Thursday, September 29, 2016

Catching Up, and a Thought About Planting

Hello All. I hope you are well. I am amazed at how the time has flown since I last shared here (August 5). In early August we had a very serious situation with a young lady in our fellowship; followed by the massive Chimney Fire which lasted 2 weeks (took up 3 weeks of our time) and was stopped a tad over a mile from us; and then had a special family trip away visiting both Mary Ann's family and my folks, with being loved on in the middle by the fellowship at Shaver Lake that has so blessed our family. It truly feels like the last month and a half disappeared, they are such a blur. 

Young Lady: We saw a miracle in our midst as she was caught in a serious gang incident and not only lived, but is doing amazing. God's hand is all over it, and despite some very scary days at the early part of August, we are seeing Him work in incredible ways. Prayers for the long road are appreciate.

Chimney Fire from our property.
Chimney Fire: It broke out near Lake Nacimiento (about 8 miles south of our home) on August 13th and from the beginning myself and one of our elders had a strong sense it could massively impact our area. I was four-wheel drivin' and scouting and helping him prepare the ranch he manages for the first week and, sure enough, one week after it started a massive wind shift exploded the fire and it began racing north toward us and many homes in our fellowship. They called for an evacuation and we sent Abigail and our horses out. The rest of us stayed (I am a volunteer fire fighter–20 years this February; Mary Ann was one for five years until Bethany was born; we have great clearance). God really used us to help the engines in our area who were from all over the state and struggled to find their way around out here. It was a long two weeks, but one we felt we were in God's hand throughout, and used of God in many ways through. Being inside the zone we not only helped fire fighters, but we could take care of animals left behind, help people get generators up and running, check on homes, assist in clearing around homes, etc. The fire is out, we have a view of black coastal mountains out part of our kitchen windows, and we are returning to "normal."
Chimney Fire from our property.

Family Trip: Besides seeing family, and some special friends in the fellowship at Shaver Lake, one of the highlights was a back country trail ride the girls took. They had honored my heart to stay in the mountains and near streams (Daddy needed it) and not go down to where the pastor keeps his horses which is in terrain much like ours—brown grass, dry, rolling hills with oaks. Well . . . the pastor and his friend brought three horses and a mule up to 9,000' and took the girls into the back country on a 10 mile ride, crossing creeks and rock faces, getting rained on, stopping to eat in a beautiful meadow, skirting a high mountain reservoir. It was an amazing gift and God truly blessed them in this act of love, and blessed Mary Ann and me as parents able to watch them have that experience.

The girls leaving on their trail ride.

We are home, and adjusting to getting back into the daily "stuff," and trying to process how one keeps up the sense of the much bigger we had while going through all of this. It is so hard not to get back into a rut of the daily, and lose the awe of serving a mighty God and having Him living in and through us. During times like we've been through—at the family level, and larger fellowship level—personality issues fade, little irritants are set aside, and the daily monotonous things go to the side. But then "normal" life returns and all the little stuff becomes "big" again if you aren't careful, and we are trying to process that as individuals, as a family, and as a fellowship.

In the future, among other things, I do hope to blog more about abortion. I feel it is possibly the most important thing facing our nation today. It is impossible to ask God to bless a nation that "lawfully" condones the murder of babies, just like He couldn't if we had "legal" concentration camps down the streets and we did nothing. And it is not simply a "woman's issue." Men are called to stand up and protect the defenseless, and the unborn epitomize the defenseless. We will I believe, as Christians, in some way answer to God for what we did—or didn't do—on behalf of the unborn—at a minimum we will reap the cost of it on our nation and lives. I would like to keep sharing my thoughts on this, and working through many aspects around it I am unsettled and challenged in—making sure a nation understands the horror of abortion while offering grace and love from God to those who've had abortions; finding each of our individual roles in the abortion fight knowing many are called into battle in many different areas of God's heart, and in many different ways; keeping my heart filled with love and joy in the midst of such a hard subject; legislating abortion versus abolishing abortion; and more. For right now I would encourage you to visit and read the petition there. If you agree, sign it. I have. Abortion must not just be legislated in degrees, it must be abolished. Right now it is the "law of the land"—but totally in contradiction to the law and heart of God. He can't bless us if any level of abortion remains legal, and if our judges and politicians actually read and believed our nations founding legal documents they'd see that abortion is not only illegal, but that they have a mandate to stop it (but, of course, many have justified their minds into thinking the unborn are not a person). We are a nation that was founded on God's laws and Word. We have left that. We now, as pagans, legally condone many, many practices completely in the face of what God says. We will reap what we sow . . . and, along those lines, in closing, a thought from my reading through the Bible this morning . . .

Today I almost finished Hosea. In Hosea 8:7 it says, "For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. . . ." As I read that I thought, "Isn't that true of seeds and everything else. What we reap is always far bigger than what we planted." It struck me as a strong warning to us to not be casual with even "small" sins because they will reap far bigger consequences. We see that in David who allowed himself to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and from that give in to temptation, then have to cover it with bigger sins, and ultimately be drawn into a path from which his whole life, family, and nation would suffer. I also believe it works in the positive. Galatians 6:7-10 says:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
What are we sowing (planting)? It may seem small and insignificant in the moment, but we will reap what we sow, and its yield will be bigger than what we planted. It is a good question to ask God to reveal to us in our individual lives.

God bless all of you. Thanks for reading and sharing in my life. —Erick

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