Thursday, April 26, 2012

21 Days

It all started with one request from my daughter, "Mama, maybe one day we can get a daddy rooster, so we can have baby chicks." She even prayed that day God would give her some. Little did we all know, two days later a rooster would fall into our laps at the strangest time and place and my daughter's dream of baby chicks become a reality. Not only was it a rooster, but one that was within the same breed of our hen. As simple as it may seem, we thanked God for our new rooster and looked forward to what we would all gain from this experience.

The next step was to decide whether to let the eggs incubate naturally with our hen or in an incubator. We decided it would be fun for the kids to actually watch them hatch, so we needed an incubator. They were very reasonable to purchase or there were plenty of homemade plans on the Internet, but someone actually blessed us with one for free. Once we had our rooster and our incubator, 21 days was all that stood between us and baby chicks!

We didn't purchase an automatic turner, but turned the eggs ourselves three times a day. We enjoyed candling them throughout the process. (You can purchase equipment to candle eggs, but I used an empty toilet paper roll with a bright flashlight.) We could see a heartbeat as early as four days. We could see the blood vessels and the chick moving at 14 days. We began hearing faint chirping around 20 days, and that made the excitement grow. Finally on the 21st day, we saw what is called "pipping." It is the first hole the chick makes before hatching. A few hours later, after patiently waiting and watching, we had our first chick! Later in the day, I had the privilege of watching all three of my children stare in amazement as our second chick hatched its way out and into our lives.

One may ask, so what did you learn from this experience? Well, I now realize how fragile and articulate the creation of chickens is. One wrong move of temperature or humidity in the incubator, the presence of bacteria, or failure to turn the eggs could have been fatal to the growth process. The fact that He created the hen with instincts to turn their eggs and to care for them over the 21 day process, is just extraordinary to me. Once the hatching began, it was amazing how the chick worked to break the egg, then rested, taking in nourishment from the yolk with each pause. Then once they hatched completely out, the final nourishment sustained them for the next 24 hours.

Through this experience, I was reminded that God sees our heart and our desires. Sure this was a four year old making a simple request one day, but we didn't go looking for a rooster and we didn't go buy an incubator. We didn't make these eggs form into chickens that hatched. God did! See, I had the same dream of hatching chicks, but I thought it was something we couldn't do until we moved to the country. I didn't ask God to provide us a way to do it, but my daughter with her child like faith did. It makes me think of Matthew 7:9-11 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! I truly believe He did this for her. The day they hatched, I heard her praying and thanking Him for our chicks. She finished by asking Him to watch over them. He gets the glory from this and we, well we get to enjoy two sweet, new chicks!

If you would like to watch the video of our very first chick hatching, please click here. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Living versus Dead

I recently discovered the writings of Dr. Don Colbert and became a huge fan of his book, Eat This and Live. It has drastically changed my perception of food and will have lasting impact on our family. In his book, he discusses living foods versus dead foods. Living foods obviously nourish our body while dead foods tend to bring harm to our body. I had the thought this week, why not apply this to our words and actions towards others? The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21,"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." So, this week our family has focused on our words and actions and whether they bring life or death to those around us.

This has been a very simple method to teach our children the importance of how they speak and act towards others. The oldest two are only seventeen months apart, so there has been ample opportunity to study this over the week. When one child says something hurtful to the other, we discuss whether or not that statement was living or dead. Once they determine it was a dead statement, we discuss how they can rephrase it to communicate in a loving manner. I have seen great fruit from this during the week. I have listened as my children encourage one another and show love through their actions. They have even begun correcting one another saying, "try to use your living words."

It doesn't stop there though. We as adults can practice this in our relationships with our spouse, children, family and friends. We set the example for our children, so it actually starts with us. I encourage you, as a family, to become aware of your words and actions and the fruit they are bearing. Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Freedom to Live

"God works for the good of those who love him." It is a commonly used scripture out of Romans 8. Most have either heard this or even said this to someone when they were amidst a trial in life, but do we really believe it? Do we live in the freedom of this scripture and do a trust fall into the arms of our Lord, knowing that He will work everything out to His plan?

The answer lies in our response to our trials. How do we respond when life throws us a curve ball such as work pressure, an unexpected bill, children disobeying, or a friend hurting us? What about when we are tired of waiting on God's timing and frustrated in our place in life? Even more so, when we hit major trials such as death of a loved one, divorce, illness, or job loss?

The real question is, how does God want us to respond to these trials? Well, He tells us in His word:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
   whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.”  
Jeremiah 17:7-8

God is the great I AM (Exodus 3:14.) He is anything and everything you and I need Him to be. He is the stream that continually nourishes the tree to bear fruit, even during a drought. Once we take hold of this and proclaim it, we can face whatever life has in store. We can remain calm and steady amongst the storms. We can have freedom to live our life of hope and joy without fear, depression, or turmoil. We can be blessed and even bear fruit through our trials.

"And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you." Matthew 6:30

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Are You Prepared?

If you are a follower of Christ, you either have or more than likely will face spiritual battles. The battles will not be easy, but will pull at every ounce of your flesh to fight the worldly way. They will put your faith and trust in the Lord to the test. They will determine, who do you call out to? Whose words do you hold claim to? Who do you try and glorify?
This morning, I faced a spiritual battle in a relationship with someone I am very close to. It was ugly and it was painful.  I walked away with wounds, but I choose not to focus on the wounds. I will focus on the fact that I am still standing firm and victorious after the battle and our relationship is still standing firm.
It is vital for us as believers to first see that we have victory only through our Lord and His power. We cannot fight these battles on our own strength.Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
Secondly, we have to know how to be prepared for the battle. If we aren’t protected and armed, then how can we even survive the attacks and overcome the enemy? “Put on the full armor of God…Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” Ephesians 6:11, 14-18 Notice, Paul says “full armor,” because if we are not fully protected, then we are vulnerable in some area. Also, the majority of the armor is for our protection. The only tool to actually fight with is the sword, which is the word of God. This is why we need to study His words, so He can put them on our hearts and minds. If you remember, Jesus fought the devil’s tests with God’s words through scripture.
Finally, we have to know who the enemy is that we are fighting. It is not our family member, friend, co-worker, or even a stranger that is attacking us. It is the devil.  “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:11-12
I urge you to know that victory is only through His power. Be prepared with the armor and know who the enemy is, then you can stand firm!  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13