Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category.

Antique Farming Tools–Guest Blog by Neil Thielke










I finally got one of those jobs done today that has been years in the making. I mounted all the tools that I have from Grandpa Piepenburg’s era on the old haymow door off his barn. The rectangular object is a toolbox cover off what I would think was a hay mower with the letters “Minnesota No 2”. His wood planer is in the center of the last one.

The hand corn sheller came with an apple press I bought up by Alexandria and I don’t know where I got the shoe stretcher, The kickers, castrating tool, detailer, and ear notcher were still used by Dad when I was young. The 1881 corn planter I posted earlier that was Great Grandpa Piepenburg’s turns out to be a rare item. It was only produced for a few years since it had a manual seed dropper that required having two people on the rig. I have not found any pics of it on the net, nor seen it at any at threshing reunions around the state.

I have horse machinery scattered around my yard here in town which reminds me of Grandpa. The last task he completed before he died was to dismantle all his horse drawn machinery and put it on the “iron pile”. That tool box cover on the display was recovered from that pile. The machinery I have here in town was gleaned from around the countryside. So a rake, planter, potato plow, mower, and the sulky plow grace 511 E 4th St here in Morris. I have a 1915 potato plow out on the farm but it is too big for a display here in town.

Lots of memories… it blesses me to think that his hands held these tools. On the same note, our heavenly Dad is blessed when we thoughtfully consider and savor what his hands made and held too.


Today and Every Day, Pray for Discernment by Guest Blogger, Sunna Herrera

Thank you, Sunna Herrera, for sharing your insights.

“By the Word, by the Spirit, by faith, by submission to the Divine Will, and by resistance to any appeal to self and sin we discern between the way of God and the path of the destroyer.” V. Raymond Edman from ‘Disciplines of Life’

The enemy emphasizes the past, with its mistakes and heartaches;  the Comforter exalts the present help of our Lord.  The devil delights in taunting us with our weaknesses, and the Lord reminds us of the wealth of His riches in grace.  Condemnation concerns itself with our failures;  conviction shows us the faithfulness of God.  The tempter teases us with immediate gain, at any cost;  the Trustworthy One tells us of the faithfulness of God.  The father of lies magnifies our problems, by showing their hopelessness, impossibility, and pain;  the God of all grace reminds us of the promises, whereby we can hope against hope:  for “suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character;  and character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint us.”  Romans 5:3-5

The enemy would have us see the hosts of evil against us rather than the hillsides covered with ministering spirits.  (2 Kings 6:15-17).  He would keep us dwelling upon the injuries from others, until we become ineffective in service, rather than forgetting the things that are behind and pressing forward.  (Philippians 3:13-14)  The gift of discernment is remembering that the evil one can drag us down into the mire of earthly life—but we must make the conscious choice to “Love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength.”  We are to live by the Word of God.  As we submit ourselves without reservation unto God, and resist the devil, the latter will flee from us (James 4:7).

God’s Love Running Over with Mercy and Grace

Many struggle to find their identity.  What is it about life that makes us question where we belong?  It’s easy to compare ourselves with others—and don’t we usually measure our weaknesses against the other person’s strengths?  As believers, we know God has a plan for us both individually and part of His Church.  We long to find abundant life.  The hard part is to find our way.

Proverbs 31:10-31 shares a picture of a purposeful, satisfying life.  The  woman (also an example for men!!)  in this chapter enjoys freedom, fullness, sweetness and the radiance that draws others to Christ. Her duties are a lot like ours:  doing the mundane tasks of daily life, working to earn income for the family, and caring for those closest to us.  If you look closely you will see that it isn’t easy for her, either.  She is up early and staying up late to finish her tasks.  She must manage on a budget.  She struggles with spreading her wings to earn a living and yet remain true to her family responsibilities.   Yet through all this it would appear that she is a person after God’s own heart who enjoys a relationship with God that is vital, growing, intimate, real and personal.  Exactly what each of us wants.

No matter what your circumstances are right now, God’s love is running over with mercy and grace for you.  He longs for you to find your identity in Him and to establish yourself in the destiny of His plan for you. Sometimes the wounds of our past hinder this discovery.  Reach towards His love and let Him show you the treasures that await you.  Let Him bring healing to your life.  Then ask Him to show you the first step toward your goal and make that tiny, baby step.  You can do it!

His Stepping Stone ~ Debra Hunter

Guest Blog by Barb Christensen

Thank you, Barb Christensen, for sharing your insights with us.  Our prayers are with you and your husband during this difficult season.

Recently I have had to move my husband, my rock, my lover, my companion, my provider and my best friend to an assisted living home due to advancing dementia. This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do and we are still reeling under the ongoing aftershocks of this great, life changing tsunami.

But I have finally, after 53 years of wedded bliss, figured out what marriage is all about. It’s about watching the one you love, (the one you stood with before God and ‘this company of witnesses’ and pledged to love through the good times and the bad times until ‘death do us part’), fade from you and becomes a shell of the person he was and your heart bleeds and you love him more today than you ever even knew was possible so long ago.

Through the ups and downs of life, the good and bad times, the well and ill times, the distracted and uncomfortable times, the warm and the cold………you love because you promised you would. Then one day the bottom drops out and you finally figure it out.

A warm, comfortable feeling envelopes you as you realize the fulfillment of the vow, and you have survived and, flooded with a half century of memories, you wouldn’t change a thing! God is so good and He honors vows kept with His provision and His peace. I am looking forward with joyful expectation to what God will do and how He will lead through this all consuming flood.

    “When you  pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the fire kindle upon you. For I AM the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…..”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Isaiah 43:2-3a Amplified Bible


The Right Man for the Job

The King planned an important mission.  It would mean the rescue of many, a life saving venture to bring great glory. This mission would answer prayers, bring deliverance and reap eternal rewards.

“Whom shall I send?”  His voice boomed over the valleys.

“I’ll go, my Lord,” Strength said.  His chest puffed with importance and he flexed his biceps in excitement. “Choose me.  I’m in the prime of life.  I promise not to fail.”

The King shook his head.  “You’re not quite right for this assignment,” He said. “There are giants to slay in other parts of the kingdom.”

“I’ll go,” Religious said.  She folded her hands in piety and gazed downward in an attitude of respect.  “You heard my vows.  You know I will go wherever you send me.”

The King shook his head and smiled.  “I have need of you in other places,” He said tenderly.  “This job is for someone else.”

“I’ll go,” Intelligence said.  He clutched several diplomas and wore a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows.  His hair stood out in disarray, and wire rimmed glasses rested on the tip of his nose. “I have degrees in logic and administration.  I’ll put together a plan to achieve your goals quickly.”

The King shook his head. “Thank you, but I have need of you in other places.  This mission requires different skills.”

“I’ll go,” Bravery said.  He curled his hands into fists and took the posture of a boxer.  “Bring it on!  I’m not afraid of all the devils in hell.”

The King shook his head again.  “Your bravery is needed elsewhere.  I have need of someone with greater courage.”  He scanned the valleys, hills and streets of the cities.  He knew just the person for the job.  His eyes rested upon an ordinary looking man named Simple, well past the prime of life, slightly balding with a middle-aged paunch.

“Will you go for me?” the King said.  “I have need of you.”

“Me?”  Simple said. “You’re mistaken, my lord.  I’m too old!  You know my failing health. You can’t possibly mean me.”

“My son,” The King said, “The strength of man is a useful gift, but it often turns into pride.  My kingdom is built upon humility and the wisdom that comes with age.”

“But I have failed you many times,” Simple said.  “I have broken many promises to you.  Surely you are mistaken.”

“This time will be different,” the King said with such tenderness that Simple’s eyes welled with tears.  “I will go with you each step of the way. You will not go alone.”

“But I lack education and training,” Simple said. His voice cracked and tears filled the grooves in his cheeks. “I am afraid.  Surely there is someone better suited for this task.”

Simple’s expression of anguish caused tears to well in the King’s eyes, too.  How much the King loved him.  Their relationship had grown over years of early morning prayer times.  The King knew the man’s heart, knew his dedication and genuine sweetness.   When the King looked into the man’s heart, He saw all the attributes He himself had planted within him.

“Your weakness is your greatest treasure,” the King said and placed his hand on Simple’s shoulder.  “It forces you to depend upon Me alone.”

“Are you sure?” Simple said.  It seemed the King’s touch left a burning mark on his shoulder, not unpleasant, but hot as fire.

“It is in weakness that My strength is revealed.”

They spent the rest of the morning strategizing for the mission.  “You must not neglect our early morning sessions,” the King said.  “I will give you marching orders for each day.  As you follow them, you will achieve the goal.”

“It sounds too simple,” Simple said.  He thought for a long moment and then grinned.  “I think I’m your man.”

“I know you are, Son,” the King said.  “We’ll do it together.”