A Prayer for Valentine’s

“By God’s grace, the Spirit worked a powerful and transforming work of repentance in my life. Soon after, I started praying for a godly husband and father for Noah. February 14, 2009, was my first Valentine’s Day as a born-again Christian. I had just turned 23. I was sad God hadn’t answered my prayer for a date that day. Noah was only two years old so I decided to take him on the trolley. He had been wanting to go on the ‘train’ for some time. That date with little Noah, my heart was flooded with God’s love. The Lord used a verse reference printed on the bottom of a Forever 21 shopping bag to open the door for me to share the gospel with a young girl. It was exhilarating. I remember driving to the train station and asking God to reveal to me the extent of His love. On our way home, I was awestruck by the thought of how overwhelmingly great His love is. I told Josh this story, and we agreed on a Valentine’s Day wedding. Josh was happy our anniversary would be easier to remember. I thought it sweet of the Lord to answer my prayer for a “date” on Valentine’s Day four years later with a husband.” (On Loan from the Lord, 31)

Praise the Lord for this answer to prayer! Marriage was one of the best gifts of my life after salvation. At trying times, I’ve been tempted to wonder why God would take this wonderful gift away? Honestly, I don’t know and may never get the answer to this question. However, because of how sure I am about God’s goodness and love, I can say like Job, “He gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21) For I know the Father’s love never abandons His children nor forsakes us because Jesus was forsaken in our place as a result of our sin. There is now nothing that can take His love away (Romans 8:38-39). As another Valentine’s Day approaches I can look to the cross and pray again–even more boldly– that God would show me how much he loves me, “Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.” (Psalm 17:7)

And I can still pray for another “date” with a God-fearing man. The Bible says young widows should marry (1Tim 5:4).  Some will judge widows and widowers for the desire to remarry, but I doubt they have walked the rocky road themselves. Most young widows and widowers desire remarriage. It’s not that one is looking to replace our old spouse. That would never even be possible—nor our hearts desire. After tasting the goodness of the Lord in marriage by God’s design naturally, one would want to smile again and embark on a new adventure. It would be a new journey, with a completely different person and thus a distinct relationship. Parents can love more than one of their children, even if a child has died and they have a new baby. Their lost child is never replaced, but the new one brings them renewed hope and joy.

Similarly, a widow can love a new man as much as she loved her deceased husband. When we look at what the Bible defines as agape love, this becomes crystal clear. Love means sacrifice—laying down our life for another. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) For a widow to love again would mean that she is willing to lay down her life and live a new life devoted to a new man–knowing he will be far from perfect and unlike any other. For a man to be prepared to love a widow would mean laying down his life to embrace her despite her past. Wouldn’t that shout the gospel?

The story of my late husband redeeming me in marriage and adopting my son as His own beautify displayed the gospel, and that is one reason I would do it again.  A widow or widower may rightly desire to remarry because they want another chance at romantic love as a reflection of God’s love.  They may want to apply what they learned in the past (mistakes and victories) to be a better mate.  It would be harder to take their spouse for granted—for they know by experience that marriage is not an eternal but a momentary portrait of the forever love of Christ.   The steadfast love of the LORD is not only everlasting but better than any earthly relationship or treasure.  May we marvel in God’s love more and more as we wait for Him!

Going from Greif to Gratitude

“O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.  O Lord my God, if I have done this, if there is wrong in my hands, if I have repaid my friend with evil or plundered my enemy without cause, let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it, and let him trample my life to the ground and lay my glory in the dust. Selah

Arise, O Lord, in your anger; lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies; awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.  Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you; over it return on high. The Lord judges the peoples; judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.  Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous—you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God! My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart. God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.  If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts.  Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.  He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made.  His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.  I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7

David gives us a raw example of how to turn to God when suffering unjustly as a result of wickedness.  Notice that the first thing David does is to take refuge in God.  He cries out and says, “O Lord my God.”  The call is not to a distant and uncaring god, but a very personal One who is also Lord of his life.  His dependence is not in himself but on the great character of God.  In fact, what we do see of David himself is fear and anxiety.  He says that if God doesn’t hear him, his soul will be torn to pieces.  David is fully aware that the only One that can deliver him is God and not himself or an army of men.

Next, David examines his own heart and pleads to God for mercy based on his integrity.  “When David was persecuted and attacked, he was motivated to examine his life for sin, after which he called upon God to deliver him.” (Steve Lawson)  David launches a transparent prayer with a bold statement of a clear conscience in regard to the accusations he was being charged against.  He is so sure of his integrity that he invites the Lord’s judgment upon himself if God finds any fault.  David, like Daniel, was blameless when evildoers sought to charge him with wrong in exchange for his life.   That is the goal for a child of God, even though we are all sinners and will inevitably fall short.  “Blamelessness is not faultlessness; faultlessness was the condition of the Lord Jesus Christ. We never can be faultless in this life, we are in impaired human bodies; but by sanctification we can be blameless.” (Oswald Chambers) It’s an excellent habit to continually ask of ourselves and God, “Am I blameless?”

David repeats the phrase “Oh Lord my God” and calls on the Lord again and again.  He cries to God to be his help in times of trouble.  David pleads to God for deliverance from his adversity and those who are seeking to harm him.  He uses strong language.  David is very confident that He will render judgment in David’s favor based on the surety of God’s character.  He pleads for God’s justice in the form of a poem that is written with intense emotion.   David’s comfort in the face of injustice done against him is the character of God.  The Lord always renders just judgments.  To those who do not turn from practicing the things God hates, like mischief and telling lies, He is ready to act swiftly with His sword.  David says that the violence of the wicked will turn against their own heads.  Whoever does not repent has a true reason to fear.

David finds comfort by shifting his focus from the injustice done to him, to the justice that God brings on the unrighteous.  This beautiful lament ends brings us from underneath a crashing wave of sorrow to soar above the calm sky in a song of praise to the Most High—Yahweh for His righteousness.  May this be our song and prayer.

“King of kings, and Lord of lords, You act according to your infinite wisdom that we aren’t always privy to. May we rest, with pure and thankful hearts, in the wonder of who you are, especially when our circumstances don’t make any sense at all.”



Longing for the Son

“O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O Lord—how long? Turn, O Lord, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.” Psalm 6:1-10

Before sharing my favorite verse, I was making my way through the Psalms and had made it to the 5th of these beautiful heartfelt songs.  Psalm 6 could not come at a better time.  This Psalm is for me in this trying moment.  This song is for the weary of heart.  Sister, this is for you and me to be encouraged by God’s steadfast love.  Personally, I have been comforted by His sweet love while battling a storm.  My body aches and my soul is troubled by it.  Yet, God has been my strength in my weakness, and this shows all the more that is it Him and not of myself.  Even in this trial that my good Father has allowed, I can rejoice knowing He means it for good (Romans 8:28).  While my body screams fear, the Spirit hushes a tender song.

This song is a penitential psalm meaning that is was sung when the psalmist’s heart was penitent which means to be contrite or repentant over sin.  The pervasiveness of sin is so great because of the fall of the human race, that it is hardly inescapable.  Sin is wired into our DNA.  Our only hope is in daily yielding our lives by faith to Christ who exchanges our sin for His perfect righteousness.  R.S. Sproul shares an empathic thought, “We have to have the doctrine of justification by faith in our bloodstream, because there is enough continuing sin in our lives to remind us that without the righteousness of Christ, we have no hope whatsoever.”

A Christian lives in the flesh until called home to glory in heaven.  In fact, the more we grow to love God’s holy character, the more we hate our sin.  Paul expresses his frustration over sin in Romans 7, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (22-25). Praise the Lord that we have a high priest that hears our penitent cries, and that Christ delivers us even when there seems to be no way of escape!

David is the writer of this Psalm and at this time believes that he will die.[1]  He is surrounded on all sides by people literally wanting to end his life.[2]  The worst part about it was that one of those men among his enemies was his own kin—his dear son, Absalom.  This not only consumed David with anxiety and fear for his life but also with sorrow and grief.  Additionally, the psalmist may even be mourning over the way his grief itself seems to overtake him.  David says, “My eye wastes away because of grief.” The amazingly encouraging thing about this Psalm is to see the complete 180 change in David.  He goes from wasting away and being utterly troubled, to complete confidence in God’s faithfulness.  It is only in light of the steadfast love of the Lord, that we too can have strong faith even when everything in the physical realm gives way.  “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:2).  Why? Our boast is that the Lord who hears our weeping.  God will never forsake us because Christ was forsaken.  He is longing to answer us (in His ways, which are above our own) as a loving Father desires to give good things to His children.  As God’s children, we are to cling to Him and be so dependent on Christ that nothing on this earth would shake us.

Loving Lord, you lavish your grace upon us through the finished work of Christ on the cross.  We praise you that your steadfast love is not dependent on our own work that is as filthy rags.  Thank you for the precious gift of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone, and how that filters every aspect of our lives even as sin temporarily engulfs everything in this world.  We confess little faith at times and cry out to you for mercy and grace to increase our faith.  With confidence we ask that you be glorified with our lives–please deliver us from evil and the cruel intruder of sin, that we would see Your goodness in the land of the living.  In Jesus’ name.

[1] Varner, William.  Awake O Harp.  (San Bernardino: Kindle Direct Publishing, 2017), 21-22.

[2] Ibid.

A Favorite Psalm and a Finished Book

“Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given command to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.” Psalm 71:3 NASB

Psalm 71:3 has been one of my favorite verses as a Christian since early on.  I love this verse because it focuses on the strength and power of God not only to save such a sinner like me but also to keep me till the end, into old age and wherever else may come. This verse utters the longing of my heart since conversion and prayer for the rest of my life… no matter what lies ahead.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  When we abide with Him, it is through faith in Christ alone, and it is only by His grace.  That is why this must be our cry– that He may graciously and continually draw us to Himself even as we are prone to go astray.  The Bible says that the heart is deceitful (Jer 17:9).  None, of us—not even Mary, the mother of Jesus, was perfect.  She went along with her other sons to try to divert Jesus away from His God-given mission while He was in Galilee (Mark 3:31, Matthew 12:46).[1]  Quoting the Old Testament, Romans affirms to us that there is no even one righteousness person apart from Jesus (Romans 3:10-18, 5:19, Hebrews 7:26-28).

In light of this, we need Christ to clothe us with His righteousness for salvation.  We are to put on His rightness robe.  Then, desire to keep by His side.  We need truth to reveal our sin and guard our hearts.  Seek to be filled with His Spirit and dwell in His presence. The prayer here is for us to frequently be at home with Christ and make truly Him our adobe—while we sojourn on earth as much as in heaven.

While Josh was in the hospital for more than a month suffering immensely, I witnessed God answer this prayer in His life.  My beloved’s faith was tested like never before.  Healing in an earthly sense became less and less likely, and pain increased more and more.  Nonetheless, Josh clung to His faith in Jesus as His Refuge.  When my beloved gasped for air while looking pale, beaten, and mutilated, God gave me the grace to carry on and whisper to him, “Its ok babe.”  When I had to return to his bedside, and his body lay still and grew colder and stiffer by the minute, Christ was my resting place.  The moment Josh passed away, I knew Josh was in His glorious presence, and it was to His presence I sought to hide from all the anxiety, depression, and fear that threatened to bewilder me.

I am reminded of this as I proofread the book that God graciously allowed me to complete, “On Loan from the Lord.” The writing process was painful and wrought with many tears as I relived our life together and our parting ways.  It tempted me to seek other refuges’ for comfort.  But God is faithful.  He graciously woos me to abide in Him alone as my Rock and my mighty fortress.  It took two years to accomplish the memoir while processing my own grief along with that of my two children— ages 11 and 3, who grieve so differently.  I still struggle with grief in various forms, yet in Christ, I have found a deliverer from my every trying hour.  I hope the book will encourage others to draw closer to God when dealing with loss, unexpected diagnoses, heartache, or trials.

Lord willing, the book will be available on Amazon and Kindle next week!!


[1] Culver, Robert.  The Earthly Career of Jesus, The Christ: A Life in Chronological, Geographical and Social Context.  (Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications, 2002), 120-121.

A Cry for Help

“Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me. For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue. Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” ~Psalm 5

The psalmist begins his desperate prayer before speaking a word or bending his knees.  He prepares himself by bowing his heart in sincere contrition.  On our attitude of prayer, Spurgeon writes, “Let us cultivate the spirit of prayer which is even better than the habit of prayer. There may be seeming prayer where there is little devotion. We should begin to pray before we kneel down, and we should not cease when we rise up.”[1]  David begins with a lofty view of God as King, which naturally places himself as His lowly subject.  Yet, despite, his transcendent view of God he also knows the LORD in a personal and intimate way.  He confides in Him as one does a close friend.  Do we pray this way?

David is open and transparent with God for he must realize that God already knows his troubles.  He is convinced that God abhors the wicked, arrogant, and deceitful that cause him grief.  At the same time, he himself confesses to only enter God’s house by way of His steadfast love (v.7). In the same way, we should come to God—not in our righteousness, but in Christ’s.  Let us bow toward Him in reverence and willingness to surrender our wills to His lead.  We don’t need to makes things right in our own so-called wisdom or meager strength.  Dr. Varner points out in his commentary of this psalm that David never takes personal vengeance on his enemies but always leaves judgment of his slanderers to God.[2]

The psalmist despairs and then rehearses truth.  Their end is destruction.  He reminds us too of the reality of the fate of the wicked.  This should propel us to desire righteousness just as the psalmist.  David knows holiness cannot come from himself so he asks for God’s leading in the right path to confound his enemies and again speaks truth to himself.  In the end, he reminds himself of the blessings of the righteous (v.12).

Jesus wins the victory over the adversary.  We can then take every injustice and the abundant evils of this world and ask Him to shield us from them.  What wonderful words of comfort we find here.  Even more, this side of the cross, we have a clearer vision of the risen Savior as our refuge.  May we be among those who love the name of the LORD and take joy in His protection over us.

“The Lord will never lead people into sin but only down level paths of righteousness.  David asked that the way of God’s guidance would be level and smooth, free from temptations and obstacles of sin: Make straight your way before me.”[3]

O, LORD, your loyal love is our refuge and shield to which we look to and eagerly wait when all around the storm rages on, You will move to vindicate every wrong against Your children in Your perfect will and time.  May we rejoice now even in the waiting as we look to Christ and live in freedom from sin.


[1] Spurgeon, Charles H.  The Treasury of David: Psalms.   Christianty.com. Accessed on 8/14/19.


[2] Varner, William.  Awake O Harp: A Devotional Commentary on the Psalms.  San Bernardino, 2019.

[3] Lawson, Steve J.  Holman Old Testament Commentary: Psalm 1-75.  (Nashville: Holman Reference, 2003), 39.


Relief Rescues the Righteous

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer! O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame? How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord. There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:1-8 ESV

The Lord’s mercy answers our desperate cries with unhindered sanctified joy.  David goes to the Holy Judge first even when it is ultimately against men that he files his complaint.  In the middle of a raging battle, he receives peace. [i] When we are in distress, there is only One that can completely understand our hearts.  It is the same One who alone has the power to change the hearts of others.

David goes to the Lord when he is in anguish, even though it is men who are the cause of his distress.  The king of Israel goes to the King of kings in prayer with humility yet boldness and calming trust. David’s confidence is not in himself or an army of men, but in the covenant relationship, he has with the LORD, and His steadfast love.  David knew God intimately for he had seen His past faithfulness.  In Him, we can rest in safety even while the adversary wages war to devour us.  David found security and rest because God reigned supreme.[ii]  Then, after he brings his case to God, he pleads with men.  Spurgeon urges us to do likewise, “Surely we should all speak the more boldly to men if we had more constant converse with God. He who dares to face his Maker will not tremble before the sons of men.”[iii]

When David addresses his adversaries, he exhorts them onto repentance.  David pleads for them to come to the Lord and put away their anger and bitterness.  Is this how we  respond when people oppose us for righteousness?  To do so is a demonstration of genuine humility.  When others persecute us for Christ sake, we can’t focus on the wrong against us, but recognize it is a greater opposition toward the Lord.  We should not take offenses personal but seek to lead our enemies to reconciliation with God.  David has a clear conscience.  We too must diligently come against sin in confession and repentance to cleanse our conscience and find rest for our souls.  The Lord is the one who bestows or withdraws favor and allows persecution to refine us.  Moreover, David knew He was in God’s will and could with confidence, say, “The Lord sets apart the godly for himself.”  Can we also say that to oppose us is to go against God?

Abba, Father, You are near when we call, may those around us, even our enemies, stand reverently silenced to see Your mighty hand of deliverance during the trials and persecutions in our lives, and turn to you for salvation.  May your name in us ever be praised.

[i] Varner, Will.  Awake O Harp.  (Crossway, 2001), 18.

[ii] Lawson, Steve.  Holman Old Testament Commentary: Psalms 1-75. (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 33.

[iii] Spurgeon, Charles.  “Charles A. Spurgeon’s A Treasury of David.” https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=spur&b=19&c=4.  (Accessed 5/30/19).

Finding Sweet Sleep during the Hour of Terror


I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked. Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah Psalm 3:5-8 ESV

The first line of this Psalm initially sounded humorous as I pened the blog after laying awake till 3A.M, “I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” Usually, if I’m struggling to sleep (which is rare), I start to pray from bed and drift off, but my ears kept sharply attuned to every creak of the walls and hung to each sound in the neighborhood. My mind kept racing through the night. Our water heater had just broken so I even went outside to check on it. Relived that it had not somehow caught on fire as the gas company warned, I came back and tried to get some rest. Next, Nathan woke up having had a bad dream and wanted to sleep with me. Now both of us lay awake tossing and turning and the clock kept ticking Silently, I asked God what He would have me do. The thought of blogging came to mind. Then, my computer started making loud noises so I thought, “Well if you want me to write I can’t do it with Nathan in the room.” Seconds later Nathan tells me he’s scared of my room—for the first time—ever! I ask if he wants to go back upstairs to his room and he submissively obliges.  That was what God used to encourage me to write and I pray that He uses it to edify and encourage the saints for His glory.

We pick up the Psalms in chapter three verse four and David is being chased for his life by his own son and thousands of others that were supposed to be on his side. The text doesn’t say how long since he had slept, but the fact that he appreciates his ability to sleep suggest he had previously struggled to give rest to his eyes in fear of being overtaken at night. From 2 Samuel 15-16, we learn that David fled barefoot and weeping. He has been humiliated and overcome by sorrow. He now boldly rests in God’s strength. However, the situation has not changed, “I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.” His son is still trying to kill him while he leads a revolt against his kingdom. I imagine his heart must have hurt knowing his own sin precipitated violence in his house to some degree. Yet, His hope was in God’s steadfast love. “Even the believer who suffers from wrong choices in his past, God causes all things to work together for the good for those who love him (Rom. 8:28)” (Dr. Lawson, Psalms 1-75, p. 31-32) Futhermore, David’s son was not only rebelling against him as an earthly father and king but railing against the King of kings—God himself.

As a mom, my most earnest prayer for my children is for them to come to faith in the only one who can save them from their sin— Christ. Even after watching my beloved suffer until he drew his last breath, some of the hardest times of heartache in the past have been times of despair over the spiritual state of my children. See, I know without a doubt that my husband is in heaven. David came to a place where he knew without a doubt that God would deliver him. In verse seven he does not question but proclaims, “Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.” It also appears that David also got to a place where he longed to see God’s will before his own. Even though David may not have seen how his recent situation would work out for good not how we would get out of it, he trusted in God fully for salvation. The psalm closes with, “Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessing be on your people! Selah” Thus, we too have trust in Him alone for salvation. When we lay down at night we don’t have to be overtaken by fear—we can lay our anxieties to rest upon our Savior! “There may be no way of escape; they may hem me in as the deer are surrounded by a circle of hunters; they may surround me on every side, but in the name of God I will dash through them; or, if I remain in the midst of them, yet shall they not hurt me; I shall be free in my very prison.” (Spurgeon, Treasury of David)

O God, in this life may our hearts ever be contrite like David’s in this psalm, that we never tire of crying out to you alone for salvation, in the small and big battles, and grant us the same degree of faith to match our pleas.