Sow In This Season To Reap God’s Blessing

“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9).

Every farmer knows that what you sow in one season, you will reap in another season. You plant in the spring, and you harvest in the fall.

The way you respond to someone or to a situation right now is definitely going to affect your future. If you respond correctly in a season of life and you do the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it, it pays great dividends in the future.

“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). In other words, don’t give up.

No matter which season you’re in, there are four questions you can ask yourself that will help you reap God’s blessing in the next season.

What can I learn in this season of life?
There are some things we only learn through experience. Deuteronomy 11:2 says, “Remember today what you have learned about the Lord through your experiences with him”.

What can I enjoy in this season of life?
The Bible says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). We are to live the good days and the bad days with a sense of gratitude, because each day is a gift from God.

What is most important for this season?
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”. If that’s true, then you can’t have it all at one time. You have to make some tough decisions about what really matters at this particular time in life.

How can I help others in this season of life?
The Bible says clearly that you weren’t put on this earth just to live for yourself: “Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help” (Proverbs 3:27). God gave you abilities, talents, and energy to help other people.

In A Season Of Loss, Release Your Grief

“Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).

The Bible says when you go through a season of loss, the first thing you need to do is release your grief.

Tragedy always produces strong emotions—anger, fear, depression, worry, and sometimes guilt. These feelings can scare us, and we often don’t know what to do with them. When we’ve experienced a major loss, these enormous feelings bubble up within us. If we don’t deal with them now, it will take us far longer to recover.

Some people never directly deal with grief in life. They stuff it. They push it down. They pretend it’s not there. They play like it doesn’t exist. And that’s why they’re still struggling with emotional stress from losses that occurred 20 or 30 years earlier.

There’s a myth that says God wants you to walk around with a smile on your face all the time saying, “Praise the Lord!” The Bible doesn’t say that anywhere.

In fact, Jesus taught the exact opposite. In Matthew 5:4, he says, “God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted”. It’s okay to grieve. When people are Christians, we know they will go on to heaven, so we need not grieve like the world. Our grief can be different. We grieve because we’re going to miss them, but we can also be at peace because we know they are with God.

What do you do with your feelings? You don’t repress them or stuff them deep inside you. You release them—you give them to God. You cry out, “God, I’m hurt! I’m grieving! This is a tough one to take.” If you want a good example of this, read through the book of Psalms, where many times David spills his guts and says, “God, I’m in a tough time right now. I am really, really hurting.” You cry out to God, just like David did.

Psalm 62:8 says, “Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge” . If you are going through a loss right now, please understand that if you don’t release your grief, it will pour out eventually. Feelings that are pushed down fester, and eventually they explode in a much worse situation.

Release your grief first so that God can begin to heal your heart

Loneliness Is Longing for Relationship with God

“It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

What you often call loneliness is really homesickness for God. You’ve just never recognized it.

You were made to have a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, a relationship that God is dying to have with you. In fact, his Son did die so you could have it. Nothing is ever going to compensate for that—no person, no experience, no drug, no success, no thing, no possession. Nothing is going to fill that aching hole in your heart that God created for himself. He wants you to know him.

How do you get to know God?

Open your life to Jesus Christ. Say, “Jesus Christ, I want to get to know you. I want to learn to love you the way you loved me, even before I knew it. I want to have a relationship with you.” You were made for a relationship with God—not a religion of fear, rules, regulations, and rituals, but a relationship where you talk to God all the time and he works in and through you. That is the antidote to your deepest loneliness.
Join a church family. We weren’t meant to be Lone Ranger Christians. Find a spot where you can get involved. Join a small group where other people get to know you and where you find the support network you need when you’re going through those tough times. Take a chance. Take a risk. Join a small group.
The real reason so many Christians are lonely is because they’re sitting when they should be serving. All around us is a world full of people who are lonely and waiting to be cared for. That elderly person who hasn’t had a visit in two years. That teenager who is all messed up and wonders, “What am I going to do with my life?” That single adult who goes home every night to a lonely apartment. That widow who has just buried her husband. That employee who heads for the bar every night after work because there’s nothing else to do.

The world is full of people waiting to be loved. Stop saying, “I don’t have any friends!” and start saying, “God, who can you use me to minister to? What person can I show your love to?” If all you do is commit yourself to being a friend to lonely people, you’ll live a significant life. That would be a valid, worthy life goal. Get involved in ministry.

You will go through lonely times in your life, but you’ll never go through it alone if you have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

When You Feel Lonely, God Is With You

“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death” (2 Timothy 4:16-17).

When you’re lonely, where is God? He’s where he has always been: right beside you. He is with you even if you don’t feel it. The Bible says over and over that if you have a relationship with Christ, God is with you all the time. He says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He’s always with you. You’re never really fully alone.

A few years ago, Kay and I flew to Hong Kong to do a seminar for some of our missionaries. About halfway through the 17-hour flight, we went through the most horrendous storm. We were pitching and jolting. The plane was tilting, and everybody was getting antsy. They were obviously disturbed by the circumstances. The crew asked over the speaker, “Is there a minister on the plane?” I raised my hand. They approached me and said, “Everyone’s pretty upset because of the flight. Can you do something spiritual?” So I took an offering!

No, not really. But the people on that flight needed to hear that God is with us. For believers, it’s a promise that we can cling to in our times of fear and loneliness. Not only is it a comfort, but it also gives us the opportunity to get to know God better.

Loneliness is a time to become better acquainted with God. In your season of loneliness, you need to recognize God’s presence.

Years ago, Amy Grant sang a song with the lyrics, “I love a lonely day; it chases me to you.” Prayer is a powerful antidote to loneliness. God has a 24-hour drop-in service. You can talk to him anytime, anywhere, anyplace, and he understands how you’re feeling when you say, “God, I’m lonely. I hurt! My heart is splitting. I am miserable. I feel empty. Help me, God.” You can talk to him anytime.

David says in the psalms, “Where can I flee from your presence?” Nowhere. You will never be in a place where God isn’t. If you’ve trusted Christ, he’s with you in your heart. Choose to refocus on that when you feel lonely.

In Your Season Of Loneliness Help Others

“When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers” (2 Timothy 4:13).

What should you do when you go through a season of loneliness? The answer is illustrated in the life of Paul in 2 Timothy 4, when he was in prison and awaiting his execution.

When you go through a season of loneliness, you need to make the most of your time.

That means making the best of a bad situation. Resist the temptation to do nothing. Take some action—any kind of action. Try to think of creative ways to take advantage of the seasons in which you are alone.

Paul wrote to Timothy from prison and told him, “When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers” (2 Timothy 4:13).

In a season of loneliness, you need to be comfortable and productive. Even though he was lonely, Paul didn’t throw a pity party. He didn’t complain or give up. This is Paul, one of the greatest Christians who ever lived after Jesus himself, who won countless people to Christ, and who is completely alone in his final days. What does he do? He makes the best of the situation. He utilizes his time. He says two things:

“Bring my coat.” Those Roman prisons were damp, dark, and cold. He did the best he could to take care of himself. It is true of human nature that when we are lonely and depressed, we don’t take very good care of ourselves—physically or any other way. We don’t exercise. We don’t rest well. We don’t eat right. Paul did the best he could to take care of himself. Perhaps you need to hear this today, if you’re not taking very good care of yourself because you’re lonely.
“Bring my books.” Paul was a people person. He didn’t like to be alone; it wasn’t the way God wired him. Being in solitary confinement in a Roman prison was the opposite of where he wanted to be. Yet he did the best he could. He wrote letters that today are included in the New Testament. Maybe the only way God could slow him down was to put him in solitary confinement. And some 2,000 years later, we are still benefiting from Paul’s loneliness.

Every Season Of Life Has A Purpose

“God has made everything beautiful for its own time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Life is full of contrasts. We go through mountains, and we go through valleys. We go through successes, and we go through failures. We have wins, and we have losses.

In weather, there are four seasons. But in your life, there are dozens of different seasons. And every season of life includes both good and bad times.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 gives us a representation of different life experiences: “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”

Life is a combination of contrasting seasons. All sunshine and no rain make a desert. If you’re following God’s will, seeking to live your life according to the way God wants you to live, then you’ll eventually see that these experiences can have purpose and value in your life.

You may think that the only time you’re in God’s will is when you’re at church or having a quiet time. You can be in God’s will as you’re cleaning out a closet. You can be in God’s will as you’re mowing your lawn. You can be in God’s will when you move to a new location or stay right where you are. There’s a time and season for everything.

Ray Stevens sang a song called “Everything Is Beautiful” that included the lyric “Everything is beautiful in its own way.” That’s not exactly true. Everything is not beautiful. Cancer is not beautiful. Child abuse is not beautiful. War is not beautiful.

The Bible says it differently in Ecclesiastes 3:11: “God has made everything beautiful for its own time”. That’s very different from “Everything is beautiful in its own way.” Because the Bible is saying that God can take even the bad things and, in the proper season, turn them around and use them for good in the way he intends.

You may be going through a season right now that is not beautiful. Your finances look ugly. Your health looks ugly. Your marriage or a friendship looks ugly. Your future looks ugly.

But God can make something good out of it as you trust him with the pieces.

By Giving, You Become More Like Jesus

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Philippians 2:4-5).

God wants you to learn that you can give without loving but you cannot love without giving.

You say, “I really love my kids!” Do you give them your time? “I really love my wife.” Do you give her your attention? This is what love is all about. You become more loving when you become more generous.

Every time you’re generous, a change takes place in you. Every time you give, your heart moves another tweak up the dial toward God. You become more loving every time you give. You become more like Jesus.

Philippians 1:11 says, “May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God”.

What we’re talking about here is extremely counter cultural, because our society does not tell you to give. Our culture is constantly telling us to get. It’s all about me. Me, my stuff, my needs—me, me, me. We have a “me” problem!

When you’re generous, it gets the focus off you so that you can stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about others. Philippians 2:4-5 says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had”.

Live Your Message

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.”Matthew 5:13

I believe in delivering sermons, but some things are preached and some things are lived. After you share your message, there comes a point when you need to start living it.

How? Good works. Do good things. Be the person who is known for kindness, cheerfulness, and concern for others. Be the person others can depend on. Be the person who will go the extra mile. Be the person who is known for hard work.

Someone might even say, “I don’t believe all the stuff they believe, but they’re trustworthy and honest and good.” Start there. Be the good person, the godly person.

Then wait for those moments that will come your way as a result. I maintain communication with people who are almost coming to Christ as well as those who are far from Christ. I try to encourage them, but I also try not to go too fast or too hard. And when I see them making a move toward Christ, I make a move to help them get there.

We need to pray for wisdom. We also need to be godly, loving, and fun people to be with—not judgmental, not hypercritical. Yes, there’s a time to draw the line when we don’t agree with things. But there’s also a time to just be that salty person.

Jesus said in Matthew 5, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? . . . In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (verses 13, 16).

As you’re being salty by not always preaching your message but living it, it will begin to stimulate thirst in other people.

Stress Management Starts In The Mind

“Think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected” (Philippians 4:8).

The battle with stress in your life begins between your ears. Its in your thought life. What you fill your mind with determines the level of stress in your life.

The Bible says to “think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected” (Philippians 4:8).

To lower your stress, change what you think about. In this verse, the Bible gives us eight tests for deciding if we should allow something in our mind. Ask yourself, “Is it good? Is it worthy of praise? Is it true? Is it honorable? Is it right? Is it pure? Is it beautiful? Is it respected?”

When you think about things that are good, worthy of praise, true, honorable, right, pure, beautiful, and respected, you’re really picturing God.

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” .

What you think about determines how stressed and worried you will be. If you fix your thoughts on God, he will keep you in perfect peace.

God Always Provides. All You Have To Do Is Ask

“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32).

When I was a kid, anytime I needed something, I’d talk to my dad. Sometimes I needed something expensive, but not once as a kid did I worry about where my father was going to get the money for whatever I needed. That wasn’t my job! It was my dad’s job to figure out where the money would come from. It was my job as a kid to simply ask.

It’s not your job to figure out how God’s going to provide. It’s your job to ask.

The Bible says in James 4:2, “You do not have because you do not ask God”.

Worry less, and ask more. Instead of worrying, pray about everything.

Romans 8:32 says, “Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” .

If God has solved your biggest problem, everything else is small by comparison. If God loved you enough to send Jesus to die for your sins, don’t you think he loves you enough to help you with your finances? Don’t you think he loves you enough to help you with your health? With your relationships? With career decisions? With closing a deal? With your deadline?

There’s no area of your life that doesn’t interest God. He already knows what you need, but he still wants you to ask him for it. Instead of worrying, pray about everything.

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