Set my face like flint

Isaiah 50-7

As I was having my JAM ( Jesus and Me ) time one morning as my son calls it, something rose up in me to pray “Lord set my face like flint”. As soon as I wrote it in my prayer journal it struck something in me and I immediately thought. “Where have I heard that before and what does that mean?” That sent me on a study in search of treasure I knew the Lord had for me.

“For the Lord God will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.
Isaiah 50:7 (NKJV)

These prophetic words of Jesus trough the prophet Isaiah written hundreds of years prior give us a glimpse of his focus on fulfilling his mission.
So what does it mean to set my face like flint?
Flint is a hard rock used for many things, like tools, houses, churches, fortress, etc. It is known for its strength and once set immovability.
We see a confirmation of this in Luke 9:51

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
Luke 9:51New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus is not ignorant of the danger that lays ahead. Jerusalem is a death sentence. Yet we see that because he knew his mission he was always pushing toward it. Focused and steadfast.
Isaiah 50:7 (NLT)
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone,determined to do his will.And I know that I will not be put to shame.
Luke 13:22 (NIV)
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
Look up these other verses and you will see that he was always pushing toward Jerusalem his final earthly mission.
Luke 17:11 (NLT)
As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.
Luke 18:31 ( NLT)
Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus said, “Listen, we’re going up to Jerusalem, where all the predictions of the prophets concerning the Son of Man will come true.
Luke 19:28 ( NLT)
After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples.

Immovable , courageous , steadfast men and women of God inspire me.That’s why cowboys and soldiers have a special place in my heart.They represent a toughness and an immovable attitude regardless of what they just drew that’s in the chute or what they are facing in the battlefield . I’m in awe of the courage of the solider who rushes toward the enemy and puts his life on the line so I can enjoy freedom.
To set my face like flint is a statement of courage with a firm commitment to accomplish what God has sent me to do in spite of scorn, ridicule, or yes even danger. One of the greatest Generals of all time Thomas J Jackson also known as Stonewall Jackson was known for this immovable attitude when he was given an order. His nickname Stonewall comes from the very idea of being immovable except when pursing the enemy. General Barnard Bee in trying to rally his troops said, “There stands Jackson like a stone wall. Let us determine to die here and we will conquer. Rally behind the Virginians!”
When asked by Captain John Imboden after the first battle of Bull Run how he could be so immovable in battle when bombs and bullets are raining down on him he said.
“ My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me…. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.”
The Stonewall Brigade was set apart from all other brigades. They were almost always smaller in number and against great odds. But their obedience to their commander and their heart to serve him made them do what everyone else thought impossible. The term Foot Calvary came from them because they were known to march 25 to 30 miles a day and then still engage the enemy. Many battles were won due to this amazing brigade who had an immovable attitude that said “if Stonewall said we can do it then we can!”
It is apparent the war against Christianity has started. Before the civil war actually began many knew it was on the horizon. General Jackson told his cadets at VMI “The time for war has not yet come, but it will come, and that soon: and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard”
We are on the front lines. Are we willing to sacrifice all for the sake of Christ? What we hear going on in other countries is now in our communities. This is just the reality to the times we live in. I want to be brave, I want to charge into battle, I want to say I would sacrifice all for Christ. Yet I know if I relay on myself will, my toughness, my strength, I will eventually weaken like Peter and deny my Lord. This is where I believe when Paul said your Power is made perfect in my weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9 ) comes to play. I believe if I only relay on Him and none of the flesh but ONLY His Spirit in me, that I can accomplish whatever he has called me to regardless how impossible it may seem. I must rely on His power and nothing of me. I must decrease that He can increase.
I believe He will give us direction, wisdom, and resources. He has equipped us for such a time as this. Let us all set our faces like flint to the mission He has all called us together.

One little side note to ponder. When flint is struck it sparks a fire. Selah….
I am thankful to not be traveling this alone but to be marching with this little but mighty brigade.

“Lord help us to set our faces like flint to the mission that you have called us too. Many things get in the way to take us off focus. I pray that your powerful Holy Spirit would convict us and help us to recognize the
strategies of the enemy that desires to get us to desert. Lord we know we can do nothing in our own strength and we rely on you to move thru us. We cannot be brave in the face of the enemy or charge into battle unless you anoint us and empower us to do so. Lord let all we do and say be rooted in Calvary Love and all that we come in contact with know they were touched by You. In Jesus name. Amen!”

~Annie

On Keeping Pace

Acts 20-24

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me…” Acts 20:24 NIV

I’m not a competitive person, at least not in the sense that most people look at competition. I’m not an athlete. I don’t climb the corporate ladder or measure my success based on someone else’s failure. And yet, there is something inside me that often refuses to check the box that says “satisfied” and thus be content to remain where I am. As I move through life, it seems that there is always something more just ahead and I feel compelled to go after it. I wonder why that is
I know I said I was not an athlete, but for a few brief years in my late thirties/early forties, I entered into the realm of the novice runner. It was never my intention to run; however, after chiding my 9th grade son when he complained about the difficulty of running a mile, I inadvertently set myself up to run.
“It is just a mile and you are only 14. How difficult can it be?”
“I don’t know Mom, can you run a mile?”
Good question. Could I run a mile? Now I was compelled to find the answer – it didn’t take long. No, in fact, I could not run a mile. Furthermore I could not run the perimeter of a city block, and if I were really honest I would admit that the half of a block I did “run” was not really running, but instead some hybrid of a fast walk and a slow jog. Surely I was too young to be out of breath this soon! And that’s all it took. I would not be satisfied until I could respectfully jog a mile.
If you have ever started a training program of any type, you know it comes in steps. My steps started with lampposts – yep, lampposts, because the distance between two lampposts was as far as I could go while keeping the pace of a respectable jog. I measured out a mile course in my neighborhood and proceeded to build my endurance by degrees, or lampposts. I alternated – walk-jog-walk-jog- until I could complete the course of a mile with out gasping for breath like a fish out of water. Once successful, I aimed higher – walk- jog-jog-walk-jog-jog – and so on. You get the picture. I was so excited when I reached the point where I could run a mile without having to walk at all. Victory! I could tell the 14 year old, no wait, now he was 15. Anyway, I could tell him that I could do it – a whole mile, without stopping, and I still had enough breath left at the end of the distance to carry on a conversation. Meanwhile, the 15 year old had moved on from the 1one mile run in gym class to the mid-distance run in track and the 5K in cross-country. Needless to say he was not impressed with my one mile, which left me wondering if I could go further.
Those without goals never remain where they are; they always lose ground. I could go on to tell you how, over time, I increased my distance from a mile to four miles. Or how I eventually competed in a 5k with the “14 year old” who was now a graduate – awful experience as a runner, great experience as a mother. Or how I stopped setting goals to go further and now I barely run at all.
But instead let’s switch gears for a minute and talk about the pace.

One of the things I enjoyed about running was the pace; when you come to that point where it no longer hurts to put one foot in front of the other, and you are not out of breath. The point when you feel machine-like and you just move at a steady, rhythmic pace. That was amazing!
Growing with God is kind of like that.
In the beginning you think it will be easy. Read my bible every day? No problem. Go to church once a week? Sure, I can do that.
Then you learn that you have to develop some stamina. Really? Walk in love instead of just talking about it? [Long pause] No problem. I can work on that. Give up something I want to do in favor of what you want me to do, God? [Gulp] Sure. I think I could try that.
Finally, you get to the point that you can keep pace with what He has been asking you to do. You no longer trip over your own feet. You handle the unexpected curves without losing your step. You even manage to leap over a few obstacles in the way. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself. And then… the pace changes.
He says, “Can you go just a little bit farther this time?” or “Could you move a little bit faster this time?” or “Keep your eyes open; there are more obstacles on this course and some of them are a bit larger than you’ve previously encountered.” Decision point; are you going to keep going and learn to change your pace, or will you fall back, stop facing challenges, and ultimately lose ground? If you’re wise, you move forward. I will assume you are wise.
Changing pace often feels like starting over. You find yourself once again gasping for breath. You’re back to tripping over your feet, losing your rhythm, and perhaps stumbling around a few of those curves. And if you’re honest, you probably face-planted while trying to leap over that obstacle you were so sure you could handle by yourself. But hey, at least you’re trying. And God will honor sincere effort. And He will even pick you up and dust you off after that face-plant you hope nobody saw but are pretty sure many did. Since you are wise enough not to quit, you eventually find your rhythm and you can once again keep pace. And you’re feeling pretty good about it too, because it took a lot of hard work and cost you a bit of skin and actually required more grace than you will likely know about this side of Heaven. And then it happens again… the pace changes.
Perhaps this time He is asking you to slow down.
“Slow down!” you think. “I just built up all this muscle, stamina and endurance. Why slow down now?!”
But if you are wise, and I will continue to assume you are, you will learn to slow down. Perhaps you have reached terrain in which precision in foot placement is more important than speed. Or maybe you are on a downhill slope where going fast would be fun, but that kind of speed would likely cause you to fall, incurring injury worse than any face-plant previously experienced.
The point is this: God knows the path ahead of you. He knows where He intends for you to end up. And He knows all the experiences – the good, the bad, the ugly- that you could possibly encounter on the way. If you listen to Him, the end result will be a well-run race, a life that has a positive impact for the kingdom of God, and one that represents your Father well. If you don’t listen, the result will be unnecessary injury to yourself and probably to others. Decision point: do you listen?
I believe God instilled within us that desire to keep moving, to never be satisfied. It should keep us looking for Him; following Him. It is the very thing that will force us off the couch and into our running gear – dissatisfaction. Unfortunately, many have chosen the things of this world to calm that dissatisfaction and have thus pulled themselves out of the race altogether. Decision point: sit out or suit up? If you’re wise… well, you’ll know what to do.

“’For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the Lord. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.’”
Jeremiah 29:11 NET

~Patricia

The Lamp and Light

Psalm 119-105

There is this thing I try to do every morning. I’m not always successful, but I do try.
It is to open my Bible and read a bit of God’s word. When I do, my day seems to go much better. Of course the day doesn’t improve –as if by magic–just because I read my Bible. No, I believe it improves because it has shed some light on this earthly path I am walking.

How many of us feel that the world has gone mad? Or that our own circumstances are overwhelming? Sometimes I feel like I am at the bottom of a deep valley, hardly reachable by the sun.

But, when I open my bible and read the truths found there I am always comforted. It is like a shaft of light crossing my path. It helps my perspective.

So, today I encourage you, especially if you are feeling down or overwhelmed. Just Open your Bible. Read something. Let that light shine on your path.

Oh, and if you don’t know where to start. My two favorite places to begin are the Book of John and Psalms. John is God’s love letter they call it. Here I see who Jesus really is and His passion for people and his plan. And I find so much comfort in the Psalms. Written in Prose and so easy to relate to. This book was written, by real people with real problems. And is filled with the overwhelm that I know I face. But, it is also, filled with so much hope.

Does God’s word bring you comfort? I’d love to hear about your favorite passages or how you find time and ways to be encouraged. Or even better, if you are inspired to start reading, tell us. Just leave your reply below.

God Bless you in your Journey,

~Rita

 

 

February News and Happenings

Blessings to everyone,

We at Western Days Ministries pray that this finds you well. At the end of last year Miracle Meadows Ministries merged with Western Days Ministries. We have combined to further God’s kingdom. This has strengthened both of us to do a greater work. Western Days Ministries is also under the covering of World Ministry Fellowship and we are now a 501c3 corporation.

As we get ready for an eventful year we would like to inform you of some of the things the Lord has planned for this year. Western Days is in the works and planning is well underway for Allegan again this year. Western Days Allegan will be held June 17-19. Tommy Brandt will be back this year as well. We also have a concert scheduled on June 11 @ 7p.m. at the Griswold Auditorium in Allegan.

Cowboy Church will be held on the third Saturday of each month beginning in April at the Cross S in Allegan. Different horsemanship clinicians will be teaching on these days. This is a great opportunity to get someone that might not want to go to a traditional church to hear the message of Christ.

The Lord is opening doors for us to take this ministry on the road. We will be doing Western Days outreach at the Lenawee County Fair on July 27 in Adrian MI. There will be a family camp during the day with the bull Riding that night. Tommy Brandt will also be performing at this as well. This event will be held in the Grandstand during the fair. PRAISE the LORD!!! What an opportunity to reach the lost. I believe this is just the beginning of how the Lord is going to use this ministry.

We are in the process of getting set-up to receive donations online, so if you feel led to sow into this ministry you will be able to do so. If you like to make a donation now  you make it payable to:

Western Days Ministries
589 28th St.
Allegan, MI 49010

We live in an exciting time, and we believe the Lord is going to do a mighty work this year. Our prayer is that we can make a difference in the lives of people by showing them the love Jesus. We look forward to what he has planned for this year.

From the Western Days Ministries team,

God Bless

 

Welcome

a Bullriding cross 6x

Mission Statement

Western Days Ministries aspires to bring The Good News, The Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have not heard it, are lost, or who have strayed from it. We have special interest in the Cowboy, Rural, and Outdoor communities and promoting unity amongst local churches.

Vision Statement

Western Days Ministries desires to reach out to the lost, those who have strayed and those who have not heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We understand that many people feel uncomfortable in the conventional church setting, and we have a desire to let them know that the father accepts them as they are. We intend to touch people through outreach events. We also desire to work alongside the local churches to promote unity within. We are not a substitute for your local church or assembly, nor are we in competition with any denominational group.