Monday, July 21, 2014

See You at the Finish Line!


24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9)

When I left Facebook, a young God-lover who was serving the Lord in Mexico on a summer mission trip bid me farewell:

See you at the finish line!

Eric knows that we're on the same team and that we should both be focused on the race.  There's no time to get distracted by the world - the finish line should be the only thing in our sights.  Paul knew that it was possible to set out on the race and get distracted.  Like the writer of Hebrews, he knew the importance of single focus:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12)

It's not just that we can lose sight of the finish line.  The evil one lurks about seeking to distract us or even to disable us.  Take two minutes to check out an inspiring story...and be reminded of what our response should be to setbacks in the spiritual race.

I have fallen flat on my face in this race.  Satan has tripped me numerous times, and on occasion, I have gone down with a thud.  Any of us who have been in the race for long have been so derailed by the evil one.  

Sometimes, though, we see someone go down in a race - even The Race - and they don't get back in the race.  Some lay on the track in agony.  Some limp off the track in shame and defeat.  No one likes that more than Satan.  The great crowd of witnesses cheers, "get up...get back in the race..." 

And the evil one snickers.

He was a preacher when he ran off with the church secretary - his youngest daughter passing away in his absence from an undiagnosed heart condition.  He attends church now, some 30 years later - the secretary having left him for another man.  He sits in the back and doesn't talk to anyone...slipping in and out without much interaction with the rest of "the team."

Satan deluded her into thinking that the grass was greener.  After divorcing, remarrying, and divorcing her first husband, she married three more times in short order.  Now she is sidelined, watching the race.

His wife, who led him to Christ when they were dating, left him in a flurry of expensive and embarrassing lawsuits intended to decimate his livelihood, if not his life.  He didn't limp off the field; he stormed off - and wants nothing more to do with the team, much less the race. 

Sometimes, failure in the race causes us to forget about the race, but we will all meet at the finish line.  We will all give an answer for how we ran - or didn't run.  We will all fall, the question is, will we get back in the race - and run to win?

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Timothy 4)


Friday, July 18, 2014

Making a Jesus a Liar

This is actually a recycled post - one of my favorites from earlier this year.  (And, if you enjoy reading my previous posts, it turns out that one of them was featured on Faithful Bloggers last week.  I'd be blessed if you'd read and comment on either one!)

For decades, as I've read my Bible, I've been somewhat curious about how the early Christians lived in such intimate community with one another.  And, as I've been curious, I've discussed this with wiser, older Christians and they've always agreed: " is such a curiosity...such a beautiful thing...but definitely not "required" in any way...and not even feasible in our day and age and location."

Sounded reasonable to me.

Yet, it still nags at me every time I read verses like:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Communion - What Does God Want From It? (And a Recipe!)

Delicious unleavened bread from recipes for our daily bread dot com. 

Every other week, I make the bread for our weekly participation in the Lord's Supper.  Sometime last fall, I came across this absolutely delicious recipe from Diane at Recipes For Our Daily Bread.  This bread is so yummy that there is never any left (and I make quite a bit) and when The Cowboy first tasted it he declared it was too yummy to qualify as communion bread!

You see, millennia of a distorted view of the Lord's Supper - that has resulted in a form of ritualism that God has declared that He despises - have brought us to believe that Communion is a time of somber reflection over tasteless bits of cracker and a thimble of juice.

The practice instituted by the Spirit-led apostles couldn't have been further from our sad attempts to participate in what was established as a glorious time of remembrance and fellowship among believers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

When Ministry Becomes Idolatry and Service Becomes Sin


I felt a connection to her because we had given birth a day apart with the very same midwife. Actually she had worked for my midwife and done my first prenatal with her.

At that appointment she told me all about the mission trip to Central America she and her husband had gone on in recent years.  The kids had stayed with friends and family, as she and her husband took a couple of weeks out of "real life" to do Real Life.

So when she posted on Facebook, not two weeks after our cherubs were born, that she was itching to get back in the mission field, I couldn't help myself.

A Blog About the Farm

Because I'm utterly crazy, I've added another blog.

The Farm School continues to be my devotional/farmschooling blog - but a few months ago I began playing around with a blog to promote our farm's products.  It's evolved into a blog about life on the farm.

While I try to update this blog a few times a week, the our Canaan's Land Farm & Ranch blog will only be updated weekly.

So, if you dig that kind of thing (pictures of farm life, farm kids, and stories about what we're doing as farmers and ranchers) you might want to check it out!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

When a Commitment to Godliness Results in a Failed Adoption

Friday I posted about ethics in adoption.  If you read my series on the sad saga of Baby Veronica Brown you know my background - that I started out being on fire for adoption - and completely embracing the mantra of the Christian Adoption Movement: save the orphan!

Over time, especially via sweet Veronica's tragic story, I came to see that the perspective of any adoption movement is inherently one-sided: pro-adoption.  That is not to say that I no longer believe in adoption.  I absolutely believe in adoption - but only for children who have no family willing to care for them.

I also began to learn, as I searched adoption ethics, that the good intentions of the movement were driving corruption in the industry.  (The fact that children being taken from one family and put in another family (whether or not the first family was a willing participant) is now an industry, should be your first indicator that corruption is unavoidable in the process.)  It's not that most adopters want the corruption to take place, it's that they are seen as consumers, and vulnerable children are seen as commodities...and that drives corruption.  The fact that many Christian adopters (most?) are unwilling to aggressively fight this corruption drives it that much moreso.

So, today I was blessed while reading Abide Family Center's Instagram feed (and can I say, if you don't follow them on Instagram, you are missing out!).  After this family found that the young girl they were planning to adopt had a living mother, their love for God resulted in a change a plans.  After moving the girl to a better facility, they contacted Abide who is helping to reunite their would-be adopted daughter with her first mother.  The mother is impoverished, and Abide will help her get back on her feet financially and become a family with her children again.

God is SO good.

I can't help but think, though, how many other times could children be reunited with their first family if we'd just follow God and His plan for helping the poor and vulnerable of the world?

Please go check out the family's blog post (and read the there further for back-information) - and I hope you'll send some love to this broken-hearted family who is seeking God's face.


Saturday, July 12, 2014


This boy needs a beesuit!

This is my right hand beekeeper and this is his "beesuit"  - mind you, as you see that heavy coat, it was 95° the day I took this picture!

So, we have a plan to get the Littlest Cowboy a beesuit - and you're part of our plan!

The LC has been taking pictures - not just pictures, but great pictures - of our ladies from the hives of Queen Esther and Queen Melissa.  We are having these pictures made into greeting cards (with bee facts on the back) - and selling them to raise money for the LC's beesuit - which he will be sharing with his sisters, of course.  (Well, not at the same time, you know... but you get the idea.)

Here are some samples of the LC's work:  

(Yes, I'm serious - he took these himself, with a little $69 camera.)  
(Yes, he is quite talented, isn't he?  
(No, I'm not biased at all.)

We'll be selling the 5x7 cards (professionally produced by Shutterfly) at 10 greeting cards for $20 + shipping if we need to ship them.  Comment or email to make your pre-order by noon on Tuesday the 15th.  (No payment until cards are ready to ship.)

Thanks a bunch.  Because, sooner or later, if he doesn't have a bee suit, I might have to do this all by my little ol' lonesome.

And we can't have that.

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