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What are you raising?

1 Samual 7:12

Then Samual took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

I am remembering a situation at another church that had a home for homeless men. It was a ministry for those Jesus brought to this house.

There was a gentleman there who started out great. Strong. Focused. As time went on he became conflicted and fearful. He eventually left the house.

We were having a prayer meeting at the house where we were walking through and praying over the rooms, the space, the atmosphere.

A woman fell out in the spirit in this persons room. I was in a room a crossed the hall and saw an ethereal object flee through the ceiling.

The gentleman left things behind. Of which was a large plastic bag. Inside the bag were dozens and dozens of horror films. Slasher films. Films that have been produced and made public, but where about death. If I remember correctly we even found knives.

This memory takes me to the I 95 corridor and the “gentlemen club” billboards that are raised along the high way.

I think about the power of music and other media that impacts our thoughts, our mind, our actions, our heart.

What are you raising? It may seem innocent. It may seem trivial. It may seem inconsequential.

1 Thessalonians 5:21

“But test them all, and hold fast to what is good.”

Does it edify you and others? Does it glorify Jesus?

We can raise things that either strengthen us, or weaken us.

What are you raising?

Satan wants to help you. Help you stumble. Struggle. Doubt. Fear.

Jesus wants to help you live life and live it to the full, through love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer.

What are you raising?

Shiloh’s Rest

In Geniuses 49:10, Shiloh is used by Jacob in his blessing over his son Judah as a name that means Jesus.

The primitive root word for Shiloh is shalah. This means to be at rest, prosper, be quiet, be at ease.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I love you,

Jesus

It is in the finished work of the cross where we will find our rest. Jesus himself said it is finished. John 19:30

The only work of God left is to believe in Jesus. John 6:29

The truth of the matter is, once we understand the full impact of God’s grace upon our lives, though we do find rest, it gives us a drive, a motivation, a desire, to live a life that exemplifies Jesus. A life that shows others, not just by words, but also by deeds. Work. Romans 2.

It is a work that brings joy, however, because it comes from the overflow of Jesus’s work for us and through us, as He dwells in us through His Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9

What is your next step in the race? Hebrews 12:1

Maybe it is just to be still and know that He is God. Psalm 46:10

Life and lessons…

I think I’ve said this before, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve written.

In a couple months Carol Sue will be two years old! She’s already a toddler!

How is time going by so fast! Part of me wants it to slow down, but yet another does not.

With life and time together brings lessons which are so very valuable. The more I think I know, the more I realize I do not have a clue.

A major lesson for me this year has to do with the farm and the myriad of different things that “must” happen.

Our list consisted of painting pretty much everything on the property. As well as finally finishing enclosing the pole barn. Figuring out the electrical problem with the old ’49 Fergie tractor. Clearing the fallen trees off the back road. Gutters on all buildings.

So what got done.

None of it.

What did we get done:

Grass was mowed, gardens planted and maintained, animals are healthy and cared for, the immediate backyard is getting fenced in.

The lesson learned:

I firmly believe that Shiloh’s Farm belongs to Jesus and we are just the stewards of this little slice of heaven on earth. If we are paying attention to what He is saying, we will be on point with what He wants done.

The lesson: people over property.

What does this mean? It means we need to focus on the people God has given us to love and care for. If we are so busy and stressed about doing the farm chores, we miss out on being able to help others with their needs and sharing one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:2

It doesn’t even mean only sharing in their burdens, but just hanging out and enjoying the company of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Uniting in the spirit with other believers brings strength and edification. It brings much needed correction and wisdom. It allows Jesus to use others to sow into our life and us to sow into the lives of others.

It means not forgoing gathering together. This is more than just for corporate worship!

So, people over property.

It could be people over ___________.

And you fill in the blank if need be.

Shiloh’s Farm is a holy place where the Lord just doesn’t grow veggies and keeps animals. He teaches and grows us into His likeness.

Where

Where has the time gone?

Ten months. It’s been almost ten months since I’ve used this space.

Every aspect of life has continued to grow.

Family.

Squish is now a toddler. She’s an amazing little girl and is so much fun. Even at her age, to see her mimic aspects of worship when at church is heart warming. She raises her hands, cheers, and applauds. She holds our hands when we pray and bows her head. When we say “in the name of Jesus, amen” she has this huge grin and claps.

She’s climbing everything and is showing she’s going to be a tough independent strong woman if she continues in this direction.

Where would we be with out Grammy and Papa! How she loves them and their time together. They are such a loving and giving part of our lives and a true blessing.

We are actually grandparents! Oh my! To have a little granddaughter who is so tiny and wonderful. Such a full heart!

My boys…I’m so very proud of the men they have grown to be.

Marriage is amazing. Definitely not always easy, but just amazing. Being able to talk through issues and work as a couple, makes me so grateful for the work Jesus has done in our lives as individuals. It is that continued work that is foundational in the life of our marriage.

Beautiful grace…

Farm.

I have truly learned this farm does not belong to us. I used to stress about not being able to get things done around here. There is so much! But this belongs to Jesus and though we are the stewards of it, He will make a way for what He wants done, and not necessarily what I want done.

Employment

Work has been off the chain good. Being able to work with our communities and hopefully helping them to live life well is fulfilling. And having the opportunity to work with our church community is an answer to prayer.

More on the farm next. 😁

perspective…

As I sit here and contemplate the day, life, and what is going on around me, I watch our beautiful daughter sleeping.

She’s starting to stir and wake up, preparing herself for her day, none the wiser to the world and what is going on outside of her little world.

I think about my friends and family that have serious life struggles. I think about the world and the many different areas of uncertainty that loom around us. From the epidemic heroin addiction that is ravaging our society, to the never ending storms, fires, and numerous other disasters that never seem to cease making the headlines.

I think about the future our little girl has. What will be here for her? What will she have to deal with? Will she be prepared, will she be strong enough, will she live well?

I think about the Truth. I think about the Word of God. I think about my faith. I think about my position in this house.

I think about my shortcomings, my doubt, my sin.

I think about my sons, who are decades ahead of their sister.

Two words:

But God…

He is the same yesterday, today, and will be the same tomorrow.  He is unchanging in the midst of His forever changing and decaying creation.

Jesus: the way, the truth, the life. The Word made flesh. The light. Living Water. Food that sustains. He is shelter. He is our all in all, in a world that has nothing to offer towards our eternity.

There was a time in my life where I had no hope, and only pain and despair. I focused on the things of the world, money, relationships, things, all of which I have none of from years gone by. Not in the capacity they were intended anyhow.

Shiloh’s Farm has taught me so much about myself, about life, and about Jesus.

I have learned to let go of the plans that I have established, and allow God’s plan to manifest.

I have learned that we as humans constantly try and build the tower of Babel. In all things. Mostly in the way we over manage, change, manipulate, and work this thing called life around us.  We try and play god. A gross mistake.

I have learned about Jesus and that He is present everywhere in this farm. From the animals and their character, and how they are used to shape me, in the midst of my care of them. And that when we let Him work, things go much smoother, than if I try and make things work. Schedules, priorities, all belong to Him. It is my job to pay attention to what He is saying and what He is doing and to do likewise.

He has met me in His Word. He has met me in prayer. He has met me in studies.

I do not believe in coincidence, so when there is an aspect of any of theses things that positively impact my life by giving confirmation, rebuking, building up, and/or guiding, it is from Him.

So, in the midst of all of life’s uncertainties, one thing is certain:

Jesus.

 

7 mountain mandate/prophecy – dominionism

So, I’ve heard quite a bit lately and read a bit on what people are calling the 7 mountain mandate/prophecy, what ever it is to be called.

After reading Revelations 17, where the 7 mountains are mentioned, and comparing them to what people have draw up to be the 7 mountain mandate, I’ll finish this up here.

There are some people who feel that the mandate calls people into the 7 different areas of our society, as listed in the original blog post about 7 mountains. It originated out of the minds of men, to which I can not claim whether it is from God or not. It isn’t my call.

When I read about the 7 mountains the harlot sits on, I see that personally as a warning to me.

These are areas I need to guard myself against and ensure that I’m not of these areas. That, though I may be in them, there is no portion that has become an idol, a distraction, or otherwise dragging me into sin.

Essentially guarding my eye gates and my remaining senses, and not filling myself with the things of this world.

I’m grateful for my gift of grace as I live life and for my measure of faith, as I gaze upon the eastern sky, waiting for it to split and see my Savior ride in to take us home.

 

Business- mountain #2

Image result for business

Just for the record, I’m taking the different mountains in the same order as the picture.  There isn’t a priority to the order listed as I see it.

Business!

What a category that covers a lot of ground with a lot of layers.  Business as the business itself.  Business as it impacts society.  Business as it impacts employees.  Business as it impacts the boss.  Business as it impacts families. Business as it impacts you.  

Here is where foundation and focus becomes vital, because as I continue to read and study, this mountain can be more like quick sand, and suck its victims down before they even realize they are in trouble. I’m also speaking from experience.  

What is your definition of success?  And where are you placing your focus when it comes to achieving your vision?

I just read in a devo this week by Paul David Tripp, called New Morning Mercies. He stated that we either serve the creation or the creator.

What a slippery slope this can be. 

As we live this thing called life, and are called to be in this world and not of it, the business of life can be a tough one to navigate. This world is very savvy when it comes to pecking away at our psyche helping us to believe we need to keep up with our neighbors when it comes to stuff, that the more money we have the happier and easier life will be, and that new is best and old is out dated. I have such a love hate relationship with my Iphone.  If you don’t update, it seems to slow your phone down and it begins to act glitchy.  But if you do update, it takes up more space on your phone, which is limited and then there’s the apps, which is a whole different topic. Sometimes it works great, other times I’d rather have a string and tin can, and then there is the dollars and cents to not just own it, but keeping it.

Have you ever tried to take a back step from a smart phone to a older style flip phone? If you haven’t, prepare yourself for a battle between flesh and spirit!  Seriously, wow!

I’ve worked for small local business, international business, (ok, it was McDonald’s), and government. All the while trying to work out that fine balance between living life and earning what I need to live life. In my early years it was chasing the money as a means to buy me happiness.  If I made more, I’d save more, I’d have more to spend, and be able to do what I want, when I want, and the world would be mine to enjoy.

Needless to say it didn’t work out that way.  I let “my” money control me, run me, ruin me.  I filed bankruptcy, foreclosed on a home, still didn’t learn my lesson, and acquired more debt. Only by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and God placing people and processes in my life did I make it out. I learned to control my money and not let it control me. I learned that what we see, hear, and experience from this world, is not all good for me, and that less can definitely be more.

Though it’s not all bad, it just needs boundaries and perspective. 

What are we working for and whom are we working for? Keeping that perspective is powerfully important. It has taken me years upon years to learn, understand, and be comfortable with the fact I own nothing.

Jesus owns everything and gives me what I need. It is my responsibility to be grateful and take care of that He provides.

From the clothes on my back, the vehicles in the driveway, my marriage, my son and daughter, the money in the bank, the land I live on, it is all His. So when I work, I work for Him. He is my success.

All the while, hopefully leaving an impact that points to Jesus, my vision and focus.

Now this all sounds great! But I fail more than I succeed, and I have learned more and more each day how much I need the Gospel and Grace to live life well, every single day!  Literally!

With the many layers of business and the many different people and perspectives, in order to keep anything straight, Jesus needs to be the center of it all, if not we will truly loose our way. 

How do you keep Jesus at the center of your life?