How My Family Personally Experienced God’s Blessing

praise, thanks, psalms

“That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving,
And tell of all Your wondrous works.” (Psalm 26:7)

I believe the Bible is very clear in its instructions to us to tell of the wonderful blessings that God bestows on us.  In most cases, we are not to keep the Lord’s work a secret, but we are to proclaim it and be witnesses to the world and encouragement to each other.

If you are like me, you probably find it easier to experience God’s blessing that to tell about it.  I tend to be a quiet person and can be shy about speaking up unless I am strongly prompted.  Using this blog I have been able to write about various personal subjects that would have been very difficult for me to verbalize.  I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to write and to tell about how good God has been to me and my family.

I’ve mentioned my job change several times now, about how it has disrupted my writing schedule and taken up much more of my time than I would have anticipated.  I have not been entirely fair in this and I want to correct that today.  What I have not talked about is how God has used it to bless my family financially and to restore to us what we once committed completely to Him.

It all started late last summer, in August.  I woke up one Saturday morning with one of the strongest, most clear messages from God that I had ever received.  I’ve heard of people who had experienced the Lord in a dream or received a message in a dream and this was not quite like that.  I don’t recall any images at all nor was there an audible component to it.  It was more like a mental stamp that had been placed on my brain or even a branding that left such a clear imprint that I had no doubt as to Who it had come from and what I needed to do.

The Lord was prompting me to give a special offering to our building fund at church.  And not only that, He had given me a very specific number that was to be given and this amount was very nearly all of our cash savings.  My trepidation was not in the giving, because I knew the Lord was going to take care of us.  My trepidation was in how to tell my wife who is far more of a saver than I am.

I should have trusted the Lord and talked to her about it that morning but I found that I couldn’t get the words out at breakfast time or during the clean up afterwards.  By then, it was time for me to get ready to go to work and I prayed that the Lord would give me courage at my next opportunity.

That evening I still was unable to talk to Vicki and I went to bed feeling a little bit apprehensive.  I knew I needed to speak and that God would work it all out.  I resolved to start Sunday morning off by being completely honest and leaving the results up to the Lord.

Vicki was up earlier than I that Sunday and when I entered the kitchen she was busy with breakfast preparations.  As we sat down to eat I told her I needed to talk to her about something and I proceeded to explain to her as best I could what I believed the Lord was asking us to do.  I purposely did not tell her the amount and concluded by asking her to pray throughout the day for a number that would give us confirmation of what the Lord wanted us to do.  She looked a little bit worried but to her credit she agreed to do it and took it on faith that God was speaking and that we should listen.

The very next morning she gave me a number that was exactly the same as the number that the Lord had revealed to me.  There was a new excitement about the way she said it and I knew that the Lord was at work and we were privileged to be involved.  We made some arrangements that week to go by the bank and make sure there would be no complications with writing a much larger check than normal and then set a date to give our offering the following Sunday.

Two weeks later, a man walked into the retail store where I was working and offered me a job.  The starting salary was 50% better than what I was currently making and there was a chance to make commission on any sales that I happened to make.  After prayer and careful consideration I accepted the job and started work on Septermber 23rd.

In discussions with the owner of the business (the same man who had offered me the job) I was told I could probably expect to increase my pay by around five dollars an hour through my commission opportunities if I worked hard.  Using that information I set goals for myself, both weekly and for one year (52 weeks) in terms of total commission.

Despite a slow start in September as I was learning the job, my end of the year total for 2013 exceeded my original 52 week goal by more than 10%.  In other words, I made more in 3 months than I had hoped to make in an entire year.  What’s more, we are now back up to the same level of cash savings that we were when we gave the offering back in August.

God is very good.  Vicki and I have no doubt that He has completely worked all of this out to His glory and to our delight and amazement.  And He continues to work and to bless.  Both of us want to continue to be available for His use and this experience has shown us that when we are obedient He can do great things.

Thank you, Lord, for being so good to us!

Who Will Build Your House This Year?

Success, New Years Resolutions

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1)

I want for you to be successful.  I want for your family to be well cared for and I want them to be blessed by your labors.

No matter how 2013 turned out for you and no matter what your past looks like, today is another chance and another opportunity for you to be successful.  And while it is true that each day is a new beginning, at no time is that more true than on the first day of a new year.

New Year’s Resolutions exist for precisely this reason.  We tell ourselves that this year, it is finally going to be different.  This year, I will finally lose that weight.  This year, I will finally kick that bad habit.  And this year, I will definitely be a better person.

We tend to make our resolutions with the best of intentions but how many of those resolutions based on good intentions actually succeed?  Can there be something better than good intentions for goal-setting and resolution making?

Or perhaps if you are like me and slightly cynical, you never plan to make New Year’s Resolutions at all.  You might say, as I once did, that they are a waste of time.  Why wait until January 1 to decide to be a better person if you can’t be bothered to go ahead and start today?  After all, if something is worth doing then shouldn’t we be giving it our best shot right now?

This is the excuse that I have used for years and it’s worked very well until just recently.  What I once thought of as a legitimate reason for staying away from New Year’s Resolutions was in fact just a fear of failure and an attitude of defeat.  After all, if I never even attempt something then I can’t very well say that I have failed at it, can I?

I can now say with certainty that this is not how God would have us live.  God wants bold sons and daughters who have founded their lives on the rock of His truth.  He wants men and women and boys and girls who are ready to live courageously and visibly for Him.

The truth is, God loves us and desires to be intimately included in all areas of our life.  And when we include Him and acknowledge Him in our plans, He blesses us and causes our plans to succeed.

The opposite is also true.  When we live our lives apart from God and walk in ways that seem wise to us we will inevitably fail.  We may have success for a time, or in some areas, but we will not truly be all that God desires for us unless we walk with Him.

So this year, right from January 1, I am dedicating my days to God and praying for guidance and success in all areas of my life.  I have some specific goals in mind that I will write down and pray about and this year I look forward to seeing how God answers those prayers.  He may change my mind about some of them and send me in a different direction altogether. That’s okay with me because I know that it will ultimately be for my benefit and His glory.

The truly wonderful thing about making a New Year’s Resolution that includes God and is based on His strength and character is that it cannot fail because He cannot fail.  So this year, let us follow the advice given in Psalm 127:1 and let the Lord build our houses and not try to do it in our own strength.  This is the true path of success and the only way to make a New Year’s Resolution that lasts.

Do You Recall Him and His Wonderful Work?

meditate,psalms,praiseThink back to a time of significance  in your life when you know that God was moving and you felt His hand directly.   Recall, if you can, the circumstances surrounding the situation and what God did for you.  Take a moment to remember how God blessed you and what you learned about Him as a result of His work.

11 I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
15 You have by Your power redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

16 The waters saw You, O God;
The waters saw You, they were in anguish;
The deeps also trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
The skies gave forth a sound;
Your arrows flashed here and there.
18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightnings lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was in the sea
And Your paths in the mighty waters,
And Your footprints may not be known.
20 You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Psalm 77:11-20 NASB)


In Psalm 77, we see and hear David recalling mighty acts of God.  He brings them to mind and he speaks to God about what he is remembering.  And not only does he remember them, according to verse 12, he also meditates on them.  Meditation implies that David spent time developing a deeper mental and emotional connection to what God had done.  He literally imprinted them on his mind and heart so that he might better recall them in the future.

If you follow the progression of these verses we notice David saying that he is making a conscious decision to remember.  He then speaks directly to God about what he is doing and the remainder of  Psalm 77 becomes both a prayer and a litany of praise to God.  After David tells God that he is going to remember he begins to praise God for specific traits (holy, great, wonderful, strong) and then he recounts specific times of deliverance in verses 15 and 20.

Like David, we also would do well to remember.  We need to practice being still before God and meditating on all that He has done in and around us.  We should focus our mind and heart on specific works that are especially meaningful to us as well as the more general blessings of life.  What has God done for you?  Even more importantly, what has God done in you?

Every saved child of God has a special story of deliverance and redemption that is unique.  Additionally, as we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us and to work in us we have the privilege of seeing His work in a more intimate and personal way.  In other words, the closer we get to our Heavenly Father the more we will recognize His handiwork and be able to praise Him for it.  Times of remembrance and meditation on His mighty acts become a way we can learn more about His character as well as receive encouragement, comfort and spiritual nourishment.

In my own life, as I continue to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness, recalling the wonderful work of my Lord is as essential as it is awe inspiring.  In the busyness of everyday life it becomes very easy for me to develop spiritual tunnel vision and only see what is right in front of me.  While it’s important to be fully engaged in my daily life I should never forget Who it is that called me out of darkness or the mountains He has moved for my sake.  I will remember, and I will praise Him for His wonderful work.

Do you remember?


Sometimes, It Is Just Write

Psalms,King David,Honesty

It occurs to me that sometimes I just need to write.  I simply need to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, in this case) and let the thoughts flow and see how the Spirit moves me.

Over the last few weeks I have been writing very thematically.  I am making great use of my little black moleskin notebook to jot down ideas as they come to me.  I then take these ideas, usually days later, and try to develop them into full blown posts of 500-1000 words.  It’s a good system, and it works, but it’s not very spontaneous.

Spontaneous King David

Biblically speaking, I think about the Psalms of David.  How many of the Psalms did David write spontaneously?  How many did he plan out and build systematically over time, refining and correcting them as he went?  I really don’t know.  I do know that the kind of emotion displayed in many of the Psalms seem to me to be original, organic and most probably spontaneous.

David simply sat down and poured out his heart on paper, talking to God as he wrote.  Consider Psalm 55, verses 4-8.

“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me.  5 Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.  6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest.  7 I would flee far away and stay in the desert;  8 I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

Tell it Like it Is

Clearly, David was in misery and pain and he was not hiding from it.  I am quite sure that his tears were falling even as he was writing.  I don’t envy what he went through but I very much respect his honesty and his willingness to throw it all down before God and acknowledge his helplessness.  And let’s face it, if you are in dire straits you aren’t going to wait until you can craft a formal request.  You are going to head straight to the one who can handle it for you.

That’s exactly what David did.  In verse 16 David says “As for me, I will call upon God,
And the Lord shall save me.”  And then in verse 22 “Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

The reason David knew that he could pour out his heart to God in honesty was because he knew that his God was big enough to take care of the problem.  David trusted God and continually called on his Heavenly Father (verse 17 says “Evening and morning and at noon
I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.”) and never gave up hope.  And neither should we.

It may take a crisis for us to realize it, but our God is big enough to take care of us through life’s many troubles.  We simply need to remain honest and humble before Him and never stop praying.  Let us take spontaneous King David as an example and cry out to God and then wait expectantly on His deliverance.

Can you think of any situations recently where you have asked the Lord to intervene in a time of trouble and He heard and answered your prayer?