Knowing And Embracing Your Seasons

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The modern knowledge of Christian life seasons and your response to them

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Knowing And Embracing Your Seasons Dr. Oyewole O. Sarumi

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SCRIPTURAL FOUNDATION • Genesis 8:22 • Eccl. 3:1-9 • Psalm 104:19-23 • Daniel 2:21

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Gen 8:22 22 "While the earth remains Seedtime and harvest Cold and heat Winter and summer And day and night Shall not cease." NKJV Dan 2:21-22 21 And He changes the times and the seasons He removes kings and raises up kings He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22 He reveals deep and secret things He knows what is in the darkness And light dwells with Him. NKJV

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Psalm 104:19-23 19 He appointed the moon for seasons The sun knows its going down. 20 You make darkness and it is night In which all the beasts of the forest creep about. 21 The young lions roar after their prey And seek their food from God. 22 When the sun rises they gather together And lie down in their dens. 23 Man goes out to his work And to his labor until the evening. NKJV Eccl 3:1 To everything there is a season A time for every purpose under heaven: NKJV

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INTRODUCTION: • One of the challenges many Christians and church leaders are facing in life and ministry is being ignorant of their seasons. • God is a God of all times but at the same time He is a seasonal God. He organizes the universe in a season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 • Understanding of one’s season is the key to living an outstanding life.

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Definitions • Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines season as:- Any of the four main periods of the year: Spring Summer Autumn/fall and Winter. A period of time during a year when a particular activity happens or is done.

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Definitions Cont’d. • Webster dictionary defines a season as – 1 “Any of the four divisions of a year – 2 The time in which something takes place – 3 The fitting time.” OR • A season in our life is a time frame that has been allotted for something to happen.

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• For our purpose here we’ll use all three of these definitions and especially the third one “the fitting time.” • Please let me pose a question to you for your consideration: How much of your life is dictated by the seasons in which you live Is it 50 75 or even 90

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Consider these • As you think about your answer consider the following: – Most school terms starts and breaks according to the seasons. – Most of our foods are produced according to the seasons. Based on this fact alone what we eat is influenced directly by the seasons. – How we dress is influenced by the seasons – or it should be anyway. – Where we choose to live can be influenced by the seasons. – Our mental condition can be influenced by the seasons some people get more energetic and less depressed when there are more hours with sunlight. – Our behavior can be influenced by the seasons.

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The Seasons of Life

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• Scripturally speaking everything and everyone in life has a season. • Event and occurrences don’t just happen they happen according to their seasons.

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KINDS OF SEASONS • Season of Fear • Season of Skepticism • Season of Struggling • Season of Suffering • Season of Survival • Season of Success • Season of Problems • Season of Favour Psalm 102:13 • Season of Revival • Season of Commitment • Season of Love/Trust • Season of Help • Season of Hopeless • Kinds Of Seasons In The Lives Of Ministers And Ministries – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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PROSPECTS OF KNOWING YOUR SEASONS • It helps one to prepare himself for his season. • It helps one to maximize his season according to God’s plan. • It delivers one from procrastination • It delivers one from unnecessary haste and hurry that leads to worry that leads to sorry. • It is the key to seasonal blessings. • It is the key to proper planning of life season. • It helps one to have victory over satanic machination.

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HINDERANCES TO KNOWING ONE’S SEASON • Running against God’s purpose for one’s life. • Lack of goal setting. • Prayerlessness and weak prayer life. • Sinfulness and walking in the flesh. • Insensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. • Glorification of ignorance and celebration of mediocrity • Lack of self discipline and self indulgence • Lack of proper planning. • Satan and his agents can prevent people from knowing one’s season.

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FACTS ABOUT THE SEASONS OF LIFE

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• Our text Ecclesiastes 3:1 says "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven." • Another translation says "Everything on earth has its special seasons."

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• Every gardener knows that if you don’t have changes in seasons your plants aren’t going to make it. • So you have to have seasonal changes in order for plants to grow. The same is true in your life. • You have to go through various seasons in order to mature and grow. • These are some facts about the seasons of life:

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1. They Are Beyond Your Control. • You can’t control the seasons of life. Seasons are beyond your control. You can’t control when they happen. You can’t control how long they happen. You can’t control the location or the duration of them. • Most seasons begin with an irritation or an interruption or an inconvenience. When you enter a new season your neat little schedule gets thrown out the door. All of a sudden because of something that just happens in your life all your plans evaporate and you have to completely redirect.

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• So the seasons are uncontrollable in your life. No matter what you’d like to do about it — worry about it — it’s not going to change. • The difficult thing about the seasons of life for us are we know the seasons of life are coming we know these different things are going to happen to us at some point in our life but we have no control over when they come.

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2. The Seasons Of Life Are Often Confusing. • Sometimes you’re in situations and you think “Why is this happening.” “I don’t understand this. Life is a combination of contrasting seasons. All sunshine and no rain make a desert. • If you are following God’s will if you’re really trying to live your life according to the way God wants you to live each of these experiences have meaning and purpose and value in your life. And they’re all God’s will.

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• Some of you think that the only time you’re in God’s will is when you’re at church or having a quiet time or doing something spiritual. You can be in God’s will doing menial things. You can be in God’s will when facing difficult and painful situation in life. There’s a time and season for everything.

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3. God Has A Purpose For Every Season Of Your Life. • God has a purpose for every season of your life. The lonely seasons The sad seasons The seasons of success The seasons of waiting The seasons of grief and on and on.

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4. The Seasons Of Life Are Providential. • The fact is that the seasons of life are providential. They are first of all providential. • The Bible says in Daniel 2:21 "God controls the times and the seasons. He makes and unmakes kings."

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5. Waiting Is A Season Of Life • Waiting is a season of life: Why is it so difficult to wait Because we have no control over things. Things happen circumstances occur that we have absolutely nothing to do with and we are victims of those circumstances in a sense and yet were not victims in another sense. • Why This is because we need to understand that waiting for answered prayer waiting for God to do a certain thing waiting for a certain goal to be reached waiting for a certain thing to happen in your life is a part of the season of life.

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6. Seasons Of Life Happen Very Suddenly • The seasons of life happen very suddenly: they change very quickly. • Youre in one season of life and all of a sudden something occurs and youre in a totally different season.

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7. The Seasons Of Life Include Both Good And Bad Times. • The seasons of life include both good and bad times. Life is full of contrasts. • We go through mountains and we go through valleys. We go through successes and we go through failures. • We have winnings and we have loses in our life.

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• In Eccl. 3:2-8 we have the list of 28 different life experiences. This is not an exhaustive list it’s just a representation. • In weather there are four seasons. But in your life there are dozens of different seasons. • Ecclesiastes says there is: A time to be born and a time to die A time to laugh and a time to cry A time to find and a time to lose etc.

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Who Determine The Seasons • Who does determine the seasons God does. Daniel 2:21 “God controls the times and the seasons. He makes and unmakes kings.” • Psa. 104:19-20 “He appointed the moon for seasons The sun knows its going down. 20 You make darkness and it is night In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.” • He sets some people up as leaders. He deposes others. God is in charge of world events. It may not look like it but He is.

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• That’s why I don’t worry too much about what’s going on in the world. God is in ultimate control and it’s moving toward a destiny that He has in mind. • Who’s in a particular office at any particular time may be determined by the people’s vote. • I will surely vote my convictions at election time knowing God is still in charge.

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UNDERSTANDING YOUR SEASON AND WHAT TO DO

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Introduction • A. Seasons and Cycles and Patterns in life are many times very confusing • B. Most people ignore the seasons of life and have no day of rest in a week have no time just with God have no regular sleeping patterns have no job or season of work have no regular season of eating - always helter- skelter • C. God made seasons and cycles and expects us to know about them and understand them.

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Some Background A. Seasons are all about changes - called cycles - they affect us • 1. The sun is cycling - every 11 years - and changing • 2. The human body is changing and going through seasons • 3. The heart does the same

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• B. Seasons are normal Gen 1:14 2 Kgs. 4:1617 - dont be ashamed • C. Seasons are NOT forever Gen 40:4 Josh 24:7 • D. Seasons are subject to change Dan 2:21

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E. Some things are NOT to be affected by seasons • 1. Right Judgment Ex 18:26 • 2. Right Preaching 1 Tim 4:2 • 3. Soul-winning Acts 1:78 • 4. Right Living Act 20:18

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• F. Some seasons never come Acts 24:25 Acts 24:25 – • “Now as he reasoned about righteousness self-control and the judgment to come Felix was afraid and answered "Go away for now when I have a convenient time I will call for you."

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The Six Seasons of the Christians Heart • A. Begins with the Season of Testing Temptation - the Night Season Ps 16:7 Luke 4:1-13. • 1. This is where most people are - it is where all of the seasons bring you back through to if you are not careful • 2. It is the time when it gets dark Ex 5:1-23

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• 3. There are two paths • a. You can either give in to the testing - results in Sin Heb. 11:25 – 1 Results in another season - the season of Chastening Heb. 12:6 Acts 13:9-11 – 2 If chastening does not work then your next stop is Home Jam 1:1415 Rom 6:23 1 Cor 11:28-32 – 3 But if chastening does its job - or rather you respond to its work on you then you go to the next season Heb. 12:11

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• b. Endure hardness Jam 1:12 1 Pet 1:6 2 Tim 2:3 • 4. Every event in your life has only two paths - period You have to choose one or the other and then deal with the consequences. • 5. The best thing is to know that the hardest path is worth it all

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• B. The Season of Rest Rev 6:11 Jer 6:16 Mt 11:29. • 1. This is the time in your life when nothing is happening - this is when you just need to rest and have patience Ps 27:14 and trust in the Lord to do things in His way in His time

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• 2. Two paths again: • a. Patience James 5:8 Heb 10:36 - Wait on the Lord just stay on track. You find rest when you trust the Lord and just stay following Him and obeying Him and waiting on HIS timing. • b. Get impatient - You will go back to the season of temptation and darkness James 5:9

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• 3. This period of time can be long or short - you just have to sometimes wait it out i.e. Joseph in prison - didnt complain or get impatient.

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• C. The Season of Fruitfulness Ezek. 34:26 Ps 1:3 Josh 1:8. Two paths: • 1. This is a time in your life when everything starts paying off - all your faith your obedience all your prayers and time in the Bible and soul-winning Isa 55:11 - it paid off in Josephs life didnt it

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• 2. It is a season where you watch God bring the increase 1Cor 3:6. Sowing is not in here yet because we need some grain FIRST to start sowing and God will GIVE you what you need to start sowing so that you can reap more later. • 3. Two paths:

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• a. Start labouring to reap the results of your walk with Christ - almost want to bottle it up for the later days - Joseph started working everybody in Egypt for the NEXT season that God had said was coming up • b. Ignore the need to bring in the sheaves Pro. 27:2324 - just think it will always be there - die like the people of Noahs day

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• 4. Everyone has a season of fruitfulness - of accomplishment - we just dont stop and smell the roses and take note of the little things because we always want so much more than we have

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• D. The Season of Reaping - Harvest Time - Time of Joy Ps 126:56 Gal 3:9 1Cor 15:58 • 1. This season is considered before sowing because for the Christian it is more important right now - was it not in the garden Gen 2:5 • 2. Two paths:

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• a. Re-investing the fruit of your labours - tithe and planning for the next planting - investing in the future • b. Neglect the harvest John 4:35

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• E. The Season of Sowing - Planting - Investing in the Future • 1. There is a time for sowing and planting and investing - but you only can do so much - the rest has to be left up to the Lord Prov. 3:56 • 2. You do not reap right away - there are three seasons you have to go through before you can start reaping from your Christian walk with Christ

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• 3. Two paths: • a. Diligently plant and plant and plant as much as you can and then wait in patience James 5:78 Heb. 4:910 2Cor 9:6 knowing again that God will bring the increase • b. Be lazy Prov. 20:4 Slack off in your Christian walk and get attracted by something you think is more important

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The Seasons of Life – Case Studies

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Season Begins At Birth • Every season is necessary and every season is preparation for the next season to come. • Seasons begin the moment we were born. • Another season began when we receive salvation Remember when you were a new Christian

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• There are seasons of uncertainty. These are seasons when you know God is working but even though you believe He is working God may not be revealing anything specific and you cannot make sense of the things that are going on in your life.

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• There are seasons of wilderness or valley experiences. These are often times of lack or times of not being where you want to be or think you should be. Times are usually very hard in the wilderness and the wilderness or valley can be a season that seems to never end – or at least that is how we often feel. • In the valley God often is building our character teaching us patience and teaching us or showing us about the things about us that displease him.

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• The life of Joseph David Esther and the Early Church illustrates the importance of understanding the time and seasons we are with the Lord. God wants to give us special instructions for our current season. Knowing what God wants us to do right now is extremely powerful and will eliminate a lot of hindrances from your life.

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Comparing Joseph’s David’s Seasons Joseph’s Seasons • Season of Nurturing • Season of Dreaming • Season of Pit/Crisis • Season of Favour Responsibility • Season of Testing Temptation • Season of Despair • Season of broken Hope • Season of Showing Forth David Seasons • Seasons of Isolation • Season of Showing- Forth • Season of Wilderness Testing Survival Temptation • Season of Hiding • Season of Enthronement • Season of War Consolidation • Season of Regression • Season of Despair/Crisis

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Esther’s Early Church’s Seasons Esther’s Seasons • Season of uncertainty • Season of concealment • Season of showing forth • Season of Favour • Season of War • Season of Liberation Early Church Seasons • Season of Gathering • Season of Fear • Season of Complaint • Season of Persecution • Season of Spreading • Season of Fulfilment

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The Challenges of Season

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1. Procrastination • For some people never is the right time. They never seem to do anything because they procrastinate. They never are ready to get married or go to school or take a job or even go to church. They are do-nothings. Their problem is procrastination. • And why do some people procrastinate People procrastinate because they don’t realize that they don’t have forever to accomplish what they need to accomplish.

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2.Any Time is Not Always Right • On the other side of the spectrum are those who think that anytime is the right time. • Jesus said of His unspiritual brothers "For you any time is right" John 7:6. Jesus was very aware of God’s right time. • He said to his brothers "The right time for me has not yet come." And to his mother He said "My time has not yet come." God is aware of the importance of acting in the right time.

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3. God’s Time is not Mysterious • Many sincere believers are afraid to act fearing that they may act in God’s wrong time. • They assume that it is impossible to know God’s timing. To them God’s ways are mysterious—beyond finding out. This is not true. • God has made it easy for us to understand His timing. He made it simple to discover His time by giving us the seasons of life.

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• You must understand that everything has seasons. There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven: Eccl. 3:1. To know the time for everything you need to understand that every activity has a season. • Seasons are God’s clue to timing. God’s Timing in your life can be discerned by determining what season you’re in and when you find out the season you’re in you can act accordingly.

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4. Seasons of Life has Many Compartments • The problem with many people is that they don’t know what to do in their seasons. Just as there are four seasons of nature there are four seasons of life. • Each season corresponds to a particular action that you need to take. For example there is a time to plant and a time to reap. How do you know if it’s time to reap You know it’s time when the harvest is ripe. The same is true of your life.

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• The four seasons of life are: Winter Spring Summer and Fall. Each of these seasons demands a particular action on your part. During the Winter you need to dream and plan. In Spring you need to plant. For Summer you must water and cultivate. And during Fall you finally reap and distribute.

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• So to find out God’s time you simply need to ask yourself "What season am I in" Now understand that your life has many kinds of fruit. • Right now you are cultivating your spiritual life ministry relationships career education money and health all simultaneously. • Each of these compartments may be in a different season.

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5. Every Season has its Fruit • Each season carries with it its own fruit. Note that we’re speaking of fruit not necessarily in the sense of the fruit that you eat but the results of the season itself. • Think of fruit as “the result or product of any action.” This is the definition that comes to mind when we think about how we are sowing “spiritual seeds” and are reaping the “fruits” of our labor.

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• Each natural season produces fruits weather- based fruit based on its season. For example The winter season produces snow and ice storms. The spring season produces rain and tornadoes as parts of its fruit. The summer produces hurricanes as parts of its fruits The fall produces colourful leaves as parts of its fruit.

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LEARNING IN THE SEASON OF LIFE There four key questions that individual need to ask on the season of life. They are discussed below:

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1. What Can I Learn In This Season Of Life • God wants us to grow and learn. To make the most of the seasons in life you’ve got to extract those lessons. • You’ve got to look for the truths look for the principles. What does God want to teach me • When you’re going through a season say “Lord what do you want me to learn”

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• God never wastes a hurt and He never wastes a season. If you waste an experience you’re making a big mistake. • Because it’s not just an experience it’s an education. So begin to ask “What can I learn from this”

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2. What Can I Enjoy In This Season Of My Life • The Bible says we’re not to wait to enjoy life we’re supposed to enjoy it right now. Eccl. 11:8 “People ought to enjoy every day of their lives.” • We ought to enjoy every single day — the good ones the difficult ones. Remember life is short and that every day and every season is a gift from God.

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3. What Is Most Important For This Season • Eccl. 3:1 “There is a time for everything and a season for everything under heaven.” • If that’s true you can’t have it all at one time you have to make some tough choices some tough decisions about what really matters at this particular time in life. • Knowing we cannot have it all or do it all today we’ve got to make some choices.

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4. How Can I Help Others In This Season Of Life • What good can I do during this season The Bible says very clearly that you weren’t put on this earth just to live for yourself. Ephesians 2:10 says “You were created for a life of good works.” • God gave you abilities talents and energy to help other people. He didn’t put you on this earth just to be selfish. He wants us to help others.

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET AHEAD OF A SEASON OF GOD IN IN LIFE • If you’ll look at Gen 15 through 18 you’ll find the story of Abraham and Sarah. God promises in spite of their old age that Sarah will become pregnant and have a son. • They were happy but doubtful. So they decided to get ahead of God - to get ahead of their season. Of course we know that Sarah gave Abraham her slave girl who he impregnated with a son.

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• But then.... the true season of God came to pass and Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to a son... and suddenly there was jealously and friction between the two sons and the mothers and a struggle began that we see still today in the ugly conflict between Arabs and Jews . • So when we get ahead of seasons of God in our lives we can open ourselves and our lives to hurt and permanent damage.

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WHAT CAUSES SEASONS TO CHANGE

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1. Prophetic Declaration • One of the most important causes for the change is seasons is when a true man of God declares something prophetically. You will realise that in II Chronicles 20:20 we are told that our prosperity come when we believe in the man of God. • If you act according to the word of the man of God you will reap prosperity. Elijah declared a famine and seasons changed and the same with Joseph.

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2. Change of Places • This means as an individual you need to shift places in the spirit world. If you remain doing things the same way things will not change. • David was a shepherd boy but there is a time when he is given a task to give food to his brothers there he finds an opportunity to move from the pastures to the king’s palace. Seasons changed for him after that. Also Moses was a prince but when he fled to Jethro seasons changed and he became a shepherd. So you need to move in both the natural and the spiritual and you will see seasons changing in your life. So where are you in the realm of the spirit If you move from demonic worship or ancestral worship to Christianity season will change.

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3. Change Time • Seasons will also change with changing times. • Generations will come and go and things will change as that happened.

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4. The Depth of one’s revelation • The revelation that you have and the changes in the revelation that you have will also cause changes in your season. • When Christ left the disciples went into the upper room and waited for the Spirit of God. On the day of Pentecost they were in public ministering Christ. • The difference between these two points and seasons is revelation.

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5. Growth and Maturity • As people grow and mature you will also see changes in seasons. There is a season when you are doing school work but there is also a season when you are in relationships and there is a season for being a husband or wife and later on father or mother. • Also in the spirit world such changes happen as well. If you do not grow you might not move to your next season. Paul grew and at every stage of his growth we see different emphasis in his ministry. When he started he was growing with Barnabas but at the end he was grooming Timothy and Titus.

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Conclusion

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I. Accept what life has to offer

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If you produce few who are solid they will be solidly behind you to reproduce others who are solid.

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“There are seasons” “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…” • Written by a man who understood what life is all about. • Life has seasons • Nothing is permanent • It changes when we least expect it • Key Principle: ACCEPTANCE

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“There are seasons” “Practicing acceptance of even the worst of circumstances is a powerful life changing tool” • Many things are totally beyond our control • They are God’s appointed seasons “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble” Job 2:10 Lets accept what life has to offer

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II. Adapt to the changes of life

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“There are reasons” “He has made everything beautiful in its time…” • Paraphrased: “God has made all things fitting and perfect in his own appointed time…” • Two concepts of time in Greek Quantity of time chronos Quality of time kairos

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“There are reasons” • Often it seems life doesn’t make sense at all • How can a good God allow bad things to happen • It no fair • Key Principle: TRUST Either these seasons will bring us to a point of worry and despair or to a point or trust and growth.

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III. Appreciate each season of life

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“These are promotions” “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” • In every seasons especially the painful and difficult ones… Discover Godliness Discover the Gems Discover God “Life is a school to the wise man and an enemy of the fool.”

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“These are promotions” • Key Principle: MAXIMIZE • How to maximize life’s seasons Don’t be get stuck Recognize the changing season Don’t waste any hurt Take it slow “The only difference between a stepping stone and stumbling block is how you use it.”

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What now Accept the season in which you are in now. Believe that God is with you in every season in your life Chose how to act and behave in any and every season of life. Discover the gift in your present season because it can propel you to new heights

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• ‘To everything there is a season’ and as our Christian journey unfolds let us be ever mindful of our ultimate goal and this is to obtain eternal life with God. Tit 1:2 • Our journey first begins when we are born again by the Word of God the gospel of our salvation. 1 Pet 1:23-25 f Eph 1:13

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• Our journey is tried and tested as we endure persecutions and tribulations beyond measure. 2 Tim 3:12 ff 1 Pet 4:1216 1 Pet 2:2021 • Eventually our journey ends when we are judged by God’s Word according to our works. • To this end did we begin our journey and to this end let us rejoice and shout for joy when all is completed in the Lord. Ps 32:11

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