Life recently has had it’s twists and turns with a dash of insult. Decisions have had to be made and goals planned out to finish. I have been able to handle a lot of it (with the Lord’s help of course) but leaving one season to enter a new season has been the hardest thing for me yet to date. I wrote a previous blog titled, “Lost In The Shuffle”. In this blog I talked about how the Lord speaks to me; how I can hear Him and I just sort of “know” what I need to do because it’s on my heart and mind everyday. No matter how hard I justify that I don’t need to do it, I know deep in my heart, I do need to. This decision was one of obedience. I have been part of the praise band at my church for years and years. Singing was (well, still is) what I love to do! And to be able to do it praising HIS name was even better. My talent is God given and I always wanted to make sure that I used it for His glorification, not my own. For 5 months I dealt with God tugging at my heart, telling me I needed to step down. For what reason or purpose, I don’t know. I have no idea actually. What I do know is that I believe He has a plan for me, and at the appropriate timing, He will open another door. While I will “knock” for a door to be open I believe whole hearted it will open regardless as long as I am doing what I should be walking with Him.
A season is a time period. For us, we are used to “Summer”, “Fall”, “Spring”, “Winter”. These are 4 seasons in a year. Every season has it’s qualities that we know start and finish the season. Spring has blooming of flowers, pollen, lots of greenery. Fall has just the opposite, leaves changing colors, falling off branches which lets you know it’s almost time for winter. While not always that easy to comprehend spiritually, it’s quite the same thought process.
“You observe days and months and seasons and years.”
2 Timothy 4:2
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
In 2 Timothy it says to be ready both in and out of season. For me, this means to not only listen and pay attention when you know God is watching and is close, feels close and you know your relationship is great with Him. It’s even more important to be ready in the times you feel He is distant. It’s in those times, how you react, teach and witness is almost even more important. When you don’t feel like God is immediately there in your presence, He is in fact still there, watching from a distance to see how you will behave and act. It’s important to be confident and studied up in the word of God. God’s truth (the Bible) is your armor and you would never go into battle without armor on! (Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.)
2 -4″Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them.”
6″Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.”
1 Thessalonians 1:6 says, “So you received the message with joy from the Holy Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you. In this way, you imitated both us and the Lord.” The Apostles are saying this to the people of their time but it much reflects our duties today. The Holy Spirit is present, leading us daily in our lives. While bad times will come, we should be thankful in all things. The bad time you are in can always be worse. But take charge of your life and notice if the places you are at in life are because of your own decisions. Consequences of poor decisions are inevitable. 1 Timothy 5:20 20″If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.” God can take poor decisions and turn them to be worked in a positive way; however, for bad decisions consequences are still to be had. Don’t expect God to give you a “get out of jail” free card. Learn from your mistakes and change your way of doing things. If you know financially you are unstable… are you looking for work? Are you doing everything in your power to help your family? Or are you sitting back and taking the easy road. There is no glory in that. The lazy man will not prosper in the Kingdom of Heaven:
2 Thessalonians 3:10 10 -13“Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? If you don’t work, you don’t eat. And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.”
Proverbs 10:4 4 “Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.”
Proverbs 6:9-11: A Lesson from the Ant
6 -11 “You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent house guest!”
Working hard is the one of the first things to do to begin hearing the Lord. If you are doing as He says, do it quietly and you will hear from Him. The importance of making sure you are studied up and ready with your armor is paramount to know you are hearing clearly. For me, in December of 2009, my hardest decision in obedience came in stepping down from the praise band at my church. But it was a decision I could make confidently because I knew I was doing everything as good as I could. Financially, spiritually, emotionally and physically I was at the strongest point ever in my walk with Christ. It is only with Him I could make such a decision that affected me so strongly. For you reading this, having to step down from a group of musicians will probably seem ridiculous to be a hard decision. But for you the choice you have to make may be a group of friends you hang around, having to leave a friendship even though you don’t want to but God is telling you that friend is no good for you, perhaps you are being a crutch and by you being obedient, that friend will have to spread their wings and attempt to figure it out on their own one – on – one with God. Or maybe your situation is having to make lifestyle changes. Your life is going to have different important decisions than your neighbor, another family member or a friend. Others may tell you to keep on doing what you are doing, that you don’t need to change your way of doing things or your life. Do the research for yourself. Check what God has to say about it. As long as He says it’s what you need to be doing, what others say doesn’t matter. God told Abraham to up and move, not something he was excited about doing when everyone else was telling him not to, but he did and he was blessed for it. (Genesis 12:1-9; 15:5).
Start your new season. Allow God to bloom in your life, spread life and give you His blessings. He can’t bless what is not in Him. You have to make the decision to live for Him. No one else has to answer for your life and decisions except you. It’s vital that you always remember the tests that are given to you — only you have to answer for them. Your friend may tell you to do choice A, but he doesn’t have to answer for choice A. You do! If your name is in the Book of Life that is…
“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
“And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”
2 Samuel 22:21
“God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I cleaned up my act, he gave me a fresh start. Indeed, I’ve kept alert to God’s ways; I haven’t taken God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works, I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.”
1 Peter 2:21
This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.