Ask the LORD of the Harvest

Ask the Lord of the Harvest…(Written last year) It’s harvest time in New England. I went to pick up my veggie share at the local farm and they have tomato plants where you can pick tomatoes when you go to the farm. The frost has mostly killed the plants but they are still laden, laden, laden with tomatoes. I went to glean as many as I could but did not make a dent in them. I could hear them calling out “pick me” (I’m joking but I almost could) but there were too many of them and only me, so far, to pick them.

Harvest time, at the end, yields a lot of abundance. At other local farms, the harvest of pumpkins and winter squash are way more abundant than can be used. Farmers pile extra produce, some with small blemishes, or in unsightly shapes into bargain bins, almost begging you to take it. Waste is sad to me. The food is grown to be enjoyed, eaten– a source of nourishment, not left to rot on the vine.

But now approaches a time for spiritual harvest also. God’s love and care for us is so great that He wants to gather us up so that none are lost. A harvest of souls is waiting like an overstocked pumpkin patch in the fields of the Lord, waiting right here in New England. But who will help them to be brought home to the Lord? Who will tell them that we are grown for a purpose, grown to bring joy and sustenance to each other and happiness to God. Some produce is more beautiful than others but who will take time to gather the bruised, the late fruit, the misshapen, the leftovers? All has worth and purpose.

Many years ago, in my senior yearbook, I wrote the verse, “Many are called, but few are chosen” underneath my senior picture. I picked that verse because I felt a sense of destiny to find my deepest purpose in God and fulfill it. So today, as I heard the unharvested tomatoes crying out to be harvested, it was not hard for me to hear the cries of souls crying out also. People are not meant to wither on the vine and die. We are meant for rich, full, purposeful lives. A young man in our town passed away unexpectedly. We do not know when our moment to pass over will come. Will we have found peace with God?

In 1734, Jonathan Edwards stewarded one of the most famous revivals in American history– a revival that changed the American landscape and history. We stand on the edge of another such time: a troubled time in our history where people are searching for meaning and hope that can only come ultimately when they are in right relationship with God and each other.

But where are the workers to midwife this? Jesus teaches on this when he says,“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:38) .

For it is surely His Harvest, and His hope that people would come out of the darkness of hopelessness into the marvelous light of the Kingdom of God. He is not willing that one should perish, that one should be sick or hurt or depressed or in need. But He has given some of that responsibility to us to partner with Him. Will we? Or are we pre-occupied with our own interests? busy with our own lives?

There is surely a clarion call being sounded, louder than the call of the wild geese migrating southward. It is time to gather the harvest of souls that is out there, waiting, clinging to the vine in hopes that their lives have some meaning, some purpose and will not be wasted. It is not just a soul here or there, but an abundant, overflowing harvest that will break our capacity to receive them unless we prepare.

Where there was no interest for God or His ways, suddenly will spring forth the Presence of God calling people home to Himself. And they will respond. So we who have known Jesus, and walked with Him, all these years through thick and thin, must get ready to gather with Him. Let nothing and no-one go to waste.

Harvesters, get ready. Get ready to help people know the Good God they never knew. The One who often has been sadly maligned and misrepresented— the Living God who is Life, and Love and Truth.

Discipleship making online classes

Want to learn more about making disciples? We encourage you to take a look here>> These classes will teach you from a biblical rather than a religious perspective and give you tools that bring people to Jesus. Gather a few friends and do them together!

Rose-Marie Slosek

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Leadership Team for FAI Emmaus Online School and Frontier Alliance International Homefront. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net

The Suffering Servant Series

This series of four articles was written by Women of the Word Board Member Rose-Marie Slosek. They were originally published by FAI and are being re-posted here with permission.

In Isaiah 42:1-4 the Scriptures read,

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles,
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break, 
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth; 
and the coastlands shall wait for His law
.

Our culture, including “church” culture does not like to talk about suffering, never mind actually experience it. This is probably more true in the Western Church where “entitlement” is expected. Human nature finds suffering by and large repugnant. We don’t want any part of it. We want to avoid it at all costs. Many in the church have been falsely taught that because of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross believers will not have to suffer. This is not what Jesus taught. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was a man of sorrows. In this series Rose-Marie beautifully explores this aspect of Jesus as the Suffering Servant and how we might enter into His sufferings with Him. You may be reluctant to read further but there is a beauty here that is worthwhile to explore and to give ourselves to as the Lord leads us. May the LORD grant us His grace as we venture in. God bless you.

Part I: Our Call to the Broken

Bearing His Name, despite our own imperfections, is our great honor. Our many mistakes are rich fodder to learn the kind heart of God firstly toward ourselves so that we can share that honestly with others. If you are thinking that is too hard a task, know that He has already addressed that handily in this passage: “He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth.” He is up for hard! He will not give up on you or His mission till the ends of the earth are brought under His just rule. Read more here>>

Part II: The Specter of Laboring in Vain

God determines where we will be dispatched and what we must speak, and this brings us to the point I wish to highlight most: we can suffer because we may believe, whether it is true or not, that we have labored in vain. Our best efforts may seem to fail. All may seem lost. Yet there is no anguish that we need to stifle in this process. We do not need to be heroic while being obedient. We are not the final judge of whether we have succeeded or failed. We stand or fall on our obedience, not on our success. Read more here>>

Part III: The Suffering Servant and the Sons of God

Jesus had to set His face like flint to accomplish the destiny God had for Him. Refusing to suffer would have cost Him the victory of His earthly race and His ability to inherit His people—not only to purchase our salvation but the right to lead us as the righteously Suffering Servant. If Jesus had to be determinedly all-in, should I expect an easier path? Read more here>>

Part IV: The Fruits and Victory of Redemptive Suffering

There is no merit in just plain suffering. In the Kingdom to come it is said that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Thankfully, the coming fullness of the kingdom of God has no suffering in it. We have, however, much that can be gained by our willingness to suffer as we minister to the pains of mankind, in general, and specifically Israel, in this age. Read more here>>

A Final Word

Take your time to prayerfully read and ponder this series. Mull it over before the Lord taking one article at a time. May the Lord lead you in His paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Maranatha!

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Teams for FAI Emmaus Online School and Frontier Alliance International Homefront. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net

The Fall Feasts

by Rose-Marie Slosek

The fall is a time of several major feasts in the Jewish calendar.  On September 9-11 of this year (2018), the Jewish Civil New Year, Rosh Hashanah (also known as the Feast of Trumpets), will be celebrated. It is the first of the “High Holy Days” and celebrates God making the world!  A shofar is blown during the service.  Giving to the needy so that one may be included in the Book of Life and have a happy year is a tradition practiced by Jewish people all over the world. 

Sweet food is eaten, such a challah bread with raisins and apples dipped in honey. The head of the fish is often served so you remember to be “the head and not the tail”– a leader instead of a follower! If you want to wish someone a happy new year you say, “L’shanah Tovah”  which means “a good year” in Hebrew.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It is scheduled ten days after Rosh Hashanah. On that day, people repent of their sins, and ask God to forgive their sins. It is called the ‘Sabbath of Sabbaths.” People fast and do not work that day so they can repent.  It is called the “Day of Atonement.” September 19th is the date this year. 

On September 24th and 25th is the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) or Sukkot. It is a time to remember God’s provision in the wilderness but also to look forward to the time when the Messiah comes and all the nations come to Jerusalem to worship God. People construct and live in hut like structures on their porches, balconies, back yards, to remember the fragility of life and to be thankful for their homes and God’s provision.  It is a time of great celebration! People gather in the sukkot structure and eat and rejoice together. This feast also has great prophetic meaning for us as believers.. Zechariah tells us that a day will come when we will go up to Jerusalem year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths (Zechariah 14: 16).

At the end of Sukkot, the Jews celebrate Shemini Atzeret where people spend an additional day with God! While Sukkot is for everyone to celebrate, only the Jews celebrate Shemini Atzeret as they celebrate the special relationship they have with God. This is celebrated on October 1st this year.  

On October 2nd is Simchat Torah.  It celebrates the conclusion of the public Torah readings for the year. People often dance with the Torah scrolls around the table where the Torah is read! In Israel Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are condensed into one day.

As Christians, we can appreciate these holy day celebrations as they often are very symbolic in nature and point to Jesus in some way.  Jesus did celebrate the Feasts and learning about them can be very enriching. 

These holidays have three parts to them:  Israel was to observe the holiday each year to remember and celebrate something God did in the past, while looking forward to some prophetic purpose hidden within each festival that is still to come!

There is often confusion as to whether Christians should or even must celebrate these festivals. Paul addresses this in the book of Colossians : Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”  (Colossians 2:16,17)

Judaizers, even modern day ones, say that we must celebrate these festivals but we have liberty to honor them or to no partake in them. They have beautiful imagery, but all things find their completeness in Christ so we are not compelled to as far as religious duty.  We can easily enjoy the symbolism and history of the festivals and contemplate their prophetic meaning. Thank God that we have a once and for all atonement of our sins in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All things have been provided by God in Christ and this is nothing that we can earn of ourselves.  However, we can take this good advice from Paul as he writes to the Corinthians : Christ our passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. “  (I Corinthians 5:7-8).

Rose-Marie Slosek is a Board Member of Women of the Word. She also blogs at Pen of the Wayfarer and is a spiritual director. She loves to travel to other nations, especially Ireland and Israel , and is an avid photographer of nature. Rose-Marie also rescues dogs and gives them a loving home.

Women of the Word is an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel. Consider joining us on the next Amazing Israel Adventure March 31 – April 11, 2019.  Trips to Israel are open to men and women.