Seasons

To everything
There is a season
And a time for every purpose under heaven

We all know the song. I’m pretty sure we all know The Byrds got their inspiration from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, a book I have to think was written during a particularly rough season in Solomon’s life. He describes the seemingly pointless and repetitive cycles of life, but concludes that even this rhythm is a gift from God. (I actually get a kick out of this book!)

This concept of seasons is extremely broad – and can be applied to everything in our lives. Friendships, finances, parenting, employment, health, spiritual growth. We’ve experienced green seasons, where we really feel the presence of God in our lives and in everything around us. Ever experience a time where you think God’s not speaking to you, or feel like you are stagnant, “dry”, stuck in a pointless and repetitive cycle? I know I have.

We are told that if we pursue God, and obey what He says, He will bring us “rains in their season (Leviticus 26:4). It continues to say these rains will be so healing, we will live prosperous, fruitful, peaceful, and c0mpletely satisfied lives. Again, in Psalms, we are told that if we focus on God’s Word and let it transform our lives, we…

“…will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields
its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither” Psalms 1:3

Those are tremendous promises!

But, look, they do not say He will bring us rains all year long, or that we’ll be super productive every moment of every day for the rest of our lives. They don’t imply we will never go through storms or dry spells…these are also part of God’s rhythm. They are present for a variety of reasons, but one thing is consistent. They are there to help us grow closer to Him, and stronger in Him. James puts it this way:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 (The Message version)

No matter where you are, what season you are in right now, STAY ROOTED. When you feel like He’s silent, talk to Him even more. Ask Him to reveal anything that is blocking the next green season. He never leaves us or turns His heart away from us (Hebrews 13:5), but not many of us can say the same.

Can we make it through a serious summer drought and still be fruitful? Can we face tests and challenges from all sides and still operate from a place of peace? Can we learn to see the storms of life as a gift??

YES. These rough times are often what take us to the next level with Him. Let’s learn to trust Him in our circumstances, even when the garden feels more like a desert. The water you find there is so much sweeter.

“God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.”
Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation.
Isaiah 12:2

I Love You

I learned something about myself yesterday, and I really don’t want to share it with you. It was that ugly.

I love you…as long as you love me.

There is a deep well of fist-clenching, heart-bursting love inside me.  When you and I enter into a friendship, you add even more fullness to that well. I love you so much. I pray for you. I want you to succeed. I want you to be happy. I want you to know Jesus. I long to see you.

THAT is beautiful. But what about when you leave for a while, or make choices that I really can’t stand? What if, rightly or wrongly, I feel like you betray me?

About 20 years ago, before I knew Jesus, I read something about my horoscope that pegged me. It said that I have a ferocious love for all I let inside my “shell”. However, if you step out through any means, but especially (God help you) through betrayal, I will snip you permanently from my life. It was true, but I thought Jesus had changed all that in the last year.

Yesterday, I was mortified to realize there is way too much of that insecurity and pride at work in my life. Have you ever heard “I love you” said as a question? I’ve heard it a lot, and I’m embarrassed to say I have been saying it that way my whole life through my actions. If you’ve been on the other end of this (and if you know me, you have), I am so sorry. What if Jesus operated this way?? If He waited for us to love Him back properly, He would never have sacrified Himself for us!

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

As believers, we’ve been called to be His representatives (to allow His nature to flow through us) on this earth. Goodwill and prayer should not be dependent on other people’s positive responses to us…in fact, Jesus says just the opposite:

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

That takes it to a much deeper level. If I have trouble loving and praying for my friends properly, how can I love and pray for those who need it much more? There is only one way to love this world and everyone in it properly – by continuing to ask God to show me these areas in my life that don’t reflect His nature, and allowing Him to change me from the inside out.

“You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (The Message version)

These words are taking root in my life, in this area at least!

Regardless of your choices today, or how long it’s been since we have spoken, or what you have done in the past, I love you. No matter how you feel about me, or how you show me your love, I want to know you. Whether or not you are talking to me, or thinking of me, or praying for me, I am praying for you.

Wow, this is how He loves us! Realize HE is saying that to you, today and every day. Lord, help me accept Your love, and love others this way!