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Sunday grace

Show us your glory, Lord!

You have shown You might with an outstretched arm through the work of the cross. If nothing miraculous ever happens, Jesus Christ crucified and risen is enough.

But, Oh Lord, I want to see Your glory.

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“Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known. ”
— Habakkuk 3:2

Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart to perceive when You are wonderful.

From the tiny garden spider spinning her zig-zag web by the deck to the hummingbird who zooms past me in a second.

From the miracle of birth to the faces of my neighbors.

From the innocence of children to the wisdom of the elderly gained by trials and experience.

From the majesty of moon and one red star in the morning horizon to the sun setting each evening in pallet of unlimited color and uniqueness.

From Your daily provision as we sit at  the table with food to eat to the cloud cover that gave me respite in the hot sun as I finished my work.

From the vast galaxies with stars unnumbered to the minuscule DNA that makes each and every one of us distinctive, unduplicated, and irreplaceable.

From the promises of Your word that we have seen come to pass to the prophetic future You alone will complete.

From the prayers You heard and answered in ways I could not have imagined to the questions I have asked that remain a mystery in this lifetime.

Oh Lord, we have seen Your glory. Be we want to see it again. Renew Your wonders in our day, in our time make them known to us.

Make my faith grow. Help me to believe You. Be strong in my mind and heart. Move mightily in me, your simple servant, however that might manifest.

Oh Lord, show me Your glory.

Sunday grace.

Sunset in Colorado, by travis

 

 

 

 

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Sunday grace

Sometimes life takes a U-turn unexpectedly.

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We go about our days, attending to needs, keeping appointments, socializing with friends and colleagues. Then suddenly, we are knocked off our feet, a flash-flood event changing our landscape.

I vividly recall when it happened, more than once, to Sweet William and me. At one shocking declaration, I was glad for a door frame to fall against, lest I land on the floor.

What do we do when life throws a curve ball, twisting and turning out of control, and we cannot catch it in our hands?

Adrenalin kicks into the human body helping us fight for our loved ones and ourselves. Even as our thoughts do somersaults, somehow we get the presence of mind to think about what must be done now. Right now.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator to respond to crises.

While we act as quickly as possible, we pray. We call on the faithful God who always has His eye focused on us, who loves us with an everlasting love, who has a plan and a purpose for all things.

We call others to pray because there is strength in numbers of the believers. We depend upon their prayers and their bearing our burdens, helping us carry a heavy-hearted load.

And we lean into a Savior who has already gone before us and prepared the way.

Life is uncertain and fragile. Amazingly crafted, we humans are still fallible. In one quick moment, we realize just how frail we are. Like a flower that grows and blooms we flourish, but this present place is not a permanent fixture. Not here on this earth.

Our hope and trust and confidence is in the eternal, things not seen with the eye or heard with the ear. We look to Jesus, fix our eyes on Him. When it all goes out of focus and we strain for clarity, He alone is our vision.

When life takes a tumble, when catastrophe strikes, when darkness overtakes and we cannot see the step ahead, we fall into the arms of Jesus, grasp his nail-scared hand, and trust Him to lead.

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.
Naught be all else to me, Save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, By day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

 

Sunday grace

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We take our evening stroll, and the temperature is more bearable than it’s been in days. Still Maisie pants and I look toward the shady places where trees offer respite.

I pass by my neighbors and think of Jesus’ command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Hard stuff sometimes.

It’s easy to love the young couple who has been kind to us, coming to our rescue, inviting us into their lives. They made a place in our hearts soon after their move into the neighborhood. And they loved us freely.

Didn’t Jesus tell me the reward for loving those who love me is small compared to loving those who don’t like me, mistreat me, even despise me? The rubber meets the road right there under the blazing sun.

I’ve prayed to love this week, even this very day. It isn’t always easy because I can’t manufacture the feeling. I know love is supposed to be an action word, but a little emotion to accompany would be nice.

Of course, loving God comes first. How can I love my neighbor if I’m not fully committed to loving God? Because love comes from God and God is love. Without His invasion into my heart, my life, my entire being, I can’t expect to get it right.

I perceive this loving business is primary. Opportunities abound. People are everywhere. Some are lovable. Some are not.

Dear Father,
Infuse me with Your love. Plant me deep in it, like the trees, rooted and established, being able to grasp how wide, how long, how high, and how deep the love of Christ is, the love He freely gives to me. I want to know this love that surpasses knowledge. Fill me to the measure of all the fullness of God. And then teach me to love my neighbor as myself.  (Ephesians 3:16-19 and Mark 12:31)

It’s a tall order, a mountain-size request for me to love like that. But my God specializes in the miraculous.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.    — Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

Thinking. It seems we hardly have time to or even need to. All questions are answered quickly with a Google search or a response from Alexa or Siri.

The twenty plus volumes of encyclopedia, bought when we were newlyweds and taking up an entire shelf on the bookcase, are long gone, gifted to a thrift store because no one would buy them.

Attention span is short, us flitting from one sound bite to another without retaining much of any of it.

Information comes at light speed through multi-channels of technology. There are online articles and blogs to read; news feeds to keep  me current; one thousand channels to surf on TV; CNN and FOX news telling me over and over the current condition of the world; and NOAA weather advising me if I should bring my umbrella or not.

I hardly need to think at all. And yet I must.

I seek solitude and silence, turn off the constant flow of information, in order to give my mind time to slow down and contemplate.

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I easily say “yes” to too much without thinking it through. Then I find myself in a dither, a flurry of activity, feeling the stress rise and wanting someone to stop the dizzying merry-go-round so I can get off.

No wonder we struggle to wind down, our calendar spaces filling, adrenaline pumping.

Slow down.  Breath.  Be quiet.  Listen.  Think.

I need to hush my fast-beating heart, think my own thoughts, clear my mind of the world’s voices.  Then perhaps I will hear what the Spirit of the Lord would say to me. His voice is softly gentle, easily drowned out by the shouts of a culture that wants more and entices me to join its throng.

Be still my soul. Lift your eyes to the heavens. See how the Father provides for His creatures, how lavishly He splashes beauty everywhere. Observe His sovereignty  over all things.

I will think about all you have done; I will reflect upon your deeds!
— Psalm 77:12 NET Bible

Think on what is lovely.  Just.  Honest.  Pure.  The good report.  Think on God’s promises.  His faithfulness.  His compassion and goodness.  His love.

And be still my soul.

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Sunday grace

The trees in the little woods are greening and absorbing spaces. It’s becoming harder to see through the spiky saplings as I scan the depth for a deer sighting.

The small tree attached at its root to the larger Ash is blooming full and brightens my view out the kitchen window.

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The weather warmed and dried out enough that I donned my garden clothes and bush hat to start a little clean up in Maisie’s fence and around the side of the house.  Sweet William helped me sharpen my tools, making my work easier by far.

The bushy hedge behind the house and along the sidewalk to the outbuilding always gets a shave and haircut each spring. Between raindrops, I went at it until I discovered nests tucked into branches on either end. Blue eggs belong to a robin, and she flew out and fussed at me each time I came near. A mourning dove nested on the white eggs on the other end, her calm sitting undisturbed by my pruning.

My cutting stopped short to leave concealing  foliage for each of the tender mothers who are protecting their precious progeny.

On a walk-about at the lake, Maisie and I were nearly attacked by a male goose this week, him rising up in the air waving feathers and clawed feet in our direction. Apparently we were getting too close to his gander who sat faithfully on her nest of eggs at the water’s edge.

The few days of warmth and sunshine this week were encouraging and enticed me outdoors. It is spring, even when grey days appear again and I concern myself for apple tree blossoms with forecasts predicting freezing temperatures once more. Yet I will not lose hope.

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God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.

Not that the world is all right. It certainly is not. Nightly news would fill me with dread. But my hope is not in this world and its treasures or its future. My hope is in God alone who is sovereign ruler over all.

And He is my Father. He loves me and has His eye on me. He watches my every breath and has planned for my future.

While I wait for spring to fully flourish, I know what to expect. The fullness of its beauty lies ahead.

The beauty and glory of God’s completed plan draws ever nearer for me. He designed and arranged it, and His intention is to redeem. Until that day comes, I will wait for Him.

Sunday grace.

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Sunday grace

Reading Ephesians today, the first chapter reminds me how I tried to memorize some of these verses last year. I determined that Paul was very wordy. But who am I to talk?

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Paul’s usual greeting of “grace and peace to you from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ” are comforting. I like it better than starting a letter with “Dear [so and so].”

In the few beginning verses, I’m reminded anew that I am chosen, holy and blameless in God’s sight, planned for and adopted as His daughter. I am redeemed by the blood of Jesus and have forgiveness of sins. God has lavished – lavished! – His rich grace on me. He reveals the mystery of His will to me, and all of it is freely given from the heart of a loving Father.

I was included to receive this glorious message of salvation, and I am marked by the Holy Spirit. I await a heavenly inheritance that is unimaginable.

It pleases Him to bless me like this. I am astounded at that!

In light of all these amazing graces, I pray this prayer:

Dearest Father, I ask for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that I may know You better. I pray that the eyes of my heart would be enlightened so I will understand the hope to which You have called me. There are glorious riches awaiting me. That you call holy me holy is humbling indeed; but for Jesus, I am not.  With all my heart I want your incomparably great power actively working in me. 

And may the days of my life left on this earth be lived to the praise of your glorious grace.

Your daughter.

Sunday grace.

Sunday grace

The alarm shouts at my sleepy head, and I press the snooze button too much.

Last night I grumbled as I set clocks forward, wondering why we keep doing this. The saving of time made me lose time this morning. My body feels it. And what wakes the birds in my little woods and the chickens in my neighbor’s yard? Is it not the sun, God’s rhythm-keeper, placed there in the sky for us day after day?

So why do we keep messing with the clocks?

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Time. Less a friend, it often seems our enemy, fleeting, running out, rushing ahead, adding years to our lives and age to our bodies. Yet time is a gift, given first to Adam and Eve, the evening and the morning, twenty-four hours that precede and proceed, without ceasing.

Last week time seemed limited with projects looming heavy on my mind. Things transferred from February now wait on the March list of “to get done.” Next week appears much the same. I only hope for small blocks of an hour now and then to move forward, making steps toward completing what I think is important.

But is it? Maybe I am the only one who cares, giving this undertaking importance and weight, perhaps more than it deserves.

Instead of my projects, I chose people last week. Saying “yes” to a spur of the moment lunch invitation. Driving Sweet William to his appointment. Inviting young sisters for brunch and some crafting. Attending a gathering for friends who needed comfort.  Visiting a loved one dealing with uncertainty and fearful outcomes.

Recording days in my journal, I view ink on paper and clarity comes. Last week I chose what is better.

There were days when I did not make such good choices. I relived one this week as I listened to those old audio cassettes on the player in our living room, still trying to pick what to keep and what I can toss.

Randomly in the middle of one cassette, I heard my son’s little boy voice. It was high-pitched and small. I saw the scene in my head, forty years ago, him sitting on the floor in our apartment listening to a vinyl record of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He had a book in his hand that followed the story being told in word and song on the record player, and a bell sounded when it was time to turn the page. “Mommy is it time to turn the page?” I heard him say.

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The first side ended and the record needed to be flipped and restarted to finish the book. And I heard my boy, “Mommy, it’s time to turn it over.” Silence and waiting. “Mommy come,” he said with more urgency, though it was only a few seconds.

What I was doing in that small two-bedroom home that made me keep him waiting? Whatever it was could not have been more meaningful than the child who wanted my attention.

While the memory was sweet, the pang of regret hangs over me even this morning. I suppose all mothers wonder if we were good enough. What kind of mother was I to that precious boy of mine? Did I give him what he needed, was I attentive, did I listen to his little boy requests, or did I put projects first too many times?

I’m not sure. You’d have to ask him. I only know I want the rest of my life to be people oriented and not ruled by lists and tasks.

People over projects.  Making the right choice this time, every time. Because time is a gift from God, and how I spend it is of the utmost importance.

Sunday grace.