Posts Tagged ‘God’s grace’

Bubble lights are one of my favorite holiday decorations. They are glass cylinders filled with a colored liquid that slip into a base, each of which houses a small Christmas bulb as the heat source. As the cylinders heat, the liquid inside begins to bubble. When I see one bubble up, it makes me smile and lift my spirits.

The ones that are the closest to the plug seems to heat up and bubble faster than the ones at the end of the string. I guess it takes time for the energy to get to them. And even then, sometimes I have to thunk them with my fingernail and thumbnail to get them to start effervescing.

I can relate. There are times I feel downright bubbly for Jesus. I feel close to Him as the source of my energy. Maybe it is a passage I read in my Bible that truly spoke into my life. A hymn or song on the radio. A friend who has a prayer answered.

Other times, it may take a thunk to get me going. The energy takes a while to make it’s way to me. I fell distanced from my Savior, at the end of the receiving line of His grace. When will it be my turn?

Of course, I know it is all a matter of perception. God’s circuit never wavers. It is the same for all of us, all the time. I’m the one who is blocking the flow. My emotions get in the way — jealousies, anger, hurt.  I confuse faith with feelings.

So God needs to take His holy thumb and gently thunks me to get me bubbling. And each time, though it may jolt me a bit, I am thankful He does. Why?  Because then others notice my faith effervescing. It makes them smile — and maybe, that lifts their spirits as well as my own.

This new year, may I continue to bubble up, long after the tree and lights are packed away and Christmas is another memory.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew  5:16


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courtesy of ken-treloar.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10

Recently I had to go for a CT scan and an MRI. Why do they make those tunnels so confining and loud? Even the open ones seem freaky. I’ve had these procedures three times before. I know they are  harmless (except to the eardrums) and I should not get anxious. I know this.

Even so, as I drove to the imaging center with my aroma-therapy drenched washcloth to put over my face and my ear plugs tucked inside a plastic pouch, I asked God to calm me and bring me physical evidence of His presence. I really need to find God in my day!

After the CT scan (no big deal. I got to go in feet first, and then only up to my chest so my head stuck out into the room) I was led to another waiting area and told my MRI would be performed in a half hour. No one else sat in the row of chairs. I was alone.

I sat, and wiggled my knee. OK, I can do this. I refuse to let the heebie-jebbies bubble up. Trust in God, be not anxious scriptures floated through my mind.

A kindly, older black man wandered in and nodded hello. Seeing his warm smile, I asked if he was here for an MRI, too. He explained he was there as a consultant to instruct the staff on some new procedures. This was his second career and he got to travel all over, which he enjoyed now that his kids were off on their own.

We chatted and found several things we had in common. His presence calmed me and the time zipped by. When they called my name, he gave me a wink and thumbs up.

I told him he was a true God-send, and even though my remark took him back a bit, I truly meant it.

God uses flawed and fumbling folk on earth to be His hands and feet. Sometimes we are the ones He encourages to get out there in a ministry, and at other times He graces us with others to minister to us.

That day, I found God in the calming presence of a stranger. Where will you find Him?

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When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it. Job 29:24a

I met a friend for lunch. For the first time in a long time, it was actually an almost cool day in north Texas. Therefore, we sat on the front patio of the restaurant. It is a popular lunch spot, so if you love to people watch, this is the perfect place.

I imagine close to a hundred people passed by in the time we were there. Students from the university down the road wandered in, as did the medical staff from the hospitals and clinics up the road. So did business people in their suits, ties or heels. Sprinkled in between were retired couples, tourists, moms on a rare lunch out, and workers with their names on their uniform shirts or badges.

What surprised me the most was the countenance on most of their faces. On a cool day after a good rain that was so needed during our stretch of 100 plus temperatures, you’d think people would be uplifted, walk with a spring in their step, feel rejuvenated. But most wore a scowl or straight face.  Many seemed bent over with the weight of the world on their backs. A few, who had arranged to meet, nodded at each other, and then fell into mutual silence.  Some ignored everything around them as they stared into tiny screens as if it provided an invisible shield. Couples walked together in a marital patterned, robot-like pace without touching each other.

The only ones who broke the drudgery lunch time routine with laughter were three women taking out indulgent deserts in boxes, trying to convince each other they shouldn’t feel guilty.

I thought of how our Father in Heaven must see us. All His children running around like irritated ants whose mound has been kicked. How it must break His heart to have so many pass up His freely given love and choose the world view instead. It made me realize how far from God our daily lives have drifted here in America where we are supposed to be one nation under Him. I almost wanted to stand on the table and shout out, “Smile, people. Jesus loves you!”

But I didn’t. Instead, we linked hands and prayed. Will you pray with me, now?

Heavenly Lord, draw your creatures back to You. Let them realize they are not alone and to seek You each day. Help them to see You are right there, waiting. You came down in the form of Jesus, Your Son, to bring us back into Your merciful grace. Through His sacrifice, we can have direct access to You with each and every breath we take.  Help us, who believe, be more and more in touch with your Holy Spirit in us and to see evidence of Your presence in our daily walk so we can guide others to You. We pray this through Christ and in His name. Amen.

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garden of grace



Along the river bank at my family place in the Texas Hill Country is an old cypress. Long before my birth, it’s trunk was bent in half by a raging flood. Yet, it’s not only lived but thrived. Its shady limbs continue to stretch out into the waters.Some reach high towards the sky. Each year it bears fragrant cypress balls, and is a celestial highway for squirrels. In times of flood and storms, it is a refuge for the birds.

Christians are not immune to tragedy in this broken world. But, as Rick Warren says, even then, we can still bear fruit because we are grafted into Christ’s loving strength and merciful grace.

“…do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Romans 11:18-19

Others see there is hope in our eyes not washed away by our grief-stricken tears, Even in our deepest sorrow, there is a peace. And that, my friends, speaks volumes without one whispered word.

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I found God today at the end of the day. Actually I had been surrounded by witnesses to His glory and love all day as I manned the phones for a share-athon for a local Christian radio station. Between the other volunteers, the people dropping off snacks, and the listeners who called in, the God talk filled the call center. It was like floating in a sun-drenched river on a hot Texas summer day – a soothing, refreshing time you don’t want to end.

But in the back of my mind a ripple of angst was forming. The pebble had been dropped. I had a conference this weekend and I needed to work on my workshop presentation. My week of have-to-dos was stacking up. I had been manning the share-athon for two days, had a church women’s board meeting the next day as well as two more meetings, a newsletter to get out, and 8 articles to write and post for a client’s blog sites before I left Friday morning.

As I drove to my Toastmasters’ meeting last evening, I tried to plot out enough time over the next two days to rehearse. Maybe as I drove the four hours to the conference center? Well, I could rehearse the talk but it would be kinda hard to practice the power point portion on the highway. I could stay up late or get up early . . .maybe both?

As I walked in the room, the one who was leading the meeting told me there were no speakers that night. Last-minute cancellations had been texted to him – nothing major like an illness or tragedy, just life-stuff which had gotten in the way. So I was the only speaker.  I had brought my power point equipment to do a short demonstration on how to begin your speech, a Toastmaster teaching module. Much to my regret, the newly formed group had already heard that presentation through another Toastmaster several weeks back. Oh. Now what. The ripples grew.

Then, the Holy Spirit whispered in my soul’s ear. This is a church. Practice your workshop talk here.

I asked the group and they all agreed that would be fine. In fact, one lady had read most of my Bible study Between the Window and the Door on which this workshop was based. Three weeks prior, God had told me to give her a copy because she was going through a rough in-between time in her life. Coincidence that she had brought it with her?

Another pebble dropped. Did I have the right flash drive? Then I remembered. The one on which I was to download the Toastmaster module was, for some unknown reason, malfunctioning last night. So I had dug out my workshop flash drive and loaded the module on that. Yes, God had guaranteed that I had the right flash drive.

As I spoke, the words flowed from my brain.The power point presentation went smoothly. All the slides I’d prepared worked perfectly. That sweet woman at the back who had been reading the Bible study sat smiling and nodding. She was a real encouragement to me. The others became engaged in my talk. After it was over, they gave me great feedback.

The waters calmed.  I floated in the knowledge that My Father in Heaven cares enough to orchestrate events weeks in advance which would accumulate into the perfect time for me to prepare my talk on how His grace is ever-present, even in the in-between times.

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