All posts by laura

One of my favorite basic principles about God’s love <3

Hi and happy Friday!

I didn’t write last week because I was busy enjoying a day off with Russ and waiting for our John to arrive home to celebrate his birthday on Saturday.

He wanted a “throw back” birthday for his 30th so we did a pickup softball game at the park and yes, he got to be a team captain.

We grilled out burgers and brats and had watermelon and basically nothing healthy besides that. He asked for the old favorite from by-gone years, the DQ ice cream log cake which we all had forgotten about and is as surprisingly delicious as ever. 

It was a great time and went too fast and now we are a week into looking back and we are still smiling Except for the part where we miss everyone.

My thought today is nothing new or original but one God proves to me time and time again and it is this…you simply cannot out give God. 

We know it and yet every time some new encounter brings that truth to the forefront, I am once again in awe of how generous He is when I unpry my greedy little fingers off of earthly treasures and release them into His big unknown plans. Then before I can barely stuff them back into my pockets and turn to survey what I think has depleted my stock, He pours out blessings that exceed what I thought I gave up. 

On the north side of our house (I had to close my eyes and picture our house and then mentally walk around it and determine what each side faces to come up with that…and I went around the whole thing just to make sure I did it right. Twice) we have a patch of area that the builder of the home filled with ferns and hostas. The rabbits like to make their home in the ferns and dine on the big leaves of the hostas. Also because that patch gets direct sunlight for most of the day, these shade loving plants look pretty fried by mid to late June. 

I have longed to replace the whole area with sun loving, pollinator-attracting perfect for cutting a little vase or four of fresh flowers, perennial garden. Last year I pulled up a few ferns and planted two potentials and the rabbits muttered thank you as they licked their chops and hopped off after leveling both of them the first day. 

This year I pulled up a couple more ferns and planted 6 different plants and the rabbits got a bit of a start on them so we encased them in wire and they survived the initial attack. They are blooming and making me smile and I was well on my way to making the complete transition to this vision in my head. 

On Wednesday I got ambitious and dug up the entire fern population. As I looked at the stack on our wagon, it dawned on me that these were rather healthy root systems and maybe someone would like to have them. Plants are expensive and this would save someone a bunch of money. So I posted a “free to a good home” post and one of our friends responded quickly that he would take some or all.

We put them in buckets to soak and I mildly thought – wow …. Those probably cost the original home owner a chunk of change. I thought a bit about the investment yet to be made to fill in with more flowers but was relieved I wasn’t just throwing them in the garbage. 

Our friend later posted that he had some cone flowers and would bring and leave me some in exchange. I figured he was going to go dig up some of his extras and stick in water and leave on our porch, but no. He owns a landscaping business and when I got home last night, Russ showed me two beautiful commercially potted cone flower plants ready to plant as soon as we get more protective wire purchased, of course…or a dog who hunts rabbits…or both. 

And this morning I looked at them again and thought…just the picture of God. 

We give up some kind of something that we have on hand…some time, some money, some love…and we think we have donated some wonderful thing and aren’t we good? And He turns right around and just pours out something even better.

He is kind and He is generous. Full of grace and mercy. I think of the rich young ruler and how Jesus just asked Him to give up the ferns and the man couldn’t. And how when he walked away, thinking what he had was worth so much and not even knowing all that Jesus would have given him, it says….and Jesus watched him, and He loved him. 

He didn’t chase him down and he didn’t write him off. He loved him even when the man couldn’t release his earthly treasures for the untold riches of following Jesus. 

We are so blessed to become a blessing to others….and then He goes and blesses us back. How beautiful <3

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Another day in paradise <3

It was an early start to a full day with the band of brothers and their wanna-be sister. We hit the ground running with Caroline greeting me at my car door and Graham starting into a science kit. 

We were gradually joined by the other two and we have finished our foray into the grand world of slime circuits, played play-do, walked the dog and are currently playing in the blow up pool because hey….the day is young and we have miles to go before we sleep. As in…it’s only 10 A.M.

After nap we are planning on painting these plaster of Paris dinosaurs we molded on Tuesday.

Wow…I sound like this organized, crafty, prepared grandma and I am anything but that. 

Activities rarely go the way I thought and I am not loosy-goosey about messes and letting little hands fumble to learn, but I press down my own control freak tendencies and bite my tongue a lot and sometimes forget to bite my tongue and have to apologize for a harsh tone with these little cherubs who are so tightly wrapped in my heart sometimes I can’t even breathe. 

So on the way here this morning, I spent a good portion of the driving time, like I do every time, praying for patience and for God to pour His love into me and for me to show them His love in ways they can understand. 

And as I was praying and thinking through the various things ahead, I thought about those dinosaurs carefully packed in layers of paper towel. When we made them on Tuesday, we discovered that the dry powder begins to harden super fast and as I mentioned…clumsy little learning fingers don’t always make for the most perfect projects. 

I also thought about hard hearts. 

Don’t ask me why. It’s just how my brain works and puts threads of ideas together. 

God promised to remove hearts of stone and replace with hearts of flesh. He didn’t mean hearts that crave the sins of the flesh, of course, but a soft, beating, blood pumping, possible to literally feel like it is exploding or bursting or breaking when certain emotions fill the soul…that kind of heart. 

Rather than a cold, stoney, unfeeling, unbending, unmovable heart of marble or rock or granite or whatever you would associate with a stone. 

As I drove and tried to think why I would have these two thoughts come into my brain at the same time, I pictured us trying to work quickly to fill those molds before the goop hardened and couldn’t be used. 

I thought of how the soft powder went into the cup but as we dribbled water in and stirred, it began to meld and then quickly become solid. Where as God breathes air into the dust of our humanity, the world adds the substance that will set it hard and immovable. 

I thought how I can start out a day with a soft and refined heart, fresh off of reading Scripture and praying and communing and doing some study. But from there other things are introduced into me. My humanity runs into other people’s humanity and we crash.

Old memories, new confrontations, interruptions that mess up the flow, an upsetting bit of news, misunderstandings, derailed plans, a rude driver, being passed over, another rejection…fill in the blank. 

I get frustrated, tired, hungry, confused. 

And I can being to feel a tightening in my chest. 

It’s a struggle but so important to recognize it as the beginnings of hardening. 

God also tells us to guard our hearts because it is from our heart that the well springs of life flow. Unless you are Moses and God tells you to strike a rock, water will never flow from hard glob of mineral deposits and grains of sand compounded together. 

The world we are living is well stocked with opportunity for you to suffer hardening of the heart. It will take vigilance and a desire to take in deep breaths of the Holy Spirit to keep your precious well spring primed with living water.

It is worth the effort. So worth the effort. 

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You alone <3

Well, I just waved our boy off to head home. And as usual, I was a puddle. I try not to be, but it happens every time. 

We had a great weekend celebrating his birth with family and friends, all the while attempting social distancing
pc/Big Jim Peck <3

which is next to impossible when Uncle John and Tia are in town…but we tried, honest we did.

I shared a bunch of pictures of some of the festivities on Facebook so am jumping to a devotional thought.

Because we all need some directions and encouragement and that’s what is on my heart this morning…besides wiping tears away and such…

This morning I want to share a little something gleaned from my reading in Isaiah.

Today’s reading started with double trouble for Israel, but rolls into the part of the book where you can hear the music hit the crescendo heralding God’s promises and the coming Messiah. 

It starts in Chapter 36 when the King of Assyria is attacking Judah and all the fortified cities.

He sends his royal spokesman to the gates of Jerusalem with a message for King Hezekiah.

The pronouncement is shouted out asking King Hezekiah how long will he and his people trust in God to rescue them. 

The rant is loud and goes on and on with words of discouragement and examples of other Kings who placed their trust in their gods and what happened? They were soundly defeated. 

Deals of compromise are offered and one assurance after another of certain failure is predicted for anyone who remains loyal to King Hezekiah and God.

The officials of Judah request that this messenger speak in Aramaic, a language they spoke but the people of the city and the guards on the wall did not speak.

But the enemy of God continued to declare this barrage of discouragement in Hebrew so that fear and doubt would strike all the people hard. 

This is the first time I have read this passage in the Bible I am using for my annual read through, so I got my pen and I marked up the margins with the same thoughts that I get every time I read this….

The enemy discourages us in our native language. He lies to us in words that are familiar and ways that we can understand. He lies to us with offers of compromise and with the age old deception…”Did God really say__________?”

my bible journaling <3

As I read this description of the exchange going on, I marvel at how the people responded. 

They respond with silence.

The King had commanded them, “Don’t answer him.” And they didn’t. 

So again I pen the words of my understanding of how to apply this passage to modern battles with the voice of the enemy trying to discourage and dismantle God’s plan…

Don’t engage with the enemy. 

They also responded with signs of distress and mourning and grief, and in Chapter 37 Hezekiah took the threats written down on paper and laid them before God and prayed. 

Another strategy for this kind of attack: Take everything the enemy is saying and bring it right out in front of God. 

The rest of the chapter outlines how God responds to Hezekiah and the people of Judah and how He works in a mighty way to end the siege against them. 

We have an enemy bent on destroying the children of God.

He is not a human, but he works through humanity and sometimes we get it mixed up. We forget that our enemy is not flesh and blood and that our weapons are not the kind we use with our hands and our mouths. 

The weapons of our warfare are mighty in God but we can use the same principles involved in this attempt to deceive, discourage and defeat the Jews in fighting our battles today. 

  1. Recognize the lies that come to you in familiar and understandable language but do not line up with God’s Word
  2. Do not engage in arguments, corrections and shouting matches with the devil. 
  3. Take what is being said and all the feelings of fear and anxiety they are prompting and lay it out … literally write it out on paper… and lay it before the Lord and then humble yourself and be silent and listen. 
  4. If He gives you a direction to take, take it. If He says He will take care of it, trust Him to do it. 
  5. Know Him. Know His heart and then be found faithful in all things. 
  6. Acknowledge the “facts” and then declare the TRUTH

Here is the prayer of Hezekiah found in Chapter 37. It is a great example of how to pray when feeling discouraged and tempted to doubt:

LORD of Armies, God of Israel, enthroned beneath the cherubim, You are God – You alone – of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth.

Listen closely, LORD, and hear; open your eyes, LORD, and see.

Hear all the words that Sennacherib (the King of Assyria) has sent to mock the living God.

LORD, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated all these countries and their lands.

They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made from wood and stone by human hands. So they have destroyed them.

Now, LORD our God, save us from his power so that all the kingdoms on earth may know that you, LORD, are God – You alone. 

Isaiah 37: 16-20 CSB

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