Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dying to Produce

September 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Manna, Monthly Articles

On my way into town today, I passed by miles and miles of corn and soybean fields.  They are a thing of beauty to me. I guess it is just the Midwest that is in my blood.  Some of the fields are being harvested.  It is my favorite time of the year.

This morning as I was passing by, I realized something that I had never thought about before. The harvest is only for the mature fields. I felt like the Lord spoke that to my heart about our lives as believers. The Word of God tells us that unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone.  Something has to die in order for life to come from it.

Have you ever looked at a mature corn field?  The corn is dead. The field is brown and the stalks are shriveled, it looks lifeless, but it is only then that it can be harvested, after it has matured.

Isn’t that an analogy of our life in Christ? But I had never thought about the harvest in that way. The harvest is the reaping of the sowing.  It is the harvest that is important. It doesn’t matter how much corn is planted.  If there is no harvest, there is no profit. It is like that with us. It is the harvest that God is looking for in our lives. The Word calls it fruit. The Lord is interested in the fruit of our lives. But if it takes dying to produce a harvest.  How do we do that? How do we die to produce?

It will be different with each one of us, but it will have to happen in order for the harvest of our lives.

Two days ago, September 16, marked the anniversary of the birth and death of our second daughter, Katie (Kathryn Ruth). She died at birth. She was premature just like our first daughter, Amy.  I wanted to write and tell her story, but couldn’t.  I didn’t want to share that with anyone. She would be 26 years old. If all of our children would have lived, they would be “stair steps” 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 years old. Only one lived, Elisabeth. She is 24 and mother of two precious little girls.

I am sharing this because, as I realized this morning, that much of the “harvest” of my life has come from death and broken places. The Lord has allowed these things. I know I am not alone. Many, many have suffered great loss, but in my life these are things that God has used to help me die. Not physically, but to my own selfish interests: self centeredness and pride. I am grateful for this. I think it has made me a better person. Death is the one thing that we cannot undo. It is final. One out of one people die. When we are faced with circumstances that are beyond our control, we often turn to the Lord.   We seek help, grace for what we need to cope. I did that, each time. Did it get easier? I don’t think so.  I think I just grew in my faith and trust in His loving care for me and I was able grow and God was at work producing a harvest in my life.

Yes, I can understand how we must mature before we can die, so our lives can produce a harvest…and I am grateful.

 

Linda Kropp got saved at 14.  ” I always say that I didn’t get into a lot of trouble…because my mom wouldn’t let me!”  Linda was a was a missionary from 1973-1985 in the States, Europe and Asia, 9 of those in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Her husband was in the same mission, “Christ is the Answer” and they were married in Sri Lanka in 1980.

They have one daughter, Elisabeth, a son-in-law, a 4 yr. old granddaughter and brand new granddaughter.  They attend College Avenue Baptist Church in Bloomington where they both are Sunday School teachers.  In September of 2009, Linda was praying about a way to help missions and she felt the Lord put on her heart to open a thrift store in Clinton, IL and give 100 % of the profits to missions, crisis pregnancy centers and food pantries. So she did.  They also have a weekly Bible study; a mentoring program for homeschooled and public school students.They also have had numerous people commit their lives to Christ since they opened. It has become a ministry…and that is just the ones who have gotten saved. Many people come in daily with prayer needs and they pray for them.  They work with DOVE (a domestic violence program), the IDHS in Lincoln, and the Red Cross Disaster Relief.

 

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