1 Peter 1:3-4 NKJV — Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Unless we truly understand the truth of these words, we will miss finding hope.
Because true hope, confident expectation, is through Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:12 NKJV — “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Thus, when we believe on the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ and we accept His payment for our sins, we are granted hope, confident expectation, of eternal life.
Our future lies in heaven with Him.
Therefore, nothing on this Earth is permanent.
No circumstance is everlasting.
No pain endures past the grave.
John 14:3 NKJV — “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
Thus, finding hope resides in understanding salvation.
Finding hope requires our complete surrender to God.
It’s also a beautiful daily practice.
Romans 12:12 KJV — Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
For the follower of Jesus, our hope is in Christ and in this truth we can rest secure, patiently hopeful.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for salvation. Thank You that You know what each one of us needs each day. Lord, help us to daily rejoice in our hope, to be patient in tribulation, and steadfast in prayer. Help us to view life through Your Word. Lord, please continue to polish and hone us as we seek to honor You every day. I love You, Jesus. Thank You for first loving me. Amen.
It was later in the evening when my husband looked at me and said,
“Let’s go buy the babies a kiddy pool.”
The day had been warm and their little faces had been rosey when he arrived home from work.
He wasn’t wanting them to have another warm afternoon without the opportunity to cool off.
I agreed and we drove to where we thought we might find a kiddy pool.
It was after 7pm so some stores were already closed.
Home Depot was open and although they didn’t have kiddy pools there were some other items we needed.
I’ve been planning to paint furniture and needed paint.
As the paint was finished, my husband was concerned if I’d like the color and showed it to me.
I signed that I had a good feeling about it, I liked it. (My voice had disappeared during our walk around the store.)
He placed it in the cart and began to move toward the check out.
I had noticed another employee looking in my direction previously and had nodded a “hello”.
As I looked up from the cart she was looking at me again.
So, I didn’t look away, nor walk on.
She carefully signed to me a nice greeting and wished me a good day.
I smiled behind my mask and signed back: “Thank you, same to you”.
As I walked after my husband I thought about how this lady’s kindness blessed my heart.
She didn’t have to sign to me, but she did.
She was reaching out to speak to me and it blessed my heart.
I’m not deaf, but when I can’t speak ASL is the easiest way for me to communicate.
When others see this, it’s understandable they assume I’m deaf.
I’ve been truly blessed at different times when people who saw my signing responded with an effort to communicate.
Sometimes it’s by a simple “thank you” in ASL.
Sometimes it’s looking me in the eye or trying to point to things to help me understand.
I praise God for these moments of kindness in others.
I’m so thankful for their efforts.
I often pray for them afterwards.
Because it’s difficult to deal with someone who doesn’t communicate the way you do.
Unfortunately, some people become so uncomfortable, they react in ways which make it more difficult to communicate.
There’s been a few moments in stores when we left feeling very stressed.
But these are rare and God has taught us something each time.
It was a stressful moment several months ago when shopping with my husband that he said, “I have to get better at ASL” and he has been practicing ever since.
Another time Jase and I were shopping together and several unfortunate circumstances caused us a great deal of stress.
Days later we talked about it and both of us were able to see things we should do differently in the future.
Something a young man said to me recently has been the point of truth in this part of our journey.
“Everyone learns at their own speed.”
He was referring to learning ASL, but of course the truth is far more applicable.
For me, I’m not just learning ASL, I’m learning a new way of thinking, along with a new way of communicating.
I’m learning to keep my eyes upon the face of the person I’m dealing with.
Because people often think I’m deaf if I look away they think I no longer care or that I’m not paying them attention.
To look away means “not listening”.
I’m learning to plan ahead.
I’ve been stranded on my own with no one to speak for me and no one who reads ASL, so I carry paper and pencil now.
I’m learning that many people want to communicate and try hard to do so.’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.
I’m learning to read sign better, which wasn’t something I’d worked on as I was the one signing, my family just speaks back to me.
A couple of times I couldn’t always understand someone who stopped speaking and only signed.
I’m learning to be patient.
My voice disappearing is a response my body is having to triggers, often fragrance or chemicals in the air.
Sometimes my chest begins to hurt and I find it difficult to think clearly as my body is struggling.
To combat this I have to focus on breathing calmly, walking at a normal pace, and thinking about opening my airways.
Trying to communicate while all this is going on can make me want to rush, to just “be done” and not even try, but that never works and it’s not what Jesus would want me to do.
And if I were to simply “give up” I would miss all these moments of blessing.
For God has something good in all these things and I don’t want to miss a single one.
James 4:6 NKJV — But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your faithfulness! Lord, thank You for Your help, love, and lessons. You have taught me so much and Your blessings have been incredible. Lord Jesus, thank You for walking with me through this. Thank You for walking with our family through this. Thank You for all the people who have tried so hard to reach out to me. Thank You for the kindness of strangers. Lord, please continue to teach me how to live daily unto You. Thank You for all Your wonderous works. I love You. Amen.
P.S. We went to another store and bought the kids a pool. I had to laugh when I woke up to it raining!
From the beginning of our lives, pain and suffering is something we want to avoid.
Physical pain helps us to know when we are endangering ourselves or something is wrong.
Physical pain is beneficial, because our physical bodies need to be protected from harm and pain can be a warning.
That’s why a parent teaches their child not to touch something “hot”, not to eat or drink something “yucky”.
It’s a safety issue.
So, purposefully guarding our bodies from harmful substances and activities is wise, it honors the One who gave it to us.
Yet, the spirit is a different matter, completely.
James 1:2-4 NKJV — My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
It’s not comfortable or fun to “fall into various trials”.
Actually, the average American person spends a good deal of their adulthood trying to avoid trials.
Scripture makes it clear God uses trials.
He works on our character by walking us through tribulations.
Romans 5:3 KJV — And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Trials are not something a we have to look hard to find.
As Christ followers, we should expect them.
John 15:18 NKJV — “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
Jesus’s life is our example and that includes suffering.
He suffered to an extent no human can comprehend.
God became man, to allow His own creation to accuse Him of being Himself, beat Him and crucify Him.
He came, choosing the greatest suffering, that mankind might be saved from eternal suffering, the consequence we chose when sin contaminated our race.
With this gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, we get another choice, that of following Him.
It’s the best kind of suffering.
To live in the world and yet not to be of the world.
To walk daily, choosing to allow God and His Word to work in us, continually shaping our hearts.
Letting patience have it’s perfect work that we might be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV — For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for salvation and Your example to us in all things. Lord, please continue to hone our hearts and to guide our steps. Lord, help our mouths to be full of Your praise, our eyes fixed upon Your Word, our hearts tender, and our minds focused upon You. Lord, it goes against our earliest emotions to be willing to die to ourselves, but it’s the only way we can live unto You. Lord, please help us to better understand how to rejoice when we fall into trials and how to walk with You in patience. Thank You for Your Word, Your truth, and Your faithfulness. I love You, Jesus. Amen
Lamentations 3:26 NKJV — It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.
It’s one of the most difficult things to do.
But in the case of our salvation, it’s a pleasure and privilege.
Because we don’t earn our salvation.
Hebrews 12:2 KJV — Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We can simply wait upon the Lord Jesus.
Because He provides all our needs.
He has given us His Word.
It’s a wonderful gift which brings us knowledge, understanding, and hope.
He has blessed us with salvation, when we believe and trust in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 68:19 KJV — Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
We even have the Holy Spirit to guide and direct our hearts.
Acts 2:38 NKJV — Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 NKJV — “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
Thus, we can live unto the Lord, with confident expectation and quiet waiting.
2 Timothy 4:5 NKJV — But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Our patient endurance will be rewarded, one day Christ will return!
Isaiah 40:31 KJV — But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for salvation! Lord, please continue to teach me how to walk in Your Word daily, waiting quietly upon You in all things. I know often I get distracted and worried by many things and I get tangled up in trying to do things on my own instead of humbling myself and waiting upon You. Lord, I do not want to continue in that. Please help me to recognize when I am, that I might return to trusting and waiting upon You. Thank You for Your love, Your mercy, Your faithfulness, and Your grace.
God is a God of details as well as the big picture.
He has attention for all things and He does not miss anything.
His faithfulness has been incredible and I have learned so much each and everyday.
It humbles and blesses me.
This weekend I had a moment of learning.
It was something small and personal to me, but it reaffirmed God’s loving care.
We have white dishes we keep set out on the dining room table for meals.
Years ago when everyone had the responsibility of dealing their own plate it made sense to place them back on the table where each person sat so I could easily tell who had followed through on taking care of their dish and who had forgotten.
After living here for a bit Anne began to make a pot of tea and set it on the table for breakfast.
Jase and I thought this very nice and we all enjoy drinking tea each morning.
We have been using my Grandmother’s china cups for our morning tea and although I enjoy using them I have found myself wishing we had an everyday set of tea cups.
Each time I caught myself thinking along that line, I tried to make sure I was turning that desire over to the Lord and thanking Him for the tea cups we already have and enjoy.
Because tea cups are not a need and I do not want to waste time wishing for those things God has not given me.
Thus, when we were unpacking a box from a unit my husband had recently purchased and there were six white tea cups and saucers I was hesitant.
They matched our everyday set of white dishes, but God had not told me if I was to sell them, give them away, or keep them.
Days went by and I kept praying about what to do with these tea cups until one morning this weekend.
I had gotten up and walked toward the tea cups with the intent of using them for morning tea and the Lord spoke to my heart.
You have not asked Me
“Oh dear! I am so sorry Lord! You are right! I did not ask. Please forgive me!”
I turned around and went about getting breakfast without the tea cups.
Later, I was in my room praying about this.
“Lord, I am so sorry about almost using those tea cups! I feel awful!”
You have not asked Me.
“Yes, Lord! I know I didn’t ask and I will sell them or give them away. Just please tell me which You want me to do.”
After praying for other things I went back to the kitchen for something and my eyes feel on the tea cups.
The Lord spoke so clearly to my heart.
Child, you have not asked Me for them.
“Wait…Lord, do You want me to have these? Would You be willing to give these to me?”
Would you give them to your child if they asked?
“Yes, of course.”
Then ask Me.
“Lord, may I have these tea cups?’
Yes, of course.
I set the table with the white tea cups and brewed a pot of tea.
My shortsightedness almost caused me to blush, but my God’s love and care for me brought me to tears.
Happy tears of realization that I still have so much to learn.
Not long later we all sat around the table eating breakfast and drinking our tea.
Our son was thoughtful and quiet for a time and then looked up at me.
“Mom, when I grow up and leave the house can I have these tea cups? I love them.”
I am sure God was smiling too.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You so much for Your patience with me. I am so amazed at how You know exactly what I need to hear and You speak straight to the real issues inside my heart. Lord Jesus, thank You for Your loving care. Thank You for walking with me in so many things and guiding my life into a closer walk with You. Lord, I want to be a reflection of You to all those around me. I want other people to know You and to experience the incredible love You have for them. Lord, You alone are worthy of all praise, all honor, all glory. May Your light shine brightly to those who have yet to see Your truth and even brighter to those who have put their trust in You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord ! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord ! I Chronicles 16:8-10 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You so much for all Your wonderous ways! It is only through You that we find truth, honor, goodness, patience, discernment, understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and love. Lord,only through You do we see a future as a hope. Please, Lord, help us to be prayerful about all things. To walk with You in integrity and truth. Lord, speak to Your servants, please help us to hear Your voice and to know You more each day. Lord Jesus, please cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Help us to be quick to repent, humble, and honest. Lord, please help us to trust in You for all things. Thank You. Lord, I lift up the sick and hurting, the broken, the abused, the oppressed, the prodigal, the captive, the innocent, the fatherless, and the lost. Please let the whole world be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God. Thank You. Amen.
Because you have made the Lord , who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; Psalms 91:9-10 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank You for salvation! Thank You for keeping my soul safe. Lord, I know it is only through You that I can be saved. It is only in Your ways that I can find anything good or wholesome or true. Lord Jesus, thank You that no matter the circumstances here on Earth, my dwelling with You in heaven is free from all sin, death, disease, and pain. In Your presence is fullness of joy! Lord Jesus, how I want others to find safety and security in You! How I long to share the peace and comfort and love I have in You! I know You want that even more than I do. Thank You for being such a loving God. Thank You for giving us life and truth in Your Word. Thank You for being so faithful in all things. Lord, I can look backwards and see those times I felt lost and alone You were there. Those moments of pain and trial and grief, You were there. You have never left me nor forsaken me. Thank You! May Your name be praised! May the whole Earth be filled with Your glory! Amen.
The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecc. 7:8 NKJV
Do we believe this?
Do our lives reflect this truth?
Is a funeral really better than a wedding?
It can be.
Look at Billy and Ruth Graham as an example.
When both died, many people mourned their loss, but the legacy of love, marriage, family, and most importantly, devotion to God has been left as an imprint in the fabric of history.
Yes, their end was better than their beginning.
Their lives reflected the hand of God.
And there are many other people God has done the same through.
People who followed this verse:
“eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality;” Romans 2:7 NKJV
People whose lives inspire others to live unto the Lord, to be diligent in their walk each and every day.
Men and women who are servants of God, not full of pride or self importance, but truly looking to serve with gladness where ever and how ever God chooses.
Truly it is better to be patient than proud.
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. James 5:7 NKJV
Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Psalms 100:2 NKJV
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for Your Word. It is full of such life and truth and wisdom. Please let my heart be open to Your Words and help me to walk in them. Lord, I want to have my end be better than my beginning. Lord, I want to be patient, serving You with gladness wherever You call me, however You choose. Lord, I want to be humble; not proud, not haughty, not mean, not angry, but instead full of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control. Lord, I know all these things come from You alone. Please, help me to walk in Your ways and teach me these things. Thank You, Jesus. I love You. Amen.
He has guided us through all the preparation and here we stand on the brink with very little to do before set-up day.
Of course, we have to travel down and since “running home for…” is out of the question, I’m checking our packing again.
Sis helped me go through the decorations yesterday.
She’s the wedding coordinator and therefore it’s important she understands all the details.
I’ll be asking Anne and Jase to pack their things today.
It’s a shot day, and I’m praying.
Sometimes shots make me very tired.
We are expecting visitors today and tomorrow.
So, I’ll have to plan a few meals.
Throughout all these things, one thing is foremost on my heart.
It’s something God talked to me about at the beginning.
Enjoy the journey, don’t rush through just to get through.
I want to focus on praising the Lord no matter what.
Marriage is His blessing.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord . Proverbs 18:22 NKJV
My heart’s desire is to be free from worry and stress during this.
To simply walk in peace and thanksgiving to God.
Because I know, He has all the details in His hand.
Praise the Lord!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for everything You have already done. Thank You for walking with us each and every day. Lord, I don’t know what today holds, but I know I can rest in You throughout. Your will is perfect and although I have my own ideas and plans, I surrender them before You. Please help me to walk with You in all things and to be gracious, patient, and loving. Thank You for this journey. Thank You for Your love. Amen.
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
There is never an end to the reasons to praise God.
If every word of praise was as numerous as every drop of water on Earth, it wouldn’t be enough to compare with His mighty works.
Mind can not comprehend the length of His goodness.
Yet, just a tiny peek into His creation brings forth such reason for praise.
Add to the wonders of creation the salvation of our souls through Jesus Christ.
It doesn’t require many words or fancy music.
True praise simply requires a humble and repentant heart.
Psalm 147:1 KJV — Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
Psalm 143:10 KJV — Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for so many things. First, for creating us and second for saving us from sin. After that Lord, thank You for providing for us, thank You for grace, truth, scripture, and Your Holy Spirit, which comforts and guides. Lord Jesus, without You, we are blind, foolish, selfish, and lost. Please continue to guide, exhort, love, and save. Please, lead me into the land of uprightness. Thank You. Amen.