Harvest Time Again

Harvest Time Again

Years ago I wrote an article on harvesting plums, and today I find myself drawn once more to the analogies that same old tree of mine continues to offer. It’s harvest time again in the world of plums, and I’m most thankful for a tree that has been so very generous to share its bounty with me.

This season seemed to bring an acceleration of growth and copious amounts of fruit, way before I was ready and prepared for any jam making. Then true to form for Scottish weather, it suddenly changed in an instant, as a strong wind rose one night while we slept. The branches of the tree were given a right good shaking, and in the morning the grass was carpeted with fruit. What a waste. I rescued what I could but the birds and insects were up long before me and started harvesting for themselves. Thankfully the tree continues to flourish, and the branches are weighed down with even more glorious pink plums.

Before God, my heart has been breaking with the spiritual connotations. The harvest is all around us. There is a lost world literally dying to hear the good news of Jesus. There is no putting off for a more opportune time. The harvest is here.

As I’ve been pondering these things, I wonder, what is our personal and collective responsibility? That may feel like a weighty question when perhaps we ourselves are struggling with different burdens. However, when we change perspective to see through the eyes and words of Jesus, we remember the foundational reality that we were never meant to go to heaven alone. So many people are looking for hope, for faith, for unconditional love, and ultimately for Jesus. And we can all be sign posts. ‘Weighty’ can suddenly become an ‘exciting opportunity’! Especially as we don’t rely on our own strength or feelings, but utterly lean on the strength, courage, wisdom, and grace of God.

As God’s people may we get a fresh kingdom perspective of the times that we are in. A kingdom perspective to walk in faith and not fear. A kingdom perspective to practise wisdom in pandemic protocols, whilst still using our little areas of influence to share the love of Jesus with our families, friends, and communities.

The seasons don’t change. They will roll on in the order of creation regardless of other factors. Storms and predators are ever ready to sabotage harvest, even as we still ponder our response. This may be the simplest of stories today, but let’s pray the words of Jesus for ourselves and for others, and by faith, be prepared to be utterly amazed as He answers!

Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. (John 4v35)

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9v38)

Donna MacNeil

SHELTERING IN GOD

SHELTERING IN GOD

Lots of people are trying to make sense of the days we’re living in. For some this is a reset for life; for others it’s a wilderness and desert season that we’re just trying to survive through; still for others it’s a time of preparation for greater days to come. Whatever others or your or my thoughts, I think this is a season where we simply need to allow God to be God. That we acknowledge we’re really not sure about the days we’re living in, but we’re sure about the God whom we worship. That we need to look to Him, trust in Him, listen for His voice, and follow Him.

This is what David Jeremiah encourages us to do in the YouTube clip below. David Jeremiah has been the pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church since 1981. In 1982, Jeremiah founded Turning Point Ministries which focuses on multi-media Bible instruction. Turning Point can  be heard worldwide on more than 2000 stations, as well as online. Turning Point Ministries also developed a national television program in 2000. The programme features a 30-minute Bible study followed by an hour of preaching and worship music. Turning Point Television can reach a total of 2.7 billion households worldwide.

In 1994 and again in 1998, Jeremiah was diagnosed with lymphoma. During that season and since he’s learnt more and more what it means to ‘Shelter In God!’ May you take comfort and encouragement from his wisdom and his words today.

 

NO MORE WORRYING

NO MORE WORRYING

Worry doesn’t achieve anything positive. It literally drains us of joy and peace, saps our energy, and causes unnecessary stress and anxiety. We know all this and yet we often find ourselves on the same old roundabout of being overwhelmed when different situations arise.

God already covered this in His word. He simply tells us NOT to worry. Amen! It is said that there are over 365 bible verses telling us to ‘Fear Not’ or ‘Don not fear’- that’s more than one for each day of life. We need to choose to reign in our thoughts, fan our faith into life, and dilute our fears each time we are tempted into worrying.

A  popular quote by Corrie Ten Boom is “Worry doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.”. The following is another wonderful perspective about worry taken from her bookReflections of God’s Glory,’ ( A transcript of radio broadcasts)

Once, I had a burden that weighed heavily on me. I set it down and looked at it. Then I saw that everything about my burden was borrowed. One part belonged to the following day, one part to the next week. My burden was a huge, stupid mistake. I realized that worrying is carrying tomorrow’s burden with today’s strength. It’s carrying two days at once. It’s prematurely thinking of tomorrow. On the calendar, there is only one day for action, and that is today.

Making plans is time-consuming. Time is necessary for making wise decisions, but carrying them out belongs to only one day—today.

We become concerned about the future—our financial concerns, our health. Where does this lead to? Nowhere. Nowhere that is worth the trouble because tension ruins things. It depletes the energy that you need to live today. The Holy Spirit does not give you a clear blueprint for your life, but He leads you from moment to moment. Live for today!

I read somewhere, “Why don’t we look for something that is easier than anxiety? Worried people are like tightrope walkers, trying to walk over a rope from the past to the future, balancing between hope and fear. In one hand they hold a bag with the disordered past, in the other bag, the feared future. Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s grief; it takes away today’s strength. It does not enable us to avoid evil, but it makes us incapable of dealing with it when it comes.”

I once heard a nice story, a kind of legend. A small clock, which had just been finished by its maker, was put on a shelf in his shop between two old clocks that were busily and loudly ticking away the seconds. “So,” said one of the old clocks to the newcomer, “you’ve just started this task. I feel sorry for you. You are bravely ticking now, but you’ll be very tired once you’ve ticked thirty-three million times.”

“Thirty-three million ticks?” said the startled clock, “but I could never do that!” He immediately stopped in desperation.

“Come on, stupid,” said the other clock. “Why do you listen to such talk? That’s not how things are. At each moment you only need to tick once. Isn’t that easy? And then again. That’s just as easy. Carry on like that.”

“Oh, if that’s all,” the new clock cried, “then that’s easy enough. Off I go.” And he began to bravely tick each moment, without paying attention to the months and the millions of ticks. When the year was up, he had ticked thirty-three million times without realizing it.

Yes, living for the moment, that’s what you need. The Lord’s prayer says, “Give us today our daily bread.” …A person does not fall so much because of the troubles of one day, but if tomorrow’s burden is added, this load can become very, very heavy. It is wonderfully easy to live just for the day.

That’s exactly how our Creator and Saviour said we should live.  ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own’. (Matthew 6v34) May we all be given the grace and faith to live in such a manner today.

Donna MacNeil

Soaring in your Strengths

Soaring in your Strengths

As those who care for others in life, it’s really important to be in a place where we can receive ourselves. It’s good for us to grow and be refreshed in our spirits as well as in our skill set. We want to be the best ‘us’, so that we can minister more effectively to others.

Sometimes it can be hard to know where to look for personal development opportunities, so today we’d like to share some information about a brand new online course ‘Soaring in your strengths’. This course will be run by  the well-known and wonderfully experienced Andrea Wigglesworth and Vicky McVoy. (https://www.vitalconnexions.org/event/soaring-in-your-strengths/)

Having attended a similar course in person a few years ago, I can tell you it was of enormous benefit and blessing. As well as the psychology and theory, it was incredible to have everything so rooted in the Bible and shared in the context of being in God’s presence and receiving God’s love.

Whether you choose to explore this course or others, it really is beneficial to our whole wellbeing to do something. With so much demand on leaders right now, take some time for you and invest in becoming the person you were destined to be.

D.MacNeil