"Like a shepherd He will tend His flock. In His arm He will gather the lambs; And carry them in His bosom" Isaiah 40:11 I find it completely awesome that in this world, I am totally someones. Someone to love me, cherish me, discipline me (in love), someone who will never, ever, ever, leave me. Someone who calls me His very own.
"I won't keep a list of all the things he did wrong. He will live. Do you think I take any pleasure in the death of wicked men and women? Isn't it My pleasure that they turn around, no longer living wrong but living right - really living? (18:22-23)
Sitting at the table visiting while waiting on our food, across the room a flash of white caught my eye as she exited the restroom. She was unaware of the white tail caught on the bottom of her shoe, following her. I caught up to her and quietly told her. Her face flushed as she quickly turned, head down and reentered the restroom. When she came back, her eyes scanned the room and came to rest on me, sending me a silent thank- you. She was smiling and I smiled back.
Seems at times we are all guilty of not checking our "list" at the door.
satan puts his dollop of super glue on the list and we continue to live life with it trailing behind us. Or in front of us. Depending on the circumstances, of where our focus is.
Seems at times we forget about His Grace and Mercy. How His Blood has cleansed us. Redeemed us. No longer are we the sinner we once were - when in Him.
Why ever do we choose to carry this list with us when we don't have to?
To cringe when others keep their own list of our sins? All it does is cause us to be embarrassed. To walk with our self weighed down in shame and doubt. It inhibits us from being the Warrior for Him. Who He designed us to be.
He has surrounded us with His Word. The Holy Spirit lives within and about us. His Family holds us accountable and affirms us in Love.
Listen to His Truths. They are being spoken to remind us.
It was through the gift of Adam, I realized He found me worthy enough to entrust me with such a precious little one. He opened up my eyes to see how much He loves me through the role He gave me as a mom. It was at the moment when I first held Adam and could count his fingers, his toes, gaze into his eyes He blew me away in His Awesomeness in the creation of this child who had just been in my womb. From just a seed and egg, using my body to nourish and grow him. Amazed.
I began at the moment to realize all is in His time and His way. He knew before time began I would be laying there in the hospital bed, holding the gift of Adam. Nothing is by chance.
I began at that moment to live with my eyes wide open. To bless me three times again in having the gift of a child within. Our Nichalas and two in Heaven. I began to look about and see the miracle of life in all of His creation. Perhaps that it why I enjoy the job He has given me so. Each and every day I am blown away by the beauty of His sky to the beauty of His vegetation. His animals. We humans. All whom are made in His image. I love thinking about all He has created and how it works. Each element needed. Running in a fluid motion. .
He created all from nothing.
I began at that moment to drink in His showering of Love upon me through His Son. His Word. His Family. To grow into an intimate relationship with Him. One that has and will continue on until I die.
I began at that moment to realize - He is The One True God. My ABBA.
I'll give you a new heart. I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart. Then you'll obey my statutes and be careful to obey my commands. You'll be my people! I'll be your God!(11:19-20)
It was a year ago today my cousin, Teresa, called. Her voice came through the phone lines, traveling over the miles, to share our Uncle Jim had died unexpectedly.
And instantly my heart hurt.
Throughout this past year, my mind has been remembering many, many memories of a very special man. He always had an ornery grin and delighted in seeing me. Always. I still go about my day expecting him to come walking up. He always made time to stop and chat a bit when he would see me on a job site. It is a lesson he left for many. He always made time.
The first memory I have of him is being home on leave from the Vietnam War over Christmas. He grabbed me up and threw me in the air over his head. I can still remember looking down at his grinning face, laughter bubbling out from him, as though I am looking at a photograph.
The war changed him. He didn't talk of it much, but I have heard throughout the years bits and pieces of the hell he endured. Before his marriage ended, there were two children brought into our family, Angela and Jimmie who became his pride and joy. I am so thankful for the relationship he shared with them. I am praying their memories will help their hearts during this painful time.
We just celebrated the wedding of my cousin Ryan and his new bride Haley this past weekend. What a wonderful time. Perfect weather. Great time with family. And yet, there was the sadness of not having Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Spencer with us. From two people came all of us. And even though they haven't been with us for a number of years, it is at events such as this I so miss them. As Aunt Sheryl said, they are with us through us. Through our hearts. As are the many others who have gone from this life.
I can recall many moments during my life when I thought my heart was breaking. When it laid heavy within the walls of my chest. When it felt it was near to bursting because of the joys. So many emotions are carried within this muscle the size of our fist.
"I'll give you a new heart. I'll put a new spirit in you. I'll cut out your stone heart and replace it with a red-blooded, firm-muscled heart."
Honestly, there have been many, many times I wished for a heart of stone. A heart that couldn't, wouldn't, didn't feel. It would have made enduring so much easier.
But then, when I look at the blessings which cause my heart to over runneth - I am so thankful my heart is continually being transformed into one like His. To drink in deeply His pure and perfect Love.
In having a stone heart, I wouldn't know the pain of losing those I hold dear, but I also wouldn't know the joy of loving and being loved by them.
"You'll be my people! I'll be your God!"
Our ABBA is the only one, the only way, to have a blessing during the pain. He is the only one who is able to fill the hole left by those we love in their passing. He is the only one who can mend our hearts, for He is the Great Comforter. The Great Mender. He made our hearts. He knows our hearts.
He also reminds me this place isn't what life is all about. This is only a temporary place and one day - one day - for eternity - there will be no more death. there will be no more pain. there will be no more suffering. There will only be completed and new hearts.
"Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!" So I ate it. It tasted so good - just like honey. (3:3)
Have you wondered what your passion is? What causes your heart to skip a beat, energize you, is on your mind more often than not?
What is it that causes you to find yourself constantly thinking about your ABBA?
For me - it is being in and sharing His Word.
It wasn't always this way though. I used to find His Word - aka The Bible - so boring. Wondering as my eyes fell over the scriptures, however did this relate or apply to my life? More often than not, I was skim reading - rather than searching for buried treasure.
In 1998, for reasons I can not remember, I committed to God that I would read through The Bible every year I was able, until I die. And so far, I have.
The first few years, I wasn't reading every day. One year I read the whole New Testament on New Year's Eve. There were many days I would let it sit and then pick it up for some cram skimming. It was more about "reading through" instead of "reading deep".
And then, He began to transform my heart. His Word is so powerful. So alive. Even one verse a day has the power to transform your heart as you take it in and chew on it. It sinks in and spreads throughout you - much like honey. Sticky as it covers over everything and so good for you.
I found myself yearning to meet with Him every morning. I was excited to open up my Bible and begin to search what verses He would use to speak to me. I started to insert my name throughout the scriptures, putting in dates and little notes for what was happening. I began to personalize my Bible. It has become my own Personal Love Letter from my ABBA.
"Son of man, get all these words that I'm giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own. And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, 'This is the Message of God, the Master.' Speak your piece, whether they listen or not." Then the Spirit picked me up. (3:10-12)
"But then when the time is ripe, I'll free your tongue and you'll say, 'This is what God, the Master, says: . . .' From then on it's up to them. They can listen or not listen, whichever they like. (3:27)
And now, His Word is bubbling up within me. I'm not your preacher on the corner with the bullhorn, but I can not contain Him inside. The Holy Spirit prompts me and at times His Words spill right on out, leaving me in awe of how our ABBA is able to use me.
Billy Graham upon being asked if he believed all of the Bible, responded with, "If it said Jonah swallowed the whale, I would believe it." I too have come to this point - His Word has become my essence. I now find whatever happens in my life, my brain and heart constantly come back to thinking upon Him. Through His Word I am promised the gift of Wisdom and discernment. When comparing the "me" I once was to whom I am growing into - much wiser choices.
I so want everyone to experience the results of consuming and being transformed by His Word. His Words - my passion. my love. my delight. My roadmap to Him.
"You came close when I called out. You said, ‘It’s going to be all right."(3:57)
Keeping busy helps. It helps me from thinking, counting, wishing, crying. But then there are moments of stillness and my heart is physically aching.
Aching for our Nichalas. Aching for our Amber.
How blessed I am for being in an age of modern technology, to be able to speak or even see them through Skype. How blessed I am for remembering and taking out special memories to carry me through until the next time of being together. How blessed I am to have Adam home. After having them all three gone at once, I don't take any moments for granted. My life over runneth with blessing.
But sometimes....... When it is the three of us working together at our business, the three of us when it had always been the four and now five. Watching Curt and Adam as they talk or goof around, missing the third man of our hearts. Hearing bits of conversation from Adam's end when talking to Nichalas, the missing him coming through his voice. Hearing him say, "I love you" before hanging up. Knowing they speak often and from their hearts, not superficially . Having some of our "kids" over for supper and wishing I could pick up the phone and include Nichalas/Amber.
Just being able to see them face to face and be in their presence.
Perhaps it was attending a family wedding this past weekend in which they couldn't be there. It may be the changing of the season. It may be due to all the first day of school pictures from others bringing back floods of memories with our own two when little. I imagine it is a combination of all, plus a lot more. But lately, more often than not, my heart has been hit with that deep down ache. Knowing it will be another four months, making it a total of six, before seeing them again. I try to shake it off and "buck up". Knowing there are other mom's out there who won't be seeing their children and haven't for much longer. Some I know endure the separation until meeting in Heaven. I try to keep the right perspective. To not feel sorry for myself. To see the blessings in all the lives they are touching as Warriors for our ABBA in this far away place He is using them.
Yet here now this morning, thinking about our phone conversation the other night, hearing his voice, I am trying not to cry - these darn hormones.........
And I think about how much ABBA missed His Son those three days when separated after The Cross. I think about how much His Son missed His ABBA - His Daddy.
What I am experiencing is nothing compared to what they endured.
Endured because of Love. Endured because it was the only way I could be, we could be, with our ABBA - eternally.
Blessed and thankful for this ache in my heart - as it is a reminder of just how much my ABBA loves and desires me.
Because the all of Him desires to wrap His arms around me as we look face to face. To be in my presence. To "come close when I call out."
To be near and whisper in my ear, "It’s going to be all right."
"I said to myself, "This is it. I'm finished. God is a lost cause." It's a Good Thing to Hope for Help from God. I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all - oh, how well I remember - the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on Hope: God's Loyal Love couldn't have run out, His Merciful Love couldn't have... dried up. They're created new every morning. How great Your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly Hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst. Why? Because The Master won't ever walk out and fail to return. If He works severely, He also works tenderly. His stockpiles of Loyal Love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way"(3:18-33)
I can remember numerous times just wanting to die, but it was the vast, stark, aloneness that is most vivid. A black void within my being. The place of "nothingness".
I don't ever want to return to that place. I don't want to forget either.
He has brought me from the bottom of nothingness - to Him. He has filled me within, throughout, every bit of me. No longer do I feel the aloneness, but there are times I feel the heaviness and hardness of life pressing in on me. The fingers of "nothingness" trying to grab hold of me and pull me down.
He has taught me that is when I need to fall down on my knees before Him. My head in His Lap, His Word coming from within my heart and drowning out the lies of doubt, which are trying to pull me under the waters of life.
He has and is showing me, I must be stripped bare, down to nothing, to become all He has made me to be. He must dress me in His Truths, so when I look into His mirror, it is His beloved I am seeing, not the destructive view of self or others.
He has taught me His Standards are what I desire to live my life by. His unconditional Love is what I sink my feet into, curling my toes up and gripping in hard. He is my hope when all feels hopeless. He has transformed my life, my whole being, into His Treasure.
He burned the Temple of God to the ground, went on to the royal palace, and then finished off the city. He burned the whole place down. (52:13)
I was thinking the other day about how hard my man works. All of his life, it has been hard physical labor. As far as material wealth, nothing was pretty much in our cup when we started our journey together. We are both blown away today at how much our ABBA has blessed us. We still work hard, but the reasons have changed.
Everything we have is His.
Nowadays we throw in the towel if overcome due to the heat or exhaustion. I know just a few years ago we would have sweltered through. But it seems now we call it a day and pick up tomorrow (or whenever) where we left off. ABBA has brought to our attention no matter how hard you work for stuff - everything depreciates. All about the landscapes are many vacant homes, rusted out vehicles. Graveyards full of bodies. Bodies that are but dust and the stuff that is in the caskets, rotted away.
Each time I get into my truck I am reminded of the day I was standing at the back of it in our driveway, checking to see if all we needed was there for the work day ahead. Curt was loading up the tractor and mower onto the trailer attached to his truck. In only a matter of seconds the truck brake didn't hold and everything started to roll back down our drive. Rapidly picking up speed, because our drive is really a hill. Curt jumped off the tractor, over the side of the trailer, ran up and climbed into the cab. He didn't make it in time before it slammed into the front of my truck, pushing it down the drive as well.
As I came towards him, he was tearing himself down with the angry words flowing from his mouth. He finally heard me say, "It was an accident. Thank The Lord, no one was hurt or killed". Our eyes were opened to how much our lives could have changed in that moment. How easily he could have slipped or tripped jumping over the rails of the trailer onto the drive. How easily he could have been run over, pinned in, killed.
It is only a truck.
ABBA has transformed our hearts into working for Him rather than the world. To opening our eyes to the fact - this is His business. We are his workers.
It is only a truck.
In a way only He could do, when we become less in working for Him, we are filled up completely. With Him. Much as He did as a cloud in the Temple.
But when you are working for self or stuff - the void is never filled.
It is only a truck.
I ask you - what are you working hard for?
The harder you work at this empty life, the less you are.(51:58)
"God's Decree - "they'll look high and low for a sign of Israel's guilt - nothing; Search nook and cranny for a trace of Judah's sin - nothing." (50:20)
I love this promise. This promise for me. For you. Because from the moment when we are "in" Christ. When we have repented. Turned around and are continually striving to give our hearts, our minds, our actions, our words to Him. Sins - all of them - past, present, future - are forgiven. Covered in His Grace and Mercy.
satan wants nothing more than for us to believe otherwise. he, or others, even ourselves, continually throw up into our face the sins we have committed. It's our choice in what to do with these attacks. We can pick up the sins and envelop ourselves within the world of doubt, the darkness, ugliness, unwanted.
We can stand in and on His Promise.
Instead of wallowing in shame and regret, we can look at our past sins as a milestone. A milestone of where our ABBA has brought us from. A milestone He has used for His Glory. A milestone of when He came in and shone His Light, removing all our guilt through The Blood of our Savior.
"The" milestone where He was showing just how much He loves us.
Whether we like it or not, we'll do it. We'll obey whatever our God tells us. (42:6)
I have been asking myself what prayer do I offer up persistently?
At first, I couldn't really think of anything. You see, I am a "drive by" prayer warrior. When someone or something is brought into my focus, I lift them or that up. Curt on the other hand is the persistent prayer warrior. He is very consistent to offer up the same issues every night. What relief in casting aside any quilt or shame when recognizing this is how ABBA created me. To know without doubt "In the same way The Holy Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray, to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning's too deep for words;(Romans 8:26)
His requirement is I pray from my heart. To be completely transparent and genuine in my conversations with Him. He desires - desires - the whole of me. And my time.
On my knees this morning though, He gave me a smile.
As I was praying to Him, He had me realize my persistent prayer - not only in the morning hours, but those throughout the day and at times in the middle of the nights.
I am a woman after God's own heart. Growing and becoming all He has created me to be. I am also a woman who struggles in giving up "self" to obey Him - no matter what. What a blessing He gives me in seeing He is cleansing me and how far He has brought me to override guilt and shame.
In Him I am redeemed. I am covered in His Grace and Mercy.
Getting there - praying my persistent prayer...... "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way." (Psalm 139:23-24)
Search Me O God by Matt Slick
These are perhaps some of the most poignant words in the entire Bible. In these two verses there is so much. We see the Psalmist asking God to search him--to look to the deepest part of what he is--his own heart. Why would the Psalmist ask this? And, why would any of us ask it? The reason is simple. We cannot know our own hearts as well as God can. He indwells us, knows every thought, is aware of every feeling, and He understands us better than we do. If we ever needed anyone to reach down in the depths of our hearts to find out what is unholy so that it can be removed, it is God.
David is the psalmist. David is asking God to prove, to test his loyalty because he is not like the wicked men spoken of earlier in the Psalm. David desired God and God's Holiness.
When God asked Solomon what he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom; and because he did not ask for money, and power, or fame, God blessed him with all of them. Wisdom was a great thing to have. Nevertheless, Solomon fell into idolatry in his later years; and his wisdom did not help him in the end.
By contrast, David said, "One thing I have asked from The Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of The Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of The Lord, and to meditate in His Temple." (Psalm 27:4). Even though David committed adultery, murdered Bathsheba's husband, and used deception to cover his great sins, God, who knew this would happen, said of him through Samuel, "The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His People..........(1 Samuel 13:14). There was a quality in David that pleased God. What was that quality? It was David's heartfelt desire for The Lord.
You need to know this because it will help you to understand the intimacy that David sought with God which ultimately led him to ask God, "know my heart." David seeks God in the most intimate place and asks Him to examine him there. David asks God to see if there is any hurtful way in him--in the deepest part of his being. David was being vulnerable.
Is there any hurtful way in your heart? Would you be able to ask God to search your heart down to the deepest levels and reveal to you the secrets that not even you know are there? Would you trust God enough to ask Him to expose and root out of you that which is displeasing to Him? Do you have the courage to bow your knees, to lower your head, to lay prostrate before God, and to become as vulnerable as you can to Him as you ask Him to look into your heart to see if there's anything bad in there and to deal with it accordingly? Such a request grows out of humility as well as increases humility. It is the ultimate trust in God. It can be scary. But it is definitely good.
-He asked to be led by God in the everlasting way. This means to be corrected and sanctified by God's loving hands.
David did not know The Messiah since Jesus was far distant in the future. But David knew The Messiah would come. You, on the other hand, know the everlasting way--if you know Christ as your Savior. Jesus, who is God in flesh, who died on The Cross and rose from the dead bodily, is The Everlasting Way. Therefore, for you to be led by God in The Everlasting Way is to be led to Christ.
I remember the first time I really picked up on this verse. "The problem " - as God gave Habakkuk to see it.
It went right to my heart. "The problem" - isn't the problem itself.
"The problem" - is me.
I have often taken "The problem" as God gave me to see it and looked at it through my own eyes, instead of His. I have often taken my focus off of my ABBA and turned it onto me. I have often stopped looking at people, things, events, happenings as Divine Appointments. An opportunity for His Glory to shine through.
That is the point of the real problem - I begin to take "The problems" - personal.
ABBA has been hitting me over and over the head - life is not all about "me". It's about Him and how He needs "me" to be - for His Glory - not my own.
It is when I see the world through His eyes I am able to truly enjoy freedom in The Fruits of The Spirit. He enables me to endure all which is heaped upon me. Through His eyes I am able to see the blessings through "The problems".
I am able to see a rainbow in the midst of a storm. Any storm. I smile as I think about all the blessings He continually rains down upon me throughout the storms.
There are rainbows upon rainbows.
"I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God!
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. "(3:18-19)
He lived the way God wanted. He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to either left or right. (2 Kings 22:2)
I pray we are all leaving footprints of "whose" we are - His.
Living "the way God wanted.
Leading others to Him.
Keeping straight on the path blazed by their ancestor David, not one step to either left or right."
With one blow You split the sea in two, You made mincemeat of the dragon Tannin. You lopped off the heads of Leviathan, then served them up in a stew for the animals.
With Your Finger You opened up springs and creeks, and dried up the wild floodwaters.
You own the day,
You own the night;
You put stars and sun in place.
You laid out the four corners of earth, ...shaped the seasons of summer and winter.(Psalm 74:12-17)
It doesn't matter the circumstance. the situation. the celebration. the sorrow.
"Pray for us - pray hard! - to the Master, our God." (37:3)
There are times when we are so not able to do anything - other than pray. When our words ring out hollow. When our actions aren't enough. When we can't be the one to "fix it", protect, or keep safe. There are times when the evil in this world rears up its ugly head and we realize just how very small we are. When it is just "us".
There aren't any contest regarding who says the best prayer. All our ABBA wants and desires is for us to share our hearts with Him. Even when we are unsure of the words to use. The Holy Spirit within us knows. He leads me to lift up others to Him.
I rejoice in hearing of those being baptized, I may not know each one personally, but I pray for the new members of His Family. I pray The Holy Spirit will continue to grow and lead them. I pray they will take His lead. I pray for their passion and love for God to only grow deeper and stronger roots. I pray for their Faith in Christ to remain firmly implanted within their heart and shine out for others to see and desire for themselves. I pray for His hedge of protection to be about them, their families and friends. satan is on the warpath - angry as all get out and he will be - without doubt - attacking any which way there is.
I mourn for those who are in pain. I may not know each one personally whom I hear of, but I pray for them. I stand in awe of those whose eyes are never torn from ABBA - no matter the pains they are enduring. Their faith, their putting their hearts into His care.
There is such power as we bathe one another in prayer. It is through and with His Family I am growing in Him. I learn and see so much of His Word come alive as "we" do battle - together. I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of this treasure. I couldn't imagine life without His Family. It is through ABBA and His Family we are able to rise up above the ugly head of satan. For "in" Him - "we" are bigger. " we" are stronger. And yes, "we" are on the winning side.
So many are celebrating, hurting, struggling, looking.
So many I can not live day to day life with, but I am able to pray for. Prayer - it is our "lifeline" to and from our ABBA. I am just reminding you don't loose heart. "Pray for us - pray hard! - to the Master, our God."
"The last word is, I will have mercy on them" (33:26)
I think about how gentle rains give the earth another drink of water. All the plant life opens up to receive this precious gift of life, storing the abundance for the dry days ahead.
Much as I do, when studying and taking in His Word.
How His Word has become a part of my daily essential needs so I may grow and become more like Him. So He may shine through me.
Continually striving. Less of me. More of Him.
I love rainy days.
Actually, I love rain. storms. wind. The cloud display on His magnificent canvas.
I love the sound of rain hitting our rooftop. Knowing I am covered from the elements. But there are also times, when working in the heat and the rains come on unexpectedly, I stand out in the open and let His refreshment cover me. Washing me free from the dirt and grime I have accumulated throughout the job. Cooling me down and refreshing me.
There are times when I stomp through a puddle. Hold my face upright and drink in the drops falling from the sky. When I laugh in delight.
I love His rain.
His rain is always a visible reminder to me of how He pours down upon me His Love.
How thankful I am in knowing our ABBA has "The last word".
"God, being rich in mercy,... even when we were dead through our sins, made us alive together with Christ".(Ephesians 2:4)
What an Awesome ABBA we have. How much He loves us.
Praying you enjoy "His Rains" coming down upon you. Always.
God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! (31:3)
What a great reminder this beautiful Friday (and every other day)!
Yesterday while mowing on our last job, my mower made a horrific sound and just stopped. When I got off to look, I could see a hole in the side of the motor along with a crack on top and oil running everywhere. It appeared a rod had been thrown. Even though Curt does monthly maintenance in changing the oil and filter, this motor decided to end its days with only 1500 hours under its belt. And after the warranty had expired.
We towed it over and loaded it up using our other mower and I then continued on finishing up the job. Curt made a phone call to our local dealer and lined up the purchase for a new one this morning.
Curt said it seems we work harder and then just as we are getting ahead, another major set back. I am trying to find the blessings amongst the frustration.
It was a blessing it happened on our last job. We have two mowers and I could finish up the job. It happened on a Thursday and we are able to be up and running today instead of Monday our heaviest mowing day. We are able to write this very large check for a needed piece of equipment and not make a trip to the bank for a loan. Or sell off a member of our family. To recognize this is our ABBA's business and He can handle the inflation of four thousand dollars since the last purchase. The reality of all is it is out of our hands, so why not put it into His.
Of knowing this will pass and all will go back to routine.
There are times when life is thrown a loop. When what we have planned out, just doesn't happen. Or ABBA changes up our path in getting there. For what ever reason. Only He is able to see the whole paradigm. Only He knows what is ahead and being His Beloved, He has laid out the best plan for me.
I have to have faith.
satan wants nothing more than for me to focus on the things which bring us down, causing us to doubt. To tear our eyes off our ABBA and become consumed by the worry. To miss out on the blessings ABBA rains down upon us as we walk through this world.
If I had of allowed myself to be consumed by this new turn of events in the business, it would have prevented me from enjoying a wonderful evening with Curt, Adam and Ashley. We ate at the annual dinner First Farm Credit puts on, a game of free put-put and then watching the guys play ball. If I allow myself, I could let all the rains of life ruin the parade of living He has placed me in.
There is so much more to this life.
All the moments of "sitting on pins and needles" is such a waste of time. How often am I this way in my living life becoming anxious about the unknown outcomes, the "what if's", and take my focus off of Him? Of His being in complete and total control? How many moments do I waste, instead of enjoying the moment which only comes once? I mean - really - all we need to know is His reminder, over and over, in His Word -
"God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!"
"I'll take over and gather what's left of My sheep, gather them in from all the lands where I've driven them. I'll bring them back where they belong, and they'll recover and flourish." (23:3)
They were on the cart, shriveled up from lack of water. Sitting in the full sun, when semi-shade was what the label called for. Upon closer inspection, I could see there were small, new leaves as the plants were struggling to survive. 75% off was the value placed on these castoffs. If not purchased, they will then go into the dump.
I spent most of the daylight hours planting these castoffs after watering them for a week, trying to get them a little stronger in their pots before setting them in the ground. They have now become part of the landscape vision He has given me for across our drive. So far, none of them have bit the dust and some are even producing new blooms.
How this effort has taken a toil on my body! Sore is an understatement as muscles I haven't used for awhile are screaming out in protest. Thankfully, I am able to even smile as I find a need to readjust how I bend - or not bend - due to the knees. More than once I sent up a prayer for some of the energy, flexibility, and stamina I once had. To be able to put into a days work all I used to be able to. And to work until the sun went down. This night I was watching the sun sink down over the hill from my couch - showered and ready for bed.
Planting "castoffs" continually reminds me of how He has taken and transplanted me into His care. He took my shriveled up soul and now it is flourishing.
What the world deemed as having no value, no worth, He gave His only Son to save.
My pains are nothing compared to the pains He endured to make sure I would be firmly planted in an everlasting way to continually bloom for Him.
Working in His nature is one of my favorite ways to spend time.
It constantly reminds and draws me closer to Him.
It is my praying, therapy, cleansing, growing time.
No longer a castoff, I am so thankful and blessed to be a woman after His own heart.
"And I'll give them a heart to know Me, God. They'll be My people and I'll be their God, for they'll have returned to Me with all their hearts." (24:7)
I laugh out loud in delight at the number of this chapter and verse - 24:7.
what a great reminder for us 24/7!
But God, a most fierce warrior, is at my side.(20:11)
Warfare. The constant state of His children living on this earth.
"Most fierce warrior".
What comes to your mind when you read this name for your ABBA? One who loves, desires - you - more than anything. One who gave His only Son - for you - to be with Him eternally - if you choose to be His. One who conquered the grave - fought death - and won. For you. One who gives eternal life - beyond this world - our temporary place of living life. Eternal. With Him. You.
ABBA has a way of putting things in perspective.
IF we listen to Him.
When we are in the midst of battle, at times it is hard not to be overwhelmed and we take our focus off of Him. We then begin to see battles as "Goliath's" and believe they are bigger than our ABBA. We think we are fighting this war alone.
I think about men like Hitler. Just an ordinary man who rose to power slowly and steadily. Never thought of as a threat by many. Never thought he would direct such evil in the world. Such an example to see how satan works.
So often, we think we can overcome the "little sins" on our own. We can't. A sin is a sin.
Each and every sin is a foothold for the evil one.
They will all snowball into an avalanche, if we don't eradicate them from the get go.
If we try to do battle on our own.
If we don't follow His lead, putting on each and every day His armor He provides for us.
If we don't allow Him to be in control of our life.
What comfort in knowing - He is bigger than any "Goliath".
For God, a most fierce warrior, is at my side.
THE most Fierce Warrior. IS at my side. at your side.
"But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They're like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers -
Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season (17:7-8)
What a beautiful word picture of His family.
I so love looking about and seeing all His Fruits dropping from the ones I love in Him.
How blessed I am to be in and of His Forest, in this lifetime.
He is the great "I AM". Our Great "I AM" My Great "I AM".
Praying you enjoy this beautiful cool Monday and all days you are given.
Putting down roots in His River of Life while bearing His Fruits.
All this is nothing compared to you, O God. You're wondrously great, famously great.(10:6)
There are times when I pick up doubt.
One of those times has involved Blog Through The Word.
Some time ago I was..........um..........attacked.
That's a pretty good word.
Attacked in regard to my writings. The attack caused me to pick up doubt. I began to wonder if I was wasting time. If perhaps the words flung at me were truth, if I should stop.
And then my laptop started to act up. Was this a sign? There have been times when I have written and everything will freeze up. Or the computer will refresh all on its own and the words typed are no more. There are times when it only "acts up" when writing on this page and otherwise is running in top form.
I love how "wondrously great" our ABBA is. How He knows me intimately inside and out. How He knows exactly what was needed for me to drop "doubt" and turn away from the attack.
How He has transformed my heart into seeing through His eyes (most times) and not taking some words personal (most times). How He uses others in His family to reaffirm I am glorifying Him, not only about this fb page, but other areas in my journey of life when I pick up "doubt". The words of affirmation have come face to face, through notes, through words of other persons which have gotten back to me. I do struggle with the approval of others, but not as much as I used to. I am now more often listening for His Words speaking through them.
I love knowing He is greater than any obstacle satan will use to try and trip me up or stop me as "I go and make disciples" in my daily walk. No matter what "tool" I am using. I love how all things are used for His Glory - even my attempt of sharing my passion to lead people to be in His Word daily. Without any doubt, I am so humbled to be used by Him.
There are times, even though I am speaking in truth events which have occurred, I am doing so in a malicious way.
It is during these moments I am wanting bad things for some. I am wanting to hurt others as they have hurt me.
It is amazing how quickly satan has self pride right there on a serving platter and I dish it right up.
It is amazing how quickly the ricochet process begins.
"Ricochets are a hazard of shooting because the bullet that ricochets poses a danger of causing collateral damage to animals, objects, or even the person who fired the shot. In rare cases, ricochets can return to the shooter".
My words of malice will and do return, causing my heart to become bitter and angry. My vision becomes so intent on "self" it distorts words I hear. It becomes no longer just one person, it becomes numerous ones, from whom I begin taking many things said personal.
Because I am taking my eyes off of ABBA.
It is then my life becomes obsessed with the "wrongs" done to me. I begin to feel it is my responsibility to have revenge. To defend myself. To expose the hidden.
Self-pride will create the heart into an ugly monster.
Thankfully, my ABBA takes the bull by the horns and holds me accountable. My love for Him brings me to my knees in confession. He gives me strength to ask those I speak against for forgiveness. He gives me strength to forgive them. I have found this only works when I allow Him to break my self-pride. Only then, am I able to have a Christlike reaction regardless of others actions. It is only through ABBA I am able to pray for them and love them.
He has also led me to pray I will become like "water on a duck's back", when I am attacked. He has shown me, it isn't me they are attacking, but Him.
This process of change He has and is doing within my heart, has brought me so much closer to Him. It has given me a freedom. A freedom I wouldn't exchange for anything.
How amazing is He! He who can transform the ugly heart into His beauty. So love loving my ABBA.
"Plow your unplowed fields, but then don't plant weeds in the soil! (1:3)
Being a farm girl, I love how I can visualize and relate to the study regarding the parable of the seed and the soils. Yesterday, ABBA gave to me the word "husband". In looking up the different definitions, I discovered it also means "tiller of soil". While reading through different sites on "tilling your heart" yesterday, I came across this article (which goes well with the words He spoke to me today!) Pray you enjoy.
Tilling, Sowing, and Fertilizing Scripture by Ed Cyzewski
The fields in my southern Vermont valley are still damp from the March snow melt. Streams running down the sides of mountains remain swollen, and the Battenkill River licks over its banks as it rushes toward New York state.
As the ground thaws over the coming month it will soon become possible to turn the earth. With a few consecutive days of sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures the farmers will start up their tractors and plow their fields.
It's lovely to see freshly turned soil where yellow, barren stalks once stood from the previous year's harvest. Whether living in Pennsylvania, Indiana, or Vermont, the sight still does something to me-there's a wonderful anticipation in that act. Soon the farmers will be sowing seeds, waiting for the corn and soy beans to emerge. As for myself, I'll be turning over chunks of dirt in our own garden, mixing in leaves and compost, looking forward to patches of lettuce, sprawling tomatoes, and hopefully, heads of garlic if all has gone according to plan this past winter.
There isn't a lot of life there yet. Nothing is sprouting from the ground. However, everything I do in the coming months will have a profound influence on the health of this summer's crop. And that brings me to reading scripture.
More often than not the act of reading scripture each day feels like the hard work of tilling a garden, hauling compost, and sowing tiny seeds. I think we sometimes set ourselves up for disappointment by expecting miracles to happen, angels to descend, or the Holy Spirit to drop in as we read these sacred words. Many times Bible study feels like, well, study.
It's not unreasonable to expect God to use scripture in powerful ways, and there are times when words jump off the page and into our lives, bringing renewal and the life of God. However, in the grand scheme of things, I think that reading scripture is a way that God tills the stiff, barren soil of our lives, sows words of life, and then, whether immediately or later, those words will sprout with power and relevance. In other words, we read scripture to get the life of God within us so that the Holy Spirit can water them and bring about new life. It may happen right away, but oftentimes we end up waiting for the benefits to become apparent.
Just as a farmer must always till, plant, and harvest every year, we have the same responsibility to continue reading scripture, sowing new seeds, and allowing God to raise up new life. When we least expect it, the seeds of scripture sown into our lives will be brought to life by the Holy Spirit.
Whether in my garden, at work, or in town, I have been noticing a powerful connection between the amount of scripture I read and my daily connection with God. God is bringing up stories, verses, and words as I pray throughout the day. It feels like the Bible comes alive in those moments, bearing fruit in ways I could have never anticipated.
The Holy Spirit is at work in our prayer lives and in our reading of scripture; however we sometimes must dedicate time to the hard work of letting scripture till and take root as we read it daily. We may not see the benefits right away, but if we can keep up with it, the harvest will be tremendous.
Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He'll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. (Zeph 3:17)
I can remember a few years ago, sitting on a dock listening to the sound of His water. Waves were gently lapping against the shoreline behind me, birds chirping here and there. A boat motor occasionally in the mix, but mostly just the sounds of the water. The water level at the time was very low due to the drought and areas were being exposed that hadn't been in years. I thought about the mark the water line had left over time, a scar on the surface, erosion exposed which couldn't be seen before.
ABBA had made me aware I had been in high water for a number of months. That emotionally I had been being hit over and over again by the waves of life and then a drought came along and exposed what I thought I had hidden. My emotional state was fragile.
It was more than having our sons move out, one get married, the not seeing them on a regular basis. It was the dealings with life. It was about seeing the passage of time. Of growing older. The body changes, not able to deny I am growing older. Little things - like trying to climb up into the boat and not having the strength in my hips to do so. Resorting to using a ladder.
Of being so busy in the day to day and then shocked to find what age I am actually at. Of how much time has passed. It was coming face to face to the fact, I am on the downhill side of this journey in life and was still trying to find my place.
It isn't that I am afraid of death - I know where I will be going - with Him. I am grateful for each new day He gives me. I am sad though that this life - a life full of blessings - is so quickly passing. I am trying not to have regrets - sadness - living in the past. But still, I yearn for yesterdays at times. Summertime is the season of seeing all the young families, constantly reminding me of all the fun we had when the boys were little. To pray God willing we will one day make memories with grandchildren.
There are times when I am a little out of sorts, not knowing where my place is. Does that make sense? So many years of my life had been filled with being mom, There was a hole in my heart, a sadness. A part of me felt as though it were missing. I felt as though I had experienced a death and was in mourning. The death of childhood for my children.
I know He is using me in many other ways, but "mom" was one of my main roles. It is at times very difficult to know how/when to mom to grown up sons. When to keep my mouth shut/open, when to offer help/or not. Learning to share "ours" with other families. Standing back and watching them do life on their own, at times without me.
He has opened my heart to "stop counting" what I didn't/don't get and instead count the numerous blessings I do receive. He has reminded me over and over to sit back and wait on His time, His being in control, His way prevailing.
"My God is present among me, a strong Warrior there to save me. Happy to have me back, He'll calm me with His love and delight me with His songs."
Throughout all of my journey - He has/is here with me.
My strong Warrior - stronger than anything/anyone that comes into my path.
And He is happy - after the early years of being away, I came back. I walk with Him.
I sat there and listened to the music of His waters, calming with His love. I listened to the birds singing - delighting me with His songs.
No matter where/what I am going through - He is with me.
He lived the way God wanted. He kept straight on the path blazed by his ancestor David, not one step to either left or right. (2 Kings 22:2)
It seems this past year, too many times we have been standing in line, watching the pictures on the screen, as we waited our turn to share a tear, a hug, a word of love and encouragement. In each of these precious photos I have caught a glimpse of a man or woman of God living life. The candid shots are always my favorite. Each one catches the silly side of each person. The serious side. The smiles with their loved ones. The depth and passion they shared with others and for living life. One of my favorites was of a couple taken just before his funeral, outside by a fence, their lips locked in an embrace. Each time, in each line, I have looked over at my man standing there beside me and prayed we would have the same love, devotion, passion in the years to come.
Even now as I remember, the pictures continue to touch my heart.
Although there isn't a "perfect family", I am so thankful when I see the fruits of persons of God. I rejoice for them in getting to know what a Godly husband, wife, parent is. What a blessing so many He has put into my life who come to mind have been in this world of sin. My heart is reminded upon seeing so many others coming to pay their respects at the visitations or funerals whom the busyness of life keeps us apart from. I am reminded in how His Love is shared through His family. Of the hope that prevailed through the sadness, knowing these precious souls are with our ABBA.
His Word spoke to me today, reinforcing me.
We are to be His Vessel.
We are, through ABBA, to harvest many souls.
Each person we encounter.
Each person who is listening or watching from afar.
We are to live each breath for Him.
For we are much like each of the pictures on the different screens.
Someone is capturing us living life through the lens of their eyes, as they watch how we walk in our journey.
I pray we are all leaving footprints of "whose" we are - His.
"Living "the way God wanted. Keeping straight on the path blazed by their ancestor David, not one step to either left or right."