Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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To Those Who Find Them
Proverbs 4:20 My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
21. Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart;
22. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.
Life and health sounds like a good way to go. I donít know about you but that sound a lot better than the alternative which would be death and sickness. Godís words are life to those who find them. So my question would be; what about those who donít find them. The implication is that some find them and some donít. I believe we have a part to play in finding as the finding definitely requires our participation. We often want to just put things off on God and hope He will take care of everything without our involvement, however when you study the Word of God we see this is not the case at all. Lets take a look some of the things we must do in order to fulfill our part in finding.
The first thing Proverbs 4:20 declares is to give attention to His words. Other translations say to listen, or pay attention to my words. One translation says to listen carefully. This is definitely our part to play in finding. We can not find His words if we wonít first pay attention to His words. The amount of attention you pay to His words is a direct reflection of how much you actually pay attention to Him. It shows honor and respect for Him.
Secondly we are told do not let them depart from our eyes. The -- Living Bible says it like thisÖ
Proverbs 4:21 Keep these thoughts ever in mind; let them penetrate deep within your heart. I like that. God will do the revealing but we have to do our part as well.
And thirdly, keep them in the midst of your heart. We are being told to keep what we have found. It is our responsibility to do the keeping. Life and health are dependent on us keeping the Word of God once we have found it. I realize in many Christian circles this is not what is typically taught. We have to find and then keep His Word before the life and health are manifested.
If it were all up to God why would He tell us in His Word to do these things?
If you study the Word of God you will find this is a recurring theme. We are told to keep the Word before our eyes, bind it upon our hearts, not to let it depart from our mouths.
I donít want to belabor this point, however I believe many Christians miss it right here and never even know they have missed it. If the Word of God is not first place in our lives then we will never find the life and health that is promised to us. Thatís a very sobering thought, so we should be motivated to find out exactly what we can do and also find the things that are hindering us from doing these things in order to get and keep the life that God has promised us.
I know this is of great importance to the Lord. Several years ago this truth was made very real to me. I was awakened very early, approximately 3:45 A.M. I normally get up early, about 4:30. I went from a very deep sleep to instantly and totally wide awake. I didnít know what was going on so I listened thinking maybe there had been a noise, however it was very quiet in my house. So I just sat there in the bed and listened. As I was setting there in my bed straining to hear; the Lord spoke to me. He said get up, get your Bible and turn to Luke the 8th chapter, I want to show you something. Iíve never had an experience quite like this before. I said yes Sir and did as I was told. I grabbed my Bible and a notebook and started to read. As I began to read, it was like a giant light was turned on in my spirit and revelation began to flow. I saw the importance of this truth so clearly. I would ask you to get your Bible out and read this section of Scripture in Lukeís account of the parable of the sower and ask God to show you this truth that is so powerful. I will put a portion of it here but not the whole thing because of space.
Starting with verse 10. And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that `Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.' 11. "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12. "Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13. "But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14. "And the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15. "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Jesus taught what He heard the Father teach, and this was part of His teaching wherever He went.
We see 3 recorded accounts of this parable in 3 different Gospel. He called it a mystery of the kingdom of God. He taught this truth not to condemn us but to give us the spiritual understanding we needed in order to receive and keep the victory that He later went on to purchase for us. We should want to learn this awesome truth as well. Lets take the time necessary to hear the truth He wanted us to receive.
If we look at our opening Scripture, Proverbs 4:20 we see the parallel between what was said there and what Jesus taught. The part we play in receiving and keeping is what is being emphasized. Thereís a good reason for this, Godís part is a sure thing. His Word will never fail. If failure happens its because we didnít do what He told us to do in His Word. This can come through either ignorance or outright disobedience or as Jesus taught, a lack of commitment on our part to see the promise of God through to the point where fruit is produced.
Lets look at the parable.
The sower sows the seed, Jesus said the seed is the Word of God. We know that 100% of the seed is good. The seed was sown into the hearts of men. 100% of the seed that was sown was heard and received. If youíve received the Word of God then you believe the Word of God, that makes you a believer doesnít it? What we do with the Word of God after we receive it is what determines the outcome. Out of 100% of the ones who heard and received the Word of God only 25 % bore any fruit at all, and only 1/3 of that 25% bore a 100 fold return. That is saying that the other 75% of those who have heard and received bore no fruit at all. Wow! So to break this down only approximately 8% of those who have heard and received the Word of God will receive a 100 fold return. Yet it doesnít have to be this way. The seed if planted in good soil will always bear fruit.
Jesus was comparing the different conditions of the heart to different types of soil. These different conditions of the heart are the determining factor in whether the seed will ever produce. Our heart is the soil the seed is sown into. The entire problem is in the dirt. The seed wonít grow if the dirt isnít right.
Some seed lands on the side of the road. Jesus said the devil comes and takes away the words out of their hearts. It had to be in their heart before the devil could take it out didnít it? Dirt that has too many rocks in it, will not allow the seed to mature because the roots wonít develop. This is someone who heard the Word of God with joy and believe for a while but then temptation comes and they fall away. Some of the seed fell among thorns, this seed was received as well, but because of the cares, riches, and pleasures of life, the seed was choked and could not bring fruit to maturity. The last type of soil Jesus talked about was the good ground. This type of soil He called a noble and good heart. The noble and good hearts is the heart that not only receives the Word of God but keeps it. Only seed that is kept can germinate, only seed that is kept can grow, and only seed that is kept will over time grow to maturity and bears fruit. The only type of heart that can do this is a noble and good heart. We each have to ask ourselves, do I have a noble and good heart? The way we know, is if after we have heard the Word of God we are bearing fruit. If we are not bearing fruit then the only answer is that we donít have a noble and good heart. Simple enough to answer isnít it. We have to be honest with ourselves and evaluate where we are if we are going to grow in the things of God donít we? Lets take the time to hear and then after having heard, hold fast to what we have heard. After all, this is the only way we will ever bear fruit.
Iíve seen so many cases where Christians donít want to take responsibility for many of the problems they have in life. Having said that, I realize that in this life hear on Earth there will always be problems until the Lord comes back. Iím talking about the type of problems that come from not putting Godís Word first place in their lives.
I can honestly say Iíve been on both sides of this fence and Iíve seen first hand the kind of results that happen when we do what the Lord has told us to do. It is like night and day. I also realize we have to grow and develop in the things of God. We donít just start out getting 100 fold results. However, we have to start somewhere, so why not start at the beginning and allow transforming truth of Godís Word to start taking place.
The Incorruptible Seed
The Seeds is Godís Word, Godís Word is the Seed.
There are many who have listened but few who have heard.
If you have not heard, you can not believe.
If you receive and cherish the Seed, faith will arise in your heart to believe.
The Seed when planted in good soil will continue to grow,
Nothing can stop it from coming to pass, It will continue to produce and put forth its fruit.
The Seed will grow when you keep the soil of your heart tender and good,
And will always produce the Fruit of Godís Word.
So do not get discouraged or become dismayed, but keep the good soil and let Godís Word the Seed continue to grow in your heart and bring forth its fruit as you believe. Amen
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.