Friday, March 30, 2012

LACED WITH GRACE...Return to Me!

Today I have shared a devotion with the readers of LACED WITH GRACE, entitled "Return to Me!'

"Now that I am a Grandma, it has been fun to return to the toy stores to shop for our little grand-baby. On a recent trip to visit her and her mommy and daddy, we brought a few of the toys that we had purchased for her. One of the toys that we bought was a round ball. Now, this wasn'nt just any ordinary ball, it was a wonder ball, one that was designed to roll back to you after you rolled it. Of course, before we could give it to our grand-baby, we had to test it out to be sure that it worked. We rolled the ball...and sure enough ...."

CLICK HERE to read the entire post!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

THANKFUL THURSDAY...It's a wonderful life!

One of my favorite movie lines is "I wanna live! I wanna live!" There is nothing like some Jimmy Stewart in the classic movie "It's a wonderful life" As the story explores what it would be like if George Bailey would never have been born, one can't help but consider the impact our lives can have on others.

The movie, in a very real and dramatic way, gives insight of life and death. When we have life, as we know it, we are never satisfied. But when faced with death, we wish we could go back and have a "do over". The best scenario that I can conclude from George Bailey is to make sure that all the in between years between birth and death count for something.

When I think about a birth and a death that counted for something great, none compares to the birth and death of Jesus Christ. Not to mention all of the in between years. The love, the grace, the miracles, the forgiveness, and the sacrifice...what an impact that such love has had on so many people, for many years.

With the upcoming Palm Sunday services this weekend, I would be amiss if I did not take time today to give thanks for His wonderful life, because of Him, I am able to have a wonderful life. Not only a wonderful life, but a more abundant life because of Him.

"I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10b)

Today I am hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY and invite you to share your grateful heart with us by linking up below. Next week we will meet over at Iris's for the month of April. May you continue to have a grateful heart and give praise to Him in ALL things! -God Bless

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Health nuts...for the Kingdom!

As the aging process continues to make havoc in my body, I have never been more aware than right now the need to be living a healthy life. Up until now, I have been able to eat just about anything and not gain weight, but lately I have noticed that has changed. I use to be able to take a Sunday afternoon power nap and be revived, but the 30 minute power nap has now turned into 2 hours. Things seem to be changing as I age, and this old body needs more attention.

One thing that my husband and I have decided to do in our effort to embrace this stage in our life is to get more healthy. We started going on 3 mile walks and we are watching what we put into our mouths. My husband who has been a all day coffee drinker has given coffee up. (not a small task!) We no longer consume carbonated beverages and we eat more whole grain, and lots of fruits and vegetables. And we go out to eat alot less (you can control the carbs and fat intake at home alot easier!)

You would think by now I would be a size 3 dress with all of that change, but honestly, as much as I would like to shed a pound or two, that is not the purpose of these life changes. It is my desire to just be more healthy.

Not only is it a good thing to be healthy in body, but also in spirit. Truth be told, sometimes it is easy to become fat and lazy Christians. Busy schedules interfere with picking up our Bibles. Prayer has become a rushed moment with God instead of getting in our prayer closet. Church attendance is a scheduled activity after all of the ballgames are done. Today's society has made it easy to just talk about being a Christian.
"Too many people have a Christian vocabulary rather than a Christian experience." - Charles F. Banning

Why is it so important to become healthy Christians?

God wants us to be healthy so that we can bear "good" fruits! The more fruit we have in our lives, the more glory and honor that is bestowed upon Him. I have noticed that when I consume more fruits (physically) that I have more stamina and energy. Likewise, when we pursue Him and consume His fruits, we will have more grace, more strength and more love for those around us.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)

A healthy tree will produce good fruit, a dead tree produces nothing. I don't want to be a dead fruit giver for Christ. May we all become health nuts for the Kingdom!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A PIECE OF MY HEART...broken and damaged

The other night before going to bed I discovered a small spot of water on the floor. It was a strange place for one of our dogs to have a potty accident I thought, as it was up in a corner between our kitchen and the hallway. As I got a rag to clean it up, I realized that the more I wiped, the more water that appeared. It was at that moment that I realized the spot of water was only an indication of a slightly larger problem that was unseen.

After some investigation, we discovered a pipe under the kitchen sink had a leak and apparently it had been leaking for awhile. Since it was a hidden problem, it didn't really come to surface until the damage was done. The damage in this case was that the water had been running down underneath our hardwood floor in the hallway. It was now so saturated with water that it had no where to go but up and out of the seams of our beautiful wood floor. The damage had already been done.

Having to rip up my beautiful wood floor just sickens me. Not to mention, feeling afraid of what we might find still hidden underneath the floor. Will their be even more extensive damage to the floor? Will there be a broken pipe under the house that we are not aware of?

All of this water damage made me realize that broken relationships are not much different than a broken pipe. Often times, we do not become estranged with loved ones over night, but it is a slow process, much like a slow leak. Slowly over years, unkind words are spoken, trust is broken, jealousy takes root, love becomes a bitter sore until one day everything just bursts! And like a pipe that can no longer handle the stress of overload, relationships burst and become damaged.

In today's society it seems like relationships are not what they use to be. Every where you look it seems like the demise of  relationships are evident; broken friendships, marriages ending in divorce, family taking family to court over small monetary issues, etc. Many would say that money is the root of all of this evil.

 I disagree.

Even though money can be a stronghold in our lives, in our friendships and in our marriages, I do not believe that money is the root of the problem. Strife and division in relationships are because Satan knows very well that if he can weaken our family, our friendships, our commitments that he can weaken us.

Often times, he strikes us in ways that we are not even aware of. When this goes unrecognized and not dealt with, it is only a matter of time before there is an eruption and the damage will not be able to be contained.

This not only happens in our family relationships, but I have seen firsthand, how this happens in our christian relationships. Jealousy, bitterness and offense can build up in ones heart and like a pipe bursting, relationships in church can be severed or severely damaged. If this happens to you, it may seem like the damage is contained to just you but it isn't. Like the water that was unseen under my floorboard, the damage that occurs when brothers come against brothers often is unseen as well. It doesn't take long for the damage to trickle to others.

 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

I wonder, if our love for God was gauged upon the love (true love) that we have for those around us, how deep would it be?

The funny thing about water is that depending upon the circumstances, it can either by damaging or it can be fun. Water in a swimming pool is exhilarating, while water under a floor board is devastating. In the same sense, how does your love in your relationships measure...devastating or exhilarating?

It is my prayer that God would give each of us the ability to have the exhilarating kind of love for all those around us, even those who have hurt us. Nothing good can come from feeling broken and damaged. Let God fix all of the leaks of your heart today.

And this has been a piece of MY heart today;

Thursday, March 22, 2012

THANKFUL THURSDAY...People need people!

Imagine what your life would be like without people. I know, I know ... some days, going it alone sounds pretty heavenly. Escaping the distractions and drama that often comes with interacting with people may seem like a dream come true.

But in all honesty, without people in our lives, we probably wouldn't be who we are today. I'm not just talking about those people who have poured themselves into us -the ones that have mentored us, trained us and disciplined us (like our parents, teachers and bosses), I am also talking about those people who have challenged us, made us mad, who have talked about us and who have gotten on our ever last nerve.

People. The positive and the negative. We need them ALL to become stronger, wiser and better.

Relationships are a vital part of our life. I was recently reminded of this when we visited our sweet little grand baby. She is 5 months old and this was only the 2nd time we have seen her. It was so much fun playing with her and watching her smile at us. She ate up the extra attention we were giving her. Love and joy is shaping her young life right now, but what about those babies that don't have love and attention, how different is their disposition?

I would suggest it is very different.

Love is the molding factor in our lives. It is a proven scientific fact that if a child is kept in a dark, dismal place with no interaction, no touch, no sense of love, they will die. Yet a child that is surrounded by love, happiness and a safe surrounding will thrive in their environment.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

From the beginning of our life to the very end, we need people. Even Jesus had people around Him, He had His family and friends and His disciples who loved Him, helped Him and encouraged Him all throughout His life here on earth. According to the above scripture found in Ecclesiastes, it is a matter of fact that in this life we WILL be attacked and even defeated, this is why we must have people in our lives!

"Two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better..."

We are not meant to go alone in this life. We need love. We need help. We need encouragement. If we are to have a strong cord that is not easily broken, we must have strong relationships. First and foremost, we need a strong relationship with God. Secondly, we need a strong relationship with our spouse and our children and thirdly, we must seek to have strong relationships with others.

Some people are easier to love and accept than others. I have had some pretty amazing people in my life that have loved me and stood by my side thru thick and thin. And then there are those other people. The ones that have kicked me when I was down, and turned their back on me when I most needed them. But I am thankful for ALL of the people who have spoken into my life. Both the positive and the negative. Without them, I would not be who I am today.

Today, on THANKFUL THURSDAY, I am thankful for the people in my life. The good, the bad and the ugly. I am thankful for the cord, the one that cannot be broken because when it is all said and done, we are never alone. We always have at least 3 on our side...the FATHER, the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT.

"For a triple braided cord is never broken." -Ecc.4:12

What are you grateful for today? Please share your THANKFUL THURSDAY post with us by linking up below.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

THANKFUL THURSDAY...justice and mercy

Today I was summoned to appear in court. Now before you get too excited and curious as to what law I broke, let me make this clear, I was only subpeoned to appear to testify as a witness in a car accident case.

Prior to having the civil suits called, the judge tried the criminal cases first. It was quite interesting to listen to each person pleading for mercy. In some cases, the judge was merciful while others, not so much.

 I guess it is difficult for judges to look past the 3rd and 4th repeat offenders. One particular case, a repeat offender, who seemed to have a habit of stealing and robbing, was sentenced to more time in jail. Apparently a final straw for this particular judge..."I'm going to take you off the streets before you rob all of us blind."

Was justice served? I don't know if it was for everyone today in that courtroom. But I do know that a different kind of justice and mercy is rendered from above, from the ultimate judge of us all.

"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

What a job description! The book of Micah spells it out for us. Chrstians are to be people who "do justice, love mercy and walk humbly" with God. We may be tempted to give ourselves a pat on the back because we are diligent to read our Bible daily, and pray earnestly, and attend church on a regular basis.

And all of these things are to be commended, but if that is all we do, are we any different than the Pharisees?

Pharisees read the Word and they attended church. But to be set apart from this, we must adhere to what God is saying here in Micah.

Treat others with God's standard of justice.
 In other words, do not cheat people, be honest, be fair, defend the defenseless.

Love mercy.
We all are thankful for the mercy of God upon us, but how often do we extend the same kind of mercy to others by way of giving to the poor, feeding someone who is hungry or clothing someone who is homeless? What mercy did we have upon those imprisoned? or those who have done us wrong? Mercy comes in alot of forms, not just in words but deeds as well and we are to LOVE doing it!

Walk humbly with God.
Humility is not seeking credit for yourself. Do some things in the background that make a difference but don't take credit for it. Give anonymously, not with just your money, but your time and talents too.

If you look closely, you will find that there are many people like those I saw in the courtroom today. People who need alittle love, acceptance, justice and most of all, mercy. I am so thankful that God exended all of that to me. Now, if only I could keep my eyes open long enough to spot those who need it from me.

Today I am hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY and above all things to be thankful for, God's Mercy is what I am so thankful for. Without it, I could never comprehend what the book of Micah is speaking of. May we all be encouraged to find justice and mercy in this adventure that we call life!

We want to hear what is on your grateful heart today, please join us by linking up below!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time to take some trash out!

Junk...that is what I see whenever I look out in our garage.

We have been piling up all those things that no longer fit us, or fit our style or liking any longer. Seems like the pile is getting bigger and bigger and now that we no longer have any use for these things, a trip to the junkyard seems in order.

When I think about all of that "stuff", I can't help wonder how in the world so much unwanted junk has accumulated. Seems just like overnight, things that once were useful, now have absolutely no use or value. A quick trip to the local junkyard seems to be in order.

I wish that unloading our spiritual junk could just be that easy.

I don't know why some junk is easier to get rid of than others. But it has occurred to me, until we are willing to strip ourselves of those things that weigh us down, we will never be anything except junk dealers. Constantly dealing with our junk. I love what the writer of Hebrews says about this...

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1; NLT)

Most of us would think that what "hinders" us is sin, but sin is not the only thing that stands in our way of having a fulfilling, faithful life. Some of the "junk" in our life is not even our fault. We have no control over some of the junk in our way such as things like a birth defect or an illness. Some of us are hindered because of our environment or because of our education. Things such as depression, anxiety, and the economy can also slow us down, sometimes just as much as sin can.

Often times, Christians feel ashamed or awkward if they struggle in any of these areas. But, just like sin, we can all become overcomers thru the Blood of Christ. Each of us can make a choice whether we allow the junk in our lives to control us or with the help of God, we can control the junk, by tossing it out.

If we are going to be full blown, sold out, true Followers of Christ, we must be willing to come face to face with the junk that holds us back. Grace and Mercy has been offered to us in spite of the junk that we continue to carry from place to place with us. It is true that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy but he also hits us by using the junk (the pain, heartache, loss and bad memories). To counteract this, we must remember what God said..

"I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

To live a life more abundantly, one without sin, and one with less junk, we may need to clean out some junk in our life.

Is it time to take out some trash!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

THANKFUL THURSDAY...We need some oil!

Have you ever considered how many different purposes oil has? I googled it and found over 50 different things that you could use baby oil for. And to think at one point in time all I thought baby oil was good for was for a baby!

Baby oil can soften, moisturize and heal. It isn't partial to age. Everyone has skin and everyone has skin that from time to time needs attention. In the same manner, we all need some softening, moisturizing and healing when it comes to our spiritual skin. No matter what stage of your walk you find yourself in, a babe in Christ or a seasoned warrior, we all need to have the oil that allows us to have healthy skin.

If you think about it, when we neglect the care of our skin, bad things can happen. It becomes dry and chapped. Open sores and scabs can appear. I would suggest that when we abuse or neglect our spiritual skin, the same thing can happen. Without the Oil of the Holy Spirit, what permeates from our pores can be less than pretty. We can be unforgiving. We can be impatient. We can be negative. We can speak out of turn. All of these things can lead us to have (and also give) open sores and scabs.

"You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy." Hebrews 1:9

We all need to have some oil in our lives. Not just the baby oil kind, but the spiritual freedom kind. The kind that can only come from God pouring out His Spirit (His Oil) all over us. If you had a skin disorder, no doubt you would go see the doctor and have an examination...sometimes what we need is a good ole self examination led by the Great Physician. Allowing His oil to be smeared all over us will enable us to have healthy skin, resulting in love and joy permeating thru our pores.

Aren't you thankful for His oil?

I am hosting THANKFUL THURSDAY  this month and am so glad to share in His grace with you. I pray that you have experienced His Oil today! Won't you share your grateful heart with us? Link up below...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Kiss of Betrayal

Have you ever been betrayed by a friend or a family member? If you are not sure if you have, just look at what Webster has to say it means to be betrayed:

BETRAYAL [bih - trey - al] Verb: 1. To be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining or fulfilling. 2. To disappoint the hopes or expectations of. Be disloyal.

I would suggest that of all the things we experience in life, being betrayed by someone has to be one of the worst feelings. Jeremiah understood this feeling, even when he was trying to do the work of God, he was also betrayed by many...

JEREMIAH 20:10 "For I have heard the whispering of many, “Terror on every side! Denounce him; yes, let us denounce him!” All my trusted friends, Watching for my fall, say: “Perhaps he will be deceived, so that we may prevail against him And take our revenge on him.”

Being betrayed is a devastating thing. It can leave you feeling worthless, it can make you angry, bitter and even set you into a depression. It can cause you to second guess yourself, your abilities and certainly it can cause you to second guess your judgement of choosing friends.

Trust is very difficult to get back once it is broken. Once we have been kissed by betrayal, it is difficult to turn the other cheek. For me personally, when I have been betrayed, I want to close out the world and not let anyone in. It is a natural reaction to be hesitant to trust anyone once we have been betrayed.

But Jesus shows us a different way.

Nobody can tell a story of a kiss of betrayal like Jesus can. The kiss that led to His betrayal by a loved friend ultimately took Jesus down the road to the cross. He not only was betrayed by a friend, but He was then persecuted, beaten, and nailed to a cross where He was spit on and was cursed at and left to die.

Despite what His friends said, despite what His enemies did...Jesus still loved them. In fact He loved them to death, He died for them, even though they were His haters.

None of us can be Jesus, but we can strive to be more like Him. When we are talked about, cursed at, and betrayed by those around us we can choose to either become bitter because of it or we can become a better Christian by loving them in despite what they do.

In my life I have been kissed by betrayal, but I choose to be more like Jesus. I choose love and forgiveness.

How about you?

and this has been a piece of my heart today;

Thursday, March 1, 2012

THANKFUL THURSDAY...Trimming the fat

Who doesn't love a good steak?

When my husband takes me out to eat, we like to get a good steak. If we are going to order steak, I want to get the best cut of meat. I don't want one that has alot of fat on it. Of course, many times there is at least alittle bit of fat, but before I can cut into the good stuff and enjoy it, I have to trim the fat off.

I suppose, you and I are no different than a good piece of steak. We all have good attributes, but the fat that comes along with it takes away from the good, salty savor that is just waiting to be enjoyed. I am not talking about the kind of fat that sticks thick to our thighs, I'm talking about some spiritual fat that lingers in our life, in our spirit, and in our heart that needs to be trimmed from time to time.

"Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to His guests for their blessing." -2 TIMOTHY 2:21

It is true, before we can be worthy to be used, we must trim the fat. I don't know anyone who is content with achieving nothing in life, everyone wants to make a difference of some kind. All of us were created with a purpose in mind. Discovering what that purpose is sometimes is alittle harder than it appears. Paul is suggesting in 2 Timothy that in order to discover God's purpose in our life, we might need to trim off some fat.

The fat in our spiritual life are those things that keep us from doing God's purpose. Paul is telling us that the way we can trim some fat in our life is by yielding to God or by stepping aside from the things that do not honor God. I don't know what those things are for you, however, I do know that we all have some fat in our life because the Bible says that "we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 8:28)

Much like a fine cut of meat, in order to get to the good stuff, we have to cut away the fat. Fat may be part of the steak but it is not what tastes good. Same can be said about the spiritual fat that lingers in us, not only is not pleasing to others, but it is distasteful to God.

I love the fact that God desires for us to be set apart. He wants us to be different than the world. In other words, He wants us to be a prime cut, nothing but the best!

Today I offer up thanks that God loves me so much that He doesn't want me to stay the same. He wants what flows out of me to be a pleasing taste not only to others but to Him as well. But, I have to be willing to trim the fat!

Today is THANKFUL THURSDAY and I am so glad that you joined us. I will be hosting TT this month and I look forward to hearing what is on your heart. Please link up your post below in Mr. Linky as we celebrate His faithfulness and blessings.