Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Preparation for the Harvest

In Galatians Chapter six and verse nine, the Apostle Paul offers believers some encouraging advice; “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Paul knew that often we as believers forget that God put a system into place where there is a time of planting and a time of harvesting and this doesn't just apply to natural things, but to spiritual things as well. From the very beginning, God made this promise to His people; “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:22 ESV) I believe that as long as we don’t give up on God, we will reap the harvest of our faith. Placing our trust in the promises of God is our seedtime. Our faith as we wait is our “doing good,” the two then will produce in their season. It does not matter what the promise is; if we remain faithful and trust the God who promised, we will reap in our season! I was reminded of this a few weeks ago in a very practical way. On the road that I travel to and from work each day, there are peach orchards; as far as the eye can see on either side of the road. Growing up in the south, there is one thing that I have learned about peach trees, at the first sign of warm weather they begin to blossom. It doesn’t matter if it is still winter, as sure as the temperature climbs above seventy degrees for a few days, you will begin to see the pretty pink blossoms paint the orchard. But there is something else that every southern born person knows and that is this; in the south, cold weather is not over for the season until after Easter; my great grandmother used to call it “the Easter snap.” The peach trees obviously don’t know this pearl of wisdom. But because the peach growers know about the “Easter snap,” and because they know that the peach trees always get ahead of themselves, they make preparation early on for the cold weather. The peach orchard that I drive pass has tall windmill-like contraptions that are actually heaters; and when the temperature drops below freezing and the trees are already in bloom, the growers use these heaters to keep the trees warm and prevent the cold from damaging the harvest. Not only do they use these heaters, but they also have bales and bales of hay lined around the orchard that they burn to keep warmth on the trees. When the temperature drops below freezing, the workers stay up all night making sure that the fires burn and the trees with their fragile blossoms are protected. Why do they do this? They are preparing for the harvest. I am certain that on those nights when the temperature dips into the low twenties, the workers would much rather be at home in their warm beds instead of standing out in the cold with only the fire from the hay to keep them warm. The peach growers will do this night after night, even when it seems like an impossible task, because they want to see the harvest. The end result of their faithfulness is a harvest of delicious fresh peaches for all to enjoy come July and August. So what is my purpose in telling you this? Well, I believe that when we receive a promise from God, sometimes we see the early blossoms of this promise coming to pass and we get excited and hopeful, but when we run into a road block and the promise looks like it is not going to happen, we give up. What do you think would happen to the peach harvest if the growers gave up when the temperature dropped? There would be no peaches in that season, or there would certainly be a much smaller harvest. Paul encourages us, do not get tired of doing good, in other words, don’t get tired of trusting God, don’t look at the circumstances of our lives and decide, “I must not have heard God right.” Or “God did not come through for me.” Everything has a “due season.” Peaches have their harvest season in July and August, but there are other fruits and vegetables that have their season in fall or winter, or early spring. Just because your due season hasn't arrived yet, don’t give up on God! God is not limited by time; He does not have to keep our schedule. The scripture tells us that Abraham is the father of us all,”in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist…No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.” (Rom. 4:17; 20-21 ESV) Despite the passage of time, twenty-five years to be exact, Abraham continued to believe God; and now he has the eternal testimony in the presence of God and all creation that he is the “father of us all.” God knows our days, beloved. He knows every promise that He has for us! And when His timing is complete, we will receive that promise. What we have to do is prepare for the harvest. Trust that God is going to do what He said. Know that even those things that appear dead matter little to God because He gives life to the dead, and He calls things which do not exist into existence. Are you believing God for something today? Perhaps you long to be a parent but biology says you’re too old. Maybe you are longing for a spouse but it seems that all you ever get is rejection. Or you may be a parent that has been waiting for God to deliver a child from a life of sin and destruction. You might be a husband or wife in a bad marriage and you have been trusting God to save your spouse. Whatever your harvest is, don’t give up. You may need to add the fertilizer of faith to your prayers, or maybe you just need to rest in the knowledge that the God who promised is faithful, and just because you have not received your harvest yet, does not mean that your due season isn't coming! Be encouraged believed, trust God and you will enjoy your “peaches” if you don’t give up!

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