Season’s Purpose

Changes Revealed

Phot~pixabay

Pixabay

This time of the year brings a breath-taking transition to our surroundings as emerald-green leaves turn a myriad of gold, orange, and crimson for all to behold.

Not so in my neck of the woods. This year, the oak trees have decided to skip that particular process and turn a sickly greenish-brown just before falling to the ground. Sigh.

I felt robbed of the autumnal experience until I remembered the purpose of the transition is growth. Still, that didn’t help the way I felt as I frantically searched for a little color each day.

But then, while wading through leaves to water the flowers yesterday, the Spirit of the Lord gently reminded me that even when we understand the reason, we often lose sight of the beauty.

Beauty Revealed

Photo~pixabay

Photo~pixabay

Ahh. There are seasons our colors shine for all to see as we demonstrate strength, long-suffering, humbleness, love, or even joy in the midst of excruciating pain. But then, there are seasons when our ugly greenish-brown comes out as God strips away the old.

Our secrets are exposed. Our faults and failures revealed. We feel naked to the world. We become vulnerable. We question ourselves and everything around us. We search for someone to blame. Angry, we storm the gates of Heaven for answers. Nothing. We wait. Winter sets in. There’s no solace as we face the icy winds and rains. Our foundation is shaken.

Photo~Wikipedia Public Domain

Photo~Wikipedia Public Domain

We try to regain some normalcy in our lives as we stubbornly continue to forge ahead. We watch as the days turn into months, and months into years. And when it seems, we have reached our limit and feel we cannot go on, the sod beneath us begins to warm. Our roots stretch to take new ground. Our branches stand taller bursting with new growth. And once again, we are arrayed in His purpose, beautiful in His sight.

Purpose Revealed

Are you in a season of glorious color or sickly greenish-brown? Both have their purpose, Beloved. Both have their beauty.

It’s easy to focus on the surroundings when God wants us to open our eyes to the miraculous process taking place within us. In Second Kings, the servant of the man of God awoke to an army surrounding the city with horses and chariots. When he asked the man of God what they were going to do, Elisha told him to “fear not” and then he prayed.

And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings 6:17 KJV).

A Seasonal Prayer

Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver~wikicommons

Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver~wikicommons

Lord, during this season of transition, I pray that You would open our eyes to the beauty of Your purpose in us. Help us to not focus on the situation, but the outcome. Strengthen us for the journey. Instill in us a determination to make it, no matter the obstacles we must face. May we be reminded, Your grace is enough for every season and Your power is made perfect in our weakness. May we grow in grace and shine forth as a beautiful, fruitful testimony of Your incredible faithfulness in the lives of Your children. And for all of this, I offer You thanks. In Christ’s name, I pray, Amen.

My Purpose Is Growth

Trimming the fat, or excess, is the first step to organization. Organization is the first step to discipline. And discipline is the first step to growth.

For me, becoming organized is the first priority. I begin by removing everything that is counterproductive to growth. This isn’t easy at first. After a plan of action, I watch and wait. Then, I decide what is helping or hindering me from achieving my goal. With my decision made, I cut my losses and move ahead.

Once I’m organized, there’s no excuse for being undisciplined. Everything I need is at my fingertips. Therefore, I’m able to concentrate on the job and meet my goals. And the result is growth.

This rule works for my physical and spiritual needs. In the first chapter of his second epistle, Peter tells me through God’s precious promises, Christ’s perfect sacrifice, I have escaped this world. Through these promises, God has given me the ability to grow into a mature vessel. No excuse. Everything is given.

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV)

When reading this passage, I understand that I can’t “add” to what isn’t there in the first place. To obtain these attributes, I must lay aside all that hinders me from spending time with Him. It isn’t enough to have a casual relationship. I crave intimacy.

When I spend time waiting on the Lord my heart’s cry is for Him to search me and know me. Remove all that displeases. Create in me a clean heart. Draw me near. All unnecessary things fade as my heart focuses on Him.

Some say the order of the words is insignificant. Yet, I’ve learned knowledge of right and wrong helps me to practice self-control in all things. With self-control, I learn patience. And if I haven’t affection for others, how can I have Christ-like love? But, if I seek to add all these things, then I’ll not be barren but fruitful and able to make a difference thereby, fulfilling my purpose—growth.

Life quickly become cluttered as I take on more and more. I find myself needing to trim some things to lighten the load. Combining several social media sites is one thing I am in the process of doing. Another is learning to say no.

What do you do to remove the excess?

The Golden Truth

For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it (Proverbs 8:11 KJV).

Standing near the water’s edge, she stared at her reflection. A familiar excitement washed over her. Like a fever, it quickly consumed her. She scanned the shoreline, contemplating her choices. Not just, any place would do. No. Her heart burned for perfection. She reached for her pan and waded into the water until she arrived at the determined location.

She inhaled deeply, whispered a prayer, turned the pan perpendicular and plunged it to the bottom. Slowly, as not to lose anything, she lifted the pan from the watery chest and rocked it back and forth, swirling the contents. She smiled. The pan gleamed golden. She collected the precious nuggets and dropped them into a leather repository hanging about her neck.

Searching the waters, she spied a large stone. Absent-mindedly, she pushed the obstruction out of the way, and continued her search for the more easily recognizable pebbles. Yet, her eyes were repeatedly drawn to the discarded stone. She picked it up and rolled it between her thumb and index finger. A golden sliver winked at her. She grinned. It wouldn’t be easy, but it could be done.

On the sandy bank, she unsheathed her knife and began scraping the outer surface. The stone proved impenetrable. Undaunted, she placed it in a vice and reached for her hammer and chisel. Several days and nights passed until finally, the treasure beneath was exposed.

Reflection

The deep things of God are never easily found. Just as a miner spends hours searching for that perfect nugget of gold, it takes patience and often years of searching the Word of God. For wisdom doesn’t depend on me, but God. He reveals Himself to me as I faithfully pursue Him. He chooses the where, when, and how.

Daniel said, “He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” Daniel 2:22 KJV

If I’m to reach the deeper depths and greater heights, then I must search the Word as if panning for gold. I’m not to be satisfied with shallowness, but wade into the deeper waters and be willing to follow His lead when He places a nugget in front of me.

Paul said, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16

If I’m to grow then, I must eat a balanced diet.

Prayer

Lord, help me not to settle for the sweet, sugary offerings so easily obtained, snacking my way through the table you’ve spread for me. Help me partake of the meat of Your Word that I may understand the deeper things You long to share with me.