Wealth or Poverty

Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize winning economist commented

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”

Do you agree?

I think a variation of this is true in my spiritual life.

A wealth of distractions creates of poverty of attention on my relationship with God. I may not overtly say “No” to God but I definitely say, “Not Now”

Especially during storms.

And even during times of immense blessing.

Or extreme busyness.

I think I know best about this life that He gave to me.
Ahhh…
Because of Grace, He promises peace in the storms of distractions. He gives calm and steadiness in flurry.

He is Jehovah Shalom

Are we rich today or in poverty?

Have we “said ‘yes’ to God’s grace of a Messiah?” Have our lives “said ‘no’ to God’s gift of this moment” as Ann Voskamp describes in this post?

Ann Voskamp cautions, “we are always saying yes to someone”

Ann’s reminder is for me today: Peace is a Person, not a place

And we are rich in His grace!

But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign LORD;  in you I take refuge  ~Psalm 141:8

A Word from The Sponsor~July 29

Let the Spirit change your way of thinking. Ephesians 4:23

First thing that changes is my fears.

atelophobia fear of imperfection

This verse featured in Rick Warren’s blog post

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See Additional Words from The Sponsor by gently clicking here!

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Grab a Post-It-Note

By Robyn Shulman~~
There are various reasons why I chose to go into education; many of these reasons resonate with facts from my childhood to my love of academics, gaining knowledge and making a difference in the world.

However, during my early high school years, I discovered I had a love of writing.  Teachers were noticing my work, friends were enjoying my stories, and a great passion for sharing the written word quickly took over.  By my junior year, I was researching the journalism field, as I knew I would have to make a decision in regard to my undergraduate studies.

I was torn.  I could not decide.  I did not stop talking about it.  I drove my family crazy.  I tried to find the answer outside of myself because I couldn’t find it inside, even though it was there, and had been for many years.

I finally called Northeastern and asked if they could possibly send me information about both programs.  The big white envelope came with 2 brochures, program information and 2 admission forms.   In the middle of the folder, I noticed a blue Post-it note that stated:  “Whichever program you choose, I know you will find success.”

I put the note on my bulletin board in my bedroom and read it daily.   I was so shocked that a stranger working at a university would take the time to write to me personally, while handing over such a strong message of encouragement, confidence and strength.  I was touched greatly by this random act of kindness.  The words were so powerful, yet so quietly sitting in the folder.   The time it took to write the little message was probably under 10 seconds, yet it assisted me in making a life changing decision.

I finally knew.  I chose to go into teaching because I couldn’t believe how a stranger and a Post-It note could make such a difference in my world.  If he/she could affect me so strongly, I knew I could bring this magic and so much more to others, especially those little minds filled with wonder.

What would your Post-It-Note say to encourage another?
How ’bout grabbing a Post-it-Note right now or sending a digital Post-it-Note to another person who needs your encouragement.
Or maybe You are the one who needs the Post-it-Note to remind you of your sparkle!

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Previous Weekend Activities

Mid-Week Question of the Week~How?

 How is God calling you to speak in your full voice?
~Bonnie Gray in this post

how is God calling you to speak

Because of Grace To-Do List

Because of Grace To-Do List

[Jesus said,]“But I say to you who are listening,

  • love your enemies.
  • Do good to those who hate you,
  • bless those who curse you,
  • pray for those who are cruel to you.
  • If anyone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other cheek, too.
  • If someone takes your coat, do not stop him from taking your shirt.
  • Give to everyone who asks you,
  • and when someone takes something that is yours, don’t ask for it back.
  • Do to others what you would want them to do to you.
  • If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them.”
    Luke 6:27-32  from Jody Neufeld’s blog

Wow! Our God has great confidence in our abilities…Maybe I will just try one bullet point at a time, kind of like one flower in a bud vase at a time.

flowers in May by Janet Zepeda

flowers in May by Janet Zepeda

A Word from The Sponsor~July 22

You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. ~ Psalm 18:28

God,
even when
we choose wrong
and we would deserve
your anger, let us see
how gentle you are
with us.
Help us to turn toward You
when we mess up.
Source

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See Additional Words from The Sponsor by gently clicking here!

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Pause

This Weekend~Pause for Gratitude-Quickly compose a mental list of 20 items

less than what you have

Picture first seen at http://moneysavingmom.com/

Previous Weekend Activities

Wholehearted Living Thursdays~July 19

connieOn selected Thursdays,  there are Because of Grace Wholehearted Living Stories:

At 101 years old, Connie was still riding her horse every day. She taught over 36,000 girls to ride at a girls summer camp over a span of 70 years. She was a huge inspiration to many people. Her health was great and her mind was sharp.

When asked about her secret to longevity, she said, “Well Honey, you just don’t let that rocking chair take over…you get up and go even if you dont want to.”

Thanks, Connie for your whole-hearted living advice.

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More Whole-hearted Living Stories

Mid-Week Question: Unclench

What fists must I clench to receive His grace and blessing?

What fists must you unclench?

unclenchedfists

Here is a quote from Paul Taubman @ All About Gratitude that I am trying to understand.

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.
Between the two stands Resistance.”

  ~Steven Pressfield

Perhaps you could help me?

 

 

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This post inspired by Kristen Noelle at Trust Tending

Other Questions

Beauty Recycles from Ashes

Because of Grace, God was the first organic composter and creative Recycler

God can bring beauty out of ashes

Isaiah 61:3

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.

Artist: Michael Gungor Band

beauty from ashes Isaiah 61:3

Monday Words for the Soul~July 16

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

The point of walking with God is to keep going

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

A Word from The Sponsor~July 15

I will hearken unto you. ~Jeremiah 29:12
Jeremiah 29:12
Then you will call my name. You will come to me and pray to me, and I will listen to you.~Jeremiah 29:12
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This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Toss a Boomerang

This Weekend–Toss a Grace Boomerang

kindness comes back

Previous Weekend Activities

Authentic Grace or Avatar Grace

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.

dad and little me

Midweek Question of the Week~from Glenda the Good Witch

Glenda the Good Witch was correct:

what step is God asking you to take

What step is God asking you to take?

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Other Questions to Consider

Because of Grace Moment: Hearken

Because of Grace Moment: Hearken–the moment when you realize a sublime word choice

“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.” Jeremiah 29:12 (kjv)

The moment we choose to pray and call on Him, He Hearkens to us

I pause over the word “Hearken”

Sometimes the elegance of the King James Version of the Bible just fits.

Hearken is synonymous with the word “Listen” but conveys a nudge toward action.

Listening with a ‘tude toward action. Actively Listening.

Isn’t that what all women want? Isn’t that what we all want?

We want to be heard and acknowledged with more than a nod or cursory blink.

Not to get too former English teachery on you, but it is also interesting for me to note that “Hearken” is labeled as an intransitive verb. Grabbing my digital chalk and writing on my digital blackboard in review, an intransitive verb is one that indicates an action complete on its own. It does not need any other action to complete it.

And Because of Grace, The Creator does that. The Creator of all does that for us when we call to Him.

His action to us, His care for us, His active listening, His hearkening to us is complete on its own. Nothing else is needed.

He hearkens when we ask, when we pray. (psst…“Ask” and “Pray” are a couple of transitive verbs…incomplete on their own, they are actions in transition. “Ask” and “Pray” need the transition to The Creator for their complete effectiveness.)

Because of Grace, He stays firm even though I may be in transition.

We say, “Give ear to my prayer, O God; and do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted…” Psalm 55:1-3 (nasb)

He says, ““I will hearken unto you.” Jeremiah 29:12

What a wonderful word!

I wonder…Might you share how He hearkens to you?

Jeremiah 29:12

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Other Because of Grace Moments

Monday Words for the Soul~Remain Vertical

remain verticalRemaining Vertical With God
by Os Hillman

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.

A Word from The Sponsor~July 8

Romans 8:39

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See Additional Words from The Sponsor by gently clicking here!

This Weekend~Easy Weekend Activity~Follow

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.

follow God beyond your limits

Adapted from a picture found at limitcuratedstyle.tumblr.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


…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.
Habakkuk 2:3

Previous Weekend Activities

Little Prayers to Bless Your Day

Little Prayers to Bless Your Day book picture

Picture courtesy of Chris Shea and Amazon

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.

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