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This week at the Farmer’s Market….
I’m excited about what’s happening in Monticello. I really think that people are awakening to a more nourishing way of life. The 3 year old Farmer’s Market in town is becoming proof.
This week, I’ve been getting a few things ready to take to market. I will have some of the following:
- Blackberry Jelly
- Peach Preserves
- Jalapeno Blackberry Jelly
- Jalapeno Strawberry Jelly
- Peach Jelly
- Sourdough Bread
- Sourdough Cookies
- Sourdough Pasta
- Homemade Pet Treats
- Non-Toxic Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Homemade Laundry Detergent
- And more…
There are lots of yummiess at the market. You’ll be able to find lots of fresh produce as well as local honey and crafts. Come hang out with us on Tuesday nights from 4:00 – 6:00pm. The Monticello Farmer’s Market is in the little park by the Court House and Detention Center in Monticello.
When Did Rest Become a Four Letter Word?
Matthew 11:28-30 in the Message Bible says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Does this sound like you? Our culture values busy. Ask anyone walking the social mecca of Monticello, also known as Wal-Mart, how they are, and I would almost guarantee they will say, “I’m so busy!” What are we busy doing? Are we being fruitful, or are we just grinding on the daily hamster wheel of life?
I used to value busy. I used to think that the more things I could pack into my answer somehow made me more awesome, more productive, or more spiritual. I found that all it really made me was grumpy and exhausted. I would come home at the end of the day wondering where my day went and why little to no progress was being made.
God values our quality of life! John 10:10 in the Amplified versions says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”
This tells us the enemy is seeking to destroy our quality of life. He comes to steal away precious moments which God gives us to steward. He comes to steal family dinner time, precious time praying and interceding for others, time spent seeking God and reading His Word, and seeks to exhaust us to the point where we are ready to give up. When speaking about Satan, the Prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 14:12, “How have you fallen from heaven, O light-bringer and daystar, son of the morning! How you have been cut down to the ground, you who weakened and laid low the nations [O blasphemous, satanic king of Babylon!]” He wants to weaken us and take our joy. No one who is exhausted is full of joy. Why does he go after our joy? Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the “joy of the Lord is our strength.” Without joy, the believer is rendered powerless.
However, the blame cannot be given entirely to Satan. Eve tried that trick in the garden by blaming Satan for eating the fruit, and God didn’t buy her “the devil made me do it” defense. I have found that sometimes I can do a better job than Satan of putting on myself much more than I can bear. Then, I begin the blame game of trying to ask God why He gave me so much to handle, or trying to tell myself that the old Devil is just stealing my time. In reality, when I am overwhelmed to the point of being ready to quit, it’s normally me stepping outside of God’s intention and design for my life.
God is calling us to come away with Him. He’s calling us to a more intimate relationship with Him. That type of intimacy can only happen when we can devote time to Him – to prayer and reading His Word. We will only be able to devote time to him when we begin to edit our life. Not every good thing we do is something that God intended for us to do. Maybe, the kids don’t need to have 5 extra curricular activities each. Maybe, we don’t need to volunteer for everything going. Maybe, we don’t need to say yes to every opportunity that presents itself that seems good. Maybe, we can learn to be content with doing less, having less, and being less. This line of thinking sounds so weird doesn’t it? As I read those words back, I can almost picture the look on your face. When we are willing to let go of a life lived pursuing the “Joneses,” then we can make room and time for a life lived pursuing the Master.
I’m reminded of Luke 10 beginning in verse 38: “Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]!
But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.”
Here Martha is just trying to be a good hostess. She wants to make sure everything is perfect for Jesus’ visit. She is trying to get the meal ready, make sure the house is clean, and try to make sure everyone has everything that they need. Sound familiar? She sees Mary just sitting at Jesus’ feet, and finally, she can’t take it anymore! She walks up to Jesus and says, “Do something about this! She knows I’m working myself to the bone here! Make her get up and help me!”
Jesus tries to make her see that it’s better to not be caught up in the hamster wheel of life. He tries to invite her to drop all of it and come sit at His feet. Jesus offers us the same invitation today. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. [Jer. 6:16.] For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.” Matthew 11:28-30 Amplified Version
Get Your Buts Out of the Way
Our buts get us in so much trouble. I know there have been many times in my life that I felt like God would have me do something, and I would say, “But God…” God isn’t looking for our excuses; He’s looking for our excellence. My dad, Larry Doggett, used to tell me all the time growing up not to “slop-bop.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 tells us that if we are going to do something, “do it with all of our might.” You know there were many people in the Bible that had the opportunity to make excuses; however, through faith, they rose to the occasion to which God was calling them, and the good Gospel news is we can too! Be encouraged, by looking at these people of the Bible, that we don’t have to live a life full of what if’s and excuses.
Joseph had a dream. He was hated for his dream. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and sent to prison wrongfully. If you study out the life of Joseph in Genesis, you will find that he was excellent in all things wherever he went. In Genesis 39, it talks twice of people who could see his excellence in all things and how he walked with God. Even in prison, they gave him the charge over all the prisoners. He was found excellent and trustworthy in every situation. Eventually, he was brought out of the prison and placed in the palace as second in command in Egypt. He ended up saving the people of Israel, his family – even those that betrayed him, and Egypt from famine.
In Exodus chapters 3 and 4, we see God appearing to Moses in a burning bush. To be honest, I’m not sure what I would do if I heard the voice of God coming from a bush. God wanted to use Moses to deliver the people of Israel from slavery imposed by his adopted family. Moses thought no one would believe him, so God took away his excuses that he gave one by one by giving him signs to prove that he was telling the truth. However, Moses still didn’t feel like he could do what God has asked of him. Moses then told God that he wasn’t good at public speaking. God then told him that He would send Moses’ brother Aaron to help. What if Moses had let his excuses get the best of him? What would have happened to the people of Israel?
Paul went from persecuting Christians to persuading people to be Christians. He was shipwrecked, snake bit, stoned, talked about, and hated. Yet, nothing moved him. He did complain about a thorn in the flesh a couple of times. God’s answer for him is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “But He said to me, My grace (my favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed_ and show themselves most effective in (your) weakness. Therefore I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”
There are also people who didn’t get their “buts” out of the way in the Bible. I’m reminded of the children of Israel in Numbers 13 when God told them to go and take the promised land. They told themselves that it was everything God had said it would be, but they couldn’t do it because they looked like weak grasshoppers compared to the people in the land where they were going. They ended up wandering in the wilderness for forty more years because of the excuse they told themselves. I also think about the rich young ruler that came to Jesus. He had the opportunity to be one of Jesus’ disciples. However, in Matthew 19, it says that he went away sorrowfully because he had great possessions. Now, God isn’t against us having things, but He is against things having us. Jesus knew this man’s heart. He knew the man was putting his possessions before anything else. When we put anything before God, we make that an idol in our life, and God has clearly said in Exodus, “You will have no other gods before Me.”
Getting our “buts” out of the way and moving to a life of no excuses just excellence will require three things from us. It will require God’s presence. God has designed us for a close relationship with him. In the garden of Eden, He came down every day to talk with man. God isn’t looking for us to spend time with him out of obligation. He is longing for us to have a close relationship with Him. Like a loving father, He is interested in our everyday, grocery shopping, work going, car line sitting lives. Living a life of no excuses will also require the power of God working in our lives. Acts 1:8 tells us, “But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.” God doesn’t just ask us to line up our lives with His commands and leave us hanging. He also equips us with the power to change and manage those changes. God is also calling us to live a passionate life. Romans 12:11 tells us, “Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.”