Tag Archive | change

Little Moments of Grace

Six weeks into 2013.

How’s those resolutions going?  Perhaps at the cusp of the New Year, some of us were

reviewing the year,

regretting mistakes,

re-thinking goals,

and resolving to change..

But why do we keep repeating the pattern every year?

We long to make some dramatic difference in our lives, checkbooks, children, spouses, selves, homes, or whatever.  Or at least, I do.  I want that big “reveal” at the end of the year, or my lifetime, to show  visible improvement, growth, and purpose.  It’s taken me a long time to learn that life is not about the drama or applause.

Life is played out in the everyday moments, minutes, reactions, choices, and responses.

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Paul David Tripp discussed this in one of his recent articles:

“The character that was formed in those little moments is what shapes how you respond to the big moments of life.

What leads to significant personal change?

  • 10,000 moments of personal insight and conviction
  • 10,000 moments of humble submission
  • 10,000 moments of foolishness exposed and wisdom gained
  • 10,000 moments of sin confessed and sin forsaken
  • 10,000 moments of courageous faith
  • 10,000 choice points of obedience
  • 10,000 times of forsaking the kingdom of self and running toward the kingdom of God
  • 10,000 moments where we abandon worship of the creation and give ourselves to worship of the Creator.

And what makes all of this possible?

Relentless, transforming, little-moment grace….”

(From Paul Tripp Ministries, PaulTripp. com)

Oswald Chambers said much the same over 100 years ago in his famous devotional, My Utmost for His Highest :

“It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God: but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes”

So, even though it’s February, can we still do this?  Is it too late to turn little moments into blessings, the ordinary into the exceptional?

Pick a day, some odd day on the calendar, like February 10th, and choose to make your moments matter.  It’s not about lists of resolutions.   It’s about moments of choices.

Breathe a prayer.

Obey that still small voice.

Let a kind answer turn away a harsh word.

Forgive.

Little moments of grace….

weave a path to His glory and honour.

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Fearless Fridays

Though I’m really almost too organized in some areas, blogging’s never been one of them.  For the past three years (!), I’ve written when I feel like it, shared songs and hymns, Spurgeon thoughts, etc.  And loved it!!  However, I’ve been considering how to be more consistent, as well as in tune with the heart of the Lord in my writing.  So, with a little tweaking in my schedule and mindset, I may make some headway! 

For the next few months, I’m designating Fridays as Fearless Friday.   Each week, we’ll look at one of the many (!) verses in the Bible where we’re encouraged to Fear Not!

Then each Monday, I will join Carrie, Beth and other online friends, by listing 10 things I’m thankful for, to “The List that Never Ends!”

And Tuesdays…well, you’ll just have to drop by then to see what I’m up to 🙂

That’s as organized as I’m going to get, because I still want open days for sharing songs, personal heart thoughts, devotionals, or whatever!

So….

Let Fearless Friday begin!

I’m tormented with anxiety, fear, and care, and yet realize full well that that doesn’t glorify the Lord.  So last year I began a study on all the verses in the Bible that say “FEAR NOT!”   Encouraging fact–there’s a lot!! 

Even more encouraging is–this command doesn’t stand on its own.  When the Word says FEAR NOT, it’s always accompanied with a reason why fear is not necessary.  That’s where the comfort lies.  For example:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Why can we step away from fear?  Because God is with us!  He is our God, our strength, our help, and He holds onto us!

Spurgeon paints this picture:

In that silent room of yours, there sits by your side One whom you have not seen, but whom you love; and often when you do not know it, He makes your bed in affliction and smoothes your pillow for you.

Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with you.  In all you fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety.  He will never leave one whom He has chosen for His own.  “Fear not…for I am with thee” is His sure word of promise to His chosen one is the furnace of affliction.

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Dear Lord, Help us through our earthly fears.  Thank you for reminding us that You are with us, by us, and yes, in us.  Nothing is too difficult for You.   Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, You are with us.  May this realization grow and subdue our fears.  Open our eyes to see You beside us.  Amen

 

Resolved, more or less

 

Have you ever noticed that most resolutions fit into these two categories, more or less?

MORE                       LESS

$$ Saved                   $$ Spent
Family Time             TV Watching
Reading                     Stress
Exercise                    Weight

We rarely resolve to maintain the status quo in our lives.  Improvement usually means change, and that means doing things better, more or less.  I saw a humble example of this recently, when Billy Graham was a guest on FOX’s Greta Van Sustern program.  Greta asked the 92-year-old spiritual leader what, if anything, he would do differently in his life.  He answered, without hesitation, “Pray More.  Study Scriptures More.  Meditate on Jesus and tell Him I love Him more.  And travel less.”

Like the apostle Paul, Dr. Graham wants to “know him and the power of his resurrection, and share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10) 

So, for this year, and many more to come, by God’s grace, I resolve to:

Pray More

Spend more time in God’s Word

and worship Jesus more!

Let us remember with any goal, that “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  (Romans 10:31)  Are my resolutions, desires, or to-do lists, built on this foundation?  Daily decisions, let alone yearly aspirations, can all be applied against this:

“Whatever we do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Col. 3:17) 

So, with these Scriptures in mind, I commit my year and goals to Him.  With His strength and grace, I expect to complete them…more or less 🙂

Weigh less (started diet already)

Read more (2011 reading list will be posted this week)

Begin my M.Ed at Regent’s U (working on app for school and financial support)

Learn to make herbal soaps for gifts, hopefully from TNFarmGirl.

Blog more often with encouragement in view, particularly to younger women, through my new blog, Titus2U.

 

Earlier, I noted that we often have a very short list of things we’d do the same this year as the last.  But I did think of a couple:   

Lord willing, may we continue our involvement and fellowship with Calvary Chapel Ottawa, Jericho Road, and Celebrate Recovery this year, always keeping in mind, “it is the Lord Christ whom we serve.” (Col 3:24) 

I jealously desire to hold on to the precious morning devotional time my husband and I have together!

 

How about you?  Is there anything you aspire to continue this year as you did last?  Or, is there anything in particular you’d like to resolve, more or less?

Home is a Person

“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Cor. 15:9

Home is a confusing word for me.

I grew up in Denver, Colorado, but moved away when I was 20.  My husband and I both served in the US Navy a total of 30 years, living in at least 18 different homes, on and off base, around the world, and back again.  The only house we ever owned, and that, only recently, is on a little plot in the Appalachian Mountains.  Our three daughters and their families live in as many places on the East Coast. My mom’s in Arizona, and my husband’s family is scattered here and there, including the town where we live.  And, our hearts are deeply knit with friends and fellowship in Ottawa, Ontario.

Each place was/is like home to me!?

Yes.  Upbringing, family, work, life, property, and fellowship; each set the stage for all that home means and feels. 

And no.  Each place leaves me with a sense of wanting.  Isn’t there something more? I feel like that little bird in the Dr. Seuss book who goes around to every living creature asking, “Are you my mother?” Is this my home? Where do I belong? 

Through this search, I’m discovering that home is not so much a place, as it is a Person.  God is my Home.  He is my refuge and shelter, upheld by His arms, carried on His shoulders, healed by His stripes.  He is the only lasting home I have.

I refer to Spurgeon’s devotional quite often in my posts, but that’s because he speaks to me in so many areas of my life.  And to this need for home, belonging and attachment, he speaks clearly:

“You have made the Lord your dwelling place, the Most High, who is my refuge.”  Psalm 91:9

The Israelites in the wilderness were continually exposed to change.  Wherever the pillar of cloud stopped, the tents were pitched; but the next day the morning sun arose, the trumpet sounded, the ark was in motion, and the fiery, cloudy pillar was leading the way through the narrow mountain passes, up the hillsides, or along the arid wastes of the wilderness. [Sound familiar?]

They never stayed for long in one place.  Even wells and palm trees could not detain them.  They had an abiding home in their God; His cloudy pillar was their roof, and its flame by night their fireplace.  They must go onward from place to place, continually changing, never having time to settle or to say, “now we are secure; we will stay in this place.” [I’ve said that!]

Instead, Moses says, “Though we are always changing, Lord, you have been our dwelling-place throughout all generations.”  Psalm 90:1

The Christian know no change with regard to God.  He may be rich today and poor tomorrow; he may be sick today and well tomorrow; he may be happy today and sad tomorrow–but there’s no change regarding his relationship to God.  If He loved me yesterday, He loves me today.  My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord.  Even when prospects are few and hopes are squashed and joy is waning, I have lost nothing of what I have in God.

He is my refuge to which I continually return.  I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God.  In the earth I wander, but in God I dwell in a quiet dwelling place.”

 

Teach me Lord, to find my rest in you, to be at home anywhere, and everywhere, because You are there.

You are my Home…now, and forever!

After Two Years

 “And of His fulness we have received and grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:16,17

I started this blog just over two years ago.  In celebration, I’ve given the blog a new look!   There’s so many WordPress themes to choose from, that I may try something different every week! 

When I considered a name for this blog, I knew GRACE had to be the central theme, for above all, I longed for readers, droppers- by, and Google searchers to learn of the riches of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.  Sovereign, sacrificial, perfect, and absolute.  

Absolute:  Complete, pure, unrestricted, independent, unqualified, unconditional, self-existent and conceivable without relation to other things.

Grace:  Unmerited favour of God, inspiring and strengthening influence, unconstrained goodwill. 

Absolutegrace exists to humbly proclaim the perfect, pure, unqualified, unconditional, and unmerited favour of God towards us, which He demonstrated through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus!

After two years, I hope I’ve not deviated (much) from the main purpose of this blog.  I haven’t carved out a great place in the blogosphere, or gathered grand numbers, or made any money from blogging.  I’m still a novice.  But I’ve learned a lot from blogging, and even more so, from reading other’s.   I’ve been reminded of my lack of discipline, and quake under the broad range and reach of other’s talents.   And, I’m struggling to learn the lessons of  ‘not comparing myself with others,’ but focus on glorifying the Lord and “ministering grace to the hearers.”

After two years,

I’ve also learned:

Everyone loves music, pictures, and babies.
Friends and family are too kind. 
There’s wonderful Christians in the blogger world. 
A LOT of people are searching for God, truth, and forgiveness on the internet. 
Friendships can be made through blogging.  And have been…

I’ve made new friends:

Lidj in the Philippines
PreacherPen in Florida
Michael Brewer in the Navy
Carrie
and Beth in Tennessee
Gladwell, from Kenya, living in Poland
Ele, Counselor and Author
Marianne
Mercedes in the UK
Heidi
, and many others

These posts were read most:

His Passion
Life is Loud  (“grinch” goggle searches 🙂 )
Psalm 23: Keith Green
Grace in Marriage
Worship with Mary Barrett and 2 other posts about her
Hands that Care
Artist and Missionary:  Lilias Trotter

I wish these were read more:

The Bible, God’s Word
A Secret Place
Thankful for God’s Word
Resting in Jesus

John’s Journals

I hope to:

Post more thoughts from John, because he has a lot of good ones 🙂
Share more of his photos
Change my webpage theme periodically, as I mentioned earlier.

What do you think of this one?  Please let me know how it appears, or if you prefer the old way.

Please, I’d love to hear from you, what you like, what could be improved, or suggestions for posts, discussions, and music.  Thank you for coming back again and again. 

You are precious to me and devoted to a fault!     Blessings!

Eternal Hope and Change

“The hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” Colossians 1:5

Without going political here, suffice it to say I’m not feeling very hopeful with our nation’s change.  So I remind myself almost daily that one man’s promise of “hope and change” is temporary, ethereal, and like chaff in the wind.  My hope and change is eternal, weighty, and powerful.

A past devotional by C.H.Spurgeon calibrates my focus back to the Lord:

Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here.

It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there.  Here we are weary and toil-worn, but there is the land of rest where the sweat of labour will no more moisten the worker’s brow, and fatigue will be forever banished…

We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal, where graves are unknown things!  Here, sin is a constant grief to us, but there we will be perfectly holy…Oh, is it not joy, that you are not to be in banishment forever, that you are not to dwell in banishment forever, that you are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but will soon inherit Canaan?

Nevertheless, let it never be said of us that we are dreaming about the future and forgetting the present.  Let the future sanctify the present to its highest uses!

Through the Spirit of God, the hope of heaven is the most potent force for the product of virtue.  It is a fountain of joyous effort, it is the cornerstone of cheerful holiness. 

 The man who has this hope in him goes about his work with vigor, for the joy of the Lord is his strength.  He fights against temptation with ardor, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary.  He can labour without present reward for he looks for a reward in the world to come!”

 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Metamorphosis

Buried in autumn’s hard clay

    dry, ugly, brown bulbs

           greet spring with bursts  of colour!

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One of our favourite times in Ottawa is the Tulip Festival held every May.. so this is our attempt to replicate a place and time in our own little spot in the world.