It is so hard to believe 2017 is almost over.
It was a busy year. Whew!
I hope you had a wonderful 2017, and I pray 2018 is even more amazing and you are blessed abundantly!
May your life overflow with joy and blessings in the year ahead!
It is so hard to believe 2017 is almost over.
It was a busy year. Whew!
I hope you had a wonderful 2017, and I pray 2018 is even more amazing and you are blessed abundantly!
May your life overflow with joy and blessings in the year ahead!
I want to encourage you today to keep going and not give up. Whatever struggle you may be facing in your life, trust your life in God’s hands and believe in his son Jesus. Believe God is in control, and he can reach you right where you are at, believe that he wants a wonderful future for you and he will protect and guide you when you put your life and your hope in him.
Circumstances do not define who you are and are not an indicator of your value. People’s opinions don’t define you either. Instead of these thoughts, only allow what God your creator says about you to define you. His written word, the bible, says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says he has a hope and a future for you and he will direct your path when you seek his counsel. He will answer you when you call on him, and he will show you many things that you did not know.
We are stewards of what we have been given. We need to be good stewards of these gifts no matter what the circumstance looks like. Some people have been given more, and some less. But no matter how much we have been given, we can be the best stewards of it today. Because when we care for what we have, even if it is very little, we multiply the blessings it produces.
Perhaps all we have in our ability today is to choose to have joy. That is HUGE! By choosing joy, you will see it multiply for yourself and it will multiply in the lives of those around you. This simple choice can bring huge blessings into your life and give you a lot of hope beyond measure even in the toughest situations. Being joyful is contagious and it can change the way we feel and the way others feel who come in contact with us.
Even if the only thing we have control over is the body we live in, we can choose to be the best steward of that body as we can be, and we will reap a blessing. We are given one body to live in. We each have different gifts and talents, but we are similar to each other in that we have a body, and it is fragile at the same time it is strong. We can learn to be good stewards of this body and multiply the blessings in our health and our emotions.
How can you be a good steward of your physical body? We can learn how to nourish it, rest it, challenge it, strengthen it, and care for it. We can be good stewards of our body, multiply the blessings, and overcome limitations, illness, neglect, and injuries, and be the best we can be.
Perhaps all that we have today is a loaf of bread, then we can share it and see the blessing multiply in another person’s life too.
There is a story in the bible about a widow who only had a little flour and oil left to make one meal of bread for herself and her sons. There had been a long drought and everyone was out of grain and out of money and she knew that their life was over and there was no hope of any food even in the near future because there was no rain to plant and grow any future crops and no money to buy food even if anyone had some to share.
So in desperation she planned her last meal. But in the midst of her despair, God heard her and sent a messenger, a prophet of God. He told her to go ahead and “make the last meal”, but to give some of it to him. Do what? This was all she had, and her family was about to die, so how could she give this away? But letting go, and placing her trust in God and his plan for a better future for her, she obeyed the instructions.
1 Kings 14 : 7-16
“Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”
It is an incredible story of doing our best in the midst of terrible circumstances, sharing the best (even if all we have is very little) we have to bless another person and meet their need, and putting our trust and faith in God to work out the outcome, in return, we will reap a huge blessing!
Be encouraged today, that no matter what your situation may look like, by acting on your faith in God as your provider, healer, deliverer, multiplier, protector, and the source of life within you, he will reach into your situation and deliver you. He says his arm is not short! His arm is long enough to reach you right where you are. With the help of the Lord, you can and will overcome and reap a blessing that is more wonderful than you have imagined!
This post will be linked up with:
Happy New Year 2015 !
May your life this year be richly blessed by God in every way!
I love to drive down the road and look at old barns. They are beautiful to me. They must have such a special story to tell of how they were once used daily and were such an important place on the homestead. I have enjoyed traveling all over Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to look at old barns.
I might replace the name “old” with “historical” as these barns have such a rich history. I believe we could all learn how to apply the wisdom that old homesteads had gained from time and experience, and better our life today, if we could learn about the history of these old barns.
If I ever produced a TV show, I might call it “This Old Barn” or “This Barn Has A Story” or something like that, and travel around and interview old time farmers and learn about their barn’s past. Sadly, just like many of the old barns, the old time farmers are disappearing. It won’t be long and there may not be any of this generation left to tell the stories.
Some of these historical barns were used for specific uses like tobacco, or wheat, and some were only for horses or pigs, or a dairy, but most of these historical barns had multi uses on the homestead and housed all sorts of livestock (cows, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, chickens, rabbits, etc.), as well as grains, hay, and various tools and farm equipment all at the same time for the benefit of the homesteaders who lived there. Whatever was stored in them, and however they were used, they were the hub of activity and life on the homestead. They represented the economic stability, and the future of the farm.
Even though I love these historical barns, when we moved to this homestead, I didn’t like my old barn. It is a complete eye sore and the first thing you see coming up the driveway. Every day, and every time I pulled into the driveway, it reminded me that it was in horrible disrepair that can be seen from the road, that I could not fix it, and I could see no future.
For many reasons, we did not think “this old barn” was salvageable. It is well over a hundred years old and I wish it could be saved, it’s history preserved, and become useful again. But no one that I have met yet seems to know the history of this old barn as it has not been in use with farming as a way of life, or with livestock, for at least the past sixty years or so. The farm has changed hands several times since then. In the past couple of years, another farmer rented the back field for a time after it sat idle for many years, but he did not live here or use the barn. For the past year that I have lived here, I have been very discouraged about the absence of a story, and the absence of homesteading life in this “old” barn.
The problems with the barn are numerous and I couldn’t even begin to list them all. It sits on the property line, adjacent to the neighbor’s fence on the south side, so there is no hope in using it at all on the south side. On that side, the neighbor has a large beautiful fenced pasture that he uses for horses and cows.
Our drive way is on the north and east side, and there is no pasture area on those sides of the barn that we can use. The only space at all to possibly build a pen is an area about 20 feet wide on the east side of the barn. We could not even imagine how we could raise cows or other livestock on this side of the fence and in such a small area and block the access to the back field, and the lack of a decent barn for shelter.
I have asked my husband about making some repairs to the barn, but he says it would not be cost effective. The foundation is in disrepair. There are places where you can see the old stone foundation, but someone came in and poured concrete over that at some point, and there are places where there are holes. The siding is missing almost entirely on the south side, and partially missing or broken on the other sides. And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, the roof leaks and needs replaced and the gutter, windows, and doors are all missing.
When it rains, snows, or the wind blows, most of the barn is wet and cold because of the leaking roof and the missing and broken siding. And there is no running water or electricity working in the barn, though there was a working water spicket and a light on the lower level at sometime in the long ago past, and these linked underground from the old farmhouse, but both resources broke down and were removed at some point. All new lines would need run from the house again for this resource to be available.
There was a room addition added onto the west side of old barn many years ago, and it was placed on gravel foundation with block on the lower half of the west wall, but the addition was not done correctly and needs completely redone. The wood framework of the barn both vertically and horizontally are termite eaten. The wood flooring on the upper level is bad and needs rebuilt or one could fall through. As a matter of fact, the whole barn needs torn down and rebuilt. It is just one huge eye sore and disappointment for a working homestead.
I wish we could fix this old barn. But rebuilding the barn is not an option for us at this time. It would take a lot of money to fix it, and we won’t be able to do that for several years as far as we can tell.
Knowing all these problems with the building when we moved here, we did not have plans to use the old barn as it did not seem like a safe habitat for much of anything, even though it was used for a small scale farm with dairy cows, horses, and hay in the long ago past. There is still old fashion milking stanchions on the lower south side of the barn, and two horse stalls on the north side of the lower level. There is a walkway in between the south and north sides where the farmer who built this old barn walked and fed the animals on either side.
It is certainly not safe now to even store bales of hay in it’s present condition. It seems that we could cause it to collapse under the heavy weight of hay bales, and they would get wet too. We have stored the mower and bikes in the lower barn, on the gravel side where the room addition is, but I don’t even let the kids play in it due to the safety concerns, and they can only enter it with supervision when daddy or I go with them.
But God clearly had other thoughts about this old barn. He knew what it could be used for without costing us any money to fix it, and a potential we did not and could not see. He does this with human lives too. He sees the potential they have no matter how broken they look. Though they themselves can not fix their circumstances, he can. He knows what they are capable of in their future, and he sees into their future and works out everything for the good of those who love him.
“We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose,” Romans 8:28
The north side of the barn still has some siding, and the concrete floor inside the lower level on the north and east end of the barn is still usable. So with a wall for a wind break, and shelter, this old barn could still provide a safe habitat for small animals. It wouldn’t hold up to a cow or a horse as it did years ago, but it may work as a shelter for smaller animals.
The old barn is in use once again and is telling a new story. The barn has become the new home for our five beautiful kittens that were born earlier this summer. It will also house our rabbits for the winter. The rabbits are currently outside next to our chickens, but we will be moving them inside the barn very soon.
Now the old barn has also become a home for a herd of goats on the homestead. We did not seek out this herd of goats. But we found ourself in a situation where someone wanted to give us their goats, plus all the equipment they had accumulated over the years to care for the goats including solar electric fencing, hay feeders, a mineral feeder, a bag of mineral powder, hoof trimmers, a water tank, three calf huts for shelters, and all the hay the goats can eat for the winter.
The goats were owned by an elderly gentleman who’s grandchildren had shown them in 4H. But now they were grown, no longer in 4H, and had moved away. His health was declining, and he did not want to care for them through the harsh Indiana winters any more. He got our name through the local 4H goat club leader, and he contacted us several times asking us if we would like to have them.
We discussed the situation several times, and each time our decision was no, we could not get the goats. We could not even imagine having goats again at this time because of the expenses to set them up and care for them properly, etc. It can cost thousands of dollars to buy livestock, feed them and care for their needs year around, set up fencing, and set up shelter for them. Those are expenses we don’t have in our budget right now. We are doing good just to take care of our family and a few chickens and pet rabbits, cats, and dogs, as the last year of our life was a whirlwind of moving a cross the country, job losses, and under employment. How could we even dream of getting livestock?
“Look at the crows! They don’t plant or harvest, and they don’t have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds.” Luke 12:24
But God had placed favor on us, and this man who we did not know wanted to give us his goats. He clearly loved his pet goats and wanted them to have a good home with lots of love and a future.
He also wanted to give us everything we would need to care for his animals for the next year, and help make the transition for us to own and care for them as smooth as possible. Though he did not even know us, his gift of generosity was genuine.
When went to look at the goats, still questioning could we do this or not, it all changed once we met him in person and saw his love for his animals. Instantly our whole family fell in love with his goats. They were calm and friendly. He had them in a large fenced pasture with access into a barn for shelter.
So my husband picked up the supplies the farmer wanted to give us on a Saturday, and got busy putting a pen together! The children helped measuring the distance, stake out the boundary, drive the posts, run the wire, etc. They were so excited to build the pen.
My husband sectioned off a small area on the lower level of the barn for the goats with some leftover wood scraps and a fence panel we were given, set up the calf huts outside the barn just in case the rain coming into the barn is a problem and the goats can use them as a rain shelter, and he built the goat pen outside to the east of the old barn.
He used the neighboring farm’s fence on the south side, the electric fence we were given on the north and east sides, and used the east wall of the barn for the pen’s west side. In the state of Indiana, both neighbors are legally allowed to use a fence that is on the property line. So the neighbor has cows on his side, and we have goats on our side. Our fence supplies went a lot further because we only had to build two sides for a pen, by using the neighbor’s fence and the side of our barn on the other two sides.
The pen is only as wide as the barn, about 20 feet wide because the other three sides are unusable with a neighbor to one side, and a drive way to the other two sides. That is our only access for our drive way and to the back of the property so we had to leave a lane wide enough to drive through and could not make the pen any wider than the barn. But the pen came out as a nice long rectangle, and the goats can go in an out of the old barn through the missing door when ever they want, and knowing what little we started with, we are thrilled with it.
The kids are having so much fun petting and caring for the goats everyday. They water them in the tank we were given, currently with a hose stretched from the house, until freezing winter weather hits our area, and then we will have to put the hose away and carry water in buckets down the hill to them.
The goats eat hay and grass and powdered mineral, free choice. They do not eat any grain. The old farmer who gave the goats to us said he has never given them any grain and they stay healthier if they are only fed fresh grass, hay, and minerals free choice. YAHOO!
When we were ready and the pen was built, the old farmer delivered the goats to us in his livestock trailer. Wow, delivered right to our door. Once again the Lord worked out all the details. Now the goats are settling into their new home, they are well cared for, loved, and they don’t seem to notice the brokeness of the old barn. They are making a new history here, and the barn once again has a new purpose on the homestead.
This old barn has a new story! What an amazing blessing! God knew ahead and saw what we did not see. His plans for us, and his thoughts about us are for a hope and a future.
“I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering.” Jeremiah 29:11
Did you know that offering praise to God can bring blessing?
We frequently speak by faith that Jesus said “where two or more are gathered in his name, he is there in the midst of them”. We speak this forth knowing with confidence that Jesus is wtih us when believers gather together and he hears our prayer and intercedes for us.
But did you know that Father God also said that he inhabits (dwells/lives in) the praises of his people? God is there with you and he is physically dwelling inside your praise.
There is also an exchange that happens when we praise. An exchange is when you give something and receive something back. There is a promise of blessing according to Psalm 112:1 “The Lord will bless EVERYONE who praises him and gladly obeys his teachings.”
That is awesome! You can receive blessings today, right now!
There are at least 477 verses in the bible that mention praise. That is a whole lot and it is very clear that God wants us to know about praise and what pleases him.
My earnest prayer is that you will take time today, and each day, to give him PRAISE and be BLESSED!
Did you know that PRAISE is mentioned in the bible 477 times? Praise is very important to God. The bible says that God inhabits the praises of his people. Imagine that for just a minute. God inhabits…your praise…
Webster’s dictionary says that inhabit means “to occupy as a place of settled residence” and it means “to live in”. source
Webster’s dictionary also says that praise is an “expression” and it means “to glorify”; “to esteem”; “to express a favorable judgement, or to commend”; and that it is an expression of “love, thanks, appreciation, respect, in spoken or written form”. source
Praise is God’s home. Let me say that again, just incase you missed it. Praise is God’s home. God dwells in praise. God lives in YOUR expression of praise whether you vocalize it (speak, sing, shout, pray, mutter, mumble, groan, hum, etc) or write it out. How awesome is that ?!
Do you celebrate when you offer praise? I noticed a key theme in researching the bible about praise. It should be filled with celebrations!
Praise should include: shouts of joy, shouts of praise for all that God has done for us, prayer, offerings, lift your hands to God, praise him by dancing, playing instruments, play the harp and the tambourine, trumpets, stringed instruments, and woodwinds, cymbals and clashing cymbals, new songs, thankful heart, celebrate God’s wonderful deeds and victories over evil and enemies, sing songs and praise his name every day and announce “He has saved us”, sing praises to God in every nation of the earth, and so much more. If you don’t believe me, do a search of the bible’s 477 verses that contain the mention of praise and find out for yourself.
In addition to telling us He lives in our praise, He also offers us a promise. He will bless us because we obey Him and because we praise Him.
“The Lord will BLESS everyone who PRAISES him and who gladly obeys his teachings”. Psalm 112:1
One of the most amazing leaders of praise and worship of the Lord God mentioned in the Bible is King David. David sang, wrote, danced, layed prostrate, prayed, and played instruments in his worship of the Lord. The bible says that God was pleased with his praise and worship. Even so much that when others mocked him praising God, they brought a curse upon themself. His own wife mocked him one time when he sang loudly, clanged cymbals, and danced naked before Lord in public and she was cursed. God was that protective of David’s praise. Wow!
My dad was a Praise and Worship leader most of his adult life. I loved growing up watching him lead the assembly of believers in praise. It was really special to be a part of the congregation singing praises to the Lord with him. He was so gifted in music and could harmonize in any key. He died when I was 25 and I cherish those memories of my youth singing with him in church.
I too have served the body of Christ as a Praise and Worship minister. I joined a Praise team in Kansas City when I was just 14 years old. I continued participating in church choirs, high school and college choirs, and served on Praise and Worship teams for most of my adult life. It has been one of my greatest joys in life. My heart was and is always to lead the assembly of believers into a place of true worship of God as David did. To sing and praise and please God in our worship of who He is. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes. His love for us never changes. His mercies are new every day. He is the beginning and the end. The is the creator. He is the author. He is the provider. He is the healer. He is the king. He is the warrior. He is the savior. He is the deliverer. He deserves our highest praise everyday that we are blessed to take a breath.
Do you need help getting to a place of praise? First of all, pray and ask God to help you in your praise of him. Then spend some time learning about what God says about praise in the scriptures. You will truly be inspired, and maybe even shocked if you have never praised him before, or if you have been part of a religious culture that has rules and limitations regarding praise.
Get encouraged by the example and testimony of other believers who are offering praise and worship to God…
One of the most amazing Praise and Worship Leaders I have ever witnessed in my lifetime is Rick Pino. I was blessed to be in the crowd of Christian worshipers in August 2008 at Greenville, SC at a Youth Conference with over 5 Thousand people, both young and old. That is OVER 5,000! The songs we sang rang out to the heavens! He led us for hours in the most sincere atmosphere of praise of Father God that I have ever experienced in my life. His genuine worship of God was contagious and everyone caught it.
That must have been what it was like to praise and worship Father God when King David worshipped. The bible says David was a man after God’s own heart. God was pleased with David’s worship.
TRANSFORM YOUR PRAISE
Do you want an experience of praise and worship like that? Do you want to be so overcome with praise of God that nothing else matters? Do you know that if you don’t praise God, that rocks will cry out in your place? He is that holy and deserving of our highest praise, that all creation including rocks will praise him! AMAZING!
He longs for our sincere praise. He longs for our hearts to worship him in spirit and in truth. He wants to encourage “normal people”, you and me, to live supernatural lives, to receive supernatural blessings, and experience supernatural praise and worship of the only supernatural God.
My three favorite songs from Rick Pino’s albums I purchased back in 2008 at the youth conference are “Mighty Warrior” , “We Have The Best Dad” and “I Can Hear The Sound”. I love these songs! They truly transform your perspective and your praise.
Mighty Warrior: The Lord is with you mighty warrior, so rise, mount up, mount up on the wings of eagles, mount up, so rise, the Lord is with you mighty warrior”.
We Have The Best Dad: We have the best dad in the whole world!
I Can Hear Can Hear The Sound: This song is absolutely one of my most favorites. He sings in this song that he “can hear the sound of the river coming down.. its coming down…your sons and daughters will prophesy…it satisfies…come and drink from the rock…I can hear the sound.”
ABBA: Abba, I belong to you…you wont leave us as orphans…Abba…I belong to you…
PIONEER: I love this song called Pioneer. “There is a wilderness calling you, and you are the pioneer to keep pressing forward, only a fire (of the Lord) goes before you, your own frontier, you are a pioneer.”
You and I are pioneers on the path of life, telling those in our circle of influence (our wilderness) about God. And if we don’t cry out with praise to God, the rocks will do it in our place. Yikes! I don’t want a rock to do what I was created to do! God longs for me and for you to praise him. He longs to dwell with us in our praise.
Are you ready?
When you transform your praise, and worship in spirit and in truth, you please the Father, He will dwell with you, He will bless you, and your life will be transformed through your expression of praise.
Give praise a try. Lift your hands, lift your heart, celebrate, pray, worship the only true living God, and sing out…”Abba, I belong to you…”