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December 08, 2009

Embrace the Season...

Presents under the tree  

Greetings, Dear Friends!

Susie Larson here...

And to those visiting, I say welcome! I post every Wednesday and my sole purpose is to nourish your soul along the way. Each month I give away a $10.00 Starbucks gift card to someone who posts on my blog. So share a story or an insight, bless lots of people, and just maybe you'll win a jolt of java for you and friend!

NEW RELEASE!!!

I am very excited to announce the release of my newest book, "Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God's Heart for Justice." 

Bless my socks off and pick up a copy today! I believe the message of this book is an important word for women in our day. Follow the Amazon link below to get a look at my book. Please post a review if you've had the chance to read 'Embracing Your Freedom' (thank you so much!):

Embracing Your Freedom on Amazon...

Last month, in light of the Thanksgiving holiday, we explored some uncommon aspects of giving thanks. 

This month, in light of our Savior's birth, we'll spend the next few weeks exploring different ideas around giving and receiving 'gifts.' 

Now on to my topic...

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I've been walking through a spiritual battle of sorts. I'm thankful to say that I'm now on the other side of the battle and thrilled to be! Not that any circumstances changed, at all, but Christ made Himself at home in my life in a new and deeper way (Gal. 2:20). My resolve to follow Him was strengthened and my understanding of the importance of humility and surrender increased exponentially. 

Looking back over the past few weeks, it occurred to me that we as followers of Christ are often in one of two seasons: A season of reaping or a season of refining. Sometimes we experience both of these seasons at the same time, but in different areas of life. 

Many people today are walking through a refining season of life. Times are difficult. Plans fail. People let us down. The enemy presses in hard. Resources are scarce and it's tempting to wonder, where is God?

Refining seasons are not fun at all but they are essential to our spiritual maturity and growth. What do we do during such times? 

We embrace the season with all of the faith we can muster. We trust that God is up to something good. We stand strong against the threats of the enemy. We keep our shield raised high, and we determine through it all, that God is always good. And then, we keep walking.

The following verse got me through some of the worst times in my life:

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest (Psalm 126: 5-6).

When everything in our lives feels out of control and out of our hands, what do we do? We kneel down, we plant our seeds of faith, we water them with our tears, and then we cry out to God and declare Him faithful. Those who dare to do such a radical thing, will come out the other side carrying a harvest in their arms. What a payoff. Plant a few seeds. Carry a harvest in our arms. God's Word is true.

*This past Monday I was a guest on Along the Way and talked about this very thing. Check it out if you're interested. It was a good interview: Susie on Along the Way...

Now let's address the season of reaping...

Over and over again in the Bible we read about the idea of sowing and reaping. Of planting seeds and of gathering a harvest. For every serious follower of Christ, it's a given that we regularly plant seeds. We plant seeds of faith when we seed a need. We plant seeds of life and encouragement into those we meet. We plant seeds of God's Word in the barren places of our lives, knowing, that one day, life will spring forth and a harvest will grow. Furthermore, seeds are planted in us. Again, for the earnest Christian, when the soil of our hearts is prepared and healthy, a bountiful crop will result (See Mark 4). 

When we enter a seasons of reaping and of favor, it's wonderful! We begin to see the fruit of our hard work. We see evidences of our faith become actual substance. We eat from the fruit of our labor. But a caution here: When the wind is at our back and we see breakthroughs all around, it's tempting to loosen our grip on the Vine; to think that life is good because, perhaps, we are good. 

Anytime life is good, it's because God is good. And when life is bad, is God still good? You know the answer. Absolutely. Yes. All of the time.

Stewardship is important during seasons of reaping. Every good gift comes from the Father. We can do nothing apart from Him. We are blessed to be a blessing. God allows us to partner with Him in this Kingdom work, but it's His work. He gives to us, trusting that we'll give some away. We are flow-through accounts to a world in need. 

Read this powerful passage:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever." Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for foodwill also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).

Are you in a season of refining? It's painful, I know. Embrace the season and trust that God is good. Plant seeds of faith. Believe that this painful season will change. Bow your knee to your Maker. Hang on to your identity. Envision the harvest. No seeds are more precious to God than those planted in difficult times and watered with tears of desperate faith. Envision the harvest because that kind of sowing is a big deal to God.

Are you in a season of reaping? It's wonderful, I know. Embrace the season and steward it well because every good gift comes from above. Sow more seeds. Give more away. Believe for greater things, knowing that another season of harvest will be yours in due time. 

Seasons come and seasons go for this is the walk of faith!

Press on in His name.

~Until next week...

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Comments

Dear Rebecca,

Your post was beautiful and could stand alone as its own blog post!
Thank you for sharing your heart and for inspiring others to tenacious faith. The days call for it!
Bless you, my friend!

Dear Melissa,

I loved every word of your post! I love that you're not willing to 'jump into the Red Sea' ahead of God's timing. I love that you don't want to miss a thing of what God is doing. And I love, love that you are expecting a miracle! He is the God of the impossible!
Bless you~

Dear Lisa,

I'm so thankful God used the post to encourage you. May He continue to strengthen and encourage you as you walk out your faith journey. He is doing a beautiful thing in your life! I can see it!

I think about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when I hear the word refine. They stood up for God when there leader Daniel was not around. And God showed up in such an amazing way! They could have died in the furnace- they still would have been blessed beyond measure. But instead I believe Jesus shows up in the furnace. And the bible says no stench was left on them. I want to come out of being refined without the smell of bitterness, anger, sadness whatever. I want to remember all that Jesus has done for me. I want to be the fragrance of Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.
What a personal God we serve.
God bless you Susie and all~

I needed this today, too! I'm in a season of refining. As I seek to find out what God wants from me & my family during this season, I am trying hard to not impatiently jump into the Red Sea before He's parted it.

There's certainly much to learn, and I don't want to miss it. In the meantime, I'm waiting for the miracle.

Wow, this really helped me today. Thank you! I love this: "We embrace the season with all of the faith we can muster." What a great challenge and encouragement! I will definitely be remembering that in the days to come. Refining seasons are not all that fun, but so necessary...I am thankful to have such great people to walk along side me during my refining seasons. God is good! Thanks for the very timely post :) God used it in a big way for me today.

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