Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Grant a Little Grace: Unmerited Favor

If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at EncouragementCafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 12:15 NIV

Frustration and anger brimmed over and I steamed under the pressure. I stormed toward his office hurling insults under my breath, ready for a fight. But she stopped me, pulling me aside.

“Sometimes we just need to grant a little grace,” she said.

Grace ̶ a familiar word ̶ God’s unmerited favor and love, freely given through Christ. I knew grace. God’s grace covered my ugly brokenness and allowed Him to see only beautiful wholeness. But what was this grace she spoke of?

“He doesn’t deserve grace!” I barked. “No one does,” she refuted.

Arms crossed, leaning against the copier between his office and my wise co-worker, my eyes spilled as her words pierced my heart. She stood silent there without condemnation ̶ only compassion ̶ until my demeanor softened and I gained composure.

The silence between us taught me more about grace than any church sermon.

No one deserves God’s grace and yet He sacrificed everything ̶ His only Son and all creation ̶ to offer it to us, through Christ’s death. He put aside His anger and offered Jesus so that we might enjoy the richness of relationship with Him and through that same grace, draw others to Him.

God’s grace duplicates through us. That’s His plan ̶ Christ in us the hope of glory. For those who carry God’s grace are called to bring God’s grace to the world through our words, our touch, and our actions.

What difficult situation, person, or place has God called you to carry His grace?

Father, where would we be without Your Grace? Teach us how to carry Your Grace wherever You lead.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Where We Belong

Home of Beatrix Potter
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
"There's something delicious about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell where they'll take you. Mine took me here...where I belong." Beatrix Potter, the greatest children's author of the 20th century, called Hill Top Farm in rural England, home. She found inspiration and freedom to write about the many adventures (and misadventures) of her animal friends surrounded by beautiful, lush, rolling hills. It's where she belonged and where her passion as an artist flourished.
We all long to find where we belong, don't we? As small children we belong to a family. We live together, find our identity through family and take our rightful place in the birth order. As we mature, although sharing the same roots, we differ greatly. Our eldest brother likes sports and our middle sister loves fashion while we adore books. We're shy. They're social. We crave solitude. They adore crowds. We're most obviously different. And so goes our journey of belonging.
In part, the journey points to the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" 
(Pssst..skip over to the Christian Children's Authors blog for the rest of the story)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Confusing God's Calling with Man's Calliing

We received word that the youth pastor of our home church resigned. Having worked alongside him during school breaks, we knew the void he’d leave behind. So, we rolled up our sleeves and dove into youth ministry wholeheartedly during our summer vacation.

My husband (then fiance) and I drew upon our past youth group experiences, designing and implementing the summer ministry program. It all came so easily, like we were designed to do this. The youth responded so positively, that the pastor’s wife nonchalantly asked, “When are you done with school so you can become our next youth pastors?”

Those were weighty and dangerous words, but we didn’t know it back then.

(I'm writing at the {re}fresh blog today. Come join me for the rest of the story.)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Retreat! We all need a little solace.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!" Mark 1:35-37

 When life comes at you like a freight train - full speed ahead - it's all you can do to hang on tight. There's barely time to think, no warning, no preparing or packing a bag - only time to react and latch onto whatever is in front of you until the train stops.

The unexpected happens all the time - life and death - but when they couple themselves together and come one after the other, our minds can't catch up with our hearts. In every crisis, whether good or bad, there's always stuff to be done - responsibilities and loose ends to tie up - for those holding up the arms of loved ones.

And when that freight train comes to a screeching halt - even for a brief moment - we find ourselves disheveled, speechless, utterly weary and maybe even a bit numb. We feel neither joy nor sorrow because we've been so busy caring for others that we pushed our own emotions aside. All we want is solace. Quiet. Retreat.

Retreat with me today at Encouragement Cafe...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I Want It!

"Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift..." Ephesians 4:7(MSG)
Screeches and screams erupted from Little Brother who, only moments earlier, quietly occupied himself with the wooden train. I find him tussling his train out of Big Brother's firm grip. My sudden presence prompted Big Brother to sentence himself to the time-out chair.
"Why did you take Little Brother's train?" I asked.
Between sobs and shame he answered me. "Because I want it." 
(Today I'm playing trains over at Christian Children's Authors blog. Join me? I promise to share.)