“For before those days there was no hire for man nor any hire for beast, neither was there any peace or success to him who went out or came in because of the adversary and oppressor, for I set (let loose) all men, every one against his neighbor.
But now [in this period since you began to build] I am not to the remnant of this people as in the former days, says the Lord of hosts.
For there shall the seed produce peace and prosperity; the vine shall yield her fruit and the ground shall give its increase and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit and possess all these things. And as you have been a curse and a byword among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong and hardened.
For thus says the Lord of hosts: As I thought to bring calamity upon you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath, says the Lord of hosts, and I did not relent or revoke your sentence, so again have I purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Fear not! These are the things that you shall do: speak every man the truth with his neighbor; render the truth and pronounce the judgment or verdict that makes for peace in [the courts at] your gates.
And let none of you think or imagine or devise evil or injury in your hearts against his neighbor, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, says the Lord.”—Zechariah 8:10-17 (AMP)
“Before the seed there comes the thought of bloom.”—E. B White
“The seed is hope; the flower is joy.”—Author Unknown
“Flowers and fruit are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and the future.”—-Marion Zimmer Bradley
OK, if you’ve never considered being a Sabbath observer, I hope this will encourage you to change your mind. I am living proof that there are certain revelations that you get on that day that you simply WILL NOT receive any other time because of how God designed it:
“ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”—Exodus 20:8-11(NKJV)
Just yesterday (Sabbath), while preparing to pen another message, I was led to look in my old Inspirational Study Bible (edited by Max Lucado) and saw that I wrote, many years ago, “The devil uses distractions to destroy you.” Don’t be so pridefully misinformed that you miss out on the blessing, the command, to partake in such a special time of the week. God created the Seventh-Day Sabbath for more than a reason; it’s for a mighty purpose.
Here’s one example why.
So, while sitting on my porch yesterday, I was praying to God about my future family. He reminded me of the name he gave me for my son over five years ago and then encouraged me to look up the meaning. I did…and smiled because it’s a “such a Shellie flavor” derivative of the name, Peter—someone I have always said I am a descendant of…for a lot of reasons—and Peter’s name means “The Rock”; the rock in the sense of the place upon which the Church was built. Those who really know me know that I found that to be almost hilarious considering my opinion about the current state of the Church. Let’s just say I believe it needs a lot of…help. I am learning more and more not to question God’s way of doing things (it’s so arrogant to do so—Isaiah 55:8-9), but, being that I am not yet joined to my husband (and being that my marriage has been the focus of concern as of late, almost more than anything else), I was curious to know why God would bypass the topic of him and discuss my son with me instead. Are you ready for the message that the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) special delivered into my human trinity space?
Shellie, the Enemy is not worried about you and “him”. You two are already here and walking in a lot of your purpose. No, what he wants is your seed. He’s trying to keep the two of you apart because he doesn’t want the miracle of the joining of the two of you to take place; he doesn’t want your son to exist on this earth.
When I tell you that that caused me to sit right up and be like, “WHAT?!? WOW!”, words cannot express the last time I was hit in such a way. There are several reasons why. One, because it took me back to what God said would happen between Eve, her descendants and their seed:
“So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.’
To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’”—Genesis 3:14-16 (NKJV)
Now, I will say this: Because “seed” is capitalized, I must remind us all that when God spoke this part of the curse, it was more of a “head’s up” to the devil that Christ would come to redeem us by way of a woman. But I do believe that because we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) AND because God gave us the command/blessing to create more like us, the Enemy is after EVERY SINGLE SEED, especially those that God has spoken life into, through us, before their very conception. Remember what the blessing said:
“And God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.’”—Genesis 1:28 (AMP)
God instructed us to make more of our own kind so that we, and they, would be of service to God and man and so that we all would have dominion over the earth. You can best believe that the Enemy takes great issue with that. The longer that we are apart from our covenant partners…the longer, MEN, that you use your seed for anything other than what it was created for (your covenant partner [Hebrews 13:4] and to help multiply God’s image in the earth), is the longer we go without manifesting one of God’s greatest purposes for our lives.
One of the most “taken out of context” (I think) biblical stories is the one of Onan and Tamar. People often use it to speak against masturbation (an entirely different devotional, but I will say that sex was created for you and your covenant partner…not you and someone else or you and yourself), but take a moment to actually (re)read this for yourself and I think you will see it differently:
“In the course of time, Judah arranged for his firstborn son, Er, to marry a young woman named Tamar. But Er was a wicked man in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord took his life. Then Judah said to Er’s brother Onan, ‘Go and marry Tamar, as our law requires of the brother of a man who has died. You must produce an heir for your brother.’
But Onan was not willing to have a child who would not be his own heir. So whenever he had intercourse with his brother’s wife, he spilled the semen on the ground. This prevented her from having a child who would belong to his brother. But the Lord considered it evil for Onan to deny a child to his dead brother. So the Lord took Onan’s life, too.”—Genesis 38:6-10 (NLT)
God killed Onan because he didn’t use his seed for the purpose that he was instructed. THE LORD CONSIDERED IT EVIL FOR ONAN TO DENY HIS DEAD BROTHER A CHILD. Onan lost his life because of it. One of the scriptures that always humbles me, even in my highest of hormonal days, is when God, through Paul, warned us, “Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell.” (I Corinthians 10:8-NKJV). 23,000? IN ONE DAY?!? After re-reading Onan’s story, I can’t help but wonder if many of those people lost their lives because they didn’t just have sex out of purpose (marriage), but because they wasted their seed in the sense that they didn’t use it in the way that God intended for them to. I wonder how many people God is angry with now for those very same reasons; he’s wanting us to be united to our covenant partners to create the children that he desires to be on this earth and we are abusing our vessels by doing any and everything but.
Please believe me when I say that there are many (MANY) “chosen generation children” (I Peter 2:9) that exist now, but there are also a myriad of “spoken in faith” babies on the way. How do I know? Well, one reason is because when I got this revelation, I immediately called some of my other spiritual sisters, who are not yet mothers in the physical realm, to see if God had also given them the names of their children already. ALL OF THEM SAID “YES” and all of the names have godly meanings/purposes attached to them. Did you really make the time to read the lead scripture for today? As we prepare to enter into another year, 2010, with “10” symbolizing “restoration”, I 100% believe that God is going to call forth seed, in the form of children, to produce peace and prosperity so that they can be a blessing in these last days. I also 100% believe that Enemy knows that; hence using sexual immorality, fear, selfishness, pride and the ignorance of the purpose of God-ordained relationships to prevent that from happening. We must get back to God’s system of operation:
“I wrote you in my earlier letter not to associate with those who sin sexually. But I did not mean you should not associate with those of this world who sin sexually, or with the greedy, or robbers, or those who worship idols. To get away from them you would have to leave this world. I am writing to tell you that you must not associate with those who call themselves believers in Christ but who sin sexually, or are greedy, or worship idols, or abuse others with words, or get drunk, or cheat people. Do not even eat with people like that. It is not my business to judge those who are not part of the church. God will judge them. But you must judge the people who are part of the church. The Scripture says, ‘You must get rid of the evil person among you.’”—I Corinthians 5:9-13 (NCV)
Did you catch that? You MUST JUDGE (John 7:24) those who are abusing sex that know better. I’ve been that person. Praise God for mercy. But if you are someone who is a believer and you are misusing sex, this is a loving-yet-serious warning to stop…NOW. It is evil and it is out of purpose. It’s time out for “we all fall short of grace” as your excuse/justification. It’s time that we really pay attention to that scripture:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.”—Hebrews 12:14-16 (NKJV)
We must pursue holiness. We must be careful NOT to fall short of God’s grace, which is his ability to provide us with the strength to live morally (Romans 3:23 tells us that we fall short of his GLORY; not his grace) . We must not allow things to make us bitter, which often lead to defilement. We must not allow fornication and profanity to prevent us from our birthrights:
Birthright: any right or privilege to which a person is entitled by birth
For many of us, one of those birthrights is to create children. Psalm 127:3 (NKJV) says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Jeremiah 1:5 speaks of God telling the prophet that before the womb, he was called and chosen and being that we serve a Father who is the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13), please believe that this kind of intimate knowing applies to us all. Ladies, some of you right now have a longing to birth a child and you don’t know how or when it is going to happen. Do you really think the Enemy would put the desire within you to want a heritage from the Lord? This is when you must stand in faith, the substance of things HOPED FOR and the evidence of things NOT SEEN (Hebrews 11:1), knowing that it pleases God (Hebrews 11:6):
“Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, ‘I have made you a father of many nations’) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore ‘it was accounted to him for righteousness.’”—Romans 4:16-22 (NKJV)
This is not the time to “laugh at God” as Sarah did (Genesis 18:12) just because you don’t know the details on how God will bring the fruit of your womb forth. IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD? Don’t make “Ishmael situations” (Genesis 16) for yourself. Stand on what God told you, trusting that at the appointed time (Habakkuk 2:3), according to the time of life, God will return to you (Genesis 18:14).
Which brings me to the final “ah ha” moment of this message. Ladies, catch (again) the curse that God spoke to the Woman:
“To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’”—Genesis 3:14-16 (NKJV)
Some of us are wondering right now what is going on. We are living under grace within the curse that God spoke upon the Woman and her descendants. God is not surprised by our sorrows…our griefs…our sadness…our disappointments. He said they would be multiplied…but so would our conception. Conception doesn’t just mean the inception of pregnancy BUT (catch this) the notion and idea of the pregnancy in the first place. Hold on:
“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.”—John 16:21 (NKJV)
In pain, we will bring forth children, but the pain is only for a season. We are told that we will desire our husbands; the New Century Version states that we will desire him GREATLY. The Amplified says that there will be a CRAVING for our husband. Wanting to be united with the person who will plant within you the seed to birth the child that God has promised you…that is how God told us life would be. I think sometimes this feels harder on some days than others because, again, this was stated to us under the curse as the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, but in those tough times, we must also remember the promises of God:
“Delight yourself also in the Lord,and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”—Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)
To have a desire within you to want to birth godly children? THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL THING and when you stand on God’s word even when you don’t see a manifestation of his word becoming flesh (yet)? That delights him.
That puts a whole new spin on things doesn’t it? I was just telling my prayer partner that it has stirred a boldness of faith in me that I never have felt before. As a woman who didn’t value the purpose of four of my other children, I now see why the Enemy was threatened by them so. HE SHOULD BE. A healthy mother fights to protect her young and will work to insure their well-being by any godly means necessary so that their destiny can be fulfilled. I will NOT let him take one more of my children. One day, I think I will be provided the platform to preach the sermon, “Give Me My Baby!” and it will be about this very subject matter. How I have spent so much time focusing on the man, the marriage, that I don’t see that there’s something greater at stake; that yes, the Enemy hates me and hates marriage, but more than anything, he’s fearful of what WILL be birthed as a result of my obedience and my fidelity to my marriage. God, before I even was, knew the man who would help me to bring forth “The Rock” into this world. The Enemy cannot change that, though he tries (oh how he tries!). I refuse to let him deter me any longer. The Message Version of Jeremiah 17:5-8 tells us:
“Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, who thinks he can make it on muscle alone
and sets God aside as dead weight. He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows. But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers—never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.”
Did you catch it? No matter what the physical realm tells you, it’s not your job to rely on man. TRUST IN GOD and in doing so, he will restore the root of your faith in a way that is like being replanted in the Garden of Eden…a state of faith in God before the curses ever began. AMAZING!
And so, if you’re a man reading this, I beg of you to take your seed more seriously. There is so much POWER within it. Don’t waste it. God wants to use it mightily for the furtherance of his kingdom.
If you’re a woman with a desire for children, or if you are a mother with child(ren), make it a TOP PRIORITY to nurture your seed DAILY. No matter what the circumstances, trust in God: “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” (Hebrews 11:11-NKJV) It was Sarah’s FAITH that gave her the STRENGTH to CONCEIVE seed. Hold on to that tightly as if your very life (and the lives of your children) depended on it. Pray for your “seed bearer”; that God will release the binds that hold so that he can be free to fully live out God’s truth. (John 8:32) A prayer like that is always within your Father’s will. Call your children forth. It’s an act of faith.
And to those of you who either have your fruit already here or, perhaps were not called of God to birth physical children, we all know that seeds come in different forms. Whether it’s a business, a ministry, a book, a screenplay, an album, a production, a non-profit…whatever it may be, know that more than anything, the Enemy is aware that if he can get the SEED, he doesn’t have to worry about the FRUIT. Watch what you sow so that you can celebrate and honor what you will reap (Galatians 6:7-8):
“In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”—Ecclesiastes 11:6 (NKJV)
Again, WATCH THE SEED…AND WHERE/HOW YOU SOW IT:
“When a great crowd was gathered, and people were coming to Jesus from every town, he told them this story: A farmer went out to plant his seed. While he was planting, some seed fell by the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate it up. Some seed fell on rock, and when it began to grow, it died because it had no water. Some seed fell among thorny weeds, but the weeds grew up with it and choked the good plants. And some seed fell on good ground and grew and made a hundred times more.
As Jesus finished the story, he called out, ‘Let those with ears use them and listen!’
Jesus’ followers asked him what this story meant. Jesus said, ‘You have been chosen to know the secrets about the kingdom of God. But I use stories to speak to other people so that: ‘They will look, but they may not see. They will listen, but they may not understand.’ — Isaiah 6:9
This is what the story means: The seed is God’s message. The seed that fell beside the road is like the people who hear God’s teaching, but the devil comes and takes it away from them so they cannot believe it and be saved. The seed that fell on rock is like those who hear God’s teaching and accept it gladly, but they don’t allow the teaching to go deep into their lives. They believe for a while, but when trouble comes, they give up. The seed that fell among the thorny weeds is like those who hear God’s teaching, but they let the worries, riches, and pleasures of this life keep them from growing and producing good fruit. And the seed that fell on the good ground is like those who hear God’s teaching with good, honest hearts and obey it and patiently produce good fruit.”—Luke 8:4-15 (NCV)
Good seed. Good ground. Good fruit.
God knows it.
The Enemy knows it.
Now, so do you.
PROTECT YOUR (GOOD) SEED. It’s VITALLY needed…for such a time as this.
©Shellie R. Warren/2009