Pretty Flowers All in a Row

by Pastor Doc Adkins

And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Matthew 29

If you take a look around our area, we see that the signs of spring and summer are all around. Grass is greener, trees have their leaves now, birds are singing, and folks are planting gardens and flowers. 

Again, I remember growing up days on my grandparents’ farm and one of the things my grandmother always did was plant her flowers. You name it, she’d plant it. Ladies at church would swap flowers “starts” and at times get into a “budding feud” about whose were the prettiest. Funny old women!

Flowers are one of the most beautiful things I think God created. Sometimes I think He created them just for to add some kind of beauty in an otherwise dirty world.. They give us happier, peaceful views of life. . When I see how simple but yet how fantastic flowers are, I can’t help thinking that God is still in control and all is right with the world.

People have loved flowers back from the beginning of time and there are different meanings that have been associated with specific ones over the years. Many flowers have come to have several different meanings. We will take a look at just four of them to see what we can learn.

Aster – Contentment
Asters are those pretty little dainty white flowers that have a yellow center. I think they look like wild daisies. We have them growing along the roads here in WV .

One of the meanings associated with the aster flower is contentment. I kind of like that. They are simple yet pretty flowers and they do give me that sense of contentment. Those words in Philippians come to mind.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11

Contentment sure is a nice place to be in our lives. Isn’t it? No matter what the circumstances, we have that ease of satisfaction. The problem I think that people have with contentment is that they get it confused with being complacent. Complacent means we don’t care about things or are unconcerned, but being content is not that. When we are content, we end up caring more because we don’t allow things around us to get us off track. It’s being able to push forward and have that peace no matter what the circumstances.

Camellia – Graciousness
My grandmother had a lot of favorite flowers and Camellias are right there toward the top of her list.  She had a large Camellia bush beside the front porch.

The meaning associated with the camellia is graciousness. I think that’s a word we don’t hear used much anymore and we certainly don’t see it displayed much.

It means excellence of manners or social conduct. Shouldn’t we as Christian embody that? The world sure doesn’t. I think if we want to be in full bloom as Christian people we really need to concentrate on being gracious. I have known a few very gracious Christian people in my life and to me that makes them quite breathtakingly beautiful.

A gracious woman retaineth honour… Proverbs 11:16

Larkspur – Beautiful Spirit
The Larkspur is a pretty flower. I’ve mostly seen them in purple but they can be other colors as well. One of the meanings associated with the Larkspur is a “beautiful spirit”. Wow. That’s something to strive for. I’ve always loved that verse in 1 Peter where it is talking about a “meek and quiet spirit”.

One thing I read about the Larkspur is that some of them have become endangered and that you don’t find as many anymore except for those grown specifically for flower arranging. Kind of like those “meek and quiet spirit” people. There doesn’t seem to be an abundance of them either.

Black Eyed Susan – Encouragement
I’ve always admired the Black Eyed Susan. They are so bright and striking that I think they normally contrast everything around them. The meaning of the Black Eyed Susan is encouragement.

I sure love to be around encouraging people. Don’t you? People that give you that special word you need just at that moment or are there to cheer you on in whatever you are doing at the time. Those bright people definitely contrast with those around them.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

Conclusion:
I think there are things in our Christian lives that we have to have like pretty flowers all lined up in a row. Things like these four- contentment, graciousness, meek spirits, and encouragement. There are other things too all involved in our Christian living such as love, compassion, and all those other things Christ taught us. When we have these things in order, we have a tendency to live our Christian lives in a more beautiful way.

No one ever said that the Christian life was easy and when it comes to some of these, it requires a little work. We can’t just put up our little place markers with our flower names on them and expect them to flourish if we leave them alone. They require us to put some energy into them by using those tools of Bible study, prayer, and righteous living.

So, are your flowers all in a row?

Plantin’ Season

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. ” Psalm 84:11 I like this time of the year. Grass is green again, the birds welcome us to the mornings, flowers and trees give way to new life. Growing up on the farm, this time of the year became known as “plantin ’time”. The garden was starting to take on shape, my grandfather was busy making ready the fields and such. Plantin’ time was a very busy time.

There was an annual addition in our garden along with all the vegies, and that was the sunflowers. My grandmother always made sure they were some of these along each end of the garden. I don’t know why, just remember they always were there.

I think sunflowers are pretty cool. I love their yellow and gold tones in their coloring, but they also stand so tall and majestic looking too.

Sunflowers are one of those things you see everywhere such as on dishes, tablecloths, pillows, and other things for the home. They are right up there with roses when it comes to popularity. Did you know that even Picasso and Van Gogh painted sunflowers? Probably because they are such a beautiful and distinctive flower. (Don’t be impressed with this tid-bit of knowledge because I googled it.)

The following lessons were lessons my grandmother taught me.

Sunflowers Track The Sun. Most plants are attracted to light but the flowering head of the sunflower actually tracks the sun following its path and moving toward where it is in the sky all during the day. I read somewhere that sunflowers track the sun when they are in bud stage. Isn’t that how it usually goes for us as Christians? When we first come to know the Lord, we get excited about knowing all about Him and living for Him, but after awhile we sometimes grow a little preoccupied with other things and get our eyes off of the Lord. Wouldn’t it be great if as a Christian we’d track the Son of God and follow Him all day long? No matter what was going on in our lives and throughout our day, we wouldn’t take our eyes off of the Son.

Sunflowers Need to be Stabilized. The second thing I’ve learned about the sunflower is that it that it needs to be firmly planted in the soil in order to grow. Sunflowers grow so tall and their stems become so heavy that they will topple over if they aren’t stabilized in the ground. I know as a Christian it’s very easy to topple over if we are not grounded in the Word of God. We need to know what and why we believe what we do so our feet are firmly planted and we won’t falter in our Christian growth.

Sunflowers Produce Seeds. Did you know that a single sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds? When we think about sowing seeds as a Christian, just think of the potential reach that each of us can have to spread the Gospel. It could be limitless if we would just sow those seeds.

Sunflowers Produce Oil. The oil that the sunflower produces is considered a good oil with healthy benefits. As Christians we should be producing the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith). All of those have some healthy benefits on us as Christians and on others that we meet.

Sunflowers Resemble The Sun. Sunflowers not only follow the sun but when you look at them, they resemble the sun too. Resembling the Son should be one of those things we do as a Christian. Being Christ-like is an essential part of being a Christian.

Conclusion: When I think about the lessons from the sunflower, I remember Ephesians 5 where it’s talking about following God and all the ways we are to act as Christians. It starts out in the first couple verses by saying, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” Ephesians 5:1,2 The chapter goes on in detail on various topics of Christian living and mentions all those bad things we are to avoid, starting with “fornication” and it goes on from there. In verses 15,16 it says, ” See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

It’s what getting up and following the Son all day and being a SON flower is all about. It boils down to walking in the spirit, following God, and living Christ-like as a Christian should. So, what’s God ‘plantin’ in your life.

The Power that Keeps Us Turning in the Right Direction

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”    Ephesians 4:30

Just some weeks ago I was traveling on I-64 E coming back into Beckley and as I passed the Erma Byrd Center I notice that the big windmill beside it was spinning around like crazy. The wind was just “whipping“ through the air that day and boy did the windmill cut a shine!

Then not long ago I saw a little girl with a colorful pinwheel. She seemed intrigued at watching it and waving it around to get the blades to turn. I amused myself at watching her get it going really good and the use her finger to stop it. It surely did keep her attention. You remember the pinwheel from our youth, we all had one and how much fun it would be watching the colors fly by as the wind blew the blades and we used every imaginable thing we could to stop the blades and then start over again.

Most of us know that pinwheels or windmills don’t just spin around on their own volition. There has to be a wind source of some kind. You have to blow on it with your own breath or take it outside and allow the wind to move it. (Just a thought of from days gone by, “don’t stick your pinwheel out of the car window unless you hang on to it really tightly”…just a lesson learned). Of course pinwheels and windmills won’t spin around on their own strength. That’s just like us as Christians. We can’t spin around on our own either. We need God’s strength and power.

Sadly, some of us try to spin around in our own strength anyway but we are not getting very far. Some of us have got some things stuck in our blades that are blocking our wind.

Our power source is the Holy Spirit, and that is a powerful wind. So much can be accomplished for Christ when we allow the leading of the Holy Spirit in us. Just think about the disciples. They turned the world upside down.

We’ve all got things that get stuck in our blades and slow us down or even make our effectiveness for Christ come to a complete standstill. Here are a few that came to my mind.

Power Blockers:

Bitterness
Whew! This one can really be a clog in your wheels. If you have bitterness in your life, you have to deal with it in order to have the power you need to keep spinning. Bitterness can rob you of your joy and eat away at you until you’re not useful to anyone, let alone God.

Let all bitterness…be put away from you. Ephesians 4:31

Unforgiveness
If there is a rift between you and someone else and you don’t deal with it, it’s like running a rod right through your blades. You are not going to keep spinning with something like that stuck in your life. You’ll find yourself not doing anything for Christ.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

Our Own Will
Trying to spin around all by ourselves and in our own direction isn’t going to work. We have to give ourselves over to what God wants for us, which at times may not be exactly what we might want. Living with our lives in tune with Christ daily is the only way we’ll be sensitive to His will and not our own.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1,2  

Unconfessed Sin
Of course if we have unconfessed sin in our lives, it’s going to affect how the Holy Spirit works in us. We can’t have something between God and us or there’s not going to be any wind flow.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Conclusion:
We often block the “turning of God” in our lives. We keep our guards up and don’t let the Holy Spirit get to us even when we need to be refreshed. We seal ourselves from being touched by a special song in church, or by a sermon, Sunday School lesson, and worship service because we’re too inward focused and not Godward focused. We go into defense mode at invitation time because we don’t want to go forward and deal with our issues even when we feel the Holy Spirit trying to work in us. We miss out on so much power that way and by keeping those power blockers stuck in our blades. Those things grieve the Holy Spirit which we are told not to do in Ephesians 4:30. We need to allow the breath of the Holy Spirit to go all the way through us so we can spin round and round doing the things Christ would have us to do.

If we are Christians, the Holy Spirit comes to reside in us. We have to be sensitive in order to allow His working.  Remember that the winds are what makes the difference. In Scripture, the Holy Spirit is compared to a “rushing mighty wind”.

So, how are you spinning?

Higher Lord!

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Back on the farm in Summers County there was a huge pasture field beside the old farm house. It gradually got steeper the further out you went and after a time you’d come to a huge knoll near the backside of the field. From there it was a long hill that went downward for a hundred yards or so. You get the picture? The great thing about this knoll was that it was a perfect place to fly a kite. March is kite flying weather because of the wind. March is also unpredictable. It can be sunny, raining, snowing and lots of wind all in the same day if not in a same hour.

Wind is a powerful thing and a must for kite flying. Without a good strong blowing wind, you’re just wasting your time. Prayer is a lot like an amazing wind. To know that we as Christians can tap into the almighty power of God just because we are His children is such a wonderful thing. Think about God’s power for a few moments.

We see it in creation, in the plagues of Egypt, in Daniel in the lion’s den, in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walking in the fiery furnace, in the miraculous story of Joseph’s safety, and in Noah and the flood. We pray to the same God and that should be exciting to us as Christians.

The power of prayer can lift us to new heights and we begin to fly like kites. We can sail along because we know we can bring our petitions and situations to an Almighty God who loves and cares for us, yet has the power to change things.

We can fly because God has the power to change our lives.
Think about Paul. Before he met Christ his name was Saul, and he went around persecuting Christians, but God changed him. Paul’s whole life was changed. His thoughts, attitudes, his whole mission in life changed for God’s glory. It’s the same God that has power to change us as well.

We can fly because God has the power to change those around us.
Is there someone you know whom you are concerned about in the area of salvation? Keep praying. Is there someone around you such as a family member or maybe even co-worker who seems to constantly bug you and get you down? Make them a matter of prayer. God can change the people around us.

We can fly because God has the power to change our circumstances.
Ever felt like your kite of life has hit a tree? I’ve been through my share of circumstances and I know first-hand that circumstances can knock the wind right out of your sails. With a few bad circumstances your kite can come tumbling down. You might not be able to do anything about those circumstances on your own but God can do something about them.

Look at how the circumstances changed in Joseph’s life. Remember how Joseph was put into a pit by his brothers and sold into slavery? He even ended up in prison, but God had a way of changing the circumstances for Joseph till he became the ruler over all that Pharaoh had.

That’s our God that did that. The same one we pray to is able to change the circumstances we face.

We can fly because God has the power to heal.
We have several examples in the bible of how Jesus healed the sick and lame. We have that same power available to us through prayer. Not only can Christ heal physically but He has the power to heal our hurts and feelings as well.

Maybe you feel like your kite has a big hole in it where someone wronged you or you’re going through a situation that is leaving you just torn apart and a little ragged inside. Your life may seem to be heading down in a spiral motion. Make it a matter of prayer and let that wonderful healing power of Christ lift you back up into the air again.

We can fly because God has the power to sustain.
Maybe you feel like your kite of life got stuck in the telephone wires somewhere along the way and you’re absorbing just a little bit too much shock. God has the power to lift you above that and sustain you. I think of Joseph again. He endured a lot but God brought him through it.

Look how David relied on God’s strength when Saul was seeking to kill him. David prayed and cried out continuously to God and God brought him through all of that. We still have the same God to sustain us as we fly through life. He gives us the strength and courage to keep flying along.

Look at Paul and his ailment that seemed to just be a continual bother to him. What did God show him?

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Conclusion: It really encourages me to think about these things that God has the power to do in our lives, in our circumstances, and in the lives of others around us.

When we think all we can do is float down, down, down, we need to tap into that awesome power of God by way of prayer. With prayer we can be lifted to new heights. BUT! The only way to reach these heights is to loosen the strings that binds us and let God take us where His wind leads us.

So, how’s your prayer life flying?

Loved

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.’” Acts 10:34-35 (NIV)

Think for a minute about some of
your favorite things: your favorite food, your favorite show, your favorite
outfit, your favorite hobby. We all have things in life that we just enjoy.
Mine are hunting and football. Oh! Opps! And my Church family.  We may even have a few people that we like
more than others. I’m just going to let you guess if I’m talking about you and
thinking about you.  We tend to gravitate
toward people who are kind, compassionate, loyal, and selfless. It’s hard not
to have a few favorite people in your life that you are drawn to more than
others.

But God isn’t like that. Boy! Am I
glad! He “does not show favoritism.” We are all incredibly and equally special
to Him! Even when we become “spiritually crazy’ and let our sin nature get the
best of us, He does not love us any less. He never picks favorites, and nothing
we do can ever diminish His all-consuming love for us. He loves each one of us
individually, and we are all complete in Him. There is no favoritism with our
Father.

Yet at the same time, He does show
us his favor by lavishing His love on each and every one of us! Just take a
minute to think about the fact that, as Psalm 30:5 (NIV) says, “… his favor
lasts a lifetime… ” God favors me? Yep. And he does so throughout your entire
life. Wow.

What does this mean for us? It means
that we can rejoice in God’s favor! But it also means that we need to show
favor to the people around us, recognizing that they are all loved by God just
as much as we are. Maybe it’s that person who just rubs you the wrong way.
Maybe it’s that person you’re harboring a grudge against. Let’s follow God’s
example today and show love to everyone!

“God has no favorite children.”

 In Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV) we
read,  “The Lord your God is in your
midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He
will quiet you with His love,  He will
rejoice over you with singing.”

Over the years, I have talked with
folk who have a blind spot when it comes to God’s love. Oh, they believe that
God is love, that He loves the world and the sinner and their neighbor. Yet it
is difficult for them to let the reality sink in that God loves them—personally.
God really loves you. Deeply, passionately, individually—God loves you.

There are several factors that
contribute to our difficulty in understanding and accepting that we are loved.
Perhaps it is a painful past or deep insecurity. There may be an old sin or
unfulfilled longing. Once a seed of doubt is sown (“Does God really love me?”)
we can allow circumstances and fears to push us further down the path of
disbelief in God’s love for us.

Part of what makes it so sad to see
folk doubting God’s love for them is the sheer magnitude of His love. Scripture
tells us that not only does God love us, He delights in us. I love that thought
and image of my Father in heaven delighting in me. He is not just tolerating or
putting up with me!  And, there are many
times I would just deserve it all!

Although we may feel unloved, that
is simply untrue. The truth is that you are the object of His affection, day in
and day out. He wants you, He likes you, He pursues you, and He enjoys being
with you and He chooses you. You are as much His favorite as anyone.  The state of your house, car, bank account,
or even your “dirty laundry” in no way affects His love for you. Nothing in
this world can hinder, not even in the slightest, His great love for you and
me.

“It’s not about finding ways to
avoid God’s judgment and feeling like a failure if you don’t do everything
perfectly. It’s about fully experiencing God’s love and letting it perfect you.
It’s not about being somebody you are not. It’s about becoming who you really
are.”
– Stormie Omartian

SO:   Be fearless: We are His, and that is
enough. He welcomes us, period. You are favored by Him, and nothing you can do
will change that fact!  He loves you!

Starting New

by Pastor Doc Adkins

We rang in the New Year. Some may have gotten out a clean piece of paper and written down their intentions for this year.  Well, I didn’t. You see, I decided not to jot down anything, but to make a commitment to increase my prayer time with the Lord and to continue with finding contentment in what God is doing, whether I understand it or not.  Most times it takes a while to find out what those things are.

I believe it is the spiritual condition in my life that the Lord is the most interested in. He says in His Word that my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit.

I found out long ago, those long lists of dos and don’ts either get lost or forgotten. The things that really matter to us, we usually work on, so I find it best to limit any desires each year to a few things and concentrate on the really important ones — whatever they might be.

Most people want a fresh start in life. Those who are sick want a clean bill of health. Those in financial trouble want to be out of debt. We can do these things, but we need to work on them one day at a time.  Try not to overwhelm yourself with too many good intentions. Just pray and ask the Lord what you might need to work on in your life, spiritually, financially, and maybe even how to improve relationships or your health, but don’t get bogged down with so many resolutions.

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 NIV

The Bible says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. What is the Kingdom of God? It is righteousness, peace, and joy. If we have those three things most everything else will fall into place. If we seek to please the Lord and find out what He wants us to do, then it will all work out. I know He tells us to seek wisdom, so if we do that our health issues and financial priorities will change.

The Bible tells us His mercies are new every morning, so I will daily ask Him what He wants me to do. There is nothing wrong with accomplishing some short-term goals, but never let them consume your entire energy by making them so hard they are beyond your reach. Simply trust God to help you each step of the way!  Get a fresh start each year, but plan for a wise one too.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail, they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

Can God change your life?   God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God.

The Bustle vs The Baby

by Pastor Doc Adkins

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”  Luke 2:16 (NIV)

“Hurry up! We’re going to be late to the choir concert!”

“Come on kids. Help dad unload these groceries right now. I’ve got to get these cookies baked before bedtime.”

“Is it 6 a.m. already? I gotta get to that door buster sale as soon as it opens so I don’t miss out on the deals!”

With the holiday season upon us, the music at the mall announces that folks are dreaming of a white Christmas. That may be true. But in reality, many folks are dreaming of something else white: a little more white space on our December calendars!

Pageants. Parties. Shopping trips. Baking days. Wrapping nights. At every turn there are people to see, things to do, stuff to buy. The hustle and bustle of this supposed-to-be-happy season can knock the holly-jolly right out of our holidays and replace it with hurried-up headaches instead.

As a result, our calendars become overloaded, crowding out the spiritual significance of the season.

I wonder if the participants in the original Christmas story ever dreamed that the celebration of Christ’s birth would become so hassled and hurried. The shepherds? The angels? The wise men? Mary and Joseph too?

Was hurriedness present the night Jesus was born? We might think that it was not. But actually, there was hurry present that night. However, it wasn’t to the mall or grocery store that people were rushing.

The shepherds were working in the fields when suddenly an ensemble of angels told them the Christ Child had been born. Luke 2:16 says they hurried off to find Him lying in a manger.

If I had been one of those shepherds, I would have been quiet and amazed once I got there. Being around a newborn baby makes me speak in a hushed tone and feel such awe as I see new life. In the presence of Jesus, I wonder if those men too were settled and silent.

Maybe we could do the same today. In the midst of our holiday hustle and tasks, we could stop; leave our work. We could slow down long enough to hurry in another direction. We could put our activities on hold so we might quietly meet with our Lord. We could be settled and silent in the presence of Jesus.

As a result, we just might discover an unhurried holiday: a season that will strengthen us spiritually instead of sapping our energy and joy.

How about it? Will we pause and purpose to hurry into His presence instead of rushing from task to task? Dare we linger long enough to be refreshed by the company of the One whom the holiday is really about? The tasks will wait while we do.

Here’s to more “white space” this Christmas; space that creates more room in our days for meeting with Jesus!

Dear Lord, remind me daily that it’s You I should rush to during the holiday hustle. Not things. Not activities. I want to seek and find only You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Pondering Verses
Luke 2:15, “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'” (NIV)

Proverbs 8:17, “I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me.” (HCSB)

Autumn Reflections 

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Each day, as I drive through our town, I notice that change is happening all around me! The air is getting a little crisper…The leaves are transforming from deep summery shades of green into a rich rainbow of gold, yellow and red…Night is falling upon us a little faster…Summer is fading and autumn is arriving!

Autumn has always been one of my favorite seasons of the year.

Autumn is a season of change, a season of transition, a season of renewal.

It’s also a season filled with hustle and bustle. It’s the time when children go back to school, young adults go away to college, and parents are pulled in a thousand directions! Autumn is an exciting time – but in the midst of all of our activities, it’s important to stay focused on God and make the most of every precious moment.

Autumn Is The Season To Set Godly Priorities   “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

We all have busy schedules, but even on our most hectic days, just as we make time to feed our bodies, it’s also important to nourish our souls. Take time to listen for the still, quiet voice of God to see where He is leading.

Autumn is a time when lots of interruptions may come your way – but not every one of them is from God. As you reflect upon the opportunities before you, ask God for His wisdom as you plan your days. When in doubt, apply Scriptural principles to your decision-making.

Autumn is the season to set our priorities in accordance with God’s Word.  Fall. It is a season that reminds us of endings. Once thriving leaves now drop from their branches bursting with color, but dying. Beautiful summer flowers have lost their grandeur and now succumb to hues of brown and gray. Colder temperatures flow in and bright, long days full of sunshine move out. We are inundated with change. We are regularly reminded of our helplessness to stop the flow of God’s creation. We are caught between summer and winter in the fleeting uniqueness of autumn. Though the season brings its own joy with fabulous scents and colors of orange, yellow, and red; we know it is the end of summer and the start of a period of dormancy and cold.

As we enjoy the changes of fall, let it remind us of a vital truth. I believe God intends for us to see with physical eyes something that points to a lasting, spiritual truth. When you look at a fallen leaf or disintegrating, summer flower; think this thought:  “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” (I Peter 1:24, NIV)

Autumn Is The Season To Make Every Moment Count.  ”There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

As our children go back to school and our families adjust to their new fall routines, it’s more important than ever to ensure that our families spend quality time with God and one other! This is just another reason why attending church is so important.  It’s all about time.

Autumn Is The Season To Thank God For His Many Blessings…”The land yields its harvest; God, our God,  blesses us.” – Psalm 67:6

Autumn is also a season of thanksgiving. It’s a season of praise. It’s a season to gather with family and friends to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us. It’s a season to share the love of Jesus with others by blessing them with the gifts that He has so generously shared with us.

God blesses us in so many ways – both material and spiritual. As you reflect upon the gifts of the season, what are you particularly grateful for during this time in your life? In what ways is God providing for your need.

Letting Your Leaves Fall

by Pastor Doc Adkins

In just a few weeks I will have leaves from in the front yard dance across the porch and our driveway. My question about them is this, “where did they come from since we only have a little tree in our front yard and the leaves won’t match the ones on my yard”.  Obliviously, I have neighbors. Yet, as their bright green color fades, it seems they fall almost as quickly as they change. We all know that in order to flourish in the new season, the tree must let go of its decayed leaves. They have performed well for the term, but their time has drawn to a close.

Autumn is a wonderful time to observe God’s nature. As I watch the swirling leaves stirred by the wind, I am reminded that they display an important lesson for all of us to follow suit in a way. Just as the trees don’t stubbornly hold on to their dead leaves, so we shouldn’t hold on to any unnecessary weight in our lives. When we long to enter a new season, the old can easily inhibit the new if we allow it. God’s Word reminds us to:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31,32 (NIV)

To get rid of negativity in our lives, we must first identify it. How can we do this?

  • By reading God’s Word.
  • By allowing His Spirit to show us the necessary heart changes we need.
  • By being willing to shun practices such as bitterness and anger.
  • By asking God to help us let go of the guilt from the past.

How the Lord longs to empower and strengthen us for the new season ahead! If we’re not sure of the issues detaining a kind and compassionate spirit, He will show us when we ask. And if guilt from the past is preventing this beautiful new season, we have His promises like this one to remember:

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18,19 (NIV)

What are you holding on to that is preventing a freshness to the season ahead? Could it be that the decayed leaves are piling up and your heart needs to discard them for good? If so, why not reach out to the Lord in prayer? He longs to hear from you. Ask Him to shine light on any thoughts, circumstances, habits or other “decayed leaves” you might be clinging to. As you watch the leaves fall this season, our prayer is that you are reminded to let go of anything that would hinder a fresh relationship with God.

My Favorite Season

by Pastor Doc Adkins

My childhood autumns in Hinton hold precious memories—the fall revival at church, unpacking warmer clothing, hot cocoa, harvest moons, fires in the hearth, a well-stocked pantry, and best of all—FOOTBALL!  I loved it, playing it and watching my Steelers in their heyday.

Of course then, there was and still is the endless desire to go hunting if only just to watch and see God in our beautiful mountains.

You know…sometimes when I think about all the “life” experiences I had growing up in that old farm house…man, it does at times seem so very long ago.  In reality, it was a long time ago.

Life has it seasons:  The autumn of life is a strange mixture of nostalgia, blessings, and potential. It yields the harvest of seeds we’ve sown throughout life and braces us for colder days to come.

When life’s autumn arrives, we look back and better understand the way God led us; but we still have work to do—the best and fullest. It’s a good transition time.

“Autumn” only occurs once in the Bible. In Jude 1:12, false teachers are compared to “autumn trees without fruit,” implying that autumn should be a fruitful season, the most abundant of the year. How can we take advantage of the “autumn of life”?

The Unchanging Nature of God

The seasons come and go, so focus on the God who remains unchanged and unchanging. “LORD, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or even You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:1-2).

There’s a lot of unwelcome change in our world. Moral and societal changes bother us most when we turn on our television or glance at the magazines. We’re painfully aware our kids are growing up in a world far different from the one we knew as children.

And personal changes—children leaving home, the passing of dear friends, and the slow, or possible steady decline in vitality and health. Sometimes we feel outdated at work.

But amid all the changes, one thing, one person, never changes—our eternal God. Remember this verse from John 15, “Abide with Me”?

JI Packer points out that God does not change. His life is always the same. His character is always dependable. His truth, ways, and purposes do not change. His Son does not change. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

His children will enjoy His fellowship a million years from now. The world may fade, the stars may fall, the seasons may change, and winter may come. But the God who has been our help in ages past is our hope for years to come. In Him we have permanence, stability, joy unshakable, and life unending.

The Divine Foresight of God

We’ve all suffered setbacks along the way. But God promised, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. . . . You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God” (Joel 2:25-26). His divine forethought knew it all in advance, and He can be trusted with what has happened to us in years past.

Our omniscient Savior knows the end from the beginning, and He will bless whatever is yielded to Him. Focus on His foreknowledge, providence, and sovereignty.

The Wonderful Blessings of God

The autumn of life is a great time to focus on God’s wonderful blessings—family, friends, strength, shelter, provision, guidance, care, fruitful ministry, opportunities to serve, more time to pray and study His Word, and eternal life still to come.

During life’s autumn, we have a richer perspective and can count more blessings than ever before.

A Renewed Commitment to God

Autumn is a good time to focus on your commitment to God. Some of the saddest words in the Bible are in Jeremiah 8:20, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” If you’ve never made a commitment to Jesus Christ, do it now, while there is still time.

If you are a follower of Christ, remember to remain close to Him during the shifting seasons of life.

During autumn, we all know that winter lies ahead, but if winter comes, can spring be far behind?