Category Archives: personal

A new month and a new home

This was taken last night, after Anne finished unpacking her things.

She’s no longer living with us, but in a small rental nearby.

To be honest, I’ve not processed it yet.

However, I’m certain God is in this new step for her and I’m glad.

I had expected to be filled with sorrow at our last daughter moving out, but God has made this journey a blessing.

It’s been a stretch and an opportunity for both our daughter and myself, to lean on the Lord in new ways.

I’ve also learned God’s timing is perfect.

Many moments through this process, I wanted to “make” something happen by pushing others into action, but every time I was tempted to do so, God gently reminded me to trust Him.

His timing is perfect.

Not only did the furniture get moved in easily, the details of where things should go was sorted out quickly.

It came together like pieces of a puzzle.

And I now have another monument in my life to the faithfulness of God.

Even when I can’t see what He’s doing or understand why something is happening, I’m so blessed when I quiet myself and simply wait upon God.

Psalm 131:2 NKJV — Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

This verse used to confuse me until I had children and I experienced it.

The peace of a little child, one who is old enough to simply need the safety of their mother’s embrace to be at rest.

That is what I’m learning to do in my walk with God.

No matter the circumstances or my emotions, I can find security and peace in the assurance of my salvation through the embrace of my Lord Jesus.

Recalling, whenever I’m feeling unsettled, where Jesus stretched out His arms and died for me.

That embrace brings me rest.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness. You answered so many prayers throughout this process and You have blessed us through so many unexpected ways. Lord, there are many circumstances in my life, right now, that I don’t know what You want me to do or I’m concerned about. Lord, for those who are experiencing health problems, please be with them and their doctors. For those who have lost loved ones, please comfort their hearts. For those who are being stretched to extreme limits and need hope, please step in. Lord, for those who are ministering people, please supply all their needs. Lord, You are able to do whatever is required to make good from any circumstance. Lord, You know what is best and I look to You for discernment, direction, and provision. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Confess

I was thinking about two people who has been super helpful and loving towards our family, and thanking God for them when I remembered…

A long while back, I had jumped to a conclusion about this couple, which proved totally false.

I confessed my sin to the Lord and asked for His forgiveness.

Sadly, it’s not the first time I’ve assumed something about someone and been completely wrong, misjudging them through my tainted perspective.

Thankfully, I not only have confessed each of these moments, as the Lord has revealed them to me, I have assurance that He is going to both forgive me as well as continue to refine me.

1 John 1:9 KJV — If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I thank God for His correction and restoration, for through these things my heart is learning the ways of God and He is teaching me to love as He loves.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for teaching us to confess our sins and to turn away from those things which separate us from You and those around us. Lord, thank You for correcting me and showing me my error. Lord, I know You love those around me as much as You love me and You see us with all our failings, yet You love us. Please continue to teach me how to love like that. Please continue to guide and direct me in Your truths and walk diligently in Your ways. Lord Jesus, You alone are able to change my heart and save me from sin. I surrender myself before You and I thank You for Your loving kindness. Lord, thank You for loving me. I love You! Amen.

A time to…

Ecclesiastes 3:2 KJV — A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

This verse came to mind this morning as I was thinking about all that occurred last week.

As our head pastor says, Pastor Eric’s mother was promoted to Heaven this week.

So were two other gentlemen, both related to friends of mine.

And as I read the text message from one friend relating their loss, I looked back at my dining room table, where two beautiful ladies sat chatting.

My heart was warmed by them although grieving for my friend.

These two young women are both expectant mothers.

One is a first time mother and the other has several children.

God used these ladies to remind me that even in the midst of sorrow there is a gift of blessing.

The joy of birth doesn’t eliminate the grief of loss, but it does bring these lines from scripture into a tangible context.

Ecclesiastes 3:2a KJV — A time to be born, and a time to die;…

For me, I’m encouraged by the truth that every person is created by God.

Psalm 139:14 KJV — I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Not only that, but He cares for us.

Luke 12:6-7 NKJV — “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

He died to save us.

1 Peter 1:3 KJV — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Even though, for the believer to die physically is nothing to fear, for it means entrance into Heaven,…

Philippians 1:21 KJV — For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

the death of God’s people doesn’t go unnoticed.

Psalm 116:15 KJV — Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

God still recognizes the pain of loss for those who remain.

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept.
John 11:32‭-‬35 KJV

When facing grief it’s important we remember that God is not absent.

He’s perfectly aware of our sorrow.

He understands grief.

He is our best source of comfort in the depths of grief.

Matthew 5:4 KJV — Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

No matter the time we are in, God is where we can find direction, truth, and love.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your promises, especially for salvation. Lord, thank You for Your love. Thank You that You understand us far better than we understand each other or ourselves. Lord Jesus, You alone are able to comfort those who mourn from the inside, where the hurt is deepest. Please touch those who mourn this day and bring them comfort. Lord, please encourage those who are now trying to live without a loved one and have so much to adjust to. Lord, please bring Your Word to the hearts and minds of those who are hurting, that they might find strength and endurance through Your promises. Lord Jesus, thank You for all You have done and are doing in our lives. For You are perfect in faithfulness. Amen.

…the house of mourning…

It was clear, something was wrong when one of our pastor’s began to speak with me yesterday morning.

He was relating the events of the past few days and, to my great surprise, that his mother was put on hospice.

Two weeks ago his parents had visited our fellowship.

At one point, his eyes brimming with emotion, he said, “Mom has her ticket punched, she knows where she’s going.”

I promised to pray for their family.

After service, I went over to speak with our dear elderly gentleman friends.

I greeted Mr. Perry, his first words were, “Did your husband tell you my wife is dieing?”

He withdrew a small picture frame from his Bible.

It held a black and white photo of a bride and groom cutting their wedding cake.

He smiled broadly.

“You know my wife is like you, very charismatic.”

I was touched by his complement and he continued.

“It’s really okay, because she knows where she’s going. I had her for 68 years.”

I just couldn’t find words to express my heart to him, but promised to pray.

Later, the Lord brought a verse to mind.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 NKJV — Better to go to the house of mourning Than to go to the house of feasting, For that is the end of all men; And the living will take it to heart.

Loss, sorrow, and grief are not easy things to walk through, but we should not ignore them.

Instead, we should take it to heart.

Apply the truth of death to our own lives.

Do I know where I’m going?

What needs to be done to bring assurance like these two ladies?

If there’s assurance within, then am I looking to others?

Have I spoken with my loved ones about death which leads to eternal separation from God and the truth of Jesus’s salvation?

Have I shared the assurance Christ’s salvation brings?

Do I live in such a way as to proclaim the gospel daily?

These questions are only the tiptop of this iceberg.

We can learn from God’s Word about taking to heart the end of this life and the salvation through Christ.

There’s no other story of a man dieing which has brought such life.

Jesus Christ, Himself died, but His death is the only one that brought salvation, that bridged the gap between sinners (us) and God’s desire to be with us.

Jesus’s disciples took both His life and death to heart.

Through humility, the wonderful truth of Jesus’s resurrection changed not only their hearts and lives, but many many others through their testimony.

I’m one of those and so are these dear ladies who are passing from this life into eternity.

What a beautiful gift salvation and the assurance of Heaven is.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for dieing for me. Thank You for giving us Your Word that we might find assurance through Your sacrifice. Lord, please help those who are unsure of their future to find peace in Your salvation. Lord, break through the lies which hinder belief and choke faith. Lord, please shine through the darkness into the hearts of those who are empty, lost, and searching for You. Lord, let salvation bring complete healing, for only in Heaven will we experience life without the rot and ruin of sin. Lord, thank You for these dear ladies who are on their way to You. Thank You for Your people whom I don’t know, but are so close to their journey’s end as well. Lord, please comfort their families. Please encourage those who mourn. Please remind all of us to lean upon You and not ourselves. Lord, thank You. You give us hope that for those who believe on Your name and trust in You shall have everlasting life. Thank You! Amen.

Psalm 116:15 KJV — Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Walking…

in His ways.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart! They also do no iniquity; They walk in His ways. Psalms 119:1‭-‬3 NKJV

How good the ways of the Lord!

Although, I am not brand new to the concept of walking in God’s ways, I’m not over the awe which my heart felt in the beginning.

It’s not a small thing.

But God’s ways are always best.

For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling with illness.

Since I already have some health issues, it’s not been an enjoyable experience, but it has been another opportunity to learn to walk in God’s ways even more fully.

For as I’ve been unable to do, I have been able to pray, to listen to my Bible, and to meditate upon His precepts.

These days have been as much a blessing as a challenge.

I want to encourage you, as you walk through challenges, look for the Lord.

Choose to examine yourself and your walk through the lens of scripture.

You might be surprised by how much blessing God can bring from the season of challenge.

I know I have been.

For He promises us, in His Word, the blessings follow those who walk in His ways.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your blessings and the promises we find in scripture. There’s simply no other way to live which brings such peace than in following diligently after You. Lord, I thank You for the blessings of trials, the lessons You have taught me through pain. Thank You. For You alone are worthy of our adoration and praise. Lord, please help me to walk in Your ways each day with fervent love for You loved me first. Thank You! Amen.

Don’t fight it

“Don’t fight it. Don’t fight the pain. You have to relax.”

Confused by these instructions, I had to turn my thoughts away from the physical pain of labor to the rest of my body, wondering the entire time how to make myself relax when hurting so much.

But after a few moments, I found I could relax.

It worked.

Choosing to relax made labor much more bearable, and it wasn’t too long before the pain was forgotten in the joy of our newborn.

Since that day, it’s a practical truth I’ve applied many times.

“Don’t fight the pain” is now something I try to live by, because I’ve learned pain is not my enemy.

What is my enemy is allowing anything to trick me into fighting rather than relying.

Proverbs 3:5 NKJV — Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

That’s not to say, I am silent about everything.

It simply means I try not to react, but rather to prayerfully respond.

And not just in the physical, but in the emotional arena as well.

When experiencing the pain of grief or disappointment or fear it’s unwise for me to fight the pain.

John 14:27 KJV — Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Instead, I need to be honest with the Lord, myself, and those around me, without attacking the parties I feel are responsible for the pain.

Only God has the right to judge.

Romans 12:19 NLT — Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD.

And being honest without sinning is how we work through life’s trials.

Ephesians 4:26 KJV — Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Don’t fight the pain.

Instead:

Let God use it.

Learn to rest in God’s promises.

Lay yourself open before the Lord and humbly choose to focus on the Lord rather than the pain.

I still fall into reaction rather than response.

I have often fought the pain rather than trusting God.

But I’m doing it less.

For every time I choose not to fight the pain, I’m amazed by how God works in and through it.

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your faithfulness which has taught me so much. Lord, for the times I have chosen to fight rather than trust I’m ashamed and I thank You for Your forgiveness. Lord, help me to remember: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7 NKJV I want to walk in these truths and be guided by Your Word. Lord, thank You for all You have taught me and I know there’s so much more to learn. Thank You! May my life bring glory to Your name, Jesus. Amen.

The last day of 2022

This verse appeared in my text messages this morning.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
Job 19:25 NKJV

I find such comfort in the promises of God!

To read these words of Job, written so long before Jesus walked the Earth, is incredible.

For I have the same promise and assurance Job did.

Jesus did come.

He redeemed all those who believe on Him and put their trust in His salvation.

And He gave us another promise.

He will return.

On this last day of the year, I want to keep in mind that God’s Word is truth, His promises are sure.

No matter what this new year contains, He is my security.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your promises! Thank You that I can rest in Your redemption. Thank You for the gift of salvation and the comfort of Your Word. Lord, please help me to honor You throughout today. Lord, thank You for 2022. It has been filled with a variety of experiences, but You have been the consistent Guide throughout. Thank You! Blessed be Your name, Jesus! Amen.

Living today

This morning I was reminded about how I struggle with living in today.

Not long after I awoke my thoughts were bombarded with accusations of what I should have done yesterday, but didn’t.

Before I could completely process these, I was assailed by thoughts of what I needed to accomplish this week.

My heart began to feel anxious for a moment and I turned to prayer.

The Lord answered.

Live in today.

Matthew 6:34 NKJV — “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

I confessed my sin of worry, thanking Him for His quick response, and requested the Lord’s help, that I would live in today.

That living begins with acknowledging Who gave me this day.

Psalm 118:24 NKJV — This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

And I am blessed by the gift.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for today. Thank You for Your Word which reminds me of the truth that each day is Yours and an opportunity to live for You and to glorify Your name. Lord Jesus, please help me to walk with integrity, rejoicing in Your salvage, and the blessings of life. Lord, You are awesome. Your name is wonderful. Your ways are perfect. Your love is true. Thank You for all Your marvelous works! I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Are you ready?

With all the preparation happening, this question came to mind.

But it has nothing to do with Christmas.

Instead, it’s about my heart.

For weeks now the Lord has been challenging me to give up my own ideas and expectations; to come to Him with a heart ready to listen rather than request.

Not that I’m without requests, for it is important to stand before the Lord in prayer for those He places on my heart.

Intercession is about coming before God on behalf of those God leads me to pray for and often I begin with asking the Lord for how He would have me pray.

Which is what He’s been leading me to do in my personal prayer time as well.

To come before Him with humility, acknowledging my sins, open to correction, and willingly laying down my desires.

Because I’m learning how beautiful it is to die to my flesh, to surrender my thoughts, and to adjust my expectations.

It’s not easy, but it’s so good.

Why?

Beginning each day with a heart ready to serve the Lord is the best way I can be ready for my day.

Choosing not to start with telling Him all my plans, but rather asking Him for His.

Am I ready?

Are you?

Romans 12:1-2KJV — I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching me continually through Your scriptures. Please continue to train my heart to be ready for Your service, walking in humility, quick to listen and slow to speak. Lord, thank You for using my circumstances yesterday to show me a place in my heart which wasn’t ready to serve You, but was still stubbornly clinging to what I wanted. Lord, thank You for reminding me that I have no idea what is best for me and I have often wanted things which were not what was good for me. Lord, please keep me from living in rebellion to You and Your Word. Place a hedge of protection around my heart that I might not fall into sin, but rather be transformed by Your Word. Lord Jesus, Your ways are perfect. Your truth is amazing. Your salvation is proof of Your incredible love. Thank You. My heart is Yours. Whatever comes today, may I be Your faithful servant. In Your name, Jesus, I request these things. Amen.

Inadequate

I was feeling embarrassed.

And frustrated, because we unintentionally made it impossible for me to reach the ornaments box when rearranging the garage this fall.

All we had were a few balls which wouldn’t fit in that tote.

I kept trying to come up with solutions, but everything I prayed about felt like a closed door.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized the problem.

My motivation wasn’t Jesus.

I instantly repented.

Only then was I able to see the blessing.

My prayer for this holiday was for our family to be focused upon Jesus.

Now that I’m looking at Jesus, our Christmas tree is an answer to my prayer.

The white lights remind me that Jesus is the Light of the World.

John 8:12 KJV — Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

The red Christmas balls reminds me that He died to grant us the gift of salvation.

Matthew 26:28 KJV — For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The only ornament this year, hangs at eye level, front and center.

Revelation 1:5-6 KJV — And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

I no longer feel our tree is inadequate.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your blessings! Thank You for showing me a new way to look at things. Lord, You continually amaze me at how You use even the tiniest details in my life. Lord, thank You. I know that we wouldn’t be celebrating Your birth of You hadn’t died and risen to give us new life through You. Your ways are perfect. Your truth is incredible. You are worthy of glory, honor, and praise. May this holiday season be filled to overflowing with the truth of Your life and the gift of salvation. Without You we are lost. Thank You, for Your boundless love, Jesus. In Your name I pray. Amen.