Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lavish Grace

I came across this quote from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth recently.  It struck me because often I forget that I am the recipient of God’s grace, and I do not deserve it.  When I forget how much I needed God’s grace, I think of myself in lofty terms and often treat others as not-as-good-as-me.  The truth is, we all need God’s grace, and when we get it, it is always undeserved.  I needed a reminder to live in the reality of His grace!

Lavish Undeserved Grace
{Download PDF}

Monday, February 27, 2017

Precious Thoughts

I often supplement my current Bible Study or devotional readings with the adoration list from Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet.  January and February the topics were all things I was wrestling through already.  I came to the 22nd when we were looking at the characteristic of God as a personal God, who knows me individually.  God really used Psalm 139 to tie a lot of things together for me.

Psalm 139:17-18 – How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!  how great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

For some time now, I have started my {almost} daily prayer time with Jeremiah 29:11-14, which says,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.

I know that these verses were spoken to Israelites which were headed into captivity, and yet the Lord has used them in my life over and over again.  I have struggled with this “captivity” of temporary housing and “limbo” and transition that we have been “stuck” in for 18 months.  I have questioned why God would call us to church planting, provide for our financial needs by allowed us to reach full support after only 2.5 years of deputation, and then just drop us off to sit and wait for three months, because we can’t really get started on church planting until we have a house.  So I have asked God to help me know that His plans are good.  That His plans are not of evil.  That He does have a plan, and that He is at work, even when I can’t see it.

Pacific City, Oregon
I don’t particularly care for sand, but I came across this picture from our very last deputation trip and I was remind that God’s thoughts are more than the sand pictured here, which is a small portion of all the sand there is in the world!

We have done everything we can to secure housing.  And now we just wait for the bank’s decision.  It is all in God’s hands, and my patience has run thin many times.  But today I read that His thoughts (good thoughts and plans according to Jer. 29), are more than the sand, and they are precious.  

Pacific City, OregonPacific City, OregonPacific City, OregonPacific City, Oregon

As I meditated on this truth, the Lord caused me to think about my moments and days as a mom to five little kids.  It seems that my day is filled with thoughts of other people (though this in no way means I am an unselfish person…).  It revolves around what DVD the 2nd grader needs me to start for school, and did I remind the 3 years olds to go potty, and did I bake bread so that I can feed these hungry kids, and the five year old needs clean socks so I have to start the laundry, and the baby needs his nose wiped, again.  My thoughts revolve around my family and how I need to meet their needs.  Yet I am sure that if I add these thoughts up, they are no where close to the number of grains of sand on the seashore.  God’s thoughts – of me – cannot be numbered.  They are precious, and they are thinking up good plans.

I have sometimes prayed Jer. 29:11, not out of faith, but out of duty because it is on my prayer list and I know I should pray it.  But God has answered my prayer.  In bringing me to Psalm 139, He has reinforced that He is working and thinking and planning on my behalf, even when I cannot see it.  I cannot even count His precious thoughts toward me, so I could I ever see and comprehend all that He is doing right now?

I am thankful for the waiting time, because it has allowed me to learn and personalize this truth in a way I wouldn’t have without the struggle and the trial.

Update:  The Lord brought this to me on a Wednesday morning when I was sick and not feeling well.  I did not want to make the two hour trek into NYC for church, especially because I felt the Lord wanted me to share this in testimony time.  We did go, and I did share, in obedience to Him.  I think He used it in the lives of others too.  The next morning, we received word that our short sale had been approved and we were moving forward into closing…

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Today I was reading an adoration passage in Psalm 60.  Verses 11-12 say,

Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.
Through God we shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall  tread down our enemies.

help-153094_1280I was struck with this thought…

Sometimes my enemies aren’t physical people.  Sometimes my enemy is doubt, or fear, or worry.  Sometimes my enemy is stress, or emotions out of control.  Sometimes my enemy seems like five little kiddos all demanding a piece of me at the same time (but that’s really just stress, right?)  So the question that struck me today is, where do I turn for help?  Too often I ask my husband to help, or I turn to my own creativity to solve a problem.  Start a movie for the kids.  Sit down and breathe.  Make a to-do list.  Sometimes I yell and lose control of the situation.  But vain is the help of man

What I really need when all of the situations hit me in the face is to turn to God for help.  When I am drowning in doubt, or guilt, or out-of-control emotions, I don’t just need another set of hands, or a fresh look at the situation – I need God.  I need to turn to Him FIRST.  I need to realize that any victory will only be through His strength.

When I shout, “HELP!” it needs to be to God first.  Sometimes He may use the help of man (or my husband, or my friend, or my kids) to help me.  But I need to turn to Him first.