Take 5 (July 27-31, 2015)

take5

Robert Ballard • Pastor of Worship Ministries

The Seasons of Your Life

One of my favorite things about living in West Virginia is our opportunity to experience all four seasons of the year. My personal favorite season is fall. The temperatures turn cooler, but not too cool. Football and hunting seasons begin. It’s a fantastic time of year that I greatly enjoy! In contrast, my least favorite season is summer. I don’t like the heat, humidity, bugs, and snakes that come with summer! Just as in the seasons of nature, God allows us to go through various seasons in our lives. We see this in Ecclesiastes 3. Verse 1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Many times we can experience various seasons based upon the various aspects of our lives. Your spiritual life could be experiencing summer, while your financial life might be in winter. Your relationships could be experiencing springtime, while your health may be experiencing fall. Let’s take a few minutes every day this week to study each season and determine how to best embrace the seasons of our lives.

Monday: Summer

Isaiah 40:31

For those of you who have raised a garden before, you know that summertime can be a difficult time. There are weeds that need pulled and soil that needs watered. Then, there is the ever constant battle of trying to keep the bugs, birds, and animals out. It can get tiring doing all of these things day after day, while waiting for the crops to be ready for harvest. The same is true of the summers in our lives. Life is busy, and we are constantly moving from one activity to another. It gets tiring to have to remain consistent, conscientious, and firm in our daily activities. Waiting is also an essential part of this season. Someone experiencing a summer financially could be saving and preparing for retirement. While they would like to spend that money on something they could use right now, they know that isn’t wise at this time. Someone experiencing the season of summer could be a parent who is dutifully raising their children and taking them to church–consistently trying and struggling to raise them in a godly manner.

For Today: Pray for strength and renewal as you consistently live out the summer seasons of your life.

Tuesday: Fall

2 Corinthians 9:6b

My in-laws have a beautiful apple tree in their yard. This tree is very successful at bearing much fruit in the fall. They get so heavy with fruit that they even have to place ropes on the branches during the spring time to ensure that they do not break off from the tree trunk due to the extra weight of the fruit in summer. Many seasons back, my in-laws also took the time to prune this tree and take extra precautions to keep bugs and animals from eating on it. They work hard year-round to ensure that their harvest is successful in the fall. The same is true when our lives experience the season of fall. After months or years of work, it is nice to “sit back” and thank the Lord for His blessings when they occur. Someone experiencing the season of fall could be a parent, who after years of raising their child, can now watch them make sound, godly decisions for themselves. Someone else in the fall season of life could be a person who has sown many seeds in their ministry and are now seeing people put their faith in Christ.

For Today: Praise God for the fall seasons you might be experiencing or have experienced in life.

Wednesday: Winter

Deuteronomy 31:6

Winter can often be a difficult time period in life. The cold temperatures and snowy conditions make it difficult to be out and about like we are used to doing during other times of the year. When you look around at nature during this time, everything looks bleak and gray. Signs of life from the trees and vegetation are nowhere to be seen. Many gardeners take advantage of this time to prune or transplant trees and bushes. Just as in nature, God also allows our lives to go through winter seasons. These are the times that feel bleak and gray. We may also feel like aspects of our lives are dormant. Just as the gardener, God sometimes uses this season to prune us of things that do not belong there. He may also choose to use this time to take our spiritual lives to another level, but doing so can be difficult. Someone experiencing this season could be having difficulty in their marriage. It could be someone having financial issues with their business or unforeseen setbacks in their career. Whatever the situation, it is encouraging to remember that during these times, God is always with us. He is still in control.

For Today: What areas could God be trying to prune in your life as you experience winter?

Thursday: Spring

Psalm 30:5b

Spring is a time of new beginnings. The trees are beginning to bud. Animals and vegetation have awakened, and the weather is starting to get warmer. Spring is a refreshing experience after enduring the harsh conditions of winter. The refreshing rain of springtime helps everything to sprout and grow. You can see signs of life every place you look. God also allows each of us to go through spring times in our lives. These times can bring relaxation and rest to a weary soul. This season is full of hope and expectation of what is to come in the future. Someone experiencing the spring season in their life could be someone getting a new job after many months of discouraging interviews. It could be someone who has experienced a rejuvenation in their lives spiritually thanks to an answered prayer. Spring is a time of new life and growth.

For Today: Ask God to show you what areas of your spiritual life that He desires to grow.

Friday: Embracing Your Season

Galatians 6:9

I have experienced a few winters that really didn’t resemble winters. The weather was oddly fall-like and the cold temperatures never came. When that occurs, the bugs from one year never fully die off, and then you have more bugs once springtime rolls around. I have also experienced spring times that have had winter-like conditions well into May. The result of this affects the harvest time in the fall. Just as in nature, if we try to make something from one season occur in the wrong season of our lives, things get out of balance. We wouldn’t have learned the lesson that God had intended us to learn had we not gone through the season we experienced during His perfect timing. Just as the song entitled, “Blessings” by Laura Story says, “What if Your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears?” Sometimes we have to experience the rain of spring time, the toil of summer, and the bleakness of winter to appreciate the ability to reap blessings during the fall times of our lives.

For Today: Take a moment today to ask God for help as you embrace whatever life season you are in.