Across the Seasons

Isn’t it amazing how God can use all of His creation to teach us? He reminded me recently that whatever season of life we are in, we can bring great value to His kingdom. Driving back from Paris (Texas y’all), I saw a beautiful field of cotton prepared for harvest (photo left). Making the last turn on the county road before my drive, I saw a field of new winter wheat (photo right) across from our home. I thought to myself, That’s a nice stand coming up there, as it was getting difficult to row it up (i.e., look down the distinct rows). Turning down my drive, God gave me His lesson from the stark comparison of the two scenes.

The cotton was ready for harvesting. It had grown to its full maturity, as evidenced by the fruit-filled open bolls. The farmer had applied defoliant, causing the plant’s leaves to fall away, allowing their equipment to be most effective. During harvesting, they remove the cotton from its boll and form it into large bales or cubes, readied for ginning.

Like oranges in Florida or California, cotton is a flower that transforms into a fruit. Did you know that cotton is a living organism with genes and DNA? And cotton comes in different colors/varieties, with some even being flame resistant? I wonder how God came up with the whole concept of maturation through transformation. He seems to apply it everywhere.

Less than three miles from the cotton, winter wheat had emerged and was flourishing after the recent rains. While fall rains can be ruinous for the cotton harvest, farmers who have planted their fall and winter crops welcome it. It’s amazing how God made rain to be a natural fertilizer. When accompanied by lightning, the rainwater releases its nitrogen, which promotes healthy plant growth. The lightning’s power transforms nitrogen to become usable by plants.

Different from cotton, winter wheat’s seed is the plant’s fruit. When mature, they harvest wheat as either grain or seed for the next crop. We sometimes use winter wheat as forage for livestock during the winter months. In this role, the protein-rich plant gets eaten down, grown back, and consumed again. Forage wheat may never reach full maturity and bear its grain before its growing season ends—ending up as hay.

For everything we plant, we need the right combination of soil, nutrients, sun, and moisture to grow. Too much or too little of any one item can have disastrous consequences. Understanding the pH balance of our soil, its N-P-K (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) content, moisture, and other factors help determine a plant’s efficacy. Like everything else in our lives, “We get out what we put into it.” There are several faith lessons in that statement, aren’t there?

Thinking about what God was showing me, I realized His example was a metaphor for our lives. Like the cotton, I am maturing my life in faith. With repeated trimming and pruning, I can continue producing fruit through new growth. And like the cotton, I am being prepared for the harvest. Like the winter wheat, young Christians are less mature in their faith. They are still growing and their fruit is yet to be realized.

The lesson I learned this day is that “Whatever the season I’m in, I have value in God’s kingdom.” More mature Christians have a responsibility to share the fruits God has produced in us with others. We are to be the examples of what God can do with a life surrendered others can follow. God has directed us throughout the Bible on how we should serve others, with the books of Proverbs, Titus, and Timothy coming to mind.

Younger Christians also bring great value to God’s kingdom. With their energy, vitality, and strength, they can use their spiritual gift of helps in ways that benefit both older Christians and the world. Their boldness in speech and action often provides the fuel needed to encourage us more mature Christians to join in and help reach out to the world. Young Christians can relate to and communicate with other young people in a different but equally important type of evangelism.

As mature Christians, one of the most important tasks God gives us is to help teach those coming after us how to best serve His kingdom. How to make sure they grow in and mature their faith. They must learn how to avoid the busyness of their lives and focus their attention on finding God’s will, His plan, for them. Whatever season we find ourselves in, we have great value in God’s kingdom and many gifts to offer in His name.

In whatever season of growth you find yourself in; have you considered how you can help others? #GrowingChristians #AMatureFaith Share on X

I think the best illustration I have for this concept is this photo of my pasture. In it, you see how old and new (mature and new growth) work together to meet the need. As my summer grasses are fading away and losing their nutrition, my winter grasses are emerging. Together, old and new coexist and work together to feed my livestock. As Christians, we should remember this lesson and apply it in our churches and communities.

God’s blessings,

44 thoughts on “Across the Seasons”

  1. “Whatever the season I’m in, I have value in God’s kingdom.” So much truth in this post, J.D. I learned much from your observations on cotton and wheat. The seasons change and yet, every season is needed. May we grow and embrace this very season. Blessings!

    1. Oh so very kind Ms. Joanne. Thank you ma’am. When I look at you, in a spring/summer season of life, and then at myself in a deep winter perhaps, I too can see growth and fruit from each of us ma’am. We perhaps reach our audiences in different ways (I would suggest you are much “hipper” than I am), but we carry much the same message. We proclaim His love through our lives. What a wonderful feeling it is to know we still have value and use in God’s eyes ma’am.

  2. Thank you for this reminder that even though my body may be in pain today and I am not feeling my best, God can stll use me to lead others to Him. 🙂 Arthritis will not get me down today. 🙂 I will wear my smile and show His love to everyone. Have a blessed day dear friend! 🙂

    1. OMGoodness Ms. Melissa. Know that I’ve added you to my prayer list for comfort and healing. I didn’t know you were ailing ma’am. I must admit, there are days when it’s hard for me to find that smile, but I remind myself it’s in there, God put it there, and He has a reason for it. God’s blessings and know I’ll be praying for your full and fast recovery sweet friend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Diana. I see this happening in my church and community, and I pray daily that God can still use me as an example or as a help to the young people He places in my path. Sometimes we can provide a physical help, and many times we provide them with wisdom-learned, encouragement, and support. Like you, I look forward to seeing the myriad of ways God will continue to use me.

  3. “Whatever the season I’m in, I have value in God’s kingdom.” What a beautiful truth and encouragement my friend!! And I absolutely love the facts about God’s creation you share, like about cotton. I did not know that and love learning those things.

    1. Aww shucks. Thank you Ms. Ann. I sometimes think of how much I’ve learned in this life and then God reminds me that I know very little. I’m ever-grateful that He gave me a thirst for learning. I suspect the same with you ma’am. God’s blessings sweet sister-in-Christ.

  4. Always interesting, always educational, and always encouraging are your blog posts, J.D.
    Also, this one serves as a reminder that not only are we each fearfully and wonderfully made, but all of Creation is as well.
    As we ponder God’s attention to detail in Creation, can we not trust His attention to detail in the concerns of each of us, including our futures?
    The state of the world around us can easily set us to trembling in our muck boots. But as we carry on, proclaiming that our God reigns and walking in what He has called us to do, our futures are bright. They may involve toil, blood, and tears but the shining bright light of Christ, bathed in unfailing LOVE, is ever present, undergirding us with hope, peace, and joy.
    I didn’t intend to go off on a tangent but I guess that’s where I am today. (You know me.)
    Thanks for the blessing you post is today.

    1. How sweet Ms. Connie. I pray that my blog posts always educate, exhort, and encourage folks. Yes! I too am constantly amazed at how God’s natural laws are applied to human life in the same way they are to animals, plants, mountains, and seas. It reminds me that He is a “constant” God and He applies a steady hand to all of creation.

      So true about the state of this world today, and I too am so grateful that this is not my world, but only the temporary place that I am traveling through. In our journey, I pray we leave many seeds of faith behind to help others find His path for their lives. God’s blessings precious friend, and I thank you again for the wonderful gift for my neighbors and their great-grandchildren. They are going to be so excited to learn about Elpis the donkey, and then come visit her in the pasture.

  5. What a blessing you’ve shared with us, my friend. No matter our season of life, we have a purpose and our Lord will guide us in how best to serve Him. Those of us nearing our final quarter still have vital contributions to make to our Father’s work. Thank you for encouraging us on our journey to serve Him. May God continue to bless your ministry.

    1. Yes, yes, yes Ms. Katherine. We each have value in God’s eyes and He can and will use each of us for His purpose when we surrender to His will. I remind our friend, Coach Mark Prasek of PJNET TV, that some of the most exciting parts of the game happen in the fourth quarter. Sometimes, this journey seems long and treacherous, but I am steadied by the presence and encouragement of great friends like you who are traveling that road of sanctification along with me. God’s blessing dear friend and I pray you are fully recovered this week. Congratulations by the way for your induction into the NC PE Hall of Fame. So well deserved. You live out your message or fitness and healthy living each day ma’am. I’m so proud of your accomplishment and the platform God has given you.

  6. No matter what season we are in, J. D., God has valuable lessons for each and every one of us. The old can work with the new in tandem, creating a more cohesive fabric in our lives.
    As always, your analogy here speaks to my heart, my friend.

    1. Amen Ms. Martha. Something that I’ve found in my journey is how much those young folks can teach this old dog. I often pray that my young friends and family members gain as much from me as I do them.

  7. We all do have value in God’s kingdom, no matter our season. On good days, I believe that with all my heart; on other days, I need to be reminded. Thanks for this needed reminder today.

    1. I think we all need those reminders now and again Ms. Candyce. You are a great example of how we can add value throughout our lives. In every season, you seem to shine brighter my friend. God’s blessings.

  8. Kathy Collard Miller

    J.D., I love your variety of applications and metaphors for sanctification. God sure is smart to give us so many references. Any who struggle with perfectionism will benefit from these because otherwise we revert back to thinking I should already be perfect. We need them! Thank you, J.d.

    1. He (God) sure is Ms. Kathy. I am learning to see Him in every situation and every circumstance. The amazing thing is that the closer I stay to Him the easier it is to find Him. This morning while walking the dogs, He came alongside. I had to stop and praise Him with tears flowing for all He has blessed my life with. As I overlooked our home with Ms. Diane tucked warmly inside, my pastures filled with cattle, hearing the “egg song” from some of the girls, and watching three dogs all sniffing the same sniff, I couldn’t help but smile and thank Him for the glorious gifts He has entrusted to my care.

  9. My very “mature” face is smiling as I consider how creatively you’ve demonstrated God’s ingenious way of incorporating the changing qualities of every stage of our lives into His work and His redemptive plan. I love both the pictures you included and the images your words evoked from my own life. I haven’t seen as much of the world as you have, but in my travels it has been fascinating how the people in different parts of the world all manage to use the natural resources God has given them to sustain their lives and promote their prosperity. In the place where we lived for a while in Alaska, most of those resources were beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. They were fishes, sea-going mammals, and crustaceans but they still had their growing and harvesting seasons. They still had their need for particular nutrients and the right environmental conditions to promote reproduction. It’s encouraging to know that God’s principles aren’t subject to geographical limitations. They are always at work, regardless of our place in the world He created.

    The thing that concerns me deeply right now is the fact that we have allowed the spiritual nourishment that our children require for healthy growth and development to be cut off for so many of them. We’ve abandoned them to anti-God and anti-Christian teachers. And even in many (if not most) of our churches, those who should be served spiritual food that God called “strong meat” are being fed with baby bottles. When I hit the road walking in order to keep all my artificial joints working, I want to be stronger and more capable physically, but my primary prayer is that God will make me stronger in the ways that really matter. If I could walk 1000 miles but lacked the strength to simply stand up for God’s Truth, it would be meaningless waste of energy. We have a responsibility to consume as much of that “strong meat” as we can, but not to just build up a reservoir of unused spiritual fat. There are several generations behind us that are in desperate need of the protective moral guidance and spiritual strength God has shared with us. There are more young sprouts popping up around us every day and we need to feed them in every way we can find.

    One of the ways God has blessed me in that regard is through some young people at our church for whom I have become their “adopted” “extra grandfather.” I’m their special ‘old guy’ friend who loves them and is ready to engage with them about anything and everything they might have questions about or things they want to share. They can talk with me about who they really are in a way that they might not be able to do with their other family, friends, or on social media. That kind of role is a blend of blessing and responsibility. It’s an incredibly energizing and fulfilling role, and one that I wish I could have access to at their age. It gives them a place to find truth presented in love, and without political, ideological, and sociological trappings. They get unvarnished meaning without lectures, pressures, or expectations. All the while, God bestows on me the continual awareness that I must be real and genuine, not some hypocritical, hyper-spiritual, pseudo-saint presenting myself as something that I’m not.

    So, congratulations are in order, Brother, you’ve done it again. You’ve escorted us non-farmers into a world that we tend to drive by and hardly notice. You’ve given us another glimpse of the living God and shown us how He displays Himself through the living things He created. What a blessing it is for Diane and me to sit here and look at our grass and realize that there’s a lot more going on even in our back yard than we normally think about.

    One final, convicting thought. When I see the thousands of mostly young people out rampaging and rioting in support of those who commit demonically inspired acts of heartless brutality against the most innocent of people, I grieve, bow my head in repentance, and confess my part in allowing it to get to the level we’re seeing now. These tender young “plants” came into the world needing the kind of mental and spiritual nourishment that would allow them to grow into strong, fully developed, and reproducing examples of God’s design. Instead, we allowed them to be fed with toxic substitutes in every stage of their lives. Now we’re reaping the harvest that we were too busy, too distracted, too self-absorbed to see coming. Neither of us can turn back the clock and correct any of it, but we must not and cannot ignore our role at this point.

    Thank you doe being so characteristically encouraging in reminding us that God can and will use us at any and every stage of our lives. That stokes the fire in my heart, my treasured friend, and that boost of spiritual energy is one of the things all of us “Cross-Dubya” fans love about the way God uses the gifts He put in you. So, keep it coming, Brother, and maybe all of us together can send out some light that has the devil’s crowd looking for a place to hide for a change.

    1. Oh, my brother! How my spirit joins with yours in lamenting what I see the younger generations have been indoctrinated and led to believe. I can’t blame these young people for their lawlessness and disregard for property, and yes, for life itself, but I do pray fervently that God use me to point them to a different direction. I believe that many young folks today are searching, in much the way we did when we were their age, but the presence of mature, adult (and I’m not talking age here) leaders are so few and far between that they can’t find us to seek our wisdom.
      Yes, we can reach those few who engage us in our church, but too many of older Christians tend to want to reserve that for church. We don’t “practice what we preach” and choose to share only with those who are like-minded. Yes, it’s important that we share our knowledge, learning, and wisdom with those in church who are coming behind us, but like you, it’s ever-important that we honor Christ’s great commission and we reach out beyond the supposed “safe confines” of the church walls. If we are to truly be His disciples, then we too must be willing to go where we might get dirty, ridiculed, or persecuted. Far too many so-called Christians have become afraid to show their Christianity outside of their church. As a result, our workplace, schools, and entire community suffers from that lack of morality and godly values that should permeate every part of life.

      Thank you for being that “special old guy” friend that young people need today. I suspect that you are who you are, in Christ, everywhere you go my friend, and not someone else outside of your church home. God’s blessings sir.

  10. The closer we stay to the land, the more we can see the reality of God. Moving to the cities can make faith harder to grasp. Thanks, JD, for helping us town folk keep it all straight. God bless!

    1. Thank you Ms. Nancy. I can only speak for myself, but I have definitely found my walk in faith to be easier out here in “fly over country”. Perhaps that’s because I find myself more dependent upon God here. I pray for rain, for sun, for dry, for cool. I praise him far more for my harvest than I ever did for my much larger paycheck when I lived and worked in the “big city.” God’s blessings ma’am, and I pray you and others find God more easily wherever you are. He’s always there, but you’re right, He can be harder to find when you’re distracted by bright lights and blaring sirens.

  11. J.D., I love how God shows you His ways in your corner of creation. Thank you for sharing with those of us not blessed to live on a ranch. By the way, I’m always amazed at the giant bales of cotton they amass from those little bolls. Maybe there’s a spiritual lesson there too. God bless you!

    1. Thank you Ms. Annie. So pleased that you enjoy ma’am. The large rectangular bales that you sometimes see can was more than 10 tons (> 20,000 lbs.) ma’am. I am blessed to live near a very modern cotton gin (the PPF Gin in Cooper (although it might be closer to Lake Creek). When cotton harvest is in full swing, the sides of the roadways look like it’s been snowing. 🙂

  12. To everything there is a season. I love your bovine stories, but you know I have a special place in my heart for plants too. Thank you for sharing once again what the Lord is teaching you.

    1. I know you do Ms. Dottie. You’re the “Queen of Flower Gardens” ma’am. Glad you enjoyed, and I promise more bovine stories soon. They’ve been pretty quiet of late. 🙂 Busy breeding and growing up.

  13. What a beautiful message JD. I love that we bring value to God’s kingdom no matter the season we are in. I also enjoyed learning about wheat and cotton, very interesting. Bless you my friend

    1. Thank you Ms. Yvonne. Glad you enjoyed ma’am. I sometimes think we are like other things found in nature ma’am. The more mature we become, the sweeter we are. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  14. I’ve always thought of lightning as destructive. I never knew it had positive uses. Interesting! I so agree that whatever stage we’re at in the Christian life, God can use us.

  15. Wow! Such a great illustration. God is always speaking. What wonderful truths he teaches us when we listen. So good, JD. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Isn’t it interesting how everything God has made works together for good? Every season appears to have both good and bad in them, but God intertwines them in such a way that produces both benefits and blessings. It reminds me of Ecclesiastes 3: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven–”

    As my mother enters home hospice care, it is bittersweet. I’m getting much-needed help, but I hate to face that it’s time to place her in such a category. A season of the end of life has a sweetness all its own, perfumed with angels’ wings. It’s a time to prepare myself to let her go when God says it’s her time to move to heaven. Praying it’s still a long way off, God willing.

    1. That particular season is bittersweet indeed my friend. Bitter in that we realize that we will all too soon (it seems) be left alone in this world without our loved one. Even when we realize that it is but for a short time, grief comes in the loss. Sweet in that we recognize that our loved one’s journey through this life is ending and they’ll soon cross that threshold into eternity in the presence of their Lord and God. Their suffering, fears, angst, and sorrow is all taken away. I sometimes wonder if the grief we suffer comes from all their sorrow being thrust upon those of us left behind who loved them so much. In both cases, the one traveling home and the one(s) left behind, we find comfort in knowing that eternity awaits us. And when that eternity is secure in the knowledge of Christ, the sweet nectar of salvation provides the balm our souls need to endure that final season of human life. Please know that you and your precious family remain firmly in my prayers ma’am.

  17. Another powerful message and analogy to our spiritual lives. Your information and descriptions on cotton and wheat are so interesting. I always learn about ranching: fields, weather, seasons, livestock, and more.

    I’m grateful the Lord uses His children in every season of life and Christian walk. Amen to this, “Whatever season we find ourselves in, we have great value in God’s kingdom and many gifts to offer in His name.”

    1. So true Ms. Karen. God can and wishes to use us for His kingdom in whatever season of life we are found in. He doesn’t want us to be qualified or experienced, only submissive. Thank you for all your kind and encouraging words.

    1. Yes ma’am. It certainly is a struggle my friend. Something I’ve discovered though is that every season has its challenges and struggles. Some are easily overcome and quickly passes. Others tend to linger on, seeming to last much longer than we would prefer. Perhaps the key is remembering that we don’t have to pass through them alone, dear friend. God’s blessings and thank you for all your wonderful support.

  18. You are so dadgum smart, J.D. I usually learn something new from your blogs, and today was no exception. I have to wonder sometimes, would I be considered a mature Christian? Most of the time, I would say “yes,” but other times I feel so childlike in my faith. Then again, we can’t ever reach a level of maturity to say we have arrived, can we? There is always something more to learn. And sometimes you are my teacher!

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