For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him. Isaiah 64:4 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for Your Word and the truth within it. Lord, no matter what idols mankind has made-up, You are the only God, there is none other. You made the heavens and the earth by Your Word. You made mankind and each person is created individually by You. Lord, You know the number of hairs on my head! Truly, Your love and compassion are incredible and far beyond my understanding. Lord Jesus, as if all these things were not enough, You emptied Yourself to become God in flesh and allowed Your own creation to convict You of being Yourself and brutally killing You all because we needed You to save us. Wow. My mind and heart can not fully grasp the enormity of this gift, but I thank You and praise You for it! Holy are You, Lord and most worthy of praise! Your life, death, and resurrection is the most amazing gift. Your love is awesome. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
God blessed me yesterday, through two older gentlemen.
The first conversation, happened before church.
I had asked to hear an older gentlemen’s testimony.
It is stunning and I was reminded that God has not changed, He is the same God I read about in the scriptures.
God’s faithfulness and compassion are incredible!
One thing he said has stayed in my heart.
“Although, I didn’t know God, I can look back and see how He was with me all the time.”
The second conversation happened after church.
A gentleman I’ve not met before, who was visiting our church, came to speak with me about how my joining in worship through ASL was truly a blessing.
We talked about several things, including the fact that many years ago he was a worship leader and had a lady who signed ASL as part of the worship team.
He talked about how moving the words in ASL are and I showed him one of my favorite signs, one that always touches my heart, which is the sign for crucified.
His eyes grew moist as he watched me sign the word.
Then he asked, “How did you come to learn sign?”
“Oh! That’s a long story, but I’ll try to keep it short.”
I told him it began with our son, who has a communications disorder, we learned the alphabet in ASL first and then in English.
I talked to him about our oldest daughter getting a coffee and ending up joining a Deaf Bible Study and how she taught us a good deal of sign.
Then, I explained about being given the wrong medication and my immune system crashing, my asthma and allergies being diagnosed, and the loss of voice.
He was leaning forward, face lined with concern and asked, “When did you start speaking again?”
My broad smile nearly kept me from being able to respond.
“Palm Sunday, I was prayed for here in this church. I’ve been speaking ever since. Although, I still lose my voice now and then it’s not as often and doesn’t last as long.”
His eyes grew moist again.
“That’s right! I heard about that! My son told me, ‘There’s a lady and her family, new to our church. Her name is Hope…'”
He stopped talking and just gripped my hand.
“I came over here to tell you what a blessing your signing is and I was the one blessed by this terrific story! Thank you for sharing it with me.”
He hugged me and returned to his family.
But he left behind a blessing.
Both these older gentlemen and their conversations were gifts from God.
They reminded me that it’s a privilege to share and hear about what God has done.
They reminded me that God uses things we never expect Him to.
Their words, feelings, and openness are the fruit of God’s faithfulness to each one of us, which reminded me of the goodness of God.
These two men love Jesus and they know He loves them, thus both were quick to share that love with me.
I praise God for His blessings and for people who love God and love others.
Matthew 22:37-39 NKJV — Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your blessings. Lord Jesus, please bless both those gentlemen who You used to bless me. Please watch over them, guide and direct them as they walk daily with You. Lord, please continue to help me shine You to those around me, to live and love as You do. Lord, I want people to look at me and see You. Thank You for all You have done and are doing in my life. May my life bring glory to Your name. Amen.
1 Samuel 3:1 NKJV — Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation.
1 Samuel 3:6-7 NKJV — Then the LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him.)
Samuel literally lived at the Tabernacle, the place made for God to abide with His people, but it didn’t mean the boy had a relationship with Him.
Proximity didn’t guarantee the relationship.
The relationship began when Samuel heard the Lord calling him, and answered.
1 Samuel 3:8-10 NKJV — And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the LORD had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
The relationship began here.
This close relationship with God lasted throughout Samuel’s lifetime,.
All because Samuel didn’t just do the things which were part of worshiping God, he didn’t just live at the place of worship.
Samuel spoke with God, listened to God, and obeyed Him.
1 Samuel 3:19-20NKJV — So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD.
It’s not enough to just attend services or give offerings or to occasionally see what God’s Word says, if one is to have a relationship with God Almighty.
A relationship with Christ Jesus begins with accepting Him, and who the Bible says He is.
Then it grows through time in the Word, prayer, sound Biblical teaching, and fellowship with those who also are growing in their relationship with Jesus.
Faith is a beautiful thing, but it can be fragile.
Not unlike a beautiful potted plant, which requires time, sunshine, and care for it to grow, spread, and blossom, our faith needs care, our relationship with God needs to be a priority.
Being near the plant, but never tending it means it will shrivel and die, and the same thing can happen to our faith if we neglect our walk with Christ.
Even the disciples understood just being near Jesus wasn’t enough, after all it was one of His own who eventually betrayed Him.
Luke 17:5-6 NKJV — And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You long to have a relationship with each one of us and You died to make the way open for us. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach us about faith and building our relationship in You. Please continue to show us how to walk with integrity and truth, that we might not fall prey to the enemy. Lord Jesus, there is sacrifice in serving You, there is a cost to relationship, because You paid so much more than we could ever pay, I humbly request that You help each one of us to willing lay down anything which is hindering our relationship with You. Lord, if there is sin, reveal it. If there is pride uncover it. If there is bitterness, envy, or selfish ambition let it be seen, that we may repent and return to You and righteousness. Thank You for Your mercy and grace. Thank You for Your everlasting love. I praise Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
I rarely take selfies, but I really wanted to share God’s blessing.
Yes, I’m holding a lamb on my lap in the car.
This little lamb is an answer to prayer.
Way before my husband was asked to apply at his current position.
Before we had any idea we would be moving back to the country.
Before I had let myself dream of country life, God had asked me what I wanted if I were to choose a home for our family.
It felt a bit odd, but I was honest.
On the list of things I wanted was property, enough to raise some livestock on.
Fast forward several months, we are here in the country on property we can raise livestock on, I’d been seeking God as to what we were to raise and where we were to get them.
The chickens were an easy answer, we ordered them.
Both my husband and myself wanted at least one dairy goat, but I couldn’t figure out which breed and just kept praying.
Then, God opened the door for me to purchase a female Toggenburg, born this year, and when she’s weaned we’ll go pick her up.
I’m buying her from friends who live nearby and have seen her several times now.
I thanked God for His answer, and then started praying for something new.
This baby goat is used to being with other goats, she wouldn’t do well without another animal.
Since my husband and I want to raise a few sheep, we began looking for ewe lambs for sale.
While working through this process, neither of us could get peace about the animals we found available.
After more prayer and discussion with Handsome, I decided to ask a member of our church who has a large sheep herd.
I spoke briefly with his wife after church a week ago, and she said she didn’t know of any ewe lambs for sale, but would ask.
“It’s too bad you didn’t ask sooner! We just got rid of all our bummer lambs!” Her sweet face was lined with regret.
I assured her God had a plan and I would just keep praying.
Imagine my surprise when my husband texted me on Friday night from a church function:
“Do you want a bummer lamb?”
I sent an instant, “Yes!”
The sweet lady from church had told her husband about my conversation with her and they ended up with a very late bummer lamb.
The gentleman spoke with my husband at church and then Handsome texted me.
We picked her up Saturday afternoon and we all are enjoying her.
I’m so blessed by God directing us, even in something so unimportant as livestock.
For it builds my faith that God is personally interested in every detail of my life.
I want to cling to God in every possible way and I’m so encouraged by how He has provided for our new addition.
God is faithful and His ways are best.
Isaiah 30:18 KJV — And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your provision. Not just with this lamb or this home, but for those things which are eternal. Lord, thank You for Your love, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and compassion. Thank You that You are the One who gives us life and that You have a purpose foreach. Thank You that You show us truth, wisdom, and the path to eternity through Your Word. Thank You for paying the price that I might be saved. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10 NKJV
I’ve been inspired by Job’s story for many years, but this time of reading through it, I learned an incredible lesson about forgiveness.
Job had lost all his wealth, the care of his wife, and every single one of his children died in the same day.
As if this wasn’t enough his health breaks down and he’s covered from head to toe in extremely painful and ugly sores.
He had three friends who heard of his plight and came to comfort him in his sorrow.
When they first saw him, they didn’t recognize him, were struck with grief and sat for days in silent mourning with Job.
Then, they began speaking, and accused Job of secret sins which brought all this tragedy on him as severe punishment from God.
When Job denies it, they grow abusive in their comments, berating Job for a hard heart and rebellion against God.
Everything changes when God shows up.
Job 42:7-9NKJV — And so it was, after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD commanded them; for the LORD had accepted Job.
The next verse is profound.
Job 42:10 NKJV — And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Job prayed for his three friends who had recently been so unkind.
Here is the man who has lost everything and God is requesting he give even more to those who least deserve it.
Job had to have forgiven these three to pray sincerely for them.
And he did.
Job didn’t bargain with God.
He didn’t argue with God.
Job didn’t hesitate; he prayed.
He forgave these three friends and restored Job to his previous standard plus more.
The key to how Job could do quickly forgive is this:
Job 42:5-6 NKJV — “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.Job Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
Job had seen God and it changed everything.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for recording this story of Job’s. Thank You that You hold all truths in Your hands. Thank You that You see all of us, each one. You know us better than we know ourselves. You love us so much You paid the highest price, for who can repay God is only Son? It’s not as if one man died for another. It’s the Creator of the universe chose to be clothed in human form and died for all mankind. If You put such a high price on purchasing our forgiveness from sin, we should definitely be quick to forgive one another. Lord, thank You that Job walked through all these trials and yet never blamed You, never turned away from You. Lord, let that be me and my family. Let us always praise You and seek Your face, forgiving as we have been forgiven, loving as we have loved. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
Some things are still difficult, but overall he’s a much happier young man.
(I asked him recently, “Do you still like living here?” He quickly responded, “Oh yes!”)
Making new friends and meeting new people can be challenging for him, but he’s learning.
Several of the adults at our church make a point to speak with Jase, but one older gentleman is a particular favorite.
He sits and listens to Jase and they talk about their individual interests.
When word reached us that the older man’s son had a major health issue, Jase spoke to him, told him he was praying for his son and checked back several times to make sure the older man was doing alright.
Recently, the older gentleman told Jase of a car show.
Jase really wanted to attend and my husband was making plans to take him.
Then the Lord reminded Handsome of a funeral for a coworker and it was the same time as the show.
He wouldn’t be able to take Jase.
Jase took it well, but was obviously disappointed.
So, Handsome called the older gentleman and asked if he’d left for the show yet.
“No, not yet, I’ll be leaving in about an hour. Am I going to see you there?”
My husband related the fact that he would miss it and asked if he would mind taking Jase.
“Well, sure! It’ll be nice to have someone to go with.”
They made a day of it.
They went to the Car Show, ate lunch at a restaurant, and then returned home.
Jase had several pictures on his phone, plus a bunch to tell me about it all.
Later, as I watched him mowing the lawn, I smiled.
God provided an older man to do something with Jase my father would have really enjoyed.
I’ve told our son about how my dad could see an old car and tell me the make, model, and year it was built.
Jase knows a great deal about my father, he loves hearing about Grandpa driving in the time trials or looking at the old black and white pictures Grandpa took or hearing the story of Grandpa driving the tank up on a transport when no one else could do it.
He even likes to hear stories about Grandpa’s favorite Nascar driver, Richard Petty.
I’m so thankful to God for His blessing our son with an older gentleman who cares about the things important to Jase.
He supplied something I didn’t even know was lacking.
Truly, God loves and cares for us far more than we understand or can possibly fathom.
1 John 4:15-19 NKJV — Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for blessing our son with this trip to the Car Show. Lord, thank You for this older gentleman who has been such a blessing to our family. Please let us bless him in return. Lord, thank You that You alone are in control of all things. Thank You that You walk with us in truth and righteousness. Lord, there is always a danger in relationships, to open our hearts to others means we are vulnerable to being hurt, whether through sin or simply sorrow; for no human relationship is without the sorrow of loss. Yet, Your Word tells us we should love as You do, not counting the cost, not trying to protect ourselves from future pain, but loving unconditionally with understanding, forgiveness, and wisdom. Lord, please help us to walk in Your ways and to love as You do. Amen.
When You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalms 27:8 NKJV
Last Thursday and Friday my husband and I went to the coast, just the two of us.
He had put in for vacation weeks ago, he was to go camping and fishing with Jase.
However, the planned trip was out due to snow.
My husband told me he felt God wanted us to get away together and pray.
No other agenda, just pray.
We had a wonderful time.
The weather was rainy and cold, but we could see the ocean from our room and that was enough.
On our way home we enjoyed the clearing skies and the peace which comes from time with the Lord.
We both agreed we want to do it again.
Because it’s vital for our personal relationships with the Lord as well as our marriage that we seek God individually and together.
I’m so thankful to God for calling us to seek Him, not just for the two days least week, but for each and every day.
For I need Him in my life daily.
I want His direction and guidance continually, thus I shall seek His face and wait for His Word to instruct me.
Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalms 27:14 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit which directs and instructions my heart. Lord, please teach me Your paths, let me follow after Your truths, guide me in all things, and help me to apply scripture to each area of my life. Thank You forYour blessings. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for sustaining me continually. Thank You for calling me to seek Your face. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for loving me first. Amen.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:28-29 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, How great and awesome You are! Your ways are perfect. Your truth is amazing. Your love is beyond understanding. Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your blessings. We look to You for direction. Lord, we wait, humble and patient for Your will, Your Word to guide us. Lord Jesus, we are frail and sinful, often unaware of our selfish motives or ambitious desires. Lord, we fall prey to the enemy and we are snared by our own flesh. Please continue to teach us, that we might avoid evil and not fall into sin. Please speak clearly to our hearts, that we might know the direction and walk in it. Please continue to discipline us, as a good Father, that we might learn to put off the sinful flesh and humble, teachable, obedient. Lord, please continue to show us how You supply all our needs, that we might not waste time in worry. Lord, help us not to be afraid of sudden sorrow, but rather rejoice in daily blessings, worshipping Your holy name in spirit and in truth. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.
Outside with a gentle breeze and the sun warming my dark colored Wellies, I realized it was time to update you on our garden.
Which wasn’t easy, because in my mind it’s not finished.
I much rather wait to post pictures when the seeds have popped out of the ground, the wood chip covered paths are complete and weed free.
But those things are part of the continuing effort to grow our own food.
The reality is the garden will always be a work in progress.
An excellent reminder of life.
For me, I keep falling into the lie that if I just…then things would be easy or smooth or something better.
This idea of getting things a certain way, then it will all be great is a myth.
For if we are constantly looking at the future it robs us of the truth and the blessings in today.
This being said, I felt I should post pictures of my garden although there are weeds everywhere, chips missing still, and visually empty containers waiting for the seeds to germinate.
Because life is a process not a destination, outside of the most important one: Heaven.
In this digital visual age of Photoshop and other ways to edit our pictures, I think we see what looks like perfection and it taints us to the beautiful realities all around us.
I wanted to share, in these unedited pictures, what God has blessed us with in today.
It’s a work-in-progress just like I am.
Isaiah 61:11 NKJV — For as the earth brings forth its bud, As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for being holy, set apart. Thank You for the blessings of Your Word and Your salvation. Thank You for working in us and through us. Lord Jesus, thank You that You don’t expect us to be perfect before You extended Your salvation, but You loved us so much You died for us when we were yet sinners. Lord Jesus, thank You that we can find so much joy and truth in Your ways so that following You is a daily choice to pickup our cross and walk in Your calling. Lord, thank You that You are not finished with me yet, but I am a work-in-progress. Lord, thank You that You have promised to cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all nations. With that truth in mind, help me to praise You throughout today and to cling to Your Word that I might walk in Your righteousness. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Yesterday, I felt the Lord leading me to go look at the chickens.
Frankly, I didn’t want to.
It wasn’t time to put them away yet, but would be in about an hour.
The weather was a misty rain and much colder than our average May temperatures.
But I know better than to ignore the Lord.
Although I still do it at times and there’s always an uncomfortable consequence to such behavior.
Thankfully, I was obedient this time.
As I walked around the coop, everything seemed fine, there were even a group of hens outside pecking away.
I was about to leave, but felt I was to look closer.
From my angle, I didn’t have a good view of the door which allows the chickens into the run.
When I turned and walked closer this came into full view.
It was closed, locking the seven hens outside.
They have a cover over part of the run so they weren’t wet, but they’re not fully grown, so they can get too cold if kept away from the heat lamp.
I let myself into the run and held open the door.
Since I didn’t know what caused the door to close, I stood there holding it open.
One hen was on the ramp and headed inside right away.
Which made me glad, because the wind had picked up and it wasn’t growing warmer.
Not long after the first hen, another went in and slowly a third followed her.
Time seemed to drag as I waited for the remaining hens to figure it out and go inside.
I was getting cold and my arm was getting tired from holding the door by the time there was only one hen still outside.
I couldn’t let go of the door and it became clear the hen was avoiding the door because I was standing there holding it open.
All at once this hen realized she was alone, which caused her to panic.
She began to run around making frightened chirps.
The other chickens inside began to answer her and one even tried to come out the door.
I prevented this, which scared both the hens inside and the final one outside.
She ran and hid at my feet under the ramp, but continued to make those same frightened chirps.
Not sure how to help her figure out what needed to happen I prayed.
Then, I shifted my position, gently shoed her out from under the ramp and stepped as far away from the door while still holding it as I could.
Finally, she got the idea, jumped up on the ramp and went inside.
I locked up the chickens as I couldn’t sort out the door right then and I needed to get out of the weather.
I thanked God that nothing had happened to the chickens and then I realized…
That one lone hen is me.
I have allowed fear of something to keep me from obedience, frightened by a “change” and I start avoiding God and all He has for me.
My natural tendency next is to talk with others about my fears or feelings rather than, just getting close to my Father and following His lead.
It’s something I’m working on, but haven’t completely conquered yet.
But I know through Christ, I will.
And until then, I’ll have a few chickens to remind me what not to do.
Psalm 73:28 KJV — But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your wonderful works and Your compassion. Thank You for using a few chickens to teach me about myself and how fear will actually keep me from what is best for me. Lord, thank You that I need not be afraid, for Your salvation is all I need and I’m safe in You. Thank You that You know me and what I need. Thank You for Your patience with me, especially when I’m acting like a chicken. Thank You that You are a good teacher, You show me my errors and encourage me in the ways of righteousness. Thank You for Your love. I love You. Amen.