AS LONG AS THE EARTH REMAINS

In the second book of Corinthians the apostle Paul speaks of the seen and the unseen and states that the things which are seen are temporal and subject to change. He says that only those things that are not seeable with the human eye are stable and do not change.

Anyone who has lived a few years can testify to the truth of Paulís statement. We recently traveled to some places in Oklahoma and Arkansas that we once called home. Old landmarks have disappeared, those things we once used to give directions are not there anymore, the cow pasture now has a shopping center. Those of you who have been away from familiar places for a few months, and returned, will see roads that were not there when you left, houses that seemed to spring up in the blink of a eye, businesses have opened and old standbyís  have closed. Then on a trip down memory lane, looking back and forth from old photos to our mirror we again see proof that the things of this earth change. We remember the young person we used to be and wonder, who is that old person looking back at us from the mirror.

We have all heard that there is nothing sure but death and taxes, but in Genesis 1:11-12, and in Genesis 8:22 we are told some other things are sure.

Genesis 1:11-12  And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Gen 8:22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Bible scholars call these verses the Law of Genesis. A law is a rule that regulates our lives, if we do not follow the rule or law we do not have good results.

The first rule in Genesis is that everything will produce after itís own kind. It is the nature of seed to produce itís own kind. Corn seed planted in nice rows, on nice little hills, tenderly cared for, watered and fertilized, kept weed free with neat signs at the end of each row that say cabbage, will still produce corn....not cabbage. Everything produces after itís own kind. The rule is, you donít sow turnips if you want beans. If you follow this on through it will also bring to mind that people produce people. Monkeys produce monkeys and elephants produce elephants not lions.

For Christians to say they do not accept evolution is not quite accurate, because the word means 'to change.' Of course things change, but they do not evolve between species. Babies grow to be big people and they change into old people. Animals around the world adapt to the climate and the altitude and they change, but a horse will never be a cat of any kind. Everything produces after itís own kind.

The second part of the Law of Genesis is found in Genesis 8:22 and starts with the words while the earth remains. Is the earth still remaining? Yes. Then these rules are still in effect.

There are four different sections to this rule:

1. Seedtime and harvest. The Bible declares there is a time to plant and a time to pluck up, or harvest. Eccl. 3:1-8.  So we know that trying to plant potatoes in frozen ground is not a good time. If we tried, we would be laboring in vain and would not reap a harvest .

2. Cold and heat. This is true, even in the desert there is cold and heat. The difference in degrees is less severe than in Alaska, but there is still cold and heat. And we have learned to deal with the cold and heat, we have heating systems and cooling systems. We put on more clothes or remove some, we fan ourselves, drink hot or cold liquids, and cherish the sun or the shade.

3. Summer and winter. All over the world, there is summer and winter, the time of year may vary but there is summer and winter. Europeans or Americans, if financially able, have learned that travel to Australia in December will bring them into summer time and in July there will be winter.

4. Day and night. Every where there is day and night, no matter how long or how short the dark and the light is, there is day and night and we have learned to deal with it. In the past, we had candles, oil lamps and gas lights and now we have electric power. So we can extend our days or if we choose we have the ability to block out light. But no matter what we do, day and night remain.

When we look at seed time and harvest, there are often things that we do not comprehend. Godís word is full of different kinds of seed. Seeds that are not purchased from the local version of Burpeeís seed catalog.

Mark 4:14-20 "The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they stumble. Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred."

What is it that the sower is sowing? Words. Jesus explained to the disciples that the seed was Godís word Luke 8:11. So....whose words? First of all these seeds are Godís words.

1 Peter 1:23 speaks of the incorruptible seed of Godís word. It is this seed when planted in the hearts of mankind, that will spring up and produce faith. This seed has so much power that no matter how long it lies dormant, it still has the power to translate us out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of His own dear Son, the kingdom of light.

Before we are born again by the incorruptible seed of Godís word, the Bible says we are sinners. We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are producing the seed that is in us. Everything produces after itís own kind. When the seed of God is sown in us, it takes root and begins to grow, now our spirit man begins to produce faith, peace, joy, and love. Because of the incorruptible good seed we are being conformed into the image of Jesus. As these good seeds are released or sown by us, they will produce after their own kind.

How does this seed get sown? By our words and our actions. Proverbs tells us that a perverse man sows strife and that to have friends we must act friendly. It also says that a man who guards his mouth keeps his life and will eat of the fruit of his lips. I take that to mean that we might as well be satisfied, because what we say is what we are going to get. Everything produces after itís own kind.

Do you realize that God never does anything with out first speaking it. Read all of the first chapter of Genesis and note that "He said", appears ten times in the KJV. He said let there be light before there was light.

About 750 years before Jesus was born, the prophets spoke Godís word. "A virgin shall conceive and bear a Son." Isaiah 7:14 Unto to you a child is born, He shall be called wonderful, counselor, prince of peace. Isaiah 9:6.  Then one day those words took effect and the "Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:14.

What does that have to do with us? When we are born again, our spirit is renewed, changed once more into the image of the one who created us and we are now able to speak the language of our Father. Our words now have creative power. And what we sow is what we will reap.

About 40 years ago I read a book called reality therapy. This book spoke of words and actions and the consequences of our words and actions. In other words, sowing and reaping. The author may not have known it but he was agreeing with Godís word.

Godís word says that by honoring our parents we will reap long days on the earth. Most of us think of this as when our parents are old, but I always maintained to our children that their days on the earth could be much shorter if they did not honor our wishes on a daily basis. We are to sow honor in order to reap long life.

Godís word says, blessed are the merciful for they will reap mercy. Give and it shall be given unto you. His word indicates that we should sow into the lives of others in many ways.

The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians. Speaks of temporal things being subject to change and we all know that is true. When we look in the mirror, we nod our heads and say,  "Yep! thatís true, things change." Or we notice that we have different attitudes. We used to long to live in California because it was popular "or cool" to do so, now we long to live there because it is warm.

Temporal things change, there is only one who remains constant. He is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. He boldly declares I am God and I change not, and then goes on to say that even though the grass withers and the flowers fade my word stands forever. As long as the earth remains, there are rules that will never change.

The law of Genesis declares that everything produces after itís own kind. In other portions of scripture ( Galatians 6:7) we read that what we sow is what we reap. Since the word makes it clear that we will reap, we need to give thought to what and how we are sowing.

We have learned to live with most of the natural laws that are listed in Genesis 8:22. We respect the seasons. We have imagined and created things that help us to live in them in relative comfort. Winters are warmed by furnaces. Hot summers are made more enjoyable by air conditioning.

Our days are extended by lights, we are now able to travel by night because someone thought of putting lights on vehicles.

We plant beans in the spring, instead of the winter when snow is on the ground. We are becoming more aware of the cause and effect of our actions and how our words affect the well being of ourselves and others. We are slowly but surely finding out that we can sow into other peoples lives by encouraging them with positive words. We have the ability to speak either a blessing or a cursing into another life.

When I was a little girl, I was taught that if I could not say something good, that I should keep my mouth shut. My husband also learned that, and we passed it on to our children. We taught them to look for something good to say, we did not realize how well that had taken hold until one day in a gas station when a man came out to put gas in our car and clean the windows. This man had on the dirtiest hat I have ever seen, it was so dirty that you could not keep your eyes off of it. Our son Paul kept looking at it, his mouth twitching at the corners and disbelief in his eyes, then he said to the man, "that must be your favorite hat."

And believe it or not, that brought joy to the manís face, as he cheerfully admitted that it was.

Our son sowed seeds of joy by saying something good and he has reaped joy many times over in his life because of doing so. Our children were taught, bread cast on the water not only returns, it comes back with peanut butter and jelly on it. We have the power to practice random acts of kindness and in doing so we discover that those acts of kindness and courtesy come back to us. The Chinese have a saying that fragrance clings to the hand that gives a rose. The Bible teaches us that unfailing courtesy is always in order. Titus 3:2 AMP

In Luke 6 Jesus said as you would like, or desire, that men would treat you. Do that to them. For with the measure you give out, it shall be given back to you. So we sow seeds not only with our words, but also with our actions. And we reap what we sow. Galatians 6:6-7

Thus far, we have discussed the natural seeds of fruits and vegetables, the seed of man and animals, the incorruptible seed which is Godís word and the actions and words of mankind. There is still another, it is called money.

Because of error and because we have looked to the worldís examples instead of Godís word, the church has for a long time taught that money is the root of all evil. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.  So, let us clear that up.

1 Timothy 6:9-11 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.

Notice that it is the craving or the love of money that is the root of evil, not money.

I once saw Corrie Ten Boom do an illustration with two flash lights. Both of them looked the same but one would not light. She checked the contents of the one that worked and found two batteries. Then she checked the contents of the one that did not work and found some additional things. Between the batteries there were dollar bills. She commented that it was hoarded money that prevented the light from shining. Math. 6:33 tells us that it is not money that we should be seeking, but the kingdom of God. Then it says all the things we need will be added, not subtracted!! What are all these things? Money to provide housing, clothing and food. He is saying, donít let money be your master.

In the gospel of Mark there is recorded the account of the rich young ruler. Mark 10:17 His problem was not in having money, it was that he was a hoarder of money. That money got between him and eternal life. He was a holding tank, instead of a distribution center.

Jesus did not say, that money will cause you to lose out on heaven. He said, donít serve money, donít let money be your master. We are to serve God and let money serve us.

Money is neutral, just like the circumstances of life. Itís what we do with it that counts.

Proverbs 11:28 says, donít lean (or trust) on riches, because if you do, you will fall.

Money is a seed, and according to the Bible it needs to be planted. When we plant seed, there are principles which must be followed.. We need to understand that planting comes before harvest. Just having the seed in your possession will not produce a harvest. An acorn sitting on your table will never produce an oak tree. No matter how many times you dust and polish it, speak well of it or show it off to your neighbors, it will not make a tree. Making lists of itís potential about how tall an oak tree can grow, how much shade it can provide, will not cause it to grow. If you do not plant it, it will never produce a tree that will produce more acorns.

If you want love, you must give some away, in other words, plant it. If you want to have a life filled with every favor and earthly blessing so that your needs are met, then plant some money seed. Plant forgiveness if you wish to have forgiveness coming back to you. Plant courtesy, plant kind words, plant joy, plant benefit of the doubt, assume the best of people, Jesus said do unto others as you would have it done unto you. Your words, your thoughts, your actions are filled with creative power. So think twice, before you act or speak once and plant your money in good ground so you will have more to sow. If you would have earthly blessing so that you need no support and have enough to give unto every good work, then you must plant good seeds.

When a farmer decides to plant, he or she follows some rules. The land gets plowed, stones removed, nutrients are added. Then at the proper time, seedtime, he or she plants the seeds that have been chosen.

Then they go on their way until they need to do something else to the planted ground. Sometimes they need to water and pull weeds, but mostly, they just start preparing for the harvest. As the harvest time of our garden drew near, the jars were checked, lids purchased, the canner looked over. When the crop was ready, we had everything ready to use it to our best advantage. From the time the seed was planted, we never saw it again. Jesus tells us that the seed dies in order to bring forth life. The shell of the planted seed breaks open and the life of the seed springs forth with multiplied life. We donít see that happening, but we believe it and so we expect a harvest. Then after we harvest a crop we start over again.

Different seeds have different germination times and different rules to follow concerning the planting. There are different kinds of money seeds mentioned in the Bible.

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the first fruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.

These scriptures deal with a seed called a tithe. Notice that verse 9 gives us a rule and verse 10 gives us the results of following the rule.

Malachi 3:8-9 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.

Whatís that got to do with us? After all we live under grace! If we consider the whole of this passage we find out God does not change. And Hebrews 13:8 agrees with this, Jesus Christ the same yesterday today and forever. Then in Matthew 23:23 Jesus says we ought to tithe.

Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

The rule for planting the tithe is found in the above verse "That there may be food in my house" The place that feeds you is the place that should receive your tithe. We donít go to Smithís, load up our cart and then say we will pay at Safeway.  Neither do we eat at Burger King and then pay at McDonaldís. The tithe pays the expenses of the church and keeps the doors open.

Please understand, when your pastor or teacher speaks of money, they are not generally asking for a raise. For the purpose of this study we assume they are being treated fairly. What they are interested in, is that you have blessings coming, in abundance into your life.

Another seed we need to hear about is freewill offerings. Freewill offerings are above and beyond the tithe. In Exodus 25:2 and in 2 Chronicles 29:1-17 there are references to building programs that received freewill offerings. Freewill offerings are also to be given to evangelists and other ministers who feed you, both for their personal use and for their ministry. Galatians 6:6 and 1 Corinthians 9:9-14. It seems a shame that missionaries are put in the position of having to beg for support Some churches tithe on the tithes it receives and sends it to other ministries

Alms are also above and beyond the tithe. Sometimes given to other members of the body of Christ who have suffered persecution, such as the saints in Jerusalem.  
1 Corinthians 16:1-2, 2 Corinthians 9:1-5 and 8:1-14, Romans 12:13. Alms are also to be given to members of the body who have suffered through or are suffering in a misfortune of some kind. Loss of job, illness, floods, hurricanes, etc.

Read Matthew 5:34-46, Alms are to be given as love from Godís hand. The book of James says that works without faith is dead, we need to know that giving will not save us, we are not saved by works. But man will see our works and glorify God.  Our lights will shine and others will see our noble and generous deeds and give praise to God. Matthew 5:16 God is able to supply their needs without us, but because He loves us, He allows us to help. It is a spiritual principle that the more you give to God, the more He gives to you. In Proverbs it says, "He who has a bountiful eye shall be blessed" Proverbs 22:9 "He who gives shall not lack" Proverbs 28:27 "The liberal person shall be enriched and he that waters shall be watered also" Proverbs 11:25

Alms to the poor, outside the church, are to be given with love and with prayer so they may know that you love God and that He loves them. There are many good groups that give to the poor, so if you donít wish to search out and give to individuals, there are good ministries that will do it for you.

So how are we to plant these seed of money? First of all on a regular basis.  1 Corinthians 16:2 Perhaps you only get paid once a month, that is still regular. However, my advice to you is donít let the offering plate pass without putting in something, no matter how small the amount is.

But remember, that harvest is in proportion to the amount of seed sown 2 Corinthians 9:6 If I want to harvest from 50 acres then I must plant all 50 acres. The hundred fold return on $1.00 is still one hundred and that is very blessed, but it wonít cover much territory these days.

We are to plant cheerfully, willingly, and eagerly. 2 Corinthians 2:9 and Malachi 3:14

We are to plant expectantly. God said, prove me that you would have abundance and plenty. Malachi 3:10, Proverbs 11:24-25, Proverbs 3:9-10 and Luke 6:38

God also said, that we would have no lack Proverbs 28:27 and we would be blessed Acts 20:35. That if we would heed His words we would be blessed coming in and going out. Deuteronomy 28:8-14 and if we would have pity on the poor and lend to them, He would be the one to pay us back. Proverbs 19:17. Jeremiah 1:12 says God watches over His word to perform it. So if we are obedient to His word, we should expect a harvest from our giving.

There have been many changes in this temporal world of ours. People we love have gone on to be with the Lord or are fast approaching the time, and it puts us in touch with our mortality. If you folks are like me, you have started to think more often about the limits of time and what has been done with the time weíve had. While thinking about this it occurred to me, what we really need to know is that we are all in the process of dying, and have been since the moment we were born. Dying isnít the issue. The issue is living, what we do between the coming and the going.

We need to understand that ultimately the only things we keep are the things we give away.

God did not intend for us to become warehouses for anything, instead He wants us to be distribution centers. We are to be receivers, accepting blessings from the hand of God and then sending them on. A successful life is not measured by how much stuff we have in our garages and rental storage barns.

There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh and teeming with life. There are trees and plants around it and along itís shores children splash and play. The river Jordan creates this sea with clear water from the hills. Houses are built nearby and birds and animals are refreshed by it. Galilee receives its water from the river Jordan and then sends it on itís way. As a result, the sea of Galilee blesses many. The dead sea also receives water from the Jordan but refuses to let it go, it has no outlet and is therefore dead. Nothing lives in itís stagnant waters. No thirst is quenched, no fish live there. The only difference between these two seas is, Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. The water that flows into it, also flows out. The dead sea hoards itís income jealously, every drop it gets, it keeps. The sea of Galilee gives and lives. The dead sea has no life. Two kinds of people live in this world, one that gives and lives and one that keeps and exists but has no life.

Our heavenly Father wants us to have, but not to hold. I recently read about a lady who was a gifted artist, whose paintings were sold for large sums of money, she started early in her career to give some of her work away. Because she loved to paint, her studio soon filled with beautiful paintings. One day while she was away from home, a fire started in her studio and it and her home burned to the ground. As she stood looking at the ashes, she was heard to say, "All I have left of my lifeís work, are the things I have given away."

That statement is true of each of us. Itís not bigger barns that we need. God gives us the power to get wealth so that His covenant of love and peace may be established on the earth. Deuteronomy 8:17-18 He wants us to have all we have need of, some of our desires and enough left over to give to every good work. So he established the laws of sowing and reaping. I think one of the sounds the devil hates to hear, is the sound of checks being torn from check books .

We get to choose. God gives us control of our finances then asks us to give it back to Him, so He can give us more.

Perhaps you are thinking, Iíve given and I have not seen the window of heaven open up and pour out blessing. Remember that field I spoke of, the one with stones and weeds that the farmer prepared before sowing seed. Our lives often have stones and weeds in them, that need to be removed before we can expect a good harvest. Following is a short list, there are many more.

There is lack of hope. We are looking at a big stone here. Income producing days, as in holding a job, and body strength will diminish. Investments in lots by the golf course donít always increase. Social security, maybe going down the tubes, WHAT WILL WE DO!!!!!

Throw the stone of no hope out of your field. And plant the incorruptible seed of Godís word.

Two scriptures come to mind. Why are you cast down O my soul? Hope thou in God. Psalm 42:5.

And I have been young and now am old and never have I seen the righteous nor his seed forsaken. Psalm 37:25

Lack of faith, is another big stone. We need to hear the promises of God until they become a part of us. He that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that seek Him diligently Hebrews 11:6 We either trust God or we donít, if we donít, we need to put ourselves in a place where we will hear and learn. We are to do our best, then trust Him to take it from there. Toss out that stone.

Now plant the words of God as spoken by Obadiah 1:15, "As you have done, it shall be done unto you" Or as Jesus phrased it, Do unto others as you would have done unto you" We need to learn that we are giving to God when we give, and He sees and rewards. Acts 10:1-5 Acts 10:31

Lack of knowledge and an un-teachable spirit also hinder us from receiving the blessings of God. Proverbs 13:18. Hosea 4:6 tells us we are destroyed by lack of knowledge. 3 John 2 tells us that we will prosper as our souls prosper. There are many more scriptures about this, start looking.

Lack of patience, one of our sons, when he was a little guy, loved planting seeds. He could almost taste those vegetables as soon as he put the seeds in the ground. But he had a problem with patience, and was prone to dig the seeds up to see if anything was happening. The result was no vegetables and a sad little boy. The amplified Bible in Hebrews 10:36 puts it this way: "For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God and thus receive and carry away (and enjoy to the full) what is promised." After you plant, leave it alone, donít keep digging it up to look at it.

I have heard people say, "I donít have anything to give to God." All of us have something to give, a smile, a pat on the back, a part of the 24 hours that you are given each day and a little money. It may seem small to you but every thing grows when God is in it. Remember the five loaves and two fishes. God has put some of Himself in each of us. When that something is ignited by faith, great things result. Remember giving must be a gift of the heart as well as a gift of the hand.

We need to practice secret, random acts of kindness. Take some note paper, write, "Remember, God loves you," on it. Donít sign it, but put it in some ones mail box. Take one cup cake with one candle wrapped up, leave it on a door step when no one is watching. Take a dollar bill put it in an envelope with a note that says, "Hope this is the first of many to come," donít sign it, put it in the mail box of some one who is worried about funds.

We are still talking about planting and reaping, so write it down in your note book or on your calendar. Write today I gave an encouraging word. Today I smiled at one person. Today I planted seeds of hope in some one elseís life. I expect it to bring a harvest in my life.

Speak encouraging words to others and to yourself. Look in the mirror in the morning and say I am Godís person, well loved, thought well of, all of my needs are met according to His riches in glory. Philippians 4:19 In fact like the song, 

I am living on a mountain underneath a cloudless sky, 
Feasting on the manna from a bountiful supply, 
Drinking from a fountain that never shall run dry, 
For I am dwelling in Beulah land 

Put some music on and dance around the living room, or if that is to difficult, sing along. Tell God that He is your sunshine, your only sunshine, that He makes you happy when skies are gray.

It is not wrong to expect return on what you give. God expected and received multiple returns on the gift of Jesus (a planted seed) that He has given the world. We are a part of His return.

Acts 20:32. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all them that believe.