Posts tagged blessing
An Overflowing Life

I sit, right at this moment, in the living room of my daughter, Elizabeth. Duke is playing legos at my feet while Scarlet takes a much-needed nap. We share this moment of quiet as only two hearing impaired people can grasp. Their little apartment in the heart of L.A. is flooded with golden sunshine while storms rage back home in the Northwest. I know I'm supposed to love all this sun and warm weather, but geez-- in November? Over the weekend Phil and I were in Long Beach speaking to a group of all-in, passionate-about-Jesus parents. What an honor to get to pour into this generation of parents as they pour into their children! At one point of the conference, as I was telling a bit of my story, I just couldn't go on. They began crying right along with me as I recounted how close I came to throwing it all away in vicious anger at God. Then afterwards, women began telling me their own stories and I started crying all over again. Because God is still rescuing people, still picking broken women up out of the pits they have dug themselves into.

One young woman told me that a friend had sent her a link to my blog while she was in rebellion against God. Growing up in a pastor's home, she'd walked away from Jesus when He didn't heal her of the epileptic seizures that have created havoc for her since she was three years old. When she read about  the Beautiful No in my story, her anger turned into worship. She's been walking with Him in love ever since.  I couldn't stop hugging her! I know that on that Day we will dance together in full abandon in the presence of the One whose grace set us free.

Tonight I'll go to my other daughter's home. I'll soak her in, filling my heart full to the brim with talk about books and stories and writing and reading and all the endlessly fascinating things I love about Bekah. I'll hear about their upcoming trip to Japan and be fascinated by their life that is so different than mine. A life of creative entrepeneurism, interesting friends, and a fresh take on culture that always leaves me with things to think about that I rarely encounter in my cozy cabin in the woods.

You know that saying: My cup runneth over? Well, that's exactly how I feel. Like a way over-sized cup that is overflowing with refreshing goodness.

Let me pass on a blessing I read this morning:

The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."

Numbers 6v24-26

From an overflowing heart,



Ruth 3v1-18

The Proposal (Part Three)

 (Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)



The Verse of the Week 





More Words from the Father

Proverbs 31v10-31

Galatians 5v13-6v10




From my Heart

How to Create a Haven (Part Two)

A haven of rest and peace doesn’t just happen. It is built, one brick at a time. According to God’s Word, it is often built by a woman, a very wise woman. A woman must be willing to give her all to the building process. She will need to plot and plan with purposeful determination. If this is what we want, you and I are going to need to learn everything we can by scouring the Scriptures for any scrap of wisdom about how to build this kind of home. We need to be looking around for women whose homes carry that special “scent of home.” Then we can find ways to ply those women with questions and watch how they go about the building.

For me, one of the saddest things to see is when a woman lazes into a passive role in her home and then complains incessantly about it. What a waste! We women have been created by God with an uncanny capacity to create an atmosphere of hope and happiness in our homes and relationships. Imbedded deep within the heart of every woman is that image of the Creator who made beauty out of chaos.

Ruth listened well to her mentor, Naomi. She followed Boaz’ leading as he bought in to the vision of home. Then she threw in a little spice of her own in order to create what God intended her to have all along. Let’s look a bit more at what they built...


A place of blessing.


Every time Boaz opens his mouth, encouraging words pour out. Not merely trite compliments, but words which Ruth will mull over and treasure when she finds a moment alone. He recounts her reputation of kindness, letting her know how highly she is thought of in town. He praises her in front of his field workers as well as when they are alone. He lets not the smallest deed go unnoticed, highlighting her uniqueness as a woman.

Such words of affirmation do not come naturally for most of us, yet all of us crave them. It was Mark Twain who declared, “I can go months on a good compliment.” So are we starving our friends and children of the affirmation which only we can give? Who else is going to tell your husband that he still thrills your heart after all these years, or your teenager that you are proud of him for the way he treats his girlfriend? And shouldn’t we all have bragging rights at home - a safe arena in which to showcase our hard won victories?


A place where problems are solved together.


When someone feels all alone in their struggles, as if they were the only one able to solve their dilemmas, they begin to slowly sink into despair. And that’s just where the devil wants them - just where he wants our kids.

Isolation has long been one of the enemies’ favorite and most effective tools. But Boaz didn’t leave these two women to figure it out for themselves. He knew it wouldn’t be easy. He was all too aware of the obstacles ahead of them. Yet he took their problems on as his own. And that’s what we ought to be endeavoring to do in our homes.

Home ought to be the first place our friends and family run to when they are afraid or overwhelmed. But the only way that is going to happen in our naturally guarded society is if we women watch over our homes with the vigilance of a soldier on guard duty. If at the first sign of distress, we step into soothe and sympathize, our loved ones will feel the freedom to unburden themselves. We’ll have to be careful, though, not to look shocked at what they have to say.

Our children are facing situations we couldn’t dream up with our wildest imaginations. How foolish we often are when we pretend that terrible things will just go away if we don’t talk about them! Our families and friends need us to come alongside and pray with them. When we take their hands in ours and bring them before the Father, He picks up their problems and makes them His own. What could be better than that?


A place of promises kept.


Boaz knew that time was of the essence. As soon as it was light he hurried into town to fulfill his promise to Ruth. The words of his pledge to her were beautiful enough, but they were not empty promises. He inconvenienced himself to do all within his power to help her. Why? Because he had her best interests at heart.

How often do we make promises with the best of intentions, only to fail to follow through? How many people have we hurt in the process? This is a glaring fault of every people-pleaser like me; a flaw which creates an expectation of disappointment which is hard to shake. Yet it’s so simple to overcome. Just be careful to assign significance to the people who depend on you.


A place full of affection.


Happiness is big business these days. More people are popping anti-depressants than ever before. Yet one of the simplest (and cheapest) solutions yet to be found for emotional well-being has to do with hugs. Yes, you read it right, hugs! Here’s what every woman needs to know...


“Hugging strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, assists sleep, lowers blood pressure, and is an antidote to depression. Hugging bolsters a patient’s will to live, dispels loneliness, eases fear, opens doors to buried feelings, builds self-esteem, fosters altruism, and imparts feelings of belonging. Hugging offers a wholesome alternative to promiscuity, alcohol, and drugs.”


According to Virginia Satir, a noted American psychotherapist, people need at least four hugs a day for mere survival! We require eight daily hugs in order to maintain mental health, and a whopping twelve hugs to grow and thrive. That’s a lot of hugging!

Is your teenager thriving from all the affection dished out in your home?


How about you?


Giving is as good as getting in this case. So do yourself a favor and throw your arms around anyone and everyone who dares to enter your haven!

When Elohim, our Creator, set out to build a home for Adam and Eve, He worked and planned and purposed to create just what He envisioned. There was nothing passive about the process. He laid it all on the line. So much so that on the sixth day, He heaved a great sigh of relief and rested. If God had to rest after all His labors, what does that tell you about this job of ours? Why does it surprise us that we get worn out sometimes by the task of building homes that are truly havens?

One thing I am absolutely certain of: when I get to the end of my life, I am not going to regret one bit of work or imagination or effort I put into creating this home of mine. I might wish I hadn’t wasted so much time keeping it clean. I’ll probably bemoan the hours I spent wishing it were different. But I’ll be glad, oh so very glad, that I partnered with my Father to carve out a little haven of rest for those who call this place home.


From my heart,






“The House of Bread”

Like most of you, I grew up in the city. Bread, as far as I knew it, came in clear plastic packaging which sealed it nice and fresh for my lunch box sandwich. It wasn’t until a visit to my grandparent’s farm in eastern Oregon when I was ten years old that I discovered that bread doesn’t originate in a grocery store!

In fact, just getting the barley (the primary ingredient for making bread in Bethlehem) ready to be milled for flour was an eight-step process. Add in the plowing and planting, watering and tending, harvesting and transportation, and you have a lot of hard work. Here’s a brief overview of how it happened...

1. The ripened grain was cut by men with hand sickles.

2. The grain was then bound by men and women into sheaves.

3. The stalks of grain left behind were gathered, or “gleaned,” by the poor.

4. The sheaves were transported to the threshing floor by donkey or by cart.

5. The grain was loosened from the straw stalks by the treading of cattle over and over, or by huge cart wheels, or by a threshing sledge.

6. The grain was tossed in the air with winnowing forks so that the wind could carry away the useless straw and chaff.

7. The grain was sifted to remove small stones or debris.

8. The grain was bagged for transportation and storage.1

And that doesn’t include the mixing, kneading, rising, shaping, and baking involved with the bread itself! Not the easiest of tasks. Keep that in mind next time you pick up a loaf of Wonder Bread.






This Hebrew word is at the root of dozens of expressions. Yada is used to denote God knowing us intimately and completely. It can also mean “to distinguish,” in the sense of knowing right and wrong. Yada is a term used for both an acquaintance and for sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. The most astounding use of this term, however, is “da’ at ‘ elohim,” which expresses the incomprehensible gift we are given through the Word and the Spirit: the knowledge of God.

The term “to know” is used over and over again in this scene from the third chapter of Ruth. In Hebrew, the root word is yada. And it has several uses...


“ relative”; one known (vs. 2)


“do not make yourself known” (vs. 3)


“observe (know) the place where he lies” (vs. 4)


“my…townsmen know…you are a worthy woman” (vs. 11)


“until you learn (know) how the matter turns out” (vs. 18)


 Ruth 2v1-23

The Gleaning (Part Two)

(Click here to listen to the third Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week:



More Word from the Father:

Isaiah 55v8,9

Proverbs 16v3

Psalm 37v1-34

Jeremiah 29v11

James 4v13-15

Matthew 11v28-30


From my Heart:

A Test and a Task

 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55v8, 9

God didn’t just sweep in and rescue Ruth. He didn’t “heal” her. Instead, God gave her a task to do. A test of obedience.

A job to accomplish.

And that’s so often the way He works.

We want healing; He gives enabling. We want answers; He asks questions. We yearn for guarantees, signs, wonders; He waits for faith, yielding, and surrender. His ways often perplex us, usually confuse us, and always satisfy us in the end.

God knew what He was doing with Ruth…and she didn’t have a clue. She didn’t need to and she wasn’t supposed to.

And that, my dear friends, is just the way it is…

From my heart,





A bite to eat…

They were two hungry women without income, without land, and without a provider. Their city had no welfare office to request assistance. There were no women’s shelters, no soup kitchen. What were they to do? While Naomi twiddled her aching thumbs, Ruth came up with an idea. Gleaning. Where she heard of it, or how she thought of it, is unclear. The practice was uniquely Jewish.

Like many countries today, most of the Middle East relied on subsistence agriculture to feed their people, barely. Trade was nearly non-existent, and generosity might well jeopardize the well being of the giver’s dependents. All this left two widows without resources in dire straits.

Gleaning, however, was God’s idea. First mentioned in Leviticus 23:22, and then reiterated in Deuteronomy 24:17-22, the Israelites were commanded to leave a little behind when harvesting all kinds of grains, grapes, and olives. That enabled the poor to provide for their basic needs through their own hard work. And gleaning was indeed hard work! Bending over for hours on end, pulling and cutting the grain, battling flies, rodents, snakes, and people who prey on the disadvantaged, this was not for the faint of heart.

For Ruth to stoop so low (pardon the pun), she had to have been desperate. No wonder she felt the need to ask for Naomi’s permission before she set out. When she “happed” (that’s the quaint King James wording) to land in the field of Boaz, who happened to be a distant relative of her father-in-law, who also happened to be a kind and God-fearing man, even the soured and cynical Naomi did a little jig for joy.

Gleaning became Ruth’s task, Naomi’s blessing, and God’s rescue.


What Did They Eat?

Since the earliest of days, God’s people have celebrated His abundance with feasts and food. It was His idea, after all! As a means of remembering His goodness, He instituted a series of holidays throughout the year, all of which involved good food. But what did they eat? Where did they get it? How was it harvested?

Historians and archeologists have found a plethora of evidence indicating just what the Israelites ate in the Promised Land. Let’s take a look at what filled their larders.

Seven crops dominated the farm land of Canaan:

Wheat- mostly ground to make bread.

Barley- also ground for bread and other baked goods, sometimes eaten raw.

Grapes- primarily red grapes were grown for wine, to eat fresh, to make vinegars and raisins. Raisin cakes were used as a favorite “fast food” which could be taken on a journey.

Figs- figs ripened in June and then again in August or September. The first crop was generally eaten fresh, and the second picking was dried to eat during the winter months. Figs were also used in the making of special wines.

Pomegranates- juice and wine were made from fresh pomegranates harvested in the hot Judean summer months. The seeds were eaten fresh or dried for later use.

Olives- harvesting the olives during the months of September and October gave the Israelites plenty of rich olive oil for cooking and baking. The oil was also used as a medicine, a lotion, lamp oil, and for anointing kings to their thrones. There is, however, no record of the Hebrews eating olives in Old Testament times.

Honey- some scholars believe that the honey referred to throughout the Old Testament is actually the juice produced by the date palm tree. The juice was extracted from the trunk of the tree and used as a drink, either fresh or fermented.

There were other, less plentiful foods available as well. Apricots and nuts (such as almond, pistachio, and walnut) were cultivated. Legumes were grown, including beans, lentils, chick-peas (we know them as garbanzo beans), and peas. Eventually garlic was planted, as well as onions and cucumbers.

And of course, the shepherds of the land kept the people well supplied with the meat and milk of sheep and goats as well as the by-products thereof, such cheese in many forms.

The Promised Land was indeed a land overflowing with abundance. With hard work and God’s blessings, the people of Israel need never have suffered a moment of real hunger. They could trust God to feed them from the abundance of His hand as long as they kept their covenant promises with Him.


The Blessing

“The Lord will make you abound in prosperity…in the offspring of your beast…in the offspring of your ground, in the land…The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, The heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand…” Deuteronomy 28v10-12


The Curse

Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things…” Deuteronomy 28v47-48