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Just dropping by ... God’s cycle of love and learning

Yevet Tenney Published on 20 November 2012

Once again the gold, scarlet and orange leaves flutter to the ground, leaving the trees stark and bare against the blue sky.

The dates on the calendar fly as quickly as the hour changes on a digital clock. Yesterday was New Year’s; Valentine’s sped past in a flurry of hearts, followed by shamrocks and Easter eggs; then flags and fireworks flashed in the sky and were replaced by turkeys, ghosts and Christmas lights. All are gone into the sealed files of yesterday. I wonder where it all went.

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Of all of the holidays, Thanksgiving is my favourite time of the year because it isn’t heralded in with a big fanfare of commercialism.

Of course, the turkey and autumn-leaf plates, table decorations, and the sample menus appear, almost hidden among the skeletons and jack-o-lanterns of Halloween.

Thanksgiving is a time to reach into your heart and reflect on freedom and the blessings of the past. It is a time for prayer and renewing.

It is a time to prepare your heart for the true meaning of Christmas and get your mind ready for the New Year which will march in on “wings of lightning.”

Thanksgiving reminds me of the never-ending cycle of the seasons, yet it also reminds me that the flowers of spring and the towering grandeur of summer are gone and winter’s ice is not far away.

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We live our years in cycles of seasons and so do we live our lives. My autumn time is here and I wonder when the snows of winter will flutter into my life.

I wonder if I got it right. Did I fulfill my mission in life? Did I do what God sent me here to do? My life can practically be summed up in one sentence.

I was born, grew up, went to college, taught school, wrote a few plays and articles, married, raised a family and here I am.

What have I really accomplished? What have I really learned? I have gathered treasures. In all my living, I learned that God really lives and that He knows and loves me as well as every individual person on the face of the earth.

How do I know that? I have felt the touch of His gentle hand guiding my life and I have heard the soft whisper of His spirit in my heart.

Did you know God has a cycle of love that helps us grow and learn that He really does exist? I discovered it years ago and have intermittently put it into practice.

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Why didn’t I do it all the time? Distractions come and adversity shakes the tree – but that is all part of it. How else would we grow?

I am not sure where the cycle starts but it is as evident as the seasons. His cycle of love includes experiences in building faith, learning to pray, overcoming adversity and being filled with gratitude and the desire to improve toward God.

We were sent to earth to learn how to become like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, beings who are infinitely filled with goodness, mercy and charity.

Like every loving father, God wants His children to grow up in wisdom and intelligence. If God makes every decision and shapes every circumstance for His children, there is no individual growth.

So He gave the world opposition and adversity – and blessed His children with the power to choose good or evil. He gave them early prophets who wrote the revelations and commandments of God.

They included good and bad experiences of those who followed and those who chose not to follow the path. We call the writings of the prophets the holy scriptures. God gave man something to have faith in.

As we exercise faith in the teachings of the scriptures, we learn to pray. Prayer is an expression of our faith in what the scriptures have taught.

We prove our faith by putting into practice the principles we are taught in the scriptures, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, and charity suffers long and is kind,” for example.

Faith is not a one-time experience. It is a lifetime of trust and learning. It is relying upon God’s word and trusting that He in His infinite wisdom will never let us down.

The mustard seed of faith spoken of in the scriptures grows much like the tree, a little bit at a time. We must nourish it with the sunlight of prayer and scripture study and the water of doing the works of God.

As we learn to pray, we must not be surprised if we have adversity. Adversity is simply testing the mettle of our soul. It allows us to answer the question: “Do I really believe in God’s mercy? Do I really believe and trust His wisdom?”

Without adversity, how would we ever know if we truly had faith or not? Adversity is a time to align our wills with God’s. In order to do that, we must get a few “no” answers. If we only got “yes” answers, we would probably miss our mission in life.

It is like driving down a road with a trusted companion who has traveled the road before. If we are about to take a wrong turn, the trusted traveling companion would say, “No, that is not the right turn.” You don’t ask “why” – you simply trust him. C.S. Lewis, in a time of great adversity said, in effect, “I am not praying to change God’s will; I am praying to make His will my will.”

The next part of the cycle of God’s love is learning to express gratitude. Gratitude is essential to the cycle of learning because it allows you to tell God you trust Him and you are on board with His directions for your life.

It is this faith-feedback that gives God a chance to send down His warm-fuzzies from Heaven through the Spirit. When we express true gratitude for the things God has given us, we feel His sweet love sweep over us.

We are humbled at His power to bless our lives and we are filled with desire to learn and feel more of His goodness. This works even in times of great adversity.

I have been taught that those who “receive all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious and the thing of this earth will be added unto him a hundredfold, yea more.” When God is in the passenger seat holding the map, we will never go wrong. We will get and keep what we truly desire.

Desire is the last part or the first part of the cycle. With cycles you never are quite sure where they begin or end – but desire is an important part of the cycle.

The Lord will give us what we truly desire. C.S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the world – those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘Thy will be done.’” If you argue with an experienced traveler who knows the way, sometimes he/she will say, “Go ahead, have it your way.” You end up traveling miles and miles out of your way, because you insisted upon being right instead of being humble. That is the way it is with God.

If God will give us what we desire, then it is important to desire the right things because those are the things God wants for us and that is where the blessings are.

How do we know our desires are right? We go through some adversity or a heartfelt longing to let us know we need more than what we have.

That takes us back to the beginning of the cycle. We have faith that God has given information to his prophets. We go to the scriptures and search.

We ask God if what we are reading and thinking is true and we thank Him for His answers. His love washes over us and we know what we desire is right.

If we do not feel that wonderful feeling of love and warmth wash over us, and we are still confused or we feel a feeling of rebellion or selfishness rise in our hearts, maybe the answer is, “No.” Then we are back to the beginning of the cycle.

God has many ways of answering prayers. Sometimes it is through the words of someone else. Sometimes it is through a dream or an experience.

We must wade through adversity – search, pray and ponder with a fervent desire to do His will and take time often to express gratitude, not just at Thanksgiving or in times of crisis. We will find how God talks to us individually as we opt into His cycle of love and learning and will be blessed with a lifetime of His love and direction.  PD

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