Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sharing a Devotional

Hello Friends, I'm still away from blogging, but I have a devotional today at "The Encouragement Cafe" and would love for you to stop by! Do so by clicking HERE!

I pray your summer is going well! And hope your faith is growing as fast as the days are going!!

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord I thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of my heart at the Encouragement Cafe today. I ask you to speak in a personal way to each woman who stops by. The disease to please is real and approval addictions do happen...I'm grateful for the work You've done in my heart and for the healing power of Your Word. I also believe You have more work to do in each one of us...may our hearts be tendered, ears opened and spirit sensitive to what You have to do. Have Your way Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Good Morning Friend! What did you think when you read the title of this post? I've had this post open on my computer for the last day, just waiting for the time to actually write it. Honestly it's not one I really want to write, but it's one God has on my heart, so I will obey and trust He will work!

Growing up I was the good girl...I've never been busted in my life - well, by the police. This past Sunday night I experienced what it must feel like to be "busted" because I was, by God.

I had been trying to write my last post, "Sowing Seeds" but was constantly interrupted. After we put all the kids to bed, I thought, "Finally, I can get it done." I was about finished when my husband called for my help and instead of walking away from the computer I responded, "I've been trying to finish this all day...I'll be done in a few minutes."

Those few minutes turned into many and when I was done, my husband was too. He didn't say a word, but he didn't have to...God said it all. And honestly, the first thing that came to mind was "Busted"!

Here I was writing about sowing seeds and planting what you want to harvest, encouraging you to be intentional and reminding you that we reap what we sow. These thoughts came to my mind and I felt God impress on my heart, "What kind of seeds are you planting in your marriage?"

I was convicted and guilty as charged.

As the night went on, I couldn't sleep, so I got up and went to my knees. I confessed my sins to God because they are all against Him. (Psalms 51:4) And asked Him to help me keep my priorities straight.

Over the last 24 hours, I've been seeking His direction and one thing I feel Him leading me to do is step away from my blog for a bit. Not because He can't use it or I'm not supposed to some day do it again, but because He's asking me to.

Perhaps it's His way of reminding me that He's created me (and you) to not just be hearers of the Word, but to be doers. The other night I confused that with tellers. Friend, He does ask us to share our faith and His Word, but if we're not living it our words won't matter.

Back in college, one of my education professors liked to use this phrase - "Walk it. Talk it. Chalk it." He encouraged us as teachers we were role models and teaching about character or talking about it didn't do any good if we weren't living it out ourselves.

This situation has brought that phrase to mind once again and I've been reminded the same is true in a spiritual sense...first we must live our faith (walk it), then we can study and learn more about it (talk it) and then and only then can we try to encourage others and teach them (chalk it).

So why do I tell you this? Good question, but there are a few reasons...

One I appreciate you, my blog readers. I enjoy your comments and Facebook messages. We were created for community and it's a joy to share life and our walks of faith together. Thank you for taking the time to read my words and share yours, it blesses me more than you know! When God leads me back, I look forward to "seeing" you again!!

Two and most importantly, I share this because God has put it on my heart. Really, who likes to tell others about the time they got "busted"!! I know God expects us to be honest and I trust He works through our transparency, so I'm praying He will do that with this post. Perhaps you'll be encouraged to evaluate your priorities or maybe be led to embrace your conviction. I don't know, but I'm obeying and putting this in God's hands.

I have no idea when God will lead me back, but in the meantime may we be encouraged with these verses -

"because the LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in." Proverbs 3:12

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent." Revelation 3:19

"Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law." Psalms 94:12

Friend, I'm asking God to bless your day! I will be praying for you and if God brings me to mind, I'd appreciate your prayers as well.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sowing Seeds

Sowing's something we don't just talk about on the farm, we literally do it! The last few days we've had a few conversations about it...the rain and wet conditions have delayed us in planting some beans, so we're discussing what to do about that. My oldest daughter went to camp and came home sharing about a message on sowing and reaping. And today I was home with a sick little boy and found myself listening to an online sermon that focused on Galatians 6:7-9.

So naturally God has me here to share some thoughts with you...what do you think about when you hear the phrase "sowing seeds"? Do you think about seeds you sow or ones that are sown into the soil of your heart? Do you think about the process? The work? The result?

There's much to think about when we're discussing sowing seeds, but today let's focus on 3 things that have been brought to my attention.

1) Timing is important. On the farm in Iowa, we have to get the seed in the grown during a specific time frame because of the growing season. Corn, beans and oats all take time to grow so it's critical to get the seed planted in order to allow enough time before the cold weather comes. In a similar way, it's important to plant spiritual seeds in a timely fashion. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so friend if God puts it on your heart to share your faith, don't delay. Do your part and plant the His time, God will make it grow.

2) You reap what you sow. If my husband wants to harvest oats, he can't plant rye. If we want corn to feed our cattle it will do no good to plant beans. The same is true in life, but you don't have to take my word for it - Galatians 6:7b-8 sums it up quite well, "A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit will reap eternal life." Friend, if you and I long to live a life that produces fruit that pleases God we must plant seeds that are good. If we want to live a righteous life tomorrow we must do the right thing today. If we want to be more mature in our faith next year, we must live more like Jesus today.

3) One sown seed produces many new seeds. I really hadn't thought about this much until my daughter shared an illustration from camp. Joy shared how the speaker held up a kernel of corn and asked, "What happens when I plant this?" The kids correctly responded, "It grows. It makes more corn." The speaker then went on to talk about that seed producing a stalk of corn which has a few ears, which each have numerous kernels. I'm a numbers gal, so I asked my farmer husband about this, and he said 20 pounds of corn seed can produce around 8,400 pounds of corn at harvest. Those numbers are quite remarkable!

I'm not sure how the math works out in a spiritual sense, but I have to believe there is some sort of ripple effect. It's fun to think about this as I reflect on the good seeds I've planted, but my heart hurts as I think about the bad seeds I've sown into hearts, others and my own.

Like I said I've been thinking about this over the past few days and it's left me encouraged. I pray I do more than simply think about it and now that I've shared with you, I pray we will all be influenced to intentionally plant seeds that are good! Friend, farming isn't an easy job, but it's one we are called to do in a spiritual sense, so may Paul's words encourage us - "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pulling Weeds

We've been spending some time in the fields pulling weeds...a job that is not real fun, just ask my daughters! It can be hot, the bugs are bad and it takes a long time. For those of you not on the farm, let me paint a picture - the bean field is the size of 20 to 30 football fields, you start on one end, pull weeds as you walk to the other end, turn around and do it again.

The other day as we walked along, I listened to my daughters grumble. They didn't want to do the job. It was boring, it was hard and it for sure was not fun. The quickly grew tired and were ready to quit. As we pressed on, I shared a thought that was on my heart, "This is just like pulling weeds from our heart."

The girls listened to my little mini-sermon, but the following day when I was in the field by myself I had more time to really think about it. Pulling weeds out of the bean field really is quite similar to removing sin from my heart.

Sometimes the work seems overwhelming. We walked into one area of the field and there were so many weeds we were ready to quit before we even began. It can be like that in life, but friend, like I told the girls, if we never start we will never finish!

Sometimes the weeds are hard to recognize. We were amazed at all the weeds that had their tops eaten off by the deer. These were easy to miss. Sin can deceive us as well...we must know what we are looking for and when we identify it, we must do all we can to remove it.

The smaller the weed the easier the pull. The weeds that were tall had a good, strong root system and took a real effort to remove, but the smaller weeds were not as strong and were easily removed. Oh friend, this is true with sin and is one reason to turn from sin the minute we recognize it. The longer we let it linger, the harder it is to turn from it.

Weeds only die when the root is removed. Sometimes when you'd pull a weed you'd crack it off rather than pulling it out. In the long run this does no good and the same is true in a spiritual sense. We may be tempted to remove part of our sin, but friend we must repent from it all.

If you don't pull the weeds, you won't harvest the fruit. As I was pulling weeds I thought about a few days prior when we were picking strawberries. This was a job my kids enjoyed and I did too. It truly was more fun to pick berries than weeds, but if the man at the strawberry patch had not pulled the weeds we would not enjoyed the berries. If we want to produce a harvest in our life, we must do the work of pulling weeds!

Sometimes you just have to do the work. Pulling weeds isn't something every farmer does anymore...many of them spray their field and the chemical does the work, but since we farm organically and are growing edible beans, spray is not an option. Friend, if you and I want a real "organic" relationship with our heavenly Father there is no quick fix for us. Pulling weeds is a job we must do again and again, but the time we invest and effort we exert will be worth it in the end!

Just this morning I was reading 2 Chronicles 7 and this verse struck me and reminded me of my time out pulling weeds. We must turn from our wicked ways, and if we're honest we all have them. Today can I encourage you to spend sometime in prayer about this, ask God to examine your heart...He will show you the weeds, then pray for the strength and diligence to do the work of removing them from your heart. As we do this we will live out verse 7, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Who do you listen to?'s something I talk about quite often with my kids. It's a skill they need and something I expect, but friend, this action is not just for children. Over a week ago we were reading from 1 Kings 13 and the little exchange of words has stayed with me. They have me thinking...I know there is a lesson in them. I've been trying to learn from it myself and asking God to help me apply it; now He's led me to try to share it with you here as well.

So first let me encourage you to read 1 Kings chapter 13. I believe a powerful story unfolds in these 34 verses. A man of God comes from Judah to Bethel...he delivers a message, intercedes and heals. He is then asked to return with the king, but says no and in verse 9 gives his reason: "For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: 'You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.'"

The man of God understood his orders and was willing to obey them, so he proceeded on his way. As he rested, an old prophet approached and asked him to come with him and eat bread.

Again the man of God responded with the same words he'd given the king, but the old prophet didn't relent as he said, "I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: 'Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.' (But he was lying to him.)" So the man of God listened to the old prophet and went with him...doing exactly what God had told him not to do.

I know I've read this passage before, but last Monday when I read the words they really hit...especially these: But he was lying to him. These words had my attention and I asked God to help me learn from them and understand what He was saying. I've done a little research and different commentators have different interpretations. Some suggest the old prophet is not a man of God and the angel who spoke to him wasn't a good angel. Others suggest the man truly was a prophet of God, but still a man with a sinful, deceitful heart. Was this an example of God testing or Satan tempting? I don't know, but regardless I've been reminded it is an opportunity for you and me.

Friend, we can learn from this story. We can be reminded of who we need to listen to! I long for my children to listen to me and God does the same!! As my kids grow they have others speaking into their lives...people who may even suggest they do the opposite of what I tell them. And friend, we must admit there are people in our lives who do the same to us. We may no longer feel the pressure that comes with going against our parents' commands, but the world will entice us to go against God's.

My husband saw me writing this and has been involved in some discussions about it and asked, "what are taking from this?' My response - we must listen to God first and most. Friend, His Word must be our authority. Everything we hear and are told must be brought back to our Bible and if there is a contradiction, we MUST let God's Word rule.

I could go on, but God is telling me to stop, so for now I'd love to hear your thoughts - Who do you listen to? What lesson does this chapter hold for you? How do you listen to God's voice in a world that is full of noise?

May we be encouraged by these words from Jude - "But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life." (vs 20-21)