Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Farming good soil and pearls on pigs - did we get Matthew 13 wrong?

 We've all heard the parable of the sower, and there has been so much discussion about this parable or metaphor, but I wonder if we've missed a very important point. No, it's not the point that the parable is about the soil, not the sower, although that is true. In fact, we've talked about the condition of the soil so often, we forgot about the farmer.

The only way I've heard this taught is that the sower or farmer is supposed to cast the seed everywhere, nonstop sharing the news, like a New York boy standing on the street with that little side-cocked hat, hawking papers, "Good news! Get your good news right here!" 

As if, we are supposed to witness to every single person because they might be the "one." I wish I could put a sound effect in right here: screeching tires.

(Whoa, ok for those like me who are saying, now wait, I've got to share my Good News - of course be yourself and share about your own experience anytime you're led to - I'm making another point here.) 

But, let's think about this. How many farmers do you know that walk around with a seed bag, or these days drive around a huge seed planter, and just willy-nilly drop seed everywhere they go, assuming at least some of the time, the soil is going to be receptive and fertile and they will get a crop that may even be, heaven be praised, a hundred fold? 

Is that like farming lottery? How does that make sense? I hope this person wants to hear my good news, I pray someone's heart was ready...

A farmer cannot afford to waste valuable seed, or her valuable time and resources tossing seed into the wind and hoping it lands somewhere. How could they reap a harvest if they have no idea where and which seed grew, if they keep moving along tossing out kernels here, there and everywhere?

A good farmer chooses the land where he intends to spend time investing seed. She then prepares the soil, adding nutrients and paying attention to the season, so that when the seed is planted it has the best opportunity to grow. 

A good farmer pays attention to the planted field from then on, nurturing and caring for its needs so it has the best chance possible to produce successfully. 

When the produce is fully ripe and ready to be gathered in, the farmer is there, protecting it, and rejoicing in how much has been gained. A good farmer has a relationship of care and concern for the land, the soil (you get it that this means people, right?)

So, may be stop throwing your pearls of wisdom and hope on closed minds and ears and focus on developing relationships with people who might, then, actually be interested in what you have to say. Mary Kay Ash said people don't care about what you have to say until they believe you care about their needs.

Matthew 7:6 “Who would hang earrings on a dog’s ear or throw pearls in front of wild pigs? They’ll only trample them under their feet and then turn around and tear you to pieces! 

(As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “Don’t let the dogs have consecrated [holy] meat.” The Aramaic word for “earrings” is almost identical to the word for “holy.” Earrings and pearls are symbols of spiritual truths given to us by God. They give us beautiful “ears” to hear his voice and impart lovely pearls of wisdom, which are not to be regarded lightly or shared with those who have their hearts closed. The Aramaic word for “throw” is almost identical to the word for “to instruct” or “to teach.” The value of wisdom is not appreciated by those who have no ears to hear it. TPT footnote e)

So read the parable of the sower, or soil, one more time as translated from the Aramaic, and see if you get one more harvest of insight, in a new way:

Matthew 13:3- 12 (TPT)

He  taught  them  many  things  by  using  stories,  parables  that  would  illustrate  spiritual  truths,  


“Consider  this:  There  was  a  farmer  who  went  out  to  sow  seeds. As  he  cast  his  seeds,  some  fell  

along  the  beaten  path  and  the  birds  came  and  ate  them. Other  seeds  fell  onto  gravel  that  had  

no  topsoil.  The  seeds  quickly  shot  up, but  when  the  days  grew  hot,  the  sprouts  were  scorched  

and withered because they had insufficient roots. Other seeds fell among the thorns and weeds, so  when  the  seeds  sprouted,  so  did the  weeds,  crowding  out  the  good  plants.

But  other  seeds fell  on  good,  rich  soil  that  kept  producing  a  good  harvest.  Some  yielded  thirty,  some  sixty,  and some even one hundred times as much as he planted! If you’re able to understand this, then you need to respond.”

Then  his  disciples  approached  Jesus  and  asked,  “Why  do  you  always  speak  to  people  in  these  

hard-to-understand parables?”

He  explained,  “You’ve  been  given  the  intimate  experience  of  insight  into  the  hidden  truths  and  

mysteries of the realm of heaven’s kingdom, but they have not. For everyone who listens with an open heart will receive progressively more revelation until  he  has  more  than  enough. But  those who  don’t  listen  with  an  open,  teachable  heart,  even  the  understanding  that  they  think  they have will be taken from them.

Find open, teachable hearts, and sow your precious Good News there. Invest in the lives of those who know they need help, love, caring for, and you'll find good soil that will produce a harvest, a person who will become a loving farmer themselves and this is how you change the world for good.

Visit me at www.thebrainretrain.com and share this blog post to someone you believe is ready to hear something new.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

God help me, I'm afraid! What to do after you pray

I'm afraid, I'm praying like crazy and I don't feel any better. Help!

Paul knew exactly what you mean, and he found the answer. Thankfully he wrote it down so now we all can know!

Paul was experiencing a season of active harassment from a Satanic messenger. Oh yeah, there's actually a Satan and he really is out to get you. Now that we know that, what can we do? A lot actually.

Paul started out well, he prayed and asked Jesus to remove it. Good advice, ask God to deal with this problem. And you know what God said back?

Jesus told Paul he already possessed everything he needed to deal with this interloper

Wait, I thought I'm supposed to pray and take my hands off the wheel! Right?

Jesus answered, “'My grace is always more than enough for you [to ward off the Adversary’s harassment of you] AND my power finds its full expression through your weakness.' So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me [sheltering me]. So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ—I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power."
 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 TPT

Great.... everybody get happy... Seriously, what do I DO? How do I open the portal? Is it like a Stargate? Do I stand under the moon and chant? Uh.....not so much.

Now, I know most of the time I tell you (and myself) to focus on the neuropsychology aspect, to take my thoughts captive, to take charge of what I choose to think, and instead think on what God says to think on (Philippians 4:8). 

Neuro-what? Did you know your thoughts are based on beliefs about what is happening to you, usually created early in childhood, and they create your emotional response? That's right, think about it, when you are upset, what do you believe about your situation? That's why you feel that way. 

Think about it, why would God tell us to change our thoughts unless we have the power to do so?  But wait, there's more...

This time I'm going to tell you to give your brain biofeedback from your muscles, from your action. Yes! You get to DO something, because we always want to jump in and take over and do something, right? Or is that just me?

Hebrews 12:12-13 So be made strong even in your weakness by lifting up your tired hands in prayer and worship. And strengthen your weak knees, for as you keep walking forward on God’s paths [See Isa. 35:3; Prov. 4:26.] all your stumbling ways will be divinely healed!

Yes, we have Free Will, we have a part to play. I don't mean pray then do whatever you think will solve the problem, that's the opposite of what I am saying. 

I mean pray, then act like your prayers have been answered, lift up your hands in worship and go about your day, knowing that help is in action even when you don't yet see it manifested. 

Instead of continually praying for help, convincing yourself that help is not yet here (what we expect is what we experience)

decide to pray once, then continually thank God that He already knew this was going to happen and already has prepared a supernatural rescue. 

Yes, ask Him for help, acknowledge that it's His help you need, then choose to believe the help is on the way. 

Daniel prayed for God to help him and all the people in captivity, and he didn't see any results for nearly a month, but he kept believing the answer was coming. Sure enough, an angel showed up and explained, 

"He told me, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. God has heard everything that you said ever since the first day you decided to humble yourself in front of your God so that you could learn to understand things. I have come in response to your prayer. The commander of the Persian kingdom opposed me for 21 days. But then Michael, one of the chief commanders, came to help me because I was left alone with the kings of Persia." Daniel 10:12-13

Still think you are not part of a real war? Don't worry, we win, I've read the end of the book.

So, pray, decide help is on the way, and repeat until amazed. There are really cool studies in atomic research that demonstrate atoms (and photons) appear where they are expected to appear, behave as the observer decided they would. Kind of makes sense now why God says "as you believe in your heart, so it is, or so are you," Proverbs 23:7. 

Reinforce it, keep reminding yourself of every verse that says God knows the end from the beginning, He knows the thoughts He has toward you, to help you, etc. (Look these up, the post is getting really long.) It might take a month of believing, it might take years, I don't know, most of the time mine take minutes to about a month but some stuff I am counting on went on for a few years or more - remember other people have free will, too, and they may choose to never change.

THEN when you see the answer to prayer, file that memory away and decide to remind yourself of this moment, during the next crisis. Next crisis? For sure, after all that's the nature of the world at this time, until God completes His plan and removes Satan finally, the current "god of this world or age." 2 Corinthians 4:4

Jesus said, why are you surprised when evil happens? 1 Peter 4:12 

It's to be expected while Satan is roaming the earth looking for who he can steal from, kill, or destroy their lives. (1 Peter 5:8) Remember the war? You're in it whether you want to be or not. Are you going to be a victim or a victor? 

What do you do when Satan comes in your house and acts like he owns the place? 

Push him back, push him back, waaaay back - that's basically what James 4:7 says 1. Submit to God 2. Resist (push back forcibly) the devil, and 3. He will flee. 4. Game over - till the next round) 

Look, if you don't believe it, neither will Satan or any demon sent to harass you (Acts 19:16-19) so get in the Word until you are convinced of your authority (Mark 16:17-18 both literally and metaphorically - serpents and poison are metaphors for enemies and attacks on character in Aramaic, however Paul does give us the example of being protected from physical harm as well Acts 28:3-6.)

Back to Satan in my crib....(sorry, I thought I could carry that off). 

Still, I'm like "So what?" I get back in the face of evil and say, "Is that all you've got? Let me tell you something, 'He that is in me (and every other believer) is greater than he that is in the world.'" (1 John 4:4) 

Not only that, I remind myself that Jesus left us His particular brand of Peace. 

John 14:27 says “I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!"

Interestingly, these are the same words Moses gave before he died and the words God spoke to Joshua as he entered into his life’s plan of taking the promised land for Israel. See Deut. 31:8; Josh. 1:8-9; 10:25. 

Because, God has not given us a spirit of cowardly fear. See also 2 Tim. 1:7. That's Satan's specialty and if you've got it, return it for something better. You don't even need a receipt.

God's given us the Holy Spirit! "For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control (also translated revelation or instruction.)

And if the Spirit of the Living God lives inside of me, then of "whom shall I fear?' Psalm 27:1

I mean seriously, "Get thee behind me Satan" or today we might say, "Step off, Jack." Matthew 16:23

Look, when you're afraid you're in fight, flight or freeze. Make a choice in advance. "Choose this day whom you will serve (listen to, obey, respond to.) Joshua 24:15. 

Studies of which people survive attack suggest those people who had a plan in advance make it, they already created a mind map of how to escape. That's why those in law enforcement check out the exits, look at the crowd, are aware of their escape routes. 

When you are afraid, your frontal cortex shuts down and the amygdala takes over and all your brain wants to know is who do I need to fight or where can I run and if that info is not readily available, you freeze, paralyzed by fear. Is that you right now? Its time to decide.

Are you going to believe Satan (Looooser), or are you going to believe the Maker of Heaven and Earth, King of Kings, Lord of Lords who planned the whole shabang and rigged it in your favor from the beginning, always planning for you to have the authority to kick Satan's.... well, you get the drift...

You have armor (a wrap around shield called Faith that goes before you, and protects you from your past behind you, and makes all of the enemy's arrows glance off or bounce right back in his face...because I'm rubber and your glue...and you have a Sword, it's the Word of Truth, the Scripture that demonic forces cannot stand to hear you speak. Ephesians 6:10-18.) 

So be like your Daddy, be the spitting image of Him, and SPEAK things that are unseen into being. Psalm 33:9, Romans 4:17

Words have power, and I don't mean they hurt your feelings. I am talking Quantum Physics now and the Bible is full of it. 

Ok, we are getting into the need for another post. Read my upcoming book, The BrainRetrain and I will go deeper. 

For now, you've got everything you need, do something about it!

Speak the Word, then take action by lifting up your hands in praise and worship, believing that whatever you ask Him in His name (as a representative of God, as His child, under His authority and protection) He will do it. Period. John 14:13. 

Are you a sincere believer, do you believe? Who do you say Jesus is? Matthew 16:15-16

And then act like it.

I'm with you in this battle. He is with both of us. We are not alone.

If you need more help, visit me at www.thebrainretrain.com

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

God's love language is

 God is love. We hear that all the time. And we apply our own meaning to His love.

It's funny because God refers to Himself as a parent, a lover, a friend, a hero, a protector, a savior...

When you and I talk about true love, ultimate love, unconditional love towards our children, lover, friends, and those we want to help, we talk about concepts like "tough love," respectful, considerate, kind, sacrificial, encouraging, will tell us the truth and stop us from making a complete fool of ourselves, will back us up, in other words...a person who shows their love by their actions not by empty words.

Yet when we talk about loving God, we refer to Him accepting all we do (that's different than accepting us as we are when we open our hearts to His mercy and grace), only talking to Him when we have run out of all other options, doing what we want in spite of knowing it hurts or disrespects Him, pretending He doesn't exist (ghosting Him) when it's convenient then begging for help when we are scared or hurt ourselves. And we call God the narcissist?

How does God define love? The examples I understand best are that of a parent, a true loving parent who expects His children to grow up, mature, to develop character and have a good, long life and prosper in all things 

(3 John 1:2 "Beloved friend, I pray that you are prospering in every way and that you continually enjoy good health, just as your soul is prospering.")

Love as faithful, and faith is understanding authority. Matthew 8:5-11, 13

When Jesus entered the village of Capernaum, a captain[a] in the Roman army approached him, asking for a miracle. “Lord,” he said, “I have a son who is lying in my home, paralyzed and suffering terribly.”

Jesus responded, “I will go with you and heal him.”

But the Roman officer interjected, “Lord, who am I to have you come into my house? I understand your authority, for I too am a man who walks under authority and have authority over soldiers who serve under me. I can tell one to go and he’ll go, and another to come and he’ll come. I order my servants and they’ll do whatever I ask. So I know that all you need to do is to stand here and command healing over my son and he will be instantly healed.”

Jesus was astonished when he heard this and said to those who were following him, “He has greater faith than anyone I’ve encountered in Israel!…Then Jesus turned to the Roman officer and said, “Go home. All that you have believed for will be done for you!” And his son was healed at that very moment.

 God defines love as obedience. John 14:23-24

Jesus replied, “Loving me empowers you to obey my word.[p] And my Father will love you so deeply that we will come to you and make you our dwelling place. But those who don’t love me will not obey my words. The Father did not send me to speak my own revelation, but the words of my Father. 

Can you tell me that you do not expect a child who loves you to show you that by respecting your decisions, obeying you even if they are not mature enough to understand and agree, to believe that you love this child and have their absolute best at heart, and to trust that you are teaching them to practice self control, kindness and mercy so that they can grow into adults capable and practiced at living a mature life that creates joy, fulfillment, contentment and purpose? 

God is love, and He defines Himself as enduring, mature, and kind, even when love must do the hard thing for the true good of a loved one. True love is a strong love, and we don't develop the ability to love with strength and wisdom, knowing when to love with laughter and when to love with boundaries, unless we have first learned authority and obedience. 

1 Corinthians 13:4-11 

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.

Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.