Archive for the ‘Hope’ Category.

Light and Love Ahead

 

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To him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever. Ps 136:16

When they had heard the king, they went their way, and behold the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. Matt 2:9

Christmas is a season of light and joy, when all Christendom celebrates Jesus’ birth. It’s a good reason to celebrate. After all, Jesus’ birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection are the means to our eternal salvation.

However, many struggle to find joy this season. Grief, loneliness, addictions, unemployment, heartache, family problems, illness and a host of other issues rob humanity of the joy of Jesus’ birth. These desert places are difficult and real. Maybe you walk such a desert path this Christmas season.

Consider Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey to Bethlehem. She was very pregnant, riding on a donkey and too poor for amenities that might have made the journey easier. How uncomfortable that ride must have been! They were exhausted, worried, fearful and miserable. Perhaps they wondered if they had made a mistake in venturing out of Nazareth. They must have doubted they were on the right path.

But they were exactly where they were supposed to be. The Old Testament clearly prophesied the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. God’s mercy brought Mary and Joseph to the City of David for a reason. Their difficult place was for our benefit. Their desert had reason and a purpose. Though they struggled, they were triumphant in the end. God confirmed His word with angels, a magnificent star, wise men, a chorus of angels and adoring shepherds.

Your desert place is also part of God’s plan, and you will see the reward if you persevere. Listen to His voice. Pray for wisdom to navigate rocky paths. Trust Him to guide you along your difficult journey. While there is no pat answer or easy fix, remember there is light and love ahead. Look toward the manger where your Redeemer is born. Do you see the shining star? In spite of your suffering, there is light and love ahead. Don’t give up.

 

 

 

Rowing Against the Wind

 

Lately my plans have fallen apart.  An unexpected illness kept me from attending a major book event, a clerical error meant a reading had to be rescheduled, plans for a retreat fell through and other day-to-day intentions disappeared into thin air.  Believe me, it left me shaking my head.  I’m an organized person, and I take pride in both planning and following through on projects.

And having seen that tthey were troubled and tormented in rowing, for the wind was against them.  Mark 6:48a Amplified Version

The above passage put new light on my situation.  My life had slipped out of balance.  Family responsibilities, work, gardening, and writing had left me over committed and exhausted.  The Lord saw me rowing against the wind.  He knew I needed rest.  Surely my disappointments were part of his loving plan to help me take care of myself.

Are you rowing against the wind?  Jesus will help you find that place of balance in your life.

Antique Farming Tools–Guest Blog by Neil Thielke

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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.

 

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

his.stepping.stone@gmail.com

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