Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Lord keeps us safe

"Lord you will keep us safe and protect us from such [manipulative] people forever." Psalm 12:7

Having just come from a difficult work situation where I had been struggling with a manipulative person, this verse was a welcome sight.  I had actually been feeling like I needed to somehow mend things, but in the past week, I have been receiving a message from God that I am not in control of the outcome of this situation.  He is.

It is a great feeling to know that the God who created all things, the infinite being who loves us so much He sent His son to die on a cross, He is also there to protect us from those that do not obey His laws. 

Even as I struggled this past week with the feeling that I failed, not just my bosses but God too, He keeps opening my eyes to messages in Scripture that are leading me to believe that maybe this was God's way of protecting me and keeping me safe. 

It is so easy to forget that He is in control and we are not.  I pray that I can focus my eyes on Him during this Thanksgiving week and remember that He is in control.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In His Grace...

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Lord Protects

"He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made.  The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head." Psalm 7:15-16

Have you ever dealt with someone and you find yourself hoping this will happen?  Hoping that the trouble they constantly cause for you will come back around and bite them?  Hoping that they will "fall into the pit"?  Sometimes the people we deal with in this world can be very difficult.  They are not all following the Lord - some of them may even unknowingly (or knowingly) be following the devil. 

Sometimes when we encounter a very manipulative person, especially when we have to work with them or live with them, the only thing that can help is a message like this one.  In it we are told that the trouble will come back to bite them.  The violence they serve up to others will land on them. 

But it will be in God's timing. It is not for us to determine the judgment a manipulative person will reap one day.  That is God's job.  And we have to remember when we deal with difficult people, that they too are loved by God. 

I think this is something worth praying about.  I will be praying that God will help me remember that He loves all His children, not just those that are obedient or are following Him.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Lord Sustains Me

"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5

This Psalm was written by David when his own son was trying to kill him and take his throne.  I cannot imagine the disappointment David must have felt at this point as well as the worry of what the next day would hold for him. 

But instead of lying awake at night worrying about the outcome, David says he slept.  He did what I find quite challenging whenever I have a stressful situation in my life.  He completely trusted God.  He knew the outcome would be whatever was in God's will and that worrying about it (and not sleeping) would get him nowhere. 

He waited on the Lord to take care of it.  I have a tendency to go over it again and again in my head.  Different things I could have said or should have said.  Different things I can still say.  I ruminate on it to the detriment of my sleep. 

I pray I will remember this verse the next time I am having trouble going to sleep because of worry.  And I pray that I will put all my trust in God and His perfect will.

In His Grace...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Way of the Righteous

"For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." Psalm 1:6

I finally finished Revelation and I definitely got more out of it than ever before.  Sometimes when I finish a particular part of the Bible, I wonder how to decide what section to read next.  Should I go chronologically or just pick and choose.  This time, I just felt the Psalms calling to me so I am making my way through them.

When I read the above verse, I found myself thinking, "why doesn't it seem like this is true so much of the time?"  I have known, and worked for, quite a few people that I would call wicked.  People that use other people and that seem to have no morals.  People that will take advantage of anyone and anything and use anything they can to their advantage.  How many people have you known that are obviously not following God, but still appear to be prospering - money, house, material things, jobs, getting ahead? 

Then it occurred to me, perhaps this is written from an eternal perspective.  Could it be that the righteous are being rewarded in heaven?  That while we don't see the reward here on earth, they will be richly rewarded in their eternal home.  And that while the wicked may seem to be getting ahead on earth, their way will perish when we arrive in our eternal home? 

I think this is so and I pray that we will keep our eyes set on eternity, not on the temporary world we currently live in.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

We like to complain

While I am still reading Revelation, this post comes from something I read in a devotional called Jesus Calling.  It was from October 9th and it has been resonating with me since then as I have been battling first one cold followed without reprieve by another. 

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe..." Philippians 2:14-15

We like to complain.  It is part of our humanness.  It is part of our fallen world.  But in this verse God is telling us not to complain to each other.  As Sarah Young says, "Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me {God} and talk it out."  This is something I struggle with.  I want someone to commiserate with me, someone that knows how it feels to have a sore throat, a stuffy head and a nasty cough.  For some reason, although in my brain I know that Jesus was human in every way, I have trouble completely understanding His humanness.  He was tempted to complain just as we are.  He was tempted to sin just as we are.  But instead of giving in, he took it to His heavenly Father. 

I pray that I can increasingly do this also.  And that in taking it to my Heavenly Father, I will feel His compassion, His commiseration and His healing hand. 

In His Grace...

God's Forgiveness

How can we refuse to repent?  Why do we feel that we know better than the creator of the earth?  Why do we think we can control our time here on earth when time and time again, we find that we are not in control? 

Revelation 16 describes the "Seven Bowls of God's Wrath" that will be poured out on "the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image" otherwise known as the devil.  And yet, even then, even as the earth is coming to a close, God would be willing to forgive.  Even after someone has chosen to follow Satan, God is willing to forgive.  This is what it says in verses 8-11:

"The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire.  They were seared by the intense heat...but they refused to repent and glorify him.  The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness...but they refused to repent of what they had done."

The imagery in these verses is frightening.  I don't know if it is literal or figurative of something else but what stood out to me this morning is that God is willing to forgive.  If people "refused to repent" that means that repentance was possible.  Which means that repentance is always possible.  God is always willing to forgive, as long as we come to him with a repentant heart. 

I pray I can share this message of hope and forgiveness with my friends and loved ones so that they will not experience separation from God's glorious love.

In His Grace....

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leads the World Astray

I am still working my way through Revelation and find that it is a difficult book of the Bible to me. Chapter 12 seems to be summarizing all of Biblical history with imagery and verse 9 says:

"The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."

And thus Satan is here even today, leading the whole world astray.

It is a difficult concept for many people to grasp.  That Satan is real.  That he exists and there is a spiritual battle raging every day on earth.  The way I like to think about it is from one of Frank Peretti's novels in which Satan and his demons meddle with the characters' daily lives.  While the characters cannot see them, there are times when they are aware of a dark presence.

I know a novel is fiction, and so the book is Mr. Peretti's idea of how the spiritual battle works.  But for me it is a good image to keep in mind when I am going through my daily plans.  Satan's goal is to keep me from focusing my thoughts, actions and behaviors on God.  He wants to keep me from my goal of trying to be more like Jesus.  So when my little man is having a crying fit while brushing his teeth and there are only a couple minutes left before we need to leave for school, I have to focus hard on being like Jesus instead of just yelling at my little man.  I have to confess, I often do not succeed but with God's grace, I can keep trying.

Satan is scheming, every day, every hour, every minute to "lead the whole world astray" and from the looks of it, he is succeeding with so many people.  When I look around just at American society, it is amazing how far we have fallen from Scripture and from the precepts that our founding fathers founded our country on.

I pray that God will use me to spread His good news, His love, His kindness, His grace to our hurting country.

In His Grace...

Friday, October 11, 2013


I have to admit, when I have read Revelation in the past, it has not meant a lot to me.  I found the imagery difficult to interpret and I got lost in what John describes.  So while I had read the book of Revelation several times, I just didn't get it.  I still may not be getting it, but by choosing a verse each day and meditating on that verse, I have been able to decipher more meaning than ever before.  And I have found it very encouraging (I am only in chapter 5 so it may not continue to be encouraging) but so far it has brought me hope.  Like the verse I chose today:

"Then one one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep!  See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.'" Revelation 5:5

While in the past, I tended to get bogged down in the imagery - what does it mean by "Lion of the tribe of Judah", and what is it talking about a "scroll and seven seals"?  I would allow these things to confuse me and I wouldn't see the big picture.

But today, I can see the big picture.  Perhaps it is from reading the Bible from cover to cover last year and this, or maybe I am further along in my walk with God but for whatever reason, today was different.

I can see that the "Lion of the tribe of Judah" is referring to Jesus and the lion symbolizes His power.  "The root of David" is referring to Jesus being from David's family line.  And the verse is saying that Jesus has triumphed - he has overcome Satan and is able to lead us, His followers, to triumph over the information contained in the scroll. defines triumph as "the act, fact, or condition of being victorious."  While I still do not know what information is in the scroll, I can be encouraged because this verse is telling us that through Jesus, we will be victorious over the evil one, which is fantastic news.

I pray that I can continue to increase my faith in Jesus so I can be a part of His triumph.

In His Grace...

Thursday, October 10, 2013


"You are worthy our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Revelation 4:11

The vastness of God's creation was emphasized the other night as my husband and I watched an Imax movie "The Deep" about the ocean and its' creatures.  As we watched the film with seas of translucent jelly fish, brightly colored coral, many legged brightly colored sea stars, fantastic Hermissenda looking remarkably like an underwater slug but with beautifully colored soft spines on their backs, gigantic and gentle Blue whales which are the largest known mammal alive, it became overwhelmingly amazing to me to think that it was all created by one being.  I was in awe!

How could anyone think of all these creatures?  How could He breathe them into being?  How could He have even thought of how all their bodies could function?  It is truly unfathomable by my tiny brain, the detail that each organism required in being created.  The imagination that was involved to bring so many creatures to life.  It is truly amazing!

It also definitely brings to light the true meaning behind this verse today.  He is WORTHY of our praise.  He created "all things" and we, and everything around us, only exist because it is His will.  We "have our being" because that is His will.  In Revelation 4, everyone in heaven and on earth will praise and honor our heavenly Father, because he created everything.  He is our God, our Father, the Alpha and Omega, the great I Am.

I reverently praise and worship Him.

In His Grace...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm - neither not nor cold - I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  Revelation 3:15-16

In reading the notes at the bottom of the page in my study bible, Laodicea was a wealthy city with a water supply problem.  At one point, they built an aqueduct to bring water to the city from hot springs but when the water reached the city, it was only lukewarm.  Lukewarm water feels fine if you are washing hands or feet, but it is not very nice for much else.

But this isn't really what this verse is referring to.  Upon further reading, Jesus is really talking about the church and how the believers didn't stand up for anything - they had become indifferent.

I remember this verse from reading the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan a couple of years ago.  I did not remember where the verse was or what it contained until I read it early this morning.  And it had the same effect on me now as it did then.  I remember reading this part of "Crazy Love" and feeling upset.  Is this what I was, a "lukewarm" believer?  Not taking a stand for anything of importance and being indifferent and idle. How alarming that by being indifferent, by not fighting for my beliefs, I could be "spit" out of the mouth of God.  I knew then that this is not what I wanted.  I still know today that this is not what I want.

I want to proclaim God's goodness.  I want to proclaim God's love, grace, mercy, compassion, gentleness, kindness and strength.  But how do we do this on a regular basis?  I think it can be difficult in our world of selfishness, hurry and lack of caring.

But we can do it, through our actions to the broken people around us, through our speech, through our selfless deeds and directly, by witnessing to those around us.  I have found it difficult, but I find that as I practice (as I tell my little man, practice makes perfect) it gets easier and easier.  I cannot say that I am preaching the word wherever I go, but I can insert God's wisdom and love for unbelievers in my daily life.  And I pray that He will give me words to continue and to be on fire for him, not lukewarm.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

To him who overcomes...

"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God...He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death...To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna...To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations...just as I have received authority from my Father."  Revelation 2:7,11, 17, 26-27

As I started reading the letters to each of the churches in the second chapter of Revelation, I noticed a phrase that was repeated at the end of each of the letters, "to him who overcomes" or "he who overcomes". I have written a previous post on the importance of the word overcome and this jumped out at me. defines overcome as "to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat; to prevail over."  This is an important concept throughout the pages of the bible, not just physically but mentally prevailing over the enemy.  There are many examples such as David and Goliath, or Joshua and Jericho.

But even in the current day when we are not generally physically fighting a giant, or trying to attack a walled city, there are plenty of opportunities that require that we overcome.  Overcoming an addiction, be it food, alcohol or drugs; overcoming negative self-talk that can lead to depression; overcoming what others think of you or how  you let that affect you; overcoming criticism of your actions or behaviors.  There are so many examples of ways that we, as Christians, must overcome in order to wholeheartedly follow Jesus.

It can be a daily, hourly struggle, but I found myself encouraged by what I found in Revelation, a chapter of the Bible that has always intimidated me.  Jesus lists all the ways that overcomers will be rewarded - in heaven for eternity, with hidden manna, with authority over nations and unhurt by the second death.  I confess, I don't understand completely what is meant by all of these things, but I know that it is a promise from God, and I know that God is Good.

In His Grace...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Love and obedience

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.  As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."  2 John 6

Eye opening, isn't it?  How is love defined in this passage?  Isn't it defined as obedience?  Is that how we usually think of love?  I know it isn't how I usually defined love.  Caring, compassion, kindness, gentleness...those seem like good ways to show love.  But obedience...I really hadn't ever reached that conclusion.

But in thinking of parenting my own little man, it is what I expect from him.  I expect him to obey me out of love for me.  And it doesn't always go smoothly.  Teaching a 5 year old boy to obey is a challenging prospect.  However, it is what we are trying to teach.  And how fitting that this is exactly what God is telling us in his Word.  That when we are obeying his commands, we are showing Him our love.

I pray that I can show God my love by being obedient to His commands, especially when they are things that I am unsure about doing.

In His Grace...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Building Confidence

We have started praying for confidence for our little man.  He struggles with extreme shyness, especially when meeting a number of people for the first time.  It became very apparent that it was something that we needed to give to God on Wednesday when he and I visited my  husband's new workplace.  It was our first visit there and so we walked around to meet everyone.  Our little man spent the entire time clinging to Daddy and hiding his face from everyone we met.

While I know this is not uncommon or unusual in children, it is something we would like him to work on.  From past experience we also know that no matter what we say, it will not change.  I can give him the words to say, I can provide him with tips on how to behave. But after doing this without success, the best thing I can do, and the first thing I should have done, was give it to God.  My verse today ties into this fairly well:

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15

Isn't that wonderful news?  As long as what we are praying for falls within the will of God, we can be confident that he will give it to us.  So we will pray for confidence for our little man, to be confident in who he is in Christ, a beloved Son of God Most High, a child of the King, just the way he is, the way God knitted him in my womb.

In His Grace...

Monday, September 30, 2013

His Promises

"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." 2 Peter 3:13

Our pastor gave a fantastic sermon yesterday about the water mentioned throughout the new testament. While I have read the new testament quite a few times, I often find that I am just reading it but not truly understanding what it has to say.  This was the case yesterday as well.

I am not going to try to repeat his sermon, as I would not be able to do it justice.  However, the takeaway message was one that is worth attempting to repeat.  If we expect to overflow with God's love, compassion and grace in the way that Jesus did, we must fill ourselves with God's Word.  It is our weapon, it is our strength, it is our courage and it is needed daily.

Our pastor suggested reading one chapter of the Bible every day, choosing a verse from that chapter and meditating on it throughout the day.  Write it on a card that you keep with you and refer to it throughout the work, school or play day. As this becomes a habit and you continue to meditate on Scripture each and every day, eventually you will have such a treasure store of verses in your memory that when things come up, as they always do, you will have something to grab a hold of, a verse to hold onto, remembering God's promises and holding tight to them.  

My verse today is above as I am currently reading 2 Peter.  I found it encouraging that after being reminded yesterday by our pastor about God's promises, about living in God's promises and what His Word says instead of what the world says, I was reminded of that today in my verse.  In this verse, we are being reminded to keep an eternal and heavenly perspective as we have been promised a new and fantastic home with Jesus in heaven for all eternity.

I pray I can keep that eternal and heavenly perspective in light of the troubles I will have here on earth.

In His Grace....

Your blonde is showing

A friend of ours had a disappointing experience at church yesterday.  She and her husband signed up to serve communion, which our church does by passing trays.  Our church recently switched to two services and for some things the volunteers are spread a little thin.  The woman in charge was trying to explain to our friend where she was supposed to go and how the pattern worked.  Our friend kept asking questions, just to clarify what was expected and to be sure she did it correctly.  The woman in charge eventually said to our friend, "Your blonde is showing through today" in a sarcastic tone.  While our friend decided to take the high road and forgive the harsh words (the woman did eventually apologize), when we were discussing it in our small group, the comment was made "even more surprising because it happened at church."

Unfortunately, this is an attitude that I think ends up hurting the Christian community. We and others, somehow get the idea, that because we are Christians, we shouldn't make mistakes.  We shouldn't have bad days and we shouldn't let our emotions show.  If we have truly found Christ, we should have it all together, always take the high road, always know the right thing to say.  This, however, couldn't be further from the truth.

Although we have a personal relationship with Christ, we are still human.  We have flaws, we make mistakes and we still sin.  Hopefully having an eternal perspective will give us the ability to see our mistakes and make amends, but it doesn't prevent us from making the mistakes in the first place.  It doesn't mean we won't have any troubles and that we will sail along through life with no pain, no struggles, no difficulties.  Jesus said:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I think a better attitude and one that would be worth spreading, is one of compassion and forgiveness. Remembering that no matter where we are - church, bible study, small group, grocery store - Jesus asks us to love others and to spread that love.  Extend forgiveness the next time someone cuts you off on the road, has a bad attitude or uses harsh words.  It takes courage and strength, not our own, but that of the Holy Spirit living inside us to do that.  But we can as Jesus did.

In His Grace...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Next stage of life

Our little man started Kindergarten last Wednesday.  One of our friends put it so well - bittersweet.  My baby is growing up.  I am excited for him to make new friends and learn new things.  But everyday as I take him to Kindergarten, my stomach is in knots.  I miss having him at home with me.  I will miss so many things as he grows.

It is also complicated by the fact that I will be having a partial hysterectomy soon which means no more babies.  I started late and my body never recovered from having our little man.  It has been giving me nothing but trouble since I had him five years ago.  So I will have a part of myself removed and hopefully get back to feeling good.  But this too is bittersweet.  And all at the same time.

Which has made me cherish all the things I love that he still loves to do.  I love that he still loves to hold my hand when we walk together.  He still loves to cuddle in the morning when he wakes and in the evening before bed.  He still gives kisses and hugs before he heads into the classroom and pretty much any time you ask for one.  He laughs with abandon at breakfast.

I will continue to pray for God's perfect timing even if I do not understand.  The following is from an email a good friend sent:

"Hebrews 4:9-10 says:  There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his."  That doesn't mean "works" as in your job and housework etc..... it's ALL "works" .... everything we do including worry that we're supposed to let God take care of!  :)"

In His Grace...

Monday, August 12, 2013


I wrote this last year in June and it was posted on my original blog which I am no longer using.  It seems to fit again in my life at this time as well.

I am not sure why but lately I just keep hearing/seeing the word overcome.  In songs on the Christian radio station I listen to, in the Bible as I read through God's word. It seems to be a very important concept but one which I did not think much of previously.

I have struggled with many things since becoming a Christian - depression, fear, anxiety.  And with God's help, I have overcome.  I think this is why the term has come to mean something to me.  Following Christ has enabled me to overcome things that for a time were disabling.  I had allowed depression to overcome me, to keep me from reaching out to others, to stop me from leading a full life in Christ.

I had allowed fear to freeze me in my tracks and prevent me from fulfilling God's dream for my life.

I had allowed anxiety to prevent me from following God's leading in my life.

But I know that "God did not give us the spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" 2 Tim 1:7.  And so each time I encounter these things that threaten my relationship with Jesus, I try to remember to look to the Lord and have verses memorized that relate to each.  Obviously, I look to the verse in Timothy to assist when I am fearful.

I look to a verse in Phillippians to assist when I am anxious "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" Phil 4:6-7.  This has been a favorite of mine for quite a few years.  I think it was the second verse I ever memorized after giving my life to the Lord.

And the Psalms that David wrote are particularly helpful whenever I feel that I am falling into the hole of depression "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame" Psalm 34:4-5.  There are numerous Psalms that encourage me and lead me toward Jesus instead of into the darkness and self-centeredness that is depression.

I pray that one of these verses might be a help to someone reading this.

In His Grace..

Friday, August 9, 2013

In Our Own Strength

It is so easy, isn't it, to try to go through life in our own strength?

I don't know about you, but I fall into this periodically.  As I do, I find that life gets more and more difficult whenever I try to go it on my own.  I certainly don't plan to do it on my own.  But periodically, when our family gets really busy (or I get really lazy) I find myself not reading my Bible daily, not talking to God regularly and as a result, I find myself in a downward spiral.

In my life application study Bible, I have been reading the book of Colossians.  In the midst of the second chapter, there is a chart that puts it well and I have included it below:

                    Religion by Self-effort                                        
Goal        Please God by our own good deeds.                

Means     Practice, diligent service, discipline and obedience, in hope of reward.                          

Power     Good, honest effort through self-determination.                                                  

Control    Self-motivation; self-control                              

Results    Chronic guilt, apathy, depression, failure constant desire for approval.    

                  Salvation by Faith
Goal        Trust in Christ and then live to please God.

Means     Confess, submit and commit yourself to Christ's control.

Power     The Holy Spirit in us helps us do good work for Christ's kingdom.

Control   Christ in me; I in Christ.

Results    Joy, thankfulness, love, guidance, service, forgiveness.
This sums up my findings quite well.  When I try to do it in my own strength, I find myself feeling like a failure, seeking the approval of those around me and not finding it, practicing negative self-talk which leads me down the road toward depression.

But if I remember to live in God's strength, remember Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength", I find myself with a much more positive outlook on life.  I can give thanks in all things which guides me to lead a life filled with much more joy.

I don't have it all dialed in...I am a work in progress...but I pray that I can continue to seek His joy through thankfulness.

In His Grace...    

Friday, July 12, 2013


"So do not fear, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

2013 has been a year of change for my family.  It started with our move into a new home 5 days into January.  We joined the masses in doing a short sale on the home we purchased in 2006 so we packed up our belongings and moved into a rental house.

The next thing that changed was our family.  My husbands step-mother passed away on Memorial Day after a 3 year battle with cancer.  We spent two weeks with his father in Albany, New York to help in whatever way we could.

Yesterday my husband started a new job - a great opportunity came with God's perfect timing so he moved up the ladder in the world of wineries.

I am researching surgeons to have an operation that will hopefully put an end to the chronic pain I have been experiencing for the past two and a half years.

Our little man will start Kindergarten in the fall and shortly thereafter, our family will grow as my sister-in-law will be giving birth to another son.

It will be in our minds the year of change.  Some good, some hard, some overwhelming.  But through it all, I know that God is with us.  None of these changes have come as a surprise to Him.  None of it is hard for Him to understand.

So I am grasping for His truth each morning as I read His Word and try to soak in the message He has for me each daily bread.  And as the tears stream at times, I will keep searching for His truth, His love and His presence.

In His Grace...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Love the Lord your God

"Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on  your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on  the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you...then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.  Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.  Do not test the Lord your God as  you did at Massah.  Be sure to keep the commands of the Lord your God and the stipulations and decrees he has given you.  Do what is right and good in the Lord's sight so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers, thrusting out all your enemies before you as the Lord said."  Deuteronomy 6:3-19

What do you think?  Are we still doing these things in the USA?  Are we obeying the Lord's commands and not following other Gods?

Or has this great country, founded on the biblical principles and truths we find in God's word, crossed over into a period where we are testing the Lord our God?

Everything our country was founded on included God.  Now through organizations like the ACLU, we are removing God from everything.

I pray that we can turn this country around.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12: 22-26

I could have spent the weekend worrying about an issue at work.  That is what usually happens.  My mind just keeps returning to things - issues at work, with family, with friends - and without realizing it, I am worrying.  The thoughts consume my mind unless I take control.

But this past weekend, I did my best to take control.  I had an issue I wasn't looking forward to resolving at work and my mind returned to it over and over again.  But each time, at some point I realized what I was doing.  I stopped myself and prayed about it in another attempt to give it to God.

He rewarded my efforts.  When I arrived at work on Tuesday, the issue had been resolved and it didn't require anything from me.  God handled it when I gave the worry to Him.  He is in control, not me.

I pray you can turn something over to God that has been bothering you and see what He does with it.

In His Grace...

Friday, June 21, 2013


I don't know if I have many readers, but I wanted to apologize for my long hiatus.  It has been a trying year for our family and I had been feeling overwhelmed.  Subjects to write about slowly stopped coming to me.  My ability to see daily life through the lens of Scripture was fading and I didn't know how to get it back.

The two subjects I wrote on this week were slow in coming but I felt the hand of God asking me to continue to share my thoughts and so I am.  It may still be a gradual process and I most likely will not write as often as I was in the past, but know I am still looking for His inspiration.

I am praying for anyone that reads and is inspired by my words.

In His Grace...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Temple

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

It was several months ago now, but again I was listening to KLOVE.  I heard a woman call in that was talking about how big she had let herself become.  She was going to drive to the next try outs for the TV show, the Biggest Loser.  Everyone on KLOVE was encouraging and supporting her and I do also.  But I also thought that it was sad.  It was sad that instead of doing what she needed to do for herself, for her son, or for God, she felt she needed a TV show to help her.  I heard later that she was not chosen for the show.

I wanted to encourage her and anyone like her, that regardless of whether you are chosen to be on TV, we all have a responsibility to work on our health and fitness in obedience to God.  I am certainly not in the best shape I could be.  I make poor food choices at times and I do not exercise as much as I should.  It seems that in today's society, it is becoming harder and harder to make good choices.  We are bombarded everywhere we go with fast food and easier meals.  Quicker ways to cook, quicker ways to eat, more things to do, less time to spend with family.

But perhaps God's idea of food was not meant to be fast.  Perhaps the whole idea behind the food we are meant to eat is to spend time preparing it, spend time fellow-shipping as we eat it and expend calories as we clean up.  If we follow this idea, and we include healthy amounts of exercise in the form of riding bikes with our families, playing Frisbee in the back yard, gardening, taking an evening stroll - wouldn't we all be healthier?

I pray that when I make my next food and activity choices, I will remember to treat my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fear God Not Man

Last week, on my way home from work, I heard a blurb from Luis Palau on KLOVE.  He was talking about Moses and he said something that struck a chord with me.

When the Lord wanted Moses to go speak to Pharoah, at first Moses didn't want to.  But in the end, he did it anyway.  Moses feared God more than man.

This idea really hit home with me that day.  I let my fear of what others will think stop me from doing things that God tells me to do.  I let it stop me from spreading the Good News.  I let it stop me from obeying God in things in my marriage, in parenting, in my job.  I have feared man more than God.  But as God said to Moses, "Who gave man his mouth?  Who makes him deaf or mute?  Who give him sight or makes him blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?" Exodus 4:11

The Lord made me, He loves me and He wants the best for me.  It seems the least I can do is to obey and fear (respect) Him.

I pray that as opportunities arise, I will fear God more than man.

In His Grace...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When We Argue

If you are unfamiliar with The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, it is written as if it is letters from a senior demon giving instruction to a junior demon on how to keep a human from becoming a Christian.  So far it is quite humorous and I find it to hit home in many areas.  One being the subjects of arguments in domestic life:

"In civilised life domestic hatred usually expresses itself by saying things which would appear quite harmless on paper (the words are not offensive) but in such a voice or at such a moment, that they are not far short of a blow in the face....Your patient must demand that all his own utterances are to be taken at their face value and judged simply on the actual words, while at the same time judging all his [partners] utterances with the fullest and most over-sensitive interpretation of the tone and the content and the suspected intention.  He must then be encouraged to do the same to him.  Hence from every quarrel they can both go away convinced, or very nearly convinced, that they are quite innocent....Once this habit is well established you have the delightful situation of a human saying things with the express purpose of offending and yet having a grievance when offence is taken." The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

I don't know about you, but this hits home in our household.  The actual words we might say seem fairly innocuous, but the tone in which the word are uttered can be nasty.  This of course begets a nasty answer and voila! we are quarrelling as described by C.S. Lewis. 

I pray that next time I will pause before responding and see where the devil is trying to get his foothold.  Then I will "resist the devil and he will flee..." James 4:7

In His Grace...

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In the Valley

"Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation - the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks....Now it may surprise you to learn that in His efforts to get permanent possession of a soul, He relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His special favorites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else....He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs-to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish.  It is during such trough periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be." The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

I have been in the valley of late.  It has been harder to see the things of God, even as I continue to give thanks and praise Him.  I know He is still there, I know He is still good and I know He still loves me.  But I have fallen into a "trough" as C.S. Lewis calls it.  The "trough" can make it hard to see the things I am to write about.  The "trough" can make life seem dimmer and events more difficult to overcome.

David writes about being in "troughs" throughout the Psalms.  He also celebrates the "peaks" as he does in Psalm 34, one of my favorites:

"I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from eveil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.

Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him."

In His Grace...

Friday, March 15, 2013


"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.  In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted."  Titus 1:15

Are our consciences corrupted? Has our society moved so far from God's plan that we have no consciences left?  Is this why so much in our society seems to have taken a downturn?  Our movies are more violent than ever, our TV shows are more graphic, even our video games and cartoons have taken a dangerous turn.  We seem to have become numb to that which was detestable 50 or 100 years ago. 

I witnessed something yesterday that reassures me that I am not numb.  I witnessed a little girl hit by a car.  I did not see the actual impact, but I saw the little girl rolling away from the car.  I saw the mother gather her baby in her arms and sit in the street crying out in fear.  I heard the little girls anguished cries for her mother.  I saw the gold, sparkly shoes lying in the street.  It is a picture I cannot remove from my mind.

I ache for this little girl and her mother, her whole family.  I do not know what happened.  I know that she was taken to our local hospital and then she was transported to a hospital that specializes in children's medicine.  I will most likely never know the outcome.

But I am reassured that I am not numb.  As I have grown in my faith, so much in our society has become unpleasant to me.  I do not want to watch the movies, or the television shows. 

I ache for the family...and so I pray...

In His Grace... 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Reaching Out

This is something I am not good at.  I have a tendency to wait for others to contact me.  I have written before about my dislike of the telephone - the feeling that I am interrupting others when I call.

But in our small group last Sunday, in our study of the book of James, one of the questions was "List some ways that Christian friends have encouraged you to persevere in tough times." 

The resounding answer to this question is that they reached out to me.  They called, emailed, visited...took time from their busy schedules to spend time with me.  Whether it was on the phone or in person really didn't make a difference.  When others reach out to me, it makes me feel loved. 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-32

It has become increasingly apparent to me that I must stick my head out of my shell (sometimes I am similar to a turtle) and reach out to friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances.  I must make the effort because over time they stop putting out the effort because they see no return on their investment. 

So even if I feel like I am interrupting, or if I feel stupid because I cannot think of things to say (with my father-in-law in particular), I must make the effort. 

Because in the end, if I do so, I am being a blessing to God.

In His Grace...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Treasures in Heaven

"As for the rich in this present age, charge them no to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.  They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19

As I discussed in my last post, we are the rich. 

God tells us that we should not be haughty and we should not trust in our riches.  We should trust in God because He is the one that provides the riches in the first place.

We should be storing up treasures by being rich in good works.  These are the only treasures that are worth storing up - the only riches that are worth anything, are the things that are worth something to God.  Feeding the poor, providing clothes and shelter for the homeless, caring for orphans and widows.  Does anyone else find this to be intimidating? 

I can provide monetary support by sponsoring a child through an organization like World Vision. I can give to the Salvation Army or the Redwood Gospel Mission to help people in our own country.  But how difficult it is to take it to the next level. To go volunteer and meet the homeless and hungry face to face. 

I pray for the courage to take my good works to the next level.

In His Grace...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We are Rich

A couple of years ago, our pastor did a sermon series called Rich.  He provided some startling statistics that opened my eyes and gave me a different perspective on our finances.

Please do not quote me as I do not have the actual statistics written down, but it was something like this:

If you don't feel rich but you have a car and a roof over your head, you are rich. 

If everyone around you makes more money than you do but you have a refrigerator full of food, you are rich. 

If you can buy a cup of coffee on a regular basis, you are rich.

You get the idea.

But here in America, we lose sight of the things that make us rich in relation to the rest of the world.  We compare ourselves with the "Joneses" up the street that have a bigger house, the fancier car, the nicer clothes.  We forget that for much of the world population, having a roof over their heads is a privilege.  Owning any form of transportation is a privilege.  Knowing that you have food to eat for the next several days is a privilege.

I have all these things and much, much more.

And I have the most important thing of all - a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I am rich.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


The idea of entitlement has been popping up in a variety of places lately.

The DJ's were discussing it on the radio in the last few days.  Then my husband and I were discussing it on our way to our small group.  Then the subject came up at our small group.

Why do we, as Americans, feel so entitled?

And it seems that the younger we are, the more entitled we feel?  We feel we deserve the bigger, better, taller, larger, higher                                    (you fill in the blank). 

But why do we deserve it?  What have we done to earn it? 

My parents own their own business and it has been getting harder and harder to find good workers - people that do whatever the job requires.  People that are willing to go the extra mile have become few and far between.

I place myself in this category as well.  I worked for my parents for six and a half years.  I definitely worked hard, but I wasn't willing to go the extra step that my parents are willing to do.  The business did not become my life as it has theirs. 

Where did we lose the work ethic?  What has led to the idea that even if we don't work for it, we deserve it?

God is pretty clear what He thinks about riches and how we gather or spend, " Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.  Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire.  You have laid up treasure in the last days."  James 5:1-3

I do not say any of this to judge but rather to open my heart to what God wants to teach me.  I know I have much to learn and I pray that I will keep my eyes, ears and heart wide open to His purpose for me.

In His Grace...

Friday, March 1, 2013

When did I stop....

...worrying about what other people thought?

This is something I have done for quite a while.  Years most likely.  It would stop me from making phone calls at work because I was worried about what the others would think of what I said.  It would stop me from making phone calls at home because I was worried about bothering others or that I would say something stupid.  It would stop me from asking questions at seminars, in classes, anywhere really.

I knew it was irrational, I knew it was silly.  I cannot know what others think and I cannot control it.  But I couldn't get past it.

So I allowed a worry, a fear, to take control. 

But this week at work, I noticed that when I needed to make a phone call, I didn't have the usual pause.  I didn't stop to think what others would think, I would just pick up the phone and call because it needed to be done. 

"...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."  2 Timothy 1:7

I don't know what changed.  I don't know why now. 

But I do know it is all because of God's love.  His amazing, unfathomable love.  Why He loves us so much I truly cannot understand.  But whether or not I understand it, I can feel it. 

I have made it to the book of Revelation in my reading through the Bible from cover to cover.  The book of Revelation has never made as much sense to me as it is this time.  Is it because I've read everything leading up to it?  Is it just because I have moved along further in my walk with Jesus?  I don't know.  But I would encourage anyone that hasn't read the Bible from cover to cover to do so.  It is a challenging but fulfilling task.

In His Grace...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be the Blessing

"...not just take the blessing, but be the blessing."  From One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Everyday we ask for blessings from our loving Father.  And everyday He gives them to us.  Sometimes we don't recognize them as blessings but they are blessings nonetheless. 

We ask "bless this food, bless our children, bless our spouses, parents, siblings, etc."  But in asking for blessings, are we not just remaining focused on self, wanting more for our own?

But to be the blessing, wouldn't that be the best blessing of all?  To bless others as God has blessed us.  To bless God by blessing others as He has blessed us.

With our time...our love...our energy...our ears...and His grace.  To show grace to others around us that don't deserve it, just as He has shown grace to us although we didn't deserve it.

"Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." John 13:14-15

In His Grace...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When they purr, I smile

Our retired girl in her kitty bed

It is a sound I love to hear and yet cannot hear without one of them, without stretching out my hand and rubbing a head, an ear, a neck, a back.  It takes little to hear a purr from one of our furry friends (we have three) but we cannot make them purr just by smiling at them.

It takes receive the reward.

We will be rewarded in heaven one day in proportion to what we do here on earth.

Yes, we are saved by faith alone, "...not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:9  But Scripture also tells us we will be rewarded in heaven based on works.  Those that have sown much will receive much and those that have sown little will receive little.  "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." 2 Corinthians 9:6

What do you hope to receive?

In His Grace...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Making Time

I have not posted anything this week.  I am aware of it.  I just haven't quite figured out how to fit everything in my day...and still get a decent amount of sleep.

From what I can figure, with working part-time, playing with my little man, taking care of the household meals, cleaning, laundry etc., the only place I can make up some time is by sleeping less. 

I don't think I like this solution.

We are given 24 hours in a day.  Why does it seem so difficult to allocate them in such a way that we can get everything done we would like to get done?  There are things that have to be done, like going to work.  There are things that I feel have to get done, like laundry.  There are things that I enjoy doing, like cooking healthy meals for my family and eating with them.  Why does it just feel like it's not enough time?

If I come up with a solution, I will let you all know. 

But for now, I will try harder to write new posts regularly without missing too much sleep :-)

In His Grace...

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Laughter is a wonderful thing.  Sometimes we don't do enough of it in our family.

The other evening, after we put our little man to bed, my husband and I were sitting down to watch a movie.  He went to the bathroom before we sat down.  He had only been in there a few seconds and one of our cats came out.  This cat has a habit of sleeping on the rug in the bathroom - don't ask me why.  The cat saw me sitting on the sofa and came over to hop up in my lap.  He did his usual circle, knead my lap a few times and curl up.  I put my hand on his back to give him a little love but quickly removed it when I felt it was wet. 

Now I'm not saying anything about my husband's aim in the bathroom, but at that same moment, my husband emerged from the bathroom.  I said to him, "the cat is wet, did you pee on him?"  He looked at me smiling slightly, and started chuckling but he didn't say no.  He said, "is he wet?"  I said, "yes....did you pee on him?"  My husband was really starting to laugh by this time as was I.  He said, "no, I didn't pee on him, are you really asking me if I peed on the cat?"  I said, "yes, he came out of the bathroom just after you went in and his back is wet." 

General hilarity ensued, both of us finding it quite funny that I would even ask him if he peed on the cat (of course I didn't mean he aimed at the cat, but rather that his aim into the toilet wasn't perfect).

The laughter made for a great evening.  So why don't we laugh more often?

God created us to live in joy "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." Psalm 126:2  But so often we are caught up in the busyness of life that we don't take the time to see the joy offered each day. 

I challenge you to fill your mouth with laughter this week.  Look for the things God brings to you each day that can bring joy into your life and that of your family.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fair vs. Just

The definition of fair according to is "free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice". 

As I've mentioned before, I listen to a Christian radio station.  On Friday, I heard a little blurb on the way home from work.  The woman was speaking about God and how we sometimes think or say he isn't fair.  It isn't fair that someone is blind, or that a mother gets cancer, or that a small child dies.  But she pointed out something very interesting to me.  She said she was glad that God isn't fair.  For if he was fair, we would need to pay for all our sins.  We would be responsible for all our actions and He would need to hold us accountable for each and every one. 

Boy am I glad He is not fair.

Instead she said she is glad he is just.  So I looked up just at - "done or made according to principle; equitable; proper." 

Yes, I too am glad He is just.  I know that, although I cannot see the whole picture, I can trust that He is working all things for good as it says in Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose." 

While sometimes it may not seem fair to me, I can trust that God has my best interest at heart.  

In His Grace...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Making the Right Choice

Our little man will be attending Kindergarten this coming Fall.  How this happened so quickly, I cannot say.  It seems like just yesterday I was holding a new born baby in my arms and at the same time it seems so long ago.

Our area has many different schools - charter, magnet, alternative - and while we cannot be assured that we can get him into whatever school we want, there is the option to open enroll him into a school that is not our neighborhood school. 

We recently moved and that move landed us directly across the street from a good school.  It is a magnet school which focuses on math and science.  And did I mention it is directly across the street?  But there is also a school across town that is a dual-immersion school for Spanish and English.  I think being fluent in a second language would be increasingly valuable in our home state of California. 

So we must decide.

What is the best choice for our little man?  How do you determine this when he's only 4 and 1/2 years old?  How can I know what would be the best option for him?  Pretty simple; I can't. 

I can educate myself on the different options available.  I can pay attention to what interests him - math, mechanics (how things work), music, reading - and what does not interest him - crafts, drawing.  Then I can make what I call an educated choice knowing that what I am truly falling back on is this:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:4-7

In His Grace...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Uniquely Made

I am truly enjoying the Equip hour that I am attending at church on Sunday mornings.  Last Sunday was packed with eye openers - things that seem so obvious after someone else says them, but that I would never have thought of on my own.

For example, we are all uniquely made.  Even twins are unique - their personalities, tastes and talents are not exactly identical to their sibling.  This is obvious.  There is no one in the world exactly like me.  There are people with similar traits, similar ideas, similar talents, similar beliefs.  But God made me to be me and He only made one of me.

So when the teacher said that each of us is uniquely made to reveal some of God's glory, there is no one else that can reveal God's glory in exactly the same way as me, it really opened my eyes.  This means that if I choose not to reveal God's glory through the talents/gifts that God has given me, the world will miss out on something of God. 


Is that an AHA moment for anyone else?

God leaves it us to us.  He gave us free will to choose to love Him or not.  And in that same option, He is giving us the choice to share His glory in a way that no one else on earth can. 

So if I do, it will impact the world in one way (when I say the world, it obviously impacts those around me the most but we never know what sort of far-reaching effects we can have) and if I don't, that will impact the world a different way.  But if I don't share God's glory in my way, then that piece of God's glory will not be revealed.

I say again, WOW!

I pray for the courage to uniquely reveal God's glory to others.

In His Grace...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

We are Worthy

Have you ever heard someone say "we are unworthy"?  I had heard that several times from people I respected in the church. 

But last Sunday, someone gave me a different viewpoint. 

How is worth determined?  It is usually determined by what someone will pay. 

So in that case, what is our worth?

Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, dying an excruciatingly painful death on the cross, being separated from His Father in the process. 

We don't deserve it, but we are worthy because God thinks we are worthy.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

For God Might Not Have

As I re-read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I realize that I will most likely re-read this book any number of times and get different things from it each time I read.

The other evening I was reading Chapter 5 and one sentence jumped out at me.  It was in the context of the author grappling with the injury of one of her son's hands.  She says,

"When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn't all become gift?
For He might not have."

God might not have sent His Son to die for our sins.

He might not have allowed His Son to die an excruciatingly painful death for us.

He might not have loved us so much that He gave us a way to find everlasting life with Him.

He might not have provided us a way to have a deeper relationship with Him.

There are so many ways to complete this thought.  And it struck me what the author is expressing.  Even the things that are hard, are gifts from God.  They may be gifts to hone our talents, they may be gifts that cause us to really lean on Him.  They may be gifts that are so difficult to bear that the only thing we can do is turn to Him in our grief.  Yet, they are gifts.  Although we cannot see the whole picture, He can.

We must trust that He has our best interest at heart.

And during those times we must lean on Him for our strength.

In His Grace...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Living in the Spirit

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I am participating in a class led by a leader at our church.  When I went to the class last Sunday, she was speaking about Daily Bread.

"Our Father in Heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we have also forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."
Matthew 6:9-13

I hadn't really thought about what it means to "give us today our daily bread", but she was equating it with the manna that the Israelites received from heaven.  It sustained them but they were only allowed to gather what they needed for each day.  If they gathered too much, it would rot by the next day. 

In this same way, we can rely on God for what we need each day...enough strength and power to get through each day as we rely on Him.

She said "Daily Bread living involves inner Life increase versus outer life reaction."  One example she gave was when we get sick.  Our outer life, our earthly bodies can feel lousy.  We get colds, the flu, this time of year, sickness is difficult to avoid, especially having a little man in the family.  But instead of dwelling in the lousy feeling we have while we are sick, we can ask for God's help to live more in our inner lives, or more in our spirit.  We can focus on the inner life we have with Jesus Christ and the strength and power He gives us as we live with "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27

I have been practicing this as I fight a cold this week and I have been amazed by the results.  Instead of allowing the cold to weigh me down and darken my spirit, I have asked each morning for God to help me live more in the spirit.  It has uplifted me and changed my attitude.  And it has helped me physically fight this cold much more easily than I have before.

What an amazing Father we have that He gives us the ability to feel better, even when our physical bodies do not feel very good.  He has provided us a way to lean more on Him and He will carry more of our burden...

In His Grace...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Small Words Can Do So Much

"It is the same with the tongue.  It is a small part of the body, but it brags about great things.  A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame.  And the tongue is like a fire...The tongue spreads its evil through the whole body." James 3:5-6

I am that woman that cries at the drop of a hat.  It doesn't take much to make me cry.  I cry when I am happy, I cry when I am sad or mad, frustrated or anxious.  I've been like this all my life.  I call my eyes my leaky faucets. 

For the majority of my life, I was ashamed by my crying.  I found it embarrassing and difficult to cope with especially since it makes many other people quite uncomfortable.  I was told as a child that I was "too sensitive".  I needed to have a "stiff upper lip" (still not sure exactly what that means) and "not to take any wooden nickels" (again not sure of the meaning).  But it became clear to me over time, that my crying was seen as a weakness.  It was a fault, something that was wrong with me, something to be ashamed of. 

In the last six months, someone blessed me with a different perspective.  I had gone forward for prayer after church one day and as usual, while I tried to tell the elder what I wanted prayer for, I started crying.  The elder looked me in the eye and said "God gave you a tender heart" and what I heard in my heart was "there is no reason to be ashamed". 

God made me this way for a reason.  I am who He wanted me to be - I have not yet figured out why He gave me a tender heart, but for the first time in my life, I didn't feel like crying was a bad thing. 

God loves me the way that He made me and wearing my emotions on my sleeve is part of who He made me to be. 

I am so grateful for the kind words of that elder - for the perspective that he blessed me with that day - it changed the way I think about myself.

It is truly amazing what words can do.

What kind words can you say to someone today?

In His Grace...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Abundant Love of God

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

"...that you may be filled with all the fullness of God..."Ephesians 3:19

Our church has something they call the Equip hour.  It is in the hour before the service starts and they invite different leaders of the church to teach on a variety of subjects.  The idea is to better "equip" us as churchgoers to share the gospel in our daily lives.  The sessions are usually six or eight weeks long and until recently, my  husband and I had not participated.

But the current session is titled "Living in the Light = Living in Freedom" and it pulled on both of us.  We missed the first session but at the second session I got the handout from the first session.  The teacher, Bobbie Hicks, is a member of our church that is a strong Christian woman who has been walking with Christ for a long time. 

This is a excerpt from the handout for session 1:

"It is the very nature of God to deepen and grow those who choose His love.  There is no stagnation in a healthy relationship with God.  He never meant for us to be dwarfed or experience deficit in our relationship with Him.  There is no limit in God's love invitation to us.  There's always more abundance available." 

So in the next six to eight weeks, I am hoping I will learn how to tap into that abundance.  How to "have life, and have it to the full..." John 10:10.

I will share what I learn as I go.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Continually Learning to be Thankful in ALL Things

I am thankful.  Truly I am because my family and I have been so blessed. 

But then things come along and I have to learn to be thankful in those as well.  Even just little things like our little man coming down with a cold....and giving it to me. 

My husband and I have been praying about direction for him in his career.  He got an interview for a new job.  And while it might be promising, the pay cut to start would be great.  Can we even manage it?  Do we want to?  Is this God's plan for us?

Then one of the members of our small group was unhappy at his job.  He got an interview with a recruiter, got an interview with a new company, got the job with a 30% pay increase.  Why can't this happen for my husband?  What are we doing wrong? 

I know the answer. 

I know we aren't doing anything wrong.  We are in this place, at this time in our lives for a reason.  We just don't know the reason.  We can't see into the future and we can't see the whole story. 

And that's when I struggle to give thanks.

When I feel exhausted and lousy and have to blow my nose every couple of minutes.  When I have to get up with our little man several times a night because he can't breathe through his nose.  When my husband comes back from an interview that we were so hopeful about with the news of the pay decrease it would be.  When our friend is given such great news at exactly the same time.

I struggle to give thanks. 

Yet Scripture says to give thanks in ALL things.  Not just the good things, the easy things.  Not just when we feel good and are happy.  Not just when everything is going well.  We are to give thanks in EVERYTHING. 

Thank you Lord for this cold that reminds me how fortunate I am to be healthy most of the time.  Thank you for this cold that makes me take time to rest.  Thank you for my little man waking up which reminds me how lovely it is that he sleeps through the night most of the time.  Thank you Lord for the good interview my husband had - it has increased his self-confidence and has helped him see a possible change in career. 

Thank you Lord for your ever loving kindness, mercy, grace and LOVE.  That I can ask these things and not give you the gratitude you deserve.  Yet I still know that you LOVE me.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We have done it.  We have moved...

Of course, we aren't really finished.  Many of our belongings have ended up in the garage and sunroom and we will, over the next few weeks, move things into the house.  It takes time, and sometimes can be discouraging as we ask each other "have you seen                ?"  But we are so thankful for a house, a yard, a place for all our pets, each other, our family and friends.

One of the gifts I received for Christmas was my very own copy of "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  I have been re-reading it in the evenings before going to bed.  As I read, I am struck by how the truth of what she writes is so evident in my life. 

I spent many years longing for so much.  I felt so alone, unwanted, unneeded and discouraged.  During that time in my life, I had not found the key.  I had not found the amazing things that being thankful can do for one's soul. 

We have a friend that recently brought his wife here from Vietnam.  She spent all of her life so far in poverty, not enjoying the riches we take for granted.  But she has such a joyful spirit and is usually smiling.  I mentioned something about it once and our friend said "she wakes up like this in the morning." 

Perhaps living here in the land of plenty, it is easy to forget how to be thankful?  We feel entitled to so much when really everything we have is a gift from God.  Perhaps living in poverty, you have a daily reminder that everything is a gift?  I don't know, but it is a reminder to me that I must practice gratitude, I must practice being thankful in all things...the hard things, the good things and the painful things.

God is good.

In His Grace...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I'm sorry

So I haven't written anything for a while...I will again, eventually.

With Christmas and then New Years and MOVING...I just haven't had a chance to write.

The sale of our house is moving forward and we found a house to rent.  We are packing up and getting ready to move everything across town.  We have to be out of our house by January 18th so I will try to start writing again after that. 

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and a lovely New Years Celebration!

I look forward to writing more in the New Year!

In His Grace...