Monday, December 21, 2015

Ol' George Got it Right!

Who do you love?  We all gotta take time to answer the question.
Ol' George got it right!  At least the question: The answer - Not so much....  "Who do you love?" is the question, and I should probably be a bit reticent in stating I know the one asking is a somewhat rowdy 1980's rock-and-roller (now a bit 'long in the teeth', I imagine) named George Thorogood.

The question came up while reading my Bible during my morning quiet time.  I was reading in I John chapter 2 where John is exhorting his readers: "Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (v15 - NIV)  The thing that immediately popped into my mind was the voice of a day job co-worker saying "I love Christmas!!".  As I was pondering this the question came up, sadly in ol' George's gravelly voice with the appropriate guitar riff grinding away in the background, "Who do you love?"  (George fades out, but the questions keep coming.)  Do you love Christmas or do you love Christ?  Or do you even connect the two?

It can be so easy to let 'Christmas' mask out 'Christ'.  So often when I hear people say they 'love Christmas' the context refers the much romanticized hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts with the old carols playing in the background, all the colorful trappings of trees, Santa and snowmen, the TV Christmas specials, the huge gala gatherings with family and friends, and the growing anticipation of a noisy Christmas morning: A season of celebration that starts, for some, as soon as the Halloween decorations are back in the box.  And at least in the most of the US, nobody finds 'I love Christmas!!" the least bit awkward or more than a tiny bit odd.

On the other hand, try saying "I love Christ!!" in the same conversation.   For most of the same  population - Awkward!!  Without getting off on a rant of why this is so or how we got there, I want to encourage anyone kind enough to take the time to read this far to pause and ask yourself the question:  "Who do you love?"  We have to pick, and according to the passage I quote a above (along with many others) you can't pick both.  You can't pursue both Christ and 'all the good life the world has to offer' at the same time.  We have to be able to separate in our own minds the Christmas of Jesus our Lord and Savior's earthly birth from the Xmas of shopping, parties, Santa, and year-end-sales.

Once we separate Christmas from Xmas we can each make our own choices on where we go from there.  I know that not everyone will agree with me on this, but I think gift giving is great, holiday gathers are fun and family gatherings are wonderful, and decorations and 'holiday spirit' are fine too, as long as the context is right.  Do you do these things as part of celebration of Christ's birth, or do you do these things because it makes you a part of what those around you are doing?  What are you celebrating?  Who do you love?

Just stopping long enough to ask the question with help 'reset' most everyone who has come to this blog, and that's what I'm encouraging you to do.  Just pause now again during this busy season, take a breath, look at everything around you, and ask yourself - "Who do you love?"

Col. 1:9-12,


Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Blessings and the Blesser

Here at Hoosier Country Christian / Hoosier Country Home we have so much for which we are thankful.  We will celebrate the day like most, I suppose, sharing the day and a meal with family and friends.  There will be brothers, sisters, in-laws, in-laws to be, friends, children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, grandnieces and grandnephews.  Our family Thanksgiving gatherings have always been a place where those among us who have no family near can come and be welcomed, and we have been richly blessed with their company.  There will be talk of family, Church, community, and world goings on.  There will be games, noise, running indoors, shooing outdoors, and lots of laughter.  And there will be prayer.  One more way in which we are blessed is that we have an extended family that not only counts our blessings, but recognizes our most cherished blessings come in proportion to our relationship to the One who blesses.
And thus God has always intended it to be.   Before His chosen people would enter the Promised Land, God instructed them of the connection there would be between the blessings He would send and their relationship to Him. 
Dt.8:6 (NIV) Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. 10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 
Many generations, and a virgin birth, a cross, and an empty tomb later, the Apostle Paul reiterated the connection and plainly set into words what a right relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord looks like, and how is it reflected in our relationship with those around us. 
Col:3:12 (NIV) Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
So today and every day enjoy that with which you have been blessed.  Count your blessings, thank the One who blesses, and strive to live today and every day like you are truly are grateful for all of it.  We are blessed! 
Col. 1:9-12,

Monday, November 23, 2015

As White as Snow

This week the Hoosier Country Homestead underwent a bit of a transformation.  It went from looking like this (early in the month to be completely honest) ...

... to looking like this!

Over just a few hours on Saturday the landscape was changed from browns with a just a touch of green to pure white.

What do you don't see in the 'before' picture are weedy garden beds that need to be cleaned out, some garden plots that really should have been tilled, some trash wood that needs to moved to the burn pit and burned, the list goes on.  With the covering of snow, about 8" worth, none of that shows.  It's not that the things that aren't right were never there: They are and will be there waiting for me when the snow melts or when I choose to dig them out.  But with the covering of snow they cannot be seen and to those who don't go digging, the 'wrongs' can't be enumerated. 

The first big covering of snow of the year (before I get tired of plowing and shoveling it) always brings to mind music and lyrics we sing as part of our worship.  The two that come to mind are the hymn "Whiter than Snow" written by James L. Nicholson in 1872, and the more contemporary 'White as Snow" written by Leon Olguin in 1990.  I know there are many others based on the same texts, but these are the two that come to my mind.  There are two primary passages relating to being made white as snow that are familiar to many Christians: Psalms 51:7 and Isaiah 1:18.  I'm going to focus on the latter and will include some additional verses just for context.  Here God is speaking to His people through a vision given to Isaiah.  He is pleading with the people, already feeling the weight of His discipline, to turn from their evil and turn back to Him.

Isaiah 51 (NASB)

18“Come now, and let us reason together,”
            Says the LORD,
            “Though your sins are as scarlet,
            They will be as white as snow;
            Though they are red like crimson,
            They will be like wool.

      19“If you consent and obey,
            You will eat the best of the land;

      20“But if you refuse and rebel,
            You will be devoured by the sword.”
            Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

This same offer of covering of sins applies today.  Our sins are covered and we are made pure as the white snow by the blood of Jesus to all who accept Him as Lord and Savior.  It's not like my weedy life was never there, it's not as if I will never struggle with things that need to be tilled out of my life or never have to deal with 'trash' that needs to picked out and burned, but I can rest assured that when God looks at me, no matter what things are done and undone underneath, He sees purity.

But not a purity of my own doing.  Just as I had nothing to do with the 8 inches of snow that covered my homestead, I can do nothing to cover my own sin.  And just as I can never enough work enough around the homestead to make it so perfect there are no 'wrongs' to cover, I can never 'work' my way into purity.  It is Jesus who makes me pure, and I get that way through Him alone.  And just like the clean, fresh cover of snow on the homestead, there is a quiet and wonderful peace in that.

Col. 1:9-12,


Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Thing Restored

I spent some time today completing a task that I had not gotten around to for quite awhile.  Last summer a severe hailstorm came through our area and everyone in a swath a couple miles wide and several miles long got new roofing on everything on the property.  When my mother had the old farm shop roof replaced she did not have the roofing crew reinstall the weather vane my Dad had put up almost two decades before.  For 15 or so years before he died this vane had faithfully performed its purpose of pointing into the wind.  She gave it to me for me to put on my barn.

This old plastic weather vane is not an antique, not in good shape, and on its own has no real value. Parts had been broken and repairs made in a fashion typical of a man who grew up during the Great Depression.  A portion of the broken mast had been repaired with a hose clamp and section of hose recovered from who-knows-what.  The broken base had simply had another nail added in a place that was not intended to have one.  Through all this the vane had stood its ground on the shop roof and reliably pointed into the wind for many years.  It had been my Dad's, and now it is mine.  It is valuable now not because of what it is, but because of whose it was.

After some pondering and looking around my little barn I found an old license plate, a scrap of rubber matting, and a handful of nuts and bolts.  I then set out making repairs.  In a fashion that demonstrates that the 'apple doesn't fall far from the tree', I drilled some holes in the base, bolted the base to a properly formed discarded license plate through the rubber mat, and nailed the whole thing to the roof.  There it stands, tall and straight once again, pointing true for all who take the time to look.

There are a lot a parallels to me in that old weather vane.

Like that old broken vane, I have no lasting value on my own.  I am starting to 'show my age', I am broken, I am dirty, and left to myself in that state I can't do that which I am created to do.  I know with certainty, however, that I will not be counted as a worthless thing and be cast away.

Rom. 5:8 (NIV) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.

I am loved - cherished - by my Father in Heaven.  I am precious because I am His.  In spite of my brokenness, what I cannot do, what I have or have not done, or how little worth the rest of the world sees in me.  He is my Heavenly Father and He loves me no matter my condition.

I did not leave Dad's old weather vane broken and sitting on a bench in the barn.  Like that old vane,  because God loves me, He will not leave me in a damaged condition either.
I Pet.5:10 (NIV) After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Because I have given myself to Him, He will restore me.  He will make me whole and useful again.   My broken things will be made new and my dirty things will be made clean.  I will, once again, be fit to do that which I have created to do.

And like that vane, what I was created to do is a pretty simple thing.  That weather vane was created to point.  Specifically, it was created to point into the wind.  It does not make the wind, it does not choose the direction from which the wind will blow nor how hard or gentle will be the breeze.  I was created to point to Jesus.  Not to be Jesus, or determine how He will interact with His creation, nor choose how easy or difficult will be the times.  I am simply created to point toward Him, and in His love He has restored me and equipped me to that purpose.

 Matt. 28:18 (NIV) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Whenever I see that old weather vane on my barn, I will remember my Dad and the legacy of Godliness he left for me.  And I will remember my Heavenly Father and His saving grace that restored me to His purpose.

Thanks, Mom.  Once again, I am blessed.

Col. 1:9-12,


Monday, October 5, 2015

What will you choose?

I was home from the day job for a week of vacation two weeks ago.  As I ventured out early Wednesday I was blessed with the most perfect morning.  The sun was steadily making its way up into a clear blue sky.  It was cool, crisp and still.  The only things to be heard were the chickens, wild birds, and the cattle in the pasture just to the north.  As I walked quietly around the property, not wanting to disturb the almost sacred peace, I snapped a few pictures.  Below is one I knew I would be sharing.

Like most photographs, the image captures the scene but not the moment. There were a hundred childhood memories to be explored as I looked out over the fields and fences I had worked from my earliest memories on.  There was a feeling of continuity:  My father had once stood on this land right where I was, as had my grandfather, and many others before him.  There was a feeling of humility:  Like my father and grandfather, and all those others I was now entrusted with the stewardship of this small bit of land for a season. There was a connection to God as I stood and considered the re-creation of a new day.  I was blessed, I had a whole lot to be thankful for, and I knew it.  In that moment, God spoke to me from dozens of passages from His Word.  In that moment I was bathed in His Goodness.  In that moment I chose to accept the blessing that God had prepared for me that morning.

But it could have been different. I could have chosen differently.   It was a beautiful morning, but it was down-right chilly.  And no matter how nice it was right then, I knew I was going to spend a good part of the day cramming my 5' 10" now-less-than-lean-and-mean frame into a bathroom vanity cabinet to change a corroded drain and faucet.  The lush and pristine pasture at my feet?  That's a portion of my back yard that, through a series of minor misfortunes, had never been mowed all summer.  Not once.  Some of those trees off to the left are in the fence line and really should be taken down.  One more thing in an endless series of tasks that didn't get done last year and won't get done this year.  Had I chosen, at that moment, to focus on negatives I would have missed the simple, yet amazing, moment that was placed there for me to experience.
Ecc. 5:18 (NIV) Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him—for this is his lot. 19Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

I was able to choose rightly at that moment because seeing the gift for what it was, was in itself, a gift from God.  As I chose to take that moment to listen, to "Be still and know that He is God",  He chose to honor that moment with a gift: "Gladness of heart".

Every one of us encounters moments like these.  Perhaps not everyday, but perhaps also more often than we realize.  I encourage you stop and grasp them as they come along, and to cherish the blessing He will provide as you take the time to be still and honor Him.

I am blessed...  and so are you,

Col. 1:9-12


Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Sale

As I drive back and forth to the ‘day job’, I occasionally drive past a farm where everything is out in the yard and pastures being staged for an estate sale.  Whenever I see the rows and rows of things that once made up a home and farm, all being readied to be sold to the highest bidder, my mind immediately goes back to my father-in-law’s estate sale.  As we placed all his worldly possessions out in the yard, we were struck with the idea of how much an estate sale is like a memorial. 

My father in-law was a mechanic as well as a skilled machinist.  For the last couple of decades of his life he turned his talents toward collecting and restoring antique tractors.  In addition to lots of machine tools, 36 tractors in various stages of restoration, and piles and piles (and piles) of parts he also had collections of antique wrenches and toy farm equipment.  Before the sale, as everything was in the yard waiting to be sold, we could see so much of Dad in the things he once possessed.  Many of his friends stopped by and had a story about this piece or that, and how it fit into their relationship with him.

The bidding began and over a couple of days the physical vestiges a life’s work passed into history.  It was a time of transition.  Soon the real estate was sold and the transition was complete.  The old was gone and the family was left with memories of a father and of a childhood home.  Each of the children has a few family possessions in their home and there is stone in a cemetery that marks his final resting place.

Many years ago, another Man’s life work was exhibited in public for all to see.  The few possessions went to those who understood Him the least.  He, Himself was on display, nailed to a cross – seemingly sold cheap to highest bidder.  Many of His friends were there, and also many enemies.   Over the course of a day, friends and enemies alike watched a man die and be buried.    His friends gathered together and I can imagine them all sharing stories about this conversation on that and how it fit into their relationship.  It was a time of transition that most did not understand.

But then something unexpected happened.  The tomb was emptied and the Man walked again among His friends - and those who hated Him.  Over a forty day period He finished His life’s work and went away again to be with His Father for a time.  That was nearly 2000 years ago, and it was a time of monumental transition.

As we look back now through the eyes of His written Word we see His life’s work, set out for all see.  And as we gaze at the whole we begin to understand this man, Jesus, in a way that one piece – one story – at a time does not allow.   The accounts told in His book weave a tapestry of love and righteousness, of majesty and humility, of power and sacrifice.  And eventually we begin to see that He was not the one for sale – we were.  We begin to see that we were being auctioned off in a sale with only two bidders and that His life’s work - His birth, His teaching, the Cross and the empty tomb, His whole life, was the price of our purchase.

1 Cor. 6:19-20 (NIV)
    Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; [20] you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

In that time of transition everything was turned upside down.  The buyer becomes the property being sold and the seller becomes the currency.  Instead of us buying forgiveness for one more year with the blood of bulls and lambs and doves, we were bought with the blood of the Son of God.  And as we look at the cross, which is now a part of history, it takes on new meaning.  There we were bought and paid for at a terrible price.  By paying that price He initiated for us a new relationship with Him.

Galatians 3:26-29(NIV)
   You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, [27] for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. [29] If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

He, in effect, made us His brothers and sisters – children of God.  And because we forget, He set forth a memorial.

1 Cor. 11:24-25(NIV)
    … and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." [25] In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

One day He’ll return to gather those who belong to Him and take us home, making what is now the new covenant old.  Until then, I encourage all who believe and call Him Lord to remember "The Sale” and the price that was paid.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Just One Little Flower!

I stepped out our front door shortly after sunrise a couple of days ago and was greeted by this sight.  A single, small, beautiful purple Morning Glory.  Right in the herb garden.  Most of you will know that Morning Glorys, while beautiful, can be horrendously invasive and, when left unchecked, will rapidly take over a space and choke out the things that are intended to be there. 

While there are probably a number of thoughts we might draw from this, as I was looking at this small explosion of purple amongst the greens, grays and browns this verse came to mind from Ephesians 5:3-4 (NIV), so I'm going with that.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

It may be a bit of stretch in relating an invasive flowering vine to the sins Paul is warning us about but I think the analogy is a good one.  That little splash of color is eye-catching and, at least on the surface, strikingly beautiful.  It adds a bit of color and it's just one flower - only one!   How can one little flower be bad for my herb garden which is, at least this time of year, shades of green going to brown?

Paul is warning about letting even one bit of uncontested sinful behavior to establish itself in our lives.  Perhaps its a favorite TV program with 'racy' undertones, or a regularly sharing a bit of gossip when talking over the fence line with a neighbor.  Or books we read, or music we listen to.  How could these tiny things be the 'improper' and 'out of place' activities we must avoid?

The answer, of course, lies in what is underneath.  That one pretty little flower is supported by a root that is is being fed by the soil around it.  That plant is drawing energy away from the good things that belong there and, left unchecked, will soon multiply and spread.  It rapidly will wrap itself around everything else in the bed, climbing to the top.  If I don't act quickly on this single flower I will one day look at that bed and see only the Morning Glorys instead of the chives, coriander, sage and other herbs that produce a rewarding harvest for us.

Sin can be like that.  Left uncontested it can spread until it becomes the first thing that others see in our lives. Allowing just a little to become established makes it harder to say 'no' to a little more, and a little more, and just a little bit more, until the sin is the primary crop people see growing in our lives.

My neighbor planted Morning Glorys along a woven wire fence line nearly 10 years ago. (Probably the ancestors of this one.)  They spread quickly, filled the fence and choked out everything else there.  A couple of years later he decided he didn't like them there and has spent the last 8 years or so trying to eradicate them. 

The sin in our lives can be like that, too.  Once accommodated, once allowed to take root and grow, it can be horribly difficult to extract and often requires digging up not only the roots of the offending behavior but also some of those good things that lie adjacent.

I encourage all of us today to take a look around the gardens of our personal lives and look for those little things, perhaps off in the corner, that have been allowed to take root.  Let's deal with them now, while they are small, so we can avoid the hard work of grubbing out all the invasive roots that weave themselves around the good things.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment with a little purple flower.  :-)

Col. 1:9-12,


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Goals, God's Will and a Good Week

This week, I'm taking time away from the day job to catch up on the fall chores around the homestead.  As I write this post, I have a separate document open so that I can capture things I need (or at least want) to get done this week as I think of them.  That list, after some sorting and filtering, will become my list of goals for the week.  If this week goes like most, I'll feel pretty good if I get 1/2 way from the top to the bottom. 

If I were to be able to sit out on the patio with each of you, share some iced tea and talk about our goals, we would likely end up talking about improvements we want to make, new things we want to try around the homestead, and maybe some financial goals or career goals. We would surely have some family goals and some thoughts on what we want to do as we get older and start slowing down.

It is unlikely for most of us, me included, the first goal I would bring up would be a spiritual goal, but that is God’s goal for us. While it's great that we strive to care for those material things over which God has made us stewards, our first goal should always be to become more and more like Christ.

Romans 12:2  - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

I love these verses with encouragements that come with a promise.  IF you make it your goal to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, THEN you will be better equipped to know His will in the other areas of your life.  That's worth reiterating:  As we strive to become more and more like Christ, we find that the other goals we set for ourselves are more aligned with His.

Spiritual goals will not be our only personal goals, but every personal goal should aligned with God’s spiritual plan for our lives.  Jesus Himself, in the context of teaching us not to worry about having clothes or food, offered the same encouragement:

Matthew 6:33  - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Just is it's going to be tempting to measure the success of my week on the number of goals I have checked off my list, it's easy to measure the success of our lives by the tangible things we can count.  But that's not the way God counts success.

Do I want to be successful?  Of course but, if we really believe what he tells us, the key to being successful is to forget how the rest of the world defines success and to align our wills, our GOALS with God's.

Readers of Hoosier Country Home know that I always sign my posts with Col. 1:9-12.  That passage is my prayer for all who have taken the time to read and share my thoughts, my experiences, and a bit of my life.  It speaks to knowing and acting on God's will for our lives.  I'll include it in full here, and will continue to sign Hoosier Country Christian with that same scripture reference. 

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 

Now that's a path to real success and a real good week. 


Monday, September 7, 2015

What do we do with "More than Enough"?

The last couple of weeks have been some of the hottest of the summer here in NE Indiana with accompanying 90+% humidity.  The combination makes pretty much any outdoor activity a bit of a challenge.  The 'tropical' weather is also great for finishing tomatoes and any of the other last minute, summer veggies.  As oppressive as the last couple weeks have been we are thankful because we were concerned we wouldn't be getting enough tomatoes to can and stock up the pantry for the winter months.  So today I went to the garden early expecting to pick a lot of tomatoes before it got too hot.  Thanks to God's providential care, I brought in about 8 gallons of beautiful red tomatoes.  Then there was something unexpected.  Green beans.

We figured, after the last picking of green beans, that the green beans were done.  We were ready, after the last picking, for the green beans to be done.  We had plenty canned to eat through the winter and to give to the kids.  But here they were: More beans.  An unexpected abundance.

As gardeners, and as Christians, there are many tests of our maturity that come along the way.  My experience with the garden today reminds me of two:  The test of 'not enough' and the test of 'more than enough'. 

The test of 'having not enough' is clear. Not having enough, I mean genuinely not having enough ("not enough tomatoes canned" doesn't count), is a heart-wrenching thing and the Bible speaks frequently of the generosity, care and dignity we owe the widow, the orphan, and the poor.  De and I were there with the poor a couple of times early in our marriage.  God always got us through, usually through the help of our parents.  Looking back I can say in those early years we did not appreciate His care anywhere near enough.

The test of 'more than enough' is often harder for us to wrap our heads around.  How could having more than we need become a test?  It seems a little counter-intuitive.  If God has blessed us with more than enough, don't we just thank God for it and get on to next thing?

It is these two questions that Agur son of Jakeh addresses in Proverbs 30 (NIV).  As De and I have come to point where we rarely worry about 'not enough' this passage has come to mean more and more to me.

7“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: 8Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9Otherwise, I may have too much and disown† you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

I think our question of 'more than enough' centers on God's question to us:  "What will you do with the abundance with which I have blessed you?"  This question is, of course, not just about the green beans we didn't expect to harvest.  Many of us, if we were to be completely honest, would have to admit we are drowning in 'more than enough'.  We are warned against simply "building bigger barns" so we can take it easy (Mt. 12:16-21).   We are expected to do more.  Not just for us: For Him.  God expects us to be conduits and not accumulators.  If we wish to continue to receive blessings we must know ahead of time who we plan to bless with what He gives.

The Apostle Paul closes Eph. 3 with the following passage:

20Now to him who is able† to do immeasurably more than all we ask† or imagine, according to his power† that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.†

"...immeasurable more than all we ask for imagine...."  Christians, let's all think today about what we will do with our promise to live for Jesus, when He keeps His promise of what He will do for us.  When He does it's going to be "More than Enough"

Col 1:9-12,


All scriptures used come from the Kindle version of the NIV Bible.  Various Authors (2010-05-05). Zondervan NIV Study Bible: Updated Edition (Kindle Locations 90618-90622). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Welcome to Hoosier Country Christian!!

Welcome!! It's yet another blog!  The first question is, of course, "Why?".  There are already a gazillion blogs on nearly any topic, and a jillion (which is a bit less than a gazillion) on the topic of Christianity.  I've been writing Hoosier Country Home (HCH - mostly a homesteading blog) for well over a year now and have at times struggled to keep new posts on the board.  Why would I take on yet another blog writing task?

The answer is, because I feel called by my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to write another blog.  One strictly dedicated to the encouragement of the Christians everywhere.  So we come already to the first note of encouragement:  "Whatever God calls us to do, he will equip us to do!"  (Dr. Charles Stanley) This means a lot to me today because, as readers of  HCH know, I really don't have time to write another blog. I really don't have time to maintain another blog.  I really don't have time to follow-up on comments and make return blog visits.  What I do have is a calling and a whole string of promises: 
  • "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13 - NKJV),  
  • "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:30-21  NIV)
All that will be enough.  I'm going to write, and He's going to worry about readers, the time to do all that I think I don't have time to do, and what happens to the message after I hit the "Publish" button.  Which brings me to another promise that makes this a bit less worrisome.  It's from the book of Isaiah and was one of my Dad's favorite passages:

  • As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isa. 55:10,11)
I'll have lots of logistics to work out, but they will get all right eventually.  I'll make lots of mistakes, but we've all been there before.  I welcome your comments and I suspect we'll have lots to talk about.  To God be the Glory,  we're on our way!

Col. 1:9-12,