Friday, July 14, 2017

When the weeds grow...


Summer in Iowa means many things, but on the farm it tends to mean work. And if we're teachable that work can create learning opportunities...not just for my children, but me as well. Today was one of those days.

I took my husband lunch while he was cultivating and instantly some lessons from the past came to mind. I've shared a few here before: Time to Cultivate, The Cultivator, and When Cultivating is Not Enough. These are important lessons to remember, but God had a new one for me as well.

Job's cultivated this field in the past and he's worked to control the weeds, but yet they still grow. Can you say the same about your heart? Have you removed sin only to have it grow back? Have you pulled out the root of bitterness only to have a new one grow?

Friend, those may not be fun questions to answer, but they are ones we must not avoid. As I waited for Job to come back across the field, I couldn't help but notice the contrast between the cultivated and non-cultivated rows of beans. The picture isn't real clear, but it's obvious change happens after the cultivator passes. As I looked at this, my morning Bible reading from earlier in the week came back to mind.

One of the passages we read was Matthew 13:1-23, commonly known as the Parable of the Soils. Jesus talks about 4 different types of soil, but I want to encourage you to think about the one mentioned in verse 7. Here we read - "Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants."

The seed in this soil starts to grow, but eventually the thorns cause it to die. My husband cultivates our crops for the same reason...the weeds not only make the field look bad, they also impact harvest.

As I started putting this post together, my oldest son was reading over my shoulder and my future farmer gave me some more insight as he said, "Mom, make sure they know this is an organic field; we're pretty much the only ones who still cultivate." I paused to think about that for a bit and wondered if it was information you really needed to know. After pondering, I think it adds another dimension to this little lesson.

Conventional farmers are able to spray their crops with chemicals, but organic producers don't have that option. We on the other hand, harrow the ground, rotary hoe, cultivate and pull weeds. God wants an "organic" relationship with each of us, nobody else can do the work of growing closer to Christ for us. It's also not a one time deal; we must daily walk with the Lord and abide in His Word. How we remove the sin from our heart today may look different than what we did yesterday.

So to wrap this up, I got to thinking - what are the thorns in the soil of our heart? Again, scripture gives us the answer. In verse 22 we read - "The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful."

Do you have worries? Are you fearful of the future? Are you anxious about something out of your control? Do you worry about what might never happen? I do. At times I can think these "worries" don't really matter, but they do. They don't just impact my day, my body and my mind, they choke out the seed God's planting in my heart from His Word. Friend, they do the same to you as well.

May we follow Paul's advice in Philippians 4:6 - "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Just like my husband deals with more than one type of weed in the field, we have more than one "thorn" in the soil of our heart. We can't skip past the last part of this verse - the deceitfulness of wealth works against us as well. Friend, we must check our heart and always be mindful of what we are striving for. Are we working for worldly success or seeking first the kingdom of God?

Matthew 11:29 reminds us we will have to make sacrifices to follow Jesus. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for the sake of My name will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life."

I don't know what the soil condition of your heart is, but my time in the field has caused me to think about mine. And as I do, I'm reminded of another reality on the farm - weeds produce seeds too. If my husband is overwhelmed by the weeds or takes on the they're not that bad mentality, they will only be worse next year. Friend, I believe that happens in our heart as well. If God's opened your eyes to thorns you need to remove, do it now. Be diligent and do the work.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your living and active Word. Thank you for your presence and continual teaching. Help me set my eyes on You and do what I need to do. Show me the weeds in my heart and help me uproot them. May the seeds you plant grow and produce fruit. Tender my heart, break up the unplowed ground and cultivate the soil. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Walking in Faith

"Walking in faith" is a phrase we hear in the world of Christianity. It sounds simple enough; I mean walking sounds better than running right? Learning to walk is a challenge...one we don't remember, but a reality we see lived out with the 12 month olds around us. Physically, once we learn to walk the task simply becomes something we do, but spiritually that shouldn't be the case.

The early days of walking in faith can be a challenge, but years down the road the process can still be a struggle. At times we have to walk uphill and we grow weary; others we walk through a dark valley and we may be sad or afraid. This walking is work and takes effort on our part. Walking in faith should never become simple and it's not something we can do on our own.

I received a little insight into this idea the other day in the field. I wasn't walking, but picking rock. I was driving our ranger as the kids and I worked ahead of my husband who was planting beans. You'd think driving across the field from one end to another would be easy enough, but every year it's a struggle for me.

This specific field was worked on a slant, meaning the tracks from the field cultivator went diagonally across the field at about a 70 degree angle. So I always start out on the perpendicular across the field, but 20 feet in I start to drift. As I watch for rocks and encourage my kids, I lose focus and my tire tracks prove it.

I grew frustrated with this yearly tradition, but instead of focusing on my struggle the Holy Spirit prompted me to use the situation for a spiritual lesson. As I changed my perspective, I quickly realized the same thing can happen as we walk in faith.

If we are not intentional and daily abiding in the Word, we can drift. If we lose focus, the world can take us off our path. If we take our eyes off Christ, we can step into sin and quickly be heading in the wrong direction.

Driving across the field can be a challenge as can walking in faith, but there is something that can help. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see a dark line running straight across the field. This is from the marker on my husband's planter. It is what he uses to know where to drive to keep the rows straight and once my daughter pointed it out to me, it guided me as well.

Friend, as we walk in faith, Jesus is our guide. He is the One we must look to. This truth brings to mind Isaiah 26:3 - "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."

Do you know what the word steadfast means? It is defined as fixed, firm and staying strong. Our pastor once shared how moored is a synonym. You moor a boat when you secure it to shore. The boat is attached and no matter the wind or the waves it will stay put, which is exactly what we need to do with our eyes and minds in regards to Christ.

When we set our minds on Jesus, He will guide us down the path of life and equip us to walk in faith. No matter how high the climb, dark the valley or confusing the path, He will lead us to the other side. But if we take our eyes off of Him and quit reading His Word, we will drift and take the way of the world just like I followed the wrong tracks in the field.

Lord, today, we ask you to open the eyes of our heart and set our minds on you so that we can walk in faith and glorify you, our good Father and great God. Help us be mindful of where we are walking. Make us aware of each wrong step and give us wisdom to know when we are drifting off the path you have for us. May our trust in You lead to steadfast minds so that we can experience your perfect peace at all times and in all situations. Lord, thank you for your endless lessons and powerful reminders...may we learn from them and live them out. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, June 19, 2017

It's Not Guaranteed

Life on the farm teaches us many lessons: to everything there is a season, hard work is necessary, and waiting is too. Farming provides endless opportunities for my children to learn responsibility and we also learn about walking in faith. Earlier this month we had to replant corn and God has taught me a spiritual lesson through a difficult situation. May it bless you as well.



Friend, planting seeds doesn't guarantee they will grow. We learned this difficult lesson on our farm and I've been reminded the same is true when it comes to our faith. Just because my husband tills the soil, and fertilizes it as well, does not mean corn will grow. Just because we pray and share our testimony, doesn't mean the seeds of faith will mature. And just because we pour into our children and guide them with the Truth, we are not promised they will always live a godly life.

I know those are not very encouraging words, but can we agree they reflect the reality we live in? Trust me, ripping up the first corn we planted was a difficult process. Counting the cost of planting the crop again was challenging as well. Doing the work again took time, effort and money.

As I thought about all of this, I came to the realization that the fact that our actions don't guarantee results can leave me defeated and cause me to give up. My husband could have been pretty discouraged by the absence of heat and lack of growth. These thoughts could have left him questioning about attempting to plant again. But he's a farmer and he knows farmers plant seeds. He also believes and knows it's God who does the growing.

Recently, I've heard of marriages falling apart and children drifting away. Situations that Satan sometimes uses to leave me thinking "what if" and fearing what lies ahead. These individuals are walking through hard trials and experiencing pain I don't understand. Not long ago, they probably thought they were investing and planting good things into their families, but yet the harvest doesn't look like they expected.

Friend, if our eyes are not set on Jesus, these situations can leave us overwhelmed and fearful. They can lead to anxiety and bitterness. Thankfully, my husband's faith is bigger than all that happens in the field. Job knows planting seeds doesn't guarantee growth, but he knows seeking the Lord leads to direction, trusting Christ provides peace and obeying God brings blessings.

Instead of letting the results of our actions, or lack there of, leave us defeated, may the truth about God being good and faithful encourage us to persevere. Let me ask you a couple of  questions - Are you focused on what you do or who God is? Is your attention on what you get or how you grow?

The other night, we drove by one of our fields and my husband said, "I'm sure glad we replanted that." I instantly thought about what God taught us through the process and revealed His character to us and I was grateful as well. Even when our work fails, God's work is productive. He is always teaching us and though our seeds may not grow, our faith does. Friend, our labor may not always be fruitful (at least from an earthly perspective), but God's work is eternal!

There is much in this world that is not guaranteed, but there are promises that will never fail!

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Have you ever had to "replant"? How did you handle this? What guarantee from God can you cling to today? 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It's A Family Thing




Today most farmers no longer make small square bales, including my husband, but this week he did, which meant we needed to stack them in the hay mow. I'll keep things real and admit our kids are not always eager to do their chores; there are moments they complain and times they argue, but attitudes were good yesterday. (Perhaps that's why this rare job was a joy!)

My husband directed traffic and gave us all our job to do...the 3 oldest kids were stacking in the barn, our 2nd son was helping Job on the hay rack while our youngest was supervising from the nearby sandbox and I operated the skid loader which was attached to the rope that pulled the bale fork. It may sound like a complicated process, but it really went quite smoothly.

As I sat in the noisy John Deere, I could see our oldest through the barn window and watched our 7 year old eagerly help his dad. At times our "baby" would give me a thumbs up letting me know I was doing alright. Observing this was a treat...it's not every day we're all eagerly working together on a single job.

I'll admit this moment of joy caught me off guard...I never expected to enjoy a job in my 40's that I dreaded as a teenager! Unloading bales is work. It's often hot, itchy and time consuming, but yesterday our family job painted a picture. The efforts and effects of my "Team Beran" are similar to that of the body of Christ.

From the oldest to the youngest, we each had a role. Granted some of the kids thought Jed had the easy job and one even offered to trade, but in the end we completed our assigned task. Ephesians 4:11-13 says, "And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ."

Friend, if you are a believer of Jesus, you are a member of His body. Just like my children are a member of our family and were given a job to do, God has the same for you. The roles may look different and require various skills, but they are all equally important and required to complete the task of building His kingdom. I pray you and I will do them to the best of our ability and with good, godly attitudes.

I had a clear view of Titus 2 played out in front of me as well. This was the first time Jed was really old enough to help and really experience unloading hay with the bale fork. He was so eager and excited. He was observant and willing. He watched everything Job did and did his best to help.

As children of God and women of faith we need to play both of these roles - the model and the mimic. There are things we need to learn to do, so like Jed may we be teachable and look to wise examples. We also have skills, lessons and a faith to share, so like Job may we be patient and willing to help those who want to learn. Friend, if you are a mom daily life gives us this opportunity...may we treasure it and use it wisely.

My time in the great outdoors also reminded me of the power of encouragement. This isn't just important on the farm or with my family, but in the body of Christ as well. Our words matter and they make a difference. The things we say and the tone we use impacts others. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Is there a brother or sister in Christ who needs some encouragement? Speak the words today.

The majority of my life has been spent on a farm, I know farming and families go together and I'm grateful for the reminder that faith and families go together too! Friend, I don't know what role God has for you, but I know you are an important, necessary member of His body. I pray you accept your role, learn from others, do your best and encourage fellow believers.

A life of faith takes even more work and time than unloading a few loads of hay, but the effort is worth it and the reward is eternal. Keep pressing on and look forward to hearing from your heavenly Father what my kids heard from their earthly father - "Well done my good and faithful servant."  (So Job used sons and daughters, but you know what I mean, right? God created us to serve Him and will acknowledge us when we do!)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Perfection is NOT the Goal



I’m a perfectionist. There I said it. Do you need to say it too? Granted I’m not a perfectionist in all areas, but in the ones I am - watch out. I know doing a job and doing it well are important and are good things, but striving for perfection can create problems.

It’s easy to see this in my children. There perfectionism can create anxiety and lead to feelings of never being good enough. This desire to be perfect affects their attitudes and impacts relationships. It can lead to tears and sometimes drives me crazy.

Yesterday I found myself looking in the mirror as I was the one dealing with the frustration our endless striving for perfectionism creates. I’m working on a Bible study and as the deadline nears, my desire for perfection seems to increase. I’ve read and re-read my manuscript countless times. Friends I trust and respect have read it as well. Changes have occurred and improvements have been made, but my work continues.

The other day I told my husband, “The more I work on it, the more it seems I find to do.” Those words left my mouth and I realized my focus had shifted. I was concentrating on what I could do instead of trusting God to do what only He can do.

I think I may have forgot Paul’s words about God’s grace being sufficient. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we read, "My (God's) power is perfected in weakness." Think about that statement for a minute. Do you have weak areas? Do you ever strive to perfect them? Or use your strengths to try and negate them? Friend, God not only knows our weaknesses, His power is perfected in them. 
This is no reason to sluff off and do the bare minimum, but it can and should encourage us to let go of the idea of perfectionism. 
The other day while doing our daily Bible reading, I came across Psalm 119:96. I read the words and stopped to jot down the reference. Later that day I wrote it in my journal - "To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless." 
This morning I was stressed about my upcoming deadline and God convicted me of my striving for perfectionism. As He did I recalled this verse. I opened my Bible and read it again. As humans we have limits - there are things we can't do and mistakes we will make. God on the other hand is perfect and His commands have no limits. We have timelines to deal with and deadlines to meet, God holds time in His hands and waits on no man. 
What a contrast between my Father and me. Today instead of striving to get everything just right, I'm attempting to surrender and trust the One who is perfect. I'm asking Him to lead me, to fill me with His Spirit, equip me through His Word and help me rest in His promises. Will you do the same? 
Friend, God doesn't ask us to be perfect in our performance, but He does command us to "be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect."  (Matthew 5:48) This is an internal perfection that leads to external results. It's who God is and who we are trying to become. This process of perfection won't happen over night, so we must persevere. As we do, we may make mistakes, but He can help us learn. New opportunities will arise and improvements will be made. I encourage you to shift your focus from what you need to do and take a little time to remember what He has done. God has worked through imperfect people before, chances are He can do it again!!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the truth of Your Word. Continue to sanctify and perfect me with it and through it. Keep making me more like You. Help me let go of striving for perfection. I want to do a good job for you, but sometimes that desire to do my best does more harm than good. Fill me with Your Spirit and renew me with Your Word, so I can press on and work with You to do all You call me to do. Help me obey and then trust You with the results. Father God, thank you for choosing me and using me. May Your power shine through my weaknesses and may I never forget that Your grace is sufficient. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Power and Purpose of Prayer

    "Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven."
    (Psalm 107:28-30)

Today is the 4 month birthday of our little nephew Gideon. If you've been reading my blog at all this year you've heard about him and perhaps even prayed for him. If so, thank you!! If not, a quick recap - the young man has spent more of his life in the hospital than out of it and he's had more surgeries in his four months than I've had in my four decades. He lives up to his name and is truly a mighty warrior. 

The other day, Jackie, his mom and my sister-in-law, posted the newest update on CaringBridge. As I read her words my heart was touched. Tears fell as I put myself in her shoes...instead of rocking her baby and surviving sleepless nights with a newborn, she'd spent the last 2 1/2 weeks away from home, her husband and daughter at the hospital with her son. Little Gideon had been on the ECMO machine and severely sedated while doctors tried to diagnose his current battle and treat his latest infection.

Gideon and the rest of his family may have been away from one another, but God was close to each one. They may have been dependent on machines and outside help, but they were (and still are) relying on and trusting in our all powerful God. They may have had to wait to hear back from medical professionals and weren't always in touch with one another, but through it all God has only been a prayer away.

Jackie's update reminded me of the purpose and power of prayer. Friend, many have been lifting this little man and his family in prayer. It has been amazing to hear the stories of how people are connected to this little guy and are crying out on his behalf. We truly believe God hears and answers prayer.

I'm so grateful for the answers to prayer and the power behind it, but during the last 4 months I've been reminded the purpose of prayer is about more than the power. Prayer draws us closer to the heart of God. In the midst of a struggle when we don't know what to do, we cry out to the One who is in control. Our prayers to God strengthen our relationship with Him. As we share our heart, He comforts it. In the midst of chaos, prayer brings peace. 

As I read about Gideon's latest news - the removal of his breathing tube, which led to him being in his mom's arms for the first time in almost 20 days, thoughts of answered prayers flooded my mind. Psalms about crying out to God were on my heart. Many, young and old, had been praying night and day for this little guy as the storm raged. We had cried out and though the waves were strong and storm winds blew for awhile, God had calmed them down. 

Gideon is back in his mom's arms and there is peace, but he's still in the hospital so we must continue to pray. Thankfully, no matter where we are at, God always has us in the palm of His hand. Regardless of what battle we face or how hard the winds blow, we can always call on God. He hears our prayer and will answer them in powerful ways. And more than that, He uses them for a purpose bigger than changing our circumstances, He uses them to change our heart.

Friend, I don't know what trial you are walking through today, but can I encourage you to pray? The One you call on - the Creator of heaven and earth, the giver and sustainer of life, the good Shepherd is the God who sees and a Father who loves. He will hear your prayer. He may not perform the miracle you ask for, but He will perfectly provide just what He knows you need. He will use your prayer to display His power and draw you close. 

Today, on Gideon's 4 month birthday, I will pray. I will praise God for His life and the medical interventions that have saved and sustained him. I will ask for continued healing and comfort. I will promise to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust in Him. Will you pray too? 

God will hear our prayers, answer them and give us new prayers to pray. As we do, He will work and we will see Him more and know Him better. So today, let's press on in prayer trusting there is always power and purpose in doing just that!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

When you don't know what to do...

Friends, my little nephew, Gideon, who is not quite four months old is currently being put on a life support machine. This little guy has already had two heart surgeries and has been in a week long battle with pneumonia. Please keep him in your prayers. 

Tonight my heart has been broken and my thoughts have been racing. I pause to pray and then I think of someone else to share the request with. I'm reminded life is hard, but as feelings and even some fears try to overwhelm me I remember God is good. He has a plan. He is able and He can heal. Standing on these Truths and countless others bring peace.

Just this morning I was driving and had an experience I rarely do. To my left was a beautiful rainbow and to the right were dark storm clouds. It was such a contrast - peace on one side and fear on the other. As I drove down the road, the Holy Spirit put a thought on my heart. 

When you experience this -


Remember this -

Friends, the rainbow is a sign of the promise between God and not just Noah, but all of the people of the earth - including you and me. In Genesis 9:12-16 we read - 

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

This promise is not a guarantee that life will be easy and hard times will never come, but it's a promise that there will never be another flood. And today this promise reminded me Scripture is filled with many other promises. I'll share a  few timely ones now -

God's power will rest on us when we are weak. 2 Corinthians 12:9

We can cast our worries on Him because He cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7

God, our Heavenly Father and Great Provider, will give peace at all times and in every situation. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

When we are in trouble, we can call on Him and He will rescue. Psalm 91:15

Our loving Father sees all of our hardships and cares about our sufferings. Psalm 31:7

We can trust in Him and He will never forsake us. Psalm 9:10

Friend, I don't know what storm is raging in your life right now, but I pray you can remember the rainbow and cling to the promises. Let's ask God to help us do that right now.

Dear Heavenly Father, we approach your throne with confidence. Your Word tells us to ask, seek and knock. We are doing that now. You see and know the storms that we are facing, please be our anchor. Help us set our eyes on You and You alone. May we remember who You are and rest in the promises we know. Lord, I put Gideon into your arms and the others who are hurting - be with them now. Father, we ask for a filling of Your Holy Spirit. Make Your presence know in powerful and personal ways. Lord, physical storms remind me of your power and control, help me see the same as I walk through the storms of life. Father God, we love you and we need you. In Jesus' precious and powerful name, Amen.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Same Role, New Result

It's a first! This past week we had something new happen on the Beran farm; I'm not just talking in the almost 16 years I've called this home, but in the 40 plus years my husband has lived here.

The other day during morning chores our oldest son was greeted with a new noise at the chicken coop. He opened the door like he did every morning with plans to do what he did every day - feed the chickens and pick the eggs, but on this brisk morning there was a surprise, something new. He heard baby chicks and quickly let everyone know.

All of the kids were excited and Job, my husband, was surprised. We weren't intentionally trying to hatch eggs and we didn't even know a hen was sitting on them. Job couldn't remember this ever happening before on the farm. As for me, the gal who is afraid of birds and avoids the chicken coop as much as possible, I was intrigued and grateful.

Amongst all the excitement, conversation and walks out to see our new feathered friends, Isaiah 43:19a kept coming to mind. It says, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" God had done something new on our farm and He's showing me He's doing the same in my heart.

Over the last nine months I've been on a journey of renewal and though there's too much to say for this short blog post, God's shown me something through our new baby chicks. I've been studying Scriptures and actually writing a Bible study and through this process and while on this journey with Jesus, I'm being transformed. Our heavenly Father is changing me from the inside out.

The other morning Job and I were talking about this and reflecting on the work God is doing. I looked back on my life and thought about the roles I've played - 41 years ago I was born a daughter and 2 years later I became a sister. The roles of friend, student and athlete followed. During college, I eventually traded in my basketball shoes for a coach's whistle and after graduation my time in the classroom began as Miss Biwer.

Through thses roles I learned to listen and obey. I was able to learn and be an example. I had to work and overcome. I was able to share what I knew and show others I cared. I was able to encourage and tried to make a difference in the world.

Half-way through my 2nd year as a teacher, God gave me a new role - I became a born-again believer and my life was changed. I eventually gained new titles - wife and mom. I left the classroom and the playing field, but became a student of the Word and started playing for an audience of One. In time, God led me into ministry and I know attempt to coach and give others a pep-talk as they live out their faith. I also try to share my faith and help others learn from the Word.

I think about these baby chicks that have brought a new joy to my kids and thoughts turn to the hen that hatched them out. In a way she did what she's always done - she layed eggs, but this time God brought some change that led to a new result. Friend, all along her eggs were good and brought nourishment, but this time they brought life.

God may have you in the same roles you've lived all your life, but is there a new result He can bring? Can He use what you've always done to not just help another, but to bring life and make an eternal difference? Perhaps you're a nurse who can not only care for the sick, but also point others to our great Healer? Or maybe your a lawyer, who fights for what is right, and now God wants you to defend the faith. Even a farmer who feeds the world can be used by God to plant seeds of faith that will produce fruit that lasts for eternity.

Friend, I don't know what role God has you in, but I encourage you to think about how He may want to bring a new result from a role you've always played. Our God is a great God who is doing something new. And we are a new creation who can be used for His glory in ways that surprise us and truly make a difference in His kingdom!


Sunday, April 30, 2017

It's Time To Plow


The other day the following verses came to mind...

"Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you." Hosea 10:12

"This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: "Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns." Jeremiah 4:3

I no longer remember what I was thinking about, praying over or walking through when these verses returned to memory, but the idea of plowing has stayed with me. So much so that I asked my farmer husband about one of the farming he tasks he does each year. 

On the farm, plowing is a primary tillage method. Farmers do this to remove trash (corn stalks and such), get rid of weeds and to aireate the soil. On our farm we typically dig 5 to 6 inches deep and turn the soil over. It really is quite amazing to see the process in action. It is a job that takes time, work and power. 

As Job explained this to me, I thought about God's instruction to do this in a spiritual sense. In the two verses above the same command is given - "break up your unplowed ground". Friend, do you have unplowed ground in your heart? 

I asked myself this same question and got to thinking about unplowed ground on the farm - it's hard and beaten down. It's not producing a crop and often overgrown with weeds. An unplowed field is not ready to be planted. I think we could say something similar about our spiritual soil. 

My husband's words and my thoughts stirred me to dig deeper. The Hebrew word for plow is niru and simply means to break up. It means to till the soil. In the farming sense it's when you prepare for planting and spiritually it means the same.

Is your heart hard? In need of grace or full of sin? If so, it's time to plow. If your heart is overrun with weeds and not producing the fruit of the Spirit, it's time to plow. 

As I studied this I found myself saying yes to these questions and realizing my husband and son weren't the only ones who needed to plow this spring. The weather and soil conditions deteremine when they go to work, but friend, when God shows us there is work to be done it's time for action. You and I don't have to own a John Deere or buy certain equipment, but we do need to spend time and do the work. It won't take a certain amount of horse power to do the job of spiritual plowing, but we must be filled with the Holy Spirit and trust His power. 

We can plow the soil of our heart with God's Word and through the power of prayer. His Word will convict us, rebuke us and train us. It will lead to godly sorrow for our sin and remove the weeds of it. This spiritual plowing will purify the soil of our heart so that seeds can grow, fruit will be produced and a harvest will one day be enjoyed. 

And then, just like on the farm, it will be time to plow again. My husband does some plowing in the spring and others in the fall, depending on the field and the crop that's been planted. Spiritually, there are probably seasons of plowing as well and when we get done with one field (or area of our life), chances are God may show us another one we need to plow as well.

Friend, I realize this may not be a fun post or an enjoyable topic, but it's necessary. Plowing isn't the most looked forward to task on the farm either - you have to go slow, the ride is very bumpy and it takes a long time, but it is essential if you want crops to grow. Spiritual plowing is quite similar...if we really want to eradicate sin, we have to dig deep and remove the root. If our desire is for God's Word to produce fruit, we must prepare soil so it can grow. 

So, as you've read this post has God brought an area of your life to mind? A sin you need to deal with and remove? Or a seed, He wants to plant, but first you need prepared soil so it can grow? I'm praying the Holy Spirit will bring something to mind and then I encourage you to pray about this and go to God's Word. Find a verse or two that speaks to what God lays on your heart and don't just read it once. Meditate on it, read it in context, write it down and perhaps even commit it to memory. All these things can play a part in breaking up your unplowed ground and will lead to a harvest that will be good for you and glorifying to God. 


"Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing." 
Proverbs 20:4

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and 
looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” 
Luke 9:62

Monday, April 17, 2017

Because of the Cross

The day after Resurrection Sunday...what is on your mind? Last week as I spent time reflecting on Jesus' final days and words before the cross my thoughts shifted to things that happened because of the cross. We must spend time at the cross to better understand the because of the cross, but both are important in the life of the believer.

Sometimes we can make this complicated. I can overthink think things and analyze them way too much, but last week while I was in the Word the Holy Spirit kept it pretty simple. So today I'm going to share the basics - the ABC's. I pray the following blessings of the cross will encourage, convict and offer wisdom as you walk thru your day after Easter. Friend, we've just celebrated our risen Lord and Savior, now may we walk with Him and live for Him!

A - Abundant

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

Jesus came to this world because His Father, our God, sent Him. By His presence He brought much and through His example we learn much, but because of the cross we gain much. His death brought life - eternally for believers in heaven and abundantly for us while on earth.

B- Better

"But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7)

Through Jesus' death and resurrection are lives are better? How can that be? Eternal life is something many believers quickly understand, but this verse gives great insight for the here and now. Jesus told His disciples that it would be good for them that He was going away. Other versions say it was for their advantage and a gift. Why? Because now instead of being in Christ's presence, He would be filling them with His Holy Spirit. Friend, the same is true for you and me we don't simply celebrate the resurrection and God's resurrecting power we have it in us. Because of the cross, we are filled with the Spirit of the One true God!

C - Commissioned

"Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)

Have you ever struggled with what you should do with your life? Are you a young mom thinking you don't have a purpose when all you do is change diapers, make meals and do laundry? Are you an empty-nester thinking your job is done? Friend, regardless of our roles, our jobs or our age, as a disciple of the Lord we have a purpose. Jesus explains that purpose in some of His final words. We are His disciples and we have been commissioned to make more disciples. We don't have to "go" to the ends of the earth, though He may send us there, but we can also do this in our homes, our communities and our work place.

These ABC's may seem pretty simple, but they are critical. My young son is learning to read and without his knowledge of the ABC's it would be an impossible task. The same is true for you and me - we all want to shine our lights for Christ and these foundational "because of the Cross" truths will help us do just that!

Dear Heavenly Father, 
Lord God, thank you for the cross - the work you did through it and life we can live because of it. Help me remember that I can have abundant life - keep my eyes focused on you and continue to reveal your bigger picture to me. Thank you for sending your Spirit, may I continually be filled with it and yield to it. Father God, you've commissioned me and called me to live with you and for you. Help me live my faith first so I'm able to share it well. Thank you for your promise to always be with me; I go with you now. In Jesus' precious name I pray, Amen

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Finish

Is it easier for you to start something new or finish the work you've already begun? Personally, both situations present some challenges, but if I had to choose one it would be finishing. Carrying something thru takes time, work and endurance. We face temptations, wrestle with doubts and wonder if it really matters. But if we're truly called to start something, God also expects us to finish it.

I've been challenged and encouraged by the idea of finishing this Holy Week. I've spent time reflecting on Jesus - our Passover Lamb, been given an example by Mary to be a woman who does what I can and been reminded to be prepared. But yesterday as I read through the story of crucifiction and reflected on Jesus sacrifice for me, "Finish" was the message I received.

In John 19:28 we read, "Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." Friend, Jesus was hanging on the cross, He'd done his job of being sacrificed for sin, but yet He still submitted to the Father. He did what God sent Him to do.

John 4:34 states, "My food is to do the will of Him sent and finish His work." While John 12:49 says, "For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." Even to the end, in unbelievable pain and distress, Jesus was obedient.

John 19:30 states this clearly, "When He had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."

Stop and think about this for a minute. When it was hard, people didn't understand and the pain was unbearable Jesus didn't quit. Can you say the same? I can't, but I've been convicted, and encouraged, that I need to change. God equipped Jesus to finish what He started, I have to believe He can do the same for me.

Friend, He can do it for you too. Let's go to God and ask Him to help us persevere and let's look to Jesus as the example of One who finished well.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for again speaking to me through your living and active Word. Use it to penetrate my mind and soul, transform me Lord so I can be like you. Thank you Jesus for finishing the work you started, for dying for my sins and fulfilling Scripture. May I learn from your example and be more like you. I'm also reminded that a wait followed the completition of your work, help me remember that and trust your timing Father. This Easter season may we celebrate your resurrecting power, our victory over sin and death and the reminder that finishing is important. Father God, you are good, your are mighty and you are worthy of our praise. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What will you do?

As Holy Week continues I find myself still reflecting on the Passover Lamb and reading passages about Jesus' last days. This morning I was in the last few chapters of Mark and these words from 14:8 haven't left my mind - "She did what she could." 

This is a sentence Jesus spoke about the woman who annointed him. In other Gospels we learn this was Mary...sister to Lazarus and Martha. The one who had earlier sat at Jesus feet was now annointing them.

Stop for a minute and think about what she did and how she did it. She broke open a bottle of expensive perfume; some historians believe it was worth a year's wages. She poured it out, not saving any for herself.

She placed herself in a position that most likely would be questioned. As a woman, she was among men. She used her hair, a sign of her glory, to wipe Jesus' feet, a job reserved for the lowest of low. She had humbled herself and broke free from the fear of what others would think.

Friend, chances are you've read this story before, but have you let this story read you? I feel like God's been examining my heart all day thru the lens of this short story and even smaller sentence.

Mary did what she could. She didn't rely on her position, but took advantage of her opportunity. Do I do the same? Do you? Every day we have an opportunity to do what we can do, but do we?

Granted Jesus is not here in the flesh and His body no longer needs to be prepared for burial, but His people are here and His body (you and me) have gifts to use and roles to play.

When it comes to work, I'm not talking a 9 to 5 job, but the life you live - Are you doing what you can or simply what you have to or worse yet what you want to?

When it comes to worship, again not just a Sunday morning service, but in our daily life - Are we doing just what's necessary or are we doing all we can?

These aren't quick, easy answer questions, but they are important, powerful self-examination tools. As we prepare for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, may we quiet our hearts, ask God to examine them and prepare to give Jesus all of them.

Mary sacrificed her perfume and she also surrendered herself. May you and I do the same. Jesus did what He could, I pray we will too.

Our external actions may not change, but our internal attitude will...instead of a focus on self, may we live with the desire to serve. Rather than holding back and fearing what others think, may we walk in faith and set an example for others to follow. May we worship the One who's worthy instead of wasting time on idols that are truly worthless.

Friend, I don't know what these 5 words stirred in your heart, but I'm praying now for God to use them in your life to help you do what He created you to do. It cost Mary and we too will pay a price, but may we remember it's an investment that will never fail! Today let's do what we can do for the Lord we love.

Heavenly Father, I want to be a woman who does what I can. Help me stop being one who does what I must or have to, but one who serves You wholeheartedly. May I count the cost and be willing to pay the price. May I throw myself at your feet and love you without fear. Help me worship you without worry. Father God, thank you for drawing me close and helping me know You more. Your Word truly is living and active, continue using it to transform me. Father, I thank you for the gift of your Son and the filling of your Holy Spirit. May I do what you created me to do...glorify you. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Passover Lamb


"Do you want to try and sell those lambs?" My husband's words in the early morning had my attention. He had mentioned this briefly earlier in the week, but this time instead of going to my head his words went to my heart.

Our kids have been raising 4 orphan lambs and they will eventually grow up and be sent to market, but my reaction to putting them up for sale now, while they are still young and kind of like a pet, hit me. The thought of someone using them - Skittle, Beefy, Oreo and the lamb with a changing name, for a passover meal made me sad.

The conversation didn't go any further, but my thoughts continued to run and they led me to the Word. Friend, we are in the midst of holy week and for the first time in 41 years, I find myself thinking about the Passover lamb in a real personal way. I encourage you to do the same in the days to come.

Did you know during the original Passover, the lamb played a significant role? First of all in Egypt, a lamb was sacred, it was considered to be a god of sorts and was worshipped by the Egyptians. Clearly, the Lord had their attention when He commanded the Isrealites to "take a lamb for their family" (Exodus 12:3). The Isrealites exercised their faith and courage by obeying this command.

They didn't just take any lamb...it had to be a year old male without defect. (Exodus 12:5) These animals were in their prime and were the best of the flock.

The lambs weren't simply selected and quickly sacrificed...they were chosen on the 10th day and slaughtered on day 14. (Exodus 12:6) In between they were cared for...typically in the home. Think about what took place in that time. I'm sure there were messes and noise. There was also time to grow attached and hours set aside to inspect. The people were surrendering normalcy and eventually something they loved.

This story mirrors what took place years later in Jerusalem - Jesus rode into the city and was welcomed as the One who would save. For the next 4 days, He too was set apart and inspected. Just like the lamb, He was found to be spotless and without defect. (1 Peter 1:19) During that time, the people saw him work, learned from His teachings and grew to know Him more.

Friend, chances are you celebrated Palm Sunday yesterday and like the people of years gone by said, "Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" You may have plans to attend a Maundy Thursday service or a Last Supper Remembrance meal later this week. Countless services are scheduled for Friday and Sunday of this coming week as well. These events are important and powerful, but I challenge, and encourage, you to treasure the days to come.

We will not be bringing a lamb into our home, but I've invited thee Lamb into my heart. In the days to come I long to learn from Him and grow closer to Him as I prepare to reflect on His sacrifice and praise my Savior. I hope you will consider doing the same.

Heavenly Father, 
Lord, thank you for continually speaking into my heart and revealing more of yourself. I'm humbled to know you care and know me in such a personal way. As this Holy Week unfolds, may it be a time of reflection and relationship building. Draw me closer to Yourself as I sit with you, study your Word and experience your presence. Thank you for being my passover Lamb - your sinless life saved me from the sin in mine. Increase my understanding of this and gratitude for it. Today I struggled with the thought of giving up one of our lambs for a meal, but Father God you gave up your Son for me - thank you. May I give up my life for you. In Jesus' Name, Amen



Jesus, You are my all in all...Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is your name - Friend, may these words bless you, remind you of Truth and encourage you to worship our Lord and Savior.




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Word of the Week - Obedience

Last week I was constantly being reminded of the word obedience. I had been studying it as I worked on a Bible Study, our pastor preached on it, I read it in my morning devotional and helped my son memorize a verse about it. We all know obedience is important - our parents, teachers and coaches expected it of us as children. Now as a Mom myself, I have the same expectations for my children, but we must realize there's more to obedience than a child doing what the authority figure tells them to do.

In Matthew 11:28 we read about Jesus commanding us to come to Him and His promise to provide rest. This is something we all need in one way or another as we live in a world that constantly demands our attention and calls for our service. But did you know we can also experience rest thru obedience? The very next verse (29) records Jesus saying, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Friend, Jesus tells us He will give us rest in verse 28, but then immediately follows that up saying we will find rest in verse 29. So what's the difference? It's true He will give us rest when we come to Him, but this rest tends to be the eternal rest and hope of heaven, the peace that accompanies the knowledge of knowing we are saved. This rest is a result of His death on the cross. 

The other rest, the rest we can find is based on us following His command of taking up His yoke. It's a rest that involves surrendering control to Jesus and dying to self so He is our Master. This rest includes a peace of mind and the freedom from a burden stealing our joy and creating anxiety. This rest is a result of our obedience and comes from following the example our Lord and Savior set while He walked this earth and living out the commands He provides in His Word. 

So, obedience leads to rest, but it also results in so much more. Scripture tells us God blesses obedience, but as I study and walk out my days I'm reminded that partial obedience is actually disobedience. Like my little people I may want to think my half way job is good enough, but God's Word clearly shows us differently. 

Look with me for a minute at a short story about Moses, one of the greatest men in the Bible. In Numbers 20 we read about water coming from a rock. Verse 8a says, "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water." 

God had worked through Moses earlier, so though this seems like a crazy command, he knew God was able and had been faithful. So they gather the people together and verse 11 tells us what happened next - "Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff." We read on in that same verse and see God was faithful to His promise - the people had water to drink.

Let's not pass over what went wrong in these verses though. Let me ask you a question - "Did Moses obey?" Read verse 8 again. What did God tell him to do to the rock? Now reread verse 11. What did Moses do to the rock?

Our pastor recently preached on this passage and during the children's sermon he talked with the kids about cleaning their room. They all knew it wasn't enough to just clean one side of the room or hide clothes under their bed. Even if they followed some of their parent's directions, it wouldn't be enough. The kids said their parents expected them to "do what they said."

Friend, God is our heavenly Father and He expects the same. When He gives us a command, half-way isn't good enough. His directions are to be followed completely. And we can return to Moses' story to find out that there are consequences when we don't follow through.

Verse 12 says, "But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them." I'm sure Moses could have come up with reasons why he did what he did and he could rationalize the changes he made to the command God gave, but in God's eyes it didn't matter. Moses hadn't obeyed all the way. He struck when he was commanded to speak. Clearly this lack of obedience was something God did not take lightly.

Scripture tells us God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow - friend that Truth often brings comfort, but there are times it should also bring conviction. Is there something God is asking you to do? Has He given you direction, but like Moses you've added your own twist? The answers to these questions are between you and the Lord, but my prayer is like me you will take some time to think and more importantly pray about them.

Finally to close, I pray the word that's been showing up for me this week speaks to your heart as well - wholeheartedly.

"But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it." Numbers 14:24

"He gave them these orders: 'You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord.'" 2 Chronicles 19:9

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people..." Ephesians 6:7

Friend, today may we walk in obedience wholeheartedly!

Dear Heavenly Father, You are a good, good Father. You not only want what's best for me, you know what's best for me and you've planned what's best for me. Help me remember who you are and trust in the promises You will faithfully follow through on. Lord, I know obedience is important, but I also know I fall short. I pray I can live out the slogan I've taught my kids and ask you to help me obey right away, all the way! In order to do that I need to do it wholeheartedly Lord, so I ask you for a humble, tender heart that's willing to trust and able to resist the temptation to rebel. Do a transforming work in me Father God so that I will do the good works you have waiting for me. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Spiritual Stop-Light

Rest...is this something you are in need of? Do you get enough? What keeps you from rest? I've found myself knee deep in a study on rest for the last 5 weeks and friend, there is much to this simple little word. We need it in a physical sense, but it can be hard to get and sometimes we fight it. We're also dependent upon it in a spiritual sense. Rest affects our body and our mind. It refreshes our heart and our soul.

When it comes to faith, we can talk about eternal rest, Sabbath rest and sanctifying rest. In the Bible, God rested, the land rested and people rested. We are commanded to rest and it is a side effect of trust. The Isrealites found out rebellion led to no rest, while Jesus taught submission would bring rest.

Friend, these are all important facts to know and Truths to remember, but can I share an illustration with you that made this a bit more personal?

The last couple of weeks I've been battling a sickness, so I haven't been feeling the best and on top of that I'm feeling a bit behind. I've found myself pressing on and doing what needs to be done, but last Saturday it was as if God said, "Sometimes you need to STOP." Life just happened to make this work and I, the gal who never takes naps, slept for 3 hours in the middle of the day. Clearly my body needed rest.

The following day I found myself thinking more about God's whisper and the importance of the Truth that was impressed on my heart. Spiritually sometimes I too just need to stop. I don't know about you, but sometimes my mind can race and my feelings can rattle. My thoughts can get so far into the future that worry and fear take over or sometimes I can dwell on the past and guilt and shame settle in. My focus can drift to my circumstances rather than on my Father. My eyes wonder to the what if's, instead of being set on Jesus, my Lord and Savior.

This was all still on my heart yesterday when I went to town. You see here on the farm, we don't have stoplights on the gravel roads or in our small town, but as I drove the streets of what my little boys would call a big city a stop-light gave us much needed instruction.

As I approached a light it turned red and I recalled the Holy Spirit's whisper along with the words of Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God." Stopping at an inersection in town keeps me safe, but being still on my spiritual walk keeps me connected. Friend, you and I need to know God and that doesn't happen when we are racing through life. We must take time to stop, read His Word, pray from the heart and lift His holy name.

Knowing Him will bring rest...when life wears us out or worry weighs us down, we can remember He is the God who restores, always provides and is forever present. Knowing Him helps us rest in His presence and on His promises.

We quickly came to another light and this time a different word came to mind along with another passage. COME and Matthew 11:28 where Jesus says, "Come to me all who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest." 

Friend, this life has a way of leaving us feeling wek and heavy laden. Would you agree? I don't know what's on your shoulders or your heart, but you don't have to carry it alone. Sometimes we're going at such a pace we forget this truth and others we're so consumed with a desire for control or condemned with shame we feel we can't go to the One who can help. Let me point out another key word in this verse - ALL. Jesus is calling for all to come to Him, so the next time you approach the stop-light make sure you make a turn and go to Jesus.

Finally, just like the lights a 3rd key word came to me and another verse - PEACE. John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Friend, when we are still and come to Jesus, we not only know Him and experience rest, but we also receive peace. In the world we live in this is a blessing. Peace helps us keep perspective and provides power to persevere.

No matter what your day holds or where your walk leads, I pray God gives you a spiritual stop-light and reminds you to be still and come to Him so that you will be blessed with His peace!! Then may we GO, so that He is glorified!!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Don't Settle

After a watching our Cyclones win the Big 12 tournament, I've found myself thinking about another phrase the players and coach tend to use - "Don't Settle!" When asked about the game plan following the teams semi-final win, our soft-spoken big playing Deonte Burton said, "Coach tells me not to settle, so I didn't." Burton and his teammates were aggressive, they made the extra pass and won big. 

I didn't watch the other semi-final, but I have to admit I was kind of hoping West Virginia would lose as they were the only team to beat us twice and they play a style of ball that's been difficult for us the last few years. As I thought about this, I figured the team was thinking differently. All along they've said the old cliche, "If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best." They wanted a rematch. They didn't want to settle for the easy route to the championship. 

The Mountaineers won by one, which set up a title game which the Cyclones were picked to lose. The outside doubters didn't affect our team that seems to be disciplined, playing with focus and staying the course. The guys started slow, but they didn't settle. They didn't compromise the coach's game plan, nor did the grow complacent and give up. 

Friend, you might not find yourself playing for a championship anytime soon, but this little phrase could be insightful for whatever the future holds. What does settling look like in your life? As a mom, do you settle? How about as a wife? Or an employee? Most importantly what about as a believer? 

A coach never wants his or her players to settle on the court, but how often do we do that in life as a follower of Christ? I encourage you to pause and think about this question for awhile. Better yet pray about it; ask God to show you how, where and when you settle. Do you settle when it comes to reading God's Word? Are you complacent when it comes to prayer? Do you compromise when you are tired, anxious or upset? 

I don't know the answers to your questions, but I think there's power in asking these questions. Friend, living life and glorifying Christ is so much more important than playing ball and winning a trophy. If an athlete shouldn't settle on the court, we shouldn't either. Are you comfortable where you are? Is God calling you out of your comfort zone, but you're willing to settle and do what you've always done? Is God leading you to take the extra step and asking you to forgive one who may never change? Will you settle and struggle with pain that will never change or will you do the work and follow God's lead? 

I don't have any great answers or illustrations for you, as I'm pondering these questions myself, but I have some verses that may encourage your heart as you strive for excellence rather than settle for complacency. 

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied." Proverbs 13:4

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15


"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going." Ecclesiastes 9:10










Friend, again I encourage you to think and pray about this idea of settling. May God convict our hearts where they've grown complacent and change it so we concentrate on who God is and concerned with His plan, not our own. 







Dear Heavenly Father, Lord I confess for settling, please forgive me. I ask you to examine my heart and open my eyes to see where, when and how I settle. Don't let me grow complacent in seeking and serving You. Help me want what you want, go where you lead and do what you ask. God, I pray for a humble heart and a submissive spirit. I also ask for discipline to obey and faith to believe. I know you will provide all I need out of your glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Help me strive for the best Lord, not for my success but for your glory. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play on your team! Thank you for being a coach who encourages me not to settle. In Jesus' Name, Amen