Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Grace.  A matter of getting something good we do not deserve.  Mercy.  A matter of not getting something painful that we do deserve.  Judy spoke of grace just a few days ago.  God's grace grants us the right to be with Him through the death and resurrection of His son.  By that same grace, He gives us the desire to intervene where we can to help and bless others as He has helped and blessed us so many times in so many ways.  By His mercy, He expects that we will treat others mercifully; that we can forgive them if they have hurt us, and likewise, that they will forgive us when we hurt them.

Today I am deeply thankful for both.  Just a few short days ago I wondered what to do when God is silent.  David was my example in Psalm 22.  In the beginning he was lost, alone, forsaken, hopeless.  By the end of the Psalm, he was praising God and proclaiming God's name to future generations!  God changed David in the short space of a Psalm.

Today my heart is bursting with thankfulness for God's grace, mercy, love and our changed circumstances.  A few days ago my family and I were in a scary place; frightened, anxious, worried, wondering.  Ours was a normal human response to difficult news.  But God, by His Spirit came along side in a supernatural way just as He did with David and changed our point of view to wait, to pray, to praise, to trust and to rest in His peace that passes understanding. 

Today our precious little Annie Lou has a whole heart!  A whole heart!  And it is with our whole hearts that we are thankful beyond words!  God granted the surgeons the skills they needed.  He granted the nurses and all those who worked to repair this child's heart all the wisdom, the experience, time, desire and effort to fix her up!  And now we are trusting Him to heal her quickly, and bring her back to health. 

Today, after this experience, we look to her little brother's future with great hope; supernatural hope, based on experience and faith.  Her 2 year old brother, as those who read a previous entry know, has a life-threatening illness.

This is God's amazing gift; whether all my family recognizes it is of God or not, in their own ways, as a result of this experience, they are seeing things happen that are out of their hands.  Some of us only need to see the night sky to realize that we did not put those stars in it.  And some need more.  When God takes things out of our hands, out of our control most of us pray.  We turn to Him.  And when those prayers are answered we give thanks.  And sometimes, suddenly, quite unexpectedly, we may realize for the first time in our lives, God exists.  That is a fine beginning!

And something else...just this moment I received the joyful news of the birth of my second grandchild; a brand new, beautiful baby girl.  How I praise God for His grace and mercy and love...TODAY!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grace (by Judy)

I know that Carolyn only recently posted an entry, and I don't want to be a Blog Hog, but tonight my fingers are itching to talk about the word "grace." Of course it is a beautiful name, the middle of my little granddaughter's identity. It is also a description attached to a ballerina, or a swan. It is that small, quick prayer that we all sped through as children before a delicious dinner. And it is, as Wikipedia says, "... the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved."

That is the grace that consumes my mind as we look out to tomorrow's election. This definition speaks about God's offer of grace to us, but since we aspire to be godly people, we Christians are called, in the name of God, to offer it to others. But do we, can we, should we? We must! If not, than what difference is there between us and the world we hope to sway for Jesus. Today I read of a Christian leader who challenges us to vote biblically. What does that mean exactly - besides agreeing with the agenda of those offering the challenge?

I am not going to spell out what the Bible says on a diversity of issues. That is up to those who aspire to indeed vote biblically. As our pastor says, "You are sensible people. Do your homework." Don't accept what others say about certain passages in the Bible. read it for yourself. All of it. How many of you have heard (and read) of the prophet Micah? That man from the misty recesses of time said, "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." Good counsel this chilly November pre-Election Day evening.

In the New Testament, there is this dialogue between Jesus and a Pharisee,  Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." As we all vote tomorrow, it will be wise to consider these words - in which positions do we see justice, mercy, humility, loving our neighbor? Of course half the electorate will probably see it one way, and half another. Still, at the heart of everything decided tomorrow lies that word "grace." A gift from all of us to each other - love - generous, free, unexpected, undeserved!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Help for the Helpless by Carolyn

I have a very old hymnal.  When I visit my ladies in the nursing homes, especially those with conditions that do no permit them to speak, or understand speech, I often rely on God's Word expressed in the hymns, new, old or somewhere in between.  In light of Hurricane Sandy when I came across this one, it made me think how important, how critical it is to offer a personal, helping hand in addition to all that government is doing.  Here it is.  I hope it moves you to whatever action you've thought about taking, or reinforces a decision you've already made to help the victims of the storm and the cold weather to come.  It has no title and was written by the Reverend Robert Davis in 1908.

"I thank Thee, Lord,
for strength of arm
To win my bread,
And that, beyond my need,
is meat for friend unfed:
I thank Thee much
for bread to live:
I thank Thee more
for bread to give.

I thank Thee much
for snug thatched roof
In cold and storm,
And that, beyond my need,
is room for friend forlorn:
I thank Thee much
 for place to rest,
But more for shelter
for my guest.

I thank Thee, Lord,
for lavish love
On me bestowed,
Enough to share with
loveless folk
To ease their load:
Thy love to me
I ill could spare,
Yet dearer is Thy love I share.