Gifts from God & Giving Gifts with Purpose

Gifts from God & Giving Gifts with Purpose

Luci’s blog

It’s that time of year that we are thinking about giving and receiving gifts. And today I want to share my heart on the topic as well as share some spiritual insight.

When I was a child, we had very little by way of gifts as my parents couldn’t afford much with 15 children. I don’t know how but they always managed to give us one or two gifts a piece. They would get us one toy and an item of clothing which we cherished because most of what we had were hand me downs.

But I really wasn’t longing for material gifts; Instinctively I longed for the gifts that come from the healthy kind of love a child would expect from her parents, like affection, healthy interaction, guidance, acceptance, and encouragement to become the best I could be. I had a deep longing to feel safe and cherished.

As I grew into my adolescence, I discovered that needless material possessions, dysfunctional relationships and substance abuse could temporarily substitute for those things that I lacked and truly longed for. It wasn’t my intent but I set out on a self-destructive path which caused me to establish unhealthy patterns and relationships. When I did receive a material gift with a personal touch, it gave me a great sense of belonging and worth. For example, at 13, on a rare occasion, while my oldest brother was home to visit, he took me shopping and bought me a new outfit. I felt so loved! But it wasn’t the actual gift that moved me, it was the fact that he took time out, saw a need in me and made me feel so special!

As I grew into my 20’s, the Lord opened my eyes to Him and having tried to live life my way which was causing great pain and broken relationships, I surrendered to Him, not knowing all that it involved, jumped in and simply believed He loved me and that my life would be better. I was in for a wonderful surprise in how my life improved!

As God began to pour into me and bless me with all the good gifts, he has for us, I had an overwhelming desire to pour His blessings back out. And over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have opportunities to give so much to others. And others have been so generous to me in the giving of gifts.

I’ve always had lots of fun choosing the “perfect” thing for each person I was giving to. It’s so much fun for me to see their delighted response to what they receive. According to Acts 20:35 “it is more blessed to give than receive.” I have found it to be true in my life. But then I had to learn that receiving gifts with humility and thanks is just as important because the giver receives a blessing as well as the recipient. I also discovered that I didn’t have to spend much $ to give the most meaningful gifts!

So, as times passes, my perspective on giving gifts has changed. And, more often, I’m giving with the desire to move others closer to the heart of God. Because that is the gift that will be the most meaningful and have eternal benefits.

As an example of giving with meaning, when a dear friend’s husband suddenly died of a heart attack while the two of them were entering the church one Sunday morning, I made a mix of worship songs for her because she loved music that praises the Lord. It didn’t cost very much but it helped her focus on Jesus, during a time of great struggle.

As I consider how we give and receive gifts, it got me wondering how God gives gifts and for what purpose. And what we can learn from His ways. As I researched and prayed, the Holy Spirit showed me just how much He does give and the wonderful ways it works in our lives.

So, here are some of the many gifts God gives us:

Protection: Before I even knew Jesus, He kept me safe in my disfunction and very bad life decisions. So many times, I could have died or fallen so deep into my sin that I would not have found my way out on my own. I remember one time while hitch hiking to the laundry mat from my apt. I was picked up by a guy who dropped me off where I asked him to but as I was getting out of the car, he hit me over the head with a heavy object. It hurt so bad but didn’t knock me unconscious. As I got out of the car rubbing my head, he was racing down the road with the passenger door still open. I can only imagine what his intentions were! I believe the Holy Spirit was there protecting me. I am so thankful!

Provision: Before I knew Jesus, He was providing for me and meeting my material needs, for many years.

Revelation: He reveals himself to each of us uniquely, speaking to us and meeting us where we are in our lives. Being from a very large family, I’m especially thankful that He treats me special, as if I were His only child! Can you relate to this?

Forgiveness: He forgave all my offenses from my past, present and future and I chose to repent and turn from them. But even when I went back to some sinful habits, He never abandoned me. He is always available to help me sort out my mess when I come to Him.

Guidance: I’ve prayed for direction so many times when I didn’t know which way to turn or what choice was best and He guided me!

Favor & Salvation: When Jesus saved me, I felt as if I was unworthy of any love or acceptance but He adopted me and taught me the meaning of unconditional love and acceptance. His gift of salvation is irrevocable if we truly repent and surrender our hearts to Him.

We read in Romans 8:32 that “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” God loves us so much! He wants to shower us with gifts and blessing in this life and the one to come!

His Word: It gives me hope and helps me understand my connection to Him and what He expects of me

Prayer: This is one of the main ways we connect with our Lord. It is a gift He gives so we can communicate our hearts to Him.

Our Role: Being used of God to fulfill His eternal plan at this time in history. God’s timing is perfect and we were chosen for such a time as this! How incredible is it that God allows us to be part of His plan?

His Holy Spirit: In Acts 2:38 we read, “And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” This is Jesus in me! One of the gifts I am most thankful for! He is my constant companion.

So, what gifts can we give to the Lord; what does He desire?

God wants us to trust in His Son as Savior and Lord.

He wants us to “become conformed to the image of His Son.

He delights in our praises to Him.

He desires for us to spend time with Him.

He calls us to love one another and serve Him with humility.

The gifts God desires from us have the distinct purpose of making us righteous, in good relationship to Him and loving one another. If you notice, it’s all about relationship with Him and the body of Christ. It’s never about performing works for the sake of that alone.

God is loving and gracious, always wants what is best for us. Let’s praise Him together during this most beautiful time of year.

In Christ’s love,


Angel of Light (Part 1 & 2)

Angel of Light (Part 1 & 2)

Luci’s blog

Angel of Light (Part 1)

There he was with his beautiful smile and wavy brown hair with streaks of sunlight in it and those eyes! They had mischief in them and flirted with me! I just knew He was an answer to my prayers, finally!

I was 33. I had been following Jesus for 8 years and loved serving Him. I was involved in multiple ministries, leading post abortion recovery groups (having experienced my own horrific abortion experience), women’s ministry, church functions and small group bible studies.

I desperately wanted to be married and have a family. I felt so out of place in the church, with the couples (both younger and older) and their children that seemed to be everywhere. But I promised my Lord that I would not sleep with any man or marry unless He chose that man, one who I could serve Him with. I prayed fervently and waited impatiently. But 8 years passed and I was growing anxious as I felt my biological clock ticking away! At this point I was beyond the point that most couples began their families; I was becoming very anxious about my singleness.

My “prince” was charming, friendly and polite. He captured my heart the moment I laid eyes on him. I shared my faith with him and he said all the right things that lead me to believe he too followed God. But the deeper into our relationship I went, the more red flags I saw that told me to “RUN”! But I was so infatuated with the idea of being his girl, marrying and raising our own family that I couldn’t see the danger I was heading toward. Satan used this man to lure me into a trap. He lead me to believe that this could work. But the harder I tried to conform this man to my ideal god fearing partner, the more evident it became that he would not.

At first, I refused to sleep with him, attempting to keep my promise to God while dancing with the devil. By this time, several months into the relationship, all my protection and resistance was gone. I stopped going to church, abandoned all my ministries and isolated from my believing sisters. I gave in to his constant seductions and once I had sex with him, I felt truly trapped. I had the overwhelming sense that I made a grave mistake! But I believed I had to marry him so I could honor my promise to God that I wouldn’t sleep with any man until I was married. It sounds ridiculous now but the guilt and condemnation I put myself under was suffocating. Along with that I had succumbed to his control over my life; he was a master manipulator and I felt that I was under his spell. Little did I know, he was just a pawn of the devil, using this relationship to pull me further and further from my Lord.

I was stressed out, couldn’t eat, had insomnia (cried in the dark most nights), experienced panic attacks and lost all my confidence and joy.

My prince turned into a nightmare! He manipulated me and criticized my words and actions. He slept with other women and lied about it even when I exposed him. He turned out to be a very warped and perverted individual. He was literally a pawn of the devil and didn’t know it. It took me three years to see it and finally get help. When I gained the courage to stand up to him, I threw him out and began my journey back to intimacy with God.

In Christ’s love,


See Angel of Light (Part 2) below.

Luci’s blog

Angel of Light (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this story, I left off when I threw the man out, I will call “abuser” that had been living with me, who I was allowing to ruin my testimony, my peace of mind and keeping me from a relationship with the Lord. I had discovered that you cannot serve Jesus and the devil or another way to put it is, ungodly/sinful desires, at the same time.

He had threatened me as I told him to leave so I worried that he would retaliate, having seen him do it to others who crossed him. But I had turned a corner and began to trust in the Lord again so I was resolved. Although I knew I had done the right thing, I was so unsure of my future. And in spite of feeling so broken and vulnerable, I trusted the Lord and moved towards Him. I asked for forgiveness for leaving the path He had so firmly planted me on and asked him to restore me to Himself.

Through the tears and the shame, I began my journey back to my Lord, one step, one day at a time. I began attending church again and as I sat in the services, I felt numb and unable to respond. I just took it all in and allowed the Lord to begin the healing process on my heart, mind and my sick body. I got back into the bible and read everyday and slowly returned to fellowship with other believers which was so good for me! It took five plus years to be restored to the closeness that I once had with the Lord and to feel confident in my role as His child.

I still had a deep longing to be married but this time I was leaving it up to the Lord. I learned that I could not make it happen on my own, not the way God would have it for me! I knew I wanted to be with a devoted follower of Christ, a man who would put Jesus first in all things and cherish me the way God intended.

After a couple of years no men of this caliber had come into my life so, I assumed that the Lord intended for me to be single. And shortly after I accepted this and began to settle on the idea that God would use me in my singleness, He sent me a godly, ethical, gracious man who would eventually become my husband! The way we met could only have come from the Lord! We lived in different countries and found one another on a

Christian dating website. So after 42 years, I married my soul mate. It has been 17 wonderful years that we’ve been together. He is perfect for me!

If you ask me, would I want to go through that horrible relationship with the abuser again to get where I am today, I would say NO. But having experienced it, I can appreciate how God provides and does it so much better than we can imagine! Praise Him for His faithfulness!

In Christ’s love,


What Are You Hoping For?

What Are You Hoping For?

The worlds definition of hope is a feeling of expectation & a desire for a certain thing to happen. The desire for something good to happen in the future. We “hope” this thing will come to pass but we really don’t know. So, for instance we would say, I hope I get a good report from the doctor or, I hope my kids cooperate this morning so I can get to work on time.

But we can’t control the outcome. Lot’s of things in our lives are that way.

Biblical hope not only desires good in future, it expects it to happen!

It doesn’t look to what is possible from man’s perspective, it looks to the promises of God and with Him, all things are possible!

When I was a little girl, up until about the age of 7, I had hopes and dreams that my life would be happy and my home life safe. But as I grew, I came to realize and understand my home environment was not safe but scary and uncertain. I learned that the very people that were suppose to protect and love me were not reliable but were neglectful and in many instances, abusive. As I grew into adolescence, I experienced hopelessness and despair most of the time. I no longer had expectations of safety and happiness, but just to survive. At age 14, I attempted to take my life but was unsuccessful. This unhealthy thinking shaped the way I saw myself and my future, going forward. I had a very low self esteem and felt very unworthy of good things coming to me. I believed I had to fight for myself and that no one could be trusted.

I left my home and family at 15, lived on the streets for a time and dove into a life filled with drugs, heavy drinking and promiscuity, wanting to escape the pain and emptiness I felt. I continued on this destructive path and at age 24, I had an abortion and immediately following the procedure, the despair and heaviness was the most intense I had ever felt. I cried myself to sleep almost every night, knowing that I had taken the life of my child, in spite of what the world was saying and how it wasn’t a baby.

I was so ashamed and I felt like there was a dark cloud surrounding my heart. I had no one that I could trust and confide in at that time. Besides I was afraid that people would judge me for my decision.

Ironically, 9 months after my abortion, I surrendered my heart to Jesus and experienced a freedom that is hard to put into words! The darkness was lifted and for the first time since I was a child, I had hope, true hope! Although my whole life and perspective changed, I still struggled with a sense of low self worth. I sought out counseling that was based on the principles of the bible and began to read the scriptures every day!

As time passed the Lord filled me with His hope and promises. My hope of the future was bright as I considered Jesus and how much He loved me. I began to think differently and as my thoughts and attitudes changed, my life began to go into a positive and healthy direction.

Although life continued to challenge me, I had the Lord and His Word that allowed me to thrive through it, as long as I looked to Him for my peace.

I recently came across a post from 2013 when I had been laid up for 2 months (couch and bed bound) and had 2 more months to go prior to surgery! I was in so much pain and I couldn’t take the strong medicine they gave me since it caused severe cramping.

Today the Lord brought to mind His gift of life. In these past few months, for me it has looked like pain, suffering and waiting on Him. It sounds strange to call this a gift. But along with the pain, It also came with an empathy to understand others suffering which is a great aid when attempting to lift their burden. It looked like the hands of many, many friends reaching out and lifting me up in more ways than I can recall. It looked like quiet moments with the Spirit of the living God, revelation and understanding of His word. I am truly blessed with all that God has brought into my life. Because I know He is molding me into a vessel He can use for His good in this world. I want to openly acknowledge that I am thankful for all God brings into my life! I love & praise the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m sharing this to show that even in the storm, we can have joy, be at peace and see God working! There are things that come into our lives that are for the glory of God! If we trust Him, the outcome will be so much better than if we shut Him out. He will provide a better way.

I’d like to know, what are you hoping for or what has come to pass that you were hoping for and what does that look like for you today?

Are you claiming certain promises of God that you believe He will fulfill in your life? And are you asking Him to fulfill them in a specific time frame?

When we are claiming God’s promises, how do we know which of them are for us specifically? There are bible verses, God’s promises that we can apply to our present situation but be disappointed with the outcome, because we have misunderstood them. For instance, Rom 8:31-32 say, “What shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?” If I apply this passage to my current struggle and expect to receive all that I think I want or need at the very time I want it, I don’t understand the passage in context. This passage implies that God, in His wisdom, will provide the very thing we need in His perfect timing. God says that His ways are not our ways; we see the immediate and want relief but that’s not always God’s plan for us. Sometimes He sees fit to keep us in the storm to teach & build us up spiritually and show us how to lean on Him. And some of these things He promises are for us in the afterlife. So, we have to be sure we are applying the scripture in context to understand how God is working and whether a specific promise is for us in our present situation. As we commit to His Word daily and trust in His love and goodness He will continue to deepen our understanding of Him.

I deal with back, neck and joint pain every day, due to degenerative disc disease and arthritis. In my current situation, I could go to a dark place with this condition and the limitations it causes, but then I apply the passage in 2 Cor: 4:7, 16-18 which I want to share with you:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.

For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

In this passage, Paul is reminding us that God is in control, we are encouraged to keep our faith, our hope because our inner self (our spirit) is being sanctified and renewed by our faithful God and that our eternal existence is so much more amazing and glorious than this “momentary” mortal existence. That we are to focus on those things that are unseen.

This can be a very hard thing to embrace when we are in the trial. When we surrender our lives to God, the struggles of this world don’t disappear but, we have the Lord Jesus who will walk through it with us. So, in order to keep our hope alive, we need to look to him every day. and by His Holy Spirit and His Word, we will find strength and peace!

One thing that God has taught me is to surrender my expectations and everything to Him in my life, (pain & suffering, expectations of how I think things should be, disappointments, dreams that never came to be, unsaved loved ones,) and day by day, and sometimes moment by moment I have to surrender to Him! He wants us to stay very close to Him so He can comfort and guide us. And so that we know for sure that He is the one who is directing our path.

So let’s look at some of the straightforward promises from the Lord that we can celebrate with certainty.

He promises to give us wisdom if we ask (James 1:5).

He promises to provide a way out of temptation (1 Cor. 10:13).

He promises that our salvation is secure, no matter what (John 10:28–29).

He promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

He promises to finish the good work he has begun in us (Phil. 1:6). He promises to come back (Luke 12:40)

These promises are sure and steadfast. Do you notice that they have much more to say about who God is or how he is sanctifying us than about a specific circumstance or outcome? We are not promised certainty in our circumstances, but we are promised certainty in the God of our circumstances. And that is an anchor for the soul.

Let me leave you with this and I hope it encourages you to look to Jesus.

Rom 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Read more of Luci’s blog posts here!