Thursday, February 28, 2013

Be the Blessing

"...not just take the blessing, but be the blessing."  From One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Everyday we ask for blessings from our loving Father.  And everyday He gives them to us.  Sometimes we don't recognize them as blessings but they are blessings nonetheless. 

We ask "bless this food, bless our children, bless our spouses, parents, siblings, etc."  But in asking for blessings, are we not just remaining focused on self, wanting more for our own?

But to be the blessing, wouldn't that be the best blessing of all?  To bless others as God has blessed us.  To bless God by blessing others as He has blessed us.

With our time...our love...our energy...our ears...and His grace.  To show grace to others around us that don't deserve it, just as He has shown grace to us although we didn't deserve it.

"Do you understand what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." John 13:14-15

In His Grace...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When they purr, I smile

Our retired girl in her kitty bed

It is a sound I love to hear and yet cannot hear without one of them, without stretching out my hand and rubbing a head, an ear, a neck, a back.  It takes little to hear a purr from one of our furry friends (we have three) but we cannot make them purr just by smiling at them.

It takes receive the reward.

We will be rewarded in heaven one day in proportion to what we do here on earth.

Yes, we are saved by faith alone, "...not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:9  But Scripture also tells us we will be rewarded in heaven based on works.  Those that have sown much will receive much and those that have sown little will receive little.  "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." 2 Corinthians 9:6

What do you hope to receive?

In His Grace...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Making Time

I have not posted anything this week.  I am aware of it.  I just haven't quite figured out how to fit everything in my day...and still get a decent amount of sleep.

From what I can figure, with working part-time, playing with my little man, taking care of the household meals, cleaning, laundry etc., the only place I can make up some time is by sleeping less. 

I don't think I like this solution.

We are given 24 hours in a day.  Why does it seem so difficult to allocate them in such a way that we can get everything done we would like to get done?  There are things that have to be done, like going to work.  There are things that I feel have to get done, like laundry.  There are things that I enjoy doing, like cooking healthy meals for my family and eating with them.  Why does it just feel like it's not enough time?

If I come up with a solution, I will let you all know. 

But for now, I will try harder to write new posts regularly without missing too much sleep :-)

In His Grace...

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Laughter is a wonderful thing.  Sometimes we don't do enough of it in our family.

The other evening, after we put our little man to bed, my husband and I were sitting down to watch a movie.  He went to the bathroom before we sat down.  He had only been in there a few seconds and one of our cats came out.  This cat has a habit of sleeping on the rug in the bathroom - don't ask me why.  The cat saw me sitting on the sofa and came over to hop up in my lap.  He did his usual circle, knead my lap a few times and curl up.  I put my hand on his back to give him a little love but quickly removed it when I felt it was wet. 

Now I'm not saying anything about my husband's aim in the bathroom, but at that same moment, my husband emerged from the bathroom.  I said to him, "the cat is wet, did you pee on him?"  He looked at me smiling slightly, and started chuckling but he didn't say no.  He said, "is he wet?"  I said, "yes....did you pee on him?"  My husband was really starting to laugh by this time as was I.  He said, "no, I didn't pee on him, are you really asking me if I peed on the cat?"  I said, "yes, he came out of the bathroom just after you went in and his back is wet." 

General hilarity ensued, both of us finding it quite funny that I would even ask him if he peed on the cat (of course I didn't mean he aimed at the cat, but rather that his aim into the toilet wasn't perfect).

The laughter made for a great evening.  So why don't we laugh more often?

God created us to live in joy "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." Psalm 126:2  But so often we are caught up in the busyness of life that we don't take the time to see the joy offered each day. 

I challenge you to fill your mouth with laughter this week.  Look for the things God brings to you each day that can bring joy into your life and that of your family.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fair vs. Just

The definition of fair according to is "free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice". 

As I've mentioned before, I listen to a Christian radio station.  On Friday, I heard a little blurb on the way home from work.  The woman was speaking about God and how we sometimes think or say he isn't fair.  It isn't fair that someone is blind, or that a mother gets cancer, or that a small child dies.  But she pointed out something very interesting to me.  She said she was glad that God isn't fair.  For if he was fair, we would need to pay for all our sins.  We would be responsible for all our actions and He would need to hold us accountable for each and every one. 

Boy am I glad He is not fair.

Instead she said she is glad he is just.  So I looked up just at - "done or made according to principle; equitable; proper." 

Yes, I too am glad He is just.  I know that, although I cannot see the whole picture, I can trust that He is working all things for good as it says in Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose." 

While sometimes it may not seem fair to me, I can trust that God has my best interest at heart.  

In His Grace...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Making the Right Choice

Our little man will be attending Kindergarten this coming Fall.  How this happened so quickly, I cannot say.  It seems like just yesterday I was holding a new born baby in my arms and at the same time it seems so long ago.

Our area has many different schools - charter, magnet, alternative - and while we cannot be assured that we can get him into whatever school we want, there is the option to open enroll him into a school that is not our neighborhood school. 

We recently moved and that move landed us directly across the street from a good school.  It is a magnet school which focuses on math and science.  And did I mention it is directly across the street?  But there is also a school across town that is a dual-immersion school for Spanish and English.  I think being fluent in a second language would be increasingly valuable in our home state of California. 

So we must decide.

What is the best choice for our little man?  How do you determine this when he's only 4 and 1/2 years old?  How can I know what would be the best option for him?  Pretty simple; I can't. 

I can educate myself on the different options available.  I can pay attention to what interests him - math, mechanics (how things work), music, reading - and what does not interest him - crafts, drawing.  Then I can make what I call an educated choice knowing that what I am truly falling back on is this:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:4-7

In His Grace...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Uniquely Made

I am truly enjoying the Equip hour that I am attending at church on Sunday mornings.  Last Sunday was packed with eye openers - things that seem so obvious after someone else says them, but that I would never have thought of on my own.

For example, we are all uniquely made.  Even twins are unique - their personalities, tastes and talents are not exactly identical to their sibling.  This is obvious.  There is no one in the world exactly like me.  There are people with similar traits, similar ideas, similar talents, similar beliefs.  But God made me to be me and He only made one of me.

So when the teacher said that each of us is uniquely made to reveal some of God's glory, there is no one else that can reveal God's glory in exactly the same way as me, it really opened my eyes.  This means that if I choose not to reveal God's glory through the talents/gifts that God has given me, the world will miss out on something of God. 


Is that an AHA moment for anyone else?

God leaves it us to us.  He gave us free will to choose to love Him or not.  And in that same option, He is giving us the choice to share His glory in a way that no one else on earth can. 

So if I do, it will impact the world in one way (when I say the world, it obviously impacts those around me the most but we never know what sort of far-reaching effects we can have) and if I don't, that will impact the world a different way.  But if I don't share God's glory in my way, then that piece of God's glory will not be revealed.

I say again, WOW!

I pray for the courage to uniquely reveal God's glory to others.

In His Grace...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

We are Worthy

Have you ever heard someone say "we are unworthy"?  I had heard that several times from people I respected in the church. 

But last Sunday, someone gave me a different viewpoint. 

How is worth determined?  It is usually determined by what someone will pay. 

So in that case, what is our worth?

Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, dying an excruciatingly painful death on the cross, being separated from His Father in the process. 

We don't deserve it, but we are worthy because God thinks we are worthy.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

For God Might Not Have

As I re-read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I realize that I will most likely re-read this book any number of times and get different things from it each time I read.

The other evening I was reading Chapter 5 and one sentence jumped out at me.  It was in the context of the author grappling with the injury of one of her son's hands.  She says,

"When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn't all become gift?
For He might not have."

God might not have sent His Son to die for our sins.

He might not have allowed His Son to die an excruciatingly painful death for us.

He might not have loved us so much that He gave us a way to find everlasting life with Him.

He might not have provided us a way to have a deeper relationship with Him.

There are so many ways to complete this thought.  And it struck me what the author is expressing.  Even the things that are hard, are gifts from God.  They may be gifts to hone our talents, they may be gifts that cause us to really lean on Him.  They may be gifts that are so difficult to bear that the only thing we can do is turn to Him in our grief.  Yet, they are gifts.  Although we cannot see the whole picture, He can.

We must trust that He has our best interest at heart.

And during those times we must lean on Him for our strength.

In His Grace...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Living in the Spirit

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I am participating in a class led by a leader at our church.  When I went to the class last Sunday, she was speaking about Daily Bread.

"Our Father in Heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. 
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we have also forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one."
Matthew 6:9-13

I hadn't really thought about what it means to "give us today our daily bread", but she was equating it with the manna that the Israelites received from heaven.  It sustained them but they were only allowed to gather what they needed for each day.  If they gathered too much, it would rot by the next day. 

In this same way, we can rely on God for what we need each day...enough strength and power to get through each day as we rely on Him.

She said "Daily Bread living involves inner Life increase versus outer life reaction."  One example she gave was when we get sick.  Our outer life, our earthly bodies can feel lousy.  We get colds, the flu, this time of year, sickness is difficult to avoid, especially having a little man in the family.  But instead of dwelling in the lousy feeling we have while we are sick, we can ask for God's help to live more in our inner lives, or more in our spirit.  We can focus on the inner life we have with Jesus Christ and the strength and power He gives us as we live with "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:27

I have been practicing this as I fight a cold this week and I have been amazed by the results.  Instead of allowing the cold to weigh me down and darken my spirit, I have asked each morning for God to help me live more in the spirit.  It has uplifted me and changed my attitude.  And it has helped me physically fight this cold much more easily than I have before.

What an amazing Father we have that He gives us the ability to feel better, even when our physical bodies do not feel very good.  He has provided us a way to lean more on Him and He will carry more of our burden...

In His Grace...