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Dear Partner,

We have been examining "faith as a grain of mustard seed" because Jesus taught that if we could ever develop that kind of faith NOTHING WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO US! (Mat 17:20) Our faith can grow. Jesus told us how this process works when He said,

Mark 4:26-29  And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

Last month we took a close look at faith when it is at "blade stage" This month, let's take a look at the second measure of growth that Jesus calls, "then the ear."

Having lived in Oklahoma most of my life, I've had ample opportunity to see fields of corn when the crop is not yet fully mature, yet they are at the stage where little ears have formed on the stalk. If you were to pluck off one of those immature ears at that stage of growth and peel back the husk you would find that what you have on the inside is mostly cob! Don't get me wrong, you would see what I call little "niblets" where the actual grain is beginning to appear on the cob, but they are tiny, hard, and most certainly not ready for harvest.

For the sake of teaching, however, let's say that we were to try and harvest enough of those little niblets to bake some corn muffins. Think about it. It would probably take a truck load of those little niblets just to bake one corn muffin. And what about the taste? I doubt seriously that a corn muffin made from those niblets would have the same robust taste as muffins made from fully mature grain.

This analogy reminds me so very much of the stage of growth in most of our churches. We have a group of believers in every church who are at some stage of development. Some are blades, but many more are at the "ear" stage. That's why we often find that results in prayer come only when we gather together a whole group of believers to make intercession over a situation. It's as if the Holy Spirit gathers a little niblet of faith from this believer, another niblet or two of faith from that believer, and so forth until enough faith has been garnered for the answer to prayer to be made manifest.

Getting back to the corn plant, is there anything wrong with corn when it is at ear stage? No, the little ears of immature corn are "perfect" for that stage of growth. The corn plant should not feel condemned because it is not yet fully mature. The secret is to keep on growing, keep on developing, until the grain is fully developed.

Remember, our goal is to have "faith as a grain of mustard seed." Every seed has an image programmed within it. The mystery of the gospel is, "Christ in us, our hope of glory." (Col 1:27) When we were born again, the very nature of Christ was planted within us a seed. Programmed within our born-again spirit is the very nature of Christ in seed form. To have faith as a grain of mustard seed is to continue doing those things that release the image of Christ contained within our new nature. Jesus gave us important clues as to how that happens when He said "fasting and prayer" were involved in the process. (Mat 17:21)

I believe that most of the churches I have seen our definitely at the "ear" stage. Remember from last month's letter there is no fruit to be gathered from corn at "blade" stage. No ear has formed at all, which means there is simply nothing yet to be harvested. But the ear stage represents GREAT PROMISE OF A HARVEST. Many churches are getting results when they pray for the sick, for example, but normally many people have to gather together in intercession in order for the Holy Spirit to be able to gather up enough "niblets" of faith to manifest healing.

Thank God for answered prayer! But all of us want to see even more results. Down deep we know that it is never our Father's will to leave even one child in a wheelchair. Jesus said if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. As I have studied the four gospels I "saw" that every single person who ever came to Jesus for healing RECEIVED WHAT THEY CAME FOR! That tells me it is our Father's will to heal them all.

What are we to do? We must be like the corn plant at ear stage. We must keep growing and maturing through the avenues of prayer, fasting, meditation of the Word, and worship until that image of Christ within us develops to the "full corn in the ear" stage. That's when we will put in the sickle and see such an abundant harvest that's not been seen on earth since the book of Acts. Being at ear stage should get us excited because we have GREAT PROMISE OF A MIGHTY HARVEST! This is no time to become weary in well doing. This is the time to press into God like never before.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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