Included on this page are two excerpts from my books. Please continue down the page to view my excerpt on The Changing Seasons.
What is the spring season? Spring in some areas is the season in which vegetation starts anew, the weather is warmer, and the days are longer. It is also a time of increased activity and preparation. The agricultural activities in this season include plowing and sowing. In our spiritual lives, each one of us will also experience times of plowing and sowing. Every activity in this season should be experienced in full with all its challenges and pleasures.
Activities in the Spring Season
In the natural realm, the growth process starts with the planting of a seed. But before planting, we must talk about the soil. Soil is the loose material that covers the land surfaces of the earth
and supports the growth of plants. Our hearts are referred to as soil in the Bible, and this soil also supports seed (the Word of God) for growth. We will look at soil management and apply these
principles to our lives. One of the practices in soil management is tillage. Tillage is the first step in the process of soil management. Tillage is putting and keeping soil in order for the
production of crops, as through plowing, harrowing, hoeing, and sowing. We’ll take a closer look at each activity and the tools needed.
The first step in tillage is plowing, and the tool used is called a plow. A plow is an implement for cutting, turning over, stirring, or breaking up the soil. Plowing is defined as: “to turn a surface of land with a plow; to turn up soil with a plow; to advance laboriously, plod.” So the question is: Why do our hearts need to be plowed? Like the farmer who has to break up the soil to prepare it for seed, our hearts must also be broken up to prepare them to receive seed, which is the Word of God. We all have some area of resistance toward God or the things of God. For each person it is different, but these areas must be worked on. At times the task seems too hard; you may feel you’re just plodding along. You may have been trying to change some area in your life and you get the feeling you will never change, but nothing is impossible for God. Once the plowing is done, you feel a sense of relief and you think you can sit back and relax, only to find there is more work to do. This is because during the plowing process, clods were formed. Clods are lumps of earth which can hinder seed growth. This means further refining of the soil must be done before seeds can be planted. The same applies to our hearts. This is not an easy task, but we must cooperate with the dealings of God no matter how painful, and move on to the next step to get rid of the clods.
The second step in tillage is harrowing, and the tool used is the harrow. The harrow is a farm implement that usually has a frame set with spikes, teeth, or disks. Harrowing is the process of leveling plowed ground and breaking clods. Rollers with v-shaped wheels break up clods of soil to improve the aeration of the soil and its capacity for absorbing water. As we apply this activity to our hearts, like the soil, clods have to be broken up into smaller pieces. We can look at clods as specific areas in our lives that we must contend with. These areas will vary for each individual. For example, have you heard a message about tithing, but you are not tithing consistently? Or have you heard a message regarding forgiveness, but there are times you still harbor resentment? These are areas that must be submitted to this process, otherwise we could stunt our spiritual growth. Once harrowing is finished and the clods have been broken up, we think we can take a break, but there is still more work to be done. No matter how tired we feel or uncomfortable we get, we should not try to rush or bypass any part of these processes.
The third step in tillage is hoeing, and the tool used is the hoe. A hoe is used for loosening the earth or digging up weeds. Let’s take a closer look at the weed. Weeds are unsightly and troublesome plants that grow in abundance with little or no nurturing. The term “weed” actually applies to any plant that grows where it is not wanted. It is usually characterized by rapid growth and typically replaces other, more desirable plants. There are a number of ways to remove weeds, from simply pulling them out by hand, to hoeing, to using elaborate chemical weed killers. With any method, the best time to deal with weeds is when they are young and the roots are shallow. If we procrastinate, the weed will develop deep taproots. The taproot is the principle descending root of any plant, so the plant will grow back again if the taproot is not completely destroyed. This means we will have to weed again and again.
In the spiritual realm, weeds represent sin in the life of a believer or those areas that have not been turned over or submitted to God. In the believer’s life, sin, like weeds can spring up at any time and tempt us to take our attention away from the things of God or to do things independent of Him. Some of the weeds that could manifest in our lives are doubt, unbelief, anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy, and offense, which replace the fruit of love, joy, peace, faith, patience, gentleness, and goodness. If we don’t get to the root of the problem, it can become a besetting sin. Like the weed, it will continue to come back again and again, making life difficult, causing problems, and hindering our growth.
Most agricultural tools are kept in barns or storage sheds. For the spirit, the Bible contains all the tools needed to till the soil of our hearts. We must remember that no matter how painful or how long the process may take, it is necessary to submit ourselves to it if we are to mature and be ready for what God has prepared for us.
Planting Versus Sowing
Now that the soil has been prepared, we can either plant or sow seeds. Let’s look at the difference between the two. Planting is defined as: “To set in the ground for growing; to furnish with plants or seed; to set in place firmly, put in position; to found, establish.” Sowing is defined as: “To scatter (seed) over the land for growth.”
In pondering the difference between planting and sowing, two ministry gifts come to mind: the pastor and the evangelist. The local church pastor plants seeds (sets seed in the ground) and the evangelist sows seeds (scatters seed for growth). A pastor is primarily responsible for the local church. He will invest in each congregational member, imparting and preparing him or her for ministry or assignment. The evangelist usually has a meeting where many people are gathered. He will impart into their lives and the people then go their own way. Some who have never attended a church will begin to attend, and those already in a church will have an increased level of commitment. Both men of God have imparted seeds for growth—one by planting, one by sowing.
The Growth Process
The next phase of the process is growth. Growing is defined as: “To increase in size by the assimilation of nutriment, progress toward maturity; to sprout and develop to maturity, as from
a seed or spore; to flourish, thrive; to become more in size, quantity or degree; to become, come gradually; to cause to grow, raise by cultivation.”
Let’s take a closer look at the growth process. Once a seed is in the ground, the growth process begins. The growth process starts with budding. Budding occurs when a small part of the plant has begun to protrude through the soil. This brings expectancy and anticipation. The next step in the growth process is blossoming, which brings the expectancy into recognition. We call this the manifestation. Let’s use the flower as an example. The manifestation is that time when we can see the shape and color, smell the fragrance, and touch the flower. As with the flower, we can see the promise of God or the prophetic word spoken over our lives begin to come into reality.
The next stage of growth is a time of fruit bearing. This part of the work is for preserving and sharing. Fruit bearing is rewarded with the repetition of the process. As we apply this principle to our spiritual lives, our fruit multiplies and progresses to a bountiful harvest. Let’s look at how this fruit is manifested in our lives.
This fruit is manifested in our lives as the fruit of the spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV) says,“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”The appearance of this fruit is the manifestation of the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us as we yield ourselves to Him.
This fruit can also be manifested in our lives as prosperity. Psalm 1:3 (KJV) says,“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That bringeth forth his fruit in his season; His leaf also shall not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” This is someone who, in the proper season and at the right time, will be loaded with fruit. Timeliness is extremely important; the fruit does not fall to the ground before it is ripe, nor does it hang on after maturity. This is a healthy, abundant crop.
And last, this fruit can be manifested in our lives in righteousness. Proverbs 11:30 (KJV) says,“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”This is a person whose life is a model for others, and it’s the fruit of his tree that attracts people. This individual attracts others to lead them to Christ.
Although the growth process is the same for every believer, the rate of growth depends on what has been planted inside of us by God. We should try not to abnormally accelerate, slow down, take a shortcut, or bypass this process. We must master the foundations in order to see steady growth in our lives:
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of
baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Hebrews 6:1-2 (KJV)
As we grow and mature in these areas, other areas will be revealed to us.
The Need for Protection
There is another critical aspect of the work we need to discuss regarding this season, and that is the need for protection. Protecting is “to shield or defend from attack, harm, or injury; to guard or defend.” The farmer may use a fence or insecticides. In the spiritual realm, this is accomplished by being planted in the house of God, the local church. This is our covering, our protection. This is the place where we can be nurtured, which will allow us to flourish and grow. We must also know how to use the Word of God to shield us from the attacks of the enemy (Satan), which could cause hurt, harm, or injury.
We will look at an example of a man of God who made it into the spring season but did not survive.
The Winter Season
In my previous book, I stated that winter was a time that did not lend itself to much activity. However, there actually are activities that people can engage in during the winter season. There are certain sports that take place in the winter; ice skating and skiing are just two examples. These activities can be done locally, like skating at a local ice skating rink or you may have to travel to mountainous areas to ski.
These activities may be fun and you can even take some coaching or training to master them. How can we relate to this spiritually? The big question is will they help us grow. In ice skating you're on a frozen lake or rink going around in circles and with skiing, you go up a hill, just to turn around and go back down. These activities are fun and can take your mind off things for a while, but what do you do when you have to leave the rink or slope. What is accomplished? The point is we must be careful not to allow the need for recreation take our minds off the things of God which can stunt our growth and hinder our chances for survival.
In Scripture, there are examples of men of God who faced their own private winter and survived. They survived by overcoming the challenges in that season.
The first person we will look at is Abraham. God promised Abraham a child; however, he had to wait almost twenty-five years before the birth of the child of promise. We can be encouraged because when we look at Abraham, we can see that he was not perfect and made mistakes. During this waiting period, Abram at the urging of his wife, Sarai produced a child with the wife's handmaid, Hagar. Ishmael was born, but he was not the child of promise. When Ishmael was in his teens, Isaac, the child of promise was born to Abraham and Sarah. Sarah noticed Ishmael mocking Isaac and asked that he and the mother be sent away. Although Abraham dearly loved Ishmael he complied and sent them away. The mocking that started in childhood is reflected in the conflict today in the Middle East between the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael.
Another person who had a severe winter was Job; we all know the story of Job, who lost everything. I mentioned him here because I want to compare him with Abraham. With Job, every area of his life was in a winter season, he lost his children, servants, livestock, herdsman, home and health. However, with Abraham only one area was in winter and that was waiting for a child; other than waiting for the child of promise, he had his health, he had his wife and he was financially well off. Therefore, we can see that different areas of our life can experience different seasons.
Joseph experienced almost fourteen years of slavery and imprisonment before seeing the reality of his dream. When we look at Joseph, he really did not do anything wrong except maybe act like a spoiled child. Yet he was sold to some Midianite traders by his brothers, and then purchased by Potiphar to serve in his house. While at Potiphar's house, he excelled in the tasks set before him. However, Potiphar's wife accused Joseph of a crime he did not commit and he wound up in prison. While in prison, again, Joseph excelled and from there eventually he ended up in the palace. Although these were tough circumstances, Joseph did not compromise his integrity but made the best out of each situation.
Moses spent almost forty years in the desert before carrying out the call of God as the deliverer of Israel. However, God did not send him into the desert; he wound up in the desert because of a wrong action. Although Moses felt justified, his anger and impatience caused him to kill someone so he had to flee from Egypt. After nearly forty years in the desert he heard the voice of God and was able to carry out the plan of God for His people. Sadly Moses never conquered his anger issue. When the people complained of thirst, God wanted to give them water from "the rock". God told Moses to speak to the "rock", but because he was angry with the people, he struck "the rock". When the journey was almost complete, Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land because he misrepresented God before the people.
As previously stated, there are two ways we can enter a winter season; one is because it was ordained by God and the other is because of a wrong choice we made. We will now look at two individuals who entered the winter season by wrong choices, although both managed to survive only one thrived.