Extravagant Grace

Lately I’ve had several opportunities where I could have seen Grace in action

In my own life, the lives of my children, the lives of my friends….the operative phrase being

…could have seen.

This morning, as I’ve spent some time listening…to not only my thoughts but the Holy Spirit, the phrase “Extravagant Grace” kept rolling over and over me like a strong yet gentle ocean wave.

How often we bask in this unmerited favor! We want that grace to envelop us like a thick, soft blanket on a cool night! Or diffuse on us like the cooling spray of water on a hot Summer’s day! Oh, we enjoy it! And we want more.

But, how often do we extend that beautiful, comforting unmerited favor?

When spouses, children, friends and other Christians don’t act or talk or walk like we think they should, where’s the grace?

Years ago, there was a hamburger commercial and the elderly lady was always going around saying, “Where’s the beef?” indicating that all the other hamburger joints served up something “less than”. Inferior. Not up to her standards.

I’ve seen so many posts on the ever loving yet, ever painful Facebook lately, that do nothing but tear down…people, ideas, processes, churches, families, Christians, leaders, morals, men, women and children. We don’t like how someone is behaving; they are not behaving up to my standards, they don’t agree with what I think is right and true, so they are idiots or wrong or pious or un-Christlike…or, you can fill in the blank.

Now, before you jump to the conclusion that I don’t think there are absolutes in this world, I absolutely do! The Bible, the Word of God, is an absolute. It’s true. It is infallible.
There are actions that require discipline and there is a time to call someone on whatever they may be doing that is contrary to what God says. But, the Word also says to get the LOG out of your own eye before you jump on a brother about the SPECK that is in his! Luke 6:41-43

So, my challenge to all of this next week is to throw out grace, the unmerited favor, like it’s confetti! Someone cuts you off in traffic? Throw out grace instead of the one-fingered salute. The frazzled mama at Walmart who has two cartloads of groceries in the 20 items or less lane? Throw out grace instead of dirty looks. Your spouse has screwed up again and you don’t think you can take it one more time? Remember the grace that has freely been given you. A fellow church member has got his shorts in a wad because he doesn’t think he has been recognized enough for his good works? Love him anyway. Let God work out the details.

I leave you with this:
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. II Corinthians 13:11, 14 NIV

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Frozen? Let It Go!

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Are you afraid?
Is there something in your life that you feel you should do or say
But you don’t because
You are afraid?

Do you feel a prompt to act or speak
But you are frozen by
FEAR?

Do you look at those around you and think
I wish I was more like her?
She has it all together
She is full of confidence
She isn’t afraid of anything!

Did you ever stop to think that she is afraid?
That she really doesn’t have it all together?
That her heart pounds almost out of her chest at the thought of doing that
One thing?
That she loses sleep at night thinking about how she could have done things differently
Or not at all?

Embarrassment is her middle name
Palpitations are the drumline of her heart
Scared Sweat is the glisten on her skin
And the sour taste in her mouth?
It’s as common as the air she breathes

Do we wait until we are no longer afraid to do the things we know to do?
Do we wait until we’re comfortable?
Do we wait until we’re confident?

How does she do it?
She knows that the gut-gripping fear is not her gift to keep
She recognizes from where it came and refuses to let it rule her
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. NLT

We need to step out in faith
Knowing our Father goes before us
Trusting Him even though we can not trust ourselves
Finding our confidence in Him

Life is short
Time is slipping
Deeds need done
People need us
We need each other
We do not have time to sit and wait for the
Perfect
We may be required to do it afraid
Someone is depending on us

Be a Product of the Product

A couple of weeks ago

I was with a couple of friends

And we were at a Young Living essential oil class

Meeting with like-minded oilers!

During the course of the class we watched corporate videos

Announcing new and exciting things that were going to be taking place in the company

Exciting stuff

Stuff we had been hoping and waiting for

Stuff we didn’t even know we wanted

At one point,  we divided up into teams and played a game

So many points for each item of Young Living we had with us

Here we are

Digging through our purses, our pockets

Searching for yet another Young Living product

Lip balm, Lip gloss, Thieves Waterless Hand Cleaner, Oils, Oils and more Oils

Brochures, Flyers, Supplements, NingXia, Nitro

Lotions, Diffusers, Diffuser Jewelry

Books,  T-shirts, Backpacks

Thieves Mints, Thieves Cough Lozenges, Thieves Spray

We just kept pulling out more

Our points were piling up

Our team took the longest to tally because of ALL THE PRODUCT

There were 3 on the team and our totals surpassed all the other teams

By a lot

More than double

Maybe even more than triple

Because after it was all said and done

We found more product that we didn’t even count!

We won!

Our Crown Diamond leader used this game to send home the message

Be a Product of the Product

Let others see you using your Young Living items in your

Every day, Walking around

LIFE

When others see you using your oils

Your supplements

Reading the Chemistry of Oils book

Diffusing Peace & Calming at your desk

They will ask

And you can tell

How this company and all of the products have

Changed Your Life

And how it can change theirs, too!

This game, the message

Be a Product of the Product

Really got me to thinking

I love these oils and supplements and books and lip balm and and and…

But the One I truly want to be a Product of is

Jesus

If you look at me you can tell that I love Young Living

Can others look at me and tell that I LOVE JESUS?

Am I a Product of HIM?

I’m not talking about wearing a t-shirt or having a bumper sticker on my car

Or sharing a meme on Facebook declaring my love for Him

Do I have Jesus spilling out of every nook and cranny of my life?

Do I talk like HIM?

Walk like HIM?

See others like HIM?

Love like HIM?

How long does it take for others to see Jesus in me?

Father,

Help me to live this life that is a gift from You

With an out loud Faith

An out loud Love

An out loud Joy

So that others will see and ask

“Why are you so different?”

And I can say

“It’s all because of Jesus”!

Amen

You Need/I Need/We All Need

A post I wrote a couple of years ago

Came up in the memories of my Facebook page

A flood of emotion rose inside of me

It was a post about one elderly gentleman and his need for

New underwear!

He was standing in the aisle searching for the appropriately sized

T-shirts and boxers

He needed help

I was there

His matter of fact statement will be in my memory forever

                                                           “My wife always did this for me” he says

“I don’t have her no more.”

————

I don’t have her no more

I don’t have her no more…

Six little words that rocked his world

Six little words that made me think about mine

My parents are both gone

My siblings are both gone

Pastor Bill stepped in and was like a father to me

But he’s gone, too

I don’t have them no more

————

The fact of the matter is

We will all lose loved ones and friends

————

I’ve heard it said so many times

I don’t need to attend church

I can find God in nature

I hear good preaching on television

I read my Bible and pray at home

And that’s just fine

Good for you!

But what if we connected with a body of believers?

What if we remained connected in relationships?

What if we belonged to an even larger family?

We would never be alone

We would always have someone to share our burdens and our joys

We would always have someone to step in with fatherly advice

Someone to help us maneuver the scary places

The unfamiliar waters

Not only would we have relationship

We would have family

————

Maybe you really don’t NEED that connection right now

…you will one day

One day

Six words will rock your world

“I don’t have her no more”

Or

“the cancer is in my liver”

Or

“it’s just a matter of time”

————

Maybe YOU don’t need someone

But I promise

At this very moment

SOMEONE NEEDS YOU!

************

My challenge for you is this:

Find a group of believers

Connect with them

On Sunday

On Tuesday

In small groups

In your home

Whenever

Wherever

Connect

Someone needs you

You need someone

We need each other!

 

You Just Never Know!

I’ve seen my little feller a couple of times since I first posted this. Once, in the WalMart parking lot and once, at breakfast in a local restaurant. He was by himself each time. 😦

Marijo Sings

He reminded me of the character Carl from the movie Up

Big glasses

Slight frame

White hair

All alone in the Men’s underwear aisle of WalMart

As I passed by the area doing frantic Christmas shopping of my own

He toddles towards me with a package of men’s T-shirts held out before him

“Are these a size small?” he asks

“Because I wear a small. I know because I looked before I came.”

Indeed they are, I tell him

“I wear a small so these should fit, right?”

Right, I say

“My wife always did this for me” he says

“I don’t have her no more.”

Not really sad, just matter-of-factly

I tell him I’m so sorry

Then I start to walk away

He then says

“There’s just so many to look through and I also need shorts”

I smile

Here I am in WalMart helping a complete stranger find…

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Future & Hope

The early morning quiet

My favorite time of day

No lights but the Christmas tree

Peace

I sat at the table to read and illustrate a devotion

Today’s was about HOPE

How the Father has plans for us

Plans to give us a Future and a Hope

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord

They are plans for good and not for disaster,

To give you a future and a hope. NLT

How often I have heard this

How often I have quoted it

Today, I read around it

And I found this

Jeremiah 29:7

And work for the peace and prosperity of the city

Where I sent you into exile. NLT

Jeremiah sent this letter to all the people that Nebuchadnezzar had taken

Into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon

Today, I believe, Christians are in exile

Hebrews 11:13-16

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

This world is not our home

We are only passing through

For just a short stay

But while we are here we are to occupy

Build houses and live in them

Plant gardens and eat their produce

Take wives and become fathers of sons and daughters

Seek the welfare of the city (country) where I have sent you into exile

Pray to the Lord on its behalf

This is NOT a political post

I’m just sharing what I read and how it really caused me to pause and think

So often I hear people talking about how they just wish Jesus

Would return and get us out of this mess we’re in

Don’t get me wrong!

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!!

But

We are IN this world

We are not OF it

We are to occupy ’til HE comes

And PRAY

Pray for the welfare of our world

Pray for the welfare of our country

Pray for the welfare of our state

Pray for the welfare of our city

Pray for the welfare of our household

As it goes

So will we

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