Opening the vicarage door (we had only moved in three days before) I met a visitor dressed in working clothes. "I’ve brought my first fruits to you," he declared. Somewhat bewildered (remember I was there to teach the Bible) I vaguely responded "Can you explain, please?" This was a first for me. The farmer explained how his fruit and vegetable crops had been plagued with disease and how he had used every pesticide available and much to his chagrin the disease persisted. "I’m a Christian,’ he added, ‘so I searched the Scriptures where I discovered that if I were to give the first fruits to the Lord He would ensure my crops suffered no disease. That’s what I’ve done for several years with no trace of disease, and no pesticide spraying! So, I bring the first fruits to the vicar and he distributes them to the needy in the village." This was lesson number one.
Five years later, now a padre in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Lord again grasped my attention: lesson two. "There are workers in your field who are not being paid " (James 5:4). Again bewildered, I asked, "Who?" Our chapel congregation was composed of military personnel and their families but there was one civilian family, and they led our worship…and the husband was unemployed! The unpaid workers in our field. The Lord said "I want you to pay them 50 per cent of your salary!" So my wife and I visited them to make the first payment.
Then followed lesson three. We went away for a family holiday for three weeks. On our return our garden was an abundant harvest. We had previously picked the crop of beans but I had not pulled out the plants – they were bearing a second crop. Beans don`t have a second crop! The sweet corn cobs were all very large; we had never witnessed that before. Our strawberries provided deserts for us and our neighbours for three months. Three plants provided 65 pumpkins; a market gardening friend said that was impossible. We placed them all in the chapel telling the story to the congregation and offering them with the proviso that they could take them only if they were to tell a neighbour the story and offer them a pumpkin. A nectarine tree and a peach tree each had a history of producing stones covered with a layer of skin, no flesh. My predecessor had advised me to chop them out, but I hadn`t. The branches were weighed down to the ground with large juicy fruit. A visiting orchardist friend asked, "Did you spray them with the Holy Spirit?"
My three lessons taught me that the authority and principles of the Old Testament are as powerful as the New Testament, that the entire Bible is God inspired and a totally relevant Word for today and that God is covenant-keeping, totally faithful to His word to perform it. Paul asked two questions, `What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God`s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every man a liar` (Romans 3:3-4).
Where do you stand on God`s Word? Do you believe in the integrity of God`s Word? Are you, today, trusting in the promises of God for your daily walk, and for your family`s security?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Kingdom is one of generosity and provision, that Your Kingdom principles do not compare with the ways of this world, that we who have faith in Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ are citizens of Your everlasting Kingdom, and that regardless of our earthly challenges we can hold to that eternal security today and forever. Amen.
"Bring the whole tithe (alternative: first fruits) into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty."
Malachi 3:10-11, NIV
Murray Dixon has a school teacher background prior to being ordained in the NZ Anglican Church.
He served as a parish minister, then as a padre in the RNZAF before pioneering Prayer for Israel in NZ with his wife Rosemary. In 1999 they participated in the Nine Week School at Glyndley Manor –a life changing experience – before moving to Israel where they served on Mt Carmel, in Migdal (Mary Magdalene’s town) and then in Jerusalem with a heart to see Ellel established in Israel. Today they serve on the Pierrepont team.
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