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He Will Provide

Lessons from Cherith

The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down.  Psalm 145:14

We had come to Colorado after receiving the news – my mother-in-law’s constant bowel pain was the result of peritoneal cancer, a rare and deadly disease.  She had never fully recovered from her bout with uterine cancer diagnosed just 18 months prior.  Her markers were clear but this painful and never-ending pain in her stomach kept her sidelined.  We will never know why it wasn’t discovered sooner but there are blessings even in that.

And so, after setting her up on hospice and determining that additional in-home care wouldn’t be sufficient and was well beyond what my father-in-law could afford, I offered to stay longer.  As I said goodbye to my husband who needed to get back to San Diego for work, I was faced with my usual self-doubt.  “I’m not good at this kind of thing” I said to myself.  “I’m not a sweet, kind, compassionate person” I lamented.  “I never know what to say in difficult times” I fretted.  

I was scared to face day-to-day the woman I love as my own mother as she lay living out her last days.  I was worried about how to be around my quiet father-in-law.  I definitely was concerned how to handle all her friends who wanted to visit and needed a shoulder to cry on. And then I finally remembered God.

He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
    the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
    he remembers his covenant forever. Psalm 111: 4-5

I went for a walk and soaked in the beauty of the Colorado mountains and realized I didn’t need to have all those gifts.  He has blessed me with so many other gifts that were needed – organizing, communication, and more.  And what I now needed was to lean on Him for the rest of what was required.  

My BSGs had just finished Shirley Giles Davis’ study book, God. Gifts. You. Which takes a deep dive into the list of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.  Coincidently she lives and works in Boulder, Colorado, just a few miles from where I now found myself needing the strength of God’s gifts.  She reminded us that our gifts can be used for good and have their own pitfalls if used incorrectly.  She showed us how God’s beautiful world can only function properly when we appreciate and honor the intricate ways all people’s gifts are used in harmony.  

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me.  Psalms 55:16

And so, I called on God in humility.  I thanked Him for the blessings of financial security that helped me be there.  I listed in thankfulness the gifts of the Holy Spirit which have been endowed to me.  And I prayerfully spoke the following:

“Lord, I cannot do this without you.  I don’t have the right words for the right moments so I need the Holy Spirit to speak for me.  I don’t have the strength for this gracious Father.  I need you to keep me strong and lifted or I will fail.  Only through your loving grace, using my gifts that I have been blessed with and you filling in the rest will I be able to glorify you and help Bev and all those around her. Please Lord speak in place of my words and be my strength.” Amen

His intervention was immediate as He surrounded me with His love and peace.  All those worries and fears dissipated.  And for the next three weeks the Holy Spirit held me up and spoke for me.  He spoke to the friends who left Bev’s room crying in despair.  He spoke to family members who handle grief differently than me.  He spoke to Bev while I read her Psalms each day to comfort her.  And He kept me from being tired and weak.  I could wake at any hour with ease to administer medication, keep the house clean, and make meals for the ever changing number of people at the house.  He provided, just as He promises, just as He always has.

You are my strength, I sing praises to you; you, God are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.  Psalms 59:17

My BSGs recently completed Priscilla Shirer’s study on Elijah.  In her week 6 video she mentions the definition of faith as aligning our entire life with God’s 8,000 promises found in His Word.  Our faith doesn’t need to be some mysterious feeling that is undefinable.  It’s simple, when we believe God’s promises and live like we do then that is faith.  That’s what Elijah did when he went, as directed by God, to Cherith — a lonely, dry, desolate place. God provided in ways only He can with food delivered by ravens and just enough water to get by for about two years. Elijah knew he couldn’t make it on his own. He needed God to survive. All his knowledge and gifts weren’t going to help him. God would need to fill in where he was lacking.

Friends, God promises over and over to provide for us.  The Bible is filled with endless stories of His provision.  Our own lives are testimonies to those provisions.  Sometimes we just need to remember to humbly ask for Him to provide where we are weak and not gifted.

The morning my beloved Bev went to our Father I was blessed again to have God show me how much He had answered my prayer.  I needed some alone time so I decided to take a shower.  As I stood in the bathroom waiting for the water to warm up, I suddenly felt a huge weight press on me – like an anvil was placed on each shoulder.  I cried out in surprise and then it was gone.  I knew He was showing me what He had sheltered me from for the last few weeks.  And although I am still experiencing the grief of Bev being gone from this earth, that heavy weight has never returned.  I can thank God and the Holy Spirit for being my weight bearers.  And I can thank God that He will provide in our weakest moments.

Where in your life to do you need to ask for God’s provision?  
Where do you feel insufficient and weak?  Ask Him today He will provide!

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“Those” Seasons

Hello friends!  It’s been a while since I’ve added to my blog.  For the last few months I’ve been in one of “those” seasons.  Loss, heartache, questioning, along with so many conversations with God and His Holy Spirit.  As James reminds us,

“Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”  

And ain’t that the truth.  

We have a few roads from which to choose when we go through our difficult seasons.  We can beg the Lord to go back to the familiar and comfortable.  We can rush our minds to the other side of the trial either imagining an outcome far worse or far better than we hope or fear.  Or we can learn a bit from Jesus’ brother and “let this perseverance finish its work so we can be mature and complete.”  In other words, we live in this God-given moment right now, seeking His blessings, seeking His voice, and seeking the lessons to be learned.  

The day I wrote this post my devotional reminded me to not work for food that perishes but for the food which endures eternal life. (Charles Stanley, Every Day in His Presence) I was admonished to change my point of view and not focus on the problems right in front of me but rather what God’s interest is in developing me for His eternal purpose.  And very importantly, asking for help in learning His lessons quickly so that His peace and strength would again be my resting place.

During these last few months I’ve also been deep dive into Priscilla Shirer’s study on Elijah with my BSGs.  As usual, God is using all of my life to teach me about standing firm in my faith and stepping forward in trust.  And as I have prayed to God to reveal to me my next blog series I kept hearing the phrase: “Lessons from Cherith.”  You see, Elijah had to spend a lot of time alone, facing his own trials before he was ready for the “big show.”  In that time, some of which was in the area called Cherith, he had to choose to either trust God’s eternal plan for him or not.  He had to remove so many well-honed cultural and religious thoughts of “the way things are supposed to be” and instead see how God works.  And he had to decide to stand out amongst the crowd.

And although my “Cherith” hasn’t lasted for as long as Elijah’s or even as long as Jesus was in the wilderness, I learned some valuable lessons while communing with the Holy Spirit.  In the next few weeks I’d like to share some of these with you.  To hopefully help us realign our lives to be Christian lives, lived out for all the world to see.  For our friends and neighbors and co-workers to be spurred to ask why we seem different.  

Friends, we can’t keep wandering through the wilderness of this earthly world living up to its standards.  It’s time to take our hard earned lessons from “those seasons” and put them to work for the glory of God.

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M’ Lord

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Psalms 23:1

I love a good British murder mystery.  In fact, much of my time during the lockdowns of 2020 were spent doing puzzles while watching the folks across the pond “do each other in” in any number of mysterious ways.   And as I write this, I’m deep in a modern day mystery set in a British lord and lady’s castle.

As an American, I find the hierarchical system of British life fascinating.  There is a definite caste-like system with every day, less educated people almost bowing their heads to those who are “Oxford Educated” or come from some land owning blood.  And while I don’t pretend that fiction is complete reality the theme does run throughout novels and television, whether set in modern times or not.  

At times this deference arises out of fear – fear of losing a livelihood usually – and other times out of thankfulness for generosity.  While other times it just simply stems from an ingrained respect for our “betters.”  

The other day I heard a Christian teacher ask, “How many of us accepted the gift of salvation but have yet to accept Jesus as your Lord?”  

And of course, God kept making this point with me the last few days.  On day 2 of my new Bible study the concept of having a healthy “fear” of the Lord was the topic.  

“The way we relate to the Lord demonstrates the respect we have for Him.”

He Speaks To Me

So today I praise God and His Son Jesus for being my Lord.  For being the type of Lord who provides for our needs.  For being a gracious landowner and allowing us to be its tenants.  For being the type of Lord that is above reproach and deserves our deference.  He is the Lord above all lords.  

At times of peril we can seek His protection behind His castle walls.  At times of abundance He will join in with us in celebration.  And when we grieve He grieves with us.  

We upstarts in the United States tore ourselves away from the concept of bowing before lords and ladies.  To almost a fault we have no respect for “position.”  I wonder if that makes it harder for us to bow our heads to the one who deserves our utmost respect?  When we get told to “obey” it tends to raise our hackles.  

As a Christian I need to put aside any cultural history I may have in my genes and remember that God sits above me, deserving of all glory and honor.


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A Cotton Seed World

Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, 21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21

My BSGs are embarking on a new study called, “He Speaks to Me,” by Priscilla Shirer.  What stood out to me in the first video we watched was her discussion about the Kingdom of God.  She shared with the audience about how in the Old Testament the Israelites prayed for the “coming” Kingdom of God.  It was something they hoped and yearned for throughout their years as a new and developing nation.  And right at the beginning of the New Testament we find John the Baptist proclaiming:

“Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near!” Matthew 3:2

With Jesus’ arrival, the Kingdom of God (or Heaven) became flesh and was brought to the Israelites.  And so many of them refused to grasp that their prayers were answered.  And when Jesus was resurrected, the Holy Spirit remained to cover us with the Kingdom.  

Today I praise God for His continual presence in our world, in my life and yours.  The big word is “omnipresent.”  But I like to think of it more as though I move through and live in God’s presence.  He’s not “with me.”  I am more like the tiny seed that is buried in a fluff of freshly picked cotton.  I am in God’s kingdom, surrounded by Him.  

When I grasped this idea just a year or so ago it changed my perspective dramatically.  I don’t need to ask God to come help me or be near me.  I just need to slow down my brain and remember I am always in His presence.  We are all in His presence, whether we believe in Him or not.

It reminds me of the movie, The Matrix.  There are those in the movie whose brains and bodies are hooked up to a virtual reality machine.  They move about in a phony world without realizing its fake character.  And then there are the people who have disconnected from the computer and live almost in an alternate space – the real, tangible world.  When we disconnect from the world of the flesh and recognize that this is God’s world, His created space, and that we are in His midst, we start seeing life and how to live it from a new perspective.

The Kingdom, Jesus reiterated in our first verse is not a specific “thing” to be seen.  It’s because it is everything in God’s creation.  It is the grace God gifted us through Jesus.  It is His Holy workings in our lives via the Holy Spirit.  The kingdom is God and God is the kingdom.  Gnaw on that a bit!

When I’m struggling with an issue or feel pulled apart by the fleshly world, I now seek that “sweet spot.”  That quiet moment where I can feel nestled in His presence, like that little cotton seed.  I wrap it around me like a warm, soft blanket and thank God I can call him “home.”


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Eat Up His Words

When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
Lord God Almighty.  
Jeremiah 15:16

I visited some friends recently outside Austin, Texas.  One day we were trying to decide where to eat for lunch and I mentioned seeing a place that served Louisana-style shrimp and crab.  My friend exclaimed, “Oooo those are my two favorite foods!”  And off we went!

As our food was placed before us – heaping piles of crab, shrimp, corn and potatoes — I thought I heard my friend moan.  And when she started in, slurping and sucking on her crab I actually did hear her moan!  We started laughing so hard!  That lunch is what came to mind when I read this verse from Jeremiah.  Eating joyously and to our heart’s delight.

Jeremiah was in a pretty tough spot with God and the people of Israel.  He had to tell the people of God’s coming wrath.  You see, God was done being placated by Israel’s rulers.  It was time to pay the piper for their egregious and continuing sins.  But God promised to save Jeremiah after he makes his plea of faithfulness.

Just think if we all devoured God’s word like my friend did her pile of crab and shrimp!  Or like Jeremiah in his plea for rescue!

“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.”-

A.W. Tozer

Acute desire.  To yearn to read more about God.  To seek with all our heart ways to serve God.  To sit in mediation with anxious expectation to hear from God.  That’s the kind of love God wants from us.  Like lovers that can’t get enough of each other!

My husband and I started out in a long distance relationship.  He lived and went to college in Colorado and I was in California.  We began calling each other every day.  Spending hours on the phone.  We wanted to learn everything we could about each other.  Then our phone bills started arriving!  As poor college students we couldn’t afford to call each other anymore so we took to writing.  Each day I would anxiously await the mail.  And each letter that came was pages long.   I ate up those words with joy and with a happy heart.

The Bible is like those love letters.  It tells us all we need to know about God’s character.  It regales us with stories of how He makes promises and keeps them.  He tells us about how much He sacrificed to show us love.  And He shows us the way to be united with Him again.

If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning.

Oswald Chambers

Loving God is not a passive pursuit.  We need to love with abandon.  We need to eat up every word from His lips!  

Then you will call on me and come 
and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 
You will seek me and find me when 
you seek me with all your heart.  
Jeremiah 29:12-13

Friends, the enemy is like that jealous school girl who wants to steal your boyfriend away.  She’d love to see you get a bit complacent with your relationship.  She’ll even find ways to distract you and put a wedge between you.  The difference is, the enemy can only work on one side of this relationship.  God is never distracted.

The presence of passion, faith, and belief in our hearts is a gift.  It’s on loan to our souls. 

Priscilla Shirer, Fervent

In other words, we don’t need to conjure up that passion or desire to eat up God’s Word.  The Holy Spirit is already there, waiting for us to access that burning faith!  We need only to call out to God and say, “I love you, Lord with all my heart!  Teach me everything about you so that I may serve you!”  And He will certainly place a feast before you.

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Selfish Prayer


I had finally decided to do it.  I made a lunch date with my parents to tell them.  I was scared.  Conjuring up conversations laden with disdain, disgust and even some hatred I drove to the restaurant.  As we dug into our sandwiches, I mustered up the courage to blurt it out.  “I’ve started going to church.”  And then I winced in anticipation.  After some silence, I continued, “I was a bit afraid to tell you.”  And my mother replied, “Why would you be afraid to tell us that and WHY on earth do you feel the need to go to church?”  That, my friends, in one sentence, is the story of our relationship.   After I explained a few reasons why I decided to attend church my father finally spoke.  “Believing in God is a crutch.  It’s something I don’t need.”

Nowadays when I hear people say things like that my response is, “A crutch?  Give me two please!”  Because there’s nothing I need more than for God to support me through this difficult life.  There’s nothing better than Him.  I have the promise of eternal life and His love under one arm and the power of prayer and petition under the other.

We live out our lives using so many other worldly things as crutches – our jobs, friendships, our bank accounts, our health, our status, the belief in the power of our own mind, etc.  And when those become our source of support our prayer life (if we even have one) directly reflects those crutches.

“You do not have because you do not ask.  When you ask, you do not receive. Because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

James 4:2-3

I call this a selfish prayer life.  Either we don’t ask because, like a two-year old we think, “I can do it all by myself!”  Or when we do pray, we aren’t asking as wisdom-filled followers of Jesus.  How many of us have recited a prayer and at the end said, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”?  Have we stopped to consider what exactly we are saying?  Is what we are praying something Jesus would ask for of the Father?

“Man is a creature abounding in wants. He is ever restless. His heart is full of desires. Man is like a sea anemone with its multitude of tentacles, which are always hunting in the water for food.”

Charles Spurgeon, Ask and Have

I’ve heard a lot lately about our attitude and faith. The state of our attitude needs to be examined when praying. When we pray, are we complaining and want a “magic pill?” Are we asking for other people to be “fixed” when we really need for God to shine the light on what we need to fix in ourselves? Do we pray to get the promotion so we can make more money or do we pray for God to position us in our company right where He needs us most? When we don’t get the promotion do we then say, “but I prayed about it and obviously God isn’t listening?” We get angry with God when He doesn’t do what we tell Him to do. Go figure.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolish….But we have the mind of Christ.”

1 Cor 2:14-16

When we don’t live as though we have the mind of Christ inside us, we pray as though we don’t know the spirit of God.  Our heart and mind, with the wisdom of God, must be woven throughout our prayers.  My friends and I recently watched the movie, “War Room.”  In it, an older woman disciples a younger woman who is having a lot of marital problems.  She wants her husband fixed – fixed, of course, how she wants him fixed.  The takeaway from the movie for all of us was the intensity and sincerity the older woman had in her prayer life.  What I had to realize was two things:

  1. The devil is hard at work, even in our prayers.
  2. We need to use our power and authority given by Jesus to plead with God

And so, I created my own prayer War Room.  I pray with conviction that God will hear my prayer and His desires will be done.  I pray knowing He wants the things I want – for families to be reunited, for mothers to find their voice, for husbands to step into their roles, for daughters to be filled with the Holy Spirit, for friends to surrender to Him, for our country to be healed.  And I pray thankfully for prayers that have been answered and for his intervention into my life and my family’s.  

War Room starring Priscilla Shirer

I don’t pray for things anymore.  I pray for wise decisions.  I pray for doors to be open and doors to close.  I pray for hurt feelings to be removed and for me to not hurt people’s feelings.  I pray for forgiveness and to forgive.  I pray asking for the strength to live a life He wants me to live – not the one my selfish desire wants to be. I pray for Him to take my burdens so I can rest in the peace Jesus left with us.  And I pray boldy.  I pray calling on all the strength I know God, the King of Kings, has to do all things.  It’s time to stop messing around with lazy, recitation praying and start meaning exactly what we say.

“If your desires are the longings of fallen nature, if your desires begin and end with your own self, and if the primary purpose for which you live is not to glorify God, but glorify yourself, then you may fight but you will not have.”

Charles Spurgeon, Ask and Have

As Christians we have the privilege of prayer. Think of all the people you know who don’t know Christ. They are left to their own devices – and we are terribly faulty people. We get our own lives so messed up yet somehow, we think we can control the world around us. We must pray. We must pray His will be done. Our first impulse in the morning should be prayer. Throughout the day we should be praying for others. And at the end of the day we are specific with our prayers of thankfulness. Let’s not be like the sea anemone grasping at whatever luck or speck of good comes our way. Instead, seize on the notion that God wants to give us a good life. All we need to do is ask.