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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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!

 

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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Created to Create

How many of you doodle while listening, whether it is while the pastor is preaching, talking with a friend on the phone or sitting in a business meeting? I know I do! I’m getting to be quite a pro at making 3D boxes or heart shapes or even a dead tree every once in a while. My husband, Mark, draws goofy looking faces and geometric shapes all around his note taking and we seldom go out to eat that there is not something doodled on a napkin or two!
How about scrapbooking? Who all has tried their hand at that? Had a diary? With lock and key of course! Written out your prayers? Or, tried your hand at an online blog? What about Pinterest night at the library or your church? Crafted with a friend? Bought and colored in a coloring book? Some, if not most people have tried one or more of each of these!
I believe that’s because we were created to create! After all, we are made in the CREATOR’s image, aren’t we?
Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
We were created by the Creator, in His image so that makes us creators! We are all ARTISTS!
If we were to ask a young child if they think they are an artist, I’m pretty sure every single one of them would answer with a resounding, YES! Then they would sit down and proceed to draw…scribbles, circles, stick figures, etc. to prove to us that they indeed are artists and then show us the masterpiece to prove it!

PicMonkey Collage Created to Create
The picture on the left was drawn by our son, Bryan, at age 3.
The picture on the right was drawn by our granddaughter, Hannah, at age 2.
Both drawings are masterpieces!

Somewhere along in life, we decided or were told that perhaps we should try something else, that we weren’t artists! For me it happened in the 3rd grade ART class when my teacher told me my people looked horrible! From then on, I felt I wasn’t an artist. My guess is, that teacher, Mrs Crowder, had never seen a Picasso! They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but I think ART is in the eye of the ARTIST!

But this blog is not just about ART or pushing a product, it is about worshiping God and Lingering Longer in His Word! It’s about Bible journaling and how do I do it?
Bible journaling has become a tremendously popular new way to connect with Scripture in a creative way by combining faith and art! How to do it is up to you…write, draw, paint your thoughts and reflections in your Bible or journal. The possibilities are quite literally endless. There are stickers, washi tape, printed paper or card stock or stamps and ink that you can use or if you are bold, you can use paint, or markers or colored pencils or pens. You can even use a meaningful picture that you literally trace into your Bible or journal, there are lots of those on Pinterest or even coloring books! You can try your hand at lettering ( there are Youtube videos to watch) and write out your prayers or thoughts in beautiful script. Some people paint or color over the words. Some people can’t! You can tape pages into your Bible or even use clear pages. There isn’t a right or wrong way! And remember, you don’t need a lot of supplies to get started; a Bible or journal, some colored pencils, a prayerful heart and a listening ear…
Whatever method you prefer, the Heart should remain the same; connecting with God’s Word in a fresh new way!
While watching a video from DaySpring about a new product we would be selling, Illustrated Faith, I heard the phrase LINGER LONGER and it EXPLODED in my spirit! Linger Longer. If journaling or drawing or coloring or taping pictures into my Bible causes me to meditate upon HIS Word, how can that be wrong?! When I am creating a page in my Bible, I think about that Scripture and what God is saying to me, a LOT!

Joshua 1:8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

 7 Steps to Illustrating Your Faith

1. Spend time with GOD!
Read a devotion
Listen to worship music
2. Pray about it!
Ask God to guide you
Pray.Create.Repeat
3. Write it down!
What is GOD telling YOU?
4. Draw it!
Bring that big idea into the margins of your Bible
5. Date it!
It’s so important to date your entries since you are going to go back to these verses over and over.
6. Tab it!
Use tabs to see what themes you’re on
Make great conversation starters, too!
7. FORGET THE RULES!
Just connect with GOD in the way that’s most natural to you!

 Shanna Noel is the founder of Illustrated Faith. A wife and mother of two, Shanna is a lifelong scrapbooker who started using her passion and a journaling Bible to begin illustrating and documenting her faith… right in her Bible! Her first Instagram post ignited a wildfire that just keeps growing, helping women and men connect with God’s Word in amazing new ways. Shanna’s blog regularly features ideas from the Illustrated Faith team for Bible and art journaling. Look for Illustrated Faith-branded products – including lovely faith-filled supplies from Bella Blvd – on DaySpring.com’s Illustrated Faith page!

Fearless

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FEARLESS

This picture of our granddaughter

Hannah and her daddy

Says more than my words can convey

FEARLESS TRUST

Trust that her daddy will hold her

Trust that her daddy will NEVER hurt her

Trust that her daddy will keep her safe

She has Learned this trust and

Her daddy has Earned this trust

How much more ought we to trust

Our Heavenly Father

We can trust Him to hold us

We can trust Him to NEVER hurt us

We can trust Him to keep us safe

We can Learn this trust

HE has Earned this trust

0[2]

Hannah & her Daddy

Change Me? I’m Okay

I’m okay

That’s what all the books tell me

Jesus loves me just the way I am

Right?

I want to be all that I can be…

Seriously?

Do I really want to CHANGE?

No

Not really

I’m pretty comfortable

Feeling mighty righteous and holy

Looking pretty good to all those looking AT me

But the One who looks INTO me

Knows

He knows the peel looks good on the outside

But the fruit inside is, well,

DRY

Tasteless

Lifeless

Matthew 5:6 NLT

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.

Yes!

I want to be hungry!

Not for physical food

But righteousness!

No more dry fruit

No more looking good on the outside but shriveled on the inside

Fill me up, Lord

Let the Spirit renew my thoughts and attitudes

I will put on my new nature

Created to be like God–

Truly righteous and holy