In Good Time

In the Timing

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…

Living in Florida, there are not always clearly defined seasons. Winters are often unseasonably warm and the sweltering summer may begin in spring. Life can be like that for us, too. Trusting God is tough when the season does not yield the kind of fruit expected or it is taking longer than originally thought. As I study to share with the women of our church for Mother’s Day, I am struck by the words of Solomon. For EVERYTHING there is a season. Everything is an all-inclusive term leaving nothing out. To consider this means to accept that all the details of our life have something productive within them. There is time for EVERY matter under Heaven. It is easy to praise God when things turn out as expected but how one responds when a world falls apart, plan fails or loss is inevitable reveals the contents of our heart. It is in brokenness the seed gives life to its potential and so it is with the measure of faith that the Lord has invested in our hearts.

Psalm 145:14-16 (ESV) The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

It has taken the Lord more than 52 years to break through my hard heart and captivate my thoughts with the idea that every season has purpose. It has taken a long and arduous journey to realize that all things are possible with God and that His Word will not return to Him void. Youth comes with the missive that everything has to happen right now. You only live once. Make it count. Fifteen minutes represents years to those who are young and impatient. With such an impetuous nature, experience teaches many hard lessons that only one encounter with the Living God can change from disaster to destiny. When I was a child, my grandmother with great love and affection would say to me, “You must have patience.” Now that I am a grandmother – I am only beginning to understand the true potential of waiting and trusting God. I am quite sure that I will one day say these words to my little grandson as he already exhibits a lack of patience and willfulness as a little baby.

In church as children, we are taught, “He’s got the whole world in His Hands.” One worship song declares, “You hold my every moment.” And goes on to proclaim, “You hold my world in Your Hands.” The confession is there but do we actually believe what we are speaking in our life. To trust that the Lord will make good of every detail of our life (Romans 8:28) and believe that He supplies food in due season and satisfies the desire of every living thing. The Lord has promised that for EVERYTHING there is a season, but do we leave the field when it takes too long? He also says that there is time for EVERY matter under heaven. We serve an intentional God. A God who started from the beginning and has made it to the end. The details are clearly defined as destiny. The promise has purpose marked out specifically by a plan that contains a future and hope. He has set it forth in His Word. He has placed the Word in our heart. Jesus makes all things possible for those who believe. It comes down to this season. It is all about this moment. The current process has fruit that will nourish and satisfy our soul and yield true contentment and abundance. We must only believe.

Proverbs 16:4 (ESV) The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

To believe that there is godly purpose in every detail of our life takes practice. It is an intentional mindset to trust God no matter how long it takes or how close to disaster it seems. To wait beyond our patience simply because He said to. To do exactly what He said even when it is not logical, rational, comfortable, convenient or controlled. To live abandoned to God’s Purpose takes us far beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary. Walking by faith and not by sight is not something others may understand and embrace. I guess it depends what you are after in this life. Do you desire what comes naturally or that which is derived supernaturally? Do you want a mediocre life or to live in the miraculous? Who the Son sets free is truly free. The Lord will not make you take His Blessings. He will not force His Promises on you. He will not make you prosper if you decide to do something else. But for those who believe and pursue Him – God is faithful. He will do exactly as He promised at the appointed time and not a moment sooner.

Purpose is aborted outside of patience. To end the process before the product is complete is a miscarriage. The Lord has promised life exceedingly abundantly more than one can think, ask or imagine which means that there is preparation in order to produce it. Did you know that most lottery millionaires are penniless in just three short years? They receive an increase but have a heart of famine. They do not know how to manage money and invest wisely so they live recklessly. Without good counsel, many will be in deeper debt than before the windfall came. New wine will burst old wineskins causing it to spill out. (Matthew 9) So the Lord must prepare you for the promise that He has for you so that when it comes you will be ready for it.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV) He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

The Lord promises that He has made everything beautiful in its time. EVERYTHING. I cannot stress this enough today as I read the Word and feel compelled by His Spirit. God knows your life from beginning to end. He recorded it before you took your first breath. (Psalm 139) He didn’t write a fairytale. He wrote a future and hope for this life you are living. There is nothing you can do to separate yourself from the Love of God. He loves you. He pursues you with unfailing love and goodness every single day. His Mercy is new every morning. His Grace is always enough. To decide that God has a plan that does not carefully planned and recorded including our faults and failures is ridiculous. He knows. He had to. Christ finished His Work on the Cross and provided the payment for our every sin bearing the weight of each one – past, present and future – in that moment. God is omnipresent. He is omniscient. He is Sovereign. What does that mean? Everywhere. All knowing. Completely in control including all power and authority. This is the God who promises that EVERYTHING is made beautiful in its time. He put eternity in our heart so we know the goal and what to strive for. He does have the whole world in His Hands. God does hold every moment. He is exactly who He says He is and will do exactly as He promised.

I have been a mother for 28 years raising five children. My season of parenting is down to just one child and three more years before she graduates from high school. I have been a mom the majority of my life. I have lived long enough to see broken things become beautiful. I have planted fields yet to bear fruit. As the nest becomes empty, I am not sure what comes next. I don’t remember my life before I was responsible for little people. Holding my little grandson, I look at him differently. I love him with all of my heart but know that he is not my responsibility. What’s next?

The changing of seasons in life is not always easy. In fact, leaving one place for another is often a challenge as humans given to comfort, convenience and control. As I wait on the Lord for direction, I know that He makes EVERYTHING for a season. I must trust His Timing. The Lord promises a time for EVERY matter so those unresolved issues will be made right. He doesn’t just promise us resolution but says that He makes EVERYTHING beautiful in its time. There is beauty in the broken things. There is life for those dead dreams. We must only speak the Word by faith and dry bones will come to life. Timing is everything, right. God’s Timing is perfect. Every promise will be yours in good time. Will you trust the Lord of the harvest today? Will you dare to believe that His Word will not fail? Will you be there when the harvest of your heartache, the fruitfulness of your tears gives way to the beauty of His Plan and Purpose when it comes to pass? It will happen all in good time – God’s Time!

Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV) Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

 

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Dry Seasons

Dry Seasons

Psalm 63:1 (ESV) O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

It is human nature to question our faith and the logic of it. Faith is not logical in the natural and only becomes wise when coupled with godly knowledge and understanding. It is in our relationship with the Word, who is Jesus Christ, that faith isn’t such a crazy notion anymore. As the unfailing love of a good God whose grace is more than enough to overcome the trials and troubles of this life so as our soul prospers then our life will as well.

I have found myself in a dry season. Sowing and reaping. Beating the hard ground that only seems to yield dust. God sent me to this place. He told me to come here. The Lord gave me a glimpse of the potential secretly hidden beneath the surface. As one year turns to two, I am beginning to retrace my steps. It’s hard not to let the dryness of a season saturate your soul. To protect your heart and mind from discouragement in the midst of delay. God, you are my God! It doesn’t mean that your relationship with the Lord is failing. In fact, it is in the seasons of drought that He hears our desperate cries. “Earnestly, I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you…”

Are you dry today? Thirsty? Working a land that refuses to give up its harvest? Stuck in a season that resembles a cycle refusing to move to the next? Are you in a place where it is “as in a dry and weary land where there is no water”? I feel you…I really do. I am right there with you. Today I asked the Lord a one-word question, “Where?” Where am I supposed to be? Is it here? Did I make a wrong turn? Misinterpret your direction? Did my humanness cause me to stumble into the wrong field? Where Lord? Where would you have me to be today?

Matthew 5:6 (ESV) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied. When our want for water becomes a desire that turns into a necessity it will be met with urgency. No longer a whim it will become the driving force in our life. Our body reacts to a lack of water with a condition called dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, exhaustion, headache, dry skin and dizziness. As it progresses, it will also produce a rapid heart rate, fever, and low blood pressure. Dehydration demands a response or bodily functions will eventually shutdown and the person succumb to lack of water.

Thirst, in a spiritual sense, causes desperation. Desperation is defined by urgency, despair, and a sense of hopelessness. It causes doubt to rise up from the deepest recesses of the heart and challenge God at His Word in its discomfort or discontentment. It demands immediate action. It warrants relief of some sort. Are you desperate today? Where do you turn to? Those who desire right standing or a continued relationship with Jesus Christ will turn to the Lord. What if this dry season is not so much about a lack of harvest but the Father longing for more of our heart? Just a thought…

John 7:38 (ESV) “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

Fear and doubt are overcome by faith. Confident hope that becomes anchored in the Love and Grace of God given to us in Jesus Christ so that darkness and drought cannot change our commitment. Inside my heart is living water. Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life. He lives in me. Greater is that is in me than He that is in the world. What if I am the “living water” for this dry land? It is human nature to ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” But what if we are asking the wrong question… What if the real question to be answered today is “God wants in me for them”? What if you were not brought to this field for you but for them? God’s Word cannot and will not EVER return to Him void. It must do exactly what it set out to do.

Psalm 107:35-38 (ESV) He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water. And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.

God turns fields into deserts. He also turns wastelands into waterfalls. God knows the potential of the field that He placed you in and He sees the seeds hidden beneath the ground. He prepared you in other seasons to come here. He tried you so that you will have patience. He tested you so you would endure. He gave you everything you need and every spiritual blessing to survive until you thrive. What if it is all in the waiting? What if all you have to do is work the land, be patient and endure? What if that really is all there is to it? Will you walk away? The harvest will come whether we choose to wait on it or not. God will not force you to stay where He sent you or remain where He called you. The Living Water in you is dependent on your willingness to work the land regardless of your feelings and despite how things look fully trusting Him.

Psalm 65:9-11 (NLT) You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

From God’s Perspective, His Plan is working. We must align our heart, mind, and thoughts with His Word. It is only then that our faith becomes logical and waiting fruitful. A dry season must not be misinterpreted that the ground is barren, the drought ongoing or the dream of harvest dead. It is just a season in God’s Cycle of life that is working beyond the place where eyes can see, hands can touch and our mind can comprehend. If God called you to this place, the blessing associated with it will come because God is faithful. God is good. He is in complete and absolute control.

The dry season is waiting on one thing – rain. God’s Rain. Living Water. When it comes, it will cause the ground to yield its harvest. It will cause our heart to do the same. In Matthew 5:45, it says that the Lord causes the rain to fall on the just and unjust. Rain is inevitable. Seasons will change. The satisfaction in each season is the promise of harvest and blessing. God didn’t put you where you are just for you. He placed you there as a Light in the darkness. You have a purpose in this season that will produce something in you, around you and for others. The potential crown for this year is a bountiful harvest. His Word promises that “even the hard pathways (will) overflow with abundance.”

Psalm 63:3-8 (ESV) Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

Why? Why wait for the dry season to end? “Because (God’s) steadfast love is better than life.” It will be worth it. The desperation, frustration, and weariness caused by your willingness to keep beating the dry ground, soaking it with tears, saturating it with sweat, and washing it with His Word. There is potential in each place that the Lord places His People. It doesn’t always look like it or seem to be suitable but that’s the beauty of faith – we walk by faith not by sight. So the way things look today do not dictate the outcome of tomorrow in the life of the believer. We live subject to change. The change is called transformation. It begins inside of us and works its way out. As our soul prospers so will we.

Are you dry? Thirsty? Desperate? Tap into the Living Water inside of you. It is the Source that never runs dry. Speak life to those dry bones. The Lord’s Plan is fully operational and destined to be delivered. You just have to stick it out. Let His Word wash over you today. It will refresh, restore and renew you in your waiting. Let the Holy Spirit produce the good fruit that will nourish your soul. You are never alone. God is with you. Jesus lives in you. You have all you need for a rich and satisfying life. It’s coming. Don’t miss it!

Isaiah 44:2-4 (ESV) Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams.

Break the Cycle

Break the Cycle

2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (NLT) So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

Just about every morning, I start a load of wash to start the day. This house produces mounds of laundry at an alarming rate. It is my personal ongoing challenge to find the bottom of the hamper though only able to glory in it shortly before it fills back up. The washer has different cycles according to that which I am cleaning. There is a delicate cycle for those things that are fragile or nice. There is a normal setting for all the average materials. Then there is a heavy duty one for those big loads like towels or really dirty loads. There is a plethora of other choices in between so many options just to get your items clean. When I visited Africa as a missionary, there were two sweet ladies that would gather up the laundry and in the sunshine of the day with a couple buckets of water work through all of it until it was pristine. No fancy machine with a bunch of buttons just two hardworking women beating the clothes on rocks, scrubbing with brushes, rubbing with lemon and hanging the product of the labor to dry. They were scheduled for twice a week to come to the missionary’s home. They were part of a cycle, too.

Are you living in a cycle? Or are you living in seasons? To live life making the same choices and expecting different outcomes is thought to be insanity. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it certainly is sad. I wonder if sometimes as believers the mistake is made to think we are living in seasons but only an ongoing cycle. Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. Am I a new person? Or am I the same person just doing different things? Hmmm… I was listening to my daughters talk about a situation with some friends. Teenage drama. The same scenario played out not too long ago. Hopeful that the cycle of hurt feelings was over yet clearly not. And that’s when it hit me…my own thoughts were filled with disappointment that was creeping in as frustration, bitterness and discord. Is Christ a concept in my life or is Christ my life? I am a new creation. I am a new person. I have a new life. It is not because of conditions or circumstances and certainly not dictated by people. It is up to me to break the cycle of sin and continually sow seeds in seasons including those intangible seeds that grow into the Fruit of God’s Spirit. One day my girls will mature into adults (I hope) that can see past immaturity and temporary circumstances. As Christians, it is our privilege in Christ to grow, mature and develop our character in every season. Too often, we fall prey to cycles.

A cycle is a sequence of changing states that, upon completion, produces a final state identical to the original one. Like my washing machine, I can operate in cycles that do nothing to grow, develop or mature my character and produce a harvest but yields the same results over and over again. If I do not break such sequences in my life and determine to plant the Word, pray in the Spirit and do something different – I run the risk of becoming like the fig tree which could produce beautiful leaves but could bear no fruit. It did not make it past an encounter with Christ. Is your life producing fruit? Are you doing all the “right” things but not experiencing the associated blessing? Are you living in a cycle? Religion often creates cycles in life. Repetitious rules and rituals that without true repentance and real righteousness will bear no harvest in us.

Romans 7:18-20 (NLT) And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

Galatians 4:9-11 (NLT) So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing.

Unproductive seasons are nothing more than cycles. I am now convinced that the derailment of a season turns it into a cycle. If we do not plant seeds of faith, trust and confidence and allow them to grow, develop and mature there will be no harvest. There will only be disappointment and discouragement when no blessing comes. We can endure seasons, but to get a harvest something must be sown. To reap a harvest there must be a spiritual investment. A seed in the ground must die to produce the potential within it. I wonder today if some of us have fallen into dangerous cycles rather than living from season to season. We can break these dangerous cycles by choosing to live according to the seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11 (NLT) For everything there is a season a time for every activity under heaven. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 

Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

James 1:21-22 (NLT)  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Who the Son sets free is free indeed. We get to choose how we live even after coming to Christ. It doesn’t mean that our lives will produce harvests of blessing and abundance no matter how we live but that His Mercy and Grace is always enough to save us. We must only endure to the end to be saved. Some Christians will live in cycles from here to eternity and walk right in. That’s not enough for me. I believe that Christ died to give me an abundant life and do exceedingly abundantly more than I can think or ask according to His Word. I believe that His Promise to make good of every detail of my life also is true and valid. Every spiritual blessing is given to me right along with everything I need. I am marked for success. I am prospering from the inside out. However, believing all these things are not enough. I must live according to the seasons and break every fruitless cycle that I once engaged in.

God promised that the seasons of our life would produce a harvest…if I carefully obey His Commands. (Deuteronomy 11:13-15) His Desire is for His People to thrive and produce good and lasting fruit in EVERY season even in drought or famine. (Psalm 1:1-3) Obedience will break cycles and turn them into seasons. Our heart must be broken, fertile and ready to receive that seed by faith and allow it to reach its full potential which means I cannot live by what I see but by faith as the Word prescribes. God is more concerned with the life produced inside of me than a tangible harvest. When my heart and soul prosper it will overflow into abundant life around me.

I Corinthians 13:11-12 (NLT) When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

James 1:23-25 (NLT) For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

The beauty of our walk with Christ is that it is individual and personal. He longs to walk with us and talk with us every day. To be yoked together as one. He knocks awaiting a personal invitation and always comes when called. He offers to be the vine with a place for branches to become engrafted and bear fruit in all seasons according to the resurrection power and life that is in Him. We have been given the opportunity as Children of the Living God filled with His Life Giving Spirit to produce good fruit. Lasting fruit. Abundant fruit. We must live each season through Christ and refuse to settle for cycles.

We must look into the mirror, not at our appearance. It is our reflection that must be determined. Sin leads to death a vicious and endless cycle. Life begets life – new life in each season. Sin is anything that is contrary to His Word, His Will or His Way. Hope never leads to disappointment. True repentance produces a love affair with Jesus so special that there is nothing of more value or worth to compare it to. It is the sweetest love that produces a desire in us for more of Him. It is produced by the seed of faith committed in trust and confident that it will be worth the wait. Are you in a cycle today? Good news! New life belongs to you. You are a new creation. You are more than a conqueror through Christ. You always win. You live from glory to glory. Anytime you would like to break an unproductive cycle – you can! Is it time to put away some childish things? Maybe it is time just to believe again. Whatever the season of your life make it productive. Find your promise. Plant God’s Word. Speak life over it every day. Wait until He comes with the harvest He promised. He will come. Will you be ready?

Isaiah 55:10-13 (NLT) “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

Know Your Season

know-your-season

Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT) Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) To everything there is a season, an ordained time of productivity with absolute production of that which has been planted that prospers into a harvest. If there is seed planted, it will grow according to its providential design. Whether wheat or weeds are planted something will surely grow unless uprooted and destroyed or ignored and left to die. People live in seasons and there is a time for every activity under heaven. Do you know what season it is? This winter has been unseasonably warm here in the South, yet our daughter has been buried in blizzards and below zero temperatures up North. Though we are of the same family, our seasons are obviously different. What if people could see the seasons of each other just like that? While I send her pictures of the warm sun shining through the open sunroof in January, in return I get a picture of what she thinks might be her car buried in the snow. Since, I am not accustomed to such conditions it may look kind of fun to stomp around in the powdery white stuff and make a snow angel. But if I lived in it, I would definitely not feel the same way. I cannot compare the season of my life with anyone else’s because they do not live where I do according to the plan handwritten for my life by My God. You have one, too. Just for you with seasons and times completely individualized according to Your Purpose. It is important to know your season. How else will you know what to cultivate in your life during such times?

The commonality for believers is Jesus Christ. From there, our plans and purposes change as dramatically as the parts of our body each with its own works and operations that together form a united physique. The Body of Christ is highly specialized and incorporates all members to work together with one heart, one mind and one purpose. However, if I do not find my place and release my purpose then I cannot prosper and contribute to my part of the Kingdom of God. My prosperity is not dependent on anyone else or any natural element that exists in the world. God made me to prosper and bear fruit in ALL seasons even the harsh ones with extreme conditions. My leaves will never wither and I can prosper in all that I do. How? How is this possible when life falls apart? Drought dries up resources? A bad diagnosis drains my hope. When life doesn’t turn out as expected? How can I know my season when it does not meet my expectation? This is not the case if I learn to delight in the Lord, meditate on His Word, and continuously sow it in my life.

Leviticus 26:1:3-5 (NLT) “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. 

What if God is providing the seasonal rain, but the thought to be fertile ground of our heart is not ready? What if He is absolutely doing what He promised but the hardness and crowded area meant for His Spirit will not absorb it? Our seasons should overlap as Children of God. Each new season should produce new blessing that carries over from yesterday through today and into tomorrow. We live in the security of God, but am I at peace? The Lord promises peace to those who follow His Decrees and obey His Commands. To walk His Way, sowing His Word in our life produces certain advantages that are not tangible but still exist. He offers to rid the land of enemies. In fact, He promises us the power to overcome the enemy. It is the Sword of His Spirit that drives Him away. He promises to make us productive in life. However, if I choose another way. Any other way, even if it is delayed obedience, partial obedience, or even total obedience in the absence of love – well I will not prosper as God intended which is to experience success in all that I do.

Deuteronomy 28:1-6 (NLT) “If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed.

The Blessings of God are not contingent on obedience but conceived in obedience. God prospers our life as our soul prospers. As His Seed, His Word, grows in our heart, the blessings reserved for us grow out of us. The rain falls on the just and unjust. Every living and breathing person can sow and reap in life. Those who sow good seed get a good harvest. Those who sow bad seed will reap what they sow. Those who sow no seed will go hungry and live in famine. It is not because God is good or even bad? Our seed is not contingent on God’s Faithfulness but cultivated in obedience. God is just. He is a Good God who gives to each of His Children exactly the same. Those who sow in the Spirit will reap in the Spirit supernaturally. Those who sow in the flesh will reap of the flesh. Those who sow in the world will reap the things in life. It is a process that is not governed by prejudice. There is no need to look at, inspect, evaluate, or compare our life and its productivity to another because all are given the same advantage. Obedience to God and His Word produces blessings in season and out of season. The seed is the same. His Word is true for everyone. Those who believe enough to trust the Lord, have faith in Him and continue to sow in the Spirit will reap heavenly rewards by bringing heaven to earth.

Deuteronomy 11:13-14 (NLT) “If you carefully obey the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart and soul,  then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil.

No season is wasted. Nothing is wasted when it comes to the Lord. Even seeds planted in our life that didn’t necessarily grow in our next season may simply dormant in the ground for the time when famine comes. Or maybe that seed that died in the ground fertilized the true harvest that God intended for your life. We must stop evaluating God by the seasons and honoring Him in every season of life. The more that I trust the Lord the longer I will wait for Him. The more I believe God’s Word the less likely I am to dig it up and start again. God has labeled every season of my life as “proper” – it is absolutely the right time to cultivate my purpose, my anointing, my calling and allow His Oil to flow through my life but if all I seek are the tangible blessings of God then I will miss the real harvest in my life called new things, new creation and new life. To seek God for a better life is to miss the blessing reserved for us. Jesus died to give us a satisfying life. If it could be had or accomplished in this life, there would be no need for God. But everything else is garbage compared to knowing Jesus Christ and finding ourselves within Him.

2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (NLT) Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) Our union with Jesus Christ when He becomes our Savior and Lord releases every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. Do you believe that today? Jesus Christ called Savior affords me the Grace that is all sufficient in washing away my sins and making me a Child of God. To call Him Lord is demonstrated in my obedience to Him. When He is my Lord, I will do what His Word says to do, speak it and live it every day to the best of my ability because I love Him. When I seek the Lord only to make this life better, easier, and wealthier for human comfort – I will miss the greatest blessing of all. A farmer who plants only a few seeds gets a small crop. If my expectation is limited to my tiny temporary existence on this planet, I have forfeited the spiritual blessings and prosperity available as by faith and trust I make myself available for the Lord to pour every spiritual blessing in me so it can flow through me to those around me.

The generosity of Spirit that creates an overflow of blessing in my life is from the Fruit of His Spirit not the ways of the world. To sow in the Spirit will reap the signs, wonders and miracles that set people free, leading them from darkness to light, and from death to life. What are you sowing in your life today? Is your time taken up with work, worry and stress? Spend some of it the Word today. Where is your talents? Sown for the Kingdom that thing God created you to do, whatever it may be, releases potential to become purpose which always leads to prosperity. What about your treasure? That thing in your storehouse reserved for a rainy day, or that new thing, or even your future, did you give God your first fruit or is it dying in a storehouse rather than given to good ground? We choose how to invest our life. Those who sow in the Kingdom will reap every spiritual blessing that Jesus died for us to have. To plant in this world will always produce less than God’s Best until we invest our life in the Gospel and generously sowing it into the world.

Galatians 6:7-9 (NLT) Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

I don’t know what season you are in today. Most days, I am not absolutely sure of my own. What I do know is that God’s Spirit cannot be mocked. He knows what I am planting and the intent of my heart. He knows what my expectation is in that seed that I am sowing. He knows what I hope it will produce. Our heart is fickle. Our pursuit of God sometimes wanders from His Heart to His Hand. It is only natural. We must concentrate daily on sowing for the coming season. We must not allow our giving to be influenced by what we have today but make it the seed for the future. Our words are seeds. They will be worthless until infused with the Life Giving Potential of Jesus Christ and His Word. Choosing to live to please the Spirit is to focus on investing in everlasting life that meets us the moment that we draw our last breath. The seed of my life sown for today is wasted. It is when I choose to sow God’s Word and live His Way no matter what my earthly conditions that I will prosper in each day regardless of the season favorable or not. Are you tired? Weary of well doing? Do you know your season? Every season has potential to produce God’s Purpose when faithful obedience is our choice. It will release spiritual blessings beyond what we can think or imagine. Sometimes we just need to get our eyes off the ground and what is growing, instead looking to the sky from where our help comes!

James 5:7-8 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

My Time

New Year's at midnight - old vintage clock and fireworks

James 1:2-4 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

When our son was diagnosed with cancer, the morning after his oncologist came by to make introductions and schedule his initial appointments for evaluation and treatment plans. He has two oncologists who are amazing and definitely sent to us by God. After explaining the beginning processes and possible avenues of treatment, they asked our 19-year-old son if he had any questions. He quietly looked up clearly processing all the information and said, “I do not smoke. I do not drink. I do not go places where these things happen. Why me?” Completely plausible question considering our son never really was a social kid and has always stuck pretty close to home. He was honest in his estimation of his life including the fact I was a complete fanatic about our kids not being exposed to secondhand smoke. Why? How is it even possible that he could have nasopharyngeal cancer? Good question. No, that is exactly what the doctor said to him completely validating his estimation that it was inconceivable. He went on to explain that our son’s case was indeed rare and they were at the moment scratching their heads as to where it came from and how they would fight it. But…his final words were quite impressive. His doctor walked around the foot of the bed to his side, placing his hand gently yet firmly on his shoulder, looking him directly in the eye and spoke something quite profound and unforgettable to him which applies to all of us. He changed positions in that moment from doctor to philosopher of sorts. “Everyone goes through something in life that defines who they are. This is your one thing. You can overcome this and life a better life because of it.”

Is this your “thing”? Are you going through something that has you asking the Lord, “Why me?” God’s Grace and Character can handle your question even when it becomes a harsh interrogation. He welcomes it, in fact. It is in the moments of time when everything we know and believe about the Lord is challenged that fallacies of faith are discovered and filled with His Grace to grow a little more faith each time. When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. You learn to believe God’s Word a little more. Walk out on the water just a little bit further. One day the thing will come that causes you to cross over from being caught up in little things and you will be consumed by one thing. Jesus will be all you need. He will become your greatest desire. It will be in that moment that satisfaction and completion produce fulfillment. Is your time coming? Is it already here?

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

There is a time for every activity under heaven. The list is long and comprehensive but covers the whole gambit in Ecclesiastes 3. It does not change when Jesus becomes our Savior and Lord. The potential of each moment is infused with the Power of God so that every detail can result in our good according to Romans 8:28. The Christ in us makes us triumphant overcomes in all things but does not exempt us from the process of endurance that solidifies our faith. We all must endure something that allows our faith to grow larger than our fear, confidence in God greater than any human insecurity, and our perception of life greater than tomorrow but firmly secured by hope called forever. The realm of hope is the place where the impossibilities of life become possible by faith.

God makes everything beautiful when? He makes everything beautiful in its own time. This implies process which will require patience and endurance. These qualities of discipline must be part of our life to keep us on track yet they are not very pleasant physically or spiritually. I do not like to wait. I do not have a vast supply of patience. My entire being rebels against endurance. But God says, “Hold on, I am doing something here. Maybe not around you, but in you!” He has placed eternity in my heart that has become desire to know Him more. As I call out to the Lord, He answers but not always the way that I would like Him to. Growth is a process. It cannot be hurried to accommodate my feelings but rather I must learn to wait for its proper time. For such a time as this…

Esther 4:13-14 (NLT) Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”

Esther was not pursued by the King Xerxes but rather part of a roundup of sorts. After he had deposed Queen Vashti, his attendants suggested that they search the empire for the most beautiful virgins. They would be brought to the palace (whether they wanted to come or not) and be subjected to months of preparation for a night in the king’s bed. This is not exactly what I would call a fairytale but rather enslavement. Esther was one of those young women. I cannot imagine her fear at being taken from her family and prepared to be presented against her will to the king. She endured the process and would become his queen. However, God knew exactly where Esther needed to be for such a time as this… She is not the only one. David had his “for just such a time as this moment” when he faced a giant with only a sling and handful of stones. He didn’t go with an army or even in armor. He faced the giant by faith overcoming fear. Daniel spent the night in the company of lions. Alone. Surely he would become a feast, but that’s not what happened. Daniel had been groomed and prepared for just such a time as this. What about Abraham? Walking to the mountain alone, completely by faith as he hoisted his son on the altar. He would honor God even if it meant driving a knife through his son, his only son to honor his God. He left his servants behind. Just Abraham and God went up that mountain with a sacrifice, but came down with a son. Even Jesus had a moment when He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” We are made for the moment, for that thing that moves us past ourselves into a faithful relationship with our God. When given the choice to press in and endure of give up and move on – we give our all to Jesus like He gave His All for us.

Matthew 24:12-14 (NLT) Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

Sin is rampant. Love is growing colder by the hour. The world is a dark and perverse place. We have a Light within us that must find its way out. Eternity planted in our heart is only potential unless it becomes our purpose in life. We are given the opportunity to have eternity by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Faith turns our potential into purpose. Jesus was clear that He came to give us a rich and satisfying life that the enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy daily. We must endure to the end to be saved. Our footsteps are ordered by the Lord to take us the valley to face the giant or lead us to the den filled with hungry lions or even to the mountain of sacrifice where the price may be more than our willingness to pay – it is that moment when there is nothing left of me to give and all I have is the Christ within me to offer. Jesus is enough. His Grace is always sufficient but if I never reach one of these places in life then my faith may not be strong enough or real enough to take me Eternity. It must be tested. I must know that it is true.

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 (NLT) We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Peter the disciple of Jesus Christ was quite firm in his stance that he would die for the Lord. When the time of testing came – Peter denied Jesus three times in one night. However, when Jesus rose again and came to meet the group of disciples on the beach that day – Peter dove in the water and swam to Him. Something had changed. Peter became the Rock Jesus told him that he would be. However, what about Judas? He left the group and killed himself. I believe that if he would have come back to Jesus after the resurrection that the same grace I have been given would have been bestowed on him, too. Judas didn’t believe it. He felt despair so deep he could not go on. I know you are being pressed too far. I understand what it means to be perplexed when our life doesn’t look like what God promised. It feels like the enemy is hot on our heels…he is. We get knocked down. We feel the pain of suffering, the hurt of betrayal and devastation of trauma – but we are never crushed, driven to despair, abandoned by God, or even destroyed. No – all these things are the obstacles that must be removed so our faith can grow. It is all part of God’s Plan – “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’”

I Corinthians 9:26-27 (NLT) So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Be encouraged today! You have purpose in every step. Now is the time to begin to discipline your body like an athlete, take control of your thoughts making them subject to God’s Word, and it is up to you if you will choose His Way. If you have asked, “Why me?” You are very close to a breakthrough a moment when the Light of His Love breaks through the dark and your faith has a chance to grow a little or even a lot. Do not give up. Do not give in. Press. Push. Do whatever it takes to take the next step, reach out a little further, and make it through just one more day. God is with you. He did not abandon you but is trying to take all that potential and burst forth with purpose today. A successful life is a purposeful life. A purposeful life is a fulfilled life. A fulfilled life is a satisfied life. It is impossible to have this kind of life apart from our faith. We must live, breath, move and exist in Christ to have all that He has promised expressed in each moment. You were made for just such a time as this – it doesn’t matter how it looks or what anyone thinks – it will be defined by what we know and believe which is relayed in our faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ. Beat the giant and you will win every other battle. Shut the mouth of lions and you will never fear their roar again. Go to the mountain and come back full of faith. There are a great cloud of witnesses cheering you on! You can do it. You were made for this moment! This your time! This is my time to be blessed, prosperous and fulfilled by the rich and satisfying life that Jesus purposed for me!

John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Take Out the Trash

take-out-theh-trash

Philippians 3:7-8 (NLT) I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.

In the wee hours of the morning, I received the news that a good friend had suddenly lost her father. He had been sick for a while and then his health dramatically improved. He was able to spend quality time with his family even traveling. Everyone was relieved and rejoiced in his recovery. He was a good man. A godly influence to everyone who knew him. I had only known him a short time but the legacy of his love and leadership ripples out through generations. Suddenly, everything changed. In that instant his wife became a widow and his children fatherless. Grandchildren and even great grandchildren will only have memories to sustain the impact of this gentleman. The family went to bed planning Christmas celebrations and woke up planning a home going celebration instead. It’s funny how life works sometimes.

Driving to work, I passed one of his grandchildren headed to his grandmother’s house as the family gathered. My heart sank for this young man and his family. I began to think about our family and friends. The community of believers that I belong to. My coworkers. Everyone in my sphere of influence who continues on the daily grind each day. I wonder if we understand how close our time is or that this day is the only thing that is certain. Do we (do I) live like that? Or have I become so consumed with worthless and temporary things that I sometimes forget, take for granted or think I have only today to love and live for Christ?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 

Could it be that as divine creations carefully created with eternity in us that sometimes our focus is on forever rather than today? Not eternal forever, but that thought that we live forever takes over and somehow living for this day even this moment escapes us because our mind grabs hold of tomorrows that may never come. The breath that just left your body can never be reclaimed or recounted. There are a certain number of breaths in our body and the Lord knows exactly how many so He plans our life accordingly providing the opportunity to accept Him, know Him and live for Him if that is our choice. Falling in love with Jesus is a choice. It is a privilege. It is our purpose. However, alongside the Lover of our soul is one who hates us equally. The “God” in us makes him livid and relentless in stripping us of faith. The greatest distraction is time and our thoughtless idea that it is unlimited.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT) For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

I woke up this morning with painting on my mind. Yes, painting. Painting my daughter’s room to be exact. Then I remembered that I needed to decorate for Christmas and buy a tree. Oh, that’s right I have only purchased a few gifts. Wait a minute! I haven’t been grocery shopping more than quick stops since before Thanksgiving so I probably should do some meal planning and make the dreaded trip. Hold up…there is something I am forgetting. Oh that’s right! My December baby is about to have a birthday. So I did what any ordinary person would do and pulled the covers over my head and stayed in bed another thirty minutes or so. Ugh! Worthless things. Things that don’t really matter. Things that steal the moments from my life rather than adding quality as Christ would have it. Do I need to do some of these things? Sure I do. Do I want to do some of them? Of course. Do any of them matter as much as knowing and loving Christ. Of course, not. We grab hold of worthless things and garbage thoughts all the time forgetting that God created times and seasons with our breath, steps and heartbeats in careful consideration. There is no need to run ourselves ragged with planning, preparation and execution of certain seasons, schedules and such. Nothing matters more than asking the Lord to guide us in our time management. To help govern our to-do list. How to spend the next few moments? Where to take the next couple of breaths? What matters today Lord – because tomorrow is not certain? You know the plans that You have made for me and the life You designed so that I could have them. They are my future. They are filled with hope. I must find you to fulfill them. You are never buried in worthless things. Help me to rid my life of all such garbage and take hold of you today.

Psalm 119:1-5 (NLT) Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. You have charged us    to keep your commandments carefully. Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!

Are you full of joy this holiday season? Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. My heart can get filled up with a whole lot of junk sometimes. My mind becomes filled with worthless ideas and thoughts that don’t do anything but distract me. As I sit and study and even pray this morning, random thoughts keep popping in my head about things I need to do and remember. I learned a long time ago that when I hide away with Jesus to keep my journal and a notepad close by. I journal my thoughts, considerations, and personal time with Jesus. When those others things come to mind, I write them on the list so that my mind is free of them until this time is over. I am most joyful when I am in the Presence of God. When He washes away my sin and takes my burdens, instead filling me with His Peace and Joy. Such an investment of time, changes the course of my day. It creates the right kind of expectation. Time is a precious commodity wasted too many times on lesser things.

Psalm 119:9-11 (NLT) How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

I have never met a white-haired believer that does not have a story of their mess turned into their message. In disbelief, it is hard to think that they ever did not serve the Lord. What we see is the transformation of time standing before us but if we did not witness the change for ourselves – we seldom believe it. When my grandmother passed away, so many people came to offer condolences and kind words sharing what a sweet, kind and loving Christian woman that she was and how she impacted their life. Ever since that day, I knew in my heart that I wanted to be that kind of believer who loved like Jesus and was a Light in life. Just like Brother John, who passed away yesterday, the legacy of his life is waves of love and admiration for time well-spent getting to know Jesus, falling in Love with Him, and pursuing Him wholeheartedly. This will always emanate to those around us when we give up precious time once spent on worthless things to hide His Word in our heart and know Him more and more.

Psalm 119:29-30 (NLT) Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your regulations.

Life is too short to waste it on worthless things. We must stop lying to ourselves that tomorrow will be here before we know it. We must stop procrastinating and putting off today the things that make us uncomfortable or inconvenienced. When the Lord says speak…we must speak. When He tells us to forgive…we must forgive. When He speaks reconciliation, we must move. When He calls to us…we must come. When he tells us to go…we must go where it is He tells us. We must stop wasting precious moments of our life on the lie that tomorrow is coming just hold on. What if the joy promised for the morning is to meet Him face to face? Will I be ready or wasted away on worthlessness?

Psalm 119:37-40 (NLT) Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.

What are you wasting your life on today? Any regrets? What about “what ifs”? Where are you? Is it where you want to be? Are you thriving or merely surviving? Life becomes very short when faced with the end of it. Suddenly, all those “important” things are not so important any more. I know that when the enemy put a death sentence called “cancer” on our son’s life that my priorities changed in an instant. Nothing was as important to me as staying by his side watching and waiting for the Lord to fulfill His Promise that he would live and not die to declare the works of the Lord. When I tried to get back to the life I remembered, the one that afforded me comfort and control- I found it was gone. Such a season in my life was over, everything changed and would continue to be different. Not in a bad way, many times with disaster comes discernment as the Light of His Love reveals the depths of our heart. Sometimes we like what we see, but often it is quite appalling all the garbage allowed to remain there.

Lord, I ask you today to turn our eyes from worthless things. It’s time to take out the trash that fills us with lesser things when you created us with so much more in mind.  All those things that stop the Fruit of Your Spirit from growing and overflowing in my life. All the junk that keeps me from Your Goodness called fulfillment that is Your Promise to us. Lord, help me to declutter my mind and sensitize my heart to what really matters to You. Lord, fix my thoughts and keep me focused on today rather than getting caught up in tomorrow, next month or next year. Today has a purpose. You have a plan. Each step is ordered remind me to take steps rather than running ahead. Thank you Lord that our life has meaning. Thank you Lord, You are already there.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT) And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Mom on Purpose

Mom on Purpose

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 (NIV) For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

 

To be a mom is probably the most wonderful gift that I have ever been given. Each birth has brought a whole new level of love and understanding that I never thought possible. In each face, I see my purpose even now as little babies have become grown adults. Through the years, the future was hard to visualize in the midst of raising five children. I never thought past active parenting to what might come next. I literally poured my life into my kids. This is not an exaltation of self or boasting about me. Not at all. When my first son was brought to me all clean and pristinely wrapped in a blanket, I couldn’t take my eyes off this awesome angelic creature. I could not credit anyone with his beauty and presence but God. Tears rolled down my face as I realized how unworthy I was of such a blessing and that it was now my responsibility to raise him up in to be a responsible human being full of good qualities and traits to meet the purpose that he was designed for. Though far from God in the days, months and years preceding his arrival, it was with vivid clarity that I experienced God’s Presence wrap His Arms around me. I was crushed by the realization that because I am would make mistakes and not always be the perfect mom. Struck with paralyzing fear that I would mess him up with my inability to be flawless, I needed more grace to take the next step. The Lord showered me with love, grace and mercy in that moment so I could take the next breath and breathe in the extravagance of the moment.

 

Today is Mother’s Day. It is a new season in our home and family life. With just two girls still here, it is a quiet Sunday morning as I reflect on God’s greatest and most precious purpose in my life called motherhood. I love being a mom. I cannot imagine my survival during the darkest days of my existence had I not had little people who loved and depended on me. Now, looking back I wonder sometimes where to go from here. For all of their childhood, they always took precedence. Now what? As moms, we give and give to our children. We try to love them selflessly. Give them every opportunity. Encourage, equip and build them up to be the person that God created them to be and fulfill His Purpose. During the days of running, wiping, delivering, retrieving, cleaning, cooking, and caring for our brood, the days seem long and endless until you open the door to an empty room. Now what?

 

Two of my favorite mothers in the Bible are found in 2 Kings 4. Both are examples of woman devoted to their family who were willing to do anything for their children.

 

2 Kings 4:3-7 (NIV) Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”

 

This mother was a widow. In Biblical times, this was a desperate situation which made this woman completely vulnerable. She could not pay the family’s debts. Her sons would be taken into slavery as repayment. When Elisha arrived, he asked, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” She said, “Your servant has nothing except a small jar of olive oil.” As moms, we tend to pour into our household. We give to our spouses and children often forgetting ourselves. Building homes filled with love yet taken for granted. When Elisha came to the widow’s home, he asked her what was in her home. She told him a small jar of oil. Oil represents the anointing of God.

 

A good mother will fill her home with more than just fancy meals, inviting accommodations and continual hospitality. She forgoes her office as housekeeper, bookkeeper, nurse and more to seek the Lord’s Face and pray for her family – her oil jar gets just a little bit fuller each time. There will come a day when it is time to take that anointing and passion filling our hearts reserved for our children (or so we thought) and pour it out on the world. Just as this woman, we have an anointing on our life that is not small and insignificant yet sometimes stifled by the lie of our enemy, He tells us that is all that we are good for. We become defined by a role portrayed by the world rather than embracing it fully and accepting that there is more.

 

I ask you today what do you have in your home? Is it time to take the show on the road? When we realize that God’s Anointing on our life reaches past our perceived roles into more, then we will begin to examine our life as God sees it rather than just how life titled it. Your role mom is not small or insignificant. In you is a Light of Love so profound and selfless that when you coupled it with Christ, now you are unstoppable. Your love for your children is full and complete so now as you look for other vessels to pour into you find that the overflow is more than imaginable. There are people who have never experienced the Love of the Father or their earthly parents who need the Light of His Love hidden in the fragile jar of our heart.

 

In motherhood, those who know the Lord will seek Him desperately and immediately on behalf of their children. Praying without ceasing is not a problem when it is your children who you pray for. This training ground of parenting in which we engage is to grow and develop us into fulfillment so with that same love and desperation – we can love others as Christ loves us.

 

2 Kings 4:27-30 (NIV) When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.” “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.” But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.

 

The second woman found in 2 Kings 4 is the Shunammite woman. A godly woman who had opened her home to the prophet. She and her husband made a room in their home for him and provided for him when he came their way. Moved with compassion, Elisha wanted to bless this woman. When Elisha asked her what could be done for her, she asked for nothing. Her response, “I have a home among my people.” The woman was barren and her husband old. She had accepted her lot in life and was comfortable. Elisha told the woman, “About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms. The woman was not overjoyed or overly enthusiastic but cautious. She said, “No, my lord! Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant.” She was hopeless. She had learned to be content in her barrenness. She had accepted her lot in life. She refused to reach higher than reality anymore. It had served her well and she did not want to encounter disappointment again.

 

Nothing can stop the Lord when He intends to bless us and the woman did bear a child just as Elisha had said. But this is not the end of her story but her purpose unfolding. The child became ill and on his deathbed. She knew straight where to go. She saddled her donkey and went to find Elisha. When Gehazi came and asked if every was okay, she said, “Yes” but why did she lie? Or was this her faith speaking? At any rate, she wanted to go directly to the man of God and seek the Lord’s Presence. Once there she said to him, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

 

Elisha immediately dispatched Gehazi to lay his staff on the boy, but the mother refused to leave Elisha. She knelt wrapping her arms around his feet. “But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her. Elisha went to the boy and he was healed. Most woman would have remained at their child’s side and sent someone else to get the man of God. But not this woman, she knew exactly where her hope was found. Not in the boy but in the Lord. Our life gets wrapped so tightly in earthly responsibility that it is hard to remember that our purpose is not found in the earth but Eternity. We must be very careful not to exalt our children above God. They are a blessing of God to us. He loves and cares for them. We must remain at His Feet and fulfill our purpose according to His Will.

 

2 Kings 8:1-2 (NIV) Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

 

Our purpose is not in a single moment but cultivated in a lifetime of serving the Lord. The woman was instructed by the prophet to leave her home as there would be a famine. So she obediently followed his instructions which cost her everything she owned taken by others in her absence. So just about the time Gehazi was telling the king he story, 7 YEARS LATER, the woman walks into his court.

 

2 Kings 8:5-6 (NIV) Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

 

We cannot see the end from the beginning. God knows the beginning to the end of our life as He has written it in vivid detail. It is human nature to become consumed by the role played in each season of life without regarding the future. God’s Plan always contains a future and hope. We move from glory to glory because Christ lives in us. These woman both experienced great hardship that led to dramatic growth in God. The blessing of God on their life in the process made a way for the rest of their life.

 

Today there will be moms who are celebrated and some who think they are forgotten. Children grow up. Move away. Rebel. Wander. Get busy and forget. Perhaps as the active role of mother wanes – you are wondering if your purpose is fulfilled. Never. The years of pouring into your family and children will make a way for an even greater blessing as we allow the Lord to use us in other ways. We just have to take our eyes off the present and choose to reach for more jars to pour into. They are out there believe me. If you will simply seek the Lord, He will show you your purpose beyond the four walls of your home. Motherhood is important. God created us for that role as women, but there is more purpose hidden in our fragile hearts.

 

Proverbs 31:25-31 (NIV) She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 

Being a mother causes us to become selfless and teaches us the value of unconditional love. Jesus gives us children to love and care for but not to be our fulfillment. They are just a part of a much greater purpose. We are not small and insignificant but mighty and strong. Our lives are developed through our attempt to raise individuals and we learn responsibility that once they are grown or gone allows us a gift for others. We learn to love a little more like Jesus when than sulking in our season, but striving to share His Love as diligently with others as we do with our children. Miracles will happen. Lives will be changed. Our joy will be full both now and forever. We will be celebrated not just in our home but the city we build in His Love. Lord, teach me today to become the Titus woman you have called me to be. Living in Proverbs 31, I have prayed and believed to be transformed. Just like the woman with the alabaster box poured it out at the feet of Jesus, our life of motherhood is our most valued asset. What I do with it matters after the children are gone. Now I must move to Titus to share this treasure of wisdom and knowledge with the next generation of moms lost in doing in need of undoing. Thank you for the reminder that I have purpose beyond the four walls of my home and caring for my children. Thank you for making me a mom… and so much more.

 

Titus 2:3-5 (NIV) Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children  to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Tis the Season – A Devotion

Tis the Season

Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 (NLT)

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

 

The rain has still not stopped blowing this Christmas. The wind is beating on the house. The dark clouds have hidden the sun. But excitement is in the air, it’s Christmas Eve. This year is different. It is not like every other year for the over a decade. We are changing things up. Yet in the midst of change there is peace. For the last three years, I have either just been getting home from Gainesville with our son or rushing to play catch up. It has been a long year filled with many highs and lows, but God in His Infinite Goodness never left our side as we just kept pressing on. Since my return in September, I have felt the winds of change. Not in the natural, but spiritually. The Lord is moving my life around behind the scenes as I try to wrangle my very human heart into obedience so when the timing is right, I will recognize and embrace what He is doing in our life. Waking up this morning, I took a deep breath. All the gifts have been bought and wrapped. Thank you Jesus for providing yet again so wonderfully for our family. For the most part, the menu is set. What would Christmas Eve be without one more run to Walmart? The kids will be filtering in this afternoon. Our house will be filled once again. So this morning trying to gain comfort in the peacefulness and restfulness that God has given me this year, I am moved by His Spirit to set the atmosphere today. I am not sure what that means or even where to look to find His Method of preparation. Then I see this passage in Ecclesiastes and it begins to make sense, God has made everything beautiful for its own time. We have worked hard so many years and been lost in the busyness of the holidays and life. But this year, we have been given the opportunity to rest and enjoy one another. This is what eternity will be like as we no longer try to be but become one with Jesus in His Glory. God is working in our life. He is moving through our life. We stress in doubt and distrust when to rest means just to love and believe. We don’t have to be busy and overwrought to do such things. So today, I will work to remain in this peace, joy and love that I have found. I will be happy. Enjoy myself. We will have good food and enjoy the fruits of our labors in the provision and prosperity the Lord has given us. These are God’s Gifts to us.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.  A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.

 

I have a friend whose daughter is fighting the same cancer that our son has battled. She is struggling with spending the holidays in the hospital, at the doctor and playing nurse to a disgruntled patient. This is a difficult season. I have shed many tears for her. I know how she feels. On Facebook, there is a new application that will post a video/slideshow of your year in review using pictures and posts. She doesn’t care to ever remember this year. All she wants is for it to go away as quickly as it came. I understand. There must be some distance from the pain before we can ever embrace the healing. For everything there is a season. I believe that. In fact, looking over the first eight verses in this chapter, we may have touched on all of them in the past year. We have experienced life to the fullest including sickness, pain and healing. We have seen setbacks turn into victory. We have seen our lives torn apart and rebuilt into something beautiful. We have grieved loss and experienced the joy that comes in the morning. At the end of it all, we have determined that God is always good. His Love for us is worth having. Our faith is alive. Our hope is secure. Isn’t that what discovering Eternity is all about? Finding out that God’s Love is worth having, pursuing, holding on to, no matter what season of life we are in. It’s time to celebrate God’s Love for our family. It’s time to thank you for this gift called life.

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

 

When I was a child, we would spend half of Christmas day at my mom’s house and the other at my dad’s house two very different environments. We would open presents, eat big meals and celebrate Christmas in each. As a child, I remember not wanting to be rushed by lumber around in my pajamas and enjoy the day. As I grew up becoming an adult, I struggled with depression every holiday season. It didn’t matter how many gifts were under the tree or how perfect the ham turned out or even how happy the children were, I would feel covered in sadness. My birth mom passed away this year. We had not seen each other in 13 years. She came to spend Christmas with us that year and it was a fiasco. When she passed, years of guilt and regret gave way to relief. Each year, I would try to find a gift, a fitting card or even make the call but I couldn’t feeling as though I would be sucked into her addiction again. Could it be this year that I am finally free to enjoy Christmas with my family by the Grace of God through Jesus Christ? My mom is finally free of years of pain and suffering. I am finally free from the hurt of losing someone to a senseless thing. We both found peace this year.

I believe that we take for granted our need for the Holy Spirit. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. We put ourselves in bondage to our emotions. The Spirit sets us free. This year, Jesus wants us to see the futility in human thinking and take on the Mind of Christ. It belongs to us. It was part of the salvation package. Rather than being sucked into what others make Christmas all about, we can find what we really want by allowing the Holy Spirit to have His Way in our hearts and homes. The Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Who doesn’t want all these things in their home and life? Everyone wants love. We need peace. Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness fortify families. Self-control always makes us better. These are the qualities that allow us to see the Glory of God and live in His Love.

Isaiah 9:6-7 (NLT)

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

 

Tonight we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who is the greatest gift this world has ever known. He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. His Peace never ends unless we allow it to be taken from us by doubt, worry and anxiety. We can have peace all the time when we live according to the Eternity in our hearts and not the waves of emotions coupled with winds of change around us. We are secure in our faith and by our hope. Salvation keeps us under the Lordship of Christ which allows us to have all the fruits of His Spirit to sustain us in the midst of the times and seasons of life. No matter what you faced last year, or what is coming in 2015 – the Peace and Love of God the Father and Jesus His Son belong to you and me. It is His Promise to us symbolized by the baby lying in the manger all the way to the man dying on the Cross and our Savior who came up out of the grave who is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf. For to us this gift was given and it is up to us to maintain His Presence in our life. Change the atmosphere around you today. It doesn’t matter if the storm raining our life is real or imagined. It doesn’t matter if the wind is really whipping through the trees or simply swaying our heart. All the Gift of God’s Love to reign in your heart and home today. Ask the Holy Spirit to be a guest in your home, at your table and in the midst of every interaction. Tis the season…

Luke 2:9-14 (NLT)

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

 

Another Season Change – A Devotion

Another New Season

Job 29:19-20 (NLT)

For I am like a tree whose roots reach the water, whose branches are refreshed with the dew. New honors are constantly bestowed on me, and my strength is continually renewed.

 

Yesterday, we welcomed a new son into our family. We watched our daughter become a wife. After months of planning and days of rushing around, a grand celebration would follow sweet vows made between our children. As I sat on the front row, my dream finally came true as I scanned the bridal party looking intently at each one of my precious children all dressed up lovingly supporting their sister on her new journey. I have longed for this day. We all fought hard to get there, but as I held my husband’s hand a warmth covered the inside of me even though it was freezing cold outside. We made it. It is another new season in our life. Sometimes the crossover is hard. I love being a mom. It is the greatest job in the world. But now my role with our daughter has changed as she has become an adult. Although I long for her childhood, I must embrace the blessing standing before me. We must learn to celebrate each season in our life even those that pass too quickly or those that I am not ready to see go. God is doing something in each one of us that requires seasonal changes just like the world in which we live. The majestic oaks surrounding the venue have been there for hundreds of years. Though the wind was blowing they did not cower. Leaves changing colors before they fall to the ground do not affect the stature of the trees as they seem clueless that they are dying on the outside because they flourish on the inside. Next spring new leaves will begin to bud and sprout once again producing a lush covering.

I am like a tree. My roots reach down into a source of Living Water that allows me to be refreshed day by day. God is renewing my life from the inside out. I am more comfortable with the seen rather than unseen things in life. But my hope is not based on how I feel or the appearances in life. I am bound by my faith to remain attached to confident hope that only comes from Jesus Christ. He is constantly bestowing “new honors” on me as a Child of the Living God. My strength is continually renewed. It is by faith and nothing else that believers can produce fruit no matter what season it is. For our family, it is another new season.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 (NLT)

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

We never give up. Oh, I have tried many times to throw in the towel but the Holy Spirit just keeps handing it back. My body is dying. It started the day that I was born. But the day that I became born again, my spirit started being renewed. I believe that our faith in God makes us like trees because on what happens on the inside of us. As we begin to invest more time and energy in becoming rooted and grounded in the Love of God, choosing to spend time in His Presence, developing intimacy with Him, studying His Word, walking His Way and surrendering to His Will even when it seems like nothing is happening on the outside everything is changing on the inside. When we decide to believe God enough to become invested in the growth and maturation process that He offers us through righteousness found in our faith in Jesus Christ, we encounter His Glory. His Glory produces overflowing peace and indescribable joy in our life. Please do not give up. It could be that you are entering a new season, too.

Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

 

The joy found in obedience to God and the surrender of our life cannot be described adequately. No one will ever understand the peace that I have and satisfaction found in Christ until they travel to that place. We are to bear fruit in each season. That means that even when the season is harsh the Glory of God can be produced in the believer’s life. We are promised to prosper in everything that we do as God renews us inside where it matters. I will be the first to admit that so many things in life do not add up. It is hard to see the purpose in pain. It is difficult to see victory in the midst of despair, but it is there. I want leaves that never wither. I want to prosper in all I do.

Psalm 103:4-5 (NLT)

He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

 

Prosperity is part of a maturation process. It cannot be rushed or taken. When Jesus Christ redeemed your life, you were given a crown of righteousness that cannot be earned in any way. It was our Lord’s Gift to you. Now we have His Love and Tender Mercy. It belongs to us. We do not have to work for it or even attempt to hold on to it. We must become Christ-like to enjoy the benefits and blessings associated with living in close proximity to God … like a tree planted along the riverbank. It is the Lord who fills our life with good things. He is the One who works every detail for our good. It is an inward process with outward results. God is renewing us today. Such a change requires us to change seasons. Be willing to go or let go. Do not fret when everything changes but embrace the new beginnings that lie ahead. God is good. Jesus died for you. His Spirit lives inside you and you have the ability to prosper just because He lives.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NLT)
“But blessed are those who trust in the
 Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

 

To be blessed all that I am required to do is trust the Lord. He is my hope and confidence that faith is worth having and will produce His Glory in my life. Do I trust the Lord? Your faith in God does me no good. It is a personal matter. I trust God. When the seasons of life change around me, I must look deep in my heart to determine if I really am rooted and grounded in the Love of God by faith. How will I know? Peace and joy that comes even in the most challenging times is validation that I am affixed to something or rather someone who is greater than the hardship I face. The deeper I go in God through Jesus Christ, the less life seem to affect my overall being. Not to say that I do not get tired, weary, rundown, overwhelmed, disappointed or even defeated, but it means that even when things seem to be falling apart, I know who the Source of my Hope is and choose to remain confident in His Love. It is a process that has undergone some very challenging trials. My deepest desire is that through it all, the good, the bad and even the ugly that I will continue to produce fruit that glorifies the Lord who lives in me. He is the River of Living Water that runs through me.

Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

 

I know that God has a sense of humor. As Floridians, we are blessed with comfortable weather most of the time. The last couple of months, fall has come but the weather in our area has been just wonderful. That is until we are ready to have a wedding outside and it drops twenty or more degrees. The bride’s maid’s dresses were purchased for an October wedding that had to be postponed. The ceremony was planned for outside. It was in the very low 50’s with a wind chill in the 40’s when it was time to begin. As a new chapter began in our family, the weather around us changed dramatically, too. Could it be the Lord reminding us to look within? Was He showing us a change in the atmosphere to point to the inward process that is occurring? Accepting Jesus Christ as Savior makes Him Lord of our life. He cares for us. He provides for us. He is our source of life. Without strong roots of faith dug deep into confident hope, we will never survive or thrive in the seasons of life but find each one more shocking and brutal than the last. The Lord has offered to be the foundation of our life. He gives us blessings and promises too good to pass up. Seasonal changes are necessary to keep producing more and more of God’s Mercy and Grace in our life. It is the process of sowing and reaping that God relies on to get His Goodness to us. Embrace the change in your season today. Trust God because He knows exactly what He is doing in your life. He has a plan. It is a good one with a future and hope that you do not want to miss. Celebrate each season of your like knowing that He is working every detail for you and perfecting all that concerns you. See knowledge, wisdom and understanding so you will stay strong in the cold, stormy, windy nights. Farmers use an almanac but we have been given the Living, Breathing Word of God to help us be prosperous so use it. Finally, be patient. God has appropriated a certain time for everything in life. If your new season is not here, wait its coming. For now just be thankful that God loves us enough to change the seasons in our life.

Psalm 92:12-13 (NLT)

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.

Know the Season – A Devotion

Genesis 1:14-15 (NLT)

Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years. Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” And that is what happened.

 

God created the seasons. A simple concept taught by many Sunday School teachers to little people drawing suns, moons, snow and rain on manila paper while their parents are learning the more advanced concepts of God. However, those who do not become acutely acquainted with the seasons of life will miss completely the Hand of God in motion within the lives of His Beloved. God marked each season in the life of His People not by the months of a calendar year, commercial holidays or even the expected weather prediction. Seasons were not prepared to be endured but rather they are marked by productivity even when it means waiting. God incorporates purpose in every single moment of each person’s life to be revealed at the proper time. However, when one is completely enveloped in the seasons of life, it is easy to miss what God has planned for each season of our life. It is not identified with the eyes of man but through the Eyes of the Spirit. It is not marked by natural crops and associations but it is spiritual interval marked by obedience producing satisfaction. As God spoke the seasons into existence He said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night.” You are the Light of the World ignited by passionate love for the Lord. You have the ability to separate light from darkness by spreading the Good News to all people in every season. “Let them be signs to mark the seasons.” You decide what season of life you enter and God has set the timing, not the calendar or Old Farmer’s Almanac. “Let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth.” Each season is a time of planting, cultivating and harvesting in the Kingdom of God. Through obedience, God is preparing His People to be effective in all seasons. It begins by identifying each season of life according to God’s View and His Word rather than allowing life to dictate your harvest.

 

Leviticus 26:3-5 (NLT)

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you the seasonal rains. The land will then yield its crops, and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Your threshing season will overlap with the grape harvest, and your grape harvest will overlap with the season of planting grain. You will eat your fill and live securely in your own land.”

 

God’s seasons are spiritual and not natural. They are not cyclic in nature like humanity experiences each year. They are all productive just in a variety of ways. Obedience produces seasons of satisfaction even in the midst of famine or waiting. God wants to make your seasons of life overlap. Supernatural living allows those who live on this earth to experience the seasons of the Kingdom of God which makes absolutely no sense to the world around us. It makes God’s People stand out and “shine” in the midst of darkness. People expect certain outcomes from each season. In the winter, everything dies in preparation for the renewal of spring. Spring sprouts new life in the midst of torrential rain. Summer is the harvest as everything is ripe. Fall marks the end of the harvest in preparation for the arrival of winter once more. It is cyclic in nature. But God’s seasons are marked by His Plan and Purpose for each person. It is defined by the obedience of each Child of God and their sensitivity to the season of life which they are in. God prepared seasons to bless His Children, refine His People and satisfy every living soul. Spiritual seasons are revealed in obedience. They are discerned by commitment and devotion to the Kingdom of God rather than the random cycles of this world.

 

Deuteronomy 11:13-15 (NLT)

If you carefully obey all the commands I am giving you today, and if you love the LORD your God and serve him with all your heart and soul, then he will send the rains in their proper seasons—the early and late rains—so you can bring in your harvests of grain, new wine, and olive oil. He will give you lush pastureland for your livestock, and you yourselves will have all you want to eat.

 

As God’s Children begin to discern His Seasons through obedience and His Word provoking love for the Father, they literally open the windows of Heaven. (Malachi 3:10) As we begin to bring our harvest back to God for His Purpose, He will overflow His Blessing in our life. Living from season to season in the natural is nothing more than living paycheck to paycheck with no reserve or savings when trouble comes. God promises everything His People need to those who seek to live according to God’s Seasons – His Will and His Way. If you “carefully” obey “all” the commands I am giving you today. God’s Word is “careful” instruction to experiencing complete satisfaction according to the Will of God and not the law of nature. I am a terrible gardener. If my family were reliant on my crops, we would all starve even the poor little dog. But God provides everything we need to do more than survive but thrive. I am satisfied when I am dependent on My Provider continually returning to the Lord for careful inspection of the fruit in my life for His Instruction concerning the spiritual harvest that I desire. Deuteronomy 11:12 promises that God watches over each season, He always has His Eyes on His Children. Those who become connected with God as their source will experience grain, new wine and olive oil each is symbolic of supernatural blessing from the Hand of Your Father in Heaven.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

 

I know what everything is. God says, “For EVERYTHING there is a season.” Nothing that is popping up in my life surprises God. He is fully aware of the circumstances of my life and the fruit that is coming out of each trial and situation. There is a “time for every activity under heaven.” Time suggests an appointment. God has set a time for EVERY activity under heaven. Does that include me? Well I am not a very successful navigator, but I am pretty sure that this world is “under” heaven. With this in mind, Romans 8:28 becomes more than a possibility but God’s Plan. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  God is using all the events of this life to prepare His People for Eternity. Nothing you have experienced, are going through or will encounter ever encounter is without purpose or in due season. God promises that EVERYTHING has a season making it meaningful and productive. Don’t give up until the harvest comes in each season because He is indeed the Lord of the Harvest. He is working diligently to produce EVERYTHING you need from the life you have been given. There is blessing hidden in your life being cultivated by the Lord even in hardship, disappointment and distress. Cultivation is a process. However, while natural seasons do not come with a guarantee, God’s Seasons come with Promises. Proverbs 20:4 reminds us that each season directly impacts the next one as everything is all encompassing. His Word says, “Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest.” The Word of God prepares all people for all things. Without His Word, it is impossible to know God’s Way. Without instruction, obedience is not a feasible response. God’s People should continuously plow their heart and plant the seed of His Word in preparation for the next season in God’s Kingdom as prescribed for His People. It is a mystery revealed only by close association with the Father through the Son.

 

Mark 11:12-14 (NLT)

The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.

 

Why would Jesus curse a fig tree for not having any fruit when it was not the proper season for it to produce it? Natural seasons govern this world, yet still Jesus is Lord of them all. When God’s People begin associating with the natural seasons of life, they miss the blessing of God’s Kingdom. How do people do such a thing? Surely not. The Bible says that we are to be “ready in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2) To paint a visual picture, why do churches experience their lowest attendance during the summer months? I have actually heard people say, “I am on vacation or I am taking a break for the summer” and implying that to include church as well. Now I am not saying that church is the primary example of Christianity, but I am not sure why we would need a “break” from God. It is during these times we are linked to life’s seasons rather than Kingdom timing. No condemnation. Just wondering who made Sunday and Wednesday church days. Why is noon the target release time for the church house? When did relationships become so scheduled? Religion is set to the timing of this world. A passionate love affair with God allows us to live by His Seasons and His Plan following His Way and planting His Word. The Word says that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow in Heaven and earth. (Philippians 2:9-11) Praise is expected. Worship is required. When the fruit of the fig tree became dependent on the natural seasons ignoring the Presence of the Lord it was cursed. When Jesus Christ came close, the figs should have just begun bursting from its limbs at His Close Proximity. What fruit are you bearing today? Is it in season or out?

 

Psalm 1:2-3 (NLT)

But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.

 

Prosperity belongs to those who are planted in the Word of God and operate according to His Seasons. They will bear fruit in each season. They will be satisfied in EVERYTHING because it is from an Eternal Source and not subject to natural progression. Seasons are characterized by particular conditions. Be aware that in all things God is working out ALL the details so that you will prosper. Seasons are when something is best or available so who better to determine its relevance than God who wants only the VERY best for His Children. Seasons are marked by activity. Don’t give up or grow weary in well doing. Keep pressing and pushing like a seedling trying to make its way through thick soil to break through the surface. You are on the verge of a breakthrough don’t stop! Keep going! Seasons mark special occasions. Your blessing is right around the corner. All the details are in the final stages. If you quit, you will miss the celebration. Be ready in season and out of season. Strive for obedience. Thrive on God’s Word. Search for His Way. Keep sowing for one day you will reap! (Galatians 6:7) Keep planting more of God in your life nothing but the best is yet to come.

 

Mark 9:49-50 (NLT)

“For everyone will be seasoned with fire,and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

 

The word “season” has other meanings closely associated to the trials of life. Seasoning will heighten and improve. It gives character. Seasoning produces maturity and strengthens. God is working out more than just a routine of blessing in your life. He is preparing you and refining you for a face-to-face encounter that will result in a life together in Eternity. He is working it all out. You are called to be the Light of the World. Let God light you up with His Love. As God seasons you, submit your life to His Way. It will satisfy your soul. You will be blessed and you will be a blessing. You are right where God planned for you to be but must tap into His Resources to see the Harvest you desire. Be His Light! Every day and every way! Know God’s Seasons and you will experience His Blessing!

 

Matthew 5:13-15 (NLT)

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.”