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Every living thing is able to teach, to connect us integrally to the Source of our life. Every degree of separation from the life that sustains us--animals, plants and relationships with others--is a missed opportunity to receive increased faith and confidence in the Provider.

Yesterday morning, the Word spoke this truth to me. For a while now, my faith has declared that we are only receivers. If we do not acknowledge (receive) Every Good Thing (gifts offered to us from the hand of the Lord), we miss out on the fullness of it! Now, hearing Him again, this is the Word He fed me: "I am constantly working to care for you." Wow. What a simple but loaded statement. I suppose in my mind, He was appearing a lazy God, just standing by and allowing Good Things to come my way, especially if I’m “good”. NO. After I received that Word, the ruminating began.

A mother is always at work. Nourishing, training, affirming, and working very hard toward those goals. There’s no “off duty” time. She is fully aware that life requires work. Any attempt to escape this truth leaves her children in need of something! My husband also, he continuously works for the goal of the same, but in different integral ways. His daily work supports our nourishment also, for if we do not work we will not eat. If I did not eat, my infant who is breastfed could not eat. If my children did not eat they would not grow. Everything that is not growing is dying. To be more fully alive, we must eat.

I learned recently that if you plant a fruit tree, don’t fill the hole with compost. It seems like such a good idea, to make sure the soil is excellent quality for the best possible start! What happens when the food is too convenient is that the roots will not spread. Just as I had seen years ago with the potted tree sheltered in the greenhouse becoming rootbound, what we transplant into matters. At the time, we were leaving the Christian group we had known all our lives--that was coming out of the pot in the greenhouse. The point wasn’t just to unfurl the roots, and allow the winds and circumstances to strengthen the heartwood...He wants them to go deep. What is required for the strength and vigor of the tree is an expansive root system. If there is no work, no digging deeper and pursuing what is needed for vitality, involved in its establishment, the roots stay put, only venturing out as far as necessary to get its needs for food and water met. This maintains weakness and shallowness.

Integral work is blessed. I’ve recently begun to see some additional separated practices in my life. “She makes her arms strong for her tasks”. I love feeling strong and having the capacity to do well as I keep my home. I believe it is my responsibility to be capable of doing the work that the Lord has set before me, which varies dramatically day to day. As our family becomes more closely connected to the Word through our daily bread, and the life that sustains us, I have come to realize the reason that we need to have separated physical exercise. We are no longer working for our food. It may be comfortable, but it’s the quickest way to lose interest in life, because life without work is quite boring! To be in hot pursuit of our own desire is mind-numbing in its lack of satiety, but we just keep doing it again and again, day after day and then call it mental sickness.

Integral work, on the other hand, affirms our position as beloved and participatory members of the household, becoming strengthened and nourished as we go, digging deeper and deeper into the holy hard work of Life. It increases our mind through hearing wisdom by the Word. It increases the body through purposeful use of energy we recieve from the Word. It increases the spirit through intimacy that is enjoyed as we work together as a family and give thanks for each blessing that we see...and when you have multiple people seeing blessings from different perspective, someone can always have a word of gratitude that brings thanksgiving to our Father.

I’m not saying that working out is bad. I confess though, it is a disintegrated form of movement because it only has the purpose of increasing strength, not offering life to anyone else. What is integral, complete has this unique ability to continuously abound life in all directions! In fact, to spend energy I have received in advance of work I am being called to do, might be misallocated resources. If it isn't mine, but to be rendered, I need to be paying attention to how entitled I act to it.

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. 
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 NIV

Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry." (or "play" in some translations)
1 Corinthians 10:7 NIV (from Exodus 32)

Isn't it possible that our entitlement to convenience has led to this kind of attitude toward food, and then our behavior, indulged in the flesh, is further entitled to what we do with the energy coming from the things we are taking?

Every Good Thing has a purpose. My husband Drew is exceptionally gifted in seeing paths to greater efficiency. I have grown through this design he was created with, becoming less wasteful of resources as I work toward any goal. As I try to train my children to clean dishes without consuming gallons of water, or not pile wet dishes atop dry, I had an opportunity to render discipline in a way that I wasn’t expecting. This is how the Word integrally teaches me and them at the same time. If my full attention is on the present. If not, I can be sure I will miss these integral opportunities to teach them in the Word and my own words are dismally lacking in substance. It’s frustrating and unfruitful, training separate from the Word. What came out of my mouth was something to this effect:

“Do you know why efficiency matters? It isn’t because we are scared of not having enough. It is paying regard to every Good Thing being given to us for a reason. If we are squandering these gifts, we may not be using them for their intended purpose. If you pile wet dishes on top of dry, all the dishes are wet AND you run out of room for more. This takes more time and energy than if you just empty the drainer before you start. Who gave us time and energy?”


“Ok, so if every Good Thing has a purpose, what is this time and energy we have right now meant to be used for? Efficiency is to acknowledge these things are not ours to spend as we please. It is not losing our connection to the Authority of the Head so that under His command, we are utilizing each Good Thing to its maximum benefit of ourselves and others, bringing honor and glory to Abba in the process.”

In humility and fear of YHVH are riches, honor and life. To submit is to live.

Participating in the work of the family is such a Good Thing. A household requires work.

As I spoke to my son (who, by nature avoids work) that the sink was filled with hot, fresh water so that it would be easy for him to enter and wash his cup, this Word came to mind. "He has prepared in advance for us to do". If we are finding we don't have everything we need in order to do something, either this is not the Good Thing for this time, or we are spending His resources with self-indulgence or disregard of the gift. Guess what happened? He went ahead and washed the rest of the dishes that were staged and ready to wash in addition to his own cup. It is a joy to enter into the work of the household. Willing participation is pleasure.

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:10 NIV

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 NIV

“My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”
John 5:17 NIV

What in the world have we done to ourselves to attempt to escape from the reality that in order to be fully nourished, work must be done? What made us so entitled to enabled indulgence? Outsourcing it is to our own demise, but in participating we receive blessing upon blessing. Deeper, more expansive roots. Greater capacity to receive, draw up life from the Source and bless another. Greater intimacy and knowledge of the Lord’s Word through the earth. Greater physical strength. Joy and peace in our relationships as a family. Integral work is a Good Thing. It is complete.

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for
‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”

-Acts 17:24-28

Intimacy with the Lord is not in theology. Theology is a disintegrated human attempt to understand YHVH (by definition “you cannot understand me, and what you think about Me does not change my Reality or that you are completely and utterly dependent on Me), through a pattern of knowledge that is of the philosophers, NOT the prophets. The prophets listened, the philosophers thought.

Pay attention to Life. He is always teaching.

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 NKJV


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