The Lord Delights

“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, those who put their hope in His unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11

I woke up one day with this verse on my heart so I dug into it.  Let’s break it apart to digest how beautiful it truly is.

“The Lord delights…”

This means He takes great pleasure in, revels in, adores, rejoices, desires and one definition even says “becomes great friends”.  I love that!  Oh to be not just a friend but a great friend of the most High!  Sign me up for that!

“…those who fear Him…”

The way the word fear is used here, and many other times throughout the Bible, is in reference to “awe, awesome, a proper attitude of awe or respect with/towards God, total allegiance with God, to be a faithful follower and worshiper.”  Trust is also a huge aspect in this healthy fear.  The Bible talks of how this fear of the Lord is a foundation of wisdom and knowledge; it leads to life, security, protection and is a life-giving fountain (um yes please!).

While the word fear in this verse isn’t defined by being afraid, it does make me think of when we are afraid and what happens to us. We normally tremble or shake, right?  Often (and so frequently in the movies!) our mouths are open and we scream, right?  Sometimes we cower down on our knees or faces, sometimes we throw our hands up in surrender.  Ok, those might be a little dramatic but I do find the similarities so interesting.  This fear we are to have of the Lord may occasionally produce some of the same bodily symptoms of being afraid (trembling, mouth open, hands up surrendered), it’s a completely different fear and so amazing.

Think about the last time you were in awe of something…maybe it was an encounter with Jesus, maybe it was a sunset, maybe you have just looked into the eyes of a baby you have been praying for…this awe, this beautiful sense of astounding amazement is how the Lord wants us to view Him.  He is enthralled with us, His creation…are we truly in awe of Him?  He desires our honor, worship, friendship and trust so we can be used for His glory…do we truly fear Him?

“…hope in His unfailing love.”

This just makes me think of Jesus and points me right back to good old John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”  The fact that Jesus is our hope and the most significant source of God’s love for us puts me in awe.  In awe of God for His soveringty, in awe of Jesus for who He was and His sacrifice for our salvation.  HE is our hope, our belief, our promise, our Savior…God’s love for us is not only on the cross but all over this earth and the people in it.  It’s in the tomb where Jesus was resurrected, in the pages of Scripture, in our souls, and abundantly in Heaven where we will see Him face to face.  Talk about awe (mouth open for sure here, right!?)!

“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, those who hope in His unfailing love.”

Today, let’s pray that we see God’s awesomeness in everything; it’s there you know, in everything.  I pray that we sense Him drawing us in, turning our faces towards His.  Look up, in awe of the one true God who loves you more than you can imagine.  Thank Him, trust Him, seek Him, love Him, delight in Him as HE delights in you. 🙂

The Great Glassblower

The following post is an article I wrote for the March 2014 edition of My Journey of Faith Magazine…I recently reread these words and was overwhelmed at the way they preached to my own heart right here, right now.  Oh God is so good.  I pray He encourages you in His glassblowing techniques!

Lately I have been thinking about the technique of glassblowing …it starts as a blob and is thrust into and out of a furnace or flame…being refined and purified, beautified by the glassblower. The glassblower knows what he is doing; the glass just takes the heat. It melts and molds and forms this beautiful shape that is known from the beginning only by the glassblower.  Into the fire, out of the fire, into the fire…turned in the fire, molded in the fire…the glass would remain a blob if it weren’t put into the fire, continually rotated and carefully blown into by the skilled glassblower…


1 Peter 4:12 warns us to “not be surprised at the fiery trials we are going through as if something strange were happening, but to be very glad – these trials make us partners with Christ in His suffering.”  A trial by definition is a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation.  God, the Great Glassblower, allows various trials in our lives for HIS glory and for our refinement and spiritual growth.  All of our trials, both big and small, are opportunities for Christ to demonstrate His power and presence in and through us.

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine” 1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)

In researching more about glassblowing, I learned that the transformation of raw materials into glass takes place around 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit…that is HOT! We, like a blob of glass, are transformed in our trials no matter how hot they get…IF we keep our eyes on Jesus.  When we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, we will stand, no matter the fire, no matter our circumstances, and be refined, purified and strengthened.  Only when we take our gaze off of Him and onto the chaos surrounding us do we feel the true heat of the furnace and the weight of our burdens.  I’ve walked through fiery trials where I’ve kept my eyes and entire focus on Jesus Christ and it was amazing; I’ve never experienced God more.  I’ve also walked through fiery trials where my focus was on ME and my circumstances and it was some of the darkest times in my life.  BUT it taught me to let go, trust Him and let Him do the refining and molding.


15108872_mAre we moldable? Are we letting Him use us in the midst of our trials? Do we know deep down that He LOVES us and has a plan far better than we are capable of understanding? Do we truly know it’s not about US???  This is the world HE created.  We are HIS…WE are his glass blobs to be molded and purified into something so beautiful.  Are we truly letting Him have us?

Glassblowing involves three furnaces: the first is simply referred to as the furnace.  The second is called the glory hole and is used to reheat a piece in between steps of working with it.  The final furnace is called the lehr or annealer, and is used to slowly cool the glass (it can take hours or days).  This final furnace keeps the glass from cracking or shattering due to thermal stress.

This is beautiful! The glory hole (what a name for this process!) is used to reheat a piece in between steps of working with it…isn’t that just what the Lord does with us?  He is working with us, breathing into us and reheating us as needed for HIS glory and our good. That, my friends, is a glory hole.  Just as there is no way for glass to become what the glassblower desires it to be without the glory hole, there is no way to learn of faith except through trials (A.B Simpson).

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed but not driven to despair. We are hunted down but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but we are not destroyed. Through suffering our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may be seen in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:8


4630075_s3150223_mAnd then the final furnace… to keep the glass from cracking or shattering due to thermal stress…oh that I would keep from cracking! I’m convinced this is God’s grace only found in Jesus Christ; His spirit, inside of believers, keeping us from shattering and picking us up if we do.  It’s not always the huge fiery trials that break us, sometimes it’s the day in and day out stresses.  Whether we bring them about on our own, or are being allowed to experience them, Jesus Christ is there to save us.

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”  2 Corinthians 4:18 (MSG)

I’m truly amazed at the glassblowing technique and how similar it is to life. One of my favorite things I’ve learned about glassblowing is the following:  “Skilled glassblowers are capable of shaping almost any vessel forms by rotating the pipe, swinging it and controlling the temperature of the piece while they blow.”

He is the Great Glassblower. New iphone 8226


Hearts of Gratitude

heartsofgratitudeIn looking up the word “gratitude” from various sources, most of the definitions were very similar and what one might expect:  thankfulness, the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness; a natural expression of thanks in response to blessings, protection, or love, etc… One definition, however, significantly stuck out to me: gratitude is a joyful commitment of one’s personality to God.

Researching gratitude chronologically in the Bible, it took me a while to find it, which was surprising to me!  Although we don’t see a “thank you” in the first few chapters of Scripture, I’m certain Adam and Eve walked so closely with God their hearts were wrapped in perfect gratitude.  They were joyfully committed to God, until they ate of the forbidden fruit.  The Hebrew term for gratitude, “hakarat hatov” means “recognizing the good”; surely after they were cast out of the Garden they recognized the good they had while in there, although there’s no more mention of them verbally praising God for what was or what could have been.

Moving down several generations to Noah we see everyone has turned their back on God, except Noah; he worshipped and loved God.  Perhaps his amazing obedience was found in his heart of gratitude and what saved and set him and his family apart from those who were wiped out in the great flood.  I can’t imagine a lot (if any!) gratitude going on in anyone other than Noah – the Bible tells us the people of this time were full of evil and sin, which is why God sent the flood.  If the opposite of joyful is sad and the opposite of commitment is refusal, could it be that the people of Noah’s time sadly refused their personality to God?  I’ve heard that the root of all sin is ingratitude; it certainly seems to be a great place for the devil to get a foothold as he did in every person but Noah during this time.

Abraham, the father of faith and many generations, was one whose heart of gratitude almost cost him the life of his beloved son, but God spared Isaac.  His commitment to God was greater than any other thing, even his own son.  God sparing Isaac shows us how He blessed Abraham’s obedience.  Even when he questioned, even when he doubted, obedience flowed from Abraham’s heart of gratitude.

In Exodus 15 we find Moses and the Israelites singing a song of deliverance and praise after God led Israel out of Egypt and saved them by parting the Red Sea.  This is the first record of a written song of praise to the Lord and it is beautiful!  An excerpt:

“I will sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously; He has hurled both horse and rider into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him- my father’s God, and I will exalt Him!” Exodus 15:1-2 (NLT)

First Chronicles 16 records King David’s first song of praise to God, and oh how I love it!  An excerpt and my favorite part:

“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. Exult in His Holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. Search for the Lord and for His strength; continually seek Him. Remember the wonders He has performed, His miracles, and the rulings He has given.” 1 Chronicles 16:8-12 (NLT)

Having written the majority of the Psalms, David went on to write more songs of praise than anyone else in Scripture; perhaps this was why God called David “a man after His own heart.”  Despite his shortcomings, sins and failures, he was committed to God and had a heart of gratitude which never ceased praising God.

Have you stopped praising God?  Are you joyfully committed to Him or maybe just partially committed?  What’s so interesting is the use of “gratitude” in the English language has significantly decreased over the decades…I look at my own life and wonder if the same is true?  Have I let what I want and my many prayer requests take over my heart of gratefulness, gratitude and praise?  Has my lack of possessing a heart of gratitude been the cause of any disobedience?  Having a heart of gratitude, in constant thanks and praise to God can only help us to recognize the good no matter our circumstances.  Starting our days with praise and thanks…for the air in our lungs, for the day He has made, for the grace He has so wonderfully given us in His son Jesus Christ.  Yes, living with hearts of gratitude is the only way to live.  When we are truly grateful, our lives will show it.

This Thanksgiving season and in the days beyond, renew and vow a joyful commitment of your personality and all that you are to Him.  He’s worth it and the blessings He will bestow on you because of your joyful commitment cannot be numbered. 🙂

On fear…

I originally wrote this for My Journey of Faith online magazine in October 2012.  Today I am revisiting it to meditate on these verses and apply them to my life this week.  On Monday, our daughter will start 1st grade at a new school.  I know, it sounds silly to be fearful/anxious about something so normal but there’s just a lot to take in and a lot going through my head.  SO I need to focus on what God tells me about fear and anxiety and that only in Him will I find the peace I need to not only get through life but 1st grade too :).  He goes before us!  He knows.  Ahhh I am feeling better all ready.  Praying these words encourage you in any fear or anxiety you may be experiencing.  He is bigger than our fears and can calm us of all uncertainties. 

The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed”

Deuteronomy 31:8

What if fear did not exist?? What if there was no such thing as that annoying little word that can do so much?? What would you do?? What would you say?? Who would you become?? How often does fear hold you back??

As I attempt to plan a 10 year anniversary trip with my husband, I have found myself full of fear. Fear of flying over the ocean, fear for our safety in another country, fear of leaving our children, the list goes on and on. I am slightly annoyed with these fearful feelings that keep cropping up, but it has really made me think about fear, how often I let it control me, and how, as a believer, this fear goes directly against what God has taught me in His word. I don’t have to define it, we know what it is. Any anxiety, nervousness, apprehension, anticipation, feelings of being afraid or scared is all the result of an underlying fear from within. There’s fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of change. Fear of dying or losing someone we love. Fear of what others think. The list is endless!!

Fear has stopped me dead in my tracks and kept me from saying something I know the Lord wants me to say. It has kept me from doing things I know God wants me to do, and for a long time, I know it held me back from giving myself completely to Jesus. Ultimately, and if we let it, fear will keep us from being the person God designed us to be.

Throughout the different translations of the Bible, fear in its various forms is mentioned numerous times—well, actually it’s mentioned A LOT. God knows it is in our human nature to fear, but over and over He tells us “Do not fear.” “Do not be afraid.” In His Word (and on our knees in prayer), He equips us with all we need to get through our fears. One of my all time favorite verses of Scripture that I cling to is Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail or forsake you. DO NOT FEAR or be dismayed” (emphasis added). He goes ahead of us. He KNOWS what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and why it’s going to happen. We all too often can only see what’s directly in front of us, or whatever we are facing, but He sees the big picture. The whole entire thing. Regularly, I have to remind myself of this because my thoughts can certainly carry me away from the fact that He is all knowing, He loves me and He has a plan—and it’s PERFECT. That is so comforting, and in that, I find peace.

To me, the opposite of fear is faith. Jesus spoke it Himself in Matthew 8:26 “Why are you afraid, you have so little faith?” FAITH is what it’s all about. It’s a core theme throughout Scripture and any fears we have chip away at our faith. We can’t have both, can we? God’s desire is for us to have complete trust in Him, in all we do, no matter how big or small it may be. He wants us to BELIEVE that He will cover our fears with the comfort of His grace, but we have to seek Him first in our fears. We have to turn to Him first when fear starts creeping in. Go to His word, get on our knees, and recognize that those thoughts are NOT from Him. He HAS NOT given us a spirit of fear. But of power. Love. And a sound mind. How awesome and comforting is that? It’s right there in 2 Timothy 1:7. He has not given us a spirit of fear. HE does NOT want us to fear or worry. Philippians 4:6, 7 “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything….then you will experience God’s peace…” May we all turn our fears into prayers and find peace in the fact that God is in control.

So I have a choice. Will I be fearful, afraid, anxious or worried about this trip and while on this trip? Or will I have faith that God is who He says He is: my fortress, my refuge and strength when I am weak, my light, and my helper. Will I listen and seek Him first in my fear? He CAN and will give me what no one else can: Peace. Isaiah 26:3 “You Lord give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” Truly I can conquer fear by trusting in the Lord. I choose to trust. After all, can all our worries add a single moment to our lives? (Matthew 6:27)

What will you choose??




You know what makes each sunset or sunrise one of a kind?  The clouds surrounding it.  Every morning and every night it’s something different…and I LOVE it.  I look forward to it.  Each rise and set portrays God’s glory.  It demonstrates His consistency, His sovereignty over the earth, His creativity and His great love for us.

While a sunrise or sunset with just the sun is certainly beautiful, when clouds are present, it brings about a uniqueness and makes each one original.  The colors, contrast and rays of light the clouds produce are breathtaking!

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It’s neat to think that the clouds, which so often produce rain can add such beauty to a sky.  These clouds have the potential, and sometimes succeed, to stop the sun from visibly shining, but never do we see a rainbow without clouds…never do we see such magnificent pinks, purples, oranges and yellows without the clouds there, reflecting the light.

“When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds.”  Genesis 9:14

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Now apply this to life–the very “clouds” that have produced rain or had the capability to stop us from shining also have the power to make us all the more vibrant and unique.  Do we see the true beauty in these clouds?  Can we hold onto God’s promises of a rainbow?

Tonight, look at the sunset and remember how special and unique you are and don’t ever doubt what God can bring out of the “clouds” in your life.  And as a dear friend put it today…shine on. 🙂




oh how He loves us!*

God is our Creator; we were in His care even before we were born (Isaiah 44:2). He created us in His image (Genesis 1:27) and we are His cherished personal treasures. He knows (and cares about!) every single detail of our lives. NOTHING is too big or too small for God. I love the analogy Beth Moore uses in the study The Law of Love of a baby tied into its mother’s womb, and how He is “tied into” and bound into our very being. Think of how bound we are to our own children…as our creator He is even more bound into us. Matthew 10:30 states that “even the very hairs on our head are numbered,” which is astounding because if your hair is anything like mine that number changes daily! Oh how He loves us!

God is love (I John 4:8). No human will ever be able to meet our deepest needs; only God can fill that hole inside each of us with His unconditional love. It’s a love that knows no end. A love that knows exactly what we need. No matter what has happened, what we have done, or how far we have run from him, His love is always there with open arms full of security and forgiveness. He has even given us a book about His love, so we would know and abide in it. It is a precious book full of abounding love from the Father that we must all keep close to our hearts. Oh how He loves us!

This world is not easy; God never said it would be. In fact the Bible tells us that we WILL suffer and have pain and difficulty in this world, but it also says this world is not our home. When we look at things happening around us, we can’t possibly begin to understand why…but the God who loves us knows why. He knows how, He knows when, and He promises better things to come for those who live for Him. His wisdom and understanding are above all else and we have to TRUST that He loves us individually, knows us individually and created us individually. He has a perfect plan for each of our lives. This plan, however imperfect it may seem to us, is perfect to Him. Oh how He loves us!

Two words: Jesus Christ (have I mentioned that He loves us!?). Oh that He would send a Savior; oh that He would send His Son, a man who knew no sin, for you and me. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” And that is certainly what Jesus Christ did for us. As many years removed as we are from the day Jesus died, we still have to know and believe that the God who loves us sent His one and only son to die on a wooden cross to take on the sin and bad choices of the world. So WE could be free. So WE can receive HIS never-ending forgiveness and grace. WOW. What a sacrifice. Oh how he loves us!

To sum it up, God loves us. And the God who loves us wants us. He has no greater desire than to fill each of us with His Spirit. He wants us to reach out to Him, accept His love, and love Him in return. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deuteronomy 6:5).

He chose us as His cherished personal treasure…is He our treasure?

*This article was originally published in My Journey of Faith online magazine in February 2013.  Click here to read the original and other stories of God’s goodness and grace!

Praise Him through the Storms*

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In April of 2012 my family experienced some major storms. I am in awe of that time and can never forget how great and big and faithful our God was during it all. And how great and big and faithful He is in the sunshine as well…although it is often the storms that grow us the most (just look at how green the rain makes the grass!) I pray these words and verses bring you encouragement today whether you are facing sun or storms.

I once thought that God didn’t give us more than we could handle but I now believe the opposite to be true…He gives us more than we can handle on our own so we have nothing left to do but cling to Him. We cannot do it without Him. I have learned that He will provide if we just let Him and He will calm us so much during the storms that all we can do is praise Him.

Two years ago this month, my family weathered some storms. The details of those few months will be saved for another day, but they did affect my husband and our two young children. These storms consisted of numerous hospital stays, multiple ER visits, surgery, a 20 foot fall, a lymphoma scare, one health issue we are praying and believing will be outgrown in God’s time, and two diagnoses that God has already healed (He is so good!).

Looking back through journal entries and messages to my prayer warriors, family, etc…I am overwhelmed with emotion at the supernatural strength God gave me during that time; at how strong my faith was during it all. It’s been both an encouragement and a wonderful reminder of how God will provide if I let Him and how if I’m not placing my trust and hope in Him, I will fear and feel the chaos of my surroundings when going through troubling times (which we WILL have in this world, the Bible tells us). Through it all, God was there, and He was BIG. He showed up, He held us up and in the course of it all we grew. I revisit that time and can’t help but praise Him some more! His hand was on everything and everywhere. I couldn’t have done it without Him; everything around me was chaotic and out of control, but I knew that HE was in control. I was on my knees crying out to Him constantly; so many people were praying for us…and He provided. He provided strength and a peace I’ve never experienced before. He carried me, He carried us, and we survived…

I want to share some verses that helped us survive:

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This verse tells us that when we love God, He can turn our circumstances into good to fulfill a greater purpose- His purpose. I assure you that the bad we went through that year resulted in good. We are not who we were before we walked through those storms and for that I am grateful. Our relationships with Jesus and each other were deepened and strengthened; we learned so much and depended on God in a way we hadn’t before. Daily I am reminded of that time and how it is a testament of the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we mediate on Romans 8:28 and know the greater good is for His Glory!

Psalm 121:1-2 says “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Was He ever my Help…as I have mentioned before I couldn’t have done it without Him. His help came in various ways too; amazing family and friends willing to help however they could, phone calls, texts, hospital visits, home cooked dinners, sonic drinks, a song on the radio or in my head, a truck with Philippians 4:13 written on it, a sermon or devotional– everything coming at just the right time, which is more validation that He knows what we need when we need it and that His timing is perfect (why do I forget this sometimes!?).

A verse I couldn’t have done without and prayed daily was Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” I knew that my family was in God’s hands and I had so much peace knowing that He went before us and knew long before we did what was going on and what was going to happen. I tried not to think about the what-if’s and worse case scenarios because I knew we were in the thick of it all and God wanted me to trust in Him. It wasn’t always easy but, I promise you, trusting in Him and knowing He was in control was much more comforting than my other options.

The following verses were also constantly on my heart:

You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you God are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Psalm 59:17 (NIV)

For you, O LORD have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.” Psalm 92:4 (NASB)

“…Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; Lift up your hands to Him for the life of your little ones…” Lamentations 2:19 (NASB)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

And all things you ask for in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Matthew 21:22 (NASB) (our daughter’s life verse)

For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:11a (NASB) (our son’s life verse)

If you are walking through a storm right now, look up. Praise Him through it. Pray without ceasing, stay in His Word, meditate on His truths and have others pray on your behalf. No matter how big or small the storm, He can handle it and He wants us to make our requests known to Him. You’ll be amazed at the strength, guidance, and comfort He can supply. He is enough. I pray this article will serve as encouragement to everyone who reads it. It’s as much for me as it is for you, if not more. To God be the Glory great things He has done!

*I originally wrote this article for the April 2013 edition of My Journey of Faith Online Magazine.  Every April I am reminded of the storms we encountered in 2012 and the goodness and greatness of our God.  Click here to be redirected to the original article and other articles of faith.