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.
It’s been nearly 15 years ago, but the Lord recently brought back to mind the blessings of that unusual year.
Our family was new to the area, we’d only moved in that August.
We were on a fixed income with no way to earn more.
But it remains one of my fondest Christmas memories.
Our children were elementary school age and younger, so it wasn’t an easy thing to try to explain why we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree.
We’d come from a place where we could drive into the mountains and cut a tree for the price of the license and a tank of gas.
But the Lord had moved us into a large city and Christmas trees had to be shipped in.
I remember turning to the Lord in prayer after the tears of disappointment in our children’s eyes.
He taught me to be creative.
I found an old sheet left by the previous tenants and got out the markers.
I drew a Christmas tree on the sheet and we hung it on a blank wall in the front room.
Later, our oldest daughter was helping me create a backdrop for a church play our children’s Sunday school was putting on.
It was the manager scene and I recall my surprise as she broke the silence.
“Mommy, Jesus didn’t have a nice place to sleep when he was born, did He?”
I looked up at her and smiled, her sudden awareness of Christ’s circumstances brought a change in both of us.
“No, He didn’t. You’ve been to Grandma’s barn, can you imagine having a baby in a place like that?”
She shook her head.
“Mommy, Jesus didn’t get any Christmas presents did He.”
“No, He didn’t, but God did send the Wisemen with gifts.”
And in that moment I realized God’s blessing to us in a new way.
If we’d had the ability to purchase a Christmas tree I’d never have looked for an alternative, and that alternative is what led me to decorating another bedsheet for the play, which led to this beautiful moment with our daughter.
God was far from finished teaching me that Christmas.
I remember Christmas Eve struggling with my disappointment.
I was praying and washing dishes in the kitchen when our doorbell rang.
We hadn’t expected anyone, so we all gathered around the door when my husband opened.
It was a lady from our church with two of her grandchildren in tow.
“Merry Christmas!” She greeted us warmly and allowed us to take her coat and those of the children.
“I just knew your little ones are probably missing their grandparents so I thought I’d fill in for them!”
She handed each of our children a gift and then encouraged them to open them.
As the children played on the floor with her grandkids we enjoyed tea and cookies.
Before long, another person rang our door bell.
It was someone else from our church with gifts for our children.
They took stayed to enjoy a chat and tea.
And they weren’t the last ones to arrive bearing gifts and wishing us a Merry Christmas.
I remember feeling ashamed of myself that night after getting into bed.
Ashamed that I’d been so focused on the things that were different, I’d nearly lost the opportunity to praise the Lord for all He had done.
It’s probably the best Christmas present I’ve received (excluding the birth of our third daughter).
For I learned the importance of allowing God to direct our celebration rather than tradition or personal expectation.
Because if I’m neglecting the Lord direction, my efforts are wasted.
John 4:24 KJV — God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your blessings. Thank You for teaching me continually about Yourself and Your path for my life. Lord Jesus, thank You for answering so many prayers and directing my heart and mind. Truly, You are good and Your ways are perfect. Nothing I come up with compares to You and Your gifts for us. Lord, thank You for how You are walking with us in all things. Thank You for teaching us so much and for giving us Your Word. Lord, please help me to be totally surrendered to Your will and Your ways, for I want to glorify Your name in all I do and say. Lord, thank You for Your birth. May we, each one, reflect upon the incredible blessings You have bestowed. In Your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
This was the verse I was holding onto this weekend.
Because I was walking in faith that I’d be able to do what God had asked me to do: host a Christmas Tea for our ladies.
There were days leading up to the week before where I struggled.
Moments when I felt overwhelmed or frustrated, because I’d let go of faith and had slid into striving in my own strength.
Praise God, He called me on it each time.
By the week of Thanksgiving, I was waiting upon Him.
The day before I felt Him clearly leading me to simply enjoy the whole thing, because none of it had anything to do with me, it was His.
1 Corinthians 1:9 KJV — God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Whether you are obeying Him in small things or large, He is faithful.
We had a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement.
Several of the ladies were especially blessed to have our men serving us.
Whether it was making the sandwiches, serving the food, or refilling the tea pots, the five men who volunteered were such a blessing.
One lady nearly brought me to tears.
“I felt so special. I’ve never felt anything like that before. Thank you.“
I knew the feeling wasn’t from the atmosphere or the menu, it was the Lord.
He was honored throughout our time together.
My heart was especially warmed at one point when I’d gone to the kitchen to speak with the men.
Voices, beautiful voices, began singing a Christmas hymn.
The ladies were making Christmas cards from a kit premade by other ladies and one table of teenage girls began singing.
That’s what it should be, our voices lifted in song, a praise to our Lord and Savior, remembering not just His birth but His life, death, and resurrection.
Afterwards, realization of God’s faithfulness occurred to me.
Not only had I been able to do all that was required, I had enjoyed every minute.
For my service had been to God and He had used it to bring blessings to all of us.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your faithfulness. I am so blessed to know You and to walk with You daily. Thank You for teaching me more about Yourself each day. Thank You for leading me in Your ways and helping me learn to trust You in all things at all times. May Your name be glorified, Jesus! Amen.
We hadn’t planned on getting rabbits, they and a large wire cage were a gift from our dear friends.
I remember my surprise when my husband walked into our friend’s home with a rabbit and stated, “Honey, we should go, I already have the other rabbit in the cage in the back of the car”.
(I never expected our Prius would haul farm animals, but so far it’s brought two rabbits, one goat, and a lamb home!)
Not only has our family enjoyed the rabbits, we’ve enjoyed sharing them with others.
Our granddaughter absolutely loves them.
Surprisingly, our male rabbit really likes her.
God is already used these rabbits to teach us a good deal.
I learned a lot when Jase and I put the new cages together.
I have read many articles about raising rabbits.
And we’ve learned that we like rabbits.
God multiplied the blessing when our doe had kits.
It’s taken a bit for them to come out of the nest.
Watching them has taught me even more.
For starters, they are so cute and a bit funny when they’re out of the nest and trying to nurse.
I’m used to larger animals, sheep, goats, cows, whose young have to learn to stand up before they can nurse.
Baby rabbits flop onto their backs and squeeze underneath their mother face up to nurse.
(Did I mention it’s so cute?!)
A lamb will nurse often, but rabbits only nurse their young on average twice a day.
Rabbits also wean their babies after only a few weeks and our female has taken to hiding from her babies.
Which is fine, because they are eating grass hay and rabbit food.
As soon as my husband gets our other cage ready we’ll move the babies.
All of this has been God’s direction and I’m so thankful.
Because I would have missed the blessings if it were left up to me.
I never thought I’d enjoy rabbits.
As always, God knows best.
I used to think that obedience to God was for the “big” things in life, but He has taught me that I need to be listening for His direction in every part for if I’m not faithful in little, why would He trust me with much?
Romans 14:12 KJV — So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
I want to be faithful to the Lord in all things at all times.
It’s an area I’m working on with the Lord’s patient help.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for blessings so numerous. Lord, I am certain that the older I get the more I will have to testify of Your goodness, Your faithfulness, Your truth. Lord, thank You for these rabbits and the reminder I have in them that You know what is best and Your are guiding us. Lord, for those things in which it is more of a challenge to rest in Your Sovereignty, choosing not to fear, I thank You. For if my faith was never tested I wouldn’t be maturing in my walk with You. Thank You for teaching me daily. Thank You for loving me always. Thank You for keeping my soul safe in Your salvation. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
This wheelbarrow was a gift from my husband a few years ago.
One might think it a strange thing to give, but I was thrilled to receive it.
I’d been hauling things in five gallon buckets since our last wheelbarrow broke beyond repair.
We’d been doing some digging in our yard and had uncovered so many rocks.
If you can imagine the time and effort it was requiring for me to move rocks with a five gallon bucket, you should have an understanding of the blessing of a wheelbarrow.
I’m even more thankful for it here as I clean out pens or cages and haul the refuse to the compost or into the garden.
A wheelbarrow is a simple tool which makes my life easier everyday and I’m so thankful to both my husband and the Lord for His provision.
As I was thinking about the blessings of being able to use my wheelbarrow it occurred to me that it’s such a blessing because I use it.
If I were to ignore the benefits of using it and continued to haul everything in five gallon buckets, I’d not appreciate the gift.
But it’s ridiculous to try to use five gallon buckets to move soiled hay or manure when the wheelbarrow is available.
God’s Word, salvation, and the Holy Spirit are the most incredible gifts.
Yet, how easy is it for us to return to the “old ways” of doing things rather than avail ourselves of these precious gifts?
For those who have yet to believe in the Lord Jesus as their Savior, they are missing the most important gift anyone was ever offended: forgiveness from sin.
For those who believe and have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, if they are not in the Word their maturing in Christ will be extremely slow and difficult, for without the Word their spirit is starving.
For those who have both believed and are in the Word, it is folly to ignore the Holy Spirit and His place in our lives, for He was sent to Comfort and convict of sin, righteousness, and judgement.
John 16:7-8 NKJV — “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
To be truly grateful for these gifts of God we must regularly be recognizing the importance of each and diligent in our application of God’s blessings.
If I never used my wheelbarrow I’d not be blessed by the benefits it offers to my day.
As a believer if I forget the sacrifice of my Lord Jesus, or put off time in His Word, or grieve the Holy Spirit by choosing to live counter to the Word, I’m missing the incredible blessings God has bestowed.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for salvation. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit. Lord, please continue to hone my heart that I might not forget these glorious blessings in my life. Lord, cut down anything that might eat away my time and waste my attention. Lord, please reveal my heart, that when I fall into sin I’m might repent of it quickly. Lord, please continue to grow my through Your Word and direct me. Thank You for teaching me so much. Thank You for Your wonderful gifts! I love You, Lord. Amen.
Our granddaughter and grandson are here today and we were doing some preschool projects when Faye announced with pride she’d finished her page.
Of course Bubba was quick to finish and show his off as well.
“Watch! Grammy! Watch!” Was heard frequently.
Which caused me to pause and think about this tendency to show others our abilities or to share what our children or grandchildren have accomplished.
Is this desire simply the flesh nature which wants to be praised, in other words is this simply about pride?
Although, I think it could be, but at the ages of 2 and 3, my heart is inclined to believe that their desires arise from a different desire.
God created people to be in a relationship with Him and with one another.
My grandchildren’s words were an effort to share their accomplishments, their experiences with me.
And all this made me think of my Heavenly Father and my relationship with Him.
As it blesses my heart to have our grandchildren calling my name, eager to share things with me.
I can’t imagine that it doesn’t bless my Heavenly Father when I come before Him in prayer, enthusiastic about sharing my day, my experiences, and my heart.
Of course it’s a bit different.
I’m learning to say, “Father, what do You want me to do?” rather than, “Watch this!”.
I’m growing in patient, waiting with, “Lord, lead me,” and less often saying, “I do’d it!
My heart has been blessed by both the love of these precious little ones and by the love of God Almighty, my Heavenly Father through the gift of Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:9-10 NKJV — In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your salvation. Thank You for walking with me and giving me so many blessings, teaching me through the little and the big. Lord, please call to grow me up in You and Your Word. Please help me get walk with You, waiting upon Your guidance and direction rather than walking in my own ways. Lord, please help me to have self-discipline, that I might not sin against You or anyone else. Lord, thank You for Your gift today, an opportunity to share in our grandchildren’s lives is such a blessing. Lord, thank You for loving me even more than I can imagine. Thank You for sacrificing Yourself for me. Please use my life to reflect Your light. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Not normally by honey bees, although I accidentally sat on one once and have never forgotten that!
Just the idea of doing something I don’t have a clue about, was intimidating.
Not to mention, mess up and it can be very painful!
So, when my husband first came home and told me it looked like we were going to get some I had to spend some time in prayer.
That was months ago, and the Lord has really been working on my heart to stretch and learn new things.
When I received a text message offering us a free beehive I jumped at the chance.
Not only was this a great blessing from God, as bees can be very expensive, but I felt certain the Lord was showing us this was something He wanted us to do.
They arrived yesterday morning, and I still felt a bit nervous.
But as I listened and learned my fear vanished, replaced by excitement at learning something new.
We’ve been told to go and check them in the afternoon and see if they had found our nearby flowers.
The picture at the top is only one of many who were busy about all the dahlias in the garden.
My husband is away on a work trip right now but I enthusiastically related all the information to him over the phone.
I’m looking forward to sharing this adventure with him as he’s always wanted to be a beekeeper.
God’s ways are not what we expect, but I’ve learned they are far better than anything I could come up with on my own.
Psalm 37:3 NKJV — Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your provision. Thank You for walking us forward through many things, guiding us in many ways. You are so faithful. You are good and Your works are amazing. Please continue to teach me how to be teachable and to keep my trust in You. Thank You for Your Word, for it is truth. Thank You for Your salvation, for it is life! May Your name be glorified throughout the Earth. Amen.
This morning I realized God has given me several things which have been beyond my expectations.
When our family moved from our house nestled in trees on the mountain to a rental in the suburbs, I couldn’t imagine what God was doing.
But He had made it clear this was His will and we walked into it with thanksgiving for His direction and provision.
One day, during my prayer time, the Lord asked me what I’d want if He were to give us a farm.
(Something I’ve wanted since I was a teen.)
At first I was hesitant, but the story of the king of Israel and Elisha came to mind. 2 Kings 13:18-19
He was hesitant in doing what the prophet told him and it cost him.
So, I began making my list before God.
When finished, I told the Lord, “This is all in Your hands, I don’t expect to receive anything.”
Then, I purposed not to think about it, but to enjoy the place we were, because I’ve fallen into the error of living in the future rather than being grateful for the present.
I completely forgot about that list until much later.
We were walking this property and I was praying for God to make it clear if we were supposed to move here.
He brought my list to mind and I was shocked.
Everything I’d asked for was here.
In that moment I knew God was confirming the move.
He knew what would be best for us and what desires He had placed in our hearts, therefore the list was simply a way for me to recognize those things and see them again when He showed us our new home.
Because moving here was a leap of faith.
Another thing that has been beyond my expectations is the fact that our family is in the process of adopting.
24 years ago, when our oldest daughter was in diapers my heart yearned to adopt.
I spent many a prayer time in tears seeking God’s face, asking Him to allow us to add to our family through adoption, heartbroken over the number of children in need.
Instead, He gave us four beautiful children.
I remember clearly the prayer time where the Lord asked me to give Him my desire to adopt children.
It wasn’t an easy thing for me, but I knew that the Lord is asking me to spend my time in prayer on something else.
He wanted me to give Him my desire until let it go completely.
That was many years ago.
Imagine my surprise when my husband emailed me from work with a link to a local adoption agency and suggesting we pray about adding to our family.
I honestly wasn’t sure if the Lord was giving me back the desire of my heart, until he confirmed it as I prayed by giving me several verses to stand on while we went through the process which bring me comfort while we wait to complete all the requirements.
This morning I experienced another surprise.
I opened my WordPress to see a notification of a new follower.
When I began this blog, several years ago, it was an act of faith and a step of obedience.
Although I enjoy writing, I do not see myself as a writer.
I remember telling the Lord that I wasn’t capable.
His reminded me that I don’t have to be capable or able, I simply have to obey.
The story of Moses and the burning bush came to mind.
Moses certainly didn’t feel able to do the task that God had raised him up to do, but he was the very man for the job and God used him mightily.
I love Moses’s reaction to all God did through him.
Numbers 12:3 NKJV — (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)
I was humbled by a notification about this blog this morning.
Because I know that it is not my effort, but God’s blessing.
Obedience before God, whether it is in walking where He’s called or releasing things into His hands, is always best.
Only God knows how He is working all things together for good.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the incredible number of blessings You have given me and my family. Thank You for the answers to prayer. Thank You for teaching me how to give up the things I desire and look only towards Your interests, walking in obedience, and learning how to surrender completely, each day. Lord Jesus, I do not deserve any credit for anything, for I know You are the one that has worked through this vessel. I know that You alone are the reason I am able to do anything. I know that all that I enjoy in my daily life is a gift from You whether it be food or family or a home or even worship. You are the author of it all and I understand that everything I think of as “mine” is actually Yours, including me. Thank You! You are worthy of all praise. I love You, Jesus Amen.
Just a few days ago I was chatting with my husband about how much God has blessed us this past year.
One year ago, this month, we bought this property.
For the entire month of October and a good part of November, my husband camped out in the shop, working his normal shift and then spending countless hours on our house every evening and weekend.
Although, our son-in-law had two or three other jobs, he worked nights on our house, driving the hour and a half out of his way just to help us get done before our date to be out of the rental.
I’d drive down to my husband’s work on Friday afternoons to drop our son off so he could help through the weekend.
Then on Sunday mornings I’d get up extra early to meet them for church.
I didn’t move in until just before Thanksgiving.
Handsome spent part of Christmas and New Year’s finishing the bathrooms.
He came down sick in January.
February he started working on the chicken coop.
March and April on the garden fence and the run for the chickens.
May we started planting and were given our lamb.
The summer saw us adding our goat to the mix and working on several things including my husband’s shop and restarting the furniture business.
Somewhere in there we were given our rabbits!
We’ve been excited to be able to share eggs and tomatoes with others.
Our other crops didn’t grow too well, but hopefully next year we will have enough to share more.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:11-13 KJV
We are so thankful for God’s blessings.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for placing our family here and all You did to make it possible. Thank You for the blessing of help through our many projects, especially our two sons. Lord, this property belongs to You and we want to honor You with it. Please help us to be wise stewards and to be generous with all things. Lord, please teach me how to organize and setup things that we are using our time wisely. Lord, thank You for how much You have done to prepare us for what You are doing next. Lord, I love You. Thank You for loving me first. Amen.
“That would make a great picture,” she turned and smiled at me.
I hadn’t seen what she was looking at, out the window, so I asked her what she meant.
“Oh, the guys in the garden with their cowboy hats on.”
I looked and agreed with her.
Our oldest granddaughter looked too and announced, “I put my shoes on!”
I asked her momma if she could go with me to the garden.
As we stepped off the deck stairs her little voice surprised me with a giggle, then she told me why she was laughing.
“Oh! The cowboys!”
I laughed too.
“Yes! Let’s go see them.”
We found Papa setting Bubba down on the metal bench to eat the fistful of green beans he had.
He gladly chopped away while Faye pointed with concern at a grasshopper.
I agreed they are not welcome in the garden, but it would probably leave soon.
She turned to smell a sunflower.
I asked her to do it again so I could get a picture.
When Bubba had finished his green beans, they each found a strawberry to enjoy.
Then my husband walked them to where the carrots are.
He pulled one and the children’s surprise at the carrot popping out of the ground brought smiles to our faces.
Of course our grandson needed to pull his own. (He only had a little help from Papa.)
His was covered in dirt, so I got the hose and began washing it off.
Soon both children and Papa were enjoying fresh carrots.
We decided the tops would be a nice treat for the bunnies and headed over to their cages.
Faye pointed to our female, “The Mommy one! Where’s the Daddy one?”
“He’s hiding right now, but wait, he’ll come out when I put the carrot tops in.”
Of course he did and she giggled.
Next, we went to feed some undersized corn to the sheep and goat.
As Faye petted the sheep she commented, “Soft.”
Papa fed the chickens in the run so the kids could watch them.
Faye pointed to our rooster, “The Daddy chicken!”
“Yes, that’s right. He’s the Daddy, the rest are the Mommy chickens. The Daddy is called a rooster.”
Her attention soon turned to the neighbor’s beautiful gelding.
He’s a pinto and very friendly, but today he didn’t come close.
He’s not used to little children.
She waved at him and told him “Hi!”.
Our grandson had lost interest and they’d already returned to the house, but Faye wanted to check the nesting boxes.
Our son is very good at keeping the eggs picked up, but I told her we could look.
To my surprise, there was an egg.
Faye was glad and as I held it, the warmth against my palm told me it was fresh.
I told Faye, “We will put this one in the carton and you can take it home.”
As we reached the deck and Faye proudly lined her clogs next to our rubber boots, I smiled.
My heart thanked God for His blessings which I’m able to share with our grandchildren.
My husband’s expression told me his heart was also thankful; equally blessed by our time with our grandchildren.
Our daughter related what occurred when she told the children they were going to Grammy’s.
“Their little eyes got huge and they ran to get their shoes on. They were so excited! Then, Faye proceeded to list everyone who lives at Grammy’s house, including the sheep, goat, chickens, and two rabbits!”
I had to chuckle.
Children are such incredible blessings from God.
They have such a unique perspective.
Their joy is contagious.
They are greatly valued by God.
Matthew 18:10 NKJV — “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for the gift of children. You have blessed us with children and now grandchildren. We are so thankful to You for each one. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach us through these precious people. It is in Your Word that we realize just how blessed we are and how each one is a priceless treasure. Lord, only through Your Word and Holy Spirit can we find truth and understanding. Only through Your salvation can we be saved. Only in the security of Your redemption can we find peace. Lord, please help each of us to be an encouragement to the children around us. Please teach us how to value others, how to train and exhort, how to love unconditionally, and how to share You with each one. Lord, I lift up these precious people. Please speak to their hearts, train them up in Your truth, and give them the true understanding of Yourself. Thank You. Amen.