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|12-04-2004, 08:34 AM
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Status: Prophet Man
Joined: Jul 2003
Dont fear winter
The people this is for will totally get it. The others will surely appreciate it
AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK NEWSLETTER
DONT BE AFRAID OF WINTER
by Bennie Mostert, South African Prayer Leader
Very few people desire the bleakness of winter. But the deathly coldness of winter comes as sure as the warmth of the summer sun that will eventually drive away the numbness. Nobody hopes or asks for winter seasons, and yet they come with unnerving regularity, catching us unaware, bringing discouragement and confusion with its icy wind. But if the trees are to bring forth fruit and more fruit in the following summer, a wintry season is needed.
During winter the true shape of a tree can be seen. In our spiritual winters we see ourselves the way we truly are. In summer the form of the tree is disguised by its fruit and leaves. But then autumn and winter pull the leaves from the branches and cause fruit to fall to the ground. There are no disguises in the seemingly unfruitful season. Winter strips the tree of all external adorning. We see branches exposed, trunk naked, without pretension, honesty is forced on the tree. And surely the brutal exposure of the truth allows people to see much more than the tree would ever have liked. Broken and skew, the branches become visible. The marks where eyesore branches have been pruned away or where disease has taken its toll can be clearly seen.
The branches of trees of winter reach into the heavens with blackened fingers. Helpless. Vulnerable. Is this not how we feel in winter? But winter is necessary for every person. And it is needed with regular intervals. After every fruitful season comes a time of rest and restoration, a winter season. Whoever ignores this spiritual law, destroys himself.
Although everything seems bleak, black and deathly, a process of revival and invisible growth is taking place. Without this rest and revival, another fruitful season is an impossibility. Do not discount or fear winter. Do not wish it away. Allow this season to show you who you truly are. Only in winter are leaves stripped away sufficiently for the Gardner to see the wild, disease-ridden or broken branches that should be pruned away. The secret to next summer's fruitfulness lies in this winter's pruning. Winter does not change the tree - it only exposes the tree's true form.
Once we have been stripped of our make-up and mannerisms, we discover that our only hope is in throwing ourselves to the mercy of our Father. When we remove the fruit from the Christian (which is in reality not our fruit, but the fruit of the Spirit), the comfortable life, the answer to prayer (which is truly God's work), we have in reality not removed anything. We have only taken away that which God has given in His great mercy, and now only our humanity remains.
The ability of vines to produce, increase every season. It brings forth more fruit, but also more wild branches that need to be pruned away. These wild ones rob the vine of the strength needed to produce better fruit. This is why winter has to strip away the leaves of the vine, so that the Gardener can clearly see which branches are wild and which not. Too many branches make for poor fruit bearing.
Christian, embrace winter. Expect it. Do not be surprised when it comes. It comes once a year for every tree. God's winters bring a reality check. It helps us to understand our limitations, our earthly fragility and mortality. How easily we forget that! All trees die, and so do people. How hard it is to imagine death when the trees of our lives are in their prime, when they are full of leaves, flowers and fruit. When we bear fruit, when there is growth in our ministries, when money is abundant and people sign up to work with us, we tend to live as if our summer season will be perpetual. But then winter comes and teaches us that we grow older, time passes and that a new generation needs to be equipped and trained to take over where we will leave off. We will not be around forever.
Although a tree looks pretty dead in winter, it never stops growing. Though the tree is resting, it is pushing its roots deeper. The growth is hidden from sight, deep under ground where nobody can see it happening. The same happens in the life of the Christian. The spiritual winters push us deeper into Christ and cause us to grow where nobody can see. We become anchored in Christ. In these times we rest, become restored and built up for a new season of fruit bearing. Blessed be winter, because it prepares us for a new summer.
Sometimes the reality of winter can be a shock for Christians. It absolutely destroys every form of pride and self. It often causes Christians great discouragement and brings them to a place where they stop serving God. Winter sometimes seems like a great destruction, bringing an abrupt end to the hard work of summer. The fruit of our lives disappear in the great paradox, where we need to lose our fruit in order to bear fruit the next season. Trees do not die in winter. The live. They actually are more vibrant than they used to be in summertime.
Trees are powerhouses of growth potential in winter. They accumulate the strength they need to survive in summer, while in summer they lose strength by pushing life into leaves and fruit. Winter causes the tree to store up strength to produce in summer. In the same way, God uses winter times to draw us unto Himself, to establish us in His character, to anchor us in the resurrection life of Jesus, and to strip us of hidden pieces of our fleshly lives that hinder the work of the Holy Spirit.
Winter brings brokenness, humility, restoration of love and the life of God in the inner person. Winter brings resentment in the old self in all its sinful, fleshly forms. There can be no summer fruit without winter. The inner person is only built up as the outer person is destroyed. A tree uses all its strength to beautify itself externally. Unwittingly, it undermines itself by using all its resources for the public display of beauty. It then requires a wintry season to replenish and restore its energy for a new season.
Remember this when the next time winter comes your way. Winter is a time for growth in the inner person. Do not fear or despise winter. Understand it. Bear with it. Welcome it. Because winter comes from God.
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|12-04-2004, 01:15 PM
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Status: Tree of Wisdom
Joined: Oct 2003
Hush child I,ll tell you why you have Loved Me when you were weak you have given me unselfishly Kept you From Falling Falling everywhere But Your Kness you set me free to live my life you become my Reason To Survive The Great Divide you Set Me Free Ooh Our Love Is Beautiful Ooh isn,t This Beautiful Child It Seems You Have Been My Everything
|12-10-2004, 09:45 PM
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Status: Silence Speaks
Joined: May 2004
That was really cool.
What I see is unreal
I've written my own part
Eat of the apple, so young
I'm crawling back to start
- Layne Staley (Rotten Apple)
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