This is the way; walk in it

Isaiah 30:21

For Word-Filled Wednesdays at Internet Cafe Devotions

For the reflection behind the verse, gently click here.

In Every Woman A Spark of Heavenly Fire

washingtonirving

As Fall begins, what spark of heavenly fire are you nurturing?

Every Moment A Cathedral

Every Moment A Cathedral from becauseofgrace on Vimeo.

Related Post: Focus Word, Praise
Carrie Underwood/Vince Gil, How Great Thou Art

For this Fall: Little Slips of Letting Go

“But, a beautiful thing happens when you’re stripped bare in the loving presence of Jesus. He wraps His healing comfort around your heart and He does it by bringing out the truth of what’s happened.  He speaks the fear that you feel and says –I was there. I understand. I still love you.” Autumn Song, Faith Barista

Maybe that is the still, small voice that calls me to Be still and know. As Fall begins and I rake leaves, I wonder what old patterns, toxic thoughts, people, expectations, and beliefs I need to rake away and discard. What should go and what should rest?

What is no longer needed is shed with ease – no struggle.

FallbyTeague2 

In the Fall of 2009, I wrote down on tiny slips of paper the things, the people, the toxic thoughts I would relinquish.

I burned them and placed the ashes in the flower bed where, in the spring, I planted Lantanas. One Lantana stubbornly refused to be slayed by record winters and summers. It continued to bud that spring.

And it returned and budded again just last week.

Last fall, during a rainstorm, I tossed tiny slips of paper into the foamy waves at a Malibu beach.The waves brought the slip with one person’s name on it back to the shore. That night, the person from the slip sent a message to me.

Some people, places and things we think we need to let go, but Because of Grace they are washed and returned back to our shore.

Then, as now, my prayer is to have the courage of Falling apart in God’s arms through friends and loved ones.

What must you resist releasing? It is best not to release Hope, because hope often must wait in the dark caverns of winter for a rebirth in Spring. Hope and Good always necessitate long waiting.

What are you willing to dig deep and plant again?

What are you holding on to that you are willing to release, creating breathing room for expansion and growth?

Are there more questions than leaves already fallen?

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A Prayer Prior to Letting Go:

God of Grace, please put the people and places in my life that you desire, and take out those you do not. Please guide me to know what to release, what to shed. Please show me, help me know in my spirit, if there are any “rights” I need to relinquish that may be hindering my freedom to experience Your love and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Related Post by Jeri Taira, God’s Dream For Me, The Letting Go

 

A Word from the Sponsor~September 25

Zech 4:10

Saturday Digest~September 24

~~A batch of bitterness left my heart that I had forgotten was there. It feels so good not to have bad feelings toward anybody. How did this happen? Gently click to this insightful post by Steve Simms called When Somebody’s Done You Wrong

~~Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is this  

~~Grace obligates us to obey Jesus, regardless of the circumstances or consequences. ~Jon Walker,  Serving Even When It Is Inconvenient

~~It seems that resting more and more in God’s love, brings longings to create. I really love this Decorative Clipboard Tutorial

~~Been reading and re-reading this poem by Abilgail Wurdeman called Whole. What caught my eye at first were the words about stomping and whining (me). What sustains my attention is the miracle that He has “infused” my life with His Spirit. Would you consider playing the video by Shaun Groves while you read and reread the poem?

Whole

Though I stomp and whine and moan

for my own idea of completion,

I see that You have already made me whole.

And so I praise you

for the body that sustains me

and the spirit that fills me,

for the friends that support me

and the family that guides me,

for the work that challenges me

and the play that thrills me,

for the knowledge that grounds me

and the faith that centers me.

You infuse my life with Your spirit.

Thank You for the kind of completion

only Your hands can design.

All’s Grace by Shaun Groves

All’s Grace from Shaun Groves on Vimeo.

Movie Review~Go to Utopia This Weekend

Isaiah 3021 sunset grass
Any movie that begins with this verse from Isaiah 30:21 sends a “good-I-will-get-what-I-paid -for” message.
Seven Days in Utopia” chronicles the story of a fictional golfer named Luke Chisholm, played by Lucas Black, who is a talented player training to play on the PGA Tour. After a televised meltdown in his first big tournament, Chisholm careens his car off the road in the small town of Utopia, Texas. He is stranded on the ranchland of eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford, played so well by Robert Duvall (is there any part except perhaps, Cinderella that this gifted actor cannot play?) Johnny Crawford is not what he appears and his no-nonsense approach to golf and life force Luke to look at his own life differently. There are allegories between the two father-figures, Johnny Crawford and Luke’s dad but they are subtle and allow the audience to interpret.

Although Chisholm and Crawford are fictional characters, the town of Utopia and the Utopia Golf Club are real, and the majority of the movie scenes were shot at the Texas-based nine-hole course and in the surrounding hill country. The movie is based on the book  “Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia” by David Cook, PhD (not the America Idol winner from a couple of seasons ago).

The slow and graceful way that life requires us to accept losses and marshal our endurance with fortitude is portrayed best through Director Matt Russell’s storytelling style. I am looking forward to seeing this movie again!

Movie Trailer
Links of Utopia

More about the SFT Golfballs

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~September 22

For awhile, some Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Story

Fresno school official has a gift for giving

Superintendent Larry Powell is retiring for one day, then going back to work for much lower pay so he can give his original salary and benefits back to the school district.

It was supposed to be a quiet thing; no fanfare, no press releases 

Fresno County School Superintendent Larry Powell and his wife, Dot, a retired principal, had figured out a way to help imperiled programs in their struggling school district. 

He would retire for one day. Then come back to work at a pittance compared with his former salary — putting more than $800,000 of his salary and benefits back in the district’s coffers. 

But in tough economic times, when public trust has been repeatedly battered, word of an elected official giving back money quickly made its way from a Board of Education meeting to national headlines. Powell spent his “retirement” giving television and magazine interviews.

“We were trying to not create a big stir,” said Armen Bacon, spokeswoman for the Fresno County Office of Education. “But we’re living in a time of despair and people are so hungry for stories about the impact one person can make.”

Powell officially retired Wednesday. The district was contracted to pay him $235,000 plus benefits a year through 2014. He went back to work Friday, rehired at a salary of $31,020 with no benefits, to run 35 school districts with 195,000 students.

By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0901-fresno-superintendent-20110904,0,4431218.story

Praise Video: Carrie Underwood

 

Related Post: Focus Word: Praise

Focus Word~Praise

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103:1-2

Praise is about loyalty of the heart. Praise is focus. On God.
Not. On. Me.

 “Skill Set” is a phrase flung around a lot. Skill sets are the collection of talent that a person has learned, received, and polished to the point of integration. Skill sets appear on resumes, job descriptions, committee vision statements and personal journals. There is a caution in touting skill sets as cemented talents, available as solutions to every problem without consulting The One who anointed us with them.

I am working to push Praise~~~Praising God~~~to the top of my skill set. This change may not be visible on my LinkedIn resume, but on my heart.

King Jehoshaphat is a great example.

Joyce Meyer, in her book The Battle Belongs to the Lord, describes the example of King Jehoshaphat in leading his people. In getting ready for battle, instead of moaning about the task ahead, concentrating on his fears, or asking God for his battle plan,

King Jehoshaphat put praise first:
“O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? And do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You.
~2 Chronicles 20:6 (continue reading through verse 11)

“Our part is to focus on Him and His mighty power, worshipping Him and praising Him for the manifestation of His solution and listening for a word or direction from Him” Joyce Meyer, The Battle Belongs to the Lord.

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.
~ Hebrews 13:15

Make every moment a cathedral giving glory…Ann Voskamp

How is this continual praise cathedral-building done?

  1. Christy sets several timers on her iPhone during  the day to prompt her to praise
  2. Bill has praise verses on cards he carries in his suit pocket
  3. Charlene keeps praise music quietly in the background of her home and office.
  4. CB has a folder called “Praise” in her Outlook so that when she is on a phone hold, she can scroll through it
  5. JR has an iPhone Bible app, with praise verses highlighted
  6. Garrett tweaks blog posts of gratitude and praise to reference

Would you add to the list?

What are some specific ways that you are offering continual praise to God?
and/or
What are your Go-To verses of Praise?

How Great Thou Art” Video, Carrie Underwood/Vince Gil
Ann Voskamp Quote Source

A Word from the Sponsor~September 18

Nehemiah 8:10

Created by Anne McCrary

This is the first guest blog posting by my dear sister, Anne McCrary~
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and
sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared.
This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve,
for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” ~Nehemiah 8:10

Walk Forward to Forgiveness

forgivewindmill

Photo by Helen

You Were Given This Life Because

black and white floweryouweregiventhislife

Advice from Eminem

eminem

A Word from The Sponsor~September 11

Romans 5:8

Romans 5:8 Clouds, Photo by Helen

Saturday Digest~September 10

What is ironic today is that people often have strong convictions about weak issues
(football, fashions, etc.) while having weak convictions about major issues
(what is right and what is wrong). By Rick Warren in this post

 

Why is it everytime Anne Lamont writes, I just find myself nodding and taking
notes? In this post, she writes, “There is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can fill up
that hunger inside for a sense of fulfillment and wonder. But the good news is
that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching,
or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching
for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent
quietly in beauty. Now, the bad news: You have to make time to do this….
I know how addictive busyness and mania are.”
Anne Lamont, Sunset Magazine Online

 

Our heavenly Father looks upon his children with overflowing love, gentleness and
compassion, not disappointment, anger and frustration. Read the rest of this
honestly seeking post at The Blazing Center
From the good, old Favorites List: The Seven Healthy Habits of Highly Fit People
My Favorite Video right now: Broken by Tracey Chapman
“The picture makes a promise, the flesh let’s it be broken” SUCH powerful lyrics!

At the End of the Day

whatsholdingyoutogether

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~September 8

For awhile, Thursdays will provide a Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories

Irena Sendler 1910-2008

During World War II, Irena Sendler worked in the Warsaw, Poland Ghetto as a plumbing/sewer specialist. Irena smuggled Jewish children out; infants in the bottom of the tool box she carried and older children in a burlap sack she carried in the back of her truck. She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and
out of the ghetto. The soldiers wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids’ and infants’ noises. Irena managed to smuggle out and save 2500 children. She eventually was caught, and the Nazis broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar buried under a tree in her
backyard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and reunited some of the families. Most had been killed. She helped those children get placement into foster family homes or adopted. Last year Irena was
up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won – for a slide show on Global Warming.

Via Sherilee Coffey at http://pinterest.com/sherilee_coffey/

Take Time

Taking the time today~~

inthemorning

onthewaytowork

inthemiddleoftheday

atbedtime

Poetry~Just This Day

Just this Day

Help me stay in the present tense today.
Keep the past where it belongs.
Even the future can be a stumbling block
if it slows me down now.

There’s only so much room in my life
for what I need to carry.
If the world is an oyster
and inside it is a pearl,
open it for me.

Polish this day,
shine it up so I see it for the gift it is.
Allow me to be okay, right where I am,
even as I strive to be better.

Just once, filter out the static of what was
so I can be in this moment.

By Ruth Williams

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