Seek First The Kingdom

Matthew 6 (New King James Version)

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Sunday evening around these parts and the weekend is almost over with.Was a rather adventurous weekend to say the least starting Friday morning while I was having a cup of coffee before going out to work before dawn. Our older daughter woke up and complained about a gut ache and I had to go outside then.Later I came in and checked and it was bad. So around eleven AM my wife took her into the hospital at the county seat to the ER. It was agreed upon that I’d stay home a few hours and then come to town for the yearly tax appointment  and then after that if they were still in the hospital I’d come directly there. I got there at 4:20 in the afternoon and still no word exactly what was wrong. Five minutes later they came into the room and said it was appendicitis. I give credit where credit is due, those hospital people didn’t waste any time and things were flying fast! I was calling home and making sure the two outdoor wood boilers would be fired up before 6 PM so we didn’t loose the fires.  To make a long story short, everything went about as perfect as it could get, Praise the Lord, and recovery is well on the way!

Later we thought it over how God had His hand in the whole day, from start to finish. If anything would have varied from how the day went it could have been a disaster, but even as the day seemed as crazy as it could get we look back now and see God’s hand in it all! Right to the smallest details. That’s what I’m starting to recognize daily here on the farm also. And last evening while sitting down and opening up the Bible the verse above jumped right out at me! “First seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”. I see it more and more, in daily life, even in crazy days like we just had, God takes care of us because we seek Him first. I believe with all my heart that God will do what He says and He says that He will take care of those who seek Him and trust Him.

I know that in situations like we just had that I can get overwhelmed,make mistakes and all, but trusting God, going by those unctions He places in us, things go the right way. Farming is no different when we trust Him. Farming and ranching are some tough ways to make a living, very tough indeed! A person is at the mercy of everything and without trusting in God to take care of it I don’t know how or why a person would even attempt to take on this way of life. Because I can sure say that it can and will overwhelm a person, the weather,markets, the government, you just about name it, all have a hand in making farming and ranching very risky.

But seek God first, put Him as the number one thing, before family, before farm, heck, before church even and you will see Him move! Put Him before retirement accounts, bank savings, stocks and bonds and most importantly, put Him before the most dangerous idol of all, second to none, self. I’ve always said, when the letters in the Bible are in red a person had better take notice and the words written on the top of the post were in red in my Bibles. Seek Him, trust Him, even when there isn’t hardly an ounce of strength left in a person to do so. I think God loves it when we just hand it all over to Him in trust, in love, for the one who created us.

And God will tax the furthest star for those who simply do that! I can just imagine the chain of events unfold when a person seeks God, trusts Him and puts God first in everything they do. Heaven moves! And nothing can get in the way of God on the move, nothing. When God moves for someone who is putting their trust in Him, nothing can stand in the way!

Farming, ranching, raising a family, all are so blessed when we seek the Kingdom and His righteousness! There is no problem ever that is to big for God, in fact the bigger the better! He doesn’t get the glory when its simple, that’s when we take over so many times, claiming the victory for ourselves. I’ve learned these past few years that I never want to claim the victory, claiming that it was my own power that did it, because it sure wasn’t. No matter what the situation,whether raising cattle, crops, or family affairs, I can only praise God and no one else. He is in charge.In charge when we let Him. He wants to be in total charge, to keep us from harm, but how we push Him to the side,giving lip service and then just doing what we want to do. We screw it up and wonder how could God let this happen?

Seek, seek, seek! Jesus tells us to seek. To get into the Word, get into it daily. To get into the most precious thing that there is, His Word. His Word where there is life, Where there is peace. Where there is love and all the answers to anything a person would ever need to live. To live abundantly, to live for God! To live seeking the Kingdom! Seeking the Kingdom always results in the Kingdom coming! Always! It might not come in the way our simple minds were hoping for or expecting, no, it comes much better than anything we had figured.

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The Real World

2 Kings 6 (New King James Version)

15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Spent the day, after morning chores working on the Bobcat.I was hauling silage and bales and I noticed the heater fan was about to give up the ghost, was grinding and growling so I decided it was a good time to make the 35 mile journey to the city and stop in at the Bobcat dealer to invest in a new fan motor. Spent the greater part of the afternoon doing the impossible, that is, working on a Bobcat. I tell you, it isn’t for the weak of heart! You gotta be double or triple jointed to do anything on those machines. But it got done and I can visualize a warm farmer tomorrow morning in the sub zero cold, feeding cows and praising the Lord without shivering! Glory!

Last evening I taught Children’s Church in the nice and warm doublewide alongside of our church. I taught on the verses above and a few more before and after them. The words “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them”, really stuck to me yesterday while working on the farm and I just had to tell the kids about it in my own unusual way. I love those kind of things from the Bible. Good old Elisha, he wasn’t afraid of an enemy army surrounding his house. He knew who was on his side, the armies of God!

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Amen to that! Yep, this farmer was dwelling on that yesterday while working out here on the frozen tundra! Do I really believe that God is there to protect us? More and more I sure am! The more a person looks to God, believes what His Word says, the more a person starts to see reality. Beyond our five simple senses and starts getting into the real world! Think about it, if we believe this, if we really believe what is written, we aren’t alone in this journey, in fact we out number the world! Kinda neat if you ask me. The usual Christian way of expressing things is that we are alone, the world doesn’t understand. But reality of the Word says that the world doesn’t  understand that they are out numbered by a multitude to big to imagine! Hmm, think about that.

Think about that in our every day lives, where ever we are, where ever we go.I think about that on the farm, while I’m working,looking up on the hay hill to the east and wondering how many chariots of fire are up there. I know they are there! I believe the protecting angels are all over the farm. This is when Christianity gets really interesting, when a person believes the Bible. When a person sees miracles all the time. When a person sees God move in every situation, and recognizes it!

Farming takes faith. And faith is simply believing that God is who He says He is. That God will do what He says He will do. That His promises to us are real. More real than anything we sense with our natural  senses. Just believe! Just believe and God will do everything He has promised He will do. Boy, Christianity sure is simple when a person gets right down to the brass tacks of it. It doesn’t do a person a whole lot of good to go to church all the time, going through the motions if we don’t simply believe that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.

The whole Bible is chock full of promises! Good promises by a God who delivers, who cannot go back on His promises. All He asks is for us to simply believe. And when we believe we get filled with God’s love that builds up our faith and hope. Believe like a child, not doubts, just trust that God is who He says He is. Tell the wise to just leave me alone, I’m trusting the King of the universe, not in a fallen system that will burn away. I’ll trust in those horses and chariots of fire from the real world and not in the corruptible horses and chariots of man!

Old Elisha, he knew, he saw. He knew reality. These days are exciting times to be living in. The world is going one way, and the Kingdom is going another. This farmer is going with the larger crowd! What a way to wake up in the morning knowing that we are the overwhelming majority! What a way to work all day long knowing that we’re on the winning side! How can a person even deny knowing Jesus when they know this for a fact! I guess this is one of the reasons this farmer will openly declare Jesus Christ to any and all. This is why I can take something like farming and make it into an adventure for the Kingdom of God. Do I ever get bored with this? The answer is no. day after day, week after week, year after year it just keeps building.

Published in: on January 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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An Open Door

Revelation 3:8 (New King James Version)

8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

All continues to go well as January is winding down. It cooled off in these parts again and to tell the truth I like it better. It was just starting to get sloppy and some of the cattle were getting a little mudded up on their bellies and it was taking allot of straw all of a sudden to keep them clean. Now that it cooled down things are well under control again. Today was uneventful except for a big mistake made by our fuel man.I called up to order 300 gallons of diesel fuel and thought no more of it Just before noon he came and I seen him over by the two tanks, both 300 gallon, above ground tanks. A while later he came with the bill and told me the tank wasn’t empty, he said it was a third full so the bill was not so big. Now old Tom knew the diesel tank was empty and I had a sick gut feeling that the mistake had been made and I was right. He pumped 178 gallons of diesel fuel into the gas barrel. Oops! Which just goes to show that I’m not the only one in the world that screws up! Kinda made me happy in a way, now I know I’m not alone. But back to the adventure, the fuel man knew it was his fault instantly, cause how could anyone get out of this one when the diesel barrel is labeled diesel and the gas barrel is labeled regular unleaded?! In big letters too! Live and learn! I felt kinda bad for him and asked him what he’d do to the mix that he created and I felt better when he told me he could use it all to heat his shop, just gotta mix more fuel oil into the mixture to make it safer. So alls well that ends well with that.

This evening after doing a bit with taxes and getting more and more satisfied that I’m pretty well prepared I worked on our farm newsletter, “The Seed Sower” for a bit. Almost done with that, just have to put a roast beef recipe in there yet on page two and away we go! I’m kinda excited about starting a farm publication to keep in contact with all of our customers. Plus folks will be getting a dose of Farming For Jesus in the little Seed Sower newsletter too. In the verse above something caught me eye, (and heart). “I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.” So what could this possibly have to do with anything I’m writing about tonight? Plenty! Over these past few years since coming to the Lord He has been opening doors like I wouldn’t, or couldn’t even imagine a couple of years ago! But its up to me, and no one else but me to go through those doors that He has opened in my life. Others would not understand when a door is opened for me, just as I probably wouldn’t see their open door from my point of view.

God has opened doors and I ain’t saying no to something from Him. God has miraculously provided all the customers we need, when we need them, not a moment to soon or too late, always with perfect timing. God say to trust Him and when we do it always works, every time without exception. Now God is working on my heart to have me let it be known that this is a Christian farm and to spread the Good News anytime I do anything involving the farm. The way I figure it and have gradually come to understand it is that the farm is owned by Jesus, my family belongs to Jesus, everything we have belongs to Jesus. I’m just the caretaker, the steward of our King’s possessions.

The one thing I’ve learned these past few years is the fact that as a farmer I can reach many, many more times the people than a pastor of a church could possibly reach. The doors are open when I come and talk about Jesus, the barriers are way down when a farmer with dirt under the nails talks about what Jesus has done for him than say a regular church preacher was trying the same thing. This is not belittling any pastors of churches, its just a fact. A farmer can talk the talk, can get right down to where the folks are. I had this happen this past week, a door flew wide open and I was able to minister, to gain the trust of a man that had very little to do with churches. A person can be talking one minute about skidsteer loaders and the next about Jesus. Hey, it works! And nothing catches the attention than real life testimonies when talking to other farmers and countryfolk.

This is going to be an exciting year the way it looks to me. I’m looking forward to a good year on the farm, with the crops, with the cattle, and also with working for the real owner of us and it all. No one can shut the door that Jesus opens for us. Its up to us to go through that door because when we do He will be with us every step of the way. Don’t matter what folks say or think about it all, because other folks aren’t going to be taking care of you, only Jesus can do that, perfectly.

Published in: on January 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Makings of a Country Sermon

The Lord’s Day today and it was a very good one! An anointed church service this morning and warm temps melting the ice around here that saturated the area yesterday. Yesterday the morning chores were down right dangerous with the icy conditions making it almost impossible to even walk anywhere. My main concern in the dark hours of early morning was if the cattle would be able to safely walk around without going down because of the ice. Well, my prayers were answered because where the cattle were they had the ice chewed up with their hooves and that was the only place on the farm that wasn’t slippery. There were a few hundred homes and farms without power right in the immediate area but we were spared the misery of that. So I didn’t have to set up any generators or anything like that which was fine with me.

Today in church was my day to start the service and then later give a shorter message, shorter than the main sermon but probably as long as main sermons in some time strapped churches. I’m starting to find what works best with me at the pulpit. Used to be I’d work and work, writing down notes and thoughts for when I was up there, but lately that is changing to just being armed with a few Bible verses and to tell the truth it goes much, much easier for me. In fact I really don’t know what I’ll be saying right up to the moment that I take the pulpit. Just relying on God and relying on His Word is all. Not relying on my notes and such. It seems to go very well, even if I can’t hardly remember any of it. When all is done I head to the back and unhook my mike that is clipped onto the collar of my clean work shirt, unclip the power pack from my Wrangler’s pocket and hand it back to the sound booth. The one thing and this is a very big thing that I’ve noticed since only being armed with the Word of God in the pulpit is the fact that sometimes after handing in the mike I’m almost totally exhausted! Doesn’t matter if its an hour sermon or 15 minutes, I almost collapse afterwards. Today I just slumped into a chair in the foyer for a few minutes before I could even get enough strength to take a seat in the back row of church for the rest of the service.

Today I had four Bible verses on paper, printed out in large print so I could read them at a glance. Here’s what they were.

Psalm 20:7-8 (New International Version)

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.

John 14:12-14 (New Living Translation)

12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Mark 9:23 (New King James Version)

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

2 Timothy 2:13 (The Living Bible)

Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, He remains faithful to us and will help us, for He cannot disown us who are a part of Himself, and He will always carry out His promises to us.

These verses from four different books of the Word set the course for a good message. In fact the message has moved me as much as the most moved person listening. The part that got me was the last verse, from 1 Timothy. What a promise! What hope that puts in me!

Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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Whatever You Ask

11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14

Kinda murky around these parts the last couple of days with a steady wind from the east. Those that know say that it could be a sloppy weekend around thee part and that’s no big deal with me. At least it isn’t cold out, been in the upper twenties and that’s summer in January in these parts! Nothing much new happening around here, just the same daily stuff on the farm, cut a little wood here and there and do chores every morning is about the extent of the day light hours.

A few minutes ago I ran across these verses and I just had to head them up on top of this post today! The question is, do we believe them? Do we believe this is for today or is it just something far in the past that fizzled out after the Apostles died? Folks can believe what they want I guess but I’m standing on the Word of God and I believe these words! I believe they are for today because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.He doesn’t change, man does, society does. And so does religion. Religion changes to keep in touch with the “times” as they say. Actually there’s two kinds of religion that don’t believe in the scripture, one is the kind that hangs on to traditions of men that were fabricated in the dark ages and folks figured they could set man’s apostasy in stone, figuring that if we keep these traditions and have us a dead and dry religion, that that’s the only way to go. Has nothing really to do with God at at. It has to do with a god made in the image of men. Then on the other extreme are those that follow society, throwing out much of the Word to please men and themselves, to justify living in sin, to justify societies sin, to overlook it or worse, call it good.

But there is the Word of God, that never changes, that is eternal and that’s what I must follow.Not men, not man made traditions from the middle ages when folks weren’t even allowed to read the Word, who were murdered for even attempting it, both  Catholic and Protestant. Many times a person reads folks arguing about Christianity, about how Christians murdered other Christians through the centuries and say how could it be justified. My answer is simple. Those church folks doing the murdering were not and are not Christian, simple. They were and are followers of man made religion that has very little if anything to do with God.

A Christian  believes the Bible its the most precious thing on this earth. Much more precious than anything else. It is the Living Word. Around the world millions of people hope to someday have a copy of the Bible. Crowds literally fight over Bibles in evangelistic campaigns in poor countries. In this society they are often not thought of as that special by church folk. For many the only real time that they handle a Bible is on Sunday morning, bring it into church to make it look good. Or if they don’t do that the church has pew Bibles so folks can at least touch one once a week.

But to the believer the Word is precious, so very precious. It is life itself. It is a Book written about our God and His relationship with us. It is a Book of more power than any other thing in the universe! Dead religion and dead churches do not preach this, but I believe it with everything I got! If we believe the Bible, if we believe the Word, all the power is available to those who “only believe”. GLORY! To those that DARE to believe! Yes, I truly do believe this and its growing stronger every day, this faith in what I have just written. This faith in the verses at the top of this post. Only believe and we will be doing what Jesus was doing in the Word. Hey, I didn’t say it, God said it!

There is no problem to big for God! He will alter the universe to help a person that trusts in His Word, He will tax the furthest star! This is what I truly believe. This isn’t anything to do with some modern prosperity Gospel that is only interested in carnal things. This is the promise of the Word, the promise of God Himself! Don’t let anyone ever tell you that these promises aren’t for us, if they say that they are liars,plain and simple. God sent forth His Word for us, to be believed, to be acted upon! To live the life of the Word is the best life anyone could ever have on this earth. God will never let us down, ever! We might walk away in unbelief, but God will never walk away from someone who believes, who trusts Him. Who hands over every care and problem to Him. Who praised the Lord in joy no matter what the circumstances!

Oh yes, this excites me,more than anything else in life because this is life itself! The life God wants us to live. A life of trusting Him in everything we do. Farming for Jesus is simply farming with this faith, with this belief. Giving it all over to God, the master farmer, is the best business plan, life plan, that anyone could ever have!

Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 7:01 pm  Comments (5)  
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Faith, Hope and Love

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

The above is from Colossians, chapter 3. I was reading my Bible last evening, winding down a Sunday and for some reason these verses just jumped out at me. I’ve been thinking a bit more eternally lately and when I come across some of these verses they catch my eye. And one more verse, a rather popular one with many from 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Now I lean on writing and talking about faith allot. I love learning about faith, I love practicing faith and I love the results from faith. For as it is written, without faith its impossible to please Him. Love,well there’s lots and lots nowadays written on that subject in the Christian circles but I was thinking last evening that I don’t really run across the hope all that much. It might be just me because I tend to lean towards other things but every thing has its season and I do believe I’m getting into the hope season! One thing I noticed was when I started running across verses about hope that I became excited and could tell the the Holy Spirit wants me to go there.

So today I cleaned out the calf barn, I don’t know,maybe twenty five loads of manure that had thawed in this January warm spell. I thought, what is the Gospel?  The Gospel is hope! We’ve all heard the saying,hope for the hopeless and this has been working on me all day. Hope when there is no hope.I guess one reason it never really affected me so much before was the fact that we live in such a materialistic society that we kinda brush off hope because in the back of our minds or maybe even in the front of our minds we still rely on society. But any reliance on society will let a person down sooner or later and the one thing that is for sure is, anything we rely on society for will not be eternal. In the western church especially there has been a convenient blend of the world and Christianity, one that people and I mean church folks even raise the roof when a person talks about this subject. The blend of one foot relying on the world and the other supposedly relying on God. This does not mean a person becomes a recluse, this means that a person puts there trust in God, in the eternal.

So many, many times I have had folks tell me that they never see results from faith, they never really see the power of God in their lives. I believe them. I ask one simple, very simple question to the powerless Christians. “Do you read the Bible often?”  The answer is always no. In my heart I feel so sorry for these folks. I always tell them to read the Bible, even if you don’t feel like it. Do it daily at the least. This is the way to build up faith, hope and love. It doesn’t come by listening or watching popular preachers. Oh, it might keep a person going a while, but there will not be the growth that the Word brings to a person. In third world countries it amazes me, the hunger for Bibles. Here folks come up with all sorts of excuses to not read the Word.

The Word says three things will last forever, forever in our lives. Nothing else will, nothing. Think about that, nothing else will. This doesn’t mean that a person becomes a recluse and just reads the Bible day in and day out, not functioning in the regular world. No, a person, a Christian is here for one purpose, and that is to be the feet of Jesus,the mouth piece of Jesus. To bring hope to the hopeless, to spread the love of Christ in every direction in our lives. To have that faith that God will back us up with signs and wonders as He has promised to those who believe. This means that even a farmer, a simple farmer, who reads the Word, believes the Word, and acts on the Word can do incredible things! One of my favorite verses in the Bible is that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise of this world. Amen! That means me! I’m hired!

When a believer stands before the judgment seat of Christ the only thing they will keep from this life are the three things mentioned in the verse above. Everything else will be burned off! In other words, everything beyond these three things is meaningless. Oh Lord, this excites me. This life is short,  incredibly short. The time given to us is to is to determine our eternal destiny. Every moment not doing God’s will is a waste. Every meaningless word will be burned up to our shame.

Jesus Christ gave it all for us, gave everything. He showed us how to live, He taught us how to love, how to have faith and how to hope. He dwells in every believer but we are the ones in control of our lives. Do we allow Him to operate through us. Or are we content being church folk, putting on the show, trying to be popular, and keeping Jesus safely under wraps?

Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm  Comments (6)  
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Farming With Hope!

An extremely beautiful day today in this farm country in the Northland. A little above freezing, sunny and the wind wasn’t to strong. The cattle have it made, relaxing out in the field, no need of any sort of shelter at all. This was my double day, where I spend the morning doing today’s chores and then start all over agin all afternoon doing Sunday’s feeding.I’m glad the week is done with and if there’s no surprises tomorrow morning should be a breeze getting through a bare minimum of chores. Then head off for church till early afternoon. I always look forward to Sundays and tomorrow is an off day at church so there was nothing to prepare these last couple of days.

This time of year, especially when the weather is nice, I really start dreaming of summer! As I look around the farm its almost hard to imagine summer when everything is under about a foot of white snow. The snow looks so clean this year too. Just brilliant white! Yesterday I drove the skid steer out to the backwoods just to take a look around, never even got out of the machine. It was about at its limit driving through the snow but I made it there and back without having to dig my way out once. Looked at all the different animal  tracks out there to see what’s going on this winter. And today our little country road was rather busy in the afternoon with the wolf hunters making a sweep through a few sections out here. They hunt with hound dogs and most of the hunters never really leave the roads, they just stay parked at strategic spots watching with binoculars, rifles ready. Don’t know if they got any today but I did hear several shots at different times through the later afternoon. Those hunters are welcome in this neck of the woods because it doesn’t take long to get an over abundance of predators which can raise allot of havoc with small stock on a farm. Plus when predators start to over populate they get mange and die miserable deaths from it. Much better thinning them out.

But as I said, summer is on my mind! Instead of heavy coveralls and hooded carhart jacket its just jeans and short sleeve work shirts, wide brim hat much of the time and in the long evenings when the farm work is all done either head for the garden or else sit my butt down on the riding lawnmower and relax outdoors. I have so many projects going on in my mind that I do know that its impossible to get most of them done but I still dream anyhow. And pasture checks in summer are really relaxing unless the calves have decided to become escape artists!

This summer will be a hair bit different, not even noticable to many, but we will be farming for Jesus more and more around here. The work will be the same basically, farming as usual, but the reason for farming is more and more to glorify God. It takes a bit of time, things don’t always happen overnight. Many times folks that have been in church for years and years figure when someone gets saved that they should be a perfect Christian from that day forward. Same here when farming for Jesus, folks might think its an over night thing, but the change sometimes comes slowly. The thing is though, its mostly going forward, never really backwards, sometimes almost standing still, but still moving ahead. Like a fresh saved baby Christian much of what they have always done is still a hanging on them. Its kinda like a dog shedding their coat in summer. It don’t fall off all at once, its a process. Some gets rubbed off, some gets pulled off, and the rest just falls off over time.

Farming for Jesus is like that too. It takes time, a constant learning experience. Step by step our faith level grows! I remember going to church years ago and to tell you the truth I never thought about faith ever. It was barely mentioned, a fella just went through the churchy motions and then get out of that building as fast as a person could when it was over with, always at the exact same time every single week. Reminded me of working in a factory which I did years ago. When the quitting buzzer went off the dead came back to life and those were the fastest walkers a person could ever imagine. I was pretty good at that too! Church was something a person went to, not even really knowing why, and then get out and live like the world the entire rest of the week.

Nowadays its a different story. Gradually our faith is becoming the all important center of life. And that’s why as time goes on the farming changes with it. The methods get tweaked, the days look different. There’s a new life here,much different than before. And we have not arrived by any means and I highly doubt if we will in this lifetime. But what an adventure! A person is set on fire for Jesus in every aspect of their lives. Some areas growing more rapidly than others but all growing never the less! This to me is what makes the Christian experience so wonderful. It only gets better and better! What once were problems that seemed impossible to handle are not viewed as that any more. Because our Lord can handle any problem that we face. Give it to Him and just watch the results! Years ago I never believed any of this, thought it was just some nutcases talking if I ever even heard it mentioned at all. But this is real! It gets to the point where a person can see God moving in our lives pert near every day. I believe He does, but I’m talking about us noticing it. The more faith is used the more God moves. Its a fact that no Bible believing person can dispute. Notice I said Bible believing, not church going person. Its not traditions, its not humdrum religion that pleases God, its faith! Because the Bible says that without faith its impossible to please Him! The Bible says it, its not something Tom dreamt up and is all excited about!

I could never, ever farm without faith again. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! How did I even do it years ago, the walking dead? No hope, just self, and what good was self with no hope? Thank You Jesus!

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 7:56 pm  Comments (4)  
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Our King is Coming!

Malachi 1:11 (New International Version)

My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.

I just sat down here this evening and looked at the calendar, a Christian one, and this was the verse that was on the picture for the month. I love that when all I have to do is look up and there’s a Bible verse right in front of my eyes. Things are settling down here the last couple of weeks with good weather returning these last few days.The snow that they hyped up last week never entered this part of the state and we’re getting to the point of everything returning to normal.The gravel roads are still hard packed with ice and a fella has to drive very careful on them but the state and county roads are really shaped up. The cow yard is in its super bumpy stage, the stage where a person almost gets thrown out of the skidsteer with all the frozen cow pies. Happens almost every year when there is absolutely no melting. Like driving through a pile of bowling balls!

Survived church yesterday, spoke there a bit, and last night had a house full of company that kept me going good! Today its back to normal, farming, and I’m happy with that! The farm is basically in cruise at the moment, nothing much being done other than chores and making some wood. Busy putting together the “Seed Sower” newsletter the last few evenings too. Coming along good as far as I’m concerned.

Boy, that verse is working into me as I write! My Name Will Be Great Among The Nations! Amen! At the risk of sounding like an American church basher I have to write what’s coming on my heart. I’m not bashing the church either, heaven forbid, I would never bash the Body of Christ, but I will sound a warning when it comes to luke warm faith, or religion without the power of God in it. I’ve really come to the conclusion that in America we think we’ve arrived when in fact we’ve barely gotten started, if that. We many times look at Christianity as an American thing, something we will teach the world. But it really isn’t working out that way at all. Not when God has anything to do with it. Now this sometimes strikes deep into a person that has been trained up thinking Christianity is something that is how the average American lives, and it can be mixed with patriotism and America can do no wrong. That God favors us more than others. I’ve heard it preached many times, that God favors us. But I ask, what god? This is not anti American, just straight fact, Biblical fact.

I won’t get into it, all that’s wrong in America. A person could say, “well if you don’t like it here, go someplace else”. That statement in itself is proof of the American religion because if a person is a Christian, a real Christian Christ is King, Amen? It doesn’t matter where in the world a person is, Christ is the believer’s King! There isn’t a convenient mixture, where a person can wink at all the corruption that goes on everywhere, and America has quickly become as corrupt as the most corrupt nations on earth the last several years. As time goes on a person is dumbed down, accepting it and working it into their man made religion and looking the other way most of the time. But if a person is a believer, it shouldn’t matter to that believer if they were one minute in America and the next minute poofed into China or some other country that is a little farther advanced then this country in outlawing Christianity.

Time is short, I believe much shorter than most think, before everything turns upside down. What should the response of the believer be. Depends what level the believer has placed themselves.It doesn’t matter if the person has been saved fifteen minutes or sixty years, in God’s eyes they are holy! Those who truly believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again, those that truly believe that Jesus Christ saved them from this world and eternal death. Those that truly believe that the things of this world are nothing compared to the Lamb that was slain for them.

Around the world God is moving, BIG! So much we don’t hear about in this country, so much. The last few weeks I’ve been researching many of the major moves of God around the world and I am amazed to say the least. I want what they are getting! From miracles that come by the thousands to huge segments of countries coming to Christ in short periods, God is on the move! I often hear that someday God is going to do something in America, I agree, but I believe with everything I have that it’ll come in a way that very few will suspect. It’ll come from the bottom, not the top. It’ll break so many rules of dead, powerless churches that many luke warm believers will be in shock when the movement picks up steam. In fact some of the most vocal enemies of God will come from dead churches.

We are quickly coming to the period in history that the witnesses in heaven wish they were born in! These will be the greatest days on earth for believers, even if they are the most perilous times. The finishing of the Book of Acts will be a time like there never was before in history! Wow Tom, what did a simple Bible verse do to you tonight? I don’t know, but this is coming out, coming out as something I believe and look forward to with all my heart. Perilous times but times that we were born for! Am I scared or nervous? Six months ago I might have been, six months ago it might have had me scared a little bit yet, wondering how to survive the times coming. Now I’m not, in fact all I can think about is proclaiming “Our King is Coming!”

In ending I just felt like putting a video on here.Its different, not from America. Its a video of the move of God in South Africa. Grassroots, farmers! And I just love the song after the first couple of minutes called “our King is Coming. Its not in English, its in Afrikaans.

Return to Me

“Return to Me,” says the LORD of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 1:3

The winter is moving along and the weather has been non eventful around here. Cool outside, but it has warmed up above zero the past couple of days. Chores take almost all morning and after a nice noon nap there isn’t all that much day left. But spring is approaching and a farmer looks forward to that with anticipation, not even caring about the huge work load that it requires.Every year I’d look forward to spring with a bit of nervousness because of the huge amount of work that it requires but I’ve learned that no matter how much a fella worries the work all gets done one way or another.

Nowadays its much more exciting looking forward to spring when a person is farming for Jesus! Farming with that simple faith that brings joy to a life. I came across the above verse a few minutes ago and it struck me deep. “Return to me and I will return to you”, says the Lord! A strange thing is happening with our own family and several other folks I know closely. It seems that some of the folks I know are really going deeper with God. I know we are and its exciting to say the least. To shed the world more and more. Now the first thing folks think when I say something like this is legalism, but its a far cry from that I assure you. The Bible say that in the New Covenant we should live by the Spirit, not the letter of the Law. Often this is misinterpreted by folks and its thought that being that we shouldn’t be living by the letter of the Law we can just live like anyone else in the world because we are covered by grace. But the Bible clearly says that path will lead to death.

Living by the Spirit, knowing that a person has been saved by the sacrifice of Jesus, not by anything that we did, reminding ourselves of this daily, every moment of the day, reminding ourselves that He loved us first even as fallen as we were, knowing that the Father has adopted us as sons and daughters to be joint heirs with Jesus Christ is an awesome thing to dwell on every moment! Knowing that we are His feet, His mouth piece, His helping hands in this world staggers me! So often we forget these simple truths and get mixed up in religion. Into self works, into trying to be good enough in order to gain points in heaven.

Our God says, “Return to me”. He is always ready to take us back after we have walked away and got caught up in the cares of the world, forgetting who He really is as we are stuck in the mud of this world. We must return back to Him, even if its a hundred times a day! To tap the inexhaustible source of forgiveness and grace that God has for those that turn back to Him.

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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Lord how I love that verse, in fact I put it on this blog quite often and never tire of it! As I’ve written in the past, I’m mainly using this verse in the simplest sense, not for the nation, state or anything like that, but for our families, farms, whatever! It starts at the bottom. Without it starting at the bottom there won’t be anything going to the top. I truly wonder how to get this point across. How having that simple child like faith in God will turn a family, a farm, around. If there is anything I have seen with my own eyes its this fact. Not to mention that it changes everything in life itself! If I had to go back to living like the world, with the only hope I had being in the government or society I would give up so fast heads would be spinning. But farming for Jesus has turned life totally upside down compared to the way it used to be.Or should I say, turned it right side up, turned it to the direction that its supposed to be!

God has a plan for each and every person out there. The plan is perfect, the plan is for us to be great in God’s Kingdom. There are no losers when it comes to God’s plan for our lives. All He asks us is to return to Him, to give it all to Him. Our worries, our cares, our troubles. To love others because He loves them as much as He loves us and heaven forbid that we should hate someone that God loves! Return to Him and He will heal your land, that’s a promise. Now I myself have seen with my own eyes what happens when God is left free to run the farm. It flourishes to say the least. I’da never believed that a few years ago, but its true! We still do the work, but God does the blessing!

When a person starts to live in this direction, starts to see the direct hand of God on all the things surrounding us, it comes to the point where no man can tell me otherwise, no man! My God is more powerful than any man, any nation, any world! The fear of man gets less and less.There is much less fear of any person now than even a couple of years ago because how could I deny my God, especially after seeing what He does around here! This is real, hard to write because I have so much to say and hardly know how to say it. A person becomes a fool for Christ!

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 7:26 pm  Comments (4)  
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Farming For Jesus

The last few years things have changed quite a bit around here. Mostly in the faith department, but also in the farming department, the farming change being the direct result of the changes in the faith department. As I look back a bit I can see the grand design in it, even though I had no idea when it was starting. Most farms around here sell their commodities on the market, through the regular channels, never having any contact with the consumer. We still do that somewhat but the percentage is changing in the direct market direction more and more as time marches on. When the direct marketing started I never even gave it a thought that the farm would be involved with so many people, so many families. In the beginning of all of this direct marketing I put an ad in a newspaper from a small city 35 miles away, offering hamburger cows. Either in quarters, halves or wholes. The results were rather poor to say the least, I sold a couple and that was about it. But it sure beat taking them to the meat packer so I struggled along and sold one here and there.

The following year we had a large group of calves weaned off in the fall of the year and traditionally we sell them in January after backrounding them a bit. Backrounding is getting them going on silage and hay, putting on a few more pounds and getting them in better shape than fresh weaned calves. That way the buyer of them is more assured that the calves will enter his feedlot healthy and raring to go and grow. At the time we were attending the church we go to now for a few months and I was just hungry for the Word of God, something that has never diminished one lick since then, in fact it grew more and more, the hunger for the Word! Here I was with a nice batch of calves averaging between five and six hundred pounds and deep inside of me I heard the voice, the Holy Ghost, say that I should hold back a nice bunch of those steers and direct market them. To put it bluntly, I didn’t want to, I figured take the money and run! Calves were at an all time high that year and in many ways its almost insane to hold back calves, grow them out and probably make less money on the full grown steer than calves were going for at that time. There comes a time though when a person knows that the voice deep within is God speaking to you so as any good farmer would do, I argued with God!

By my reasoning this was a disaster in the making.I know how direct marketing works and sometimes its not easy. I never had the ability to advertise and talk with folks very good and when a person reads about direct marketing all I would read was the tremendous amount of work required to try and sell the product. In other words this looked like the stupidest thing I could possibly do. Now when arguing with God I finally said I’d hold them back, about 25 or so steers back then, but I know my limits when it comes to people skills and God would have to take over the management in the selling and public relations department because I never talked to hardy any strangers in my life without stuttering and stumbling along. And deep down I sensed God say, “you raise em and I’ll sell em”. Now this was a step of faith for this farmer I can honestly say! And there was one more thing, “never advertise” was what I heard. Now this was breaking every rule in the book when it comes to direct marketing to say the least. How in the world was a person supposed to raise up that much beef for starters, never advertise, and expect to sell even a tiny percentage of them directly to families? I knew though that I didn’t want a faith walk without anything that would test it, I’m kinda that type of person so I agreed!

Now these steers were different sizes, I saved some of the largest and some of the smallest so they wouldn’t be ready at the same time. A fact as I look back on it shows me I had some sense. Because the local meat processors couldn’t even begin to handle a batch like that all at the same time. So this is the way it went, steers growing up gradually, naturally raised, not grain fed, becoming available almost year round. The processor agreed to do three at any given time and when the were done to do up to three more, but never more than that at once. Sounded good enough to me and still does, it really works good. The raising them up and the butchering were my department. But there was still the problem, or perceived problem of selling that much beef in quarters, halves or whole that had me nervous! I never did advertise once in the paper or anywhere else. Never spent a penny on advertising, not a penny! The front runner steers were getting almost to weight and I just kept raising them in faith, and back then I had so little understanding of how faith works so I can honestly say this was simple farmer’s faith in action. A few weeks before I figured the front runners were ready to butcher somehow, someway, I had folks asking for beef. Funny, know one ever asked me that before!

The first three sold before slaughtering and by the time the next three were ready they were sold because of word of mouth. Now years later this has continued right to this day. The amazing thing is that without any advertising there’s always buyers when steers get ready. When there is a couple of month lull waiting for some to get up to weight I won’t even receive a phone call  or an e-mail. Then I get a bit nervous again, but when I look back a phone call or e-mail wouldn’t have done any good at that time because they would have to wait a month or two. God’s timing is always perfect!

A few years ago if anyone would have told me a story like this I’da called him or her a liar, but after experiencing this myself its shown me how real our God is! A farmer’s simple faith. Turning it over to Jesus. The natural says I was taking risks but the reality is there are no risks when relying on God! This was probably about the simplest thing that God does, taking care of those that rely on Him. It sure is not a big deal for Him to manage the business, the farm, and this is just the very foundational base of farming for Jesus. I could write a book about all of the things He has done over the last few years here when He was given control, absolute miracles that stun me even as I think back to them. Maybe I’ll put them together someday, that is if I can contain them in something as simple as a book.