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Summary: Part 2 of a series leading up to Christmas. Sometimes we go through seasons of "Winter" or difficulty. John 15, the vine and branches, talks about our pruning and preparation.

WEATHER THE WINTER

Times And Seasons Part 2

Last week we started a series called Times and Seasons,

and we saw that Solomon said in Eccl 3:1-2,

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

One of the seasons he talks about, is…

There's a time to sow and a time to reap,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

The Apostle Paul uses the same picture,

to tell us in his letter to the Galatians

that life if all about sowing and reaping.

Gal 6:7-10 TNIV

7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. 8 Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Life is all about sowing and reaping,

Or another translation calls it,

seed time and harvest.

seed time and harvest.

That's actually kind of a formula,

SEED + TIME = HARVEST.

Plant some seed, add some time, then you get a harvest.

Now in that formula, the only part I don’t like, is time.

What I want is seed harvest, seed harvest.

drop it, pick it up,

plant it, pluck it,

If I plant in the morning, I want results by 5pm.

But God didn’t make it work that way.

There's time in the middle.

If you're not willing to wait,

you can’t have a harvest.

I heard someone say,

Days are long, but the years are short.

Have you noticed that

sometimes days are incredibly long,

you're at work, watching the clock,

and you’re saying I can’t believe its only 3:30.

Or you're watching your kids,

and you're worn out,

and it seems forever till it their bedtime.

But somehow when you look back on them,

the years seem incredibly short.

It seems like a couple months ago I was Christmas shopping,

and now I'm doing it again.

The days are long but the years are short.

Eugene Peterson wrote this

about sowing and reaping in seasons.

Acts of faith aren't like pebbles, dropped in a pool, that make a few temporary ripples, and then sink to the bottom, inert. They are seeds planted in the soil of life, and they will come up one day. The harvest is inevitable. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. Decisions are seed. Attitudes are seed. Acts are seed. Prayers are seed. Thoughts are seed. And all of it will come to harvest. The person though who looks for quick results, from planting seeds of welldoing, will be disappointed. If I want potatoes for dinner tomorrow, it would do me little good to go out tonight and plant potatoes in my garden. Long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence separate planting from reaping.

If we go back to our little formula,

its actually like this….

seed + time time time time………………. = harvest

You plant a seed and then wait…

Monday Tuesday Weds Thurs………………..……this is annoying,

so is waiting.

You see, the harvest is inevitable,

but the growth is invisible.

Long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence

separate planting from reaping.

If you sow in the spring,

and harvest in the fall,

and there's whole season in the middle of it,

where you're waiting and waiting.

But God wants to give us an encouragement,

there will be a harvest.

So he tells those of us who have planted some good seed,

but now we're looking at

weeks and months and years

that seem unproductive,

God says, I want you to understand the way I work

in the seasons of your life.

You see, that seed you planted is already growing,

I'm already doing stuff all around you,

even though you can’t see it yet,

So I want you to develop a spirit of patient perseverance

as you wait on the promise to materialize in your life.

I want you to learn how to trust me,

in the seasons of your life.

Now as we talk about seasons,

there's one particular type of season

I want to talk more about this week.

Turn in your bible to John 15:1 (page 739)

Jesus is teaching his disciples here, and he says…

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

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