Showing Grace

We always have a choice.

To show grace to others, or not.

Yep, I get it.

Sometimes people do things, and we think we are justified to let them know they are wrong…even if we don’t express those thoughts with words. Many times actions speak much louder than our words ever could. We take the moral high ground, because we are right after all. That’s what we think. We didn’t make the poor choices. We didn’t make the wrong decisions. The “unforgivable sins”. If we act like everything is okay, doesn’t that appear like we are condoning whatever it is? That attitude is so easy to slide into. That we are better because we didn’t do those things.

And yet, it is when we show grace to others, that we are the most like Jesus. Choosing to love….in the midst of the mess. Choosing to forgive…is not accepting less.

When we acknowledge our own brokenness, the darkness of our own hearts, our own poor choices, mistakes, and mess ups, we begin to understand the amazing grace shown to us by Jesus. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t say, “I’ll wait until you are perfect.” Instead He said, “I love you”.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

 

 

 

 

Is The Miracle…

She ceased hearing the rest of the words. She was stuck on the word cancer. The prognosis didn’t sound encouraging. Her Christmas joy faded right there in the doctor’s office.

He thought he was just having some problems, that some medicine would cure. Unfortunately, this problem called for more than a prescription.

The couple didn’t know if they were going to make it. The trying just seemed so hard. The smiles that used to exist, were now distant memories. When did life become this hard?

A sick child, hospital visits, stringent menus, and worry. That is what is served up this Christmas.

Unwanted diagnoses, senseless accidents, broken relationships and painful decisions. So much to deal with. Not sure if celebration is on the “to do” for many, this year.

And yet…..in the middle of the mess-ups, misfits, memories, and medical, is the miracle.

The miracle that is just as needed in 2016, as it was over two millennia ago. The miracle of Jesus coming into this sin scarred world…giving hope. Giving life. Giving Himself.

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It’s A Wonderful Life

Yes, it is true. This movie is one of my all time favorites to watch during the Christmas season. I wait for that time when George Bailey realizes that his life really did make a difference, and that things would be different if he had never existed. Most of all he realizes he truly does have a wonderful life.

I agree with George Bailey. Sometimes all we need is a reminder……

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Top Twenty Reasons It Truly IS A Wonderful Life: 

*Celebrating Jesus’ birth, the greatest gift of all (all other gifts pale in comparison to God entering time and space to make a difference for all eternity)

*Remembering The Light of the world (the baby born on that day so long ago, that grew into a man that shattered the dark– of hopelessness, and separation of man from God—because of His love for us)

* Christmas music (my favorites are O Holy Night, and White Christmas)

*Family, both near and far ,that I love and love me right back. (family in different states who don’t let the miles get in the way of showing love)

*All the kids home for Christmas (even though they are young adults)

*A new daughter-in-law (our first Christmas together)

*A new granddaughter, seeing everything for the first time. (is there anything more precious?)

*Sweet baby laughter (I could listen to this all day long)

*White lights (simple and pure)

* Hot Chocolate (home made, not from a packet)

*Snow on the ground (preferred over the ice)

*A warm house (yes!)

*New opportunities (one year is ending, a new one getting ready to begin)

*Friends (I am so blessed)

*The nice UPS guy--(we see him a lot)

*An “A”in my grad class (Hallelujah!)

*Time off from school (rest? maybe?)

*Watching Christmas movies with the family (fun times)

*Outside twinkle lights (it “looks” like Christmas)

*The night sky—Silent Night, Holy Night (there is nothing better than the winter night sky, cold and clear)

 

 

Light In A Dark World

 

My family enjoys seeing the lights at Christmas. There are some families that go all out decorating their houses like light show extravaganzas. You know what I mean. They are a sight to behold.  (Although, I always wonder about the January electric bill for these homes) The lights I enjoy seeing, made me think of something I read on another friend’s blog post the other day. She said, “See  the lights. Be the light.”

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Light that cuts through the darkness.

Light that brings joy to those who see it.

Much like the Light that cut through the darkness of time and space…

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Flashback over 2000 years ago… A dark night. A man and a woman who needed a place to stay. No one could help them out. The city was busy and there was not one room available. They were bone tired. The young woman was not feeling so well, she knew that this child that she had been carrying for the past 9 months, was ready to be born. But where?  The man managed to talk an inn keeper into allowing them to sleep in his stable, which was really not much more than a cave.  A literal hole in the wall.

In the stench of barnyard animals, the greatest gift to mankind was born that night. A night where people were running to and fro, busy with their lives. A night where no one was really paying much attention. A night not so unlike what we have now. God came into the world. Jesus left Heaven to come to this earth in human flesh. AND THE WORLD HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE. A divine gift. A gift of love to humankind. A light to the world. Light that split the enveloping darkness of that night, as well as all the days and nights to come.  –(excerpt from my archives)

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The Fire of Resentment

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Have you ever read something and knew, just knew, that God sent it directly to you? Like a target was on your forehead or something? Two days ago, my calendar devotion by Sarah Young (Jesus Calling) spoke about rebellious tendencies, and resentment. As I read it, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to read this. I don’t want to even think about this.” I suppose a lot of us are like that, huh?  God wouldn’t let me drop it. It kept playing over and over again in my mind.

Sarah Young wrote, “When something interferes with your plans or desires, you tend to resent the interference.” Ouch. That stings. Yes, I admit it, I want what I want. When other plans, especially things in which I feel I have no choice or control, happen, I resent it…..and, not just a little teeny weeny resentment, either. I’m talking about a massive, fire in my gut, that burns hotter than any California wildfire. She went on to say, “The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise.” Oh, no. Not that. I don’t feel like praise. I feel like anger. I don’t want to praise. I want to sulk. I want to yell. I want to stomp around and be upset.

Of course, that is not what God wants for me. He wants for me to see Him in the everyday. Each moment, both good and bad, and be thankful. Maybe He is attempting to teach me something, or show me something. Instead of complaining about the inconvenience, I need to be grateful for the opportunities.

Tomorrow is a new day.

The Christian Life Isn’t Always Easy

IMG_1163The Christian life isn’t always easy. I’ll be honest. There are days when the words of my heart, are not pleasing. When my thoughts are selfish or downright mean, or when I’m screaming on the inside…even though I look calm on the outside. I wish I could say that I always have my thoughts under control, that my first reaction to stress isn’t to freak out. If I said that, I’d be lying.

Thank you God, for your grace. For forgiving me. For giving me a second chance. For your faithfulness and your mercy. Just thank you.

( I was going through my blog archives and found these. Some things I wrote a few years ago…….) 

There Is No Going Back

Each day is filled with grace. It washes over me, I breathe it in. God’s choice, for His pleasure. Amazing grace.

Time moves on, and over the past week or so I’ve thought hard on transition and change. It occurred to me that I am at a point where there is no going back. As a mom, I have had to let go, breathe deep, and trust God. Trust is more than a word, it is action.

This life is filled with so much. Many days I am thankful, but some days it is difficult…and my fist clenches tightly on all that I have, all I don’t want to lose. Will the God that loves me so, bless me more? Or will I accept if His answer is not what I want to hear?

I am sharing one of my past posts that speaks to how I am feeling today…..

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It is what Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, says……is “hard eucharisteo”.

I’ve not had any terrible things happen to me lately. I am thankful for that. I know that life will throw me another curve ball someday—and I pray that I am ready for it.

Most Mondays I blog about thanks, along with other bloggers, over at A Holy Experience. Many of my blogs are happy thanks.

Eucharisteo….to be grateful.

Sometimes… I don’t feel grateful.

I should.

But, I don’t.

I’m working on it.

Hard work.

God has always been faithful…and He will be again.

He is my anchor in all of life’s unpredictability.

I am thankful, grateful, in awe of, a God that is strong.

That is powerful. Whose grip on me is firm.

So, today I thank for the hard stuff…….

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*I am thankful for doctors and their skills. Physicians that care for those I love…Even when it hurts.

*I am thankful for family members that love each other through good and bad, and they feel my love for them even when I can’t see them regularly.

*I’m so very grateful to be able to send love across the miles, when I can’t be there in person.

*I’m thankful for sticky floors that I have to clean, even when I didn’t make the mess.

*I’m thankful for a vehicle to get me from one place to another, even if it isn’t new.

*I’m thankful for times when I am weary, times when  God’s strength and power, alone, are shown.

*I’m grateful that I don’t have to have all the answers, all the understanding of the “why?”.

*I’m glad for having the opportunity to make choices…even when I choose poorly.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you… Isaiah 43:2  NIV

I am thankful, that in darkness, even a small light can help people see.

Finding Rest

Spending my Saturday being renewed.

Finding rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No schedule.

No to do list.

Just…being.

In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep tothose he loves. Psalm 127:2  NIV

Have a renewing Saturday, my friends.