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Friday, January 15, 2016

Move Forward in Faith, Not By Feelings BY RICK WARREN — JANUARY 15, Friday

“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.” (Psalm 126:5-6 NLT, second edition)
You need to plant by faith, not by your feelings.
Do you think that every day a farmer wakes up excited to go to work on his farm? No. It’s hard work! But if a farmer only worked his crops when he felt like it, not much would get done. He may not want to get up early. He may not want to go harvest and plant and weed. But he does it anyway.
Let me make a little confession: I don’t always feel like being nice to people. I hate to admit it! Sometimes I want to be cranky. Sometimes I just want to say, “Leave me alone!” I don’t always feel like being kind. I don’t always feel like being generous. I don’t always feel like giving people hope. I don’t always feel like preaching.
But I don’t happen to live by my feelings. I happen to live by faith. Sometimes I plant when I’m tired. Sometimes I plant when I’m distracted. Sometimes I plant when I’m stressed out. Sometimes I plant when I’m in deep, deep grief. And I move ahead in faith in spite of my feelings, expecting God to act.
As we approached the most recent anniversary of my son’s death, I really didn’t want to be at church. It was close to Easter, and I would have rather just celebrated the Resurrection at home with my wife, my Lord, and my kids and just get through the day.
I was in tears most of that week, and I claimed Psalm 126:5-6 as a promise: “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest” (NLT, second edition).    
And you know what? As I was planting seeds in 14 Easter services, God gave a harvest of 2,604 people who came to Christ. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy. All those people are going to be in Heaven because I didn’t do what I felt like doing. I did what I did by faith.
Sometimes God will call you to make a sacrifice — through your money, yes, but also through your time, talent, and maybe even your life. You may feel like saying, “I don’t feel like it.” But if you do, you will miss the blessing that God wants to do by using you.
Plant by faith, not by your feelings.
Talk It Over
  • Do you live most of your life by your feelings? Why do you think it is so easy to do this?
  • What would it look like for you to live by faith? What would change in your life?
  • What sacrifice is God asking you to make that will require you to plant seeds by faith?
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