Blessed is she who has believed…

The First Songs of Christmas by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is one of my reads for the month of Christmas.  The focus is on the songs of Christmas.  Years ago, a Titus 2 lady in my life encouraged me to ask the Lord for some new thought each holiday season. That has become my habit each year since.  This little devotional book has given me so much to think about.

I’ve also been thinking about how to wrap up my year with my one word for 2021, believing. The entry in the devotional for day 5 has provided much food for thought for me during this season.  

“The word translated “blessed” in Luke 1:45 is a different word than the “blessed” of verse 42, the one that equates to eulogy. This one (“Blessed is she who has believed”) is the Greek word makarios, meaning “one whom God makes fully satisfied”—not because of favorable circumstances, but because God Himself provides the satisfaction. To be makarios is to be fully content, even in situations that are less than ideal, solely because God lives in us through Christ. In other words, it’s the state of being saved. No matter what we are called to endure as Christians, we have all we need … because we have Jesus.”

“Blessed is she who has believed…” 

After meditating on something, I often write a paraphrase.  You could say, God has made her who has believed fully satisfied with Himself.  As I thought about this, I began to see some evidence of it in my life over this last year.  One of my verses for the year was Matthew 21:22. “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”  Many times I have cried out to the Lord while not necessarily believing that I will receive.  I have been convicted about that and working on changing it.  One result of that is that I have found myself talking to the Lord more and more.  Another result is that I can see that I have received.  I’m not talking about the Lord giving me everything I thought I needed or wanted.  He hasn’t answered every request the way I hoped or in the timing I desired; however, I am finding that the dissatisfaction of past “unanswered prayer” is fading and that I am becoming more satisfied with God Himself.  I have all I need because I have Jesus! 

As I was thinking about the correlation of believing and the blessing of satisfaction in the Lord, I couldn’t help but notice something.  Every time I make the choice to believe that God is good, I see more of His goodness. Every time I make the choice to believe that God is faithful, I see more of His faithfulness.  Every time I make the choice to believe that God will provide, I see more of His provision. Every time I make the choice to believe that God loves me, I see more of His love for me. This is God blessing the one who has believed. This is the joy and peace in believing (Romans 15:13).

We know that Mary experienced this satisfaction because of her beautiful song in Luke 1:46-55.  Most scholars believe that she was around 16 years old!!  Marvel over all that she believed about her God as you read.

And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold,
from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him
from generation to generation.
He hath shewed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.
He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy;
As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham,
and to his seed for ever.

How about you?  What thought are you meditating on during this Christmas season?  Do you have a sense of God making you more satisfied with Himself?  Why not spend some time meditating on Elizabeth’s words about Mary, “Blessed is she who has believed…”

Bow the Knee

There are moments on our journey following the Lord
Where God illumines ev’ry step we take.
There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes
When the path grows dim and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.

Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

There are days when clouds surround us, and the rain begins to fall,
The cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow.
And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel;
We are tempted to believe God does not know.
When the storms arise, don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight.

Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

~Chris Machen

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



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!!!


My word for 2021 is believing.  I knew in the fall of 2020 that this would be my word for this year.  There were reasons for that that I won’t go into in this blog post.  At the time, I had no idea how much I would need the focus on this word in this new year.

I am preparing to return to Japan with all the Covid regulations for travel.  It is nerve-racking to say the least.  I saw the Lord open wide “the Red Sea” for my return to the states and I know that He can do it again, but oh how easily I forget.  It is so easy to get my eyes off of the Lord and onto my circumstances.  

Two verses have stood out to me at the beginning of this year.  I am memorizing them and adding them to my prayers.  Whenever I finish my prayers with these words from God’s precious Word, I am helped.  

“Lord, you have told me that if I would believe, I would see Your glory. Lord, I believe.  Help thou my unbelief.” 

-based on John 11:40 and Mark 9:24

I have seen the Lord help me in my unbelief.  So many times I pray about things and then pick the burden back up instead of leaving it with the Lord whose shoulders are so much bigger than mine.  I want to get to a place in my life where I am praying believing that I will see the glory of God!