the arsenal of our enemy. It is designed to steal from us. Harm us. Wear us out. It is used to cause us to deal with things in our mind when we may never ever have to deal with them at all.

Worry is designed to control our thoughts and emotions.  It is the dread that convinces us of things that aren’t real.  It is designed to come across as fact and is the evidence of a deep fear that things won’t turn out well, that there will not be enough, and that the worst will happen.

It causes us to internally live the worst possible outcomes when God is calling us to trust Him for the best that He has for us. It causes us to experience trauma that most of the time never materializes. How many people suffer from PTSD because they entertained vain imaginations that never became a reality?

Worry can be impossible to turn off on our own. It can affect hours and days of our lives. It is a disruptive force. It will affect our sleep, our attentions span, and our creativity.  Worry will affect our relationships. Putting us on edge, causing us to smother those that we love or preventing us from getting close to anyone.

It will rob you of your joy and your confidence. It will make you suspicious of people. Worry is at the root of many health problems.  It is a thief.

The goal of worry is o cause us to distrust God, His word, His goodness and His faithfulness.  One of the significant results of worry is a profound lack of peace.

Worry is just another word for fear.

Fear has many names, Worry and Anxiety are just two of them. I looked it up and Worry comes in so many flavors that it has 118 synonyms or other words that help to describe the way we express worry. Worry can range from simple concern to an overriding preoccupation that paralyzes your life.

We need to understand that worry is something that we learn to do. Because worry is something that we learn to do it is something that we can unlearn.

Worry is our response many times to life and the things that we can’t control when they don’t go our way.  Worry is something we learn to do from experience. Someone once said that “Worry is really our personal irritation with God” because he didn’t do something when we thought he should do it and the way he would do it.  This is why worry often leads to anger and frustration. Not just with people but with God.

Matthew 6:27 (AMP) - And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life?

Worry doesn’t add one hour to our day and can’t make us change our stature. As a matter of fact, What Jesus is saying is that worry doesn’t change what is. Worry is actually proven to make people look smaller and worry causes us to waste the precious time we have. Worry doesn’t lighten the load of life it actually increases the weight. This is why they call it being – “Weighted down with Worry”.

There are two quotes that I love about worry.

~ Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.

~ Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere.

One of the things that this verse teaches us is that – Control is an illusion.

We don’t have control. To think that we do is to fool ourselves.

It takes a great deal of faith to live this life.  God is in control! This is our hope!

One of the great truths of the Bible is that God invites us to exchange our fear and worry for His peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Fear is the opposite of peace. The opposite of chaos is calm.

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

Jesus is offering us HIS peace. This is a marvelous exchange.

He says – “Let not your heart be troubled.” This means that we allow either trouble or HIS peace into our life.

My prayer this month is that we will enter into a deeper understanding and reality of living in His Peace.  May God bless you and your family this summer.

Remember that you are loved.
Pastor Marvin and Dawn

Image by NoName_13 from Pixabay

HCC Monthly Harvest Seed

Matthew 8:5-10 - Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

~ Smith Wigglesworth – Often called the Apostle of faith – “Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.”

All faith starts out small and then it grows. Just like a seed.

All of us have been given a measure of faith in our lives.

That measure is enough to cause us to be able to receive the Word of God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:3 - For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Each of us have been given enough grace (God’s unearned and undeserved favor) to have enough faith to be saved and begin our journey with God humbly.

Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Throughout the Bible and in Jesus teaching we discover that there is a progression of faith.

It goes like this… Little faith, Mustard Seed Faith, More Faith, Much Faith, and Great Faith.

We are not going to spend time on all of these, but the level of our faith is important.

Luke 9:29 - Then He (Jesus) touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”

One moment Peter was getting out of the boat and walking on water and the next he took his eyes off of Jesus and was sinking.

One moment Peter was full of boldness cutting off the ear of a servant and within hours was denying Christ.

There are people and places that do not see God do many miracles because their unbelief is stronger than the willingness to receive the Word that is given to them.

Matthew 13:58 (AMP) - And He did not do many miracles there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief.

A little bit of faith is the substance of big things. This is the entire concept behind Mustard Seed Faith.

Luke 17:6 - So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

The opposite of faith is not fear, it is unbelief.

A little bit of unbelief in God and His Word is a big hinderance.

A little bit of faith in God and His Word and nothing will be impossible for us.

All you need is a little Word, and you have the substance of big things.  It is interesting that Jesus often told people that they had little faith.

This means that they didn’t even have enough of His Word in them to contain the substance of a mustard seed. 

Before we can know what Great Faith looks life we need to understand – “Little Faith”.

Little faith is faith that is LESS THAN a mustard seed.

Little faith does not understand the basic concept that God loves us and that because He loves us, He will take care of us. Little faith does not understand the concept of covenant love.

Matthew 6:30-34 - Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Peter started out with great faith. He took Jesus up on His Word to “Come”. Then doubt crept in. The reality was in the midst of the storm he walked on water but then Peter looked at the other part of reality and doubt came in.

Doubt is different than unbelief. It believes but it doesn’t believe. It becomes unsure.  Little faith is faith that wavers.

There are only two places in the Bible that talks about great faith.

Twice Jesus commends people for their Great Faith. One is a man, and one is a woman.

The interesting thing is that neither of them were Jewish nor Christians.

The first one:

Matthew 8:5-10 - Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 

Great faith takes Christ at his word. – The centurion said only speak the word and my servant will be healed. – Just say the word.  Your word is good enough for me. I don’t need anything else.

Those with Great faith understand the authority of Jesus.

For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.

The centurion understood how authority works. He was a man under authority. He was submitted to authority himself. When he was given orders, he obeyed.

 And He was a man of authority. He understood that when a command was given by him, he expected it to be carried out.

Matthew 28:18 (AMP) - Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.

When Jesus spoke – worlds were created from nothing.  That’s authority.

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father.

Those who have great faith don’t walk around giving orders to God. They understand that Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth, and His will is done.

Those who walk by faith understand the authority of Jesus.

This month we are going to unpack what it means to have great faith. In this months Harvest Seed we have only looked at a few of the many things that God has revealed to us in His Word concerning the levels of faith.

I am excited about where God is leading us this year as we live – By Faith!

You are loved by God and you have a place here at HCC!
Pastor Marvin & Dawn

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

HCC Monthly Harvest Seed

Psalm 145:9 - The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

From the time we are young we are taught that God is Good, and God is great.

Notice that - The greatness of God is directly connected to His Goodness.

If we understand the Goodness of God, we will never question the Greatness of God.

It is when we begin to question the goodness of God that we question the greatness, ability, intention, and power of God.

In Church circles we love to Say – “God is Good, - All the Time - and - All the Time – God is Good.”

I Love these things – it is important that we don’t just say them but that we believe them. It is important that we remind each other of the Goodness of God all the time.

I want to ask you – DO you really believe that God is Good? Have you had a revelation of the Goodness of God that has radically affected how you live and believe?

The image of God that we carry in our heart will determine everything about our faith, our peace our joy and our future.

Romans 2:4 - (NLT) - Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

The Gospel is the good news of the Goodness of God. Believing in the Goodness of God is one of the pillars of our faith. Everything that we believe about God flows from this truth that GOD IS GOOD. It is a belief in the goodness of God that leads us to repent of our old ways and sin. We repent because we know it is possible to be in the good graces of God.

It’s interesting how we often associate certain traits of God’s character as “Bad or Hard” Things like His Judgement, anger, justice and wrath.  It is important to understand that all of the character traits of God are wrapped up in ONE supremely good being.  Theologically this is known as the – Simplicity of God.

God is one. He is not split into different things. He is not a bit of wrath and a little bit of mercy: he is not more judgement and less compassion. Every attribute of God is wrapped up in His Goodness.

Mark 12:29-30 - Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

God is ONE.  Everything about Him is good.

If God were only powerful, he would be throwing lightning bolts at us like a Greek God, whenever it suited His mood.

Our all-powerful God is also merciful. Psalm 145:8 - The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. His goodness isn’t soft on one end and hard on the other – it is powerful in all aspects.

Good is WHO God is and WHAT God does.

Because God is good all that He does is good whether it is in Kindness, discipline or in judgement.

Psalm 119:68 - You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.

Good – To be morally right in every way, to be excellent in every way. To be perfect in quality and degree.

Goodness – Means being kind, benevolent, to be generous and to give favor towards someone. To be big-hearted and liberal and not stingy.

Tied to God’s goodness is the idea of Faithfulness.

Faithful – Loyal, dependable, reliable, steadfast. It is a picture of a person who is devoted, constant, unwavering and completely and entirely trustworthy.

Lamentations 3:22-24 - Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!”

One of the reasons that we can depend on the Goodness of God is because He IS Faithful.

2 Timothy 2:13 (AMP) - If we are faithless, He remains faithful [true to His word and His righteous character], for He cannot deny Himself

God will never not be who HE is. He is the great - I AM.

He AM Good and He AM Faithful.

Our life lived BY FAITH is entirely dependent on the goodness and faithfulness of God.

It is the unchanging, constant, stable, unwavering nature of God that causes our trust in Him to grow and stay strong.

He is God and He is entirely Good and completely faithful, and He does not change.

Think for a moment of all that God has done for you! How He has blessed you.

He has been faithful… therefore we can trust Him and not worry – He has a great track record. Those who live – By Faith – count on it.

Those who live by faith have experienced the goodness of God.

Psalm 34:7-9 - The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord, you, His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him
.

God desires that we experience what happens when we trust Him.

We are to taste and see that the Lord is good. We are to discover how blessed we are when we trust Him.

God provides for us, protects us, heals us, meets our needs.

God invites us to taste and discover His goodness for ourselves.

My Friend in this year of living – By Faith – I believe we are going to become more aware of God’s goodness and faithfulness. If you are still unconvinced of the kindness and love of God, I invite you to taste and see that He is good. To You!

Remember that you are loved,
Pastor Marvin & Dawn

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

HCC Monthly Harvest Seed

By Faith

Hebrews11:1-6 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken, he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Our faith is the foundation of all that we believe.

Hebrews chapter 11 is often described as “God’s hall of faith”.

These are people that we can look to as an example of what it is to serve God, love God and to make a difference in this world for God.

Faith is at the heart of all that a true Christian is. Christians LIVE -By Faith.  Every aspect of our life is lived – By Faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7 - For we walk by faith, not by sight.

True Christians live by faith and not by what they see. They trust God and His Word. Faith is not wishing, it is not positive thinking, it is not manipulating things and circumstances. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Our faith has substance to it. And it is the substance of faith that gives substance to our lives.

This year our theme is – By Faith. We will be learning to live our lives by faith. To walk BY FAITH and not by Sight.

Today many Christians are living by what they know and see. This year is a call to Biblical living. Faithful living and faith-filled living.

What many consider faith is something that has been humanized. Today much of what is taught about faith is corrupted faith. It is rooted in personal gain or to meet self needs and desires. The faith that is taught is urging believers to ask God to bless them, prosper them and to give them their dreams and desires.

True faith that walks in obedience to God’s Word already understands that they are blessed and walk in favor with God because it stems from a relationship with God.

True faith is born out of intimacy with God.

If the faith we have doesn’t come out of intimacy with God, it really isn’t faith in His sight. True faith comes out of the SUBSTANCE of our intimacy and relationship with God.

It is out of this intimacy that the blessings of faith come.

Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

People want to know the secret of having great faith. – There are no shortcuts, no secret formulas. God is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek HIM. People of great faith are people of prayer. Those who spend time in the presence of God.

The presence of God is not a mystical cloud that appears – to be in the presence of God means that we are PRESENT where HE is.

Presence is not a feeling, it is not an anointing, it is PROXIMITY.

James 4:8a - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

You only truly get to know someone the closer you get to them. First in physical nearness then in emotional and spiritual nearness.

The reason people of faith are able to walk by faith and see the results of faith are because they stay close to God. –

A life that is lived by faith is a life that is lived near and close to God.  Daniel 11:32b - but the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.

It is impossible to have faith that pleases God without sharing intimacy with Him.

True faith comes as we desire to know and please the Lord above everything else in our lives.

A life lived by faith is not a life that is lived alone it is lived in relationship with God. It is a bond of faith, a communion that is like a marriage.

 A life lived by faith is a life lived together with God. All of it.

Each year we start out on a fresh journey. I am excited about what God is going to do in our lives individually and through us as a church as we truly learn to live – By Faith.

May you and your family be blessed in this New Year. Remember it is a New Year but the Same God! You are Loved-

Pastor Marvin & Dawn

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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