All, None or Some?

“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” ~ Mark 4:20

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

Jill Tomlinson, Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer, co-founder of Transcend Ministries

I have read this scripture literally hundreds of times, and I have probably heard sermons preached from Mark 4 equally as many times. However, I read it again lately and saw something fresh and new. This scripture points out that there are actually varying degrees of bearing fruit. How much fruit we bear is directly related to our ability to hear spiritually and our willingness to receive it by faith when we do hear it.

The scriptures prior to this one describe scenarios whereby the Word is sown, but then stolen, choked out, or not applied at all for various reasons including hardness, shallow roots, and cares of this world. Those are the things I have always taken away from Mark 4, but there is so much more!

I want to be a person who bears much fruit, not just a small harvest. I want people to smell the sweet aroma of the fruit and fragrance of Christ being produced in my life. I want to do more than hear the Word with my natural ears. I want to really hear what the Spirit of God is saying and I sincerely desire a 100-fold harvest on the seed of truth that is sown in my life. So, how can it happen?

How can it be fair for three different people to hear the same Word of God and one only bear a 30-fold return, another 60 fold, and yet another bears a 100 fold? Is God playing favorites here? This scripture makes it so clear that we are the ones who determine our harvest of fruit!

Mark 4-20 grapevine
Mark 4-20 cracked soil

To what degree will we believe and receive the Word? What priority will it have in every situation or new problem we face?

Will we apply it to our relationships, parenting, finances, health, careers, wants, and needs? Will we accept the Word we hear and make it ours, or will we only believe it is for someone else instead?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ~ Romans 10:17

Jesus makes reference to having “ears to hear” throughout Mark 4. Accepting the Word in our hearts requires the ability to hear spiritually. According to Romans 10:17, this ability to hear is produced by the Word of God. As we begin to expose ourselves to the Word of God, we acquire the ability to “hear” what He is saying. The Word of God is alive and powerful. It changes things. Hard ground is softened, roots begin to grow deep, and the cares of this world grow strangely dim and insignificant. Now our hearts are ready to not only hear, but to also receive. First, we “hear” by the Word of God preparing the ground of our hearts. Then, we apply it by faith, which comes by that spiritual hearing.

Now that we have “heard” and accepted the Word, it can begin to bear fruit in our lives. We don’t have to strive or stress about it, we simply have to believe, receive, and apply what the Lord has already so graciously provided. The amount of fruit we bear will be directly proportionate to the degree to which we believe, receive, and apply the Word of God. As we purpose to do this, we will begin to see fruit in every area of our lives. I’m all in!!! Are you? EXPECT, BELIEVE, AND RECEIVE!!

– Jill

Jill is an author, writer, speaker, and teacher. In her book, No More Lies, Jill leads others through the same journey of biblical truth that brought her freedom and wholeness. Jill and her husband, Jimmy, are the founders of Transcend Ministries—a ministry dedicated to empowering the body of Christ and making disciples worldwide through teaching, writing, and evangelism. They reside in Colorado and have four amazing children—two daughters, a son, and a son-in-law. Jill’s next book, Forgiven, Favored & Free, is available September 2015. For more information or to order her books, visit www.transcendministries.org.

Learn more about Jill Tomlinson here.

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Promotion From the Threshing Floor

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. -2 Corinthians 4:17 (New International Version)

Would you want a promotion if it meant your absolute discomfort and breaking away from the familiar?

At this moment, I’m in a stretching, transitional, deeper trusting, more in His Presence, wilderness period with the Lord. Things God did before in my life, is not what He’s doing today. He’s doing something new which requires my daily, minute-by-minute trust in Him. As God told the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:19, New International Version)

Yes, I do perceive this new thing coming! I’ve perceived it for some time. I asked Him for it. I asked Him for the adventure, the journey, no matter how uncomfortable. My desire to always know the next steps, I wanted to break away from that. That’s exactly what He’s doing! UGH! I knew the temporary discomfort would increase my faith, draw me nearer to Him, further conform me into the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ, shake off whatever is not beneficial to the journey, build endurance and fearlessness, and produce fruit that I could use to further bless and equip the Body of Christ. I’m preparing for promotion/progress in God.

Yesterday, I came across notes I wrote in late May while watching Joel Olsteen’s program. The subject is on the threshing floor. A threshing floor is a hard, level surface in which grain is threshed/beaten so the edible parts of the grain are separated from the chaff, or the worthless part of the grain. The threshing floor was/is usually located outdoors and exposed to wind to blow away the chaff.

Here are the notes I jotted then, forgot about and upon finding, are an encouragement. Hopefully, the words will encourage you to view life’s threshing floor as a necessary process in your promotion/progress:

“The threshing floor…God will use to separate me from what is limiting me. It was never designed to be permanent. There is a great harvest in front of me. Don’t let the enemy take what belongs to me.  All of us go through these ‘threshing floor’ experiences because God is preparing me for the good opportunities ahead. I’ll have a greater confidence in God because of. The threshing floor is not defeating me…it is promoting me. The bumps in the road are not random. God will use the situation to refine me. Will come out more refined. Less chaff, more wheat. The threshing floor is where things die so new things can be birthed and live! God has to close a door to open a new door. God, cut me back so I can bear much fruit. Pruning in the uncomfortable times so I can bloom to new growth.”

farmer+hand+threshing

Praise! This is why I have joy in the journey because I am expectant; I believe in the vision.

I know right now there are several of you on life’s threshing floor. Certainly, Satan will seek to convince  you that God has abandoned you or is punishing you. Don’t believe the lies. Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us that, “For the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jeremiah 29:11 assures His People that God’s plans are to “prosper us, not to harm us; to give us hope and a future.” Some people, because of their love for you, would rather pull you off of the threshing floor to ease your discomfort. I say, let’s go through it!

If you find yourself on the threshing floor, it is for your PROMOTION not destruction. Stay strong, have joy in the journey and get ready to bear more fruit! God bless you!

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.