And this: Does Santa Believe in Jesus by Jennifer Dukes Lee
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!” ~Isaiah. 30:18
His grace sustains.
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. ~ Psalm 18:28
we choose wrong
and we would deserve
your anger, let us see
how gentle you are
Help us to turn toward You
when we mess up.
See Additional Words from The Sponsor by gently clicking here!
You give me strength…and you help me stand on the mountains.
You alone are my shield. Your right hand supports me,
You clear the way for me, and now I won’t stumble.
~Psalm 18:32, 35, 36
Grace is the power of God coming to you at no cost, to do through you what you can’t do by yourself. ~Joyce Meyer
Worth a click: Keeping Faith in Trials, Temptation and Tough Times
Worth a read: The Life You’re Fighting For by James Robison
It is all about the eyes.
As a young girl I was at home and comfortable at the beach or the tennis courts. Such an introverted bent would have been ok if my parents lived quiet, reclusive lives, but that was not the case. People came over to our house all the time.
All. The. Time.
These people arrived with the same boundless energy and strong personality as my parents. They had so many questions and so much intense focus toward me. I was intimidated and would squirm away in escape.
If there had been Avatars in those days, I would have gladly submitted one to stand in place of me.
Knowing I would not be able to navigate a life speaking only to tennis balls and kelp, my dad gave me a little conversational trick. He told me to look right between someone’s eyes at the little part of the skin between the eyebrows.
“That spot looks a little like the sand dunes at Zuma…you’ll feel comfortable there and then folks can get to know you instead of watching you squirm and wonder if you are upset with them or reacting to a bad lunch.” (As a kid, I loved how his instructions usually included references to puking.)
He carefully kept any uni-brow men away from the house so I could practice this new skill.
And it worked. This little trick helped me adapt to my anxiety through graduated exposure.
As I grew in confidence, I transitioned to looking at someone directly in the eye, without the Zuma dune crutch. There are a lot of pretty eyes out and about, although, (as many of you know from the personal choices I’ve made), I have never learned to spot a liar by their eyes.
Perhaps this is how it is with our Creator too. He calls us to live more than an Avatar life with Avatar grace. Avatar grace is dutiful presence, check-the-box religion. Kyle Idelman calls it being a fan. Avatar grace shows up and suits out but gives little more. Avatar grace looks good, has all the best features and maybe even a few pat answers, but when the dark nights of the soul hit, those with Avatar grace rarely return my phone calls.
Avatars are fun to play with; cool to design and code in to the 2D web presence, but they are ill-suited for Authentic Living. I think it is best not to game-ify grace. Perhaps transitioning away from Avatars of good intentions and best-laid plans to the Authentic Grace of actions and accountable engagement is a truer form of the Creator’s call for me.
Happy Birthday today, Dad. I still love seeing your eyes and learning from you.
When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to The One who judges justly. ~1 Peter 2:23
Have you ever been wrongfully accused? Oh, the need to defend and justify becomes so great. “What will people think if they believe these things are true?” we reason. Imagine what Jesus thought as they hurled insults and threats upon Him. The God of the universe had visited planet earth only to be slandered and accused of blasphemy.
Jesus could have done two things in response. He could have used His power to put the people in their place. He could have responded “horizontally.” He could have fixed the problem right then. However, He chose to respond in a different way. He chose to “entrust Himself to Him who judges justly.” It requires great faith to entrust ourselves to God in the midst of personal assault. However, if we can do this, we will discover a level of grace and wisdom that will be birthed from this experience that we never thought possible. We will discover a freedom in God we never knew before. Whenever we suffer for righteousness without seeking to protect our reputation and rights, we are placing our total faith in the one who can redeem us. This activates God’s grace in our lives and enables us to experience God’s presence like never before.
Ask God to give you the grace to stay vertical with Him. Avoid the temptation of responding horizontally each time some event comes into your life that you want to “fix.” Entrust yourself to the one who judges justly. It may be a divine appointment for your growth to another level in grace.
This Weekend~Let’s Follow God beyond our limit. Let’s push passed our limitations, our comfort zone, our fear. Take that first call. Make the call. Check-in. Pray. Trust. Listen to His call.
Surrender in gratitude to The One.
Start the adventure.
…but that time is coming soon;
the message will come true.
It may seem like a long time,
but be patient and wait for it,
because it will surely come;
it will not be delayed.
I recently had a small leak in my tub faucet. By themselves, the little drip, drip, drips were not a great bother. At bedtime, I put a pitcher underneath the faucet to catch the stray drops. By morning, I discovered that the drops filled the entire pitcher! Accumulating the single drops made an impact over even a short amount of time!
So it also is with prayer, as my friend Chris Shea gently reminds her readers in her new book, Little Prayers to Bless Your Day. Chris is also the author of many books including So This Is How Being a Grandmother Feels, God Thinks You’re Wonderful (with Max Lucado) and If God Used Sticky Notes®. Chris is a supportive friend of my fledgling attempts on this blog.
Using her talent palette for illustration, writing, and Bible verse pairing, Chris creates a beautifully delicate reminder to “Pray without ceasing”. Chris writes, “Imagine the blessings that would come in a day where a little prayer—like grace before meals—is whispered while doing ordinary things like waiting in line, shopping for shoes, or doing a load of wash. Surely, praying a little more often—like between meals—would bless the one upon whom our thoughts rested…and us too.”
Reminds me of George MacDonald’s statement, “Anything big enough to occupy our minds is big enough to hang a prayer on.”
Little Prayers to Bless Your Day is perfect to carry in your purse, give to a friend, leave in the hospital room after a visit, gift to a neighbor, tuck into a child’s care package for summer camp or school, slip into an envelope for mailing, and so much more.
Our prayers may seem like little drips to a big God, but because He is a big God, He can turn our drips into a deluge of blessings! I am so glad that I have Little Prayers to Bless Your Day as a delicate, visual reminder.
Some weeks are an assault for me, for you, or, worse, for those we love.
We are assaulted, figuratively or actually, with the chaos and malice of others.
How do we respond?
What do we do?
Breathe…and then what?
Pray…and then what?
Cry…and then what?
Ask “What?” and “Why?” a million times…and then what?
Repeat wise aphorisms…and then what?
Talk it out,
Scream it out,
Workout it out…and then what?
Return to prayer …and then what?
Retreat…and then what?
Plot revenge (my own upbringing in SouthCentral L.A. rising up)…and then what?
Restrain myself from Revenge (negating my own upbringing, still difficult to do)…and then what?
Sometimes these ways of coping do not bring relief so, the question remains…
…and then what?
How ’bout this?
Allow it to Pass.
Allow another’s evil to pass.
It is evil and it is real.
And you and I can allow it to pass.
“…allow their evil to run its course. The evil does not find what it is seeking, namely, resistance and, therewith, new evil which will inflame it even more. Evil will become powerless when it finds no opposing object, no resistance, but, instead, is willingly borne and suffered. Evil meets an opponent for which it is not a match.
Of course, this happens only when the last remnant of resistance is removed, when the urge to retaliate evil with evil is completely renounced. Then evil cannot achieve its goal of creating more evil; it remains alone.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Allow evil’s assault pass on and away.
This is a quick suggested solution to read and one that is agonizingly slow to implement. And I don’t mean to stop doing all of the above coping things, necessarily. (Well, except for the one on revenge.)
But Allowing may be the practice that saves my sanity. And maybe yours too, if you have had a similar day/week/month/year.
It is taking the idea of “Let it Go” and super charging it with vitamins of choosing to Allow it to pass. Not pushing it or pulling it or engaging in tug-of-war.
Focus on The One who gives The Grace to Allow. Save resolution, consensus, and forgiveness for later.
Today…This Weekend…Allow and…
Grab hold of Relentless Grace.
The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
~1 Samuel 2:4
When we are broken, we see the frailty of human strength and come to grips with the reality that we can do nothing in our own strength. Then, new strength emerges that God uses mightily. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Do not fear brokenness, for it may be the missing ingredient to a life that emerges with a new kind of strength and experience not known before. Pray for a broken and contrite heart that God can bless. ~Os Hillman
(I love the New Living Translation of 1 Samuel 2:4)
The bow of the mighty is now broken, and those who stumbled are now strong.
May you grow stronger with each stumble… :)… Because of Grace
Take a shower today. So many reference to water in the Bible. God even uses the word Shower, a term of abundance to describe how He will bless us.
The entire verse in the New Living Translation says:
I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and shower righteousness upon you.’
Perhaps one way to demonstrate “seeking” is to tell our story of blessing and provision.
Perhaps we could tell someone else about these blessings we have received?
What would your story be?
Perhaps you would like to leave a comment here?
Amid it all, there is always more. More to do. More to check. More to accomplish. More to buy, stock up on, see, do.
But “more” will be there on Monday. Waiting for you with anxiousness.
Just leave it unfinished —walk away and walk toward.
Leave it unfini…
Say “thank you” instead of “why me”
Borrowed from Crystal Belle’s gratitude list
The people of Israel who survive will live right and refuse to tell lies. They will eat and rest with nothing to fear. Zephaniah 3:13
A blessed peace surrounds those who trust in the Father and bring glory to His name. The promise of the gospel provides comfort and hope.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:7
When do you feel this peace most intently? Would love to read your comments!
Read Zephaniah 3:13 from The Message
I don’t really like using the negative in communication, but this picture seems to say it best.
Here’s the Affirmative Version…Look Forward…
The things you sometimes strive to be, you already are inside yourself.
As always, your comments and thoughts are encouraged…