Monday, September 18, 2017

That's Not Who I Am or Is It?

A BIG welcome to those of you joining me from Encouragement Café! It's a joy to have you here! In my devotional today, I share a bit of my heart about giving God the glory that He deserves. If you want to read "It Wasn't Me," click HERE. I also encourage you to read on because if we want to give God glory, we must be who He called us to be.

Nearly 10 years ago, I had a poem published in the Hearts at Home magazine. At the time, there was only a handful of people who knew I did some writing. It wasn't something I shared and didn't fit who everyone knew me to be - the quiet, shy, insecure farmer's wife who kept thoughts to myself.

So when my husband shared the magazine with two of my friends, I wasn't surprised with their reaction. After reading the poem, Andrea seriously said, "She spells her name just like you!" She continued on to read the short bio and with a bit of confusion said, "Wait, this is you."

I hadn't thought about this for quite sometime until the other night when I drove home from Bible study. I have to admit internally it was a bit awkward leading women I look up to and respect through a study with my name on it. And it was different gathering in the church to learn about the Bible with  girls I'd coached to play basketball in the gym.

It seems a bit crazy. The insecure side of me struggles and I think of reasons why many other people could be doing what I'm doing. The fearful part of me worries about what others will think. The one who's at times been afraid of failing, doubts and grows anxious about letting others down.

Satan loves when this happens and is more than willing to throw fuel on the fire. He tempts me to compare and think about all the reasons I don't measure up. He feeds me lies that can quench my hunger for God's Word. He is a roaring lion and he is on the prowl. All he wants to do is steal, kill and destroy and friend, he does that when we question who we are.

Thankfully, you and I have a heavenly Father who loves us as we are (John 3:16), sees us as His masterpiece and created us for a purpose. (Ephesians 2:10) He has prepared good works for us all to do. Will they be what others expect? Maybe not. Often they aren't even what we expect, but they are what He calls us to do.

It's pretty likely I will forever be a farmer's wife who prefers blue jeans and a baseball cap, but that didn't stop God from dressing me up a bit and putting my picture on the back of a book. Chances are speaking up and out will always bring some nervousness, but God's already given me courage to do things I never thought I would.

What about you? Who are you? Do you focus on what others expect you to do or do you strive to be who God created you to be? Are you content to be who you've always been? Do you know God's chosen you and called you?

I encourage you to slow down and think about these questions. The answers will give some insight into who you are and what you do; while also revealing if you're living the life God created you for.

If stepping out and doing something others don't expect scares you a bit, cling to the promise we find in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." When we give God a willing and available heart, He can and will work.

One final piece of encouragement as you wrestle to be and do what God calls you to...if you ever feel alone, remember you're not. I for one just shared my story, but there's a better one than that! Read these words from Isaiah 53:2-3 -

"For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Isaiah 53:2-3

Friend, Jesus wasn't the one others expected or even noticed. Worse yet, he was despised. But the reality of this rejection didn't prevent Him from walking out God's plan. He laid down His life for you and for me. He did the unexpected and God did what He promised.

We aren't going to bring salvation or offer the hope of heaven, but perhaps us doing the unexpected will point others to Christ and give glory to God. Are you up for it? I hope so! God has you, and me, where we are for a reason. He can touch others through our words, our actions and our stories, but we must speak up, step out and do the unexpected!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your living and active Word. I'm grateful you speak to me through it and transform me with it. Increase my hunger for it. And Lord, help me live up to your expectations...keep making me who you created me to be. You are the potter and I am the clay. Have your way with me. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How fruit grows...

Have you ever done much with seeds? I’m not much of a gardener, but I am a farmer’s wife. We plant acres of corn, beans and oats. We don’t purchase packets of seeds, but buy them in bulk. We put a lot of seeds in the ground and trust God to grow them.


Not long ago it was time to harvest the oats; we had to cut them down so they were in windrows. There were places they piled up, so my daughter and I went up and down the rows to level them out. As we did our work, God spoke to my heart. He had things to say about separating wheat from the chaff, a plentiful harvest and working for His glory, but today I want to focus on a specific verse that came to mind.
John 12:24 says, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
As I thought about this verse in light of my time in the field, I had some questions and thankfully my husband had some answers.
"How many seeds do we plant?" I asked. We plant 3 bushels per acre and this year we harvested 90 bushels per acre. Next I needed to know how many seeds were in a bushel. I learned there are 15,000 oat seeds per pound and 32 pounds per bushel. So I did the math and found out we had planted 1,440,000 seeds and harvested 43,200,000. Those are some big numbers, so I simplified things a bit and it breaks down to one planted seed produced 30 seeds at harvest. 
On the farm we are grateful for the multiplication effect that happens, but have you thought about this in a spiritual sense? 
When Jesus says these words in John 12, he's talking about more than farming. This illustration gave the disciples a picture and it should provide us with one as well. He goes on to say, "Whoever serves me, must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be." As I read this verse, Galatians 2:20 comes to mind. Here we read Paul saying, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me."
I have again been studying surrender and the more I study the more I realize I need to surrender. In simple terms, surrender means to die to self. We let go of our desires, our plans, our wants and our ways. We put down our fears and anxieties, our selfishness and pride. Necessary, yes; easy, no. Does surrender come with a cost? Yes, but the results are priceless. 

Here on the Beran farm life is busy...we're transitioning back to school (my first year homeschooling all 5), we're enjoying cheering on our football playing son and cross country running girl, and prepping for the harvest that lies ahead. My husband is teaching Sunday School and I'm leading a women's Bible study. 

In my last post, I invited you to an online study of ReNEWal Road: The Journey of Becoming More Like Jesus. I had plans to post weekly, but I'm feeling that was more my plans than God's or perhaps He's telling me to wait. Regardless of the reason, I'm surrendering. 

Rather than focusing on the study not happening, I find myself thinking about that seed dying. I'm not sure what will grow from it, but I trust God will do more with a seed that dies than one I try to make grow.

So friend, if you were planning on joining I encourage to get the book and invite a friend to walk the road with you. And stay tuned...this farmer's wife knows sometimes it takes awhile to harvest the fruit that only God can grow!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for speaking to our hearts and using your Word to guide us in your ways. Keep our eyes set on you and our hearts tender to your leading. Help us die to self so that can you can live. Thank you for the reminder that seeds that die produce fruit. Open my eyes to see the fruit you are growing in my life. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A Little Reflection and Big Invitation


Hello Friends, it's a joy to join you here today! I'd love to invite you to join me for a journey - the journey of becoming more like Jesus! This fall I'm hosting a study here on my blog and at my church...together we will be walking through "ReNEWal Road"!

This is a journey that will be like any trip you've taken; there will be hills and valleys, good times and bad, but it will all be worthwhile. Time in God's Word is never wasted! Pause now and think about this question - "Do you need renewal?" 

If you answered "yes," I ask you to pray about joining us. Life can wear us out and worry can weigh us down, we need renewal and God will provide it. And as we seek Him in one area, He often will impact another. I know He's worked in and changed my heart as I studied, wrote and now continue to live out this message. I have no doubt He will do the same for you!

As the publication process unfolded for this study, I found myself reflecting. God has been renewing my mind and transforming me from the inside out. I don't recommend this book to you or invite you to the study because my name is on the cover, but because God's Word holds the power. I can say without a doubt the living and active Word has changed me, and friend, I believe it can and will do the same for you. 

A couple of weeks ago we held the 6th Renewed Life Women's Event and again God did more than we had asked for or could have imagined. I was encouraged by the things I saw and stories I heard. I was impacted by the messages others shared and appreciated the fellowship that took place. In the days that followed I experienced one of my friend's favorite sayings, "God blesses obedience." I echo her words. 

You see, writing this study was an act of obedience. Standing on stage and sharing my testimony was the same. Being transparent and speaking in front of a group don't come naturally for me, but God led me to do it and I did. He equipped me, provided for me and used my words. 

The day following the event, I stood in church and let the tears fall as we sang, "Blessed Be Your Name." In the wake of such a good day, you might think that would be an easy song to sing. It was, but it was emotional as well. You see those words are ones I asked our pastor to sing 9 years ago, the day after we had a miscarriage. 

There were tears then as well...tears of pain, loss and grief. Like Job, I had experienced God taking away. At the time, I was only 8 years into my walk with Christ and this was the first real painful loss I'd experienced. The memories of those days still bring tears and remind me of how lonely a miscarriage can be. At the same time, I'm reminded of how powerful God's presence truly is. 

I had experienced God's provision and peace, but this took everything to a new level. His comfort, His Word and His people were seen in a whole new way as I walked through pain I couldn't even describe. My flicker of faith became a flame as Jesus accompanied me through the shadow of death. A desire to share my faith was born as I grieved the little one who had died. 

Nine years have passed since that Sunday and God has done much. Psalm 37:4 says, "Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Through that trial and time of suffering God drew me to Himself, renewed my hope and strengthened my faith. In the years that have followed, He's drawn me into His Word, transformed my mind and given me the desires of my heart. 

Friend, I still can't put it all in words, but I know Hebrews 4:12 is true - "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." I've also experienced 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which says, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 

As I wrap up this up let me encourage you, nine years ago I never expected to write a Bible study. If you find yourself in a place of pain, deep grief or unending trial, keep seeking the Lord. Ask Him to give you a hunger for His Word. He hears your prayer and will speak to you through the Scriptures. He is our good Father and great God...walk with Him and run to Him. He is faithful and worthy of our worship when He gives and when He takes away. May we always remember Romans 8:28 - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." 

Friend, if you find yourself needing renewal or looking for a tool to get you into God's Word I again invite you to join us for a study as we walk "ReNEWal Road" and learn from one another. My plans are to share a blog post every Wednesday as we work through the study. I'd love to hear from you and learn alongside you! 

If you need a copy of the book, you can order one directly from me by clicking HERE or order one on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Monday, August 21, 2017

"It Wasn't Me"

My local friends and regular readers might be surprised to know we've added a new child to our home this summer. We simply call this individual, "The Naughty Kid." Anytime nobody knows who left the door open, the milk out or water running we say, "It must have been the 'Naughty Kid.'"

The older kids laugh and understand exactly what we are talking about, while at times it still confuses our little guys. But because of this invisible, little individual, we're talking about owning our actions and learning someone is to blame.

This past weekend I found myself sometimes speaking and often thinking a phrase that can be common in our home with 5 children - "It wasn't me!" Only I wasn't trying to disown the blame, I was attempting to refuse the credit.

On Saturday, we enjoyed the 6th annual Renewed Life Women's Event in our small town. God again did amazing things. We enjoyed powerful messages from Luann Prater and listened to impactful testimonies from local speakers. The worship team ushered us into the presence of God and fellowship with sisters uplifted our soul.

Personally, this year was a bit different...on top of helping organize the day and introduce our speaker, I too gave a message from the stage. For the girl who 14 years ago struggled to voice her name at a MOPS meeting, this is quite the step. I was also the one others approached to sign a book that contained my name on the cover.

Honestly, as I sit her in the wee morning hours it all still seems crazy and I want to echo my kids' words - "It wasn't me!" I prayed and shared these thoughts with my heavenly Father and realized this time the phrase is true. I'm not saying this to blame "the Naughty Kid", but give credit to our Great God!

Psalm 126:3 says, "The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad." The NIV states, "and we are filled with joy." No words could better express my thoughts about the Renewed Life Women's Event and my Bible study, Renewal Road. But these words from Scripture describe my feelings about even more - the transformational work God has done in my life.

He's taken an insecure woman who's often felt unworthy and changed me from the inside out. He's used a girl who thought her voice didn't matter and encouraged the hearts of others. He's done more than I could ever ask or imagine and that makes me glad.

Friend, I encourage you to stop for a moment today and think about what our good and great God has done for you! Thank Him and receive His work and His words. If He's reminding you of blessings, praise Him. If He's convicting of you sin, don't blame "the Naughty Kid" - ask for forgiveness, repent and join Him for the journey towards holiness.

Regardless of what the great things are, remember our response - to be filled with joy! Share that joy with others so that they too see our mighty God for who He is...the giver of ALL good things! Let's thank Him today...I'd love for you to comment about one of the great things God has done for you so we can praise Him together!

Dear Heavenly Father, you are so, so good. You do things we never think we could. You use us, You bless us, You change us. May we continually humble ourselves before You. I pray we always remember it is You who are good and may we never forget You are working in us to make us godly. Help us join You in the process and be grateful for the journey. Thank You Lord for who You are and all You do. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Reflecting on my mess...{And a GIVE-AWAY}

Unloading hay…it’s a job that has to happen on the farm. My kids claim I have the easy role; which when it comes to manual labor, they are right. I drive the skid-loader while they stack bales, so clearly they do more work, but my role creates some stress. Because of the bale rope, I have to gauge my speed and time my power so the bales don’t spin and hit the barn.

I’ve done this job before, but last week was a bit rough. Due to some weak twine and my lack of timely acceleration, a group of bales hit the frame of the door and 4 of them fell to the ground. It was a broken mess of loose hay.
My husband simply reiterated his instructions and a few kids offered smirks through the haymow window. Eventually, my little boys grabbed forks and started to clean up the mess. I felt bad and became more determined to do better the next time. 
As I sat waiting for Job to reset the bale fork, I felt the arrows of shame. Words from Satan intended to leave me defeated. Ones that would tempt me to think wrongly, which lead to wrong actions as well.

Satan, the great deceiver, who exists to steal, kill and destroy, was messing with my mind and I’m so thankful I realized he was attacking. In years past, I haven’t been so quick to recognize his ways. I’ve often let the lies overwhelm me and leave me feeling like a failure. I’ve let the evil one shame me and listened to his words of condemnation. 
Thankfully, that didn’t happen this time. So instead of sitting in the skid-loader with tears of pain and regret, I was able to praise God for the transformational work He has done.

Now a week later, I have a better understanding of how He’s done it. I was listening to Christian radio and Jeremy Camp's song, "Word of Life" caught my attention. I strongly encourage you to listen to it and think about the truth behind the words.
I'll share a few lines - "Word of truth, Illuminate all these lies, The enemy speaks inside, In freedom I will rise, 'Cause You called me out from the grave, So I can live like I’ve been changed, There is a new song in my soul, And it begins when I breathe in, Your word of life."
Friends, God's Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and it is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). This Word of Truth has transforming power, but we must tap into it.
Reading God's Word is good, but studying it, meditating on it and memorizing it are even better. If we want God's Word to get into us we need to get into it. 
And as we do just that we must live out 1 Thessalonians 2:12-13. Here Paul says, "And we also thank God continually because when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe."  
Did you notice the last key phrase in this passage? Who experiences the work of the Word? The one who believes! Do you believe? 
Friend, I challenge you to dig into God's Word and I pray that He gives you a desire to understand it. As we study it, we don't just learn what it means, we get a better understanding of who God is and are able to better believe what He says. And as that happens, the living, active Word works in us to change us and make us more like Him. 
I've known this for years, but I've experienced it mightily this past year. With the release of my new Bible study, ReNEWal Road, I've found myself reflecting. God transforming my response to broken hay bales is just the beginning of the work He's done in the past 12 months. 
As I believe the Word of God, I experience the work of God. And friend, you can do the same! Open your Bible and ask God to speak to your heart. Study a topic and see how scripture supports scripture. Cross reference your favorite verses and understand them even more. Visit biblehub.com and read the interlinear translation to get a better understanding of the verse in its original language. Take part in a Bible study that really gets you into the Word.
If you're looking to do a Bible study, leave a comment and you just might win a copy of ReNEWal Road! It's a study that God truly used to transform me and I pray you will experience the same! So a few questions to consider as you comment...
How has believing the Word of God helped you experience the work of God?
Have you had any messes lately that you've responded to differently because of the work God is doing in your life? 
If time is short, just leave a comment saying, "Count me in!" and I will! Stop back on Monday when I'll announce the winner!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word of life. Give us a hunger for it. Fill us with Your Spirit so that we can better understand it. Remind us of our role and help us read it, study it, memorize it and meditate on it. Lord, we believe, but ask You to help our unbelief. Sanctify us with Your Truth Father. And transform our thinking as well. God, we thank You for the work You've already done and praise You in advance for what You will do. In Jesus' mighty name, Amen.



Friday, July 28, 2017

Celebrating 16 and a Give-Away!

Sixteen years...I've been Mrs. James O. Beran for 16 years, which is hard to believe. It doesn't seem like that long ago we were planning our wedding and thinking about our future. At the time I'm pretty sure Job had no idea he was saying, "I do," to such an indecisive and insecure gal. He wasn't aware of all the doubts I wrestled with and the depression I sometimes slipped into.

But He made a vow to me, and more importantly to God, and today we celebrate. Not just our anniversary, but progress, growth and joy. Early on we committed to seeking God and reading the Bible together. God heard our cries and answered our prayers. He's humbled our hearts and changed them too.

I've heard people talk about the patience of Job and I know they are referring to the man we read about in Scripture, but the virtue is evident in my man as well. Thankfully, we haven't experienced the trials that Job did, but thru the years we've walked up hills and thru valleys.

Only 2 years separate Job and me according to our birth certificates, but spiritually he has 20+ years on me. Early on, Job was patient and understanding of my "rookie" status. He's been a great spiritual leader for me and now our 5 children. His prayers, discernment and example have played a vital part in my spiritual growth.

Now, before you go comparing the good things you just read about my husband to the challenging things you live with in your husband, let me assure you - I am human and so is Job. He'd be the first to admit he has struggles and sins just like the rest of us. We are far from perfect, but God is perfecting both of us. Marriage makes us happy...most of the time, but God is also using it to make us holy and we are grateful.

Sixteen years ago on a hot summer day one of the verses our pastor shared was Colossians 3:12 -
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." I'm pretty sure I thought the idea sounded good, but I had no idea what it truly meant. Time in God's Word and life with a farmer who doesn't just wear chore clothes, but these spiritual ones as well, has increased my understanding and given me the desire to wear the same wardrobe. 


Looking back I'm amazed at who I am now compared to who I was then. God has done much and He continues to work. He's changed us and drawn us closer. He's helped us overcome old struggles and revealed new ones. He constantly gives us opportunities to live out the verse I call our marriage mission statement - "Glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together!" (Psalm 34:3)

Daily we try to do this in our home with the words we say and things we do. Our 5 children provide a constant audience and our prayer is they see us doing what God created us to do. We've also served together as Sunday School leaders and organizers of a couple's Bible study. Job's been an elder and I've served in woman's ministry and though those are individual roles, in a way we do them together as we pray, talk and study.

We can do none of this in our strength...believe me we've tried and failed. When we stay in God's Word, unite our hearts in prayer and walk in faith, we are equipped to do what God leads us to do. We get tired, sometimes we're afraid and others we question, so renewal is always needed.

Which leads me to the give-away...in celebration of our 16th anniversary I'm going to give away a copy of my new Bible study - ReNEWal Road: The Journey of Becoming More Like Jesus. My name is on the cover, but without Job it would have never happened! He believed in me long before I believed in myself! So before you can even purchase a copy, you can win one here. Just leave a comment with your thoughts on one of the following questions -

What are you celebrating in your marriage today?

How are you renewed?

In what way would you like to become more like Jesus?

Thanks friends and be sure to stop by soon for more about ReNEWal Road! I'll post the winner on Wednesday.

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