Fallow Ground

Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ .

After a season of struggling with new routines, new parenting obstacles, and just longing for more intimacy with God, I came to this verse and started to study it and received such a beautiful step forward in the desires of my heart.

Land was allowed to remain “fallow”, unsown for a period of time in order to restore its fertility. During that time it was fallow it was prone to become overgrown with weeds and thorns. So a farmer must break up his fallow ground to prevent the weeds from taking over before he could sow seed that would then bear fruit. Wow. I get it! What is in my heart? What could be creeping in that could prevent God’s seeds of righteousness to bear fruit in my life? How am I contributing to any hardness of my soil?

After examination of my life there are two main areas, that can more quickly than any other, contribute to an unproductive life for God’s kingdom.

1. Not being in His Word.

2. Not communicating with Him in prayer.

There are many other things we can neglect that could harden us; not fellowshipping with other believers, not being a part of a church body, not sharing our testimony or witnessing to others, not using our spiritual gifts, being convicted but disobeying or ignoring,  not prioritizing our life God’s way (God, husband, children). For me, being in His Word and communicating with Him in a true repentant-driven, praise-giving, humble in stature prayer posture, can quickly break up any fallow ground.

“For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, “Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns.” Jeremiah‬ ‭4:3‬ .

This looks like TOTAL commitment to God and an openness to His ways. I often tell my daughter I need to see that “yes ma’am” attitude. I want to have that same attitude to my Father in heaven.  A “yes Lord!” attitude of obedience and submission. Just as my daughter struggles with her obedience, and needs to be reminded, isn’t our God so loving that He sent Christ, as our perfect example to look to, as our reminder of the righteousness we have in Him.

  “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.”Hosea‬ ‭6:3‬.

I love this. The certainty of knowing this. The solid foundation of our faith in Christ. How did I live life without having this before I was saved?! I wasn’t living, I was dying. I am so thankful God shows us how to break up our hard soil, prepares us for the seeds of righteousness He is sowing in our lives, and then… brings the rain. God pours down and lavishes us with the rain!

Are you one of those that loves the brilliance of what “after the rain” means? That smell. The smell after a rain shower. Manufacturers try to bottle that smell in our body washes and soaps and candles. That sweet smell is like the sweet aroma of our lives as we walk and follow Christ. It is pleasing to the Lord. Also the world looks different after a rain storm. The brightness, the clarity, the brilliance of color as our life is washed clean of any dull, lukewarm, stale practices and is replaced with a  fulfilling and satisfying relationship with Christ!

“Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it.”Isaiah‬ ‭45:8‬.

Lord break up the fallow ground of my heart that harbors any bitterness or unrepentant sin. Break up the fallow ground so weeds of impurity, immorality, and idolatry won’t take root. As I go to you Lord, in your Word and on my knees, I praise you knowing you will pour down and lavish me with the rain of your righteousness, you will shower me with your mercy and your grace,  as I follow Christ and bear fruit for your Kingdom! Rain down Lord, rain down!

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Now I See

I remember vividly what it was like to be blind. When life threw a curveball, when there was a decision to be made, when a devastating event happened, and in just the day to day life happenings, I turned to my feelings to guide me. Like a blind man using his cane to feel the world around him, I put my feelings out there, like a stick poking around, trying to determine my next step. If I FEEL this way or that, then surely that is enough to guide me into the right direction and decision. If I FEEL this anger, hurt, rage, temptation, lust, that must validate the actions I can take towards the person or event that caused it. These blind assumptions led me to no good. Being led by my feelings, for 15 of my adult years, resulted in abuse of alcohol and drugs, allowing horrible relationships to manifest and continue, misery at work, a marriage almost ruined, an arrest record, and a torn apart heart and soul because I just didn’t know which way to turn. When I finally stopped kicking and screaming against it, and yielded to what I was made for, the reason I even exist, and confessed that Jesus is Lord and put my belief and faith in HIM, my eyes were opened! Around six years ago, God removed the diseased vision I was looking through and replaced it with a whole, clean, clear view of His creation, including myself. “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.”Isaiah‬ ‭35:5‬.‬‬

I knew about God before this, I at one point even called myself a Christian but I DID NOT COMPREHEND. “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”John‬ ‭1:4-5‬‬. I grew further and further away from the idea of God because I didn’t understand it. If I couldn’t understand it, rationalize it or make it fit into the world I wanted to live, then it must not be true or real. I remember trying to read the Old Testament at one point and just truly didn’t see the point. This boring stuff has no merit or value in my life. It just shows a mean God who punished people. Oh what a glorious gift God gave me when He opened my eyes to the revelation of His truths. The Old Testament now MAKES SENSE and is a beautiful picture of our Savior coming. I have grown more in my faith while studying the Old Testament than any other part of the Bible. When you see THE WHOLE STORY and not just snippets of it, when you see this glorious book that uses foreshadowing, and prophecy, stories of God’s endless patience and faithfulness, and beautiful language and images that point to Christ, when you “get it” it is just magnificent. I love reading a passage and now knowing it is showing God’s love to us not His vengeance and wrath against us. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.”Luke‬ ‭2:30-32‬.

The Bible gives me wisdom in making decisions. Timeless wisdom from a true and perfect God who has never made a mistake. THAT is who I want to learn from, not my own feelings and advice from magazines or emotionally driven sources.  The Bible gives me peace in all circumstances. Difficult times, confusing times, sad times, in all of it I am comforted by the peace and hope I find in God’s Word. It is in me, in my mind, in my heart and soul, so that there is not a circumstance I face now that will result in me feeling “hopeless”.

Although my eyes are opened, I am no longer blinded, and I see the great light that now over powers the darkness, I can still be tempted to put on sunglasses. My flesh, the part of me that isn’t wholly glorified yet in Christ-likeness, can still want to cover up the light. To dim it, by going back to my worldly view. This manifests itself by my temptation to go back to being led by feelings. Why would I want to to cover up the clear vision, the bright light of love and wisdom that shines from knowing Christ and His redemptive work in my life?! It is because I can so easily forget what being blind was like. I forget and want to drag myself back to the dark empty room, feeling my way around, poking my feelings around, trying to justify my actions. Let me never forget!!! Let me never put on sunglasses again that dim what has dawned! I am so grateful for God’s Word and the power it has. I recently was tempted to draw on feelings and you know what happened? God’s Word flooded my mind. Scriptures came to mind that I said out loud, and that cleansed my mind, restored my sight, and God was glorified for the power of His Word!

Can you image what it was like for the blind man who was healed? When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?’” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “It shall be done to you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened.Matthew‬ ‭9:28-29a‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬. We don’t have to imagine, if we are a Christian, we know! May we never forget that miraculous truth and may we always remember the stark difference from darkness to having our eyes opened and walking in the brilliant light of Jesus Christ. ‬

 

A Great Need

A Great Need

Facts – 230 children are in foster care in our county, only 38 licensed foster families, 30 plus children waiting to be adopted in our county.

“He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; Then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” Jeremiah 22:16.

There are children in need. Children who have suffered. Children who have been abused, neglected, exposed to drugs and alcohol. Right here, right now, in your town. I want to plead their case and expose you to their need in the hopes you will show magnanimous kindness and consider blessing them with your prayers, time, love, or care. I have experienced a little bit of this world as I have been a licensed foster/adoptive parent through DSS for a year. I have many friends who have been foster and adoptive parents for much longer. I know stories of great redemption and recovery and stories of great sadness and loss. No matter what the outcome of these stories and these lives, the need is still great.

God is in the business of plucking us out of the sinful and selfish world of our flesh, redeeming our lives, and bringing us into His family. By His grace, and locally through the services of DSS, He is plucking these children out of their hurtful and scary world and giving them a chance of redemption. Once they are in the system, we are asked to step up. “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.”1 Corinthians‬ ‭12:27‬ . We are the hands and feet of Christ that God uses to carry out His sovereign plans. Once these children are brought in, God prepares our hands and feet to carry these children and He pierces our hearts to love and care for them. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬
The role of a foster parent or adoptive parent can be frustrating. But oh so rewarding. It can be heartbreaking, but stretch your heart in ways you didn’t know it could. It can sometimes seem more than you can bear, to know some of their stories. But God will provide the reminder that suffering is temporary and the children are now on a road to His glory. There are times the plan is reunification with the parents, and we pray there is true change. There are times adoption seems to be the plan, and the long process of waiting and not knowing begins. There are times when the plans change. There are times of great joy as families grow. Children are a GIFT from the Lord. It can be hard, but nothing is as hard for us as it is for those kids. As difficult as it may be, there will also be great reward and blessing. A joy getting to know these precious kids. They may live in your home temporarily but the love and the lessons are not temporary. We are asked to follow Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬. Would you consider giving yourself up for a child in need? For siblings to stay together? To open your home to a child temporarily or to grow your family by bringing a child in permanently?‬‬‬

To be a part of this world of foster care and adoption, of redemption, is the closest thing to what God has done for me that I can get. I desire to continue to pour my heart out for this even if it gets broken sometimes. I pray as you read this your heart will burst wide open and be sensitive to the call to care for these children in need.

What can you do? There is an informational meeting held the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the Family Services Center. In your town, contact your local Department of Social Services and they should have similar meetings and services. If you are at all interested this is a great place to start.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬