More than enough!

Everyone is invited to bring these offerings to the Lord: gold, silver, and bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet yarn; fine linen; goat hair for cloth; tanned ram skins and fine goatskin leather; acacia wood; olive oil…spices…onyx stones…—So all the people left Moses and went to their tents to prepare their gifts.  If their hearts were stirred and they desired to do so, they brought to the Lord their offerings…both men and women came, all whose hearts were willing—————Bring no more materials!  You have already given more than enough! 

Ex.35:5-9NLT; Ex.35:20-22NLT; Ex.36:6NLT

What a testimony to the very nature of God!  When His people are so eager to give that there is more than enough to do the work of God.

God is a lavish giver.   He is a Fountain(!) of life and the Giver of all good gifts.  He graces His children with all they will ever need and more besides.  Even his enemies revel in the sunshine and drink freely from the rain He supplies.  And He calls us to be like Him, to be giving and forgiving without keeping a record of the details.  Why is this so hard?  If we could fathom His unstoppable love and His infinite knowledge of all the details of our lives might we learn to stop clinging to what we call our own and living as if frugality were a spiritual gift?!  To steward is not the same as to hoard.  I am given lavish gifts not to possess but to use to bless…

For one who has always had a miserly streak, this calling is a stretch. In the days when trick-or-treating wasn’t recognized as essentially pagan, I knew how to make my haul of Halloween treats last till Easter (to the envy of my siblings! Or maybe they just thought me crazy?) and one beautiful Christmas lollipop was so special it never did get eaten! I stashed it for years till it got so sticky it was altogether undesirable.  I am well practiced at ‘saving’ things but not so good at being generous… Even as an adult I tend to tuck away the ‘treat’ in case there never comes another. I hold tight to treasures and am not apt to share–as though God’s blessings might dry up, his daily graces cease–I had better be prepared!

But this morning several verses leapt from the page to confront me:

The wicked borrow and never repay; but the godly are generous givers.—Give as freely as you have received!—Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver—Remember this–a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop

Ps.37:21 NLT; Mt.10:8NLT; II Cor.9:7 ESV; II Cor.9:6NLT

And other passages were not long in following up the theme. It’s all throughout Scripture. God is generous and He expects that I will be as well. 

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit—whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior—I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts—the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life

Rom 5:5 NKJV; Tit 3:6 ESV; Rev.21:6NKJV; Jn.4:14NKJV

In fact my generosity brings Him glory as it gives evidence of the great grace of God at work in me.  I give because He has given to me. I forgive because I have been forgiven. And my cheerfulness in the process reveals my strong confidence in the God who meets all my needs.  It’s all quite wonderful really to see how it’s meant to work:

 You will be glorifying God through your gifts.  For your generosity to them will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.  And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the wonderful grace of God shown through you.

Happy are those who delight in doing what [the Lord] commands…All goes well for those who are generous, who lend freely and conduct their business fairly…they confidently trust the Lord to care for them…They give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will never be forgotten.— Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 

II Cor.9:13,14NLT; Ps.112:1,5,7,9NLT; Eph, 5:1-2 NKJV

And the more I reflect on God’s nature, the more petty (and un-godly!) my own selfish tendencies look.  Only a fool tries to contain a fountain in a pill bottle.  What is the sense in trying to ration unending mercies?

So my prayer today is that God will change my heart toward my possessions and make me a more generous soul, and… that He will give opportunity (today?) to share what He has given. May I pray the same for you?

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work—Thank God for his Son–a gift too wonderful for words!— Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

II Cor. 9:8-9 ESV; II Cor.9:15NLT; Gal 6:10 NKJV

because He is more than enough for me,

The Maker’s Joy

Does God know joy? Can you picture it?

I am reading these days the story of Jayber Crow*, a fictitious barber in small town Kentucky in the nostalgic past.  He is the creation of Wendell Berry–author, nature-lover, and farmer.  Berry is also a bit of a poet.  I sat with my little lunch catching the sun before it disappeared around the back side of the house today, relaxing with a book of Berry’s poems.  I’m not a fan of the ones that rant about progress and war and other human maladies, but this phrase caught my eye (Leavings,p.99)

…the maker’s joy in what is made,
the joy in which we come to rest.

In our last home group we were considering Ephesians 2:10: We are His workmanship. The Greek word here is ‘poiema’ from which we get ‘poem’.  We are God’s creative expression, the crowning glory of His creation, created to bring Him praise, for ‘from Him, though Him and to Him are all things’ (Rom.11:36).  What craftsman doesn’t find joy in his creation?

We also considered Exodus 31 in which God appoints the craftsmen that will create all the beautiful adornments for the tabernacle.  He had given the pattern, then He provided the skilled workmen and filled them with His Spirit. It seems to me a fitting picture of what He has done for each of us who have come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord.  The pattern for living is His word, our bodies His tabernacle from which flow the gifts and abilities with which He has equipped each of us in order to display His glory to the world that we inhabit…

Our lives bring God joy as we live out the essence of what He has made, as we create, as we work, as we live in fellowship with one another and with our God…We bring Him joy! Much as a splash of paint rightly placed, a pantry displaying the season’s bounty all jarred, or a shapely loaf of homemade bread fresh from the oven bring their creator joy, so we, His creation, bring Him joy, first simply by virtue of being His creation and ultimately as His redeemed ones, now able to live as He designed us to from the beginning.  This was the joy set before Jesus as He suffered to buy us back from the slave market of sin and present us to the Father “behold I and the children God has given me.” (Heb 2:13 ESV)

And it is the joy He holds as we live before Him doing all the day to day things He’s set before us…

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married.  For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.—And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you—O LORD, you have searched me and known me!…For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well…How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!  If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Is. 62:3-5 ESV; Eph.2:10 ESV; Ex.31:6ESV; Ps. 139:1,13-14,17-18 ESV;  Zeph. 3:16-17 ESV;

May we be aware today of God’s joyful oversight.
As we live out His design we bring our Maker joy!


I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul, rejoice!

Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear



*For more of Jayber Crow visit my Quotes and Notes blog at:

Fighting confusion with Faith

They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and to bring about confusion there.  But we prayed to our God and guarded the city day and night to protect ourselves… —For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.—We have faithfully preached the truth.  God’s power has been working in us.  We have righteousness as our weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves. 

“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, you families, and your homes!” —So David and his troops went up to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “God did it!” David exclaimed. “He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So they named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”). 

…casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.—Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness.—A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.—…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. 

Pull me from the trap my enemies set for me, for I find protection in you alone.—My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. 

Neh.4:8,9NLT; I Cor.14:33ESV; II Cor.6:7NLT; Neh.4:14NLT; I Chron. 14:11NLT; I Pet. 5:7-9ESV; Eph.6:14NLT; Eph.6:10,11NLT; II Cor. 2:11NIV; Ps. 31:4NLT; Ps. 25:15ESV  

After long captivity the children of God had returned to their beloved Jerusalem to find it in a shambles.  God brought this to Nehemiah’s attention and he was given leave from his position as cupbearer to King Artaxerxes in order to lead the rebuilding effort.  And he was given the King’s support besides! But now, as though the task were not daunting enough in itself, they faced the rage of the surrounding chieftains who were intent on thwarting this project.

The story is not unlike this long process of sanctification that believers undergo.  We have the backing of the King.  The Spirit energizes the work and cheers us on.  But we have a formidable enemy who is furious that we should give our allegiance to the King of Kings and that our walls should be made strong to deny his access. He sends confusion to thwart our orderly progress.  We get distracted by the onslaught and the construction is delayed. Peace dissolves in the turmoil.  But ours is not a God of confusion.  He is called the Prince of peace.  Where He works peace reigns. So He calls us to don our armour, to guard our hearts, to be sober-minded…to be mindful of the enemy’s tactics and to fill our minds with truth.

Mindful used to be a term we could rightly use. Its meaning has been hijacked to actually refer to a kind of mindlessness where thoughts are given little consideration, allowed to flow unchecked, and to be ignored until they give up and simmer down to nothingness, which is then called enlightenment! This is the stuff of meditation as it is extolled all around us, by believers and unbelievers with so little discernment. But I digress…

Suffice it to say, confusion is a tactic of the enemy.  Peace of mind is a gift of God in exchange for our anxious thoughts. He invites us not merely to let our cares dissolve in mindlessness, but to lift them to Him and be made strong by His mighty power!

May you know His mighty refuge today.



I have been ignored

I have been ignored as if I were dead, as if I were a broken pot.—But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.—For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?—Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them,  …And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

We are well known, but we are treated as unknown.—O LORD, you have searched me and known me! … Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.— Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?”  So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”).

I will be glad and rejoice in your unfailing love,
for you have seen my troubles,
and you care about the anguish of my soul. 

Let all that I am wait  quietly before God, for my hope is in him. 

Ps.31:12NLT; II Cor.4:7ESV; II Cor.4:5; Jn.5:44ESV; Mt.6:1,4ESV; II Cor.6:9ESV;  Ps.139:1,6ESV; Gen.16:13,14 NLT; Ps.31:7NLT; Ps.62:5NLT

Who sees what you’ve done today?  Who knows the grief you carry?  Who cares deeply about what worries you?

Who celebrates the unseen victories of your heart in its struggles against sin? Who applauds when you’ve figured out that little something everyone else already seems to know, or when you’ve created something which seems beautiful to your eyes alone…Who sees?

Our hearts crave to know we are not alone.  This perhaps explains the explosion of social media.  We scramble to be seen and known there, to be applauded and ‘liked’, but really?  Is this the affirmation we crave?  To know and be known is something for which we’re designed.  This desire gets perverted into believing we must promote ourselves, polish our performance, say the right things, be pleasing in order to be applauded.  But how much better it would be if we meditated long and deep on the unfailing love that surrounds the child of God.  A love that sees all and loves without condition forever and always.  He sees the unseen and promises to reward the faithful heart.

May all your being and doing today glow with the knowledge that you are known and loved by the Unseen One who has created you for His pleasure and glory.


So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.

I Cor.10:31

Combating Worry–Love truth and peace

I am officially an ‘older woman’.  I attended a baby shower recently and realized I was old.  I came bearing gifts but perhaps the greater value I have to offer is the gift of having been there and now seeing from afar some things I wish I’d had a better handle on when I was in the trenches of mothering little people and then gangly taller ones…Now my adult children have homes of their own with a burgeoning force of little people under their roofs, and I get the opportunity to play with markers and read picture books and share my awe of nature and my love of the Word.  And on occasion I have words to share, to encourage a mom who is anxiously running the race to grand-parenthood, but whose breathing is out of control.  This was one of those weeks, so I was perusing some ponderings to jog my aging memory.  I pass this one by you again, from one who cycles through these lessons herself at every age and stage in the quest for peace of mind…

The older I get, the more I value it—peace and quiet.  Not just a literal quietness but a calm unruffled-ness, an absence of strife… but what is a mother to do?  The kids may get older, the tensions subtler, (or at least not over blocks and toys), but the concerns of a mother only get larger and the necessity of a peaceful heart more pronounced.  I may have been able to quell the conflict of two toddlers forcibly, and even to enforce a measure of peace and quiet in my household but I cannot enforce it in my own heart!

What is a mother to do?

Is it really a mother’s ‘job’ to worry, as a friend jokingly suggested this week?  Is it really inevitable as long as we are living and breathing that we as mothers should bear the quiet strain of anxiety (legitimized as ‘concern’) for our children’s welfare, or our aging parents, or any number of other relationships under our jurisdiction!  What of the peace that defies understanding?

And guilt, that insidious slithering fellow that insinuates itself into my consciousness and strangles peace and contentment… must I live with it?  Whether it be a vague consciousness that I just haven’t ‘measured up’ as a mom and that the kids are suffering for it, or that I ‘really should be doing more’ in one way or another… it strangles peace and puts a damper on joy.  Can I not be freed of it?  Is there no sure-fire formula?  I asked these things of a friend older than I, whom I know lives with these would-be peace-robbers, anxiety and guilt.  Her answer surprised and disturbed me.  A sigh, a resigned shaking of the head, and a ‘not in this lifetime; that’s what Heaven is for’.

Not to be too hard on her, having caught her off guard perhaps and in a moment of weakness, still, this is not an answer I’m willing to settle for.  I want, if not a ‘formula’, at least a strategy, for recognizing and deflecting those things that rob me of peace.  It’s got to entail more than turning down the sub-woofers and background noise in my environment!  (Though there’s a great analogy there waiting to be milled.)

The Word of God invites me to lay hold on a quality of life unlike any that I can naturally know—eternal and abundant.  It promises the unfathomable peace of God will guard my mind as I turn anxiety into prayer and thanksgiving (Phil 4:6,7). I know this verse. My mind can rattle it off.  But my heart is prone to actually turn prayer into an act of worry, like a dog gnawing on a bone till his gums bleed.  I intend to bring my worries and leave them but in the process of opening the ‘can of worms’ I am overcome with the tangle of them and want only to quickly close the can, putting them out of my mind, and go do something else!  Have you had this experience?

This is where I have found it so valuable to be a part of a bigger Body.  There are a few of us women who get together every weekend that we can to enjoy a hike and pray together.  There is something very encouraging about hearing someone else bring your requests to God that makes believing not seem so impossible after all.  Their faith for your situation is a great uplift.   Another outcome of praying with these women has been to learn by example the art of praising God and thanking him as a precursor to presenting requests.  The focus changes.  My ‘can of worms’ is not so big or so bad in light of a great and awesome God who is over all, through all and in all!  And little by little this stronghold of faithlessness in prayer is being torn down, displaced by praise and worship.

I stumbled upon another great help in overcoming my propensity to anxiety and guilt with the coming of this new year.  The idea kept popping up (in blog-land anyway) of choosing a word to be your word for the year.  It could be anything—like, “Yes”, as a reminder to say yes to God and opportunities He would provide.  Someone else chose, “No”, needing to refine their priorities.  I didn’t pay too much attention, as I wasn’t sure I could ever settle on one magic word anyway.  But then tentatively I began to consider the word: “HIS” as one that would do me good to remember all year.  I’m His (referring to God, of course).  His problem.  His work in progress.  His to take care of.  His beloved.  Just, His.  Now I can’t even find in my chaotic journal scribblings the day when that word began to percolate peace into my soul, but it has been a concrete reminder that I’m not in charge of my life (or anybody else’s lives!).  It is a freeing thing to be the slave of a good master.  You are then His responsibility.  Everything you need is His problem, not your own.  There is great peace in knowing this and keeping it at the forefront of my thoughts.

I am working my way through a practical book designed to promote spiritual growth and especially the putting of Scriptural truth in practice.  Being of a bent toward accumulating knowledge at the expense of acting on it, this has been helpful to me.  Each short reading is accompanied by an ‘experiment’, something to put into daily practice.  Today’s reading talks about becoming ‘a person of joy and peace’:

 “The secret to this peace, as great apprentices of Jesus have long known, is being abandoned to God.  Since God is love and is so great, I live beyond harm in his hands.  There is nothing that can happen to me that will not turn out for my good.  Nothing.  Because of this, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.’ (Is.26:3)” (Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice, p.94)

“Peace and joy are based on confidence in God (faith).  In this confidence, I can abandon myself to God, even die to myself.  As I do these things, striving will cease [sounds like peace to me!] and joy will naturally flow.” (Renovation, p.94)  And this hints at one other implication of surrendering my autonomy to God.  My interests must be for HIS will to be done, not necessarily my own.  I can’t assume that what I want for those I love is precisely what He wants.  For instance, am I prepared to forfeit my desires for their happiness, if trial or loss is part of God’s will for their best good.  Hmm…there is great peace in aligning my desires with God’s and freely welcoming His will to be done in the things that concern me.  On this count I am definitely a work in progress—His work!

What then is a mother to do when she longs for peace and quiet in the throbbing ‘woof’ of life?  I think Paul sums it up pretty well here:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

A song I’m listening to today has these lyrics:

“Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long
As You are glorified”

(Altrogge, ‘As Long as You are Glorified’)

There’s peace to be had in such a declaration.  Enjoy the rest of the song here [Click HERE]—(  —a challenge to trust God no matter what the circumstance. He’s always worthy.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you.

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Col.1:2)

The traditional fasts and times of mourning you have kept…will become festivals of joy and celebration for the people of Judah.  So love truth and peace. Zechariah 8:19

*Renovation of the Heart in Daily Practice: Experiments in Spiritual Transformation is by Dallas Willard & Jan Johnson, NavPress,2006,185pp.

Originally published as “Peace and Quiet” mar.4,2011 –LS