COFFEE & JESUS

Do you have a favorite season? Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter?

Would you prefer one over the others? Is there a particular season that you just can’t wait to get here?

How about the opposite? Is there a season that you just can not wait for it to be over?

Many of us may have a certain season of the year that we love and a certain season that we dislike. Regardless of which season(s) that may be, we can all agree on the fact that seasons change. Spring will eventually become Summer and Fall will turn to Winter.

Just like with the seasons throughout the year, there are seasons throughout our lives that we are excited about and others that we cannot wait to be over.

We can’t really pick and choose which season we are in whether it be good or not so good. However, we can make sure that we are ready so that we are not just surviving but that we are thriving through those difficult seasons.

Here are 4 ways that can help us to thrive!

Preparation

Preparation is not a new concept for most of us. It seems like we are almost always preparing for something. Take for example the Holiday season during which we are preparing our homes with decorations, putting up Christmas trees and lights, preparing meals and gifts.

As wonderful as all these things are, the real question we must ask ourselves is “are we preparing ourselves spiritually as much as we are preparing our homes?”.

Think about an athlete as they practice and prepare for a game. They are not preparing to lose but rather are preparing themselves so that no matter what their opponent does, they can WIN. Are you preparing yourself in this manner?

Are you spending time in God’s Word and in prayer with Him daily? Do you spend time with others in Christian community? Do you have a church that you attend regularly? These are all things that as followers of Jesus Christ, we can (and need) to be doing so that we are prepared in order that we can thrive. We may not be able to pick and choose when seasons come and go, but through preparation we can preserve.

Perseverance

When you hear the word perseverance it may make you want to cringe because it generally means that you or someone had to go through a difficult time. However, it doesn’t just have to mean that you made it, but that you withstood and even grew through it!

James actually writes a good bit about perseverance in the Bible.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

(James 1:2-4)

James even says to consider it “pure joy” and then he encourages to not quit but rather to “let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” If you are familiar with working out you know that it takes hard work and even pain to truly seeing the “fruit of your labor”. However, if you just quit and gave up because it was difficult then you would not be able to experience the results that you are wanting.

Through perseverance we are able to grow and mature in order to become stronger to withstand and thrive in difficult seasons.

Perspective

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 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.”

(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Where are your eyes fixed? Where is your focus and what has your attention?

Our perspective is how we see the situation and it will influence our outlook and attitude. So the question we need to frequently ask ourselves is “where is my focus?” I read it written about this passage from 2 Corinthians that “seen from the perspective of eternity, the Christian’s difficulties diminish in importance”.

You see when we fix our eyes on Jesus (who doesn’t change) rather than on our changing circumstances, we have an anchor to hold you steady. So where are your eyes fixed and what is your perspective?

Praise

Have you ever seen someone celebrate the rain, literally? When it begins to rain some people get frustrated and wish that the rain would leave. “Rain, rain go away, come again another day.” We’ve probably all sang this at some time in our lives. However, there are some, like a farmer for instance, that see the rain and gets excited because they need the rain to help their crops grow.

Taking into account what we’ve talked about with preparation, perseverance and perspective if we look at the difficult seasons, then maybe we can celebrate because we know that perseverance actually allows us to grow and mature as well as helps us to draw nearer to the Lord.

When our perspective is on the Lord and we can see Him more clearly, we too can celebrate and praise even in the rainy seasons of life!

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