|Winter Apple by Justin LaBerge|
CC BY-ND 2.0
The new year approaches without pause; a natural course marked by a wintry blanket tucked in around the corners of a slumbering earth.
While silence falls outside, one word swirls like the wind inside my mind: harvest. A strange word, I think, for a snow-fallen day. But, there it is. Unshakable. Stubborn. Lingering. It's an answer to my annual question, "What's my one word for the new year, Lord?"
"Harvest," He replies.
Like every season, it's an appointed time; one that can be marked on the calendar. But, unlike the growing season, it's a very limited time marked by urgency and the flurry of hardworking hands. For if the ripened fruits are not harvested before winter, the fruits will die and many will grow hungry. Harvest work must be done NOW. There is no "later".
I think back to early fall when the local vineyard opened their annual harvest to the community. We didn't plow the ground or plant the vines or prune the branches. We don't crust the fruit or bottle the wine. We harvest an entire crop that took months and years of preparation in a single day. One. Day. We work fast and furious and hard for one day and the fruits of everyone's labor is then poured out for many.
There's been a call on my heart for many years to partner with God to strengthen marriages by setting hearts free who've been burdened by divorce and shackled by unforgiveness. That's a big B.H.O.G.G. (Big, Harry, Outrageous, God-sized Goal)! The "how" hasn't always been clear and the road not always straight. Small beginnings have marked my path since the start, but one thing I've learned: God always honors small beginnings. That's how crops are grown, right? The farmer plants small seeds in fertile soil and God sends the rains and the sun to make them germinate and grow until harvest time. Sometimes we participate in the entire process and other times we only play one role. It doesn't matter, because every role has one purpose...to produce fruit for the harvest that will feed many.
God says the waiting is over. The time is NOW. It's urgent and pressing and busy. Hearts have been prepared and doors are opening. Will you partner withe me in praying over this word, harvest? Pray that: (1) God will continue to equip, (2) God gives me eyes to see the open doors, (3) Hearts will be changed for the Kingdom, (4) Marriages will be saved and strengthened, (5) Enemy attacks will be fought in the heavens, (6) Obedience and joy will mark my steps, (7) God's glory will shine.
Has God-given you one word for the new year? If you're looking for God's purpose and direction over your life this new year, ask Him for one word. When you receive it, ask for confirmation and clarity. Dig into God's Word, (the Bible) and research the scriptures and commentaries concerning that word. Then pray over it and watch what God will do through you this year.
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I may show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16 NIV