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.

We Did Not Expect

2 Corinthians 5:7- For we live by believing and not by seeing. (New Living Translation)

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If we do not believe in ourselves, how on earth can we be expected to achieve? If the thoughts of others are genuine, why do their smiles look to deceive? If you care about the opinions of others, how can God reveal the trump card, which is cached beneath his sleeve? Thus, we walk this life not to fulfill the dreams of others, but to be prepped in order to administer the Lord’s good will to all who ask. For we didn’t expect to move to a new city, but God did. We did not expect to land a new occupation, but God did. We didn’t expect…the Lord to shift our lives solely on the premise that we were not ready. Hence, what we want is not even a small subset of God’s greater picture. Therefore, we move with confidence because we know HE has us. We work with a mentality of success because we know HE has us. We once were shaken, but that mustard seed grew into a mighty oak tree, to which no one could ever uproot because we know HE has us. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

 

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the pureHOPE advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management.

And I Rise

Mark 11:23-I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. (New Living Translation)
Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If we believe, then we can achieve… Greatness, in its highest form. If we believe, then we can achieve… Powerful testimonies that will stir the hearts of many who could sympathize with that event and/or circumstance. If we believe, then we can achieve… A higher level of faith. For the one who clings onto the belief that his turmoil will change will resemble a Phoenix risen from the ashes. Therefore, each moment we spend depressed is time lost. Time that could’ve been saved, if we sought to hold onto the truth of God’s Word. Patience that could’ve been nurtured if we waited for God’s timing instead of our own. For actions done without faith are as useless as hot air balloon without any hot air. Hence, we will be grounded, rather than floating amongst the clouds. Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the pureHOPE advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.

Don’t Believe? Just Watch

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by believing and not by seeing. (For we walk by faith, not by sight).  

Herbert Bowen, Jr.  Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Herbert Bowen, Jr.
Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

If you have ever heard “you can’t do it,” or “that is impossible” I urge you to recite this phrase: Don’t believe me, just watch… Us as we climb the mountain of improbability. Don’t believe me, just watch…Us as we corner the elusive fly of ill-repute and crush it beneath our boot. Don’t believe me, just watch…Us as God multiplies our territory to serve His purpose in order to maximize our greatest potential. Don’t believe me, just watch…Us as we shun every fear of failure, even when the world tells us we should give up. Don’t believe just watch…Hence, our faith is the lamp to which we will illuminate our path. It is the essence that breeds hope and ensures confidence in the journey we were set on. For the concerns of success and the likelihood of Tom’s forecast are placed in his hands, instead of our own. Thus, may we stand with the patience of Job and the courage of Daniel, as God works everything out for our good (Romans 8:28). Amen

About Herbert G. Bowen, Jr.

Born in King of Prussia, Pa., Herbert G. Bowen Jr., accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at the tender age of 5. An active member of the Central Church of God in Charlotte, N.C. where he resides, Herbert serves as a youth/discussion group leader, where he has preached and taught Sunday school, as well  as Wednesday night service. In addition, he has preached at Second Baptist Church in Pottstown, Pa., Destiny City Church in Salisbury, N.C.  Herbert is the youngest board member on the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Leadership Council, where he serves to lessen the costs of tuition for African American students. Moreover, Herbert serves on the pureHOPE advisory board, where his commitment to “wait until marriage” fits perfectly with PureHope’s mission to bring a Christian solution to an immoral culture.Finally, Herbert through the will of God writes weekly devotionals to combat the decreasing morality in the 18-30 age group a.k.a., “the transition gap.” This is an effort to re-introduce Jesus Christ to this spiritually starved generation. His devotionals go out to 2,000+ people and continues to grow under the Lord’s watchful eye.  He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in Business Management. He provides business expertise to help others start their businesses.