Your Most Valuable Partner

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
— Mark 1:35

What has God called you to do that you never dreamed you would be doing? I’ve learned that as we walk with God as our most important Partner in life, we often find ourselves doing what we would have never thought possible.

In 1992 — just after relocating my family to live and minister in the former USSR in the fall of 1991 — God miraculously opened a door for Denise and me to begin a television broadcast that would transcend the 11 times zones of the former USSR. (This was launched with the signing of a supernatural contract, as I related in in the July 5 Gem.) We didn’t realize at the time that our step of faith to start that one program was actually the inception of what would become the first Christian TV network in the territory of the former USSR.

Decades later, we are still broadcasting our own TV programs in addition to other pro­grams that we broadcast for other ministries. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, we broadcast to a viewing audience of millions of people! Over all these years, we have literally broadcasted hundreds of thousands of hours of Bible-teaching TV programs all across this vast land. By the grace of God, I am thoroughly convinced that it has made a permanent impact on the spiritual environment of the former USSR. So much teaching of the Bible has gone into homes that the Church in this part of the world will never be the same.

Since we started broadcasting in 1992, we have received millions of letters and correspon­dence from people whose lives have been changed by the powerful teaching of God’s Word via the airwaves. It is no exaggeration to state that several million people have come to Christ as a result of our television network. Books have been distributed free of charge by the millions. We give all the glory to God for what has happened and for what will ensue, and we are thankful for the gifts of our partners who have worked hand in hand with us so we could establish and continue to fulfill this mighty work.

To do all of this has taken faith, courage, finances, equipment, a skilled technical team, and a group of giving partners who have stood by us through the years so we could consistently and professionally reach the multitudes who live in spiritual darkness. In addition to the technical expertise needed, this assignment has also required a large team of dedicated employees who read and answer every single letter that is received from those who correspond in response to the programs.

*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]

bookmark2This is no small undertaking and requires a “1,000-percent” commitment from everyone involved, despite the obstacles and setbacks that invariably occur with such a monumental task. Hell does not sit silent as you take the life-saving message to those in darkness, so you must also stand ready to combat spiritual enemies that come to oppose you. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that God’s mercy and grace remain the most important factor in this mix!

We can buy the finest equipment, produce the highest quality programs, and purchase the best time slots available on television — but if God doesn’t supply His part, it will all be to no avail. I am reminded of Psalm 127:1, which states: “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

In First Corinthians 3:7, Paul also stated this truth: “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” As we saw in the July 5 Sparkling Gem, the word “increase” is from the Greek word auxano, which simply means to increase or grow — and in this context indicates the continual blessing of God.

But let me go into greater detail today concerning this word “increase.” The form of the Greek word auxano that Paul used to write this passage denotes something that is amplified, augmented, enlarged, or enhanced. It carries the idea of something that escalates and multiplies. It clearly means that even though one plants and another waters, it is God who causes the vision to blossom, to become larger, and to grow strong and healthy.

Another way to say it is that we can nurture the soil, plant the seeds, and water what has been planted, but only God can produce the sunshine and weather conditions to cause growth. Therefore, even with all the faithful people who do their essential parts, God is still the most important Partner in whatever it is we are called to do!

So whatever God has called you to do, give it your very best, but never forget the crucial role of prayer and the reality of your utter dependence on God as your number-one Partner in life. Just like a farmer, you can prepare the ground and plant the seed of God’s Word; then you can water and nurture the seed that was sown. But only God can produce the sunshine and weather conditions necessary to bring the growth that is needed. Therefore, in the end, He gets the glory for all increase!

Today I urge you to make sure you have these two essential ingredients — prayer and com­plete trust in God — thoroughly integrated into the mix of what you are doing. Remember that you have no Partner comparable to the One who called you, for He is the ultimate Source of all true increase!

sparking gems from the greek

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Dear Father, I thank You for reminding me again today that even as I do my part, I have to always remember that I must trust You to do Your part or no increase will come to what You have called me to do. I promise to nurture the soil, plant the seed, pull the weeds, and water what is planted — but I look to You to provide the sunshine and proper weather conditions to produce the increase I need. I understand that one plants, another waters — but only You give the increase. Thank You for bringing this back to the forefront of my mind today and for encouraging me to remember that You are the crucial ingredient in all that I do! In the end, we can do all our parts, but the increase is totally dependent on You!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I boldly confess that I will do what God has asked me to do. I will nurture the soil, plant the seeds, pull the weeds, and water what has been planted — and I will do it faithfully with others who work alongside with me. But no results will be gained if God does not join Himself to what we are doing. So today I look to God as the great Provider of increase. He will provide the sunshine and weather necessary to make these seeds and acts of faith grow. Without Him, I can do nothing, but with God as my primary Partner, it is guaranteed that I will see and experience increase!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have you ever attempted something without God’s involvement and experi­enced poor results? Perhaps you put time, energy, and attention into the project but forgot to bring God into the mix. What did you learn from that experience? What will you do to prevent that from happening again?
  2. On the other hand, can you name a time when you remembered that God is your primary Partner? As you did your part while leaning upon God as your Partner, how did you experience supernatural increase?
  3. From what you have read today, what changes are you going to make in the tasks and projects that are in front of you? What difference will this Sparkling Gem make in the way you do things?