Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5
Here we are, friends. Day Two, September. Seasonal change is upon us once more, and as sure as the tides ebb and flow each day, we are all adjusting our rutters as we ready ourselves for the days ahead. Can’t you just feel the change in the air? Though the Summer temperatures linger a bit, and we will enjoy them as they are given, the thrust to batten down the hatches and head out full speed ahead into the final four months of 2015 is a palpable energy. The return of routines, activities and increased momentum will continue to challenge each one of us to order our days with careful consideration in light of the season we are in, and the seasons we’ve yet to know.
So many wonderful things vie for our attention, don’t they? So many opinions, opportunities, possibilities. But, the question remains. What is calling you from the quietness of your being now? What season are YOU in? Forget that Fall is slowly preparing for its debut, and I saw two leaves fall, whimsically before me, as I drove toward the beach this morning.
Maybe, the question is not what season is happening where you live, but what season are you living in where you are?
What season are you trying to hurry through because you want the next one ushered in for whatever your reason? Ironically, we understand that seasons, and the weather itself, cannot be rushed. Do we recognize that each day is unfolding just as it needs to unfold- in the seasons of life that we are experiencing? Do we wish for seasons past missing whatever the moment we are living has to offer, whether a lesson, a gift of pain, or a difficult goodbye?
Consider: What season are you hiding from because it doesn’t suit you? Perhaps Winter? Perhaps even Fall which bring forth holidays and already you are worrying about the details, and that there are no more little ones in your life. Or maybe there never were and that leaves you with an ache in your heart that won’t subside. Or all the children have gone off to college or their own lives and the walls in your home echo empty in your heart.
I don’t know what you are carrying into this seasonal change, but I know the One who remains the same in every season.
I’ve had my share of inescapable seasons. I’ve had my share of pain, loss, shame, despair, injustice, false friends, betrayal, adversity.
Seasons…they come and go, don’t they? Seasons of plenty, lean seasons. Seasons of loneliness, doubt, fear.
Seasons of joy, blessing, pleasure.
As I consider each I realize that the difficult seasons- adversities are the exact moments in time that allowed great advancement in my spiritual growth. What I mean by advancement is, increasing confidence in God’s character, ability, and faithfulness. You know the hard seasons will make or break you. It’s the same with anything. If you want to join the Army, you have to make it through Basic Training. Well, the fact is God loves us as we are, but we need to be loved into being all we can be, and that my friends takes transformation. Transformation is not always comfortable. Or fun. But it is productive. It gets the job done. It produces change that is precious and beautiful in His sight. It produces something of value for eternity. It also manifests in us something we can not do on our own- apart from the grace of God and His Holy Spirit working in us.
The fact is we cannot produce “spiritual” change. If you belong to Jesus and claim His name, then it is a work beyond you. Apart from Him, it is impossible…that is why all things are possible with Him, and nothing without Him. Nothing of eternal value anyway. Maybe applause now, and attention- but the inner workings done by the Spirit in the secret places are known by God alone. Otherwise, you , my friend would take credit, and parade with grandiosity how “good” you have become.
If there is any good in any of we who believe, it is because of the one who is Good and that One is God. All the rest, as Paul said, is good for the ash heap. I know for me it is true.
But, do you yet cling to the hope of goodness in yourself apart from the Living God? If so, I fear for you. But, His grace is sufficient and a grace that gives in all seasons is what we get…oh, yes- Glory- an undeserved grace it is.
Our God is not a K-Mart God. His grace is not only available when the blue light shines for a “special” moment in time…that grace you rush to get initially, that leaves you awed and amazed, excited and breathless- thinking and believing you got the best deal on earth? That Grace is a continuous grace that keeps on giving. When you stop giving the grace you get, you will dry up and become as sour as any old rotten grape you can find. We keep receiving grace, and we keep giving that grace to others. We keep revealing the grace of God because it IS better than any Blue Light Special! It is the transforming power of the One True Living God! It is a Grace that produces in every season…even the driest drought, because when we run dry, there is a river unseen that continues to quench our thirst- in the parched places.
Jesus came so we would know that we are not alone in any season. So knowing He will never abandon you, cares for every hair on your head (especially the gray ones) and forgives the moment you and I bow our hearts to His authority- what are you fearing? What season are you afraid to walk through? What season are you rushing through? Avoiding? Dreading?
Take heart, He is with you. He longs to comfort you, desires that you know and believe Him. Turn to Him and pray with me, will you?
Lord, too long I have wanted to avoid the hard seasons, too long I desire my will while forfeiting yours. Take my heart and change it. Conform me to the likeness of all that you desire me to be. Let me receive the grace you freely offer, and not withhold it from those I meet who need it. Lord, I acknowledge we all need grace. But, I ask for more that it might overflow to many others, as you demonstrated in Jesus, may it be so in my life. May graciousness and faithfulness be evident in my life from the inside out, Lord. Keep me from the sin that so easily entangles, and those things that cause me to stumble, fear and doubt your work in my life and in the life of others. May I rejoice daily in the wonders of your love accepting all from your hand. Amen.
I have created an album of random images from the last week of Summer August. You can view them at this link. I hope you enjoy them. From Bookstore to Beachside you are with me through these pics!
Linking with Create with Joy for Friendship Friday