Pioneer!

This morning Billy Joe, and I had such a sweet experience with the Lord. I was reading Dutch Sheet’s new book, The Way Back, which starts with the song, ”Pioneer” by Nancy Honeytree Miller. As we listened to this song several times it touched my heart as deeply today as it did when it was recorded in 1993, and has become the theme song of our ministry over the years.

You see, I married a pioneer.

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree (click to listen)

About 20 years ago I sat and wept in my driveway. We were comfortable in the church we had planted 15 years earlier. Yet the restlessness in our spirits was evident as we prayed. A feeling of transition yet again permeated our souls. Uncertainty was looming before us. God was calling us to new and uncharted territory. Again. At the time there was no paradigm for a prayer network prayer ministry, but it seemed this was where God was pointing. PIONEER. This song defined our hearts, our souls, our lives.

Gary Nored

Since the 70’s we had heard and pursued a call from the Father to come out of the comfortable and step into new, uncharted areas. But in those uncertain times one of the best gifts God gives to pioneers is other pioneers who have also traveled the unfamiliar territories. They become your life long friends.

We were pioneers in the early 80’s when we stepped out of the Methodist pastorate to plant a new kind of church called Charismatic. A few other pioneers joined us.

We were pioneers in the mid 80’s when we, along with three other pioneer families, took our children out of public school to bring them home to educate them ourselves.

Now we were being called out to raise up a prayer network of intercessors to pray specifically for reconciliation and revival in the state of Mississippi. This song gave words to the strange, unsettling yet sure voice we had followed since our commitment to the Father back in 1971. Stepping out into this new, unknown place, his everlasting arms were sure, solid and held us firmly. Again we found a few pioneers on this new trail too.

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And just as the song described, settlers came behind us and built it better and faster than we could have. There are now many huge Charismatic churches in most cities. The homeschool movement has exploded in our nation. There are numerous prayer networks that are doing it bigger and better and faster than we could have imagined. Most will never know our names, nor the names of countless other pioneers who pursued the call along with us. But these settlers needed and used the paths we had charted in order to build their highways. Isn’t that the way of the Kingdom? Filled with pioneers and settlers, both essential.

The words of this song continue to ring true today, just as the same call continues to resonate within our spirits. Still not sure of what to say when people ask, “Now, what is it that you do?” because there is always a new horizon ahead. We are pioneers, and settling is hard for a pioneer, even at seventy years old.

Now ask yourself: Does this song touch that deep place in your spirit? Do you hear the distant rumble on the next horizon? Are you yearning for more, feeling the transition but unable to define it with words? If so:

You, too, are a pioneer.  

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You are the one to cut the new path now. You do not know where or what you are seeking, but The Father does. He sees, knows and is pleased, always smiling and guiding you to step out deeper into the unknown.

As old pioneers, we are your cheerleaders. We want to give you a hoist up and champion your journey. We want to shout, “Go for it!  Step up higher so you can see farther. Run to find the new thing Father is doing. Cut the trail so others can come behind you. Make the path clear, because they will need this road you are forging to build their highway or maybe even a runway.”

Keep pressing on. You are the pioneer.

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13-14 (NKJV)

Pioneer by Nancy Honeytree  (click to listen)

 

 

 

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Choices

Choices
Choices

 Naomi, Ruth and Orpah.

Three women. Three choices. Three inheritances released.

Naomi chose to go back to her people and the God of Israel.

Ruth chose to follow Naomi and embrace the Jewish God of her husband Mahlon.

Orpah chose to go back to her life in Moab although her husband, Chilion, was also a Jew.

Did it make a difference to the destiny of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren?

Let’s look and see.

Ruth and Orpah were daughters of a king in Moab. Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, had risen to wealth in Moab and was given these two girls for his sons because of his influence. Yet when all of the men in the family died the women could not inherit the wealth, so they were left desolate with difficult choices to make.

Naomi chose to return to Israel where she discovered that God’s arms are always open wide for us to come home.

Ruth, a gentile Moabite, chose to stay with Naomi, follow this new Jewish God and face possible poverty and rejection in Israel. Yet she too, discovered that the God of Israel is a redeemer, a redeemer of broken hearts and broken lives. She too was welcomed and embraced by Him and His people.

Orpah made a different choice. She went back to her father’s house in Moab. But let’s don’t be too hard on Orpah. Given those choices I might have made the same decision. Her decision was safe and comfortable. She chose the known rather than the unknown. In Moab, her father was still a king, obviously with connections and provision. Even if another marriage was not possible, he could offer a comfortable life.

Haven’t we all been there? A choice to obey and do the hard thing, or to stay back in the place of safety and comfort? God continually gives us choices. Many times we don’t consider how these will affect our own children, grandchildren and our bloodline. His Grace is always abundant when we choose to answer yes to His call.

We are familiar with this story, yet there is a little known twist that puts a different spin on the outcome of their choices and it is applicable to us today.

Ruth and Naomi chose to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Ruth became the great grandmother of King David. Her choice released blessings through her bloodline that not only blessed the nation of Israel but also blessed the nations of the world, including her home nation of Moab, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

Orpah went back to her father’s house and obviously married again. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (Thank you to Diane McNeil’s book, Ruth) her granddaughter was named Harafu who was the mother of a Philistine giant named Goliath, the enemy of David.

Lord, please give us the courage and the grace today to make the hard, but right choices so that our children, grandchildren and their children will walk in their full inheritance of generational blessings-the blessings of righteousness, peace and joy.

Today, we choose Life!

Ruth by Diane McNeil Buy it on Amazon!
Ruth by Diane McNeil
Buy it on Amazon!