How to stay strong through tough times
Is there a 'field' in your life where you've been sowing and sowing but are still not seeing those green shoots? When a farmer goes out to sow seeds into the soil, what comes next is a wait of faith. Nothing can be seen by eye, but the farmer knows beyond doubt that something good is happening beneath the soil. How does she know? Because of her experience. Because of her knowledge. Because she understands the rhythms and the timing and chemistry of sowing and reaping. We need to understand the rhythms and timing and chemistry of sowing reaping in our faith too.
In due time, tiny green shoots start to poke through, reaching up to the light of day and a sigh of relief is breathed as the sower knows for sure...... 'it's coming'.....
Perhaps you've been sowing in an area of your life and you're not seeing the harvest yet. It feels overdue. You're frustrated and impatience. 'Why, God? Where is it? Where is the health I need? Where is the peace in my family? Where is the job opportunity I've been praying for? Where is the growth of my team, ministry or church? Where are the finances I've prayed for? Where is it God?!'
Galatians 6:9-10 is like a huge finger-from-the-sky reminder: "..do NOT become weary in doing good. For at the proper time you WILL reap a harvest IF you do not give up..." Let's break it down:
Do not become weary - make sure your prayers are prayers of stubborn faith, not weariness. Make sure you are still doing what God told you to do and not backing down or ducking out because it's taking time.
At the proper time - you're not in control of the timing - you're in control of the sowing. Be patient. God sees this from all angles, you only see your own point of view. It was 30 years before Jesus began His ministry...
You will reap a harvest - it's a promise. It's a certainty - but it is is conditional. There's a catch. You've got to do your side of the bargain here. There's a big, fat IF coming up.....
IF you do not give up - do not give up sowing. Do not give up praying over that seed with faith and expectation that God is able. Do not give up looking out that window, watching, waiting for signs of life. Do not start to grumble or complain. Do not let words of despair or hopelessness pass your lips. Go and scream into a pillow if you need to. Do not go out and dig up your seed in a huff. Do not wave your fist at God because it's taking longer than you wanted. DO NOT GIVE UP DOING GOOD.
So, you've not given up. You've stayed and prayed in faith. You've confessed that your harvest is on its way. So, where is it? Let's look at what might be the problem:
What are you fighting for right now? What harvest is promised to you? How do you keep yourself in faith when you can't see it yet? Share in the comments below and encourage our readers.
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How to be gentle when life plays rough
Gentleness is not weakness. Gentleness, especially in the face of intimidation or aggression, is in fact a sign of great personal strength, perfectly harnessed. Being gentle when the situation is calm and lovely is not a challenge. Being gentle when someone bangs into you with their cart at the store, cuts you up on the freeway or passes over you for promotion, is when the test begins.
Gentleness is a choice. It is a choice not to react even when you would be perfectly ‘within your rights’ to react with anger. But when you have received full forgiveness and freedom from all your mistakes and failings - the Holy Spirit in you urges you NOT to react as you could - but to react with love and purpose.
Proverbs 15:1 says that a gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. When anger gets 'stirred up', something bad is cooking. The evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life is that even where something bad is cooking, you can be the person to come in and calm the situation, right the wrongs and make peace break out!
Gentleness can be like a long, cool drink to a course, dry throat that has been shouting at you. Gentleness is a warm hug and encouraging words when your spouse has had a bad day and the house is a bombsite. Gentleness is listening intently when you would rather butt in with your own viewpoint.
Gentleness is a bit like a harness that constrains and re-directs your emotions when they’re trying to go haywire - and instead send them in the direction of love.
You might be naturally a gentle person - or you might be like a bull in a china shop (more my style!) but gentleness, as a fruit of walking in the Spirit of God, can be learned. You can remind yourself to stop - even mid-flow - and ask yourself 'Is what I'm about to say....'
If what you are about to let pass your lips is few, or none, of these things - then it is what the Bible calls 'slander'. Ephesians 4:15 exhorts you to 'speak the truth in love' because we have all known that sting of truth that was not spoken in love. it is also possible that you may believe that you're saying something out of love - but it's not really Godly love. So you also need to consider 'is what I'm about to say or do necessary? Is it kind or is it bitter? Will it inspire or will it deflate? Who will benefit from what I'm about to say?
For us women, who allegedly have around 30,000 words a day to share with the world, it can be tough to always speak with gentleness. But you can ask the Holy Spirit daily to help you be more deliberate and thoughtful as you communicate with those around you.
Gentleness is about surrendering your 'right' to lash right back out at your Problem and being empowered by His Spirit to choose another way. And how can you choose another way? Because you are secure and confident in God that He will see to it that you are not mistreated in the long run. He is your justice.
Being gentle is incredibly powerful for helping to build up and strengthen your best relationships - but it is also very attractive to people because they feel safe around a person who is able to overcome their urge to be harsh.
As you pray for the help of the Holy Spirit, not just day to day - but moment to moment - He can help you to redirect those hot emotions into something that shows that not only do you truly appreciate God's mercy towards you - but you willingly show it to others.
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how to stay faithful when you want to quit
'Great is Thy faithfulness' rings out in churches across the world as we acknowledge and celebrate one of the most fundamental, and reassuring of God's character traits.
He is faithful to His people.
His love language is faith.
Being faithful is esteemed as a true virtue in human behavior, from every walk of life. Faithfulness matters. Why?
Without faithfulness, there is no security. No stability. And very little ground to lay trust upon.
Faithfulness is the hot house for growing trust - and where there is trust, there is growth.
Faithfulness is your demonstration of your love.
We know that love is a choice and an action. When we are faithful, through the good times and the hard times, we proclaim that we are putting into action the power of our prior commitment.
Faithfulness is about digging in when we don't see the fruit yet.
Faithfulness is about refusing to give up on the vision in your heart.
Faithfulness is about sowing seed today and staying focused - expecting a harvest to bloom in time.
Faithfulness is full of power because sometimes you have to keep going, keep sowing, keep loving and keep believing - even when it feels futile. 1 Corinthians 15:58 is a rally call to keep on keeping on.
Love your husband or wife with all your heart, mind and soul - even when they are hard to love and you feel like it's a one-way street right now - that's being faithful.
Love your child relentlessly - even when they are unappreciative, dismissive and unkind to you - that's being faithful.
Show up and do your best work - even when the boss doesn't seem to acknowledge your sweat, let alone reward it - that's being faithful.
Keep serving with a cheerful heart in your church whilst you wait for a replacement to come and release you from your commitment - even when you are sure you are called to be doing something else - that's being faithful.
God's promise is that nothing you give will be wasted.
He sees it all. He counts it all. Know that if not in this season, or perhaps if not even in this life - your faithfulness to what He has entrusted to you WILL be rewarded.
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