Tag Archives: covenant

VISION 2020: Renewing Covenants

I realized today as I wiped down the bike I had been riding in my gym, that I have not been spending time in my war room. When had that happened? When was the last time I’d read the Bible verses that the Father had given me since this chaotic year began? When was the last time, I touched the names written on my prayer list in that space? When had I forgotten the covenant?

It brought me up short. I finished wiping down the all the areas I had touched on the bike. Said, “Have a blessed day” to the other two seniors working out in that big room, but my mind was reeling with the soft nudge of a whisper. A whisper that spoke louder than the up-beat music that played in this portion of the gym set aside for those who wish to work out with other women.

I dropped the rag in the basket and headed to the pool area. No wonder I’ve been out of sorts. Letting my emotions rule instead of depending upon the One always knows me better than I know myself. I’m an idiot at times. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt – – – especially in the middle of a spiritual war – – – that I need to seek His presence before I do anything else.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Cor. 10:3-5

The physical war on this 70th journey around the sun is easier to fight. I can see it, and as I age – I certainly can feel it in almost everything I do. It has been two months back at the gym and in the pool, but I know I’m still not back to where I was prior to this whole sheltering-in-home thingy. Riding the reclining bike for 20 minutes – 3.5 miles usually at a decent pace. Heart rate finally returning to its previous levels. Water play for the arthritic joints. Energy level on the upward trend.
Better.
Getting there –
but it really made me think about where I was spiritually and what ground I’ve lost as I drifted away from my war room. The evil one is way too subtle at times.
One day here.
One day there.
Pretty soon, a week, a month, a year drift by. I know this because it has happened all my life.

If I lost so much in just 2 and a half months physically, how much more have I lost spiritually?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in prayer, studied my devotions, read the WORD – – – but – – – I haven’t I haven’t spent time kneeling in my Father’s presence, listening, praising, thanking, covenanting as I should – especially during this strife-filled time. This time when havoc reigns in our world from plagues, dissonance and violence as the evil one struggles to keep a grip on this land.

When I came home, I sat down and began watching my church and the other ones I watch on-line, but the uneasiness remained. The nudge was becoming more than a gentle reminder. As I used my inversion board, clarity started to seep through. One of the quotes I have hanging in that small closet is: “Trusting GOD will not change WHAT you see, but will definitely change HOW you see.”

Inversion.

Sometimes I have to up-end things to make a room look better. I have to throw everything in the sink to clean the counters. I have to throw all the clothes in a pile to organize the closet. I have to throw the apple out of my hand before I take any more bites. Bad choices come way too easy for me. Harder it is to throw away the temptations that are easy on the eye and not as much work.

Perhaps, it is what our country is doing right now.
Inside out.
Upside down.
Topsy-turvey.
Sideways sliding.
Perhaps it is these types of shakings which will make the choices clearer for us.

I haven’t liked the past few months. Perhaps listening to the evil one’s subtle suggestion about my war room has been my own rebellious response. Hiding from the Father as my anger as Adam and Eve hid in the garden after letting my hand reach out for that apple dangled by the evil one who wants to keep me from His presence – keep me from the peace that passeth all understanding.

Separation.
Broken Covenant.

Covenants are holy promises between those who love each other. For the past year, I have missed my physical covenant made upon this plane, but I realized today that that it is the spiritual covenant with My Father that I can not live without. I went back to my war room today. I will go back to it again tonight. I will seek His presence once again. To touch the manna that hangs on the door and walls – to drink from the everlasting waters that sparkle as they wait to bring renewal to me.

Perhaps – renewing of the covenants will come at all levels as it came to me today. I found this verse today and will hang it tonight on the war room wall. It is another one of His promises. It is true for He is faithful in His covenants unlike I am. I am working on being just as faithful – just not there yet – but every day, I am getting better and better by His grace and love.

“I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.”—       Isaiah 1:26  inspiration-akiane-kramarik [artwork by Akiane Kramarik/google images]

2020 VISION: Pandemic Unrest Fireworks

40 years ago, there was a little house on Michael Street in Kalamazoo, MI. It had a small victory garden in the backyard with a little kohlrabi, corn, tomatoes and carrots where a small boy and an even smaller puppy feasted and rolled in the dirt. The Music Man played on TV and the Wells Fargo Wagon rolled into town. Later, sparklers and fireworks lit the sky and filled their heads with wonder. Shivering puppy cuddled in my lap with one excited boy, a prefect night was had by all.

“This is the land of milk and honey
This is the land of sun and song…”

Fireworks have always been magical for me. Growing up in the 50’s, my small town always had a display in the park by the river. The firemen and police always busy as we watched them set the display up and rope off the area. A few years later, our family sometimes went to a nearby big city to enjoy a “show”. It was different. It was fun – especially since I always had a cousin or friend tagging along. But those were never as special as the one in the hometown where all the friends gathered and ran around with sparklers in the dark away from the parents.
Freedom.
Lights.
Sounds.
Explosions.

“And this a world of good and plenty
Humble and proud and young and strong…”

Fireworks are still magical. Tonight, I stood on my little front porch and watched a small display. Near-by neighbors gathered to have a ringside seat while others drove their tractors or gators up to our cul-de-sac to watch. A throwback to simpler times. And somehow in my mind, this beat all the fancy shows linked with musical scores that seem to dominate the urban areas and our TV’s.
Children laughing
Adults crowing.
Simplicity.
Humble.
A reminder of what was…
And what could still be.

“And this is the place where the hopes of the homeless
And the dreams of the lost combine…”

The ideals of 1776 are still the covenant of this country. A covenant that was made by the Pilgrims on a small rocky part of ground that no native tribe wanted to inhabit. Outcasts themselves, the Pilgrims prayed over this new land, and a humble covenant was established. A covenant made by imperfect men who believed in what they wrote, but knew they were all flawed, save the One they held close in their hearts. They didn’t know what would happen as they prayed over this new covenant, but they had faith that had brought them this far so they bowed their heads to seek their Father’s blessings on this new beginning.

“This is the land that Heaven blessed
And this lovely land is mine…”

The covenant thus blessed, prospered over them all. Crops grew. Friendships established. New people came.
Explorers.
Indentured servants.
Criminals.
Landowners.
Crafters.
Farmers.
Families.
Outcasts.
Some prayed. Some didn’t. The covenant shook under their feet. Until a shot rang out that was heard round the world. Then many gathered once again. They argued – debated – wrote – rewrote and prayed together. A new covenant that reaffirmed the first. A covenant that foresaw a day when its people would be able to celebrate the birth of a nation with fireworks . Sacred honor..

Humble and proud…
Young and strong…

Over the years the covenant remained. Torn and tattered in places. Singed in other places. Words smudged and forgotten by those who asked for the blessing of the covenant in the first place. But then – after 244 years – there is little wonder since – as the Pilgrims knew – people are all flawed save the One who granted the covenant with His promise and blessings.

The line between “humble” and “proud” is hairline. Recognizing, “blessed is the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure of heart, the peacemaker” gets harder and harder for those who love the strength in the explosion of bright lights and sounds over their heads. The covenanted soul loses a little more of the original ink into the dust from which it arose. While the outer shell appears strong and impenetrable, the inner “young” and “strong” has become “wobbly” and “weak” spiritually, and the covenant closer to dissolving completely.

The Father’s warnings shake the idols. They rattle the country a little more each time they come. His prophets, as always, have returned to speak loudly. He wants to remind His children. He wants the covenant to stand forever. He strains to hear the ones He loves the best call out to Him again. He longs for the closeness of the Pilgrims, the Founding Fathers, the outcasts, the lost, and all those who seek His presence in the fireworks of 2020.

The unrest remains as does the choice: Be ye humble? Be ye proud? Fireworks over head or a covenant of blessings that “lights up the world”?

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

[google images]

COVENANT SONG

“I am making everything new!” ~Rev 21:5a

This verse has been drifting through my mind since yesterday, so I guess that is my hint. Got to admit, I’ve been paraphrasing these words – “I make all things new”. I laugh and feel Abba “Gibbs slap” me, but like DiNozzo, I smile because I know it is a sign of affection and pride.

Our home still looks like a construction zone. Lumber piles cover many of our new flat spots. I know, they will eventually disappear into a lumber yard – hopefully to bless someone else’s home in some new way. Piles of brush are still scattered hither and yon. And while my driveway is fairly cleared of Hubby’s toys (due to the highly functional new carport), there are still a few toys piled up along the side of the house. (The racks for hanging them in the “garage” haven’t quite made the “done list” – – – yet!)

“It is done!”~Rev 21:6a

Now these are words I am definitely waiting to hear for I getting antsy to see how our covenanted land will look as G-d knows it will. So while I wait, I’ve been pulling more brush from the edges of my garden, raking leaves and cleaning the front shutters. Did you know that stuff advertised on TV – RustOleum ReColor – really works? Wipe it on – stinks bad so be prepared – and whammo – shutters look new. Now if I just didn’t have to climb ladders to get the rest of the shutters done. sigh

Tonight the body is a little sore, but thanks to our therapeutic hot tub – not bad at all. An earlier shower has given way to a cool breeze chasing away the near 80 temperatures of the day, and I am content. Somehow, I just know the quirky home is content as well.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.”~Rev 21:6b-7

Tonight, as I drank my last glass of water, I watched Venus disappear into the horizon of trees. The puppies are snoring louder than the Hubby for once, and I feel a song rising within me. Moses and the people of Israel sang a song of joy when they emerged from the waters of the Nile. Miriam, the prophetess and sister of Aaron (which is a whole ‘nother story that is turning in my head) led them in another new song of joy.

Two prayerful songs of thanksgiving and praise to the Father who had blessed them.

Tonight, I think I might have a clue how that must have felt. It was a new day of song for this fleeing tribe of people – long, long ago. A new covenant was taking shape. Just as there is a new covenant song tonight singing on the wind from my heart to the Father – for my country — my covenanted land – my family – my friends – dancing through the narrow gate where the land has been made new and a garden beyond compare awaits.

“Behold, I make all things new.” ~Rev 21:5a

NUDGES

Marty Kaufman

If you had told me 35 years ago that I would be moving into a home that needed almost as much work as the first home we lived in after our wedding, I would have told you that you were out of your mind. If you had told me a year ago that I would be moving – period – I would have told you that not only were you out of your mind, but the world must be coming to an end.

Yet – here I am. Getting ready to move, and the world is not ending – yet..

We decided, after a very big and obvious nudge from the Man Upstairs, that the house we were scheduled to build was not our path. All the research, the financing, the permits and land clearing was not our path. It was a little frustrating. And yet – what can you say when nudge after nudge keeps pushing you down a different road? Especially when every home you have ever had has the name “Covenant” as it’s leading word?

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,”~Ex 19:5

Stan poisoning thorns

Hubby poisoning thorns

Right before we got married, we were clearing land of thorns trees and brambles. It was ugly work, but Pop Kaufman’s farm had tough tractors and brush hogs for us to borrow. Needless to say, we had our share of bonfires and aching backs. We set a worn out, delapidated trailer that had no running water, heat or

First garden on our land

First garden on Covenant BS Acres

bathroom. Tiny porta potties to empty daily. (Remember – January wedding) Water to carry twice a day from a stream down a hill (Did I mention it was an early January wedding?) Green wood to try to burn. (Seriously, did I tell you it was JANUARY?) Not to mention, our daily jobs. Hubby milking and farming. Me – grading papers and classroom planning (I know – not proper English).

“Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”~Josh 4:4-7

And yet – it was probably the most wonderful time of my life. It is when we found

Michael and Mysti

Michael and Mysti

a big rock that could not be moved that we decided upon the original property name that made us laugh even as we paid tribute to Our Father – – – Covenant BS Acres or Covenant Land of Milk and Honey. We were a little full of ourselves – if you get the drift of the BS double meaning in this carnal world. We adopted Joshua 4:4-7 as our Bible verse for our new covenant of marriage and land. Even though we were there for just a little over a year, it was long enough to marry, conceive a little sister for our son, Michael, and build a house out of two barns.

“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”~Lk 11:28

Back of houseSo here we are – starting our 36th year of our life journey together – moving into a house that needs more work than I really want to do – moving more things than I want to move – and naming our new piece of land that Our Father has entrusted to us: Covenant Eli @ the Haw or Eli Covenant @ the Haw. We are still thinking about it? Got any preference?

jan 8 2016hEvery room needs new flooring and painting.

Non-functioning kitchen and heating system (and I do mean, NON-FUNCTIONING).

Holes in walls, doors to be replaced, disjointed areas that seemingly have no purpose whatsoever and on and on and on.

jan 8 2016bAnd yet – the nudges led us to this particular place. There is beauty there. There are miracles to be found. Gardens to be built. Music to be made. Laughter of the Grands and family to echo through it.

One miracle popped up today. The new home has a fireplace. We were trying to decide how to use it so that we will have heat next week prior to replacing the heating system (a really ugly monster that scares me – a lot). Looked at so many options – wood stove, gas stoves, gas logs – all of them way more than we wanted jan 8 2016ito pay and further than we wanted to travel to get them at a good price. Then another nudge this morning -,gas logs with a remote – cheaper than we had even dared hope, AND – brought right to the general store in Saxapahaw by the owner. We didn’t even have to travel to buy them. Our Father knew we needed this day to work and reassurance that His hands were still nudging us forward.

So here is to a crazy week of following nudges – of tired bodies and minds – of packing boxes – of working harder than we want to work – and – – – praising Our Father for the nudges that put us right at this spot at this particular space in time. Here we come Covenant Eli or Eli Covenant – – – hmmmm…still can’t decide. Time to walk the land and pray that we continue to feel His nudges and make sure the name fits.front housea

GO WHERE I SEND THEE

Picture 006

Picture 006

Have you ever been in the middle of something, and suddenly, you just know you have to be somewhere else?
It used to be that when this happened, I ignored it until I finished what needed to 10 15 land clearing cbe done or totally ignored it altogether. After all – when you grow up with goal oriented parents, you tend to be very goal directed – most of the time. The old adage was drilled (very early) into my brain: “First things first.” But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out that arguing with that inner kick to my spirit self never results in good things. So – throwing the washrag in the sink and putting the spray cleaner back in it’s place, I looked at the dogs and said, “Let’s go.”
Pull things out of the back of the car – spread the moving blanket to absorb some of the thousands of dog hairs that will fall in a 5 minute trip – and off we go. Lots of things are happening. The road may be paved. The electric is getting set to go in. The final trees are being toppled to make room for our new home. The neighbors are waving to us when they see our car. It is starting to feel like home. Then again – strange as it may seem – it has, in smaller ways, felt like that from the beginning.
10 15 land clearing aIt was the same tonight. The dogs were running around playing in the final light of the day while I picked up pine cones for holiday decorations later this year. We took some pictures, chased some sticks, but my spirit was praying. Finally, I quit the busy work and just sat on hubby’s work trailer and looked around. There is lots of sand and wilderness yet. It doesn’t look anything like a homestead. The light is fading fast.
The sound of traffic is a little louder at this new place, but the trees do filter a lot of it, so it is not that much different than the state highway we lived close to in Perrysville. In fact, the actual physical distance and the size of the road is very much the same. As I sat there looking around and just soaking in the sounds and feel of this new land, I smiled. I love trying to figure out how God’s mind works. I’m never successful, but being the curious sort, I can’t help but continue to try. Here we are – hundreds of miles from where we started and yet – we feel at home. It is definitely a God thing. There is no other way to explain it.
I built a make shift altar on our trailer when we began this process earlier this summer. A brick from Loudonville. Two white stones from our new property. A piece of log from one of the first trees that hubby cut at our new property last year. A birdhouse church that was a spur-of-the-moment purchase a month ago. And tonight, I added a pinecone from a recently toppled pine. Touching them as I prayed was a literal touchstone for me. A connection to those that have come before me. A connection to those that have trusted God when it seemed like the craziest thing in the world (like standing in front of a mighty river and stepping into it as an army was bearing down up on them – crazy). A connection to the garden where it all started and God walked among them.
10 15 land clearing dThe house to be built is already very real to me and the hubby. Whether it is built this year, next year or 5 years from now, it exists. We both can see it, and with each new decision we make, it becomes a little more real. There are times when I actually can feel myself in parts of that unbuilt nding a miniscule atom (if atoms exist in the spiritual plane) of the mind of God.
Eventually, I bundled the dogs back into the car and head over to see the Grands and deliver pine cones. When I get back, I finish up the chore I had started earlier. I still have no idea why I was supposed to go to the new covenant land tonight. I just know I was supposed to be there. I know I was supposed to pray. I know that I met God there tonight.

And that?  That was everything.

“Children, go where I send thee…” The old song will sing me to sleep tonight.

“But Yeshua, being full of The Spirit of Holiness, returned from the Jordan and The Spirit led him into the wilderness.” Luke 4:1

[Google images]

 

children-go-where-i-send-thee-1-638

A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME

containersThe home is becoming just a house again.

“A chair is still a chair
Even when there’s no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home….”

Knick-knacks wrapped and tucked into containers. Teacher lesson plans/books/teacher samples that STILL have some sort of power over me, have jumped off the shelf and into their old boxes that they remember well from our school days together. 35 other books (that weren’t so powerful in their magic) raced out the door, jumped into the car for a ride to our local Saxapahaw community bookshelf to be re-homed. And – the piles of containers continues to grow higher.

“A room is still a room
Even when there’s nothing there but gloom;
But a room is not a house,
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart…”

To me, a lot of what makes a house a home is the heirlooms. Today, I watched my daughter climb up on the kitchen counter and pulled down things that sat in our OH homes and even some from my parents’ home. Things that hung in a window. Things that sat on a shelf and lit the night with their simpleness. Things made by hand from someone that loved us. Those are treasures I can’t seem to part with – even as I pack them once again.

“Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your face appears…”

picture wallThere are still a million and one things to pack. There are still pictures hanging all over the walls that defy any container whatsoever. The golden threads that ties four generations together on one wall will be some of the last things to head out the door. After all – it is the people that truly make the home. The Grands laughing and racing to the hot tub every time they come over. The little table that helped me write my first words – the same one that sat patiently as all of my children scattered their treasures on its nursery rhyme top – the same table that now jiggles and giggles as the Grands create new masterpieces of pictures and words.

tableThe neat part is knowing that once it is all packed away – once the house is cleaned and empty – this house will hold a lot of happy memories to pass on to the new owners, so that they can make it their home. And us? After all the times we have moved, I think we know how to make a house a home.

A little hard work.

A few touchstones.

A lot of love.

The daily WORD.

And – tons and tons of prayer – circling and weaving Our Father’s blessing around what He has entrusted to us. That is why Covenant always plays a prominent role in the name of our properties. A simple reminder of a promise given long ago by a promise keeper who never breaks His word.

“He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations.”~Psalms 105:8-11