>> Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The corn is dry; the stalks rustle as the wind blows between the tightly spaced rows. Soon it will be time for harvest. Farmers will pluck the vegetable from the plant and the stalks usefulness is done; yet it isn’t. Eventually it will get plowed deep into the ground to provide nutrients for future crops.

Some things need to be buried deep in the ground - other things shouldn’t. We may think skeletons hidden in our closet aren’t harmful but they are. Someone or something happens to bring sin to the light and when light shines on it – evil is exposed for what it is.

It’s time for evil to be exposed and The Truth to reign in this world. To be honest, when evil is exposed, it’s not pretty. It hurts deeply. It may tear families apart or bind them closer than ever.

10-12And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels Ephesians 6:10-12 (The Message)

It appears things are heating up in this world or maybe it's inching its way closer to rural America. There is no place to hide from the enemy's destruction. As the verse above reminds us - we need to be well-dressed with the armor of God. It's not an Olympic game but is life or death.

And remember - the bigger the trouble is and the more darkness it brings with it, the bigger our God will show up for all to see and revere. It's time to get serious in our prayer life and our personal time with God. Time to step it up. It's time to stand up to satan and not walk away or pretend not to see him. Maybe it's time to clean out our closets, you think? Don't try to hide sin anymore. Let it come to light and let God show you how to deal with it. Now is the time...


Friday Fiction - Very. Mysterious.

>> Friday, September 18, 2009

Today is Friday - yay! I made it! And it's also time for Friday Fiction. It's being hosted by Joanne at Open Book. My school computer doesn't let me put the link in. You can find it on my side bar. (Sorry Jo:(

I was surprised yesterday to see I recieved a 3rd place editor's choice for this story. Joanne texted and told me and I quickly told her, "No way." Mari got 8th. I woke her up nice and early to share it with her. This story is very loosely based on a real life happening taking place right now in one of my friends' lives. It helps me so much to process things when I can write. It also makes me feel in control when I can decide the outcome. So unlike real-life. Am so glad God is in control, though. He is much better at this than I could ever be. Okay - here it is - Very. Mysterious.

***************************Very. Mysterious. **************************************

I may be only ten, but I’m not stupid. Something was going on. Usually when I walk into church with mom and dad, I get real excited; like God’s waiting for me. That gives me goose chills. Today I have a different kind of chill.

I felt it on the way there, too. My brother did his five-year-old best to torment me but I was focused on the front seat. When it got quiet in back, Mom gave Dad one of ‘those’ looks and he clammed up. It was all so very mysterious. That’s my new spelling word. M-i-s, no, M-y-s, oh, never mind. Anyway, it is. Very. Mysterious.

Grandpa Joe met us at the door. He scares me. He pulls my hair when he thinks I’m too loud and he takes away my dessert; says I’m too fat. Mom gets mad but nobody can stand up to Grandpa. I’ve seen him do the same thing to adults. He had a stroke. Dad says he hasn’t been the same since. Don’t know if I should feel sorry for him or for the rest of the world.

More people came and huddled together like football teams do on T.V. Mom shooed us off to class. Noah went. I didn’t. No one noticed. I’m short and they were busy. When Pastor walked by – well, you should have seen their faces. Wow. I knew for sure something was up. Noah has the same look when he’s in trouble. Green gills from guilt. That’s Grandma’s saying.

They all scattered after that but by then I was so sick I had to run to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet. and held my stomach. It hurt awful. Not the normal kind of hurt either, like from when I eat too much. It was more a hurt like something bad’s gonna happen. I shouldn’t have been scared I’d miss something. Clues followed me through the door. I heard someone come in.

“What are you going to do?”

“I have to believe Joe. He’s been here forever. How well do we even know Pastor?”

It was Miss Katy and Miss Becky. I knew them since I was little. Liked them, too. They whispered. I kept real quiet so I could hear. I shouldn’t have worried. They were loud whisperers. No secrets kept around those two.

Katie said, “But Joe’s been known to lie, Beck.”

My stomach finally let loose. Ugh. I heard them gasp and then the door slammed shut. At least I knew I was right. Something was happening. I must’ve made it stink good in there. The door opened and then closed real fast a couple of times. It was a good thing. God started to talk to me in that bathroom.

Wow. I was excited. I never had God talk to me before. After He said all He had to say, I figured I had a job to do. I didn’t know how or when but I knew what to say. I looked at myself in the mirror and then I got scared. “Why me, God? No one will listen to a kid.”

The longer I stood the more brave I got. I left that stinking old bathroom humming, “Be bold, be strong.”

I stood in back. I saw heads together. People whispered. I could tell where the trouble-makers sat. Dad and Mom were right there in the middle of it all. Grandpa Joe sat at the edge of his seat, like he was ready to jump up and do something crazy.

I walked down the aisle while Pastor prayed. A long prayer. I think he was scared to stop. Don’t blame him. Just as soon as he said, “Amen,” Grandpa leapt to his feet. I beat him to the stage, though, and whispered in Pastor’s ear.

He handed me the microphone, “Jesus loves the little children and Jesus loves all of you. He doesn’t want you to fight. He wants you to praise and worship Him. That’s what God wanted me to say to you.”

Grandpa froze then I saw tears fall down his face. I held Pastor’s hand and walked him down the steps with me. I slipped my hand through Grandpa’s. People huddled again; this time for a good reason. I heard them pray as I squeezed myself between the bodies. I did my job, now it was up to them. I was out of there. After all, I had junior church and we were having jelly-filled donuts.


O God, How Great Thou Art!

>> Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday night at Bible study, we began the book, Crazy Love. Our leader for the evening, Sonna, asked us what we would do if we stood in front of God. What would we say? Immediately I thought of these words, "Oh my God!"

I tried to explain this to the group but I think it was lost in the translation. I write much better than I can speak. We've all seen shows like Extreme Home Makeovers where families come in and see their wonderful new house. The first thing out of their mouth is usually, "Oh my God!" Now, as Christians, we don't use God's name like this. It offends me when I hear other people say it.

But when I think what I might say when I stand before God, this was my first thought, "Oh my God!" Satan is a copycat. Whatever is good, he wants to turn it around and make it bad. God's name is holy and satan desires to stain His reputation. Well now... satan's plans most usually get foiled.

God created us to praise Him. It's in our genes. If we don't praise Him, the trees of the fields most certainly will. In fact, the beauty of a field of flowers does exactly that. A single flower has the same affect.

Isaiah 55:12 "You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands."

*O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

So much praise builds up in me when I see God's creation. Can you imagine seeing God Himself? If you suddenly standing at God's feet, what would you say or do? Can you imagine?

*How Great Thou Art, Carl Boberg, 1885


Friday Fiction -- Harvest Dessert

>> Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friday Fiction this week is hosted by Karlene. Go there to find other fantastic stories! This is my Autumn story for FW. I got 12th place, by the way. Am pleased with that. Happy Friday!!!

Clare stood at the sink as she washed the dishes. Her mind left her kitchen and drifted past her wildflower garden to the field. The cool air fluttered the kitchen curtains.

A toddler ran beneath her window. Clare stood on her tiptoes to watch. Joey and Jared hid behind the tree and jumped out at Brett. She smiled when her twins giggled and chased after the little boy.

“You there, Tori?” Clare called out; sure her best friend was right behind her son.

“Coming.” Tori pulled a wagon full of sweet corn. “Ready to do some husking?”

Clare dried her hands and opened the door. “Sure am.” She wrapped her arms around Tori and squeezed her tight. “I’m so glad you came today.”

Tori hugged her back. “You lonely?”

“Just a bit, yes. I can’t get used to the farm life. I just want to have Greg with us again. But even when he’s with us, he isn’t. He’s constantly thinking of how he can improve things for next year.”

“Greg was home all winter. We both complained about our husband's being underfoot all the time, remember?"

Clare stopped to wipe tears from her eyes. “I'm spoiled. Just never happy, I guess.”

They sat on the porch swing, the wagon full of corn between them; a pile of discarded husks on either side.

Both women were quiet. They worked, each lost in their own thoughts. Tori broke the silence. “I think you should go spend some time with Greg.”

“But he’s working.”

“Pack up a picnic supper and drive out to the field.”

“I can’t do that. What about the boys?”

“They’ll come home with me. Brett loves to play with them. Go ahead. Trust me. Greg will love it.”

Clare stood up, unsure of Tori’s idea. “I suppose I could dress up.” She smiled.

Tori clapped her hands and laughed. “Yes. Wear your high heels and that cute little black dress you got for your anniversary.”

“I think I’ll do it.”

A little spray of perfume and covers on the dishes were Clare’s final preparations. She held the picnic basket in one hand and used her other arm to help balance herself in her three inch heels as she walked to the car. Her excitement grew the closer she drove to the field.

She parked on the side of the road and pulled out her phone. She sent off a text and then smiled in a mischievous way.

Quickly, Greg replied back.

Within minutes she saw the combine come closer. Greg jumped out and ran to her like a teenage boy. “Hey Baby, what’s up with that text?”

Clare giggled and blushed a pretty rose color.

Greg wrapped his arms around his wife and held her tight. “So, you think you want a ride, Mrs. Johnson?”

“Oh yes, Mr. Johnson, more than anything.” She handed him the basket of food and he put it up into the cab then he came back for Clare.

He scooped her into his arms and walked to his John Deere. He climbed up first then pulled up his wife. “I’ve never seen a farmer in high heels before, Honey, but I think I like it.”

“I’m thinking I like it, too.”

Greg put the machine in gear and they were off. He drove to the middle of the field where they couldn’t be seen from the road. “How about dessert first, my dear Clare?”

“Greg, you’re crazy. Are you teasing? What about Charlie?”

“A man never teases about that. I sent Charlie home as soon as I saw the car crest over the hill. We're done for the day.” Greg drew her close and whispered in her ear, “I sure have missed you.”

The tears Clare had worked so hard to keep inside while around Greg were let loose.

“I know harvest is hard on you. It’s almost over, I promise, and then I’m all yours.” He kissed away her tears. As the sun set in the west, the windows fogged. Clare’s loneliness was forgotten for a time.

The harvest moon settled comfortably in the sky. The rays shone into the John Deere and revealed the uneaten food; but both husband and wife really enjoyed the dessert.

Clare grinned. “I suppose farm life isn’t so bad after all.”


Spending Time with the Spiritually Unresolved

>> Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spiritually unresolved? What does that mean? Kent Hickerson and his wife Merla celebrated their 26th year as ministers at our church - First Christian Church in Clinton, Illinois. That is amazing. Who stays in one church for 26 years, let alone pastor there for that long? Wow!

This morning Kent shared a message entitled, 'More?' from Luke 15. It was an awesome message so I am going to share a bit here. Just because... because it was so good and are things that God has been whispering to me this week. Those whisperings is what made the praise and worship so good, too. I spent time with God. My heart was supple. Even though I didn't feel well, I survived and I was ministered to.

Okay, it's like this: Jesus hung around with the wrong crowd. (Luke 15:1-2) He had the nerve to spend time with the spiritually unresolved. Gotta love that:) Another name for sinners. Why would Jesus do that?

Luke 15:3-7 talks about the lost sheep. Only 1 of 100 was lost. What's the big deal? It's only an animal. The joy wasn't in the 99 right then but in the one that was lost but now found. It was a joyous reunion!

Remember the lost coin? (Luke 15:8) 'Only 1 coin out of 10 was lost, old lady!' It's just a thing. But that woman needed that coin. When she found it she rejoiced and celebrated, because, as we saw above - joy comes in the reunion!

And then there is the lost son. (Luke 15:11-24) 1 out of 2 boys was lost. Well, that is a big deal:) When that prodigal son came back there was such rejoicing and celebrating. Remember - the joy comes in the reunion! But not everyone was joyful. The older brother was mad. He was the one that stood firm. No big party for him. What's up with that? His dad reminded him that the joy comes in the reunion. 'Suck it up, big boy.' (I hope you can figure out what's me and what is Kent in this blog. Oh man.)

The intensity of any search is directly proportional to the perceived value of that which is lost. God wants more. He wants more people to come to Him. More and more and more.

And when we see what God sees, we are motivated to do what God says. He is such a loving Father. He wants to draw us all to Him. All of us. No matter what. We are of great value to Him. Even in our spiritually unresolvedness. (My word, not Kent's.) And there is such joy in the reunion! Such joy!

We have people in our lives that need to know God's fantastic love for them. Can we be passionate about this? Will we make the effort to share Christ with them? Can we be persistent in sharing His love with them?

Anything goofy in this blog was probably me, not Kent. It would be a fun thing to have people write about the sermon - to see what God spoke to each one. Think how different they all would be:) Anyway, it was a great Lord's Day. Hope yours was just as good or better!

And remember this week - the joy is in the reunion! Almost makes me want to lose something so I can celebrate the find:)

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