When We are Blind to the Good He Brings...

Monday, September 1, 2014

Your glory is visible
and evident.
Yet, again and again
I fail to see 
Your beauty.
So I seek Your
one more time.
Please place Your
powerful hands
on my broken eyes
and give me sight again.

Sometimes we need to regain the ability to see all the beauty that is God. Counting His gifts helps us realize that He really does give beauty, grace, and blessings to our lives. Here is my gift list from God for the week...


-Funny cards from friends
-Running jokes
-New Spanish children's books

-The blessing of getting to do what I love...teach.
-A great first week of Spanish lessons
-Watching my students grow and mature
-Humor during the lessons
-A GREAT set of students this year!!
-Four days of rest
-Fall around the corner
-Learning more from the Psalms. {Loving this!}
-Getting a lot of paperwork done
-Texts from a friend

Ten Things God Does

Friday, August 29, 2014

Ever lived with someone you just can't live with? Ever had a friend that looked more like an enemy? Ever not gotten along with a co-worker or boss? Yesterday here on my blog we took a look at the Psalms of Ascent, chapters 120-134. If you have a moment read through them.  Yes, it is fifteen chapters, but some of them are incredibly short.

In these psalms, relational angst in prevalent. It is a running theme through the chapters. There is talk of being trampled by others, lied about, and attacked, but the more I read them {over and over} again I began to realize that the better theme in these chapters has to do with what God does for us when we face an enemy.  These psalms are really about God not us nor the people we are not getting along with.

Here are ten actions that God takes when we are in distress. This isn't an exhaustive list.  There are a few more in the Psalms of Ascent, but these are the ones that jumped out to me.

He watches over us. "He who watches over you will not slumber." {121:3} He never sleeps on the job when it comes to His care for us.

He keeps us from harm. "The Lord will keep you from all harm- he will watch over your life." {121:7} Does this mean that we will never suffer harm? No. I think he may allow some harm in order to protect us from a far greater harm. I have seen Him do this in my life...allowing a painful circumstance to protect us from something dangerous.

He shows us mercy. "So our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he shows us his mercy." {123:2} He is gracious to us in our distress.

He is on our side. "If the Lord had not been on our side...they would have swallowed us alive."{124:2} He is on our side.  Here's the interesting thing though. If your conflict is with another Christian, He is on their side, too. He will use the angst to benefit both sides!

He provides an escape. "We have escaped like a bird." {124:7} With God, there is always a way out and a way up from the pit we are in.

He surrounds us. "So the Lord surrounds his people." He surrounds us to protect us. Nothing can get to us unless He allows it.

He restores our fortunes. "When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed." {126:1} If misfortune befalls you God remedies the situation.

He frees us. "But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked." Sometimes relational angst has a great (albeit, surprising) side effect...freedom. I know that after dealing with people attacking me I have become less afraid of others. It has given me the freedom to stand my ground...to not worry what others think of me.

He forgives us. "But with you there is forgiveness." {130:4} When dealing with conflict sin abounds. Not only does the offender sin, but there is potential for the one offended to have a sinful response. God forgives us in it all.

He redeems us. "For with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is FULL redemption." {130:7} In the end, He redeems us, our enemy, and the whole situation. He brings good out of the miserable.

What an awesome God we serve! Through all the conflict He walks with us. The Psalms of Ascent are songs of hope in the midst of conflict.

Step by Step

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Psalms of Ascent...I never knew what they were until 2008 when I picked up Beth Moore's Bible study, 
Stepping Up which travels through the fifteen Psalms that were sung as Jews would travel to Jerusalem for festivals.  In 2010, I went through her study again...this time watching the videos with a friend. Just this past month I decided to look through them again using a Bible study method from the book,Women of the Word. I was amazed to find that these psalms express a journey...one that I have been on before.

So take a moment...Pick up your Bible and read Psalms 120-134. It won't take long. I promise.

The title, Psalms of Ascent, is fitting. If you pay attention the first psalm starts low with a person calling out in distress. By the time you get to Psalm 134 all that is left is praise for God. So the one that started low doesn't feel that way in the end. So let's take a look at those two themes in this group of psalms: distress and praise. Today let's look at the distress and then come back tomorrow as we get to the good part: praising God for what He does for us in face of relational turmoil.

What is the common thread of distress? Look back again...it is difficult people causing the turmoil...

Save me, Lord, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues. {120:2}

Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. {120:6}

Have mercy on us, for we have endured no end of contempt. {123:3}

If the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed us alive. {124:2}

They have greatly oppressed me from my youth. {129:2}

Ever lived among people that lie, hate peace, dish out contempt, and attack you? We ALL have! Seasons in our lives exist where we feel like we are wearing a target. The boss we don't get along with. The friend who gossips behind our backs. The family member turned monster in the moment. We can't escape it.  The problem with this world is that there are people in this world! Where people roam there will be sin and suffering at the hands of others.

So what to we do when faced with the inevitable? How do we cope with those that attack or mistreat? The answer lies in the very first psalm of ascent...the first sentence even, "I call on the Lord in my distress".  We call out to God. What does He do for us?

Well, you will have to come back tomorrow to find out. I have to admit I was DUMBFOUNDED when I started looking at all the ways God helps us when we face an enemy or at least someone who is temporarily acting like one. We have an amazing God!!

Ten Things God Does {Link will be live tomorrow.}

Hope and Healing {A New Series}

Monday, August 25, 2014

If you have read my blog for any amount of time or even if you have stopped by randomly a few times, I am sure you have noticed the plethora of posts on hurt, forgiveness, healing, etc. It has been a running theme in my life. Relational hurt has driven me to God, grown my faith, and strengthened my spirit. Starting in September, I will be posting (some of them will be re-posts) ideas on healing from the hurts that haunt us. It has been my prayer over the last few months that what I have endured would help others...that my pain would have a purpose in blessings those around me. So please come join me every Thursday and Friday starting September 4th. There will be posts on forgiveness, resources to help you heal, and encouragement to move past what you will never get over. Please know that if you comment on one of my posts during this time I will make a commitment to pray for you. Healing is a long, hard job {I should know!}, and it would be my privilege to lift you up to the Great Physician.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

When You Need a Little Hope

Sunday, August 24, 2014

When hope is waning and you feel like things will never get better, make a list.  A gratitude list. Proof that God doesn't abandoned His own. His gifts abound...


-Cards of hope and encouragement in the mail
-A clean house
-The sun shining on a Saturday

-Rest from stress
-Knowing I am not alone
-Portraits taken
-A Saturday night get together with friends
-Reading a mystery
-Learning about the benefits of living in a "wilderness" season of life
-Spanish lessons starting
-Laughing with a friend
-Jokes and funny stories shared
-A house full of guests
-Reading to my boys
-Learning about the holiness of God
-A great sermon on a Sunday

Pinterest Ideas

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Are you on Pinterest? I have to say I LOVE, LOVE that site!  Now with my new blog design you can click on the Pinterest icon on the sidebar to visit my boards. There are several boards to choose from as I use Pinterest for homemaking, homeschooling, recipe, and faith ideas. Pinterest helps me even in my in-home business of giving Spanish lessons.  I have found so many ideas for teaching Spanish that have been invaluable to my students! Collecting new recipes has been another great benefit of Pinterest. So here are a few of my boards in picture form...

So stop on by to get some ideas!

The Sheep-Counting God

Monday, August 18, 2014

{Elmer A. Humphrey}

When I think of sheep I think of my great grandfather, Elmer. I never knew him, but I have heard the stories. A man of Welsh descent that knew about sheep. He could shear 100 head of them in a day with hand clippers. Unreal. One of his descendant went on to compete in sheep shearing (yes, there are international competions in cutting wool).  But the count was far higher than 100...my cousin could shear 333 in a day with electric clippers.

I wonder back then how my great grandfather kept count of those 100 sheep. Surely, his mind must have wandered as he cut the wool from another bleating animal, but somehow he kept track. Sheep counting has been around for a long time. For most, it is in an effort to sleep. For some, it is their livelihood. For One, it is His love.

God counts sheep.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Luke 15:3-7

We are so important to Him that He counts us, and even when He has the 99 safe and sound, He misses that one. We matter to Him. He will search deep and wide for us. Pursue us. Go after us with His love.

{Elmer, on the right, 1907}

We, His sheep, count to Him.

My Word of the Year for 2014 is "Count". Come count with me.