Seasons Change

There are comforting words which I have embraced through these many years. I’ll offer a few of them here. “Seasons change.” “This too shall pass.” In moments of triumph or trouble, I have come to recognize the temporal moment in which I am in. This awareness has helped me recover and rejoice; rest and take confidence. Regardless of the moment, there is a blessing in knowing that all things change.

Daniel gives an insight into the Lord. Dan 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

At His command, God brings all things into light. We do not always know when, but in His domain, which is beyond comprehension, the Lord changes the times. He moves us in and out of seasons as it suits His purpose and His Kingdom. God does not answer to us, but rather, He orchestrates our lives for the sake of our eternal soul.

While the natural seasons are known, life is far more varied. Solomon wrote of 28 seasons, found in Eccl 3:2-8. Solomon began: Eccl 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Times and seasons change, but they do so according to God’s design.

The admonition is that whatever season we are in, we must learn. We first must learn of God and about God. Secondly, we learn about ourselves and perhaps what we must do to adjust ourselves. Lastly, our times and seasons teach us about those around us: about compassion and understanding. All of these things are borne from years of living and paying attention to the voice of leadership. God speaks through various means. He speaks through the seasons of our lives.

Winter, spring, summer, and fall are mere periods depicting the earth’s rotation. They attend to the natural inclination of the earth’s axis and our location juxtaposed to the sun. These are far too shallow to depict the human journey. Natural seasons are mostly predictable, but the seasons of life demand far greater focus. Paul said, Phil 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. He said, 1 Tim 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Whatever season or time you find yourself, know that there are lessons to learn; understandings to gather; and adjustments to be made. However, in all of those times, learn to be content. The season will change. The Lord never changes, but the times will. Our part is to rest in Him and know that He is God.

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

Latter Times

1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1 Tim 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1 Tim 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1 Tim 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

The attributes of the “latter times” of which Paul wrote mirror the exactness of our days. In a recent study, more people are rejecting marriage. Paul wrote: “forbidding to marry.” Live-ins; Tinder hook-ups; and casual relationships are more preferable than long-term unions. The study also shows a decline in the length of marriages. The 5 to 8 year span is about the length of time a marriage will last. Europe, Japan, and Canada are showing lower statistics. Young adults would rather have a car, cellphone, and a nightlife than a fixed home with a spouse.

Paul wrote of “seducing spirits” – akin to sensuality, which is rooted in our American culture. He categorized the last days with a culmination of false doctrines, lies, and the rejection of morality. Lastly, Paul wrote against vegans, which is the refusal to eat meat. Paul was dealing with the false belief that cattle, sheep, goats, etc, deserved the same treatment as humans. The early church was dealing with gross darkness.

While sin prevails, I believe that we are poised to see things we have never seen. The Latter Times are here! The darkness of this world is both prevalent and invasive. This is not a ‘live and let live” environment. The spirit of the age is aggressive. We are not to tolerate sexual perverseness; but we are told to celebrate it or be fired.

However, the Greater the Darkness, the Brighter the Light. We, you, are a city set on a hill which cannot be hid. To be an Apostolic Pentecostal in doctrine, worship, lifestyle, and conduct is a light unto itself. It is and will be impossible to be hidden! We are Salt and the Light, which means that no one is going to look past you. Our calling is to speak Truth and Life to a world lost in sin. We have the answer! His name is Jesus! We have the soul-saving Gospel found in Acts 2:38. We know the way: it is the Way called Holiness. It is time for each of us to speak the Word to everyone we meet. These are the latter times!

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

First Love

Historically we know that the church at Ephesus had suffered many hardships, yet they persevered and stayed faithful to the Doctrine. Jesus even commended them for their “intolerance of wicked men.” Ephesus was a solid congregation on many levels. It appears they had structure, rules, protocols, and fortitude. However, what was missing could not be ignored. Jesus said, Rev 2:4 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

Faithfulness is important. Giving and returning tithes and offerings are biblical directives. Church order and family structure which include Bible devotion and conduct are essential. Yet, if we lose our “first love” then all is lost. Religious activities never make up for a lack of passion. The problem exists after years of doing right, but forgetting how much the Lord has done.

When we were first saved, or when we first found the Lord, we could not wait to get to the church. We wanted to be the first in the altar; first to find our favorite seat. We did not care what other people thought about our worship. When we first began, we believed anything was possible. We expected something miraculous every time we gathered.

However, as the years drifted by, so did the pathos. First Love is precious. I’ve felt it so many times in my own life. A little waning of hunger; a little apathy for praise. It happens so subtly that it’s hard to tell, but First Love is a fragile thing.

The great danger comes from Paul’s admonition written 2,000 years ago. He wrote: Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

If Paul thought he was close to the second coming of the Lord, how much closer are we today? We may be standing on the brink of the Last Trumpet! I feel it to be true, which means, emphatically, that we cannot lose our First Love. If the signs of the times are not enough to recapture our passion, pathos, and purpose, then nothing will move us. The times demand a return to our First Love!

So if you have not cried, pray until you are moved to tears. If you have not worshiped, do it until it invades your pride. If you have not danced, or shouted, or fallen on your face at a the altar, climb over your inhibitions and get there. Keeping our structure, order, and faithfulness is important, but we must not lose the heart we had when we first found Him!

It Takes Time

To no fault of her own, Hagar, the handmaiden, was cast out of the house of Abraham and Sarah. Jealously borne from disobedience led her to this moment. Abraham did not wait on God and took unto him Hagar. Together they had Ishmael. This son was not the promised son because he did not come through Sarah. When Isaac was born, the conflict intensified and it has never ended. Hagar found herself alone, desperate for direction and comfort. It is here that an angel of the Lord appeared to her and showed her a fountain of water; giving her the path toward provision and help. Hagar called God, El Roi, The God Who sees me.

However, this was not the name of God. His name was not revealed until the archangel Gabriel spoke it to Mary and Joseph in Matthew chapter 1. All of the Old Testament “names” were designations or descriptions of Jehovah. He was the God Who Heals and the God Who Provides. He was called, Our Banner, Refuge, and the God of Our Peace. But His name is Jesus!

We recognize this as progressive revelation. God offered insight, but not the whole. David wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet” meaning, “just enough light for the moment.” Jesus completed this truth when he touched the blind man in Mark 8.

Mark 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
Mark 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
Mark 8:25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

Jesus had the power to completely heal the blind man the first time He touched him. Yet, the lesson is found in a progressive healing. Day by day we are healed, delivered, and made whole by and through His presence. Our lives are first saturated with His Word and Spirit, which in turn changes the constitution of our thought.

The quantum leap is counter to the making of a disciple. It takes time to learn and time to grow. Understanding is developed over time. Spiritual maturity is found in study, patience, and persistence. Thus making it critical that we stay connected to the Word, the preaching and teaching while our change comes.

The end of it all is that we are planted and grounded. The Lord will reveal His Truth, but it is found in the process. So let us not get weary in well doing. He is guiding our steps and revealing Himself as we learn to lean on His strength and learn from His Word.