BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 highlights the various times and seasons that exist. When a time and a season end, another time and another season begin, and the cycle continues. No season lasts forever; no time continues unending. Daniel writes, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:20-21 New King James Version).
Verse 21, in the New Living Translation, says, “He determines the course of world events; He removes kings and sets others on the throne. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” God is the unchanging changer! He changes the times and seasons.
There are two concepts you must understand because they balance each other. These are God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. If you don’t understand the balance, you can go into the extreme with either of them and you’ll go into error.
God is sovereign – there is no doubt about that. He owns and controls the earth. Nebuchadnezzar said in Daniel 4:34-35, “For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (New King James Version).
However, God’s sovereignty does not cancel human responsibility. God created human beings as free moral agents and has given this earth to man. Psalm 115:16 says, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (New King James Version).
God has also given man the power to choose. So the choices you make today have a lot to do about the times and the seasons you enter into. Joshua told the Israelites in Joshua 24:15, “But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD” (New Living Translation). Times and seasons of abundance, suffering, etc. tomorrow are influenced by your choices today.
You may not know the times and seasons that will unfold next, but there are certain things you can do to prepare for any time or season you desire. Look at the conversation between Jesus and his disciples about times or seasons in Acts 1:6-7, “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority’” (New King James Version).
God controls the times and seasons, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have your own responsibility to prepare for the seasons and (or) times you desire. It is useless trying to predict times and seasons, but it’s wise to prepare. Paul says, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (New King James Version). New times and seasons most times come unannounced – be prepared.
Preparing for a new time and season
1.Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Put God first in your life. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (New King James Version).
The New Living Translation says, “And he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Pursue God’s way of being right and doing right.
To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). If you obey the Lord diligently and follow his commandments, you’ll enjoy favourably refreshing times and seasons from the Lord. Deuteronomy 28 talks extensively about the blessings that follow obedience and the curses that follow disobedience to God. Acts 3:19 says, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (King James Version).
2. Cultivate positive habits or attitudes. Your habits determine your future. As it is often said, “Your attitudes determine your altitude.” Such positive habits or attitudes include faith, love, diligence, calmness, self-control, perseverance, selflessness, right thinking. 2 Peter 1:5-9 says, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (New King James Version).
If you want to experience a positive season you must work towards it. Hard work is a positive discipline in order to enjoy a new season. There are both seedtime and harvest times. If you’re not hardworking during planting season, when harvest season comes, you’ll miss out while others who are hardworking will enjoy a bountiful harvest. According to Proverbs 20:4, “If you are too lazy to plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest” (New Living Translation). Genesis 8:22 says, “As long as the earth remains, there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night” (New Living Translation). According to 2 Corinthians 9:6, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (New King James Version). A new season of promotion awaits the diligent. Proverbs 22:29 says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (King James Version).
As I’ve said, calmness or lack of anxiety or worry is one of the positive habits or attitudes you should cultivate. Concerning anxiety or worry, Matthew 6:34 says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (New Living Translation). Don’t be anxious about a new season.
Right thinking is another habit. Concerning right thinking, the Bible says in Philippians 4:8-9, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (New King James Version).
You also need to cultivate the habit or attitude of living a thankful and joyful life. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always” (New King James Version). Verse 18 says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (New King James Version). Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (New King James Version).
In Ephesians 5:19, we are urged to, “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (New Living Translation). Isaiah 12:3 says, “Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation” (New King James Version).
3. Make the best use of your current season. Whether the current season is favourable or unfavourable, make the most use of it. Don’t be fantasizing about a better tomorrow that has not come while you do nothing about today that is here. Ephesians 5:15-18 says, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (New Living Translation).
Be faithful in your current season, and a new season, a better season will come upon you. The converse is also true. The unfaithful will continue to experience a downward slide. Luke 16:10-12 says, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (New King James Version).
4. Follow divine leading, not what is trending. If you follow the trend, you may get lost; you’ll miss God’s direction for your life. God is usually not in the wind, in the earthquake, or in the fire. “Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.’ And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13 (New King James Version).
Follow the Word, not the world! The form of this world is passing away (1 John 2:17). The children of Israel were led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people” (Exodus 13:21-22 New King James Version).
Exodus 14:19-20 also talks about God leading the Israelites by the pillar of cloud. This is similar to the ministry of the Holy Spirit today. You must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Be flexible in the hand of the Holy Spirit. Don’t be conservative. Don’t keep dancing to the old beats when God has changed the music. Don’t hold on to the old when God is doing a new thing. Isaiah 43:18-20 says, “But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness for my people to come home. I will create rivers for them in the desert!” (New Living Translation).
When Jesus came to the earth, He came to establish a new order, a new covenant that would take effect upon His death. It was a new season but the religious leaders held on to the old order; they rejected Jesus and His message. In Luke 19:42-44, Jesus evaluated this wrong disposition of the Jews to Him, wept over Jerusalem, and said, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation” (New King James Version).
5. Pray with thanksgiving. To experience a change of season, pray to God for it. Pray without ceasing and pray with thanksgiving. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (New King James Version).
Psalm 95:2 says, “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (New King James Version). Psalm 100:4-5 says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (New King James Version).
If you don’t like the season you’re in now, pray to God for a new season. Zechariah. 10:1 says, “Ask the LORD for rain in the spring, and he will give it. It is the LORD who makes storm clouds that drop showers of rain so that every field becomes a lush pasture” (New Living Translation). The book of James recalls the prayer life of Elijah and how he prayed for rain not to fall – that was a change of season. And again he prayed that rain would fall and rain fell – that was another change of season.
James 5:17-18 says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (New King James Version).
Elijah’s prayer brought about a change of season. Your prayer can bring an end to a negative time and season and usher in a positive one. May this be your experience in Jesus’ name.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947