What’s Left Behind

In 50+ years of reading, studying, and teaching, there are two facts about God’s word I’m certain of; it’s true, and I’ll never fully understand it all in this life. Another certainty is that God can, and does, communicate with us using everything He’s created. The harvested cotton field (pictured above) is an example.

Week’s earlier, the vast field was a sea of white as they prepared the defoliated cotton crop for harvesting. As I drove by the field outside of town, the Holy Spirit brought John 4:35 (NKJV) to the forefront of my mind. “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” I thought about how each boll of cotton represented a Christian soul; and that soon, a mighty harvest of Christ’s true church will take place.

In this part of Texas, folks harvest cotton using a cotton stripper, removing the entire boll (seed, husks, cotton fibers, etc.) and some stalk. Depending on the harvester used, they make round bales or transfer the cotton from the harvester to a boll buggy that transports the cotton to a separate module builder. With bales (5,000 lbs.) or modules (20,000 lbs.) of cotton taken from the field to the gin, it leaves a farmer with a field full of stubble. Stubble refers to the dried plant stalks remaining attached to the roots.

Among the stubble was a remnant of harvested cotton fibers that weren’t baled up and taken to the gin. At $0.60 per pound for cotton, the white fibers appear quite noticeable against the stark contrast of east Texas blackland. I wondered how much profit was lying on the ground; lost. Less than a month ago, it elated me to see harvest-ready cotton for as far as my eyes could see. Thousands of acres, with millions of pounds of cotton, coupled with thoughts of the coming return of my Lord and Savior left me feeling energized. On this day, looking at stubble and cotton remnants, the same field that was teeming with life felt foreboding, abandoned, and empty. My sense of elation turned to dread.

The stubble from the cotton harvest caused a sense of uneasiness in my soul. Share on X

Instead of thinking of how successful this year’s crop was for my neighbors, my mind fixated on the story of Ruth; and how these fields would not be gleaned. Soon, they would be tilled and readied for planting wheat; or they would lay fallow until the spring planting. My heart cried out, but what of the remnant? As I lay in bed that night, I couldn’t let go of those thoughts and images. Unable to turn my mind off, I moved to my recliner to pray and meditate. What are you trying to show me Lord? Help me understand, please.

Somewhere during my plea, my heart heard, “What was left behind is lost. What was expecting harvest finds itself abandoned and lost.” In that moment, tears flowed; realizing the remnant of cotton lying abandoned in the field represented those deceived souls of today’s church who will experience the coming great tribulation. It is my belief that the coming rapture of the church, whenever that occurs, will reveal a larger number of unsaved Christians than we can even imagine. It grieves my heart to think of how many will suffer because they were deceived.

I wish not to enter an eschatological debate with anyone, as we must each work out our faith for ourselves, based on what’s revealed to us through God’s word. Nor do I wish to discuss the various views on Dispensational Premillennialism. God’s word tells me there is a Judgment Seat of Christ for true believers taken in the rapture (aka the Bema Seat) in 2 Corinthians 5:10. It also speaks of a Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:11-12 for all others. If it’s two different events, with two different outcomes, then logic tells me it must be two different times.

Today, there are at least five false gospels being taught in evangelical Christian churches around this nation and world.

  1. The Prosperity Gospel
  2. The Suffer for Success Gospel
  3. The Poverty Gospel
  4. The “God is Love Only” Gospel
  5. The Christ-less Cult Gospel

When I read reports and studies from the Barna Group, Pew Research Center, and LifeWay Research, they show how many self-proclaimed Christians are deceived. As John 14:6 states, there is but one way to reach heaven and that’s being saved by grace through faith in the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

My purpose of writing this is not to condemn your beliefs or church. Instead, I encourage each of us to take a hard, honest look at our lives, our beliefs, where we place our faith, in whom we place it, and our salvation. If you’re not sure of your salvation, then please reach out to me or someone else you trust to help you be sure. I’m praying I’ll get to see each of you in heaven’s glory one day soon.

How sure are you of your salvation? Share on X

Until that time my friends, God’s blessings; and Maranatha (“our Lord come!”).

God’s blessings,


If you’re unsure of your salvation or just want to better understand how salvation and your subsequent sanctification works, I highly recommend one of the best books (outside of the Bible, of course) to help you. It was written by a dear friend and brother in Christ, Mr. Monty Hobbs. It’s entitled Small Steps to Understanding a Big Gospel. Click the title to preview and order your copy today through the publisher or at Amazon.com.


Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.


30 thoughts on “What’s Left Behind”

    1. Thank you Ms. Jeanne. I struggled with writing this for several weeks. I didn’t want to, but felt an overwhelming need to say something as I can’t live with the idea that I didn’t tell folks. God’s blessings ma’am; and thank you for your faithfulness.

    1. Amen; and thank you Ms. Diane. I often share with folks that, “As Christians, we are all farmers. We sow the seeds of faith and await God to bring the harvest.” I pray many seeds were sown this day my sweet friend.

    1. Thank you so much Mr. Terry. It seems, as I’ve visited with different churches virtually during this pandemic, there are fewer and fewer Bible-believing, Bible-teaching churches in our country each year. We must try and change that so the loss is minimized. I don’t wish the horrors of the Great Tribulation on anyone. Especially those who desire to live right, but were misguided and deceived. My heart breaks for them. I recognize that some deceive themselves because of their unwillingness to surrender. It’s easy for me to recognize perhaps because I was “them” for many years.

  1. Good article JD, I believe you captured a major problem with the church today. With all the apostate churches we are plagued with today, there are many people that believe they are saved, but are not because of the culturally sensitive teachings they hear in the church. The field is white with the harvest, so if we do our jobs as Christians, after the rapture the gleaning will be sparse.

    1. Much appreciated Mr. Monty. It’s so important that we share the truth of Christ’s gospel with folks; as I suspect there are many who have been attending church for many years, but have never heard it. How that breaks my heart today.

  2. J.D., I appreciate the way you share your thoughts and wisdom. Your words help me pause and think about my relationship with the Lord. I pray that all of us will pause and give Him the glory. Another great message.

  3. One of the clearest lessons God has revealed to me in recent weeks, J.D., is how so many people believe God is Someone to be trifled with. He is not. He has many attributes, but “patsy” is not one of them. I think of the quote “It is fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.” Sin makes God angry, and a reckoning is coming. We would all do well to remember that, even us who claim His name. A judgment yielding diminished rewards is not something I desire. Thanks for the great lesson today.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Gena; and thank you ma’am. As I read your comments, I immediately thought of Galatians 6:7; “… God will not be mocked.” Well said ma’am. Thank you for adding to our conversation.

  4. A powerful message, J.D. I have enjoyed watching the yearly growth & harvest cycles in the cotton fields near my home, but I’ll never look at them in the same way again. There is so much cotton wasted in the fields and roadsides, but a much sadder waste of precious human lives. May the Bride be faithful witnesses while there is time.

    1. Amen; and thank you Ms. Dottie. I’m praying the same prayer ma’am. I understand there is a “great falling away” as we near the end of the church age, but I pray that many who have fallen away, and the many more who never truly achieved salvation, can find their way back to a true relationship through faith in Christ before it becomes too late.

  5. Those that are adamant that they want nothing to do with God, Jesus or eternal life is truly sad. That is why it is so crucial that each person do their part in gleaning the fields that God provides for us. Far too many, me included, get the nudge and fall short of sharing the life saving truth of the gospel. Thanks for motivating us to do what God desires!

    1. I hear ya Mr. Ben. I don’t want to stand before Christ one day and have to see there were countless people He put in my path that I failed to be a witness to. If they’re not there, then I failed God. I know there’ll be no condemnation for those of us who are saved at the Judgement Seat of Christ, but I also know I don’t want to stand empty-handed at the end, with nothing to give to my Lord and Savior for all He’s done for me. Thank you so much for your convicting comments sir.

  6. Amen, J.D. What do you do when the deceived refuses to hear that they are deceived? Yes, I pray for them to have open hearts, ears, and eyes. But in the end, we are responsible for our own unteachable hearts. We must be in the Word and relying on God’s truth not that of man…The Holy Spirit is truth and will set us straight, but if we do not practice prayer and repentance we run the risk of being lost. That is not the easiest message to tell the deceived.

    1. That is a difficult situation indeed Ms. Stephanie. I believe all we can do is to continue to pray that God will convict their hearts in due time. We have spoken God’s truth, and many have not heard. At that point, I think of Matthew 10:14 and Mark 6:11 my friend. I don’t give up on them; just as God never gave up on me. I do, however, move on with peace in my soul and carry out Christ’s command in Mark 6:15; “Go unto the world and proclaim the gospel. …” I remind myself of the Parable of the Sower. God brings the harvest; my job is to merely plant the seeds of His gospel. 🙂 God’s blessings; and never stop proclaiming God’s truth sweet friend.

    1. Thanks Coach Mark. Good characterizations there sir. I think the one who grieves me the most is the “I’m very Spiritual” person. The path is narrow; and all along it will be littered souls who will be wondering “Why was I forgotten?”

  7. A powerful message, my friend, one to provoke a lot of contemplation about our salvation and our role in witnessing to others. Serious business. Your metaphor of the cotton left behind that will be wasted should remind us all of our part in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone (because we don’t know who is lost and who isn’t). Thank you, J.D.

    1. Thank you ma’am. You’re statement is so very true. We can’t know, but God does. I pray everyone who reads this will ask God to search their own heart and be assured of their own salvation; before it becomes too late. God’s blessings ma’am. Let us endeavor to leave no one behind because we didn’t share the truth of the gospel of Christ with them.

  8. The time is near and it is important to get as many ready as we can. We know the truth by what Jesus said and not what someone (whether from a pulpit or not) says that may not agree with scripture. Only His word prevents deception.

  9. Wow! This is a powerful post, my friend.
    “‘What was left behind is lost. What was expecting harvest finds itself abandoned and lost.’ In that moment, tears flowed; realizing the remnant of cotton lying abandoned in the field represented those deceived souls of today’s church who will experience the coming great tribulation.”

    We must be courageous and live out the Great Commission by telling others our salvation story. Everyone needs a savior. The only savior is Jesus Christ.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Beckie. We must be willing to “step on toes” and make folks “uncomfortable” if that’s what it takes to help them reach out for true salvation. I am honored to stand beside you and many others in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world ma’am. God’s blessings.

  10. I was so moved, blessed, challenged, and encouraged by this courageous and very relevant and creative piece, J.D. The area around one of the country churches we served back in VA was heavily into cotton farming. I don’t know how many times Diane and I drove past those fields after harvest and talked about all that cotton left lying on the ground. So, obviously, I was totally with you in the scene you described so well. In spite of that, I never made the missing connection that you provided. May God touch and move every heart that gets exposed to the message and the mission you highlighted. Great job, my friend. God bless you.

    1. Coming from you, I am deeply humbled and mightily blessed my friend. Being an experienced “toe-stepper” yourself, I knew you would understand why I had to post what I felt God placed on my heart that day. Like you; I can’t say what tomorrow is going to bring, but I’m certain that things in this world will continue to worsen as we move closer and closer to Christ’s triumphant return. I know my presence won’t be needed, but oh how I am looking forward to returning to this world with Him to watch the final battle. Don’t blink! 🙂 God’s blessings to you and Ms. Diane my friend. I’ll be thinking of you when I make ham and bean soup, and cornbread, later this week.

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