Life is Busy

Amid all the college work, barn chores, and just general life I haven’t had much time to think let alone write! As much as I disliked doing it, I ended up diminishing the amount of livestock in the barnyard just so that I could keep up everything.

The busyness is a blessing in several ways: I’m learning a lot and I don’t have time to stew over things. Most single people around Valentines Day are in the dumps. I’m way too busy for that! I barely have time to do any hobbies, let alone be in a relationship!

But I have also found that the busier I get, the more I push God to the side. Bible study gets rushed through and prayer is skipped so that I can “get to school on time” or because “I just can’t seem to focus”. As I look at it though, I’m finding that my problem isn’t time management or focus. I can get to places on time and still get all the stuff I WANT to get done, done. My problem isn’t that I can’t focus. I can make myself focus on school when it needs to get done.

The bigger issue is that I have prioritized everything else above quiet time. As life got busier, I started cutting out and diminishing things I felt wasn’t important (like the ton of livestock I had in the barn). Unfortunately, I also cut into God’s time. And it took a while for me to realize it. I’ve missed out on so much wisdom, much more than I can ever learn on my own or through my teachers!

So as life gets busy, make sure to stop every once in a while and double check your priorities. Don’t be dismayed if you have slacked off like me. Even Jim Elliot struggled with “consistent thoughtlessness and careless neglect of prayer and Bible study” (The Journals of Jim Elliot, Feb 9, 1948). He was able to overcome and grow with Christ’s help and so can we! We just have to start with a quiet room and God’s listening ears. Life, in the mist of our busyness, can still be used by God. All we have to do is ask for another chance.

Aughts Against Any

“Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” Matthew 18:18.

For a long time I was puzzled..about what ‘loosing’ and ‘binding’ meant. Then I found out: it means that by hanging onto my judgement of another I can bind him to the very conditions I’d like to see changed. By our unforgiveness, we stand between the other person and the Holy Spirit’s work in convicting him and then helping him…Forgiveness means that I’m no longer binding a certain person on earth. It means withholding judgement…
A couple of years ago I was going through one of those prayers-no-getting-beyond-the-ceiling periods and I prayed ‘Lord, I don’t have enough faith. Give me the gift of faith.’
‘It isn’t your faith,’ the reply came ‘I can see faith even if it is as small as a mustard seed. No, It’s something else. When you stand praying – forgive if you have aught against any. That’s your trouble. That’s why your prayers aren’t answered. You go about with a lot of aughts against a lot of anys.’

–David DuPlessis
Quoted in the book Something More by Cathrine Marshall.

Lessons from the Frost

Yesterday was a long day…so was the day before. This week is dress rehearsal for one of the Christmas programs I am involved in, so every night is booked. Plus, there is the normal amount of classes to attend, chores to fulfill, and every day life to take care of. Last night was stingy on the allotment of sleep I am allowed, so needless to say, I am tired and it’s only half-way through the week. This means that I am not up to my normal functioning level.

With this in mind, let me tell you about my morning…you may find in interesting. Around 6:20 this morning Dad was ready to eat. Over half of the family wasn’t out of bed yet, so he made a round to each room and informed the occupant that breakfast would be served in five minutes. Now in my family, about half of them do not do well eating immediately after they rise and two more, which are usually not apart of that group, were this morning, due to sinus issues.

After dragging myself out of the top bunk, down the stairs, and (in a round about way) to the table, I sat facing a breakfast of scrabbled eggs and cold cereal. I am one of the two who had sinus issues, so I just ate the cold cereal. Usually, we have goat milk for our cereal, but as I am drying up the goats (I will explain latter), we had store bought, two percent, homogenized cow milk. Owing to the sinus issues I was experiencing, the cereal didn’t have the same appeal as normal. Plus the milk was awful! It was like using slightly flavored, colored water! Yuck!

Next up was Bible study and after that I lay down on the bed and rested for half an hour or so. I don’t usually do that, but this week with its late nights and early mornings has been an exception.

Chores outside are a dreary task for me in the winter. Once my hands are cold, I can’t use them and the poor goats have a hard time with cold fingers on their warm udders. I decided that I would go ahead and dry the does up a month early due to the cold and a few other factors. So, this morning after wrapping up in a snow suit, scarf, hat, gloves, (I told you I can’t take the cold very well) I donned on my rubber boots and headed out to the shed to check the does.

First, I had to stumble through the fuzzy mess of Angoras while holding a bucket of unfrozen water that looked very much like their feed bucket. After disappointing them, I turned my attention to the milk does. Jael was in too much of a hurry, so she slipped through the two strand electric fence and high-tailed it to the barn where she thought her milk stand was filled with grain…it wasn’t…thankfully, my sister was in there feeding the chickens and she took care of Jael for me.

I hadn’t filled the milk stand feeders because I didn’t know if the goats were tight enough to justify reliving them a bit or not. With Jael gone, Violet was left to check. I tucked Violet’s head between my legs and leaned forward to slide my hand down her back and to her udder. She didn’t like that.

Lesson from the Frost Number One: Frost covered grass is slippery. Violet took off like lightning and so did I…backwards…on her back. My boots siding along the ground until traction was finally found in a patch of non-frosted ground. Has anyone else ever ridden a goat? I have, for about twenty feet. I finally did corner Violet and her udder was tight, so I let her go flying to the barn while I went to the house to gather the milking supplies. I usually have everything ready and waiting in the barn, but since I thought I wouldn’t have to milk today, I didn’t.

Lesson from the Frost Number Two: Frost covered porch stairs are slippery. Yep, the first stair I put my foot on found me sprawled out like a possum who sees his life flash before him when a car narrowly misses him! I just laid there for half a minute trying to decide if it would be better to get up or just to stay down.

I did finally relive the goats from too thier milk pressure and a few slips and sides later, I did make it back in the house. I think I’ve had enough excitement for the day, but life doesn’t work that way…I wonder what will happen tonight?

Spiritual Warfare

As soon as you become a Christian, you enter into spiritual warfare whether you like it or not. Dr. Jonny Pope recently said, “When you get right with God, the devil puts you on a bulls eye.” It works the other way as well: if you are not being a light and are not a threat to the devil, why should he bother you?

If Satan temped Jesus in the wilderness, why, oh Christian, do you think you would be exempt from attack? Jesus was attacked three times then left him alone for a season; Satan came back when Jesus was crucified. Satan will always come back, especially when we win a battle. We will never be out of Spiritual Warfare until the war is over when Jesus comes back.

When we conquer one devil, another, stronger one, will attack. As we climb up to a new level of holiness, a new devil will be waiting for us. We are always in spiritual battles.

My family and I have been in spiritual warfare for a couple of months now, but recently it has seemed to be overpowering. Could it be because we are seeking higher ground? The past two Saturday nights, for example, were especially hard. For two weeks, I have been gone to camps and have received strength and direction from God. I’m guessing that makes me a huge threat to the battle in my house. I was exhausted physically and the demons saw the weakness as a foothold and a break in the lines. Physical weariness will affect mental and spiritual welfare. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that I fell back in the ranks. Thankfully, our merciful God was there to bring me back up.

James 4:7b says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” But have you ever stopped to think how? Yesterday morning, I was reading in Ephesians and it hit me like lighting. Yes, I had a duh moment; for the answer was right in front of me the whole time! This is what I read:

“Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

How do we “Resist the devil?” “Withstand in the evil day.” How do we “withstand in the evil day?” “Put on the while armor or God!” To be able to fight the Satan and his devils, we must have working armor of God. There cannot be any rust or missing pieces!

Who will stand up, prepare, and buckle on the armor with me? Who is willing to do battle against “rulers of the darkness of this world?” Who will stand for Jesus?

Will of God

I love what Jim Elliot once said: “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” This I believe that God has a plan for each and every one of his children, but how do you know the what that plan is? How do you know the will of God?

Maybe the reason I am struggling with this is because of my graduation. I want the next phase of my life to be in God’s will. How do I know, out of the multiple paths I could take, which one is the one God wants me to walk on?

I finally came to the realization that, after much prayer and telling God that you want his will, you will just know. Usually there isn’t a big revelation, but a quiet peace.

So, in essence, I’ve learned this: Seek God first and everything else will fall into place. He will change your will to his will, let you know where to go, when to speak, and what to say. Also, if you do mess up and make the wrong choice, don’t worry, God is right there ready to help you get up and start again.

“Delight thyself in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass…Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him…The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” -Psalms 37:4-5,7a,23-24

Big Dreams, Big Problems

I dream. That, in itself is not a problem, but when I dream I will get upset when people don’t share my dreams, laugh at them, or the dreams don’t come true. To put it simply, I dream big dreams and have big problems.

My ultimate dream is self-sufficiency. My dream for this year was to raise (and butcher) 25 Cornish hens and to raise feed for my goats…not just some feed, but a year’s worth. I didn’t think it was too much, I mean I’ve had much, much, MUCH bigger dreams to accomplish in that time frame. I thought I wasn’t asking for too much. I had narrowed it down to just two.

I had it all planed out: I would plant a half acre of oats, harvest them, then plant the same plot with a winter crop of roots. The first problem was how to harvest the oats. Well, that was easy: scythe it. I just bought a scythe this fall from a neighbor.

The second problem was how to prepare the ground. This was a little harder. Clay soil is hard on tiller and besides, a half-acre of tilling…Mom tried to help me see that it might not work out as I planned.

Okay, I admit it, I got upset. I felt like my dream was being pushed back. It wasn’t working out, why did that always happen to me? I sat and moped (By the way, never mope because it brings on self-pity.).

Finally, Mom had enough and told me to go clean the bathroom. You know, it’s amazing what you can think of while cleaning the toilet! I realized that it didn’t matter if my dreams didn’t turn out to be my definition of perfect. Maybe all I can do it plant a pot of oats, but what does that matter? Dreams, wishes, and goals are all good and fine, but I can’t hang my life on them—I can’t idolize them.

Norm Wakefield says in Equipped to Love that “The spirit of idolatry tempts man to look to the creatures for happiness…When we worship and serve someone or something, we give it the power to make us miserable.” That was exactly what I was doing! I was giving my dreams the power to make me miserable. Wow, to think that I was breaking the first commandment! Not only that, but look at 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9; 10:7, 14; 2 Corinthians 6:16, Galatians 5:19-23, Ephesians 5:5, Colossians 3:5, 1 Peter 4:3, Revelation 21:8; 22:15. I beg you to look these up. It really shows how important it is that we don’t idolize someone or something. If we get this wrong, we not only hurt Jesus, but we run the risk of ending in the lake of fire!

“Little children keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:21