The dream. I was talking to a young girl who was telling me that the crop that year had been very good for her family. Other people were saying that their harvest was not good and had many reasons why not, mainly blaming it on the weather. As I listened the Lord spoke into my spirit and showed me that like these farmers, believers had options. He showed me that if a crop did not develop as the grower wanted, he had a choice to do nothing and take a loss, or he could use the produce for another purpose. An example He showed me was apples. One farmer said that he couldn’t get any money for his apples because they were blemished. The Lord’s response was that he could have sold them to a manufacturer who could make applesauce or apple juice from them and the season would have been productive and expanded his opportunities.
I was then sitting in a children’s Sunday School class and related this dream and asked the children if they could think of Scriptures that lined up with what the Lord showed me. They immediately started quoting Scriptures and I had a hard time keeping up with them. They were so excited to be able to share the Lord’s Word and they completely understood the correlation between the circumstances of our lives and His Word. The excitement was contagious and the Lord reminded me of why He spoke these words to His disciples, “...Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3-4) Notice the specific use of words, “are converted and become like children”. Converted means to turn around or reverse, to turn about, to turn into something, to change, to turn in mind, be changed, become another kind of person.
Jesus was addressing a problem in an adult’s nature, an adult becomes skeptical, hardened, reliant upon themselves and prideful! This statement is a bridge to a truth that cannot be made any clearer. As long as we continue to hold onto these “adulthood” traits we “shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”! Children are innocent and dependent upon someone to feed them and train them. That is exactly why it is so important that they have godly parents to raise them in the ways of the Lord! If the parent isn’t surrendered and a disciple of the Lord, he will inject his prejudices, his prideful ways into his children. Listen carefully to the next two verses, “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe is Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6)
Are you beginning to see the difference in the way the children responded to the dream and the way an adult would respond?
How does that apply to a believer? “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Some changes in our lives are directly from God, other changes are from Satan and some are just results of life circumstances. Unfortunately, for most believers, they are no different than unbelievers when difficulties arise because they immediately want to blame the enemy. NOT ALL DIFFICULTIES OR TRIALS ARE FROM SATAN! Read the above Scripture again. “God causes ALL things to work together...to those who are called according to His purpose.” The key, of course, is “to those who are called according to HIS purpose.” Only the obedient who abide in His Word and are in an intimate relationship will be able to hear His voice.
King Solomon so accurately stated this truth in the book of Ecclesiastes. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven -- A time to give birth, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing. A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; a time to be silent, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) We will only know the correct season if we are in right alignment with the Lord.
“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven --” “A time to give birth, and a time to die;” . A new baby is exciting and we are excited to bring a new life into the world to love and to cherish. It’s a time of celebration! But we have a very hard time accepting the death of a loved one. Even when we know that the person is a believer and will be with the Lord upon his death on earth, there is a void left in our hearts for that person. As believers, we need to lean on the Lord for all understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) for the Lord has our lives in His hands. “Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that we ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:16) Oh how I love that verse! The Lord's desire for me was from the beginning of time! Think about that a minute! He knows the plans and He has made the way, we just need to follow. Why do we struggle so much? Because we don't ask Him to show us the way, nor wait upon Him for the right time. What prideful and sinful people we are!
Listen to the words spoken through the Prophet Isaiah regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, “The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord God has opened My ear; and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back. I gave My back to those who strike Me, and My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. For the Lord God helps Me, therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set My face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He who vindicates Me is near; who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. Behold, the Lord God helps Me; who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them. " (Isaiah 50:4-9)
Before the Lord was taken into custody we see Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is in agony because He knows the time has come to complete the mission that His Father gave Him to complete. He was human, He didn’t want to experience the pain that was to come but there was something even more important to Him, His Father’s will! “...Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42 emphasis mine) The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was for the sole purpose of giving us a chance to receive life, life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ! An eternal life in the Kingdom of God. See, my dear friend, life is limited on this earth. When death comes there is another realm we will enter. If we have repented and received salvation through the washing of the blood of Jesus Christ, we will enter into the Kingdom of God. If we refused and lived our lives on our terms we will be cast into the lake of fire for an eternity of pain and separation from the Lord.
I pray that we, like the psalmist, would desire to be lead by the Lord and be a vessel for His glory while here on earth. “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy will is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8) “Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God; Thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” (Psalm 143:10) “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105) “Establish my footsteps in They word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Psalm 119:133) I love this verse. “Establish” means to prepare, make firm, to fix and to make steadfast! “Dominion” means to have mastery in one’s life. So if we have surrendered our lives unto the Lord and allowed Him to do a new work in us so that we stand firm in His Word, are steadfast in pursuing the way He has established for us, we will cry out to Him and trust Him to alert us when sin is crouching at the door. Remember when Cain killed Abel? In verse 7 of Genesis 4 the Lord lays a foundation for each and every one of us. “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (emphasis mine) How do we master sin in our lives? Be submitted to every Word of God and apply to our lives. And that, my dear friends, is the only way we will be able to discern and move through the seasons of our lives.
There is a time when God gives birth to a new season in our lives. I have learned that because God moves us into a new season doesn’t mean that we are “prepared” for that season in the sense that we think of prepared. The problem comes when we think that “we” have the ability and the know how as to what needs to be done and the way to do it. God does prepare us for the new season, but His preparation is different. He prepares us spiritually to surrender our lives into His hands and as He leads us daily He will supply all of our needs. “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Whether it is something we feel we are familiar with and can handle, or something foreign to us, we have an assurance, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Then comes the time when the Lord tells us that this season has come to an end. It isn’t when we think the season should end! I remember being in some seasons that the Lord had placed me and things were very difficult. I knew that the season was going to end, but I wanted it to end much earlier than the Lord did! I didn’t understand at the time why He wouldn’t release me, but afterward I saw how He had carefully selected the time for my benefit, He was supplying my needs both spiritually and physically! And there was a reason I had to walk through the turbulence. I leaned on Him for every breath that I took and learned to lean on Him to supply all my needs. That, my friend, is a very sweet place to be. I understood the words of the Apostle Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) To clarify even further I must also share with you the verse the Lord had given me years before that was to be my life verse, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
There is always a new season. It may be entirely different from what you expect. And it may not be right away. Sometimes, more often than we realize, the Lord is calling us to “come away with Him”. We need time of rest and refreshing both spiritually and physically. “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn aside from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 13:14) “He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul;...” (Psalm 23:2-3) When it is time, the door will open for you to walk through! “...He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.” (Psalm 23:3) Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 again. Each of “the times” applies to our seasons. God may have us “plant” but He may then move us on to something else and someone else will bring in the harvest. Remember, for a seed to germinate and give life, it must die. We, too, must die to self so that the Lord’s harvest will come! Seasons come and seasons go, but if we are in the Lord, we will always be where we are supposed to be.
If we are living in His presence (not dragging the past into how we view the world), we will be pleasing to Him. I love the words of the Apostle Paul as he exhorts us, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:28-31 emphasis mine) In order to be conformed to the “image of His Son” we must be surrendered and of the same mind as Christ, that “...yet not My will, but Thine be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Abba Father, I give You praise. You are my All in all. Your desire is for me. You alone know the path that You have chosen for me to walk. There is fullness of joy in Your presence and I delight to do Your will! May I, like Abraham, look for Your city, not a city made by human hands, but the eternal city. I long to see You face to face! Thank You for never leaving me. Thank You for refreshing me with the washing of water and for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. I bow down before You and ask You to continue searching my heart daily to see where there may be things in my life that are hindering me from hearing Your commands. I love You with all my heart and thank You and worship You for the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ who has given me salvation and is Lord of my life. All this I pray in the blessed name of Jesus Christ! Amen.
Additional Scriptures for Study:
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and he delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23)
“But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble.” (Psalm 37:39)
“Since I am afflicted and needy, let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.” (Psalm 40:17)
“O LORD of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You.” (Psalm 82:12)
“Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; and give heed to the voice of my supplications.” (Psalm 86:6)
“The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are a mere breath.” (Psalm 94:11)
“From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised.” (Psalm 113:3)
“Then I called upon the name of the LORD: ‘O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!’” (Psalm 116:4)
“Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 124:8)
“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness O LORD, is everlasting; do not forsake the works of Your hands.” (Psalm 138:8)
“For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.” (Psalm 143;11)
“How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God.” (Psalm 146:5)
“The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.” (Psalm 146:8)
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.” (Proverbs 14:27)
“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)
“Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it.” (Proverbs 15:16)
“The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” (Proverbs 15:33)
“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:1)
“The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)
“Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21)
“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1)