Give me a word, Lord: FACING GIANTS

I Samuel 17:45-47 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

I John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Can’t you just see it in your mind’s eye? Here is a 9 foot 9 inch tall man wearing 125 lbs of armor standing at least 2-3 feet taller than the Israelites. A young, shepherd boy decides that he is going to take on this giant who is taunting the Lord’s army. He tries on the king’s armor, but it is much too heavy and too big for him to wear. He then goes out onto the battle field armed only with a few stones and a slingshot. But if we read the scripture closely, we realize that the stones and the slingshot were not his only armor. He was armed with the mighty strength of God. David told Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” He knew from where to draw his strength, and he had faith and confidence in God. Was he afraid? I imagine that he was. David was probably 5 foot something, facing a mighty giant of a warrior who was almost twice his height and size. Yet, David went out and defeated this giant.

We don’t have a Goliath on a battlefield challenging and taunting us daily, but we do have our giants! Oh, the giants we face! Some are facing the giants of unemployment, unpaid bills, marital issues, problems with children, addiction to drugs or alcohol, depression, and the list goes on and on and on. Our giants taunt us in our beds at night as we try to sleep, at our place of work, in our cars, and in our homes. It seems that the giant follows us wherever we go. We try to avoid the giant. We try to run from it. We may even try to stand up to our giants, only to find that we back down again. No matter what you call your giant, let’s face it, his name is not Goliath. His name is FEAR! Yep, I said it. The giant we are all facing is fear. We are fearful of the what ifs, and we forget who our mighty Savior is and what He can do if we just allow Him to take control of any and every situation.

Fear will stop you in your tracks. Fear will consume you. Fear will cause you to lose sleep at night. But God! Oh, but God! God will push you further than you ever dreamed possible. God will totally consume you if you allow Him to, and fill you with a total, all consuming peace. There is nothing like the peace of knowing that God is in control. And with that peace, God gives you rest. When we truly turn our giants over the God, we can have peaceful sleep and awaken knowing that God’s got this…whatever “this” may be. We can rest knowing that God will defeat the giant, and we will no longer feel defeated.

I know facing our giants is not an easy task. It’s human nature to avoid the problem. Sometimes we think that if we ignore a problem long enough, it will just go away. Well, those Israelites ignored old Goliath, and he didn’t budge. He continued to taunt them day after day until little David decided that enough was enough. But remember that David didn’t go up against Goliath in and of himself. He went against Goliath knowing that God would fight and win the battle for him. He had confidence that the One that was in him was greater than the one that was in the world. (I John 4:4) He totally trusted that God would win the battle for him. What about you? Do you believe that God can win your battles? I do! I’ve seen Him in action too many times. I’ve felt an absolute, complete, overwhelming sense of peace so many times when peace should not have been found. I’ve faced a few giants in my time, but I know now without a shadow of a doubt, that I am not facing the giants alone. I have a heavenly Father, my Savior, my King, who is holding my hand and leading me through the battlefields with His strength and grace and mercy, and I know that the battles have already been won.

We don’t have to face our giants alone. Give it to God, and trust Him. We can go confidently to the throne of God’s grace, and we will receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need! (Hebrews 4:16) Will you give your giants to the Savior today?

What Does 1 John 4:4 Mean?

Give me a word, Lord: FAINTING GOATS & THE SACRIFICIAL LAMB

I Peter 1:19-22 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

I am an animal lover through and through, and we have had a lot of adorable critters over the years, but baby goats are probably some of the cutest critters at Hodge Critter Lodge. As a matter of fact, a baby fainting goat, that I named Syncope, was the first goat to steal my heart. We had raised beef cattle, and continue to do so, branched out to some fine feathered friends like chickens, ducks, guineas, and geese, and had started building a new barn when I found a beautiful baby fainting goat online, and I just had to have her. She was a bottle baby, and though I struggled to teach her how to take a bottle the first week, she completely stole my heart in the end. She grew into the sweetest goat and loved all of our attention.

We’ve tried raising a variety of goats on our little farm, but we always end up with a small herd of fainters. We keep them for a variety of reasons. I guess the first and foremost reason is because they are so much fun. Fainting goats do not literally faint. Their muscles freeze up and contract when they are startled and they fall over. It doesn’t hurt them. Its just part of the genetic makeup of the breed. We also raise them because they are very hardy. They are tough little boogers. A reason other people have raised this particular breed is for herd protection. They place a fainting goat in with a large herd of sheep. If a predator comes in to attack the sheep, the sheep run away and the fainting goat faints and falls over thus becoming the sacrifice for the herd. Our animals are kept in a nice big barn with a secure fence around them, so we don’t use our fainting goats for this purpose thankfully.

When I think of the idea of the fainting goat being sacrificed for the herd, I can’t help but think of our Lord and Savior who was the ultimate sacrifice for you and I. When I read the Old Testament. I am always amazed at the numbers of goats and sheep that were sacrificed as sin offerings to God. They had to choose perfect animals for sacrifice, lambs or goats without blemish or stain. Through these sacrifices, they were made right with God again. The sacrifices redeemed them.

In Genesis 22, Abraham and Isaac gave a preemptive view of God’s plan. God told Abraham to go up to the mountain and sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham followed God’s instructions. He didn’t question. He didn’t refuse. He gathered his son, and wood, and went up to the mountain as instructed. Isaac asked his dad about the lamb. Abraham told his son that God would provide the lamb, and He did. Abraham was given a ram to sacrifice instead of his son, Isaac. Abraham didn’t know how things were going to work out, but He trusted God completely.

God later sent the ultimate sacrifice, His Son, Jesus Christ. He came to earth, fully God and fully man, walked without sin. He was perfect in every way, unblemished and without the stain of sin. He died on that old rugged cross as a propitiation for our sins. Yes, he was the ultimate sacrificial lamb. He was the atonement for all of the sin in this world, past, present, & future. As prophesied and planned by God, Jesus arose three days later. The holy Lamb of God was the final sacrifice. We no longer need to gather our sheep and goats and build alters and offer them in sacrifice. Jesus has already made a way for our atonement. We only have to admit that He is our Lord and Savior and ask Him into our hearts, believe that He died for us, and confess with our mouths and commit to follow him.

I’m so thankful I didn’t have to sacrifice my sweet Syncope, but it pains me to think about the agony and suffering our Lord endured to redeem me. I am ever so grateful that He loves me that much. I know I’ll be spending eternity with the perfect Lamb of God. How about you?

Give me a word, Lord: SHOWERS OF BLESSINGS

Ezekiel 34:26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.

Zechariah 10:1 Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who sends the thunderstorms. He gives showers of rain to all people, and plants of the field to everyone.

Daniel Whittle penned a song titled “Showers of Blessings” many years ago. It’s an old familiar song that we sang in church yesterday morning. The words rang in my ears, and I felt the showers of blessings coming down from above. “Showers of blessing, Showers of blessing we need: Mercy drops round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.”

This made me think about all of the showers of blessings and the mercy drops that the Lord has bestowed on me and my family over the years. We can think about the showers figuratively or literally. Here on the farm, those literal showers can be true blessings. We pray for rain for the crops and rain for the grass for the cattle. There is nothing like a sweet summer shower to cool things off in the midst of a hot Mississippi day. Those glorious showers produce delicious crops in the summer such as sweet corn, tomatoes, peas, beans, squash, cucumbers, and oh so much more. Those showers are refreshing and much needed, but they don’t even compare to the figurative showers that God bestows upon us.

A couple of nights ago, our nightly Bible reading was in 2 Chronicles 14-16. King Asa was the new king, and there was peace in the land of Judah for ten years. Asa did what was good in the sight of the Lord, and he sought the Lord diligently. Because he sought the Lord, his kingdom enjoyed a period of peace. He was able to build fortified towns throughout Judah. God gave him a rest from his enemies. When he did go to battle, he asked God for help and placed his trust in God alone, and he as victorious. Whenever the king or his people sought the Lord, they found him and He was with them. However, in the 36th year of Asa’s reign, King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah. Instead of seeking the Lord as he had previously, Asa removed silver and gold from the treasuries of the Temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and sent these to Kind Ben-hadad of Aram asking that they make a treaty. He asked Ben-hadad to break his treaty with King Baasha. King Asa didn’t rely on God, but rather on man, and because of this, God removed His blessing from King Asa. It was even noted that King Asa developed a serious foot disease, and he still didn’t seek the Lord’s help. He trusted in physicians only, and did not call on God. He died in the 41st year of his reign.

As I read these chapters, I couldn’t help but wonder what in the world was Asa thinking? He had been so close in his walk with God. He was leaning on the Lord, and was receiving showers of blessings. But then, after God had taken such great care of him through the years, he suddenly decided to rely on himself, man, and his own plans. God always wants to bless his kids, but let’s face it sometimes God can’t bless His kids because they are living outside of His will. If we are honest, we would all have to admit that there have been times when we have tried to do things on our own. There have been times when we have been walking outside of God’s will for us. In Ezekiel 34:26, God has promised a time when He would regather His people and pour out His blessings upon them. The Lord promised to provide them with bumper crops in their fields, complete safety from all harm, and abundant rain,.He promised showers of blessings. God wants His people to regather in His name for His purpose. He wants us to follow His Word and live for Him and not for ourselves.

This world is a mess! As a country, we have tried doing things our own way, and we have slowly walked away from God. It is time for all of God’s children to regather and turn back to Him. It is time to seek His will and His ways, and for us to lean fully on Him. I can honestly say that God has showered us with so many more blessings that we deserve. Those mercy drops have been humongous at times, and I’m forever grateful. I just can’t get over all of the grace and mercy that Jesus has poured down on me. I pray that we can regather in His name, and we can enjoy a long, luxurious shower of blessing from our heavenly Father!

ESCAPE ARTISTS

This is an excerpt from my most recent book, “Inspirations from the Funny Farm”. It’s one of my favorite stories in the book.. Why must we always try to escape God’s presence and do things on our own?

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalm 139:7-10

“But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, at an acceptable time, O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness. Answer me with Your saving truth. Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink. May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters.” Psalm 69:13-14

Coatimunidi are in the family of raccoons and kinkajous. They are highly intelligent. These are the South American version of our native raccoon. Their body size is smaller than raccoons, and they have a long snout like nose which is used to dig for insects. They have the distinctive ringed tail similar to that of a raccoon. We have owned both mountain coatis and white nosed coatis. I think that the mountain coatis are our favorites. They are very playful, and they thrive on human attention and interaction. They require constant stimulation. We took a trip up to Tennessee to get our most recent pair of coatis. We used the excuse that we were taking a summer vacation to the lake so that people wouldn’t think we were some kind of crazy critter people. After all, who drives 10-12 hours to buy critters? We do! We loaded up an RV and drove up to Fontana Lake. After enjoying a few days in North Carolina on the lake, we took our rented Ford Explorer and drove to Tennessee to pick up our new babies. We always drive Toyotas or Subarus and have never driven a Ford so we didn’t really know anything about the vehicle except that it was a very nice ride.

We picked up our baby coatis who were 6 and 8 weeks of age at the time. They were tiny and about the size of kittens. Jeff was driving back to the campsite and asked if I could take the wheel for a while. We pulled over and changed position. After a few minutes, he was playing with the coati babies. Then, all of a sudden, one of the babies dove into the floor of the car and raced up behind the dash area of the car. Like I said, we didn’t know anything about Fords. We pulled over on side of the mountain, scratched our heads, put our ears against the dash, trying to figure out where the little escapee may be and how we were going to retrieve him. We had just bought him less than an hour ago, and I thought he was a goner. I was fighting to hold back the tears. I didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t find him anywhere. I was afraid if we drove, he would get into an area where the exhaust would kill him. We didn’t have a clue what to do. Jeff assumed the wheel and we continued our ride towards the lake intently listening for any movement in or around the dash. Thoughts were flying through my head. What if we couldn’t get him out? Would we turn the rented Ford in with a coati in the dash? Would we tell them that there was a coati in the dash, or should we just let them figure it out on their own? Oh, what were we to do? I was just about to have a conniption fit!

I remembered that we had passed a Ford dealership near Bryson City, and I looked up their phone number. I called the service department and this conversation occurred:

Me: “Sir, we are in a rented Ford Explorer. Before I go any further let me assure you that this is not a practical joke and we are not pranking you. I promise.”

Service Man: “Okay, ma’am, what can we do for you.”

Me: “As I said, we are in rented Ford Explorer, and we do not know anything about this vehicle. We are staying at Fontana Lake, and we are on our way back from Bybee, TN with two baby coatimundi.”

Service Man: “With baby whats?”

Me: “Baby coatimundi. They are the South American version of a raccoon. They are babies. Well, anyways, one of the babies jumped out of my husband’s lap and ran up behind the dash area. We can’t find him and don’t know how to get him out. I am so afraid he will die in there. I know it’s almost closing time, but if we drive straight there, can you help us get him out?”

Service Man: (Long pause.) “Does he bite? How big is this thing?”

Me: “He’s tiny. He’s a baby. About the size of a kitten. He may bite. I don’t know. We haven’t had him but an hour or two, but he hasn’t bitten us. If he does, it’ll be like a kitten bite. Can you help us, please? I promise this is not a joke. We need your help. (Desperation in my voice.)”

Service Man: “Um, yea. Come on down and we’ll see what we can do.”

We quickly drove to the dealership. It seemed like it took forever to get there, although it was less than a thirty minute drive. We pulled up at the service department, and I think every service man there came out to greet us to see what these rednecks from Mississippi were talking about. It took them two seconds to pop the dash piece off. Our little coati was right there. Jeff pulled him out, and he was perfectly fine. Again, praise the Lord! I thanked the service guys profusely, and I think they were excited to have a crazy little story to share with their friends and family. We did not allow the coatis to be held while driving or riding in the vehicle from that point on. We eventually safely arrived home in Mississippi, and we named them Pip Squeak and Pitter Patter. They have a huge enclosure attached to our porch that my husband built. We pull chairs in there and play with them as much as possible. They are awesome little critters, and they continue to bring us great joy!

With the quantity of critters that we have had through the years, and the quality of critters, we have had quite a few escape events. I’ve even chased pigs in high heels while getting ready to head to church on a Sunday morning. Every time, I panic briefly while trying to catch the little escapee, but then we always get a great big old belly laugh after the fact. I’m thankful that God protects these little creatures just as he protects each of us.

I look back on my own life, and I see all the many times that I “escaped” from God for periods of times. There were times when I just wanted to see what life had to offer, times that I got too busy for God, and then there were other times that I thought I had everything under control…under my own power. He provided every need for those Israelites as they wandered for forty years. He provided manna from heaven. He turned a rock into water. They saw the provision of God first hand, up close and personal, and yet they continued to turn their backs on God and try to escape His presence. I have never been able to understand this. I want to scream, “You knuckleheads! Can’t you see what God has done for you!”  As I’ve aged, I realized that God rescued me more times than I can even begin to count.  I’ve been a knucklehead quite a few times myself. I am eternally thankful that He has patience when I goof up like those old Israelites, and He gently puts me back on His path. God loves me even more than I love all of these silly little critters, and He has gone before me to keep me safe from harm as I walk through this thing we call life.

Thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to my blog!

My name is K.K. Hodge. I wear a lot of hats. I’m a family nurse practitioner, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, Sunday School teacher, church treasurer, and crazy critter farmer. But of all the hats I wear, my favorite one is my crown. Oh yes, a crown! I am a daughter of the King. My crown sits toppled to one side most of the time as I am also the Queen of Klutz, but it sits on my head nonetheless.

My husband, Jeff, and I live in south Mississippi on 80 beautiful, park like acres where we raise beef cattle and own, or rather are owned by, a menagerie of critters. We’ve had your typical farm animals such as cows, goats, sheep, pigs, donkeys, chickens, and ducks, and we’ve also had a variety of exotics including coatimundi, kinkajous, lemurs, prairie dogs, Patagonian cavies, alpacas, foxes, skunks, opossums, and deer just to name a few. It’s safe to say that we love all of God’s creatures.

A few years ago, I published my first children’s book, “Stinking Thinking”, followed by my second one, “A Raccoon Tale”. This year, I published my first devotional/inspirational, “Inspirations from the Funny Farm”. I love sharing our funny farm adventures, and I love sharing Christ with others. At the onset of the COVID pandemic, I began writing daily devotionals to encourage myself and others, and I’ve had a great time doing so. I decided to start a blog. I pray my simple ramblings will bring some encouragement to you and perhaps you will receive a blessing.

Give me a word, Lord: STAMINA

I Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

I’ve shared this story before, but I can’t help but share it again because it brings me great joy. When nearing the end of our mission trip to Peru, we traveled by boat down the Amazon River to Casa Mi Padre, a boys home. We camped outdoors on mats under mosquito tents. It was a pretty amazing experience, but being in the great outdoors on the Amazon River was just a little piece of cake. The sweet, delicious icing on the cake came the next morning.
We were up early setting up for the day, when a little 80 year old lady who was about as big as a minute came paddling upstream to our site. Seriously, y’all, she was 4 foot nothing and 80 years old. She had paddled upstream for an hour to get to our camp because she knew that we had something she needed. She walked up the hill with her paddle in hand. We weren’t quite set up for patient care, but she peaked our interest, and we stopped to get to know her. She told us that she had 12 children, 8 of which were still living. One daughter brought her food each week but had failed to come the previous week. She was hungry. We had some scrambled eggs and bread and cold water, and she scarfed it down. We went through our back packs and loaded her up with as many snacks as we could find so that she could take something back home with her.
I then examined her in my makeshift clinic under an outdoor gazebo. I gave her necessary medications, and she proceeded on to our dental clinic and eye clinic with paddle in hand. She was guarding that paddle the entire time.
A few hours had passed, and I noticed a man carrying her paddle away. I didn’t speak the native language, and couldn’t make the man understand. I recruited a translator, and had the translator explain to the man that the paddle belonged to the little lady. The joke was on us. Turned out that the little old lady had high jacked a boat, paddled upstream an hour because she heard that our team would be there. We had something she wanted, and she did what she had to do to get it. We all had a good laugh, and arranged for a family member that was present to take her back home, but not before she had a full belly, medications, new glasses, and new teeth. She praised God for each of us, and wished many blessings over our team.
Now, I am not condoning nor recommending “borrowing” a boat or taking something that doesn’t belong to you to get what you need. But I am recommending that we all strive for that kind of stamina when we are seeking Christ and doing His work. We should paddle upstream if necessary to reach others for Christ. We need to travel to remote places, go to the hard places, meet people that are outside our daily circle, talk to people that we may not even like, and do whatever it takes to share the Good News. God will open the doors. God will make a way. You only have to be a willing vessel and have the stamina to do it. If a 4 foot tall 80 year old woman can paddle upstream up the Amazon River, can’t we go down the street, in the comfort of our air conditioned vehicle, and tell others about Christ? Yes, we can! God will give us all the stamina we need!!