Fairy Floss Faith or Mustard Seed Faith

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Cotton candy (U.S., India, Canada), candy floss, or candyfloss (UK, Ireland, New Zealand, India and South Africa), or fairy floss (Australia) is a form of spun sugar. Since it comprises mostly air, a small initial quantity of sugar generates a tremendously greater final volume, causing servings to be physically large and voluminous. A typical serving on a stick is approximately 1 ounce/30 grams. (Wikipedia)

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The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” and the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6)

I’ve noticed a trend recently where strong faith, built on a firm foundation is disregarded for a more superficial feel good kind of thing. The sort that is not really built with a small grain of mustard seed, which is small, tough, and prolific in its growing, but rather the sweet fluff of fairy floss. Light and wispy, nicely colored and sugary sweet.

What triggered my concern was one of those little meme’s that a friend posted on her wall. It said, “Jesus doesn’t care how many bible verses you have memorized. He cares how you treat people,” this time instead of a quick chuckle and moving on, I paused because this meme is spreading a dangerous concept. I thought how the devil must delight in this sort of thing, because I reckon he’s not immune to using social media to twist and pervert God’s words, or mislead God’s kids. Am I a little too tightly strung? I really don’t think so.
While it’s true that Jesus does care about how we treat people, it is also very true that we, as his kids, must know his Word. So one does not have to be exclusive of the other. In fact, the two should go hand in hand.
I know some folks like to wield the word like a, (well, I was going to say sword, but it is indeed the sword of the spirit, Ephesians 6:17), so we’ll say hammer to hit a point home, and sometimes Jesus’ grace, mercy and love is wholly missing. But, we can’t let some people’s bad behavior prevent us from knowing Him completely. To know Him is to know his word. Jesus himself quoted scripture when Satan in the wilderness tempted him: And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” He answered, “It is written, ‘man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:3) And again, the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,” and on their hands they will bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone,” Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Matthew 4:5) Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:8-10). So that’s a whole lot of Jesus answering Satan with the word. Does this mean we should do the same? Yes!
Consider the Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up my word in your heart that I might not sin against you.” Finishing with Psalm 119:16 “I will delight in your statues; I will not forget your word.” These two indicate the word is important to have so well learned that we won’t forget them.
We all know the most famous verse for memorizing his word; Deuteronomy 6:5-7 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and will all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” How’s this going to happen if you’re just tripping along in your walk with him feeling good and treating others nicely? How will you determine the true needs of yourself and others if you don’t know how to apply His word to your life or to their life? There’s hope, peace, love, truth, life and rest in his word, you do yourself a huge wrong if you don’t know it.
A recent twitter from a famous Christian author said,” God is not surprised when hard times hit, he is surprised when you quit.” Really? God is taken by surprise when I do something? How about Joshua 3:1-15, which tells us that God, is in already our tomorrows? Or that God has a plan for our lives? Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope, or, Romans 8:28 and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. How can we surprise Him if he has it all worked out? The trouble is we too often go to the popular author works instead of going to the Word to get our doctrine and our answers, and the problem with that. Authors are wholly human. God is not.
I had a conversation once with a sister-in-him who was struggling with a life issue. After we prayed, she quoted something she had read from a book called, “Jesus Calling.” I had never heard of this book, but even if I had, I would still have advised her to go to the Word. Her response? “I don’t know how to read the Word.” Really? If you know how to read a book, you know how to read THE book. And you’re directed to do so. In Acts 17:11 it says, ‘now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so. ‘
God gave us a book full of direction, hope, and love so that we could survive in this life. It is a love letter to us. Maybe because the days of getting a hand written letter in the mail is long gone we don’t really appreciate what this means. But, even still, getting an email from a loved one is often received with joy and read repeatedly. We eagerly read to see what the person’s been up to, what they think, what they want, how they feel. The same should be for the Word of God.
I’m afraid if we don’t know the Word we’ll be like the man who built the house on the sand and when the storms of life wail against us our house (we) will fall. Or we’ll be tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (Ephesians 4:14).
Jesus says that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (which is about the size of a pinhead), we can tell a tree to uproot itself and plant itself somewhere else and it will, or we can tell a mountain to move and it will, but if we don’t know his word, have it planted in our hearts and minds, how will we have such a strong faith? Fairy floss faith requires nothing more than sugary sweet thoughts, and performing warm loving acts and deeds. We eagerly believe each new ‘big author’ that puts out a Christian book or a podcast, and often times we develop stomachaches or cavities from the overly sweet fodder.
It is important to show His grace, mercy and love. 1 Corinthians 13:4 it says, ”so now, faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Let’s strive to have a full and rich journey with Him, knowing His word AND loving the world.

Linda Mae Baldwin

The Holder. The Watcher.

IMG_8587I am the Holder. The Watcher. It was always an excuse to elude addressing my fear of heights when the family rock climbed. (I’d hold the goods and watch from the picnic spot.) It was my excuse for not wanting to ride Space Mountain – I’d hold the strollers and watch the stuff in line while the rest of the family screamed in delight from their speedy perches. Truth:  for practically any family thing, I was the supreme holder and the watcher.

As my two children grew I’d be the holder of hands through tumultuous times. The holder of hair while she threw up a weird ‘condition assaulting her young body. I was the holder of a broken heart when an injury put a stop to playing high school football. I was the watcher of the clock when they kept late nights. Then the watcher of emotional and spiritual temperaments. But, then I was also the holder of  prayer for them. And for me to do my mom job effectively. Lifting each family member in prayer as our spiritual and emotional temperatures waxed and waned.

Some folks don’t get it. Being the holder and the watcher means missing out on the fun or missing out on adventure. But for me, being the holder and the watcher has taken me on an adventure of spiritual highs and lows, watching causes me to see sweet things – the subtle smiles, the mischievous grin, the tiniest twinkle in their eyes, that would have otherwise been missed. Being the holder and watcher doesn’t stop when the children are grown, though, it’s alive and well with the grands, now! Although I don’t get to practice as often as I would like. In fact, as I look back now, I missed things. My watchfulness was often clouded by my human heart to see them happy. I get it that happiness is not the end all but when the kids were hurting or sick, my mom heart desperately desired for them to be happy and hear them laugh.

Now, I can’t see them. In fact even with Facetime and Skype we rarely speak face to face. Our relationship takes place via texts, some calls, emails and I catch a lot of news on Facebook.  For whatever reason, God has put them up in the PNW and us in Texas. But, even now, I can close my eyes and there they are in the memories I’ve been holding through all the years of watching.

Through the years I’ve moved beyond watching and holding. And, now, I am a doer. An adventurer. And, I cherish those years of watching and holding.

 

Gypsy feet are on the move again,but the body resists.

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Just about this time, one year ago, God moved us to Australia, again. We arrived thinking we would be here for a long time. We bought a car that we could explore this magnificent country in, some nice furniture that would last awhile, and signed a lease into the next year. Now, all that has changed.

We are heading back to America (to live in Texas this time) and find ourselves doing another international move in the span of 12 months. I truly believe God has it all handled and all the pieces will fit into the move puzzle, but my body seems to have not recieved the memo. Everything hurts. Sleep is elusive. The gut is acting up big time. Frustrating! Every night after four hours of restless sleep, I get up, achy, stiff, sore. My mind wants to start the day, tackle the chore list, start the decluttering but my body stumbles to the recliner and if not for some vigorous self talk would stay there. I feel like I am living that scripture in Matthew – “the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” or as the Message puts it, “there is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.” That’s me – an old dog sleeping by the fire (but there’s no fire).  Mostly, though, this old dog wants to sleep.

In the years from 2010-2014 we were active folk. We did skydiving, scuba diving, hiking, biking, and all manner of exploring. From 2014-2016 we had our little hobby farm and had our family close. Although we didn’t see the adult kids that often, we did entertain the grands on many occasions. Then we moved back here. But the year, 2016 was stress filled, too…unemployement, a new job full of uncertainty and then the move back to Australia. Then 2017 brought new changes to the new job, and the realization that our plans to buy a house here etc, wouldn’t come to fruition. More stress. But, all along my walk with Jesus grew closer. I heard the Spirit more clearly, when I read the Word, things seems very evident, no mystery. So, why can’t my body catch up with the Spirit?

I reckon this is where intentional living comes to play. Managing all aspects of life. What we eat. What we drink. How we move our bodies. How we interact with others. When we sleep. What we nourish our brains with. What we feed our spirit with. I feel like I already do most of it, but probably lazy in some areas. Honestly, the thought of doing any more tires me. But, it’s necessary.

So, how’s your walk through this temporary world going?? How can you change things? or are you ok with the way things are? Is your subconscious reacting one way, while your spiritual life seems to be another? Why? God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear but of courage and power and a stable mind, so don’t be afraid of changing things. Don’t fear diving into why you may be having trouble sleeping, exercising, or any questions of life in general. No worries. His desire is for  you (and me) to have a rich and satisfying life! (John 10:10 NLT).

 

 

 

The hardest part of living a hobby farm homestead life.

When Tumnus first came to us, we considered him a rescue goat. We were asked to home him and a female Kinder goat and two Jacob sheep from a family who thought they could have livestock even though their neighborhood covenants said no.

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We pretty much didn’t know what we were doing when we bought them. Except we were helping someone out. Tumnus was described to us as a wether. A wether is a goat who has been castrated. Goats and sheep are herd animals, and oftentimes people will have a wether to keep the other animals company.

Tumnus, whose name always seemed too big for him. was particularly endeared to me and I to him. I shortened his name to T man or Mr. T. He would rub his head against me whenever we were in close proximity. He always responded with a low bleat when I called his name.

But, T always seemed a bit off. His hooves seemed misshapen and needed more attention than the other members of the flerd. When he had been dis-budded, they had missed a small portion that sometimes doesn’t show up until the goat is older and he developed scurs. Which means although dis-budded, a little portion still grew into his head. They say you can re-do the dis-budding process but we have no iron or experience. And, honestly, I didn’t know this was the problem with his horns until a recent research project.

One day, after we homed him, T stood off and peed on his face. As I mentioned, we had no experience with livestock before this, including reproduction, or social behavior. So, when he urinated on his face, peeled his upper lip back as if the odor was  magnificent, then stuck his tongue out and wiggled it, I told Lance I thought T might have a mental issue. After researching it however, T’s mannerisms were the exact way goats woo the ladies. Which brings up another issue.

T was supposed to be castrated. There would be no reason for him to do any sort of mating ritual. No peeing on his face, or bellowing, or sniffing the femailes. After a cursory investigation, we discovered T still had a testicle. So, he either had three, or they missed one.  Sadly, this one testicle was enough to keep him in a continual state of mating desire.

When the males get like this, not only do they pee on themselves and snort and stick out their tongues, they vocalize their desire. When our granddaughter had to describe the word,’bellow,” her descriptor was Tumnus, and the picture she drew was of T opened mouthed, neck stretched out towards our female goat’s rear.

The first time we heard his too human hollering was late at night. The pasture is just outside of our second story bedroom. We sleep with the window open. I heard, ‘Hey,’ in a what I thought was a man’s voice. “Heeey,” again. I woke Lance up and told him there was a man in our yard. he listened for a minute and again, “Heeeyyyy”, was said. So Lance ran outside while I tried to light up the pasture from the bedroom window with the flashlight. “Heyyyy”. Then Lance called from the shadows, “You’re not going to believe this.” He laughed. “It’s, Tumnus!” What we didn’t know was this behavior would go on indefinitely.

In the spring, our wether Jacob sheep with his immature but sharp horns, our Nubian goat with his big horns and our male Jacob sheep with his magnificent horns, and T with these horrible looking nubby areas, would engage in rutting. There were many bouts of ramming each other in the heads. Poor T got the brunt of the battles. With just enough testosterone to embolden him, he readily engaged in every challenge and his head would bleed. Eventually his body became dotted with bloody holes, as if he’d been stabbed with round spears.

We don’t have enough acreage to separate him from the others, and if we did, he would be alone, which we were told to not do. Finally, with severely bad front hooves, holes down the back of his neck from rutting, his constant state of heightened arousal and the bashing his head was taking, we decided it would be better for him to remove him from the flerd. Permanently.

This is still troubling for me to discuss. I know people eat goat, even my people in Jamaica consider the goat as we do cows. Goat meat is used in dog food,  goat hooves, goat horns all are used by some.  I have eaten goat only once. And, I’ve never used goat for anything else. The idea is still rather foreign to me. Some people might wonder why we didn’t take him to the vet, but understand, in this homesteading venture, we live on a tight budget. There’s not a lot of room for extras. If an animal is not producing we’re going to cull it. We did the same with some turkeys this year,too.

One reason we raise our own poultry and pigs is to have healthy food. Food we know what has been fed, how it’s been raised and will be good meat for our family. But, still it’s hard to say good bye to my friend.

Thus the reason I wrote this. Even if no one reads about T-man, I do tribute him with love, respect, apologize for his tough life and thank him for the meat which did nourish our dog and barn cats and a little bit to human consumption.

T-Man, you were loved.