He is Near

Zeph 3-17

I have about 4 blogs post in the works. But none of them ready to be finished yet. Why? I suppose the answer is that God is still working them out in my life at the moment. I’m still learning the lessons. Part of me doesn’t love that, but the other part of me is enthralled with that knowledge. Because to me, it is proof that God is working, that He is real, and that He is an active part of my life. 

And so, as I wait to see how these lessons or testimonies are going to turn out, I was wondering something: What is God teaching you right now? Whether we are walking through a difficult season, or basking on mountain top views, I think it is important for us to recognize how God is at work. 

But, what if you don’t think you can see God working? What if he seems far away? 

I know of only one thing to do: Go find Him. God’s word says that when we draw near to God, He WILL draw near to us (James 4:8). It also says over and over that God cares deeply about us. I love Zephaniah 3:17 which says, 

The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
[ESV]

So, consider this your invitation. Go find Him. He’s nearer than you think. And please, if you have seen God working in your life, I would love to hear how. 

God, I am so awed that you would care for us. That you would rejoice over us. I pray that none of us would miss your action in our lives. So, right now we invite you to show up. Please reveal yourself to us. Let our eyes be open to seeing you in Your Word, and in our every day existence.  -Amen

~Rita

Adrian Western Days Update

Hello Western Days team members,

We would like to once again say Thank you for being apart of Adrian’s first Western Days. We wanted to touch base with all team members and future members on all the planning.

  • Deadline for program ads, banners and money collected is July 1st (this Friday) . If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact us via email or phone Annie  517-902-7817. Every church that donates  a minimum camp sponsorship of $225.00  will also have a 4 ft table space to represent your church and hand out any information. All donations go into Western Days to keep this a free family event where we can share the message of Jesus Christ.

  • If you could send Annie your volunteer sheets, so we know how many and where to plug in people that would be great! We also need all names of volunteers to give to Fair so you will not have to pay to get in.
    Annie’s email address is: miraclemeadowsranch@gmail.com .

  • We need volunteers to help set up and tear down. Many hands make light work.We will be setting up Wed July 27th at 7:00 AM Please let me know if you can help.

  • We could use some more people on evangelism team. Evangelism team members take families around the different stations and should be able to answer any questions they may have about Bible questions and comfortable praying with people and sharing the gospel . They also will be in and around grandstands during bull riding and be able to pray with people in stands that may not come down in arena. They also will be passing the buckets for love offering .

  • We could use some volunteer security. The mounted division as well as Sergeant Jeff Ewald from Adrian Sherriff Dept  will be heading that up.

  • If you have a truck or truck and trailer we could use that in hauling equipment from our house to fair ( about 10 min away)

  • We will have sandwiches, water etc available to all our volunteers. If you would like to donate any water , meat chips, etc please let me know.

  • If anyone would like to volunteer to take videos and pictures  that would be great!

Don’t forget every Tuesday night leading up to event is prayer meeting. You can find the schedule HERE. Love to see you all! If you have not received prayer meeting schedule let me know.

May the Lord Bless you richly for all your service unto Him!

Blessings,
Jacques and Annie

To Be Well

James 1-17

You were not created to be sick! Period. End of story! I know that’s a bold statement. I can afford to be bold because that statement isn’t my idea; it is God’s. The word of God makes it perfectly clear that the Lord did not intend for His children to be sick in any way, shape, or form. Healing is a gift, a good thing.

James 1:17 says that
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Healing is a good gift; sickness is a curse. God never changes; He doesn’t declare healing good one day and sickness good another. Just as you would purchase and give a gift to a loved one, the Lord purchased healing and made it available to each of His children – a gift. On the cross, Jesus paid that bill and purchased that gift.

Isaiah 53:5 states,

“But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him; and we are healed by His wounds”
[Holman Christian Standard]

We often hear that the Lord heals sometimes, when it is His will. I would argue that it is always His will! . John says it this way:

“Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers”
3 John 1:2

As our souls – mind, will and emotions – prosper and come into alignment with the word of God and the plan He has for our lives, we can expect our bodies, our physical health to follow suit. When the body of Christ realizes that sickness is not and never has been from God, that sickness is straight out of the gates of hell, we will react to it differently. We will begin to see it as an invasion of the enemy, not something God sent our way to teach us a lesson, and we will fight against it and refuse to let it take more ground in our lives. God knows we live in a fallen and decaying world and that sickness and disease are a part of that decay, but He provided us with a way out. He purchased the gift of healing for every one of His children. It is His will that you be healed and whole in your spirit, in your soul, and in your body. Amen!

“Father God, Thank you so much for the gift of healing purchased by your son Jesus. I thank you that your word declares your will, and your will is that your children be well. Right now, I ask for and believe I receive the healing that I need. I choose to line up my words with your words and declare that by the stripes of Jesus I am healed! And I will continue to declare this until I see the healing I am believing for! If there is any area of my life that requires an adjustment in order for healing to manifest, please show me so that I can acknowledge the problem and make the adjustment. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

~Patricia

He’s Still Working on Me

Isaiah 64-8

I have loved horses my whole life. And God has seen fit to nurture that passion and bless it. Now I am blessed to teach horseback riding as a side job to my full-time gig of “mommy.”
Anyway, I always, find that the most painful part of both learning to ride or riding with a new instructor is the first lesson. It can just be brutal! When I start training with a new instructor I feel like every fault I ever had in the saddle is exposed. I have no doubt my students feel the same way. There seems to be this process of un-creating before anything gets better. But, if we (me and/or my students) persevere, something awesome happens. We get put back together. Even better is that we now have more skills, are stronger and are better equipped than when we started. And so the process has its rewards. 

It also always makes me think of this scripture:

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

And isn’t that how it seems sometimes? That as we come to faith in Christ, there is this process of un-creating. It can and is painful to let go of old habits and attitudes as we lean into the molding work that God is doing in our lives.

If we’re talking about the process of throwing pottery, we should start at the beginning. When clay is dug from the earth it must be washed and kneaded and washed some more to remove the impurities (sand, stones, etc…) from the clay that would keep it from holding together. Once the clay is prepared it is thrown literally onto the the pottery wheel. And only after all that, can the inspired process of molding begin. Sometimes, depending on the environment, temperature and humidity, it can take quite a long time for a useful vessel to develop. Then when the vessel if fully formed it must be placed in a kiln (think super hot oven) and “fired.” After the cooling off period (which can take days) then and only then is the vessel ready to be used. What an interesting concept and process to apply to our own spiritual growth. 

 I firmly believe that when God made us he already knew who we were. He already knew what kind of “lump” if you will, you and I were starting out as. But, he also has a divine inspiration of exactly who we will be formed to be. However, it is a process and some parts of our preparation and formation will take longer than others, and that is OK. Unlike, if you or I sat at the pottery wheel, God is the Master Potter. He is skilled in the business of creating beautiful, and useful vessels. 

And here’s something important to remember. He needs vessels of all kinds. Not just pretty vases to be used on special occasions. (Yes, those are needed too.) He also needs: plates, bowls, cups, baking dishes… you get the idea.
Romans 9:21 puts it this way:

Isn’t the potter free to make different kinds of pots out of the same lump of clay? Some are for special purposes. Others are for ordinary use. [NIRV]

And I don’t wonder about the value of those vessels that are considered “ordinary.” Aren’t those the ones we use the most in our own homes? 
I’ll admit it’s not always clear to me what God’s plan is. But, every day I’m learning to trust the process. And God is so good to just meet us where we are. My job is to be willing to be molded into the vessel he planned me to be.

Finally, I want to leave you with this little song that we sang in Sunday School when I was a child. To this day, I will hum this tune. It is always especially encouraging on those days when I feel more like a ‘lump’ than a useful vessel. 

He’s Still Working on Me (listen to it on YouTube here.)

CHORUS:
He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He’s still working on me.

1. There really ought to be a sign upon the heart,
Don’t judge her yet, there’s an unfinished part.
But I’ll be perfect just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hands.
CHORUS:
2. In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He’s the Potter, I’m the clay.
CHORUS:

God Bless,
~Rita

Safe

John 16-33

The ball comes in from the outfield; the pitcher launches it toward home plate as the runner catapults down the third base line and slides into home just as the ball hits the catcher’s mitt. The umpire throws his arms out and yells. “Safe!” Done deal. The runner is safe, perhaps a bit bruised, maybe some road rash, but safe nonetheless.

Isn’t that what the human soul longs for? A declaration of “Safe!”

The field of psychology would tell you that physical safety and emotional safety are primary human needs that must be satisfied. The soul searches the world for safety the way a hungry teen searches the refrigerator for food – never satisfied until it is found. The problem is that there is nothing in this world that could ever make us safe. Being safe is an illusion. Looking back I can see that most of my life has been made up of choices designed to somehow ensure my own safety or the safety of someone I loved. For as far back as I can remember finding “safe” has been a primary goal.

For example, I chose friends in school based on who would be safe, who would make me feel like I was loved, like I belonged. I trusted adults based on the safety factor. I spoke or failed to speak based on whether or not it would be safe to do so. I chose a husband, yes because I loved him, but love and being loved is still based upon the need to “be safe”, to have someone who would love me always, who would be supportive of me, who would never leave me, and yes as archaic as it sounds – who would take care of me. It was all about safe.
Later in life, I went to college, because I had a great desire to learn? No. Because I needed to ensure that I could be employed and thus keep my children “safe” from a life on welfare. I chose a job I considered safe. When we bought our first home, we looked for an area that would be safe for raising children. Our vehicles were purchased based on safety. We made financial decisions based on safe. Are you getting the picture? I am not alone. Go ahead and take a minute to examine your own life. It really is about being safe.

There is only one problem. As previously mentioned, we cannot keep ourselves safe. There is no way possible we can protect ourselves or our loved ones from the dangers of the world.

How then can the need for safety ever be satisfied?

And why would God create us with such a need to feel safe if it was not possible to obtain the security for which we are searching?

The answer is simple. We were never designed to meet our own need for safety. That need for safety was part of God’s grand design. It was meant to draw us close to Him because He is the only true safety we can ever experience! It sounds a bit too simple doesn’t it?
Looking back I am able to see so many walls, so many devices and habits in my life that were my designs to keep myself safe. You know what? They never did protect me. I still got hurt. And not only did they not protect me; they actually managed to isolate me from the only one who could protect me – God.

In a recent encounter with God, as He was revealing and stripping away many of my protective devices, I recall crying out – really, with tears and anguish – “God, it feels like you are taking away all of my protection!” His reply was so sweet and so simple. “I am your protection.” Oh. Right. Let that sink in for a minute. He is our protection. He is the only one who could ever keep us safe in any situation. He knows everything before it happens. He does not guess. His direction is always correct.
Wow, what a revelation. He is my protection.

God’s children do not need to make decisions based on safety. No longer is “safe” the primary goal. Now we can make decisions based on God’s direction trusting fully in the fact that He is and always will be our protection, our safety. When we are following the path He set us on, we have no reason to fear for our safety or the safety of those we love. Don’t be confused. This does not mean that you will not experience trouble. His word clearly states, “In this world you will have trouble.” It also states the He has overcome the world.
In the midst of a trying and troubling world, in every difficult situation, the child of God can rest in the knowledge that he or she is “safe”, for God is your protection.

~Patricia