Tag Archives: Jesus

Happy birthday, Mom!

This was last Spring, when I was blessed to have both Anne and Mom at a DAR meeting with me.

Today is my mother’s birthday and I’m thanking the Lord for her.

My mother was born in Michigan and I’ve been blessed by the many stories of her life on the family farm.

My grandparents purchased it when she was very young.

It’s still in the family.

My Aunt and her family work hard everyday and have turned it into a nonprofit organization.

They do equine therapy for children and the handicapped.

Besides telling me funny stories about Grandpa swatting flies in the barn to take out his aggression or frustration, she also told me about my father and his family.

But family stories are just a portion of the things my mother has given me since my birth.

She has taught me to work hard, to honor God, to cook and clean, to love my family, to study, and she has encouraged me to pray.

Mom and Dad bought me my first One Year Bible and even went to the trouble of having my name engraved on the cover.

I’m so thankful for that gift, because it was through it I began to really love God’s Word.

Reading the entire Bible regularly, was a turning point in my walk with the Lord

There are so many more things I could write about my mom, but the point I really wanted to make is this:

I’m very thankful to God for His gift of the baby girl, this date many years ago, because she grew up, got married, and became my mom.

Exodus 20:12 NKJV — “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your gift of family. Thank You for my mother. You know that we are not perfect, but You placed us together and for that I am so thankful. Lord, You know how You created each one of us and we are blessed to be able to walk with You in this day. Please continue to walk with each one of us. Lord, please bless my mom today and encourage her. Lord, please continue to teach each one of us through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Lord, please help us to walk with integrity, honoring You at all times. Lord, for those ladies who are mothers, please help each one of us, to be praying for our families, to lift up those You have placed near us. Lord, please continue to correct us, that we might not harbor sin, but quickly repent of any wrong. Lord, please teach us how to serve with joy, respond with wisdom, and love without expectation. Thank You, Lord! You are incredible and Your truth is life! I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Sheep and goats

My recent encounters with our goat (this morning she broke into the rabbit feed again) has caused me to ponder scripture.

The Bible says a good deal about sheep and goats, but the words of Jesus have stood out as I’ve been praying.

All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:32‭-‬33 NKJV

Jesus is talking about His return to earth and what will occur.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:34‭-‬40 KJV

Those who are “sheep” are commended by the way they served others.

He doesn’t conclude there, but next turns to the “goats”.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Matthew 25:41‭-‬45 KJV

Talk about heavy.

These people are condemned by their lack of service.

Yet, we know it’s not by works which we are saved.

Jesus tells us that to be saved we simply need to believe in Him.

John 3:16 NKJV — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

So, how is it that the “sheep” believe and yet it’s their works Jesus points to as the proof of their belief?

Because true faith is evident in the daily lives of those who believe.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
James 2:14‭-‬17 NKJV

Jesus, Himself referred to this.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV — “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

Belief in Jesus Christ is a faith which changes our hearts and lives completely.

John 15:8 KJV — Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

I want to be a “sheep”, content with following my Master, bringing glory to God the Father through my daily obedience.

John 10:27 KJV — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for using my sheep and goat to remind me of Your truths. You change my heart and through that my attitudes and actions. Lord, I thank You for saving me and making me Your sheep. I thank You for continuing to teach me through Your Word. Lord, please help me to listen intently for Your voice and walk faithfully in Your paths. Thank You for Your love and salvation. Amen.

Personal reflections

Galatians 1:23-24 NKJV — But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
And they glorified God in me.

As I was reading these verses, this morning, I was reminded of God’s incredible ways.

He takes what we see as tragic, horrible, loss, and transforms it into something incredible.

The Apostle Paul’s life is a wonderful testimony to God’s faithfulness and truth.

Romans 8:28 KJV — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

And through His incredible works, which people see, God is glorified.

Galatians 1:24 NKJV — And they glorified God in me.

I didn’t understand this truth until four years ago.

My sight was skewed, I looked upon hard things as something we endure, something which teaches us about God.

But I didn’t realize it is an opportunity to praise Him, to glorify Him.

Sadly, in my twenties, I didn’t truly believe that God was working all things together for good.

I regret my self centered perspective and how I allowed the enemy to rob me of my joy through self-pity.

When disappointment came, I allowed resentment, rather than seeking the Lord for His path.

When loss came, I held on to faith with white knuckles, thinking my efforts were some how doing God a favor, rather than finding my faith built through praise, for He had given me such blessings through these departed loved ones.

When disagreements came, I stood rigid, unyielding, arrogantly thinking I understood the other’s motives, and holding them in the wrong, rather than gently expressing my fears and perspectives, listening with open heart, trust, and love to God, knowing that He was working through these things.

Even in the light of these past errors, I can praise God.

First, because He forgave me.

Second, because He has taught me through it.

Finally, because I have the understanding of past experiences, which I can share with others, encouraging them not to fall into the same errors I did.

Even in my regrets, God is working.

For He is good.

And like Paul, I want others to see what God has done in my life, and give glory to God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching me so much in my 45 years of life. I’m excited to see what else You have to teach me in today. Thank You for Your wonderous works. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for salvation. May the whole earth be filled with the knowledge of the glory of You! Amen.

“Not if, when…”

It suddenly became real.

While working through all of this, I’d been holding it lightly.

Just in case the door closed.

I’d even corrected our son’s words, “Don’t say ‘when’. We don’t know if this is going to happen, say ‘if’.”

And it was during his interview he said, “If we get kids-“

Our adoption agent interrupted him.

“It’s when, not if. When you get kids, please continue.”

I was startled by her calm assurance and looked over at her.

She was smiling and seemed to know she was giving us the information we’ve been working at hearing.

Our family is going to adopt from the foster care system.

Just reading it in print is incredible.

We’ve been working on the process of getting approved for months.

But it’s moved out of the maybe into the actual.

It will probably be another 7-8 months before we have children placed in our home, but I’m certain God has a purpose for that time.

As we embrace this new blessing from the Lord, I expect to have plenty of ups and downs.

We are praying for our future children as well as the challenges and blessings this will bring to all of us.

We’d appreciate your prayers as well.

James 5:16 KJV — Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for faithfulness throughout this process. Lord, You know I have really struggled with fear during this and been able to find so much truth and comfort in Your Word. Thank You for continuing to use life’s circumstances to show me my errors and to convict me of sin. Lord, I don’t want to try to control circumstances nor to do things in my own strength. Lord, I don’t want to be puffed up with pride, thinking we know what is best. Please help us to guard our hearts and minds, placing ourselves before You with joy and humility. Lord, please continue to teach us how to walk with integrity through each day, choosing what is right and walking in Your truth. Lord, I know Your ways are perfect and I want to be filled with wisdom, which only comes from You. Please continue to teach me how to live as a reflection of You each day. Thank You, Lord for this new adventure. Thank You for Your faithfulness. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Fellowship of believers

Proverbs 27:17 NKJV — As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

People need each other and the gift of true friendship comes from God.

This verse captures the truth in a concrete way: friendship is a mutually beneficial relationship.

Both parties are honed, sharpened, and better able to be used by God, because of the friendship.

It’s a place where both parties can be real, honest, and held accountable; encouraged in righteousness.

Proverbs 17:17 NKJV — A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

True friendship is built through love and it withstands the storms of life.

Even friendship can be twisted by the enemy to be something it was never intended to be, this choosing one’s friends needs to be with wisdom and discernment.

Proverbs 20:11 NKJV — Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.

Our choice in friends should be honorable before the Lord; fellow believers who live by the Word of God and exhort us to do the same.

We also need to be a friend to others if we expect to have them.

Jesus is our example in all things.

He is the Son of God, which means He’s holy, righteous, sinless, and He is greatest friend, ever.

John 15:13 KJV — Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Let us be inspired by our Savior to follow in His example.

Loving at all times, exhorting through application of His Word, encouraging through faithfulness, and sacrificing ourselves for our friends and family.

As the body of Christ, we need one another, and there’s no better time to hold each other up than today.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that we can find direction for every part of life, including our friendships. Lord, please help me to be a good friend, like You are. Please bring scripture to my heart as I pray for my friends. Please place Your Word in my mouth as we share. Lord, please help me to be silent and simply listen, not caught up in myself that all I do is talk. Lord Jesus, help me to have discernment and understanding. That I would be an encouragement to my friends and family. Lord, thank You that some of my closest friends are my family. That is such a blessing. Lord Jesus, in all things I want to bring You glory. I want to be filled with gratitude and praise, not allowing anything to quench my worship of You. Thank You for Your encouragement this day. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

August 23, 2022

Today’s prayer:

Genesis 2:22-24 NKJV — Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for the gift of marriage. Thank You that You made us and love us individually. Lord, please restore the truth of what Your plan for marriage is. Lord, these are the deepest wounds, the ones from a failed or injured marriage. Lord Jesus, please comfort those who have these deep pains and heal them as only You can. Lord, please continue to teach myself and other women how to be wives of honor, dignity, respect, and trust. Please teach our husbands how to love, honor, and cherish us. Lord, You said in Your Word that You made us one that we might have godly offspring. Lord, help us to walk in this truth. Teach us how to be individuals who lay down their lives in complete surrender to You and serve their family with joy. Lord Jesus, protect us from evil. Guard us against lust, envy, covetousness, laziness, apathy, and bitterness. Please pour in Your love, understanding, faithfulness, patience, joy, and peace. For the family is the institute which You created between a man and a woman and it is a gift. For those who are called by Your name, let us remember that there is a far greater marriage still to come and what a blessing it will be to have a seat at the table of the Marriage Super of the Lamb! Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

August 21, 2022

Today’s prayer:

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp! Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!
Psalms 150:1‭-‬6 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for another day. Thank You for Your faithfulness! Thank You for answering my prayers. Thank You for teaching me new things daily. Thank You for Your loving kindness. Lord Jesus, thank You for watching over us at all times. Your ways are perfect and Your Word is truth. I lift up Your name and declare that it is holy! Your love is true. Your sacrifice and resurrection are our salvation! May the whole earth be filled with the knowledge of Your glory. Amen.

A bit of a rough go

This is a photograph of our garage.

It’s one of the positive things which occurred this week.

Handsome (my husband) came home from work one day and did all of this.

I should have taken a “before” picture, but I wasn’t thinking about it at the time.

Rather, I was feeling a bit panicked over a comment my husband had made when he called me on his way home.

My husband loves me very much and I love him.

We are two extremely different people and over the past week, we’ve had a bit of a rough go.

Communication has never been our strong suit, and although we are continuing to try to learn how to communicate well, I can’t say this week felt like a win.

It was more like survival.

And frankly, I think a large percentage of the lack of communication was me.

I couldn’t see it at first, but suddenly a bunch of small things all began to pile up in my emotions.

Instead of working to forgive each circumstance, I somehow began a mental list.

After a few days of struggling with terribly poor attitudes, and praying throughout this, God used a couple moments to fold back the hurt and reveal the truth.

I was afraid.

I wasn’t walking in forgiveness and humility.

I had ignored my husband’s perspective and God’s, and was focused upon mine.

Uhg!

How quickly fear becomes a slimy slope which my emotions and thoughts become bogged down in and the decent into self-pity and hopelessness begins to permeate everything.

Praise God for His mercy and grace!

Not only did He lift me out of the yuck, He cleansed me, and wrapped me in new understanding.

With these gifts came instructions.

Trust Me.

As a wife, I can often get caught up in looking to my husband to be the answer to my concerns, the comfort of my hurt, the tireless solution to all my needs.

But that’s not his job.

Those things belong to Jesus.

My husband is a wonderful man, but he’s not God and I shouldn’t expect him to be able to be.

Love him.

Scripture is clear, the woman was created by God for man as a helper, a complement to him. (Genesis 2:18-25)

Marriage is God’s foundation for all of society and it’s meant to work as a team, two people who love and serve God, together.

I’d allowed my hurt to dampen my love and mar my service both to my husband and to the Lord.

Allow Me to lead.

I’m a first born.

God has put me in many positions of leadership over the years, and I have a “can do” attitude about most of life; if I see a need, my first response is to try to fill it.

But that’s not following.

Just because I see what I perceived to be need doesn’t mean it is, nor does it automatically fall to my list of responsibilities.

I’ve learned, through some painful experiences, that I must wait upon the Lord for His direction not charge off on my own.

The root of my fears, which triggered my hurt were, in some degree, my reaction to “needs” which I was trying to fill in my own strength.

I had taken these things to the Lord, but sadly, I was failing at waiting upon Him for direction.

Praise God for His forgiveness!

I’m also extremely thankful to my husband for his forgiveness.

I’m not just full of gratitude for God using this to show me my heart, I’m expecting Him to continue to use it.

When I need to be chastised by the Lord, I know it’s for my best and with continued humility and remembrance an opportunity for future reference.

So, although this week has been a bit of a rough go, I know God will use it for good.

Proverbs 3:11 KJV — My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your correction. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout my error. Lord, thank You for helping me see the truth and for giving me Your perspective. Thank You for relieving my fears. Thank You for Your help in times of trouble. Lord, I know You are Sovereign and I worship Your holy name. You alone are worthy of all honor, all glory, all praise. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.

In the process…

As I moved from the front of this chair to the back, I was struck by the difference between the two sides.

I put down my paintbrush and picked-up my phone.

The picture was to help me remember that when I was on the side with paint, it looked like the chair was close to being completed.

The truth was only seen when I changed perspective.

The same is true for my spiritual progress.

As the “accuser of the brethren” the enemy is excellent at hitting me with thoughts of discouragement, because I still have so much to learn.

Of course, when I’m vulnerable to sliding into pride, the thoughts are the exact opposite, tempting me to comparison between myself and others whose hearts I can not see nor do I know their journey with the Lord.

Both “sides” can be used against me to ensnare me in sin, through appealing to my flesh.

But God…

He sees it all.

He knows my journey.

He is working through my circumstances.

I’m in process, and the One remaking me is a Master Craftsman.

Psalm 19:7 KJV — The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

2 Timothy 3:16 KJV — All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Romans 12:2 NKJV — And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for this reminder. Thank You that You see every part of me and You are daily teaching me, guiding me, renewing me. Thank You for walking with me through this journey and showing me so much. Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for Your answers to prayer. Thank You for Your righteousness and goodness. Thank You that I need never be afraid of the enemy and the lies, because Your Word is truth and I can find forgiveness, healing, and salvation. Thank You, Jesus for all Your wonderous blessings! I love You. Amen.

Difficult animals

This is our goat.

Because we haven’t gotten the cross fence up, we take her and our lamb out to graze three times a day, sometimes more.

A few weeks ago the goat broke her collar, but she had learned to follow us out to the pasture so we didn’t bother to replace it, thinking it best to wait till she was bigger and could get a permanent collar.

As I sat outside with the sheep and goat, I wasn’t here long when I heard our son calling me.

He was struggling to lead the goat back down.

Then he explained he found her trashing the barn in an effort to get into the grain.

I looked over to check on the sheep.

Yup, she was still doing what we came out here to do.

I had to carefully tie the goat, in such a way as to keep her safe, and sat very near her so to be sure she’d be okay.

Did she go back to eating?

No, she began by knocking over the other chair, then chewed the cord on that chair, chewed my gloves, stuck her nose in my hot cup of tea, tried to sit on my lap…

I took the top picture after I had gotten up to put some distance between us, as I was feeling a bit frustrated with her.

“Why can’t you just eat?! That’s why we are out here?” I asked her.

The Lord reminded me: she’s a goat.

Goat’s are very curious.

They are not content to just eat grass, but need a variety of vegetation.

Brush, dead leaves, black berry bushes, weeds,…

They will even strip the bark off trees.

They are noted for climbing and leaping.

They can be difficult to keep in a fence.

Yet, they are very useful animals; they eat troublesome weeds, produce milk, and can be a source of meat.

Ours is a milk goat and we look forward to having our own milk for making cheese and soap and just for drinking.

The Lord’s reminder to my heart brought me truth.

I have to keep in mind they are just animals and will respond to life in their unique way.

The chickens act like chickens; the sheep like sheep; the goat…like every goat I’ve ever had.

All of this points me back to my Good Shepherd.

I want to behave like a sheep.

Following my Master, filling myself with His Word, listening for His voice.

(Our lamb comes when I call her.)

Not going off by myself, or trying to fill up on things God hasn’t given me, or making a mess because I’m not where I’m supposed to be, ignoring the voice of my Master.

I want to obey and reside in the place the Lord has for me, rather than waste that trying to get something else.

For He has supplied my every need and given the best, most important gift of all.

Psalm 68:19 NKJV — Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this lesson. Please help me to be a follower of You. Show me my stubborn waywardness that I might repent and turn back to You. Lord Jesus, I want to walk in Your ways, resting in Your provision, waiting upon You for all things. Please continue to teach me daily. And Lord, help me to be wise with how we care for these animals You have given us. Thank You for the blessings they bring. I love You, Jesus. Amen.