‘Tis the Season!
“Merry Christmas!” says one. “Happy Holidays!” says another. “‘Tis the Season” is proclaimed and posted everywhere this time of year. But what do we really mean when we refer to this “season”?
In general, a season can be a particular time of year, such as winter, spring, summer, and fall. It can also refer to a time characterized by a particular circumstance, like in a “season of awakening.” Some may use this word to describe a suitable or natural time, like when their “season” comes. Or it could mean an indefinite period of time; for example, a person on assignment for a “season.”
However you want to look at it, we all need to be reminded of Paul’s words to Timothy:
“Be ready in season and out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
Before the great flood, in the days of Noah, everyone was carrying on as usual, having a good time. All the way up to the day Noah and his family boarded the ark, the people knew nothing (and cared little) about the things which were to take place. Although Noah preached righteousness to a mocking generation, none were saved except eight souls. The flood hit and swept everything away (Matthew 24:37-39; 2 Peter 2:5).
The arrival of Jesus will be like that:
“Two men will be working in the field – one will be taken, one left behind; two women will be grinding at the mill – one will be taken, one left behind. So stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. But you do know this: You know that if the homeowner had known what time of night the burglar would arrive, he would have been there with his dogs to prevent the break-in. Be vigilant just like that. You have no idea when the Son of Man is going to show up.” (Matthew 24:39-44, Message)
Therefore, be ready in your season – whatever it may be.
You may be in a season you are ready to see end. Or perhaps you are in the best season of your life, hoping it will never end. While still others may be altogether oblivious to the season around them. In any case, seasons come and seasons go, but our instruction remains the same: Be ready in season and out.
Serious athletes prepare year-round for their season. If they were to wait and begin preparing at the start, not only would much time be lost but they would be at great risk of being cut or suffer the consequences of loss. Are we really much different in this game of life? We are told to “be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1), “be ready to give a defense for the hope within you” (1 Peter 3:15), and if need be, “be ready to suffer for the sake of the Gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8).
The point is, there will be no excuse for our conduct or readiness despite our season. George Washington once said,
“Bad seed is a robbery of the worst kind: for your pocket-book not only suffers by it, but your preparations are lost and a season passes away unimproved.”
Every one of our actions is a seed. And every seed will produce in its season. We should learn from those who have preceded us. Mother Teresa is noted for saying,
“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”
Even out of adversity, Charles Spurgeon humbly said,
“It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.”
“… whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable, whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome …”, stand by, be at hand and ready (2 Timothy 4:2, Amplified).
‘Tis the season!
God’s Reminder to Us This Christmas Season
By Debbie McDaniel, crosswalk.com
“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy the will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10
Four times in the Christmas story, angels appeared at appointed times to give a message to key individuals who were a part of Jesus’ life and birth. And every time, those to whom they appeared were greatly “troubled,” “afraid,” or even “gripped with fear.” And every time the angels said these powerful words, “Do not be afraid…”
To the shepherds: “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy the will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
To Mary: “But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31
To Joseph: “…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him he name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
To Zechariah: “But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid Zechariah, your prayer has been heard, Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to give him the name John.” Luke 1:13
Just like these in the Christmas story so many years ago, we’re often people who can easily become fearful, troubled, even gripped with fear. It’s a natural human emotion, but God never intends for us to stay stuck there. And His powerful words and message to us is still the same, for He never changes. He says, “Do not fear,” over and over in His Word, reminding us that He is with us. And He made sure it was part of the message given to each of those to whom an angel appeared to announce His Son’s birth.
“Do not be afraid.”
For perfect love casts out all fear.
Jesus came bringing peace that the world could never give.
Jesus came bringing light that the darkness could never overcome.
Jesus came bringing freedom from the barrier of sin and brought victory over death, once and for all.
The opposite of fear is not really simply “courage,” but it is peace, faith, love, the assurance that we are held by a God who is Mighty and Sovereign and Strong.
Many of you have faced deep loss this year, the hurt of losing a loved one too soon, illness, cancer, financial troubles, or job loss. Others are struggling through the pain of broken relationships. Many are fighting depression and despair, facing addictions and giants that seem too big.
Whatever you might be battling this season, I pray that you will find deep peace in Him. The One who loves you so much and says, “Do not fear…”
He is greater. Always. He came to overcome it all. And He is with us.
The Power of Worship Through God’s Word
“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 (CSB)
With hands lifted and eyes watering, I kneel in awe of God as the music from my speakers turns my prayer closet into a place of praise.
Voices like instruments change the atmosphere around me. I’m delighted to worship, eager even, and I imagine God is pleased by the joyful noise.
Fast forward 10 minutes.
Kids are awake. Two are fighting. One believes he’s starving. And the scent spewing from the little one makes the rotten leftovers in the fridge not smell so bad after all.
Have you ever had the perfect quiet time with God, and then five minutes later felt just as frustrated and discouraged as before?
That was me. I figured I must not have been as good of a Christian as I thought. Otherwise, how could I go from worshipping Jesus to being frustrated with a toddler in mere minutes? Yikes!
That wasn’t true, though. It turns out I didn’t fully understand worship.
While God loves our fervent expressions of gratitude, He also wants us to worship Him in another way. John 4:24 tells us, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”
I understood the first part. The Holy Spirit allows us to connect with God personally. We can pray to Him quietly or praise Him while driving as if He belongs to us alone.
But what about the other part of the verse — “in Spirit and in truth”? What did Jesus mean when He spoke those words to the woman at the well? What truth?
When we look at John 14:6, we see Jesus was actually talking about Himself. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (CSB, emphasis added).
To know Jesus is to know truth. He was telling her real worship is only possible when we know Him.
To make this more practical, let’s insert His name into the key verse: “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in [Jesus].”
Interesting, but it doesn’t really make sense until we look at how John 1:14a describes Jesus, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (CSB).
Not only is Jesus truth, but He is also Word! He represents the Word of God. Putting this together, we get, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in [Word].”
This opened my eyes to see worship must involve both the Spirit of God and the Truth of God’s Word. I couldn’t just spend a few moments in passionate prayer and expect that to carry me through my day. Surely prayer has value, but when we worship through God’s Word, we’re empowered to face challenges using Scripture.
Ephesians 6:17 says it this way: “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit — which is the word of God” (CSB). Here, there’s no separation between the Spirit and the Word of God.
This means in addition to prayer and praise, I must also dive into the Bible, write down verses when they really speak to me and memorize them when I can.
Now, when I find myself in yesterday’s coffee-stained pajamas, wiping up squished blueberries and chicken nugget crumbs, I can remember, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, …” (Psalm 127:3, NIV) and to “count it all joy …” (James 1:2, ESV).
Though this isn’t an instant cure-all for bad moods, it equips me to combat tough times with God’s Word. And, most importantly, it pleases Him.
There’s a place of worship that looks like singing songs and praising God. But there’s also a place of worship that looks like Bible study and seeking God.
When we only spend time in one of those places, worship can feel tiring and ineffective. But when we combine them, as God intended, we get to experience the fullness of worship and feel our hearts more submitted to His will.