About the Seasons of Life…And Avoiding the Convenient One

Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. What’s your favorite season? Depending on who you are, and no matter what your seasonal preference is, you’d have to admit that each one has its own perks. Look at winter. Winter has Christmas! Yay! The children say to that (and many adults too, I’m sure). Ah springtime! Melting snow, nasty cold weather slowly disappearing, along with the blooming of flowers–readying themselves for warmer weather. Then there’s good ‘ole summer! Schools closed, vacation time, warm days at the beach, and the park. Can you beat all that? Finally, the only season with two names. Autumn brings the promise of color! Those summer green leaves transforming into bright oranges, yellows and shades of brown; all falling to the ground. And not to forget, the children go back to school! Yay again!
Each season also has its downside. And once again depending on who you are, it’s too cold in the winter, too rainy in the spring, too hot in the summer, and too many leaves to rake in the fall. It’s all a matter of preference, but the simple fact is seasons come and seasons go–and that will never change. Read the Lord’s words in the first book of the Bible: While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22). That’s the promise. As long as this earth remains, there will be seasons. I believe this truth; and I believe this principle can also be carried over into our spiritual lives. The fact is that our lives in the Lord also consist of seasons.

God says that there is a time and place for everything. This is not as much a theological truth as it is a practical truth. All seasons however, must be seen in their proper perspective. In addition to these seasons or times we experience, there are several other seasons we go through that the bible speaks of both specifically and not so specifically; yet I believe most have experienced many of these seasons for ourselves.

  • There are seasons of plenty
    Ex. Egypt’s seven years plenty (Gen.41:47-49)
  • There are seasons of drought
    Ex. Egypt’s seven years of famine (Gen.41:54)
  • There are seasons of dependence
    Ex. Elijah being fed by ravens (1Ki.17:6)
  • There are seasons of doubt
    Ex. Lord I believe: help thou my unbelief (Mk.9:24)
  • There are seasons on the mountain
    Ex. Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1Ki.18:20:40)
  • There are seasons in the valley
    Ex. Elijah running for his life (1Ki.19:3)
  • There are seasons of transition
    Ex. Abram moving on from Ur (Gen.12:1)

All of these seasons, both good and bad, play vital roles in our lives and help to shape us into the persons we are and will become. The psalmist stated, ‘It was good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes’ (Psa.119:71). Ultimately, all seasons serve a definite purpose and are in God’s sovereign control. Once again, the Word declares: ‘…all things work together for good to them that love God…’ (Ro.8:28), and also from Eccl.3:11: ‘…He hath made everything beautiful in His time…’

The list of Seasons can go on and on. A thing qualifies as a season if you remain there for a significant amount of time. But there is another season-it’s a season you want to avoid at all costs. It’s a season you don’t want to step into. Yet many, because they are so zoned in to making it happen for themselves, willfully enter in to this season by giving God a rain check; and with a friendly ‘don’t call us we’ll call you attitude, walk away from God’s best for them. They have entered into the convenient season.

What is the convenient season? A convenient season is a time of your own making. It is putting God on hold. It is time and life on your own terms. It is a season that finds you attempting to undermine and derail the plan of God for your life. It is the sinners’ or saints’ excuse when under conviction and refusing to surrender to God’s will and way. It is a refusal to say, ‘Not my will, but thine be done.’ Read the words of governor Felix to the Apostle Paul after being convicted by the Spirit of God to change his ways: “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” (Acts‬ ‭24:24-25). Notice that Felix trembled after hearing the powerful gospel. This discomfort gave him all the reason he needed to remove himself from Paul’s presence. What he didn’t realize was that he was actually attempting to distance himself from God’s presence.  The truth is that you can never unhear the Word of God after the Spirit of God has impressed it upon your heart and mind. Felix’s response shows us that in addition to placing himself into a convenient season, he also entered into:

  • A proud season…when I(v25)
  • A presumptuous season…I will(v25)
  • A selfish season…makes it
    all about you
  • A deceptive season…he listened to Satan’s lie what other lies will he tell him?
  • A declining season…Whooping Goldberg  had a line in the Oscar winning movie ‘The Color Purple’ that went like this: ‘…till you do right by me, everything you think about gonna fail!’

Though not precisely scriptural, the statement yet has an aura of truth around it and here it is: As long as an individual chooses to remain on the opposite side of the will of God, whatever it is that they do will be tainted-it will ultimately come to naught-at least for them. This is because it will have the stench of disobedience upon it. That thing may be good and right; but it is not good and right for that person because it’s not what the Lord told them to do. The convenient season says, ‘I’m in my place, I’m in my time–I need to complete me before I deal with with God.’

The convenient season in all cases are seasons of procrastination. In all cases they are seasons of avoiding the truth. It is the result of running from God. Runners from God have a language all their own. They say things like:

  • I’m not ready
  • It’s not my time
  • I will later…promise
  • What if this way is not the right way?
  • I have other things to do…let me go and bury my father first (Lu.9:59-60)

Avoiding the convenient season is as simple as saying, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Except saying it is sometimes the most difficult thing to do. We have to come to the end of ourselves by concluding that God, in His infinite wisdom, knows what is best. God’s will is not a matter of convenience, it’s a matter priority. He must come first or I run the risk of following myself and not Him; and when I follow myself, ultimately I’m no different than the proverbial dog who chases his tail-getting itself nowhere.

So when faced with the choice to do or go God’s way, or your own…don’t settle for convenience. Avoid it at all costs. You’ll be glad you did.

That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses: Do You Have One?

Excuses-2

In spite of the bumps and bruises along the way, and the ups and downs, some of which I have been personally responsible for,  giving my life to Jesus over forty years ago has been the single greatest thing I have ever done. I have not done many great things in this life: I suppose, possibly none–but this one thing shines above everything. And yet, in spite of it all, I cannot take credit for anything. To God be the glory! I cannot imagine living this life without Him! I am married, I have children, and for all of these I am most grateful and thankful. However my salvation-my life in Christ, has had a greater impact and has affected my life more than anything else I’ve ever done.

This may all sound strange to some. ‘We understand the importance of God in a life, some may say, ‘but more important than family and accomplishments?’ O Yes, yes…a thousand times yes! Jesus is the one who died for me. Jesus is the one who saved me. Jesus is the one who took my sins away. He is the one who keeps me. I could go on and on. You just don’t understand who my Jesus is!

In the final analysis, in the natural, I don’t know how anyone manages to live without Him. On the surface it all seems very innocent, and Satan would have us to see it that way. ‘To each his own’, people say, or ‘that God stuff is all good for you, and I’m glad for you, but it’s not for me’, and now the more popular mantra, ‘You must live in your truth.’ So now truth is whatever I say it is? This is not a new idea, but it is very dangerous. Truth is what God says it is. But, I digress.

The reasons people give for not serving God are many. What they amount to are excuses.They are weak and hold no water and will ultimately doom them to a Christless eternity. Let’s take a look at some of these excuses from scripture. These excuses are what ultimately stood between their soul and the Saviour. Do you have one?

The Rich Young Ruler

Mk.10:21-22 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
This young man couldn’t get out of his own way. His material possessions were keeping him from an eternity with Christ. In spite of this, notice Christ’s attitude toward him. He loved him. Romans 5:8 comes to mind, which says, But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 

Those Certain Men

Lu.9:59-61 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
These men seemed to have had good intentions, but the cares of this life were more important. No noun should keep us from serving God. No person, place or thing, that is.

The Chief Rulers

Jo.12:42-43  Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
This particular group believed on Jesus, but secretly. They cared more about appearances and were concerned about what others thought. This is also unacceptable. They were secret agent Christians; undercover brothers. They needed to ‘come out of the closet’, so to speak, and serve Christ in the light.

The Real Reason

Whatever the excuse people give for not serving God, there is only one legitimate reason; and scripture tells us plainly what it is.
2 Cor.4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
There it is! Satan himself has caused a blindness to come upon the very minds of the unsaved! This is why, in layman’s terms, they just don’t get it. They may think they understand why they don’t serve God, but the problem is much deeper than they can see. The enemy does this because he wants to keep them away from the Light, and away from the Glory. He has seen firsthand, what the power of the gospel can do!

These words speak to both saint and sinner alike:
Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid
Your heart does the Spirit control?
You can only be blessed
And have peace and sweet rest
As you yield Him your body and soul.

No more excuses. Serve Him. All the way.

That’s The Word! Take it with you. God bless you.

Sincerity.

honesty-sincerity-integrity

Written by guest blogger Stephanie Isidore

1 Chronicles 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Everything evil that is done, the devil has a hand in it somewhere. I was looking at David and why he went out to number the people…

God did not request that His people be numbered. They were not going to war. But the devil stood up like a prickle on a rose, provoking David to number the people.

God gave David three options of judgment for the sin he committed. When David sees that regardless as to how he looks at it, judgment would be too much for him to bear, he decided to opt out of choosing one himself–he let God choose for Him. He did this because:
1. he knows that God would choose the best option, and
2. at some point in time God would have mercy on him, as opposed to him being left to the enemy’s hands & will.
God chose the shortest of the three options (even in judgment God is still righteous); He could have chosen one of the other two judgments but He chose three days of suffering.

Just as God’s commanded destruction begins, God sees David on his sackcloth and repents; God stops and turns the punishment around and causes a cease-punishment to occur. In those days a sacrifice was made for the forgiveness of sins. Today we have the holy name of Jesus and His blood that was shed so that we no longer have to make sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. After the sacrifice was made, in God’s eyes, he was forgiven. Then David saw the angel returning the sword back into his sheath which meant that God had forgiven David and ceased from continuing His punishment.

Why did this happen? Because David had integrity. He had spoken in essence, ‘Lord, deal with me and me alone because it was my fault and not anyone else’s. Don’t let others perish because of me.’ That struck God’s heart to the core, if I may say, because the majority of the time we would still plead and say, ‘But Lord, this person or that person also had a part’, and not fully own up to our own mistake.

After reading this portion of scripture, it has shown me that despite how you fall into error, God will always give you a way out before completing the error so it does not become an error, but once the error is accomplished, own up to your mistake. God is aware of all those who took part but everyone’s judgment is different will take place at a different time. God is a personal God, which is why He said in Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me; and in the following verse”…For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…”

If you’ve accepted the true and living God, accept Him fully and completely knowing that in return He accepts you fully and completely, giving you individual and intricate detailed attention to your life from beginning to end.

Not leaving out a punctuation or word unedited but ensuring your story is one pleasing for Him to keep on writing because you are just that special. Yes, even in the midst of millions of other people God can and will do just that.

It’s Your Choice–Choose Life and Live

choices4

Deut.30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.

We are faced with choices every day. Whether to wear this or that. Whether to do this or that. Whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing. Whether to sin or not to sin. A recent social media status I saw stated, ‘When people be like at the end of the day all I got is me, I be like really? How you got through life thus far? Cause at the end of the day all I got is GOD. Half the time I lead myself into the wrong path.’
The statement not only speaks of God being the only way, but it also speaks of the strength or power that you have; whether to take the right path or the wrong path.

That We Are Given Choices Is Clear
Gen.2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou latest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou greatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Gen.4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou diets not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto them shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Josh.24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom he will serve; whether the gods which your father’s served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land he dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt he between two opinions? if the Lord be GOD, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
The Bible is full instances of individuals given choices to make–some made the right choice and others disobeyed, thereby making the wrong choice. King Saul and Naaman are examples of this, to name a few.

The Choices You Make
You choose how far or how close you want to follow the Lord
Peter followed Jesus at a distance (Mat.26:58; Mk.14:54)
We at times get comfortable in our place and in our space. We just don’t want to get too involved; no commitments, no responsibilities.
How close do you want to get to God?  How far are you from Him?
You choose to move forward or to look backward
Jesus warned us to remember Lot’s wife (Lu.17:32; Gen.19:26). It could be said that Lot’s wife:
1. dwelt in the past
2. longed for the old life
3. was fearful of new things
Paul said: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Phi.3:13-14)
Do you want to move ahead or live on the past?
You choose how much of God you want
We read of Solomon: And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. (1 Ki.11:6)
This was due primarily to:
1. his desire for peace and power (position & politics)
2. his desire for pleasure (all of the women)
3. his desire to please (using the women’s idols)
What it all amounted to was compromise.
Caleb on the other hand, followed God fully: But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land wherein he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Nu.14:24)
How much of God do you want?  Is your way more important than His?
You choose how holy you want to live
And they shall teach my people the difference between the Holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. (Ezek.44:23)
This speaks of one of the ministries of the priests–they were to teach the people. Note what it is that we are to learn–the difference between what is holy and what is not.
Do I know the difference? If not, am I learning the difference? If so, am I walking in it?
The point is, if I’m saved, I am to be walking in daily holiness. I am to be holy because He is holy (1 Pe.1:16), and I am to be holy in every area of my life. (1 Pe.1:15)
There is a difference between what is holy and what is not, and I am required to know that difference is and live by it.  How important is holiness to you?
You choose how saved you want to be
Technically speaking, there is really no such thing as becoming ‘more’ saved. We are as saved now as we were when we first became saved. Nothing you do can make your salvation more real. But what can be measured is our level of:
1. faithfulness
2. dedication
3. commitment
4. consecration
If in all of these areas, I am not all I should be (and none of us really are), my position in Christ is not altered, but my condition will fluctuate. There will be bouts of dissatisfaction, misery, emptiness, lack of fulfillment, and even depression. As a Christian, until I am giving Him my best and my all, and putting Him first, there will be no peace…still saved, but no peace.
We are kept by the power of God and God’s power does not fail (1 Pe.1:5)

The Only Right Choice
The songwriter said, ‘I have no other choice but to trust Him–I have no other choice but to believe.’ (Tye Tribbett)
So many times in life before
I tried and tried to do things my way
I thought that I was smart enough
I thought I knew enough to handle myself
I didn’t realize the problem was
The struggle was between my will and Yours
So I’m giving up my will for Yours
I’m totally depending on You
Please come through!
I have no other choice but to trust You
That’s all I can do
I have no other choice
But to believe!
The only right choice is to live His way, trust Him and commit myself to Him.

That’s the Word! Take it with you. God bless you.