I am currently reading in 1 Samuel, and as I was reading through chapter ten, I read something very interesting. After pouring oil on Saul's head to anoint him king over Israel, Samuel informs Saul of several events that will take place. Then, Samuel makes the following statement in verse seven-"And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee."
This really struck me! So often, we think that we must pray before we make ANY decision, but that's not what the Bible says here. Rather, it teaches us an important lesson-If we live our lives constantly seeking God through prayer and through His Word, and if we live completely surrendered to Him, then we will be able to make decisions that will honor and glorify Him! I am not suggesting that we never need to pray before making decisions-sometimes we do need to. But many times, a Spirit-filled Christian will be able to make the right decision, simply because He knows the heart of his Father. God created us with minds that are way more powerful and brilliant than any device ever made by man-so let's use our brains!
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." Psalm 111:10
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
So, last night we sang in Chassel, Michigan. I was really enjoying the evening, and everything was going great, until three songs near the end. As I approached the stairs to make my ascent to the stage, someone else was coming down the stairs; so I did the logical thing, skipping the stairs and jumping onto the stage. The only problem was, I did not execute the jump very well, resulting in my leg colliding with the steel on the edge of the stage! Let me tell you- it hurt! But, after I got over my embarrassment (failing to properly execute such a simple jump is very lame) and the first wave of pain, I decided that my leg really didn't hurt too badly- so I went right into the next song.
Well, a bit later I looked down- and saw blood on my shoe and a wet spot on my pant-leg!
Here are some pictures-
So, it turns out that singing CAN be dangerous!
So, I have decided to break the silence on this blog! Thank-you so much to all of you who have been praying for us; we are having a great trip, and we have really seen God move in great ways! One of the memories I will never forget was our hike at Jasper Park in Alberta. The hike was about five miles one way, and since we don't like doing things the normal way, my brothers and I got off the trail and did the most grueling leg-muscle workout I have ever done, climbing the last part of the mountain on a slope of loose rock! It was really awesome, especially because I was with all of my brothers! However, after watching Hudson complete that climb, I couldn't help but think back to the time when my dad took me to a football game (I was maybe seven at the time)- and I was asking him to carry me on the walk from the vehicle to the stadium! (I would guess it was a mile at the MOST!) Simply put, growing up with big brothers has made Hudson the toughest nine-year old I know! Anyway, that is just a bit of what I have been doing with my family this summer (really, we have been doing a lot of singing and that was the only hike); I will try to post again before we get home!
I was recently talking with one of my close friends, and we were talking about being content, particularly in the area of ministry. So often, it is easy for us to look at another’s God-given “ministry,” and think that it is so much greater than the ministry that God has entrusted to us! But if your ministry is something that God has given to you, than there is nothing greater that you could ever do than to obey! Romans 12:4-8 puts it this way, "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." The Bible tells us that our gifts are different, but that they are "according to the grace that is given to us," God has given each one of His children specific gifts to accomplish specific tasks; and you are the only one who can accomplish what God has given you to accomplish, because you are the only one that God has given the gifts needed to accomplish those tasks!
Before our family traveled in a bus, one of my siblings made the following statement- “I would NEVER get tired of traveling in a bus!” Well, lets just say that we have never let her forget that statement! In her defense, bus life looked really glamorous- I mean, what could be better than touring the US and even Canada, and doing it in a home on wheels? But once we started living in a bus, the "rubber met the road." (No pun intended) For example, just imagine sitting innocently on your living room couch (which in our case is also located in the dining room and the kitchen) reading a book; when one of your sisters opens a cupboard (which is located above your head) to look for a hairbrush. But the contents of the cupboard have shifted due to the railroad tracks that the bus bounced over ten minutes earlier, so when the cupboard door is opened, the curling iron jumps out and bops you on the head. At which point you 1- Resist the urge to act in an un-Godly manner 2- Wonder why you chose to read at such an un-peaceful place as the living room, and 3- Wonder WHY anyone EVER invented curling irons? Oh, and the afore-mentioned hairbrush wasn't even in the cupboard, but on the bathroom counter where your sister left it! Sigh. But here is the point- if I can’t learn to be content serving God where He has placed me, then I will never be content serving Him elsewhere, either.
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11
Totally unrelated to the post, but here is a picture of me holding Gideon Fikes. I love little children! (Just don't tell Gid that I called him "little"- it may be the truth, but he would be highly offended!)
1. Construction. In August and September, I worked for a friend who is a carpenter. We were building a new house for someone, so I got to learn about quite a few from different aspects of construction! I'm thankful for what I was able to learn, and also for being able to work with a Godly friend, but I still like farming better!
2. Manure Hauling. (WARNING- If you get grossed out easily, you may not want to read the following section- at least not during dinner!) I know this sounds gross to a lot of people, but be thankful someone does the dirty jobs, or else you wouldn't be eating bacon and ham and sausage! Basically, for about two months I spent nearly ever day (as long as the fields weren't too wet) in a tractor, injecting hog manure in the fertile fields of Iowa. In case you are interested (and even if you aren't), here is the rundown of a typical autumn week for me-
I would awake between 1 and 5 Monday morning, get in our farm truck with my brother Carson, and head to the job. Some of our jobs were within fifteen or twenty minutes of our house; others were much farther away, in which case we would just pack a bunch of food and get a motel for the week. (Actually, it would be more accurate to say that our dear mother and sisters packed most of the food!) Cutting to the chase, a good week was 90 to 95 hours, but that was only if we didn't get rain and the equipment didn't break down! Simply put, I love this job- that is, until I roll out of bed at five o-clock on Saturday morning after getting about five and a half hours of sleep for the sixth night in a row, eating a hurried breakfast, and arriving on the job site to set up in the dark, with the temperature below freezing and the wind howling..... then after getting everything set up, climbing in the tractor cab, only to realize, about the time the cab is actually warm and cozy, that something on the tank has broken, or that one of the lines that the manure flows through is plugged! Working with cold metal in cold temperatures (while exposed to the wind), is not my first love! Neither is unplugging manure hoses! (Sigh) Anyone want to trade jobs?!
3. Christmas play. Our church puts on a Live Animal Christmas Play every December. There are six showings over a three day period, but many, many hours of rehearsels, set-building, and preperation leading up to the weekend of the play. But it was definitely worth every minute and every dollar, as many souls were saved, and many lives were blessed!
4. Family life. Our family made many great memories together over the past six months, capped off with the Christmas season. I love Christmas, and I love spending time with family and friends!
So there is a recap of the last while! And here are some pictures to go along with it-
Monopoly and home-made donuts!
We had the privilege of baby-sitting for thirteen children one day! It was great!
Nothing like driving tractor at night! I mean, what's better than driving a tractor with really, really powerful lights, eating snacks (technically to stay awake, but also because I love eating!), listening to music or radio, and getting paid to do it! Well, it's fun until the clock strikes one, then two, then three, then four... anyway, it makes for good memories!
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." John 4:35
Wow! It's been a long time since I have posted anything here! So, just what have I been doing this summer? Well, since returning from Arkansas in early June, I have spent several weeks on the farm, and over three weeks on the road singing with my family. I have really enjoyed getting reacquainted with my family, after being away from them for a month! Family is something that we tend to take for granted, until we are without it!
Anyway, I probably won't be posting much in the next two months- between working construction for a friend, spending time with my family in the evenings, and spending time with relatives and company on weekends, I will be fairly busy until September. September contains Labor Day weekend, family camp, and a couple of trips. Then come October and November, with long days in the field. Also, practice for our church's Christmas play starts in November. And December..... well, I'm sure I can find things to occupy my time then, too! (Wow, I am becoming a pro at making excuses! And that's not a good thing to be good at!)
Suffice to say, I probably won't be doing a post every day (or even every week) from now until the end of the year! But I will try to post some pictures from time to time, in case you want to see what I'm up to! May the Lord bless ya'll!
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Eph. 3:20-21)
Yesterday, Pastor Stanley and his wife took a group of us young people to the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. We had a blast touring the different old-time shops, and seeing all kinds of neat things. Pictured below are some highlights from the day.
Trying out the different hats!
The print shop
A donkey-powered merry-go-round!
Phillip Robinson and I (Micah Robinson in the background)
I soooooo want one of these for my doorbell someday! (P.S. The springs aren't connected, so it is totally safe!)
After leaving the Folk Center, we stopped at a country store; the pictures below were taken there.
Baby "rattlers?" Maybe baby "rattles" would be more accurate!
Here are the baby "rattlers"!
It turns out, the box contained a picture of a man who was eating chicken! LOL!!! (Sorry about the side-ways picture; I didn't think about the angle at the time!)
Playing and singing a song at the country store.
These two pictures are from the pottery shop at the Folk Center. I saved them for last because of what they reminded me of. (It's kind of amazing, but I did manage to have a serious thought in the midst of all the fun and laughter we shared!) As I stood there watching this lady form something beautiful from a lump of clay, I was reminded of the spiritual analogy; Christ is the potter, we are the clay.
Before the potter picks up the clay, the clay is worthless. Paul says in Romans 7:18, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." Before Christ picks someone up, they are worthless. Don't let the world deceive you by telling you what a good person you are; we are all filthy, rotten sinners on our own! Ah, but when the Master Potter picks up the clay, regardless of what that clay looks like, it is valuable to Him. Hey, when Jesus Christ saves a sinner, they may look worthless to the world, but they are precious to Him! However, He doesn't want to leave the clay as He found it; He want's to create a beautiful vessel!
Now, we all want Christ to mold us into a beautiful vessel, but are we willing to endure the process that is required in order to become what He wants us to be? Are we willing to, like the clay, be spun in circles and molded on a wheel? Are we willing to go through the fire? Are we willing to be painted or glazed just how the Potter wants? Are we willing to then go through the fire again?
It's very easy to pray, "Lord, please use me." What we ought rather to pray is, "Lord, please make me useable. Many Christians are unfit for the Master's use because they won't allow Him to make them useable. Remember, God isn't looking for talented people. Rather, He is looking for empty vessels- people who are willing to surrender ALL to Him so He can mold them into something that He can use.
"But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)