From the Pastor's Desk

Dear Friends and Neighbors:
As I sit at my desk and write this devotion I am aware that fall has fully arrived.  The Bible refers to this time of the seasons as “Harvest.”  The radiant sunshine, together with the bright sunlight inspires us with a desire to gather in.  As I drive around the Athens Community I see the fields that are now laid bare as folks have harvested their crops.  I imagine that many have sighed in relief as they have completed their task of harvesting what they have sown.   In my younger days in South Alabama I was involved in both the planting and the harvesting.  It was always personally rewarding to gather in the potatoes, corn, hay; the wheat and such.  However, where the Bible refers to the harvest it refers to a time when each person will receive the reward of his/her life lived in this world throughout the time God has allotted.
A time of spiritual harvest lies before each and all of us.  Mark 4:29 repeats the words of the prophet Joel 3:13, “But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest is come.”  Mark is giving us a picture of Kingdom of God as a gathered harvest.  Like the wheat and the barley, you and I are the planting of the Lord.  And, just as the grain of the field we each and all will come to a time when God, the Great Reaper will gather us in from the fields of life.  It is important that we be prepared to be harvested.  Question!  Is your life shaped by the Great Cultivator, the Divine Pruner, the Heavenly Harvester as you go about your daily life?  If not, you may not be prepared when God comes to harvest the fields of this life.  Job 4:8 says, “Even as I have seen, they that plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.”  Have you stood strong amid the contrary winds, the devastating drought, barrenness of soil, the frost and the locus that life has brought your way?   Galatians 6:8 tells us, “He that sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
At some point in this earthly life you and I will be called to give an accounting of our time here on planet earth.  The Bible refers to this day as a day of reckoning or judgement.   The challenge for each one of us is to “Sow to yourselves righteousness; (so that you might) reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; (prepare your own heart) for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and reign righteousness upon you.”  (Hosea 10:7)

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