He Has Dealt Bountifully with Me

Sometimes, between the new gadgets and the gimmes and the advertisements, we can forget God's profuse blessings and get caught up in a sea of negativity... and I just read something that I think will combat this in our lives if we let it roll around in our minds:
Psalm 13:6--
I will sing to the Lord,
Because HE has dealt bountifully with me.

So, I want to share some of the ways that God has dealt bountifully with me:

  • He placed me in a family that taught me things of God from the very beginning of my life.
  • I have been raised in a country where we are able to worship God freely. I have always known this, but having lived in places where Bibles are hidden and churches meet secretly, I am much more aware now of what a gift this really is.
  • I have always had a copy of His Word available to me in my language, and I was taught to read from a young age.
  • Though I could have gone hopelessly astray, He righted me and gave me a series of mid-course corrections. He kept me from ruining my own life.
  • This husband He picked out for me... y'all. Seriously. What a man... I am so very blessed.
  • He has allowed me to be home with our children from the very beginning, and (having held my "dream" job before having kids) I am fully convinced that no job could compare with this one of wife & mom.
  • He is changing us to be more and more like Him... I see evidence of His work in Doug and in my own life as well. And though we're not anywhere near completed, it is exciting to know that "He's still working on me."
  • He has given us four beautiful, incredibly funny, unique little people to (Lord willing) raise up into men and a woman of God.
  • AND... He is already drawing them to Himself. Each one of them is being drawn towards Christ at his/her level, and it is precious to see.
  • He is faithful to teach me through His Word.
  • He is faithful to convict me of sin and not just let me wallow in mediocrity or shallow, unrefined faith.
  • He is faithful to give painful, much-needed discipline when I am hard-hearted and need it, and to deal with me gently when I am broken and easily moldable.
  • He is faithful to continue the work that He starts, and I see evidence of that all around me... in our lives and in the lives of the people all around us.
  • He has given me Making Home, which has become such a neat place where I can encourage, exhort, love, and sharpen (and be encouraged, exhorted, loved, and sharpened by) the Body of Christ, even from a great distance.
  • He has even allowed us to live in amazing places all around the world-- letting our family see the day-in, day-out hopelessness and emptiness of atheism, idol worship, and works-based religions. I am so grateful that my children in particular have had this firsthand evidence of the insufficiency of religions that depend on man. I trust that this is part of His plan to draw each of them towards faith in Him & His extravagant grace.
  • When I offer myself up (through hospitality, writing, praying for a friend, or being willing to do whatever I can do) for His service, He uses me! What a sweet thing it is to be a useful "pot" in the hands of the Almighty God!
And I could go on and on! And you probably could too. Take this day to consider how God has dealt with you.

Psalm 13:6--
I will sing to the Lord,
Because HE has dealt bountifully with me.

A request: please don't let this list serve as reasons for grumbling or complaining, even in your mind. There are many, MANY things I could have listed that would not sound bountiful. But the truth is that even in those things, God has been gracious. If I listed out every negative thing that ever happened to me, or every sin I have willfully committed against my God, it would not be a pretty sight.

But we all have so much to be thankful for. Even those who do not know Him as God receive grace from His hand every single day. Rain, food, love, provision, friends, each and every breath of life... all of these things are undeserved grace from His hand. We all have much to be thankful for.

So consider. If you were to sing of God's bounty in your life, what would be the themes of your song?


Rachel said...

Amen. I want another baby. :)

Jill said...

Very good! God is a good God and a faithful God and we are so very very blessed.
Continue to pray for your friend's baby and wondering what is happening....

Anonymous said...

I have been raised in a country where we are able to worship God freely. I have always known this, but having lived in places where Bibles are hidden and churches meet secretly, I am much more aware now of what a gift this really is.

How would you answer the question of why God bestows this gift on entire populations of some countries at some times in history, yet deprives entire populations of the same gift in other places or other times?

As a member of a religious minority that as been unfree for many centuries in many countries, I consider myself lucky to have been born in the U.S., but I don't consider God to have deliberately withheld that gift from others.

I believe God wants all people to live in freedom and wouldn't selectively bestow that gift on you and me while making others worship in secrecy.

Whether or not a country has freedom of religious worship seems to me to be related to how the humans running that country have expressed their free will.

Maybe I have misunderstood what you are saying. I believe that injustice on earth, including religious oppression, stems from sins/errors/mismanagement (whatever word you want to use) by human beings, and is not put there by God "for a reason."

Laurie B

Melinda said...

Amen! This is such a needed message in this season, and in all seasons really. Living in the world, it is hard not to get caught up in the world sometimes, and lose sight of the Truth. With materialistic messages bombarding us at every turn this season, it's so vital that we remember what the season is really all about.

Your blog has been a true blessing. Merry Christmas!

Jess said...

This is probably just indicative of yet another difference between you and I. I do believe that God ordains the rises and falls of Kings, and that He ordains the times and places that each person will live.

I suppose, too, that were I one born into captivity, I would have other "bountiful dealings" to praise Him for. Not the same as I've listed here... but bountiful and beautiful nonetheless. "Underground" Christians have such tenacity and faithfulness to the Lord... something that is severely lacking in situations where so many just "grow up Christian".

Yes, I think He blesses some and not others with certain gifts... just like He gives different portions of "talents" to different servants... and (as our "Potter") designs pots in different ways and for different purposes. He is not a predictable, cookie cutter God, where everyone gets the same things. Nor is He a distant God who does not intervene and ordain the events in the lives of man. He is a God who wills and works for His good pleasure.

Catherine R. said...

This one is not hard for me.

Even though I have always struggled to be a glass-half-full kind of gal, I have occasionally thought of what good fortune I've had as accidental luck. I finally realized that there are no accidents and that every "good fortune" is
straight from the Creator's mighty hand, as intentional as it gets. This is not to say I am more special than the next person who didn't fare so well or that I haven't been mired in certain consequences.

That said, I could *easily* have gone to prison, be dead and/ or HIV positive based on past behaviors. Also, I have been entrenched in misguidance most of my life...not knowing Him. The Lord plucked me straight from the highway to hell and gave me a more wonderful life than I even knew how to ask for.

Indeed, He has dealt bountifully with me.

Anonymous said...

Jess, do you think anyone should bother to try to correct the injustice in the world?

Why should I feed the hungry, if God placed certain people into hardship for a reason?

I am trying to understand where you see human obligation to exercise our free will toward something outside of our own spiritual lives.

Laurie B

Christine said...

What a beautiful reflection of His Blessings on your life! He is so faithful to bless me, despite my constant frailty. Thank goodness that I don't "have it all together", because then I wouldn't need to run to Him, so often. Your blog is a blessing to many.

Jessica said...

Oh- I have so much to be thankful for and so much I don't deserve.
My husband is amazing (and unbelievably handsome!).
My kids are healthy and absolute treats.
My friends are treasures.
My church is wonderful.
I have food, a place to live, and so much more than i really need.
I leave in 6 days to live overseas for the first time... and I'm so sad and absolutely terrified, but my God is so much bigger than the world and I rest in Him.

Anonymous said...

I read this and then went on with some chores...I started to complain about the toys on the floor ...stopped and reminded myself of this post!!! I am so thankful that I can stay at home...and that my kids have toys to play with! Thanks for the reminder Jess...yet again! :)

Jess said...

Of course we work to help others, to give cups of cold water to the thirsty, and to clothe those who are without clothes... in Jesus' name... because He tells us to do these things out of love.

I believe He intends for His followers to honor His name and point more people to Him in worship and so that He will be glorified through these acts of kindness and good will. Not because we do anything good, but because all good things originate from Him. And not because it gets us spiritual "bonus points", but because He commands it and we love Him and want to obey.


Jessica Rae said...

Wow. A couple of things that I've REALLY been wrestling with lately that yours and Laurie's mini-debate touches on is injustice. Let me share with you and I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts as I feel that I am just in a "holding place" so to speak on these issues right now.
-I know that I won't ever have answers for why horrible things have happened and do happen to random people, specific people groups/cultures, etc. (Other than general/ramped sin and evil in the world)But when I think about them and my own life and my inability to make even the smallest dent in human trafficking, abuse, etc.
I am heart broken.
I am conflicted.
Guilt laden.
Robbed of peace.
Rendered useless.
I know that most of these things are not from the Lord, but I am just having a hard time understanding what my thoughts/attitude should be about these things.
So far, here's what I got: (Well, here's what I KNOW, I won't say I've really "got" all this...yet.)
-Hate the world and sin/see it for what it really is.
-Long for the Lord's return.
-Pray for the Lord's return.
-Determine to raise my kids in a way that will make a difference in this time on earth.
I'd love to know what you think about this and what you would add to the list that combats the negative and unproductive thoughts that seem to never be far from my mind.
(I know this post was supposed to be more positive than this, so sorry if this is an inappropriate place for these thoughts. And yes the Lord has dealt BOUNTIFULLY with me. Amen, Amen, Amen!)