Thursday, October 29, 2015

Do it now! "the GRACE project"

Three months, actually 93 days have passed since Grace's accident. Some days it feels like that was yesterday and others it seems like she's been gone a long time. We continue to process through and learn about is something that is definitely unique for each person. And even looks a bit different each day. We miss her. We cry. We laugh at memories. We hurt for her family and all who are grieving.

The other day the kids and I watched a video of her singing and we all cried, sat in silence and gave each other a hug. In that moment I returned to that day 3 months ago when I told the kids the news. A day when everything changed. A day when dirty dishes weren't important, laundry didn't matter and I left my agenda go. A day when much was put into perspective and focus returned to what was important.

As I thought about this, I recalled one of my prayers from shortly after Grace's death. I asked God to help me remember that people matter, moments don't last forever and sometimes we don't get a second chance. Today on the 3 month marker He is answering and is whispering 3 powerful words to my heart - "Do it now!" He's giving me 3 specific areas to focus on, perhaps you should consider them too.

Say the words. Speaking up and sharing from my heart are two things I'm not very good at. Especially in face to face conversations. But it's something I'm learning I need to do. Two important phrases come to mind - "I love you" and "I forgive you." Friend, is there someone who needs to hear from you? Somebody who needs to be assured of your love? A loved one who needs to know they are forgiven? In this life there are no guarantees, say what needs to be said. As we speak may Ephesians 4:29 guide our words, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Take the step. When I think of Grace I remember a girl who held her plans loosely. She was willing to let go of her agenda and embrace God's. I tend to be a list-maker and an over analyzer. I want to know how everything will turn out before I even begin, but often this is not the way God works. Instead of all the puzzle pieces and a picture of the final project, He gives us one piece at a time and enough light for the step we're on. What is He calling you to do? Step out in faith? Quit your job? Adopt? Submit to your husband? Do mission work? Speak out for the unborn? Take the step. Then take the next one and the one after that. Do it now...don't wait til you have it all figured out, have more money, the kids are grown. If He's calling you to action do it now!!

As you step out remember Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Friend, He understands, so we don't have to!

Make the choice. The final area God has been encouraging me to take immediate action is with my faith. First of all, if you haven't made the choice to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, friend I beg you to dig into this deeper. Talk with a Christian friend, a trusted pastor or email me. ( This is not something you want to put off, Grace's death is a reminder that we do NOT know the number of our days. And friend if you are a believer and are walking with Lord, make the choice to grow closer to Him, spend time in prayer and abide in His Word. Then make the choice to do what you were created to do - live your faith, share your faith and glorify our God. Chances are there is somebody in your sphere of influence who needs to know with them and prayer for them. Joshua 24:15 elaborates on this choice, "And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

In the last few months I've again found comfort in Cheri Keaggy's song, "There Will Be One Day". She reminds us that one day there will be no accidents, no death, no tears and no pain. The suffering will end and grief will be over. But when that day comes our opportunity to witness and build God's kingdom will have have fleeted away. The chance to confess Christ as Lord and Savior will be gone. Friend, today may we receive His grace and "Do It Now!" whatever the it is!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Just call me Gideon

Doubts, fears, "I can'ts" - all things I'd shared with my husband when he responded, "Come on Gideon." I knew exactly what he meant, we'd been down this road before. God had put something on my heart...something He wanted  me, created me and planned for me to do long ago, but yet I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure if it was really Him or if I really could or if I even was worthy of the opportunity. This something usually involves stepping out of my comfort zone, overcoming fears or hard work. Often all of this and more. 

Job gave me this new name awhile back, but this week I've been thinking about it again. I continue to wrestle with something it seems God has called me to...I have doubts, fears and excuses. Yet God brings it up again and again. In places and ways I never expect. Deep in my heart, I know what He wants me to do, but like Gideon I put the fleece out again and again looking for confirmation. 

Clearly, we want to make sure it's God leading us and not others pushing us or ourselves directing us, but when God calls, He expects us to follow. We need to be patient and wait on Him, but sometimes I'm guilty of being lazy or fearful and make Him wait on me. That's a role reversal that shouldn't happen. And friend, He won't wait for me, or you, forever. 

In the midst of this mental wrestling match, God perfectly timed this weeks Sunday School lesson - we're studying Gideon, my namesake. I've found myself digging in a bit deeper about this man my husband compared me to and though I've read this account countless times God is teaching me a new lesson for the first time. 

In Judges 6:12 I read, "When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." I underlined "mighty warrior" and read on. I stopped again when I came to verse 15 - "Pardon me, my lord," Gideon replied, "but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

While I was reading words on paper,  God was speaking to my heart. Friend, look for a minute at the contrast between how Gideon saw himself and how God saw him. Gideon is already disqualifying himself because of his background and status. Weak and the least are the two words he chooses to describe himself. This is about opposite of the words the angel of the Lord uses to address him. So let me ask, what response do you give God when He calls you? Like Gideon, and me, do you label yourself based on status or strength? Past performance or appearance or ability? 

Let me remind you, and me,...God does not see us the way we often see ourselves. He sees our potential. He sees our heart. He doesn't define us by our looks or call us according to our qualifications. He identifies us as His own and chooses us because He is sovereign. He isn't looking for a beautiful body, but a humble heart. He doesn't need someone with a perfect past, but one who will be faithful in the future. God knows who we are and wants us to believe we can be who He created us to be.

Though this was true for Gideon, he, as an earthly man, still needed confirmation. He put God to the test and set out fleece, not once, but twice. I don't know the why's behind his actions, but I know my heart and as I've studied Gideon I've been convicted. I've been setting out the fleece.

Now I haven't sheared one of my dad's sheep and literally put this into practice, but I've looked to others to confirm what God's already said. I've pushed the pause button thinking perhaps that's an idea for later in life. I've let doubt win, forgot who I am in God's eyes and doubted not only myself, but Him. 

Friend, I don't know if you've ever been called "Gideon", but if you've ever felt or acted like him, can I encourage you? God is faithful. He is a promise-keeper. He will do what He says He will do. Don't believe me? Read the rest of Gideon's story in Judges 6-8. 

In Chapter 6 verse 16 we read, "The Lord answered, 'I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.'" God not only did this, He did it with methods that were out of the ordinary. I need to remember the same God who worked so powerfully in Gideon's life is willing and able to do the same in mine. How about you? 

Friend, today will you join me in really listening...the God who spoke to, called and worked through Gideon has work for us to do as well. Let's spend time with Him, look for Him and be prepared to hear from Him. When He speaks, may we each listen and believe what He has to say. And then friend, perhaps the most challenging step of the process, let's do our part and walk in obedience. 

I write this post because it's one I've needed to hear...just last night one of my girls was grumbling a bit about some chores. In an attempt to avoid the work, she kept asking questions, making suggestions and simply avoiding the work. As my frustration level grew, I simply said, "Honey, sometimes you just need to quit asking questions and do what you're told." Those words came out of my mouth and I froze. Granted I haven't been asking questions about dishes, baking or household chores, but I have avoided doing something God has asked me to do. 

In the past I've found myself frustrated thinking about  being compared to our friend with the fleece, but today as I think about our God, the One who chose and used Gideon, I'm encouraged. Friend, I pray you are too!

Now, you "Mighty Warrior", chosen child and gifted girl go do what you are told!! (If I just sounded like your mom, I'm sorry!!)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It never ends...

The other night I took my husband supper as he unloaded corn in the dark and my son as he hauled it from the field. It was late and I was about to put our younger kids to bed, but the farmers worked on. At harvest (and honestly every season on the farm), the work never ends...there is always something more to do.

As the world went to sleep and the farmers pressed on, my mind went to work - this never ending work, it's not just a farming thing. Thoughts drifted back to my basketball playing days...if the season ended today, my philosophy was next year's started tomorrow. There was no off-season. There was always work to do and areas that needed improvement.

My roles no longer include playing or coaching, but I do have the title of wife and Mom. Friends, those of you who wear these hats understand - there is ALWAYS more to do. Seasons come and go, but there's always work to do. Our kids grow and change more than my husband's corn and beans, we don't have the option of taking a year off or changing the growing rotation. We must press on and be diligent.

This idea is even more true when we look at our role as Christians. Following Jesus and being His disciple is not a role to take lightly and not a task we can complete by going to church on Sunday morning. Just like the farmer, we must work from sun up to sun down if we want to grow closer to the Son who saves.

Friend, I have to admit it but the other night when it was late and I was delivering another meal, I was a bit tired of the work harvest demands. Honestly, I really wasn't doing the work...sure it's changed our daily routine, I've made a few extra trips to get corn tested and have told my 12 year old to drive careful more than usual, but I'm not the one in the tractor, running the augur or making decisions.

But isn't that how it is in life? Am I the only one who sometimes gets tired of the work? I mean there's always more dishes, more laundry, more meals. And that's the easy stuff because there's also more sibling fights, illnesses and disobedience. That's just the physical stuff, but the spiritual and emotional things continue too - there's more tears, more anxiety, more sin. Daily we have new sins to confess and prayers to pray.

This can get tiring and at times can even be overwhelming. The other day I found myself focusing on the what (work) and when (always) a bit too much. Through my morning devotional God spoke to my heart and reminded me of the who, how and why. As I read His Word my mind was renewed and perspective was changed. Friend, if you're there may these words from Him encourage you -

"Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. * Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going. * Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the LORD and not to men, knowing that from the LORD you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. * We desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. * Run in such a way that you may obtain it." (Romans 12:11, Eccles. 9:10, Col. 3:23-24, Hebrews 6:11-12, 1 Cor. 9:24)

Friend, just like the farmer we have work to do...often it's hard, takes a lot of time and requires effort. We must put in the time working diligently from sun up to sun down and then get up and do it again tomorrow. We must remember WHO we are working for and not forget the purpose our work fulfills.

When my husband finishes the harvest and sells the crop, he knows the work was worth it. In the same way, when you and I finish our work and hear our heavenly Father say, "Well done my good and faithful servant" we will know our effort was not in vain. Today as we face a job that never seems to end or face work that is always there, may we hold on to Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 15:58 - "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Praying for you now...may you know the work you do is the Lord's and may you remember He sees you and your efforts even when nobody else seems to notice! Finally, a big thank you to my friend, Brooke Sprung, for the pictures of an Iowa sunrise and sunset from a farmer's point of view. It looks like she's a professional photographer, but she's a full-time farmer diligently doing the work that never ends!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Birthday Traditions

Birthdays are a time of excitement...especially in our house with 5 little people. The other day, Jed, our #4 turned 6 and he was overflowing with joy. Everyone was ready to celebrate the day they'd eagerly been anticipating! As a Mom, I'll admit I don't always enjoy the big day as much as the kids, but I'm learning that traditions are important.

Jed's day began with a balloon on his chair and a candle in his pancake. We started this nearly 12 years ago when our oldest turned 1 and the kids expect it now. There's also their choice of meal for the day, but their favorite is the cake. Baking is not my strong point and my creative skills are even weaker, so when J.D. was little I let him help with the decorating. Little did I know it was the beginning of something they think is great! So each birthday they help stir up the cake and frost it too. Through the years many have been covered with sprinkles and little tractors. And now my girls are old enough to basically do it all themselves!

All these traditions are good and part of the Beran birthdays, but the other day I was reminded of my favorite one - the birthday letter. When each of our kids were born I wrote them a letter and I've continued the tradition on their birthday. It recaps some big events for the year, highlights their relationships with family and assures them of my love. A couple of years ago, I started adding more - a verse I prayed for them and a prayer I wrote for them on their special day.

We tuck my written words in a simple folder and every birthday read them from start to finish. In their early years this was NO big deal, but on the eve of my oldest son's 10th birthday he said to me, "Mom, don't forget to write my letter!" Honestly, I was amazed! I figured down the road it would be a keepsake for at least one of them, but I didn't expect my 9 year old to feel that way!

Laughing at the memories and the things they use to say are fun. Remembering their favorites and funny stages is good. We enjoy comments the older kids jot down as well, but for me, and eventually I pray for them, the important thing will be the evidence of God's presence in their life, His faithfulness and power. I see that as a parent when I read words I lifted up 365 days earlier. And this year, I'm seeing it's a tradition that will continue - Joy (10) wrote her little brother a letter that melted her mother's heart!

Friend, I don't know what birthday traditions are part of your family, but I encourage you to incorporate this one. Not because it was my good idea, but I believe it's a good teaching tool and a reminder of our love. Words are powerful and written ones can be kept. Prayers are even more powerful and they will be answered. Reflecting on our words reminds us of where we've been, how God's worked and that Philippians 1:6 is true. Paul tells us that "He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it!"

This idea of marking and remembering isn't new, the Israelites were commanded to do it as well. In Joshua 4:4-7 says, "So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

Possibly a new tradition?!?!
Friends, God wants us to remember who He is and what He does! This simple, little birthday tradition helps our family do just that! I'd love to hear how your family does the same!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

“What Basketball Taught Me About Marriage”

Basketball - a game you may have played or possibly a sport you don't understand, but regardless of where you stand I pray these words are an encouragement and offer some insight. This last weekend I was privileged to share at my niece, Clara's bridal shower. Fifteen years ago she was gearing up for her freshman year on the basketball team and I was prepping for my first year as a high school coach on the same team.

As I thought about Clara (#12), her upcoming wedding and future as a wife, I realized there is much basketball has taught me about marriage. (In case you're not a wife, the preparation process also reminded me I learned much about mothering, ministry and walking in faith too, so please read on.) I’m going to pretend we’re back on the sidelines or huddled in the locker room and share some insights with you -

In basketball, there are some common phrases coaches use and one of the first you hear is “Keep your head up.” Or “Look up.” This is important as you dribble the ball down the court, but it’s even more critical as you walk through life. 2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” You no longer need to keep your head up to see the floor or find an open teammate, but to see Christ and follow His lead! He’s the One who will help you be the wife your husband needs you to be and God created you to be!

Another common phrase was “Box Out” or “Play Defense”. This was critical in the game as you worked to get the ball away from your opponent and keep them from taking what was yours. Friends, we know Satan is real and marriage is under attack, be prepared to battle as a wife in bigger ways than you ever did on the court! Put on the armor and stand strong…box the devil out! "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (Ephesians 6:11)

“Protect the ball” may be another phrase you remember. The little orange ball was a prized possession…with it you could do much, but the opponent was always out to steal it away. Your opponent as a wife is out to steal something bigger so you must guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 gives us some wisdom, “Above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.”

One final common word from coaches was “TALK!!” Defense was much stronger when teammates talked to one another and your marriage will be much better when you communicate with each other! Use your voice to encourage your husband, ask for help and share your thoughts. Ephesians 4:29 puts it like this, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Most importantly use your words to talk to God. Pray for your husband, your marriage and yourself!

Quotes were also part of the game and a few familiar ones relate to marriage as well as the sport. “Know your role” is the first to come to mind. Some players are the stars, others warm the bench, but every player is important. In basketball different positions have different roles…the point guard dribbles the ball, the wings shoot the 3, the post work the lane. It's sometimes said, the point guard is a coach on the floor and I think in a similar way we could say our husbands are the point guard in marriage. They still must submit and listen to the Heavenly Coach, but they are the leader in the family. As a wife you have many roles too, learn what they are and do them well. Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Peter 3:1-6 present a great game plan! (If the word, SUBMIT, caught you off guard I encourage you to visit my friend, Wendy's site and read this POST.)

Another favorite was “Attitude is Everything”. Basketball was a physical game, but it took mental strength as well. So does marriage. Attitudes could be positive or negative, confident or cocky, but Philippians 2:5-8 paints the picture of the attitude we need as wives -“But have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Humility is what it’s all about!

Together Everyone Achieves More is a popular acronym for the word t-e-a-m and it was true on the court, but it’s more than the generic idea of teamwork. Recently God brought to mind a memory from my sophomore year…Sonya, another guard, and myself were quite competitive and prided ourselves on getting steals and rebounds. Well, a few games into the season we started a little competition to see who could get the best score each game. We had some formula that added the positive stats and subtracted the negative ones. After each game we’d check the stat sheet, do the math and declare a winner. The coach saw this, had a little chat with us and put an end to our competition. He told us, "Quit keeping score! You're on the same team." This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a wife…you can’t compare his opportunities, his roles, his duties to yours and don’t ever keep score. I like to say Psalm 34:3 is our marriage verse because it presents our mission - “Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name together.” 

Don’t Quit - In basketball things didn’t always go your way - there were losses, injuries and disappointments; marriage will have ups and downs too. Sometimes you might be the wife of the week and other times you might feel like a failure, but remember God doesn’t expect perfection. He does want us to persevere. Phil 3:14 - “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Learn from others - As a freshman on the basketball team, you were a bit nervous and unsure, but you had the opportunity to learn from the varsity players and ask questions of the coaches. As years went by you also set an example for the players who came up after you, it’s the same in marriage. Titus 2:3-5 tells us, “the older women should train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind and to be subject to their husbands so that no one will malign the Word of God.” Reach out to those who are a step ahead and remember you are setting an example for those following behind.

And finally to use a FCA motto - “Play for an audience of One”! As a wife you don’t need to please the people around you and God didn’t put you in this role to please your husband either. You are here to glorify Him. I know it’s hard to believe, but you might not always make your husband happy. Though that is true by bringing the two of you together God will work to make you both holy. Live out Galatians 1:10 and you’ll be on your way! “Am I know trying to win the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

To wrap it all remember it’s about the LOVE! In high school I had a shirt that said something like “The coach can put you on the team, a scout can get you a scholarship, but only the LOVE can make you a player.” Love played a role in the sport, but it’s critical when it comes to marriage and being a wife. Remember to receive God’s love and then be willing to share it with your husband. 1 John 4:19 sums it up quite well, “We love because He first loved us.”

Basketball is simply a game that’s meant to be played, but friends marriage is a commitment that is meant to be kept! Rather than huddling up, putting our hands together and doing a quick "TEAMWORK!" let's unite our hearts in prayer, humble ourselves before the Lord and ask for help to do what He's called us to!

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord, we come before You now and admit we can't do a wife, a Mom, a woman in ministry on our own. Thank you for all You've taught us and the lessons we've learned even from a game that teach us about our roles. Help us keep our eyes on You and be women who seek, love and obey You! May we learn from one another and encourage each other. Lord, we put our marriages in Your hands and pray they would be a picture of Your love for the church. Help us be women who first submit to You and then our husbands. Help us put on the armor and stand strong against the schemes of Satan who is out to divide and destroy our relationships. And Father as we receive Your love and grace, help us share with others, especially those who mean the most. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Friday, October 9, 2015

It's Harvest Time

It's Iowa...on the farm, which means one thing - harvest is in full swing. Combines are rolling, wagons are loaded and semis are moving. Farmers are busy...they are harvesting corn and beans, working on machinery and watching the markets. Farmers' wives are busy too, and the other day it was my mind that was working overtime.

Harvest was happening husband has been spending lots of time in the combine, our neighbors are doing the same and even my little boys were combining candy corn with their toys the other day. You can't drive down our roads without seeing a combine or being slowed by a tractor and wagon. So I got to thinking about harvest and a few things crossed my mind...

Not everyone harvests the same...we are combining organic black beans (Like Chipotles? You may be eating our beans.) and our equipment looks a bit different than the guy who's harvesting conventional soybeans.

Harvest is really a process, not a one time thing. Combining is a big part of it, but the harvest isn't over when the combine leaves the field. The crop needs to be moved from the field to the buyer or brought to the farm to be stored. Then it has to be marketed and transported to where it will be used or processed.

Harvest takes time and requires work. Farmers are often up early and to bed late...the time in between is spent working hard. The work is physical, but also includes some stress and these days requires constant learning with all the technology that is involved.

Harvest is something we can't control. Weather conditions must be right, the crop must be mature and equipment has to work. None of this happens with the flip of a switch.

Harvest is not a one man job. Like I said there's much more to harvest than combining, so many farmers don't do this job alone. My husband and his brother and even our son work together to get the job done. Someone combines, another hauls loads and another puts the crop into the bin.

Harvest is a time many enjoy. Clearly, there are obvious reasons - this is when farmers make their income for the year, but I think there's more. People on the farm enjoy this busy time because it's what they do, what they work for all year long. They enjoy reaping what they sowed and seeing the fruits of their labor.

As I thought about all that was taking place around me, my thoughts shifted from the physical to the spiritual. Do you realize it's harvest time for you? Yes, even you who lives in the city miles from an acre of farmland. Even you who doesn't know the difference between John Deere and Case IH. Friend, if you are a follower of Christ, God has work for you to do...seeds to plant and a crop to harvest. Matthew 9:37 says, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few." Are you willing to let Him send you?

Chances are God won't send you to Northeast Iowa, but some of the work you do will be similar to what's happening here...

 Just like on the farm, the process may look different. You may use different equipment and methods than your neighbor, but that's OK...different crops require that. Farms across the country harvest a number of crops - corn, beans, oats, hay and wheat and spiritually the harvest is quite diverse as well. Personally, we can harvest the fruit of our good deeds, the fruit of the Spirit and souls into the kingdom.

Harvest on the farm usually happens every year, but in our lives there's not a set schedule. There is a guarantee though of an investment of time and work. We can't expect to produce good things and Godly results if we don't invest and do the work of planting the seeds. A few words of wisdom about this -

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:7-9)

"Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled." (Deut. 22:9)

Harvest is unpredictable...we don't know what the weather will do or how the crop will yield. Friend, this is even more true in a spiritual sense. We don't know the outcome of our work or how people will respond to our efforts, but that's OK. Our job is obedience, God's is results. Do the work and trust God with the harvest. "...because when farmers plow and thresh they should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest." (1 Corinthians 9:10b)

Finally, harvest is a time when others are watching. The other day my little guy and I rode a round in the combine and clearly he's done this much more than me. He's only 4, but he "knew" what how to move the augur, what button started something and how to line up the head. Jesse wasn't taught any of this, but he learned through observation and by following his dad's example. May we remember this as we plant and reap spiritually.

Friend, I could go on because God has much to say about the harvest, but instead of closing with my thoughts I'll finish with a few more from Him -

"Sluggards do not plow in season, so at harvest time they find nothing." (Proverbs 20:4)

"Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest, you must rest." (Exodus 34:21)

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11)

"Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains." (James 5:7)

This is only the beginning of what the Bible has to say about harvest...I encourage you to dig in more for yourself. I also pray you will spend some time thinking about the crop you are planting and talk with God about what He created YOU to harvest.

Heavenly Father, you are the Lord of the Harvest and Lord we thank you for growing the crop. I'm grateful for the beans and corn You've blessed us with this year. As I picture the corn flowing out of the augur and into the wagon, I long for You to see the same in me spiritually. Help me plow up the soil of my heart, plant good seeds and produce fruit. The crop Job is growing doesn't just impact him or our family, it helps feed the world. Lord, I know the same can be true of the spiritual work you are doing in me; so I ask you to help me shine my light so that others can see and be fed by your Word. Father, the harvest is plentiful...send out your workers. I pray You will select and use each one who reads these words. In Jesus' Name, Amen