Hosea 2:14-16

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came out of Egypt. "In that day," declares the Lord, "you will call me 'my husband'; you will no longer call me 'my master.'"

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jesus paid it ALL, ALL to Him I owe

Well, we leave for Israel a month from today. Unreal. I can't believe 2 months have already gone by. I want to soak in every minute! So I'm sitting here on the barn porch on this gorgeous afternoon listening to Francois and Jonathan play the guitar. Tonight we are having family night dinner and then having swing dancing lessons. I love family night! We have a very intense weekend ahead of us. Starting at 8 AM tomorrow we have class almost all day, with a break for lunch. Some parents are coming to grill out for us. By the way, the Lord has blessed us so greatly with parents and relatives that stock our pantry and refrigerators and bring us delicious homemade meals. But anyway, they say that this will be one of the best and the worst weekends. We will be learning about suffering- not suffering because of sin, but because of refinement. They say we will probably start to shut down sometime tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow night we are going to watch the movie The Passion of the Christ, which was intense years ago when it came out, but I know it will touch me more now that Christ's death and resurrection is becoming personal to me. The past couple of days we have been learning about what Jesus accomplished in the grave. I have always just said, "Yeah, Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and now I am forgiven." It has been SO sweet to learn about what actually happened on the cross and also in the grave. It is becoming so real. How could I not live for the Lord after what He went through for me?! This is all stuff I have really never heard before. Something that has really touched me this week is that Jesus went through COMPLETE separation from the Father so that you and I would never have to. I would rather go through any trial or struggle than be separated from my Father. That is the worst thing I could ever think of. And Christ did that for me! Oh thank You, Lord! I can live in peace and enjoy God because of what Christ accomplished. There is not one reason why I should ever worry again. The work is done and I am living forever with God. I won't ever experience true death, Hallelujah!

We worked a little in another vineyard this week. It's about time for them to start budding! I also got to help my brother Jake with a welding project, and another day I worked in the garden pulling weeds. There are so many awesome projects going on here. We had a little surprise one day, and they took us all on a trailer behind a four wheeler to go mud riding. I will just say that we were all brown when we got back. We have tons of fun here on the farm! 

I might be able to write a little more at the end of this weekend, but I am not certain. I would love to talk more about some spiritual things, but honestly there is just so much and I find it difficult sometimes to explain. But it will come. Just know that the Lord is doing a mighty work inside of me. I can't fully convey it now in this short time, but just know that He is long-suffering and wants to reveal Himself. And He is. 

Time to get ready for dinner. Jesus loves you. His love is constraining. Let Him be your everything.
Much love and peace. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Just a quick word

Hey everyone!
I don't have time to write much on this post, but I just wanted to write a little something so update y'all! Well, Jesus is still on the throne, and He is doing awesome works in all of our lives here in this barn! The teachings are still incredible. We pretty much finished pruning the vineyard last week, which needed to happen because the vine knows it's almost time to bud. Last weekend was our second off weekend, and a few of us drove to Sevierville/Gatlinburg, TN for the weekend. We were planning to go on the most strenuous hike in Gatlinburg, to the very top of a mountain, at some point during the weekend, but the weather was questionable. We had planned to go on Sunday morning because it was supposed to be a little more clear. Sunday morning, I woke up and looked out the huge windows to see it snowing, and it wasn't just flurries. These snow flakes were massive. We were not expecting snow, and it was so beautiful, but I was kind of disappointed because we wouldn't be able to hike. We decided to give it a try and stop if it got too dangerous, but the road to the trail was closed. Instead, we found another place to hike, and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! The Lord wanted us to experience His beauty through the snow! I was actually glad that it snowed instead of being sunny because I was completely blown away.

As I said before, the Lord is moving. I praise Him that He is so relentless. My God is long-suffering. Day by day, He is removing my fear of man and freeing me of myself. I have had the opportunity to help lead worship by singing on celebration night, without practice and spontaneously. I have also had to get up in front of everyone and speak on a verse that was given to me on the spot. This is all outside of my natural disposition, but I am being pulled out of all of that. It's not about me. It's about Christ inside of me.

Yesterday we all went to Greensboro, AL to Pie Lab, which I loved. In the afternoon, we came back to the vineyard to shoot skeet, and last night we all did the odyssey (a huge ropes course) in the dark. It was a full and fun day!

Last week was a "silent week." Everyone was supposed to be quiet until dinner at 6. It was a really good week and a good time of focus. Today we were silent again to get some reading done and to be alone with the Lord. It is really blessing me to see Him working through my brothers and sisters. It was so sweet to hear a brother testify tonight about the Lord's stripping him of his pride. Doing the ropes course really revealed a lot in all of us. This one brother was so confident in himself in so many things, but the Lord was working on him the whole time. He was trusting in everything that he was capable of doing and everything that he knew. The Lord stopped him in his tracks and asked, "Are you doing all of this because you are confident in your own ability and control, or are you doing this because you trust Me?" I think the Lord is stripping us all of our confidence in ourselves and teaching us about trust. He is calling us to that place of complete abandonment to Himself.

Anyway, I am being kicked out of the barn because it's bedtime, but I will hopefully write again next weekend. Once again, thanks for praying! May you experience the Lord's great love for you this week!