Midweek Question ~ November 4th~Why Does Grace Heal

Why Does Grace Heal?

The answer is in
Four words.
Five syllables.

“…because of the truth…”
(2 John 2:2)

And what is the Truth?

that Christ died for our sins, as written in the Scriptures; that he was buried and that He was raised to life three days later, as written in the Scriptures… ~1 Corinthians 15:3-4

 

That Christ died.
3 Words.
3 Syllables.

and

He was raised.
3 Words.
3 Syllables.
3rd Day.

And Grace Wins!

 

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Previous Questions

Monday Words for The Soul ~ August 24 ~ The 1 Thing Grace IS

GraceIsGodsBest

Been carrying this around and loving the sentiment more and more as I re-read.

The start of school has brought so many meetings with their emphasis on “benchmarks,” “goals,” “outcomes,” etc… In short, the emphasis is on what to do to earn promotion, tenure, an “A”, or the proverbial brash brass ring.  When I re-read the statement above in light of fluorescent glare of meetings I am so grateful that, because of grace, God is not in the continuing benchmark business!

What is our response? Praise Him. Love, Serve, and Tell others about the Gift (with a capital “g”) of Grace!

Because Jesus is humble, He calls us not to serve ourselves, nor live for selfish advancement. ~Os Hillman

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More Monday Words for the Soul

Midweek Question~ June 10

In what ways has God been generous with you?

generous grace

Rick Warren writes, “Choose generosity. It will transform your relationships with other people and your relationship with God. It will change you from the inside out as you learn to be generous like God is generous with you.”

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Additional questions

Tough Times Tuition

The tough times are tuition we pay for what we need to know to succeed.

Today I am typing this while sitting at an airport club. I am waiting for my flight and, for the past hour, two men have been sitting in the cubicle next to me. They have been talking about an interview they had with a woman. They have papers containing their questions to her and her answers. From my glances, it seems that the applicant’s responses have been neatly typed and tabulated. They are reviewing their interview and rating the applicant’s answers. I know the applicant is a woman because of their use of the female pronoun.

And… I am pretty sure the woman is not going to get the job. Her answers, one of the men says, “reflect a relatively shallow pool.” There are too many “1’s” and not enough “4s” assigned to the tabulation.  The whole experience is causing my tension to rise. I am going to move to a calmer locale.

But, if she were here, nervously waiting for their decision…I would  want her to know she was brilliantly courageous to go so far in the application process to be the subject of such scrutiny. And I want her to know that “The tough times are tuition we pay for what we need to know to succeed.” And, that there are Blessings contained in every question with a “no” answer. 

I would show her this sentiment posted elsewhere by Jean W.

Your Value

Because “she” could be me. “She” has been me. “She” might be you, or a past memory of you.

And Because of Grace, there are amazing promises that will outlast the temporal interviews and points-of-view that occupy our days.

Success beyond numbers, data, and ratings.

Mid-week Question~ Have you seen the beautiful thaw of Grace?

Saw this beautiful picture of a snowy sunset over at Knitting With Heart and it caused me to be so grateful for the beauty in what is frozen. And the beautiful thaw of Grace.

That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies
    from sunrise to sunset,
Melting ice, scorching deserts,
    warming hearts to faith. ~Psalm 19:6, msg

https://knittingwithheart.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/sunset_kwh4787.jpg

From Knitting With Heart

 

 

A Question~August 27~Are You A Cynic?

Are you cynic?

The origins of the word traverse back to long ago Greece. In the 3rd century BC, a group of Greek philosophers founded by Antisthenes, were known for their  ostentatious contempt for ease and pleasure. Today the word usually is used to refer to the person who avoids the silver lining in favor of the dark outline. Cynics display a mix of distrust with doubt. Sometimes cynics are funny…for a little while until others tired of their negativity posing as insightfulness.

Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us.”
Stephen Colbert

Referencing George Carlin, Ann Voskamp wrote, “Itch the scab of any cynic and what you’ll find is a wounded idealist.”

Is there a part of you that reaches for the bromide of cynicism when confronted with the assault of your world?

You are not alone. It is all to common, and, at least from my vantage point, much easier to utter the negative, the unimpressed, the doubtful expression, than maintain the virtue of grace.

…”Peace be with you!” John 20:19

Oh, sure, it is easy to find quotes from Christ regarding peace and love. But on the timeline of His life, this one stands in significance, because Christ said this to his apostles, afterwards.

After they had grown discouraged. After they had walked away from Him. After their denial of Him.

After His death and resurrection.

…”Peace be with you!”

Christ might have justifiably chosen a cynic’s course, or, worse, a revengeful course…but because of grace, He granted peace instead.

Shalom.

God, I know that you want me to be like salt on the earth, like a candle in the dark, a lighthouse on a hill, so that others will come to you. Cleanse me anew that I will be a witness for you. Show me how you want to penetrate the darkness of my domain with your light. Help me to be a positive influence in the places where I live, work, study, play. Thank you, Lord. ~Os Hillman

 

dare to be strong

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Other Questions

Monday Words for the Soul~August 18

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Image Source

More words for the Soul

Monday Words for the Soul~June 30

Because of Grace, He uses even our errors to help us…

Money is tight; tuition is up, and taxes are due…Because of Grace, a mistake in math from 36 months ago, 36 months ago, resulted in an unknown higher account balance and funds can be disbursed.

36 months ago…is it a miracle that it turned out this way or is it a miracle that I am still incredulous and surprised by Grace?

We must cherish these things and not run our feet bare by chasing false securities which will not quench our thirst. ~Michael Cartwright, My Spiritual Walk with God

 

 

 

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More words for the Soul

Midweek Question of the Week~June 4~ Grace and Marshmallows Video

What does Grace have to do with marshmallows and videos? (that is not THE question, but A question).

In the video clip, several children are placed in a room with a marshmallow and told to wait and not eat the marshmallow. They are told that if they wait, then, as a reward for waiting, they will then receive two marshmallows. They will double their investment if they wait.

As a test for the merits of delayed gratification, perhaps this is a great test.

But, I am thinking of grace this morning. And I am wondering about grace and how we view it. How do we embrace grace?

Do I treat Grace as a marshmallow? I read that grace is a free gift. But does my sense of right and wrong mix together and come up with a non-compute? Do I decide it is safer to wait for grace? earn grace?

Spoiler Alert: the red-haired girl can’t wait. She immediately eats her marshmallow, picks up her plate and walks out of the room.

I love the red-haired girl. In the lens of grace, she has the right focus.

Must I wait for Grace? Or will I embrace grace?

 

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did…Ephesians 2:8-9

 

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Previous Questions

This Weekend~May 9~Finding Your Anchor in Grace/Because of Grace

This Weekend…May you find your anchor on the beach Because of Grace

May you find opportunities to be “Lavish in love, extravagant in truth, big spenders of grace.”*

 

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Song: “Alone” by Trampled by Turtles

*Quote by Ann Voskamp

More Weekend Ideas

Monday Words for the Soul~January 6

Once you slip through the net of your own fears, there is mystery in every step.  Out here, in the open space between the “yes” and the “no” of judgment, you discover the treasure that’s been yours all along: your life is filled with grace. ~Katrina Kenison in this post

Midweek Question~Silver Linings~November 20

What if Grace is the Silver Lining?

what if Grace is the Silver Lining?

“You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining.” ~Silver Linings Playbook

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the {free} gift of God. ~Ephesians 2:8

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Other Questions

This Weekend~Come Home to Yourself

still waters at almost night

Today would be a great day to decide that no matter how long the road is, you are going to come home to yourself and reflect the grace-filled life that is meant for you.
~Adapted from the Brave Girls’ Club

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More weekend activities

A word from The Sponsor~April 14~Grace

…the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you… ~1 Peter 1:10

but now I'm found

Grace turns, veers, alters, changes, transforms, rotations, revolves, rotate,s twists, spins, circles, twirls, rolls your life around

 

grace says

Shame says that because I am flawed, I am unacceptable. Grace says that though I am flawed, I am cherished. ~Michelle Graham

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More words from The Sponsor

Photo points to this Pinterest pin

Quote source in Michelle Graham’s book Wanting to Be Her

Mid-week Question~January 30~Spirit of Open

On this last Wednesday of the first month of the “new” year, I am wondering about openness. I read an article meant for instructional tech on building open source online courses. The article asked an academic question:

Is there a “Spirit of Open?”

Question: Is there a spirit of open?

Instead of Open Course Software, I wonder instead about another venue of openness. I wonder about non-academic openness. I am wondering about identity openness. And while all my wondering is going on, Julie Daley posts a quote online. This part stuns me:

But when you look at anything as separate from you, you cannot love it for you are afraid of it. Alienation causes fear and fear deepens alienation. It is a vicious circle. ~Nisargadatta Maharaj, From “I am that.”

Do I build my identity around my defects, as Rick Warren declares? If so, can I be open? Can I have a “Spirit of Open” to another way?

Might I begin again? Might I remember who I am not? And while Nisargadatta Maharaj of the quote above advocates “Only self – realization can break it. Go for it resolutely,” might there also be another option?

Might I nurture a Spirit of Open and (re)build my identity around who I am in Grace? Who I am in God’s eyes?

map of grace

How might we nurture a Spirit of Open?

This Weekend: The discount you never want to take

Today is a day of Big discounts! Deep discounts! Outrageous discounts!

Please remember, friend, never to apply a discount on your spirit-your talents-your place in His arms.
That is a price too great to pay.

coupongraceandpeace.jpg

romans 8 38

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Other posts on Blessings

Other Weekend Activities

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

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

Revisiting Rethinking my belovedness

Revisiting belovedness==He Started It

“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.”
J.I. Packer

Sometimes we can’t pray away the pain…we have to go through healing first.

The worst thing about believing the lies of another person is the internalizing of the pain of being wrong about them.
I wondered how I could have been so stupid. So blind.

And so willing to believe.

The other worst thing about believing lies is the assault to my confidence. Maybe you have felt this loss too.

Our society deems some sins and some lapses of judgment worse than others. If I listen to these voices of condemnation, mixed with voices of the liar, then these voices can drown The Voice of Grace.

I wrote then, “Knowing the truth of your story is a powerful antidote to the shame, doubt, and the negative voices of others that have infected the story you tell yourself. God wants you to know the truth.”  And so He does. And there is more. There is The Voice of Grace.

And as I retrain myself to listen to the voice of Grace, I remember and re-learn about my Belovedness. Beloved becomes my Focus Word, a sort of “take that” to the lies and the liar.

But…all too soon my focus becomes a spiritual “nanny-nanny-boo-bo0″~~~more about me and less about Him:
A sort of: Sticks and Stones may break my bones but I am Beloved so you can’t hurt me.

The potential quicksand of this is that I may begin to believe more in my belovedness instead of  who died for me and who is The Beloved.

The Voice of Grace

Deceiving voices will twist the best of intentions (recovery) into idolatry (the belovedness of me to the exclusion of the Belovedness of HE). It is essential for me to wait for the sound of His voice before I make decisions and before I believe too exclusively in the exclusive sparkle of my own Belovedness.

In spiritual dyslexia, I reversed the order of Proverbs 3:5: Trust in the Lord with all your heart… And do not lean on your own understanding. It becomes time for me to center and reacquaint the focus word Beloved as being about Him and not me.

Security comes when we bring the empty well of our hearts to Jesus and ask Him to fill and fulfill us with the security of His unfailing love. ~Renee Swope

Possible ways to Stay Centered in or Reacquaint with His Belovedness

  1. Know the names of the Beloved. Repeat and Claim the names.
  2. It’s finals week all the time. Return again and again to give our whole heart to The Beloved. This is not a one-time only “Shazam” prayer or practice. We will eventually come to a place of complete trust, but some days, for me at least, requires a minute-by-minute recall
  3. Study the words of The Beloved. Read the prayers of The Beloved. Read the prayers of the leaders in the Bible. Put these prayers into practice.
    For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. ~ Ezra 7:10
  4. Baste every hour with Gratitude
  5. Share with others close to you The Truth of The Beloved. Remember, He started it.
  6. A mature man in the faith admonished me to reach out to others in spite of my own pain, “Invest in someone else,” he said. I did not realize what a place of healing and comfort that would become.

Because of Grace, i have received shared belovedness from The Beloved. Step 7 in this list is empty. Might you also share through a comment your step 7 here?

To the Only God

More of You Less of Me

Words for the Soul~February 20

What to give others:

Acceptance
Attention
help, (maybe)
Love, certainly.
Criticism, never.
Grace, Always!

what to give to others

inspired by TUT
Other Words for the Soul

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