Life at #rigginsfarms

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It has been so long since I’ve taken the time to write about the Riggins Life.  We’ve seen lots of change in the past year and a half, the biggest being our move to what we affectionately call “the farm”.  We purchased a house with 22 acres of gorgeous property with a beautiful 4 acre pond.  With all this land, we have to have a farm, right?  I mean, it just makes sense.

But to whom…?  If you remember some of my former blog posts, I’m the one who didn’t even really want the 2 dogs we already had.  So, I should be on board with having A FARM?

As I’ve learned being married to Steve Riggins, he listens to my concerns and hears me when I say, “I don’t think we’re ready for that..” and then moves ahead however he wishes (thus why our dog population has grown to 4).  He absolutely lives by the mantra “ask forgiveness, not permission”.  So, when Steve and the boys began talking of nothing else than putting up fences and getting animals, I knew I may as well get on board and enjoy the ride.  It’s not like anyone was listening to me anyway.

We started our little farm with 12 Khaki Campbells ducks (the twelve disciples), followed by 14 chickens (4 of our “all hen” population turned out to be roosters…evil beings), then 11 more ducks (Mallards), a Blue Slate turkey (God rest his soul), 5 more ducks (Pekings…like the Aflac duck), 2 adopted ducks who just needed friends and a good home to swim on and now 3 pigs (a boar and 2 sows).  We will pick up 200 bees tomorrow (because Steve decided we should be beekeepers…which he told me AFTER he had ordered the bees) and fencing is almost complete for cows.  Steve has even talked about getting Alpacas, but I think he’s gone a little off the charts on that one (but one day, they may just show up…because, well, it’s Steve).

I can’t quite explain what has happened to me while living on the farm.  It’s definitely a peaceful place to be; I can’t look outside without thanking God for allowing us to live here.  And funny, I find myself getting up at 5am to feed chickens and pigs and ducks and dogs and not minding it at all.  In fact, do you know how breathtaking it is to walk out in the dark morning with no lights of any kind in sight, and see the sky literally lit up with millions of stars that seem so clear you could almost reach up and touch them?  I highly recommend it.  It’s pretty amazing.

And these animals!  I actually enjoy watching and studying and getting to know these funny creatures in our care!  Each one is so amazing –  what a creative Creator we have!!

They do bring a lot of joy.  And as much as I’ve learned to love (most of) the animals (ahem…not sorry to the devil rooster who is in a friend’s freezer), it hurts that much more when we lose one. RIP Duke.  I think many of our friends who have followed my posts on Facebook and Instagram have mourned the loss of Duke, too.  I’ve actually been both shocked and touched at the outpouring of love when our sweet turkey died.  2 years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and thought that was crazy; today, it warms my heart.  And it will please you all to know that Steve has 18 turkey chicks arriving this month! (I know, I know, we’ll keep the dogs away from them – lesson learned).

I don’t know how far this farming venture will take us, but for right now, it’s just a fun way to enjoy the property God blessed us with.  We’re definitely rookies learning from our mistakes, but we are learning and having fun in the process.

More to come from #rigginsfarms…there are far too many stories not to share. 🙂

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Here’s why I know Jesus believed ALL LIVES MATTER

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Lately, with everything going on in our nation regarding #whoselifematters, some have even suggested that Jesus Christ would have championed for these groups based on his words in Matthew 5.

                                               Online this read “Jesus vs. #alllivesmatter”
Let’s take a look at what Jesus says, shall we?

Matthew 5:3-12 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. 

Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. 

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. 

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. 

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. 

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Jesus Christ certainly listed groups of people He feels should be blessed, but do you note any ethnic groups or races in His wording?  No.  In fact, every single people group listed here could and should represent every person He came to die for (the world).

The Poor in Spirit – Have you ever been poor in spirit?  If you’ve walked in the way of Christ for very long you have….its not always a mountain top experience.  There have been times in my life when I have been so burdened, all I could do was weep before the Lord.  But He is always faithful and has always blessed my poor spirit in His way and in His time.

Those who Mourn – If you’ve lived very long, you’ve felt the sting of death and the pain this type of loss brings.  If we let Him, God will bless those who mourn with a special closeness of the Holy Spirit.  God understands.

The Meek – The definition of meek is this: “quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive.”  Jesus calls us to be all of these attributes.  Many Christians like the Jesus who flipped over the sellers’ tables in the tabernacle (and yet sinned not); we all like that kind of champion.  But being quiet, gentle, easily imposed on and submissive…these are harder pills to swallow.  Yet Christ, throughout scripture, calls us to be meek and led by example (even when he flipped the tables in the tabernacle).

Those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness – THIS.  This is what God wants.  He wants His children wanting Him – hungering and thirsting after Him – as much as He wants us.  God gave His only Son, Jesus, to change our lives and eternity, yet often, we have a hard time giving Him a few minutes each day. Want to be blessed?  Ask God to help you every day to hunger and thirst after HIM.

The Merciful – We all want mercy.  Mercy is undeserved.  Mercy is receiving forgiveness in place of punishment.  Being merciful means we’re the ones forgiving the undeserved, the guilty, the unlovable, those who hurt us.  But God says if we want mercy, we need to show mercy. And believe me, even though it’s unnatural to our nature, being merciful will bring an abundance of blessings.

Pure in Heart – Has there ever been a time in history when we are any more about ourselves?   We are solely interested in OUR agendas, OUR ideas, OUR hurt feelings, OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY…these come from a heart set on ourselves.  But God wants us to have pure hearts.  Purity comes from refining and God is the Refiner.  When the Master refines, He works in our lives to remove anything that isn’t like Him.  Wow, what a process…a process that will never end until we’re HOME.

Peacemakers – We surely could use more peacemakers these days.  A peacemaker reconciles adversaries rather than running from, arguing with, or ignoring those with whom they don’t agree.  They understand that arguing will not bring about a change of heart – only God can do that.  Being a peacemaker doesn’t make one weak; instead, their confidence in the Lord propels them to react differently…like Jesus.

Persecuted for righteousness sake –  Jesus is our righteousness.  Jesus gave all for me…I can give no less than my all for my Savior.  Jesus already told us that if we, children of God, are hated by this world, we are not to worry because they hated Him first. And, if we are emulating Christ, we will be hated (Satan will see to it). But the reward far outweighs any persecution we will face on this side of eternity.

Every single attribute listed in Matthew 5 is for every child of God.  And when we display them, we will be BLESSED.

The Life that Matters — therigginslife

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These are not America’s greatest days. The cracks in her foundation are beginning to show and the shifts are increasingly widening by the day due to a great turbulence sweeping the nation fueled by HATE. Americans are campaigning for whose lives matter the most. There is protest against the entire police force nationwide because of […]

via The Life that Matters — therigginslife

The Life that Matters

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These are not America’s greatest days.  The cracks in her foundation are beginning to show and the shifts are increasingly widening by the day due to a great turbulence sweeping the nation fueled by HATE.

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Americans are campaigning for whose lives matter the most.  There is protest against the entire police force nationwide because of what some see to be a wrongful mistake made by a few officers.  And ironically, for many of these protestors, their antidote is to sacrifice innocent lives either out of retaliation for the families they feel have been victimized or to make a statement of hate (which, in this nation, we have always understood to be terrorism).

Unless the Lord intervenes, this fall I will literally have to vote for the best of the worst in our upcoming presidential election.  And sadly, it appears the worst may win, regardless of evidence proving this candidate to be grossly unqualified to lead our country.

BUT, NONE OF THIS CATCHES GOD OFF GUARD.

In fact, He told us it would come.  I borrow the following scripture from The Message because it literally describes this day in our nation to a tee:

Romans 1:28-32

Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives…They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!”

Ahem….Paul just described America 2016 as if he were living here today.

Sad, isn’t it?  These unsaved people doing such evil things!  But hey, if they’re unsaved,  they’re fair game for Satan.

But what about those of us who have been saved?  We are redeemed from our wicked ways!  We have been given new life!  Old things have passed away and all things have become new!  We are CLEAN!

So why, then, do we act like typical America 2016 who Paul describes like this:

Romans 2:1 “Those people are on a dark spiral downward…”

Yes, indeed they are.  But the born again Christian is not!  We are the only ones who actually have HOPE!  We know the answer to the cure for evil in this world – Jesus Christ!!

HOWEVER, the verse continues:

“But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted.”

There’s a thin line between righteous indignation and judgmental hatred.  We Christians can paint our hate a different color or even try to describe it as something otherwise, but if we’re not burdened to tears and brought to our knees over this nation and the lost people in it – regardless of color/race/ethnicity, then we’re no better than the lost in this world who are fueled by Satan to only want their agendas to be known and their voices to be heard.

God sees all.  God knows all.  God loves all.  He gave His only Son, Jesus Christ, for everyone in the entire world.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

ALL LIVES MATTER TO GOD.

Therefore, as a Christian, all lives should matter to me. Period.  I’ll let Paul sum it up for us:

If you go against the grain, you get splinters, regardless of which neighborhood you’re from, what your parents taught you, what schools you attended. But if you embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs, again without regard to where you are from or how you were brought up. Being a Jew won’t give you an automatic stamp of approval. God pays no attention to what others say or what you think about you. He makes up his own mind.” Romans 2:6-11 The Message

For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2:11 NKJV

May there be no partiality with me.

First World Problems…

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I am one blessed gal. Really!!  I know that I am!  So why doesn’t that thought overwhelm my mind?  Why am I so easily sidetracked and distracted by junk?

It has a lot to do with my “first world problems”.

I became introduced to the “first world problems” concept when one day I posted a status on Facebook whilst sitting in a pedicure chair stating my frustration for having to wait and feeling ignored, attaching a picture of my untouched feet.  I noticed I had a comment from a friend that simply read “First world problems.”

OUCH.

While her intentions were possibly funny, she nailed me.  I really wanted to delete the post, but I thought, “Nope.  You asked for that one, Sister.”  Her statement as stuck with me and I have started to notice how often we complain about first world problems.

My mother is preparing her house to be sold and yesterday we were pulling down wallpaper (unsuccessfully, might I add) in her hallway bathroom.  It was a MESS.  We had watered down Downey all over the walls, countertops, floors, glasses, bodies – EVERYWHERE – along with strips and scraps of outdated wallpaper wherever we looked.  We were at the point of no return.  The first layer of wallpaper was coming off relatively easily which meant we only had 3 MORE LAYERS TO PULL OFF (ask me if I knew there were 3 layers of wallpaper before I peeled the first piece? NO I DID NOT.).  Mom and I pulled and scraped for hours and literally less than a 1/4 of the bathroom is clear of the 3 LAYERS OF WALLPAPER.

As we were pulling, my mother, reminding me that her brother and sister-in-law will be visiting from Indiana next week, sighed and said, “I’ll have to warn Lane and Gretchen about this bathroom.”  I stopped pulling and said, “Why?  We’re not undoing any plumbing.  There’s still a tub, shower, commode and sink. It’s still a usable bathroom.”

Mom – “I know, I guess they can use my bathroom.”

Me – (bewildered and laughing) “Why can’t they use this bathroom??”

Mom – “Well, I guess they can, we just won’t have the new paper on the walls yet.”

First world problems…

Look, I can laugh at her comments because it’s not my bathroom.  And in all honesty, my mom is concerned in this way because she cares so much for others and their well-being, especially when they’re in her care.  She would sleep outside if she thought it would make someone else more comfortable.  But personally, if I think someone is coming to MY house (besides family), I want to make the “right” impression. I immediately see all the things I need to take care of to be sure that everything looks in perfect place and I work feverishly to make sure it’s just so (true story).  It’s a first world thing.

Now, it’s not wrong to want nice things or to expect good service or to desire to make a good impression, but have we ever really thought about the “problems” we face?  Have we ever wondered if the junk we’re dealing with right now would even be worth thinking about if we lived in, say, a third world country?  It makes that frustration over my wait for a pedicure seem pretty minuscule…and extremely spoiled and petty.

I’m asking God to help me be more aware of how I view my “problems”.  In a third world country, they are thankful for one meal a day.  Where I live, I can open the fridge or pantry at any given time and, even if I desperately need to go to the grocery store, there’s still something that can satisfy my hunger.  Do I thank God for that or complain that “there’s nothing to eat in this house”?

It’s something to think about.  Many times First World Problems = Third World Blessings.

Lord, forgive me for time wasted not thanking You for my many blessings.  Help me kick first problems to the curb.

So really…why don’t people sing in church? Yep, another of “those” blogs…

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I’ve read several articles lately about “why people don’t sing in church anymore”.  These various articles submit that It’s either because churches sing too many hymns or churches don’t sing enough hymns or the music is “new” so people don’t know the words or it’s more about the person singing on stage and the band than the congregation involvement…blah, blah, blah.  After reading many of these different submissions (some I agree with and some, not so much) I have put a lot of thought into this issue myself.  I mean, I am a worship leader so I see firsthand the non-singers (actually, these folks look more entranced as they stand and stare at the screen on the church wall with no movement…at all).  Do I believe there’s a right equation the music department can come up with to fix it?  Nope.

Here’s what I think the issue is: the heart.

As a worship leader equipped by God to lead people in one of the most important aspects of a church service, it is my calling to diligently seek HIM regarding the music we sing, the people who sing it and the order in which it is presented.  Just putting a list of songs together each week does not a worship leader make.  If my heart is not in line with the Father, if I am not desperately seeking His direction, the result will be reflected in the music and it’s lack of effect.  Psalm 16:2 says it best: “You are my Lord, my goodness is NOTHING apart from You.”  The worship leader’s position in selecting music is not to please the old crowd or the young crowd or the pastor or the choir but instead to please THE LORD.  He is the One we’re supposed to be singing to, by the way…our worship is to HIM not for each other.

Now, if we get the heart of the worship leader where it needs to be, that still won’t assure that the people will sing and worship as God desires.  Again…it’s the heart.

I see non-singing older people and non-singing young people every Sunday…and it’s not because we’re singing a song they don’t know!  For instance, let’s say we decide to sing a hymn (which I love…I cut my teeth on a hymnal!).  I watch the faces of the young folks who give me the unspoken, “Really? How old is this song anyway?”  while the older folks perk up and sing out with gusto as if to insinuate “FINALLY we’re singing a song God approves of” (but I warn you, do NOT rearrange or update these sacred hymns.  I received an anonymous note after singing an upbeat version of “Revive Us Again” advising that the hymns were “written right the first time so stop changing them”).

The same thing happens in reverse order when we sing a contemporary song.

Here are my thoughts:  If you have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, and you are walking in His grace every day, how can you not get excited about singing “When We All Get to Heaven”?!  Seriously, what a day of rejoicing that WILL be and I can hardly wait to get there myself!!  In the same right, who can’t get excited to sing, “God’s not dead He’s surely alive! He’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion”??  Well, isn’t that truth for the born again believer?? God is NOT dead and praise His name, He lives inside of His children!

I get it, I get it…the beat is not what you’re used to or it’s “hokey” or the keyboard has replaced the beloved organ.  But does that change the truth of the lyrics? NO!

What breaks my heart is this divide we are experiencing in our churches over MUSIC. What is the deal?!  I see the meddling hand of Satan all over this.  In truth, the older people should be praying for and encouraging the younger people in the church.  Thank God they’re even there!  These are the ones who will continue to make the church strong and growing! These are the ones having babies to bring in new generations to serve God!  And when there are songs sung that causes these young hearts to open up in praise and worship to OUR KING, older saints, you should raise your own hands in thanks to God for these that He will use to continue His church!!

Likewise, when hymns of the church are sung – songs written by spiritual giants and penned out of some of the most tragic yet faith-building testimonies you’ll ever hear (do yourself a favor and just read the story behind “It is Well”), young people, you should thank God for the saints standing nearby, belting out these songs they have literally loved all of their lives, because THEIR hard work, dedication and love for God Almighty is most likely the very reason there’s a sanctuary to sing in at all.

Here’s a novel suggestion:  COME TO CHURCH ASKING GOD TO FEED YOU. PERIOD.  Don’t show up wondering if you’ll be fed and going away hungry because you refused to receive what the Lord had to offer because it wasn’t “your flavor”.

And for goodness sake, if you, young or old, do not know a song being sung…JUST LISTEN.  Don’t just hear, LISTEN.  Listen to the words of the song – read them on the screen – and let them sink in.  If your worship leader is worth his/her salt, they will have selected a song that has God’s anointing all over it and, slow or fast, old or new, HE can speak to you through it.

I love music, I love church, and most of all, I LOVE THE LORD!  Don’t miss out on what HE wants to do in your life!  Open up and PRAISE HIM!!!!!

Somebody had to bring the bread…

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Today, it’s getting real.  I dropped off our youngest son, Eli, at Western Alamance High School for freshman orientation.  No more elementary school.  No more middle school. I can delete those phone numbers from my phone.  What’s more, Caleb is a senior this year!  My nest is going to get roomier than I want real fast. Wes and Kendal need to be thinking of giving me some grand-babies…not that I’m trying to rush things….:)

robinandeli                    caleb

Rising Freshman                                                         Rising Senior

As I said, I dropped Eli off today for a half-day orientation and returned home to a quiet house. So I did one of my favorite things and got into God’s word.  Wow the things He will show you when you seek The Lord!  I’ve been reading in the gospel of Mark and a few days ago read chapter 6, the very familiar story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

If you’ve ready the story, you’ll remember that Jesus had been teaching this multitude of people until late in the day and His disciples told Him to send them on their way so they could get some food before the hour was too late.  Jesus simply said, “You give them something to eat.” (Mark 6:37 NKJV)  Of course, the disciples wondered at His words and asked, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” (one denarii today is worth about $20.00 US dollars).  Jesus said, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”  And when they found out they said, “Five, and two fish.”

So, Jesus took what they had an blessed the five loaves and 2 fish and gave them to the disciples to feed the multitude.  And everyone ate.  The Bible says until they all “ate and were filled”.  Not only were they satisfied, but the disciples also took up about 12 baskets of leftovers.

WHAT A MIRACLE, RIGHT?  Yes!!  But as I read this passage again today, it struck me; out of 5,000+ people, there was someone who brought the bread and the fish. If they hadn’t, Jesus certainly could have used another means to feed them if He wanted to, but He chose to use someone’s offering as part of His miracle.

Wow.  Just WOW!  Do you see that??

Immediately, my heart was convicted.  I had to ask myself, “Do I always have bread and fish with me?  Am I always ready to be used by the Lord?”  Am I prepared for Jesus to say, “Hey daughter, I need your bread and your fish because I’m getting ready to use it to do something AMAZING.”

Or instead, do I hoard the gifts I’ve been given, unwilling to share them or let them be used?  Perhaps I even leave the house totally unprepared with nothing the Lord could use, even if the opportunity arose.  Too often for the Christian, that’s the case.  Just like in our story, there were 5,000 plus seeking what they could RECEIVE from Jesus, but only ONE PERSON came with anything to offer to Him.

Isn’t it just like Jesus to take one person’s offering and use it to feed 5,000?  The size of the offering never one time crossed Jesus’ mind.

So, how about it?  Do you have fish and bread to offer to the Lord?  Are you prepared to be used by Him to impact lives for the Kingdom of God?  Never think your gifts are too meager, too small, or too insignificant for Jesus to use; He fed 5,000 with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  Oh, and to really grasp the magnitude of the miracle, scholars estimate that by feeding 5,000 men He actually fed more like 15,000+ people including women and children..with leftovers. 🙂

loavesfishes

5 loaves + 2 fish = one of the greatest miracles of all time