No More Night

This has been a busy month. I am currently back in the states for some time with family before a conference with our mission board. My first week back, I had the opportunity to once again visit the house of mourning. It was a difficult time for all. My youngest son was one of the ones who gave a short eulogy of the loved one who has gone to be with his Savior that he served so faithfully. One thing he said stuck with me. This man finished the work that the Lord had for him to do. Otherwise, he would still be with us. It didn’t seem so to many of us. It seemed as though there was still a lot of life for him to live. He was a faithful pastor, husband, father and grandfather. We fervently prayed for healing, but God had other plans. He chose to use this man’s life and death in a different way. Once again we have had the opportunity to learn that God’s ways are not always the way we might have hoped for. But God’s ways are best. I choose to believe that.

The final song at the funeral was the recording that I have linked below. I’m told it was one that the deceased and his wife listened to often. I don’t ever remember hearing it before. The words are powerful. I can’t get them out of my mind. What wonderful truth! One day, if you belong to Jesus, you will live in the light of the risen Lamb! I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to that glorious day!

Believing That God is Good

This post has been a long time coming. It is something I have been thinking about for several months. I am finally sitting down to try to put some of my thoughts into words.  I pray that I am able to convey some of what God is teaching me.

From some of my previous posts, you may remember that my word for 2021 is believing.  There have been so many ways that the Lord has used this word in my heart over the last several months.  What He is teaching me now is something that I desperately need to learn.

Believing that God is good…

There is so much going on in the world today:  illness, death, grief, political upheavals, weather disasters and the list goes on and on and on…Last week, my husband and I were getting ready to call it a night.  Right before I turned out my light, the emergency alarm went off on my phone.  Of course, it was all in kanji which we don’t read well.  We finally figured out it was landslide warning.  We have had so.much.rain!!  There are floods and landslides throughout Japan.  We are safe and live in a safe area from these particular kind of disasters.  A day later, we were awakened by an earthquake at 5:00 a.m.! Talk about an adrenaline rush!!  Some other things have been happening in our world here that caused my hubby to say recently, “Man, when it rains it pours!”  Literally!

It can all be so overwhelming.  Sometimes I may be wondering where God is in all of this.  I believe that God is all-powerful and that He loves me.  I believe as the children sing, “there’s nothing my God cannot do.”  But will He?  

“Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes.”
~Psalm 119:68

The psalmist here is appealing to the character of God.  This is throughout Psalm 119.  He talks of His faithfulness, His compassion, His righteousness and His mercy.*  These are all things that make God and everything He does good.  It’s all about Him and His character, not me and the circumstances I am facing.  Jesus talked about faith as small as a mustard seed.  These seeds are so small, I can hardly see them.  God blesses that amount of faith.  

I have been following the CaringBridge sight of someone who is dealing with a seriously ill husband.  The journey has been long and hard, but her updates are full of God’s goodness.  This week, I listened to a podcast series featuring Stephanie Wesco.  Her husband was shot and killed 12 days after they arrived in Cameroon to serve the Lord as missionaries.  As I listened, I heard a testimony of God’s goodness in spite of such a horrific loss.  

It is difficult to read the CaringBridge updates through the tears.  I sobbed through part of the podcasts with Stephanie Wesco.  I want that kind of faith, but I don’t want the trials and hardships that grow that kind of faith.  I have had to confess that to the Lord multiple times.  I know He already knows.  I pray that I will be willing to endure whatever He allows in order to grow my faith.

I think David sums up my thoughts perfectly in Psalm 27:13.  “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  May we all take his admonition in verse 14 to heart.  “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”

*Notes shared from the MacArthur Study Bible

 

 

The All-Seeing God

This poem is from The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts. It was referred to in a podcast that I listened to recently so I searched the web to find it. It opened up a whole treasure trove to me! The third stanza was a particular blessing to me. I hope that these words based on Psalm 139 will be something for you to meditate on this Lord’s day.

Lord, thou hast searched and seen me through,
Thine eye commands with piercing view
My rising and my resting hours,
My heart and flesh with all their powers.

My thoughts, before they are my own,
Are to my God distinctly known;
He knows the words I mean to speak
Ere from my op’ning lips they break.

Within thy circling power I stand;
On every side I find thy hand;
Awake, asleep, at home, abroad,
I am surrounded still with God.

Amazing knowledge, vast and great!
What large extent! what lofty height!
My soul, with all the powers I boast,
Is in the boundless prospect lost.

O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where’er I rove, where’er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

Could I so false, so faithless prove,
To quit thy service and thy love,
Where, Lord, could I thy presence shun.
Or from thy dreadful glory run?

If up to heav’n I take my flight,
‘Tis there thou dwell’st enthroned in light
Or dive to hell, there vengeance reigns,
And Satan groans beneath thy chains.

If, mounted on a morning ray,
I fly beyond the western sea,
Thy swifter hand would first arrive,
And there arrest thy fugitive.

Or should I try to shun thy sight
Beneath the spreading veil of night,
One glance of thine, one piercing ray,
Would kindle darkness into day.

O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where’er I rove, where’er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

The veil of night is no disguise,
No screen from thy all-searching eyes;
Thy hand can seize thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.

Midnight and noon in this agree,
Great God, they’re both alike to thee;
Not death can hide what God will spy,
And hell lies naked to his eye.

O may these thoughts possess my breast,
Where’er I rove, where’er I rest!
Nor let my weaker passions dare
Consent to sin, for God is there.

*Emphasis is mine.

Sitting at the Feet of Jesus

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Oh, what words I hear Him say!
Happy place! so near, so precious!
May it find me there each day;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
I would look upon the past;
For His love has been so gracious,
It has won my heart at last.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows,
And, when weary, find sweet rest;
Sitting at the feet of Jesus,
There I love to weep and pray;
While I from His fullness gather
Grace and comfort every day.

 Bless me, O my Savior, bless me,
As I sit low at Thy feet; 
Oh, look down in love upon me,
Let me see Thy face so sweet;
Give me, Lord, the mind of Jesus,
Keep me holy as He is;
May I prove I’ve been with Jesus,
Who is all my righteousness.

~J. Lincoln Hall

Think Bible!

Think Bible! is a blog/website that encourages you to do just what the title says, Think Bible!  Many ladies contribute to this blog and there is much there to ponder. There is something for everyone!  A recent post by a friend was a great encouragement to me in the area of rehearsing God’s Word instead my problems.

I feel privileged to be one of the contributors.  You can read my post on Adjusting to  Life on the Mission Field here.  If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you may have already read this.  Maybe a review will be an encouragement to you.  It was good for me to take the time to review the truths in that post!

Perfectionism and Unbelief

Many years ago, I was told I was a perfectionist.  At the time, it was a type of “diagnosis” of a problem that I had.  Being the type of person who enjoys research, I started reading up on perfectionism.  It wasn’t flattering as I saw myself in some of what I was reading.  I am more the “I’ll do it or die trying” than the “If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all” type of perfectionist.  I started to realize what it was like to live with someone like me and started to work on changing that.  

Sometimes I think I have perfectionism licked.  Other times, I see it rearing its ugly head.  Although there is nothing wrong with striving for excellence, it becomes a problem when you are running over anyone that is in your way.  

Revive Our Hearts podcasts is having a series right now on perfectionism entitled When Life Doesn’t Line Up: The Crushing Burden of Perfectionism.  Out of curiosity, I began to listen.  The first episode, A Matter of Worship, was a good reminder to me of how far I’ve come.  I also saw a few areas that I need to work on.  The second episode, I’ll Never Measure Up, stopped me in my tracks.  

You may remember that my word for 2021 is believing.  When the Lord impresses on me a word for the year, He teaches me many things.  Sometimes these lessons come from surprising places.  Listening to that second episode was one of those surprising places. 

The episode is a discussion.  One of the women asked the questions, “Is it possible that a root of perfection is unbelief? That we are not trusting God when we are rising up to make everything around us go exactly as we think it needs to go? Are we at the root struggling with unbelief?”  The author of the book they were discussing responded, “I think that is very perceptive, because one of the reasons that I need to control things and I need to make everything around me just the way I think it ought to be is because I don’t have confidence that God is going to do good.” [emphasis mine]

As they continued to discuss this and situations where we don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good, I couldn’t help but think of times where that is true in my life.  Every time I try to manipulate circumstances for the outcome that I think should take place, I don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good.  Every time I nag my husband to do something the way I think it should be done, I don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good.  Every time I am trying to work the budget from every possible angle to make sure there is enough money for what is coming up or warn an adult child about a possible terrible outcome to some plan or action on their part, I don’t have the confidence that God is going to do good.

I would tell you that God is good. I would tell you that everything He does is good. (Psalm 119:68) After thinking most of the day on this podcast, I have realized that there are circumstances where my thoughts and actions are showing that I don’t believe that like I thought I did.  And so today, the Lord put His finger on something that He wanted me to know, a place in my heart where I am not believing that He is good and that what He does is good when it isn’t what I would have chosen.  

This is a very transparent blog post.  Maybe this is an area where you are lacking as well.  If so, leave a comment and let’s pray for one another.  I long to have that confidence that God is going to do good no matter what!!!

Making a Way


When the children of Israel were trapped and afraid
‘twix forbidding tides and Pharaoh’s tirade,
Jehovah commanded, and Moses obeyed.
As pitiful prayers filled an impossible place,
as Moses gazed into Jehovah’s dread face,
as the people of God needed infinite grace,
the mighty winds howled; violent waves dashed.
The seawaters quivered and the lightnings flashed.
The thunders boomed and the breakers crashed.
And when the sun arose on that terrible day
the children of Israel, through the misty spray, 
discovered their God had made them a way.
And many a Christian in the years that have passed
Though troubled by fears, though tired and harassed,
Have found the same God strong, sure, and steadfast.

—Robert J. Morgan

in The Red Sea Rules, pg. 85.

*photo from Moody Press/freebibleimages.org

The Value of Memorizing Scripture

If you have been visiting my blog for awhile, it will be no surprise to you that I have a passion for memorizing Scripture.  I have not done this perfectly. I have not been as consistent as I would have liked to have been over the years.  I have struggled with reviewing and retaining what I have memorized. I am a firm believer that something is better than nothing, so I keep plugging away at it.  

There are times in my life when the value of this practice is given a spotlight by the Lord.  When this happens, it motivates me to keep memorizing.  My recent circumstances were one of those spotlight moments.

These pandemic days are unlike any other time in my life.  I recently returned stateside to be with my daughter during her surgery and recovery. The last couple of weeks were a whirlwind of activity with packing bags, saying final goodbyes and trying to meet all the requirements necessary for Japan to allow me to enter the country.  It was all very nerve-racking and I must confess that there were times that I was feeling quite anxious about it all.

It was in those anxious moments that the Lord would flood my mind with Scriptures that I have memorized in the past.  Verses about His presence, His love and His power. Verses that reminded me that if I had to do my quarantine in a hotel in Tokyo alone instead of at home, He was still in control.  I would not be alone.

One particular passage that I have been reviewing during this time is Psalm 91.  I memorized it last year with an online group when the pandemic began.  Recently, the Lord brought some of the verses to my mind during one of my more anxious moments.  I decided to pull out the card with the verses on it and review it everyday until my departure. I also reviewed it on the plane when I was on my way.  I can’t tell you the peace that those verses brought to my heart and mind.  It was a peace that passes all understanding.  

If hiding God’s Word in your heart has not been a part of your life, I would like to encourage you to begin now. You will not be disappointed.  God will honor any effort no matter how small. 

If you would like some more encouragement or information about this spiritual discipline please refer to 31 Days of Scripture Memory or click on the tab in the header.  Comment below and let me know that you want to get started and I will pray for you.  If you already are a memorizer, what are you working on?  What motivates you to keep working?  Let’s encourage one another!

Little is Much

January 10, 2011 in South Carolina

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.

Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.

When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child, well done!” 

Little is much when God is in it,
Labor not for wealth or fame;
There’s a crown, and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.

~Kittie L. Suffield

Pondering

“But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

-Luke 2:19

Years ago, a very dear Titus 2 friend in my life encouraged me to ask the Lord to show me something new from His story during each Christmas season.  I have continued to do this each year.  I wish I would have started a list to write down all of the lessons so that I could review them each year.  One year in particular that comes back to my mind was the year that I meditated on the fact that Mary pondered in her heart.

There are many things that I ponder about.  Sometimes it is something that I want to remember and not forget.  Sometimes it is something that I don’t have an answer for.  Sometimes it is something that I know I should pray about, but I don’t know how to pray.  Romans 8:26 tells us that when we don’t know how to pray as we ought, His Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered!  What an amazing and comforting thought!!

At some point in time, I decided to add a page in my prayer notebook entitled pondering.  On this page I write the things that I don’t know how to pray about.  It might be a person I am burdened for.  It could be a situation that I know needs fixing, but I don’t know how to fix it.  It could just be something I see God doing and wonder what the outcome will be.

What a joy to look over that list and ponder over what God has done or is doing!  It’s not always easy, but God’s hand is in it and He is there!

What are you pondering over today? May I encourage you to give it to the Lord and see what He will do.