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Posts Tagged ‘God’s grace’

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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