Nothing To Stop It . . .

The spring and summer months bring on all the varied activities of growing and harvesting alfalfa in our area of Central Oregon.  It’s still only late spring, but the sounds of farming machinery are already starting.

The other day a crop duster buzzed us on its way to spraying one of the nearby fields.  We often have military jets fly over our property too, which I absolutely love hearing.  No relation to summer, but still worth noting.

These sounds had come right overhead and you couldn’t miss them.  Sometimes we hear the odd cow lowing and on weekends we can hear motorcycles and dune buggies playing on the sand dunes nearby.

I recall sitting in our front yard in Paso Robles before we moved and the traffic noise on our busy street could be enough to drive us back inside.

During the late summer when the County Fair was going on, we could sometimes hear the concert music from two miles away.  The loudness of the music got through despite lots of “town” in its way. I was glad it only lasted for ten days.

As I pondered the difference between being out in the country and being in a big city or even in a small town, I felt the Lord reminding me of a time last summer.

I was sitting on a lawn chair in the sand, doing nothing.  I think even the bees were quiet.  Suddenly I heard the sound of a swather, a machine used to harvest alfalfa.  Its rhythmic droning filled the still air around me.  It felt like it was only about 100 yards away.

But, unlike our old neighborhood, there’s not much in between us and the nearest alfalfa field a mile away.  I could hear that sound as if it was right near me because there was nothing in the way, nothing to stop it.  The sound waves weren’t being blocked.

As I marveled at the quiet peace of our area, I began to hear the still small voice of the Lord.

He helped me to realize how easily I can have my spiritual hearing dulled by all the “noise” around me.  That could mean distractions, activities and busyness as well as media noise.  I began to hear Him deep in my spirit.

Just like the sound of the jets and the crop duster that had flown overhead, roaring their sound, I understood that sometimes the Father speaks loud and clear.

He breaks through to us despite all the commotion and noise surrounding us.  It’s easier to obey when His voice is like that.  There isn’t much doubt about what He is trying to say.

However, what I began to discover was the difference between the “loud” revelations and the quiet peace of the Lord’s voice when there’s nothing in the way; nothing to stop it.

Spiritually speaking, I believe He wants us to be aware of how important it is to prepare a quiet place for Him to speak to us.  A place where there isn’t a lot of stuff getting in the way.

Most of us know we need a daily quiet time with the Father.  And that is extremely important.  But sometimes, I think that quiet place actually needs to be a heart that’s undistracted by all the things of earth.

We need a heart attitude more than just a daily devotional.  It requires us to lay aside the things that weigh us down and clear out all the noise.  He wants us to hear His voice clearly.

My prayer for you today is that you will search your soul to determine what things might be getting in your way of hearing Him.  Pray and ask Him to remove whatever is keeping His voice bouncing around the things you may have surrounded yourself with.

Today, I hope you’ll ask Him to help you make sure that when He speaks, His voice will be able to get through because there’s nothing to stop it.

Trailing Ellipsis marks

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

 Isaiah 28:23 “Give ear and hear My voice, listen and hear My words.”

 John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;”

Always in Jesus,

Desirée Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

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It All Started In A Sandbox . . .

It All Started In A Sandbox . . .

Last summer my husband’s parents visited us on the ranch they had deeded to Dave, where we decided to retire. Since it is high desert and very close to a large recreational sand dune, we have more sand than we ever wanted. We’ve even made up a joke to give our visitors a guide to the ranch which involves a discussion about sand and the Sand Rancher as Dave has dubbed himself. I am officially the Royal Sand Princess because – I have a t-shirt that says so.

When we were sitting under the gazebo one day during their visit, Dad started sharing some memories he had about when Dave was little. Dad said he had made Dave a sandbox when they lived in San Diego. Dave was very young, but apparently, he loved playing with his toys in that sandbox. He would set up plastic army men and vehicles and play with them to his heart’s content.

While Dad shared the memory, I began to think about how that simple sandbox affected him. We met when I was 15 and he was 16. It was during the Vietnam War and when he was nearing graduation, he knew he had to make a decision about whether to enlist or get drafted. Being an intelligent young man, he thought it would be better to choose his own fate rather than leave it to someone else.

He signed up for the Navy and went to have all the necessary aptitude tests. He passed everything with enough qualifications that they offered him a Nuke program. That would mean he’d be on submarines. Since Dave’s early days in the sandbox, he much preferred solid ground and despite their pressure to “be all that he could be,” he wanted to drive heavy equipment instead.

Basically, he was determined to continue playing in the sand, not to mention being involved in all things military. His Dad had been in the Navy during the Korean War and his maternal grandfather had actually been in the Seabees. That’s Navy jargon for Construction Battalions. Get it – CB’s… Anyway, by becoming a Seabee, that actually meant he could continue playing in the dirt, get paid for it, and satisfy his military requirements at the same time.

He built roads, golf courses, airport runways, created pads for buildings and many other projects during his service. He could run any piece of heavy equipment and he was able to become an Operating Engineer when he got out of the Navy. When the construction slump took a dive in the ’80s, he moved into auto parts as a profession and did very well becoming a store manager of the highest grossing store in the company chain. However, working inside was not a happy circumstance for Dave, so he joined the Army National Guard and began playing in the sand again – this time in a tank! He loved it.

I’m thankful that he was not ever deployed overseas again because that’s when the Gulf War was going on. He continued as an active reservist for seven years until his Headquarters Company stopped playing with tanks and sat around all duty weekend doing not much of anything. He really needed to get back out in the dirt!

Another job he got helped considerably. He became an estimator and designer for irrigation systems and got to be outside for at least half of his working hours – again – dealing with dirt and sand. He has said many times that he enjoyed that much more than most of his other jobs. I guess you can take the boy out of the sandbox, but you can’t take the sandbox out of the boy.

Now, you may be wondering where I’m going with this reminiscence of part of Dave’s work history, but, I promise it will make sense soon. You see because Dave’s parents deeded the ranch property to him, they basically gave him a five-acre sandbox! It’s a lot of work, but Dave is digging, grading (albeit by hand) and moving our sand around every day trying to get the infrastructure in place for our homestead. The work is never-ending. But God prepared Dave for this a long, long time ago and through many life experiences. And, it all started in a sandbox.

I’m sure you’ve had one of those AHA moments in your life when you realized that all your talents, work history and various experiences all came together to uniquely prepare you for a specific job or vocation. It usually happens a little later in life when we begin to see the forest for the trees. It occurred to me as I was replaying Dave’s sand experiences, that God had used that simple childhood sandbox to shape Dave’s life in so many ways.

Like Dave’s Dad building him a sandbox, our Heavenly Father carefully and artfully places things in us which He knows will shape us into the unique person He wants us to be for His kingdom. He has placed something in each one of us that may span our whole lifetime and prepares us for greatness. Maybe digging sand doesn’t seem like greatness, but you have to understand that we have launched out on the adventure of our lifetimes and the sand is a crucial part, whether we like it or not.

I believe the Lord wants us to begin asking Him what our sandbox is. What has God done in and through you, even small things, that has made you so unique that no one else could do what He wants you to do – but you? It might be something very simple or seemingly insignificant, but I really think God doesn’t waste anything. He can take a tiny seed and make it into a huge tree. If He can do that, then I trust Him to have planted something in you that makes you like no other person on earth.

I pray that you will take time today to evaluate what makes you unique and see if He will show you what His plan is for growing that seed. Every person on this earth has the potential for greatness when coupled with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Whatever you do, I hope you won’t discount yourself, but do a little digging (pun intended) to see what lays within you that God wants to bring to fruition. He can make a mountain out of a molehill, even if it all started in a sandbox.

Deuteronomy 33:19
“They will call peoples to the mountain; There they will offer righteous sacrifices; For they will draw out the abundance of the seas, And the hidden treasures of the sand.”

Psalm 139:13-18
“For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.”

Always in Jesus,

Desirée Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you on the trail.

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Holding The Ropes . . .

Holding The Ropes . . .

Two years ago my husband and I moved from the Central Coast of California to a rural small town in Eastern Oregon, where we have undertaken a huge project which entails building our own homestead.

At retirement age, the limitations are daunting.  Thankfully, Dave is pretty fit and self-motivated, so he is usually up to the tasks.  I, on the other hand, am not fit and have some minor health issues and serious back injuries I suffer with on a daily basis.

When I reflect on my lack of physical ability, I remember being the little girl who preferred staying inside playing with dolls, crafting something or burying my nose in a book.  There were a few exceptions when a pool was available.

There were also a few times in life where I worked very hard to get in better shape and had some great successes, but I have never been able to sustain it.  So my physical capacity is quite limited.  Facing a new adventure that requires me to be much more physical has been a huge challenge.

In the process, Dave has had to learn what I’m capable of doing to help him and where it’s nearly impossible for me to lend assistance.  When we began building an in-ground pump house for all the necessary equipment for our well, which has to be below the four-foot frost line our area has during the winter, the challenges became apparent.

He and a relative dug a four by six-foot pit five feet deep.  Dave then built four, eight-foot-high wall panels to be assembled after being lowered into the pit.

Needless to say, I could barely lift one corner of any of the panels.  I was in tears one day realizing that I couldn’t possibly help him get those walls into the pit. He told me I would have to help him anyway.

After a day of thinking things through, my very practical husband thought of a plan!  He would use a rope and pulley system hooked to his work truck and we would lower the walls into the hole that way.

I was still quite apprehensive even after he showed me how it worked.  He talked about the principle of each pulley being a force multiplier and promised me that if I would trust him, we could get the job done.

I was still nervous when he explained the process and even more so when we began to lower those heavy walls into the pit.  I just couldn’t get my mind around it all.  I needed a new way of thinking.

All I knew was that I couldn’t hold those huge walls if they started to fall and I voiced my concern to Dave.  He gave me a pair of gloves to protect my hands and told me not to worry but just to stand with the ropes in my hands while he guided them into the hole.

Once we started slowly lowering each one at a time, I was amazed at how easy it was!  The force multipliers he had set up worked to eliminate the weight I had to control.  There was no yanking or jolting and each wall slid into place with ease.

I’m very happy to say that the task was completed and I was able to help him without pain or injury by just holding the ropes!

This simple illustration suddenly flashed as a revelation when I shared the story with one of my dearest Christian friends.  She helped me to see some truths I had missed because of the immensity of the task.

The Bride of Christ on earth is in the process of preparing the foundation for the kingdom of God which Jesus will rule from when He returns to Earth.  I’m not talking about the actual mechanics of the kingdom, I’m talking about the foundation in our hearts and the hearts of those we minister to on this planet.

We are in a training time where God uses the trials and tribulations of this world to conform us to the image of Christ.  That foundation and infrastructure within us is critical if we are to be built up into the House of God that we are meant to be.

In the same way, Dave and I are building the infrastructure of our new home.  His care and concern for me and his understanding of my shortcomings and limitations is very much like our Bridegroom, Jesus.

Jesus knows we can’t do what needs to be done, but still desires for us to participate in the work with Him.  He is aware of principles we may never understand until the other side of heaven.

In order to have His Bride learn and grow for the ruling and reigning she will be required to do with Him, He has to devise ways for us to help Him despite our inabilities.

This simple example of love was made so clear to me through the physical experience of helping Dave with our project.

Today, I believe the Lord wants us to recognize the truth that He knows we can’t possibly do what He wants us to, but He will always make a way for us to continue to partner with Him.

Like Dave said, he just wanted me to trust him.  He already knew the outcome because of his prior knowledge of physics I didn’t fully grasp.  I had to be willing to stand firm and not doubt.  The Lord asks us to trust Him when we can’t even imagine how things will work out.  He empowers us with the “Force Multiplier,” the Holy Spirit, to make up for our lack.

This experience really showed me how love makes a way for us, even when there seems to be no way.  Dave had wanted me to help him because it’s our project together.  He probably could have accomplished the task himself, given enough time and thought, but we’re in this together.

Jesus has decided to have His beloved Bride remain on earth so we can participate with Him as He prepares His Church with a kingdom mindset.  It takes trust, faith and the assurance that our Beloved knows what we can and can’t accomplish.  We must see that He has made the way before us.  Our job is to just stand there, in faith, even if it means we are just holding the ropes.

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2 Corinthians 5:1-5  “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.  For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.”

Always in Jesus,

Desireé Figg

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I hope you like my blog of Daily Devotions.  I would be honored if you would subscribe to receive the posts as they are created.  Please sign up with your email address and click the Follow button below or on the sidebar to receive emails when a new post is made.  Thanks again for visiting Trailing Ellipsis.  I’ll see you in the trail.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if these devotionals are helping you and please share this post with your friends.  Bless you, dear Readers.