Commissioned to Impact the Harvest
Most of the fields in Bucks County, PA, have been harvested, and they stand ready for the next crop. Timing is so important when the farmer considers the best time to plant. He must be aware of the weather and soil conditions to impact the harvest. Patience is a virtue that is desirable for every farmer. James points to the farmer as an example to emulate as we wait for the Lord to return. "...See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near." (James 5:7-8)
As the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) Harvest time cannot be changed, however the quantity and quality of the harvest can be impacted by what is done during planting and growing seasons. The quality of the seed and the amount sown will have a direct effect on the harvest as will the soil preparation and the amount of watering and fertilizing.
The Bible frequently makes an analogy between agricultural crops and the salvation of people and their growth as Christians. Look at Psalm 1:2-3: "But those whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditate on His law day and night, that person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season..." The Lord commissioned His disciples by telling them to make "disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20) We. likewise, have been commissioned to help in the growth and quality of the harvest. It was the Lord's desire that His disciples and those who follow His teachings act like farmers by "planting" the seed of the Word of God in others and "watering and encouraging the seed of truth." God is looking for a body of Believers who are mature, "bearing fruit" that is ripe for harvest.
Disciple Paul encouraged the Galations by telling them, "Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galations 6:9) James describes a way to bring about a good harvest for the Lord in a specific way. He says, "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." (James 3:18) When writing to the Romans, Paul explains, "I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you...in order that I might have a harvest among you..." (Romans 1:13) Paul's teachings helped the Romans grow in their faith.
We are called to join the Great Commission so that we can impact the harvest. Here are some suggestions for ways to effect the harvest: Give a word of encouragement or a personal testimony. Show the love of God through acts of kindness, deeds of service or through a listening ear and sympathetic heart. We never know when the seeds that we sow might root. That is why we must be patient like the farmer waiting for harvest. Remember that the Lord will determine the time of harvest. Our job is to plant seed and care for those who will be transformed and grow in their maturity until harvest time occurs.
Thanksgiving in Kislev
Today is the first day of the 9th month on the Hebrew calendar. It is significant that our tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving falls within this month--Kislev. The Hebrew letter SAMEKH is a picture of trust, support and coming full circle and is associated with Kislev.
Since Kislev represents security and trust we should be paying attention to our relationship with the Lord and our level of trust in Him. What better way is there to build our trust in the Lord than by giving Him thanks? In his book A Time to Advance, Chuck Pierce says, "God gives us cultural holidays to help us enter our covenant holidays." In celebrating Thanksgiving, we set aside time from our daily routines to give thanks to God for all that He has done. We acknowledge His faithfulness in our lives. As we acknowledge His goodness, we recognize that He is trustworthy, and we can enter a place of rest.
Giving thanks to the Lord and praising Him for His faithfulness leads us to peace and is a warfare strategy. As we review the events of the past year, some of us will be reminded of the battles that we fought, and are still fighting. We must embrace the truth that God is in the midst of the battle. As the writer of Hebrews says, "He will never leave or forsake us." He also says, "So we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.'" (Hebrews 13:5-6) When Moses summoned Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land he told him to be strong and courageous in order for the people to take their inheritance. Deuteronomy 31:8 records the words of Moses: "The Lord Himself goes before and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged." In Joshua, Chapter 1 we read that God Himself repeats the words of Moses to Joshua. He says, "I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses...As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you."
There is usually a battle involved in anything worth doing. We must fight for our inheritances. This month of Kislev is meant to be one where we develop warfare strategies. Not only is it associated with the tribe of Benjamin--the one gifted with the use of the bow--but also with the constellation Sagittarius (the archer). Even the heavens speak to us about the season we are in and how to live fully in it.
As we give thanks to the Lord, we are agreeing with the Kingdom of Heaven in declaring the goodness of God. As we recount His faithfulness, our vision improves, and we will have revelation of the way to battle for our futures. Revelation brings rest and peace. May I suggest that we be bold in our declarations of thanks during this month of Kislev and the season of Thanksgiving. This is an offensive tact that brings us peace and delights the Lord.
Soaring Like An Eagle
“We are created to soar in the high places with Jesus! Soaring requires resting and waiting upon the winds of the Spirit of God for our movement…God’s ultimate purpose in our lives is to get us to soar!” This is a quote from Leif Hetland’s book Soaring as Eagles. A recent trip to Costa Rica with my husband made me think about soaring eagles as I felt like one.
For the first time in our lives we decided to go zip lining over the Costa Rican forests. Twenty-five lines and one suspension bridge took us over spectacular scenery that we would not have been able to see without the zip lines. God created a magnificent and unique scene under every line. Massive amounts of water spilled over boulders and carved out a spillway for the water that fell down every mountainside. In some cases there were blue-green pools at the bottom of the falls. In others there were more waterfalls of varying sizes and power. The rocks at the bottom of the ravines were covered in moss. An abundance of tropical plants surrounded the rocks, some of them in bloom. Only God could have created these amazing ecosystems.
As I flew over these amazing scenes with the aid of my zip line, I began to understand what an eagle might feel like as he catches the currents of the wind. Once an eagle catches an air thermal he does not have to flap his wings. He can relax and enjoy the scenery. Moving from one thermal to the next, he can use his keen eyesight to locate food. What an eagle sees determines his course of action. His "sight is at least four times that of a human who has perfect vision," says Leif Hetland in his book.
God intends that Believers be like eagles--waiting on His Spirit so that we can move with Him and see the way He does. The Lord has a perfect perspective, and when we see things His way it puts us at rest and our strength is renewed. (Isaiah 40:31) The eagle has the ability to soar above the storms and senses the motion of the wind currents. Approaching storms bring more air currents and enable the eagle to soar higher and fly faster. The higher the eagle soars the greater his perspective. We were created to soar also and to see things from a heavenly perspective.
In Soaring as Eagles, Hetland says, "The secret to the life of the eagle is mounting up close to the sun and soaring in that place. We are to continually wait on the Lord so that we get fresh strength...The secret of success in your life is found in waiting on the Lord with eager expectation...You are created to 'mount up (close to God) as eagles'...You are created to soar!"
Joan E. Mathias