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Sunday grace

The trees in the yard take their own sweet time bringing forth. Some already have leaves of lovely spring green. Some still wait.

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It is the same each year. The autumn olives leaf out early while the oaks stand tall and naked, just recently dropping last year’s dry growth. The evergreen cedars are unchanged, their forest green looking dull against the hue of this season.

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We all grow and bloom at our own pace, so why do we compare ourselves to one another? Comparison kills relationships and stagnates us as we try to be like someone else.

Your strengths balance out my weaknesses. Your gifts bring blessing to the family of God. Your uniqueness is just what the world needs.

The saplings stand near the 30 foot maple. The small flowering fruit tree is so close to the elm, their roots must intertwine. All are in different stages of growth. Their bark, leaf shape, fruit, and root systems are diverse. Yet there they stand, together, offering me their beauty, a protected nest site for the birds, a jungle gym for the squirrels.

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How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity, accepting one another in love, using our talents and gifts as the Holy Spirit distributes them according to design and purpose.

The body functions best when all its parts are functioning as they should, strong and healthy.

Let nature take her course in our little woods. Let God have His way in each of us. He is the author of our lives, the One who perfects us and finishes what He started. He will complete the work just as He planned it.

Be who you were made to be, the irreplaceable creation of the Creator. The real you. Honoring the God who gives you life.

Let all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  And may we live to the praise of His glory.

Sunday grace.

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Snow Day

Yesterday afternoon my piano students were excited about the possibility of a snow day. They had only been back to school two days since the Christmas holiday.

Before the evening was over, I got into their spirit of anticipation.

Early this morning, I looked out the window to see if any flakes were falling from the sky. Not yet. I turned on the local news and weather, and to my surprise schools were already canceled in the surrounding counties. This is some kind of prediction.

At about 7:30 am, the deck began to turn white. Maisie and I donned our warm coats and headed out into the beginnings of a ground cover. I wondered what she would do with snow. We welcomed Maisie to our home last March, and while snow may not be new to her, it would be a something for us to experience together for the first time.

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She sniffed at it but there really wasn’t enough yet to stir her curiosity. As snow accumulated, she ran and nosed it and seemed to enjoy the white stuff.

A snow day is like a surprise, free 24 hours, if you happen to be a school student or a teacher. For the road workers, it may be the busiest day of their week.

My home piano students were scheduled to resume lessons today after having the month of December off. I canceled those activities and settled in here at the Wright House. The snow day is a present to be opened and savored.

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I can use it to catch up on reading my current book, Beth Moore’s first novel, The Undoing of Saint Silvanus.  I could clean out a few more drawers or closets, that on-going January ritual of mine. I may put a pot of vegetable soup on to simmer.

I will most likely practice the piano since there is a wedding coming soon. I will drink another cup of coffee or perhaps some hot chocolate as Sweet William and I watch the grey sky full of flurries. Maybe I’ll take a nap.

When I really consider it, each day is a gift. God presents us a fresh beginning every 24 hours. We can use it for good, we can rest in it, or we can waste it if we are not careful.

The freedom to choose how I spend the next precious hours of my life comes from the Father who knows how to give good things to His children.

I think of Moses’ wise counsel often: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) .

Wisdom is the thing. I want more wisdom. I need more wisdom. I want to use discretion and be discerning in how I live this wonderful, wild life I’ve been given. I want to be prudent in how I treat others, in the words I say, and the way I live out my purpose.

Numbering my days, keeping aware of its brevity and my mortality, seems to be a key to wisdom. Looking to God and His Word for the plan and following Him will be the way to invest my days. Then perhaps, this will be a life well spent.

Today is a snow day. Taste it, experience the joy of opening the gift.

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Christmas grace

Over lunch this week, we sat side by side. In between bites of pork loin and vegetables, we chatted, our conversation never faltering. It was like a tennis game, each of us taking our turn talking and listening.

It is the way of women.

As I meditate upon Mary’s visit to Elizabeth her relative, so many questions circle in my mind. I want more details. What is left untold is left to the imagination.

Mary hurried to the town in the hill country of Judea? What was her hurry? I have my thoughts. People didn’t believe her story of an angel’s visitation, of the Holy Spirit coming upon her, of a pregnancy before she and Joseph were husband and wife. But perhaps Elizabeth would. She was the recipient of her own miracle.

The long journey on foot would have been weary for young Mary. Perhaps she sighed with relief when the house finally came into view. Longing for some refreshment and a place to rest, she knocked on the door.

Elizabeth greeted her and then the joy happened all around them. The presence of the Holy Spirit surrounded the young and the aged and the babes in their wombs. The atmosphere was electric, and their faith in a God who works wonders united in explosive praise.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” — Luke 1:45, NIV

When we believe, we are blessed. When we believe, we honor the God who promised. When we believe, we encourage one another. When we believe, the Holy Spirit is powerful in us.

What are you believing for this day? Does it seem impossible? Have you been waiting long?

“Who has believed and confidently trusted in, relied on, and adhered to our message of salvation? And to whom, if not us, has the arm and infinite power of the Lord been revealed?” — Isaiah 53:1, Amplified Bible

Sometimes we need to gather together and believe with each other. Let faith arise. Let God be exalted Encourage one another with words of confidence and trust in a Mighty Savior.

“My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” — Luke 1:46, 47, KJV

Sunday grace.

 

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Sunday grace

“Seek My face.” I hear the Spirit whisper the directive as the daily devotional book I read in the early morning points me to Psalm 105:4

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! –ESV

His strength is what I need. A busy few days, maybe more than a few, leave me weary and spent. There is too much to do, too much stuff to contend with, too many obligations.

Give me strength, Lord! How many times have I prayed that prayer? I hoped for super-human powers to accomplish my plans, my goals, my intentions, my self-imposed complicated agenda.

His answer is “Seek My face. In My presence is the fullness of joy.”

And isn’t joy what I have chosen for this day, for this one wonderful life I’ve been given?

Joy comes when I seek the face of God in Christ Jesus, my hope and my salvation. Rest is waiting for me when I seek the Lord and His strength.  For when I seek the Lord more than I seek my own way, when I look at his beautiful face and behold His countenance of grace, I find rest and peace.

I am strengthened for the journey. It is the road He has laid out for me to travel, not the scribbled map of my own making.

I will seek His face and find strength for today. And for tomorrow.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

The morning breaks into the night. Light shines and darkness cannot restrain it.

“Arise! Shine! For your light arrives! The splendor of the LORD shines on you.” Isaiah 61:1, NET Bible

The radiance reveals truth. What was once hidden in the shadows now shows itself. Nothing hides when the day appears.

We can run from the light, afraid of what it will reveal, try to cover ourselves.

Or we can bask in the glow of God’s splendor, allowing the brightness, the heat to burn away the dross.

The new day offers possibilities, a fresh start.

God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light, for when He speaks it is done. His radiance is not a thing to fear; it is His answer to our cry for relief of the gloom in our self-imposed blindness.

Step into the light, the blaze of His love, the brilliance of His glory.

“For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6, NET Bible

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Strength will rise

Lines were drawn in the sand months ago. The games have begun; opponents faced off; and I hear in the distance, “Red Rover, Red Rover, we dare you come over.”

This side says one thing. The other side contradicts. The first side rebuts. And the air feels hotter than my outdoor thermometer indicates.

Who do I believe? When the words are conflicting, but each declares it to be the honest-to-god truth, who really is the truth teller?

Can one look polished, smile and shade the truth while reading from a telemonitor?

I wonder who we are. One nation under God? Indivisible? With liberty and justice? For all?

My mind whirls. There are choices to be made, and I must choose wisely.

In the thick of spins and commentary and promises that sound convincing and too good to be true, who is really speaking the whole truth and nothing but? I wonder.

The atmosphere is tornadic. Yet I hear a melody in my heart, coming from somewhere deep, my spirit connecting with the Spirit.

And He sings,

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

 

There is One truth-teller. There is One who always keeps His promises. There is One who is strong and able to do what seems impossible. There is One who gives hope to the weary, the downtrodden, the helpless, the defenseless.

He is the Everlasting God. I will lift my eyes to Him, away from the noise and fray of the crowds, so that I am not afraid of the future.

Strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord.

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Sunday grace

Oh God, help us.

There is violence in our streets. Hatred is unrestrained.

Guide us in Your truth. Teach us the way to go for in You only is salvation.

We wait for You.
Remember Your compassion and faithful love. They have existed from antiquity.
Do not remember the willful sins or our acts of rebellion and cruelty.
Remember Your faithfulness and Your goodness.

You are holy and upright, our hope when all looks hopeless.
You call to us and shows us the way out of darkness.
You lead the humble in what is right and teach us Your ways.
You show us the truth.

Please forgive our sin, for it is great.

If we acknowledge You, humbly, reverently, You will show us the way.

We are lost without You.

 Turn to us and be gracious to us, the lonely and afflicted.

When the distresses of our hearts increase, bring us Your peace.

Guard us, deliver us, for our refuge is You. We wait for You to redeem us from our despair.

We wait for You

Sunday grace.

From Psalm 25 after another news report of senseless killing.

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