Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Archive for March, 2011

Just a clay pot but…

Flower pots.  Fancy or plain?  I like mine plain so they don’t distract from the beauty of the plants in them.  In fact, some of my clay pots have holes in the sides to allow the orchid roots to get air and even grow out.  The pot is just a setting for the flower, not a work of art in itself. That’s what I think of when I read this:

“God has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God…but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.  This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”         (2 Cor. 4:6-7 NLT)

Flowerpot, treasures in earthen vessels

Another mental image I have is of a cracked pot with a light inside, shining through the flaw.   It doesn’t matter if I look good or not.  The glory is God’s, and I’m privileged to be a container for it, showing Him off to others.

That Is the Mystery

Ever since I discovered Nancy Drew, I have loved mysteries—even devouring the Hardy Boys books written for boys.  The word “mystery” occurs several times in the book of Ephesians, referring to God’s recently revealed plan.

In 1:10, the mystery is the unification of everything in heaven and earth under Christ’s authority.  Note the vertical axis in the diagram below.

In 3:6, the mystery is the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles—again under Christ.  Note the horizontal axis in the diagram.

Now with Christ in the center of both axes—it forms a cross!  The only way to life and wholeness for a torn and alienated world is Christ and his death on the cross.

United in Christ, cropped

Prayer of a Leader

Lord, help me…

–To be WILLING, even in hard things.

–To remember I’m SERVING, not bossing.

–To GIVE of myself, my time and resources UNGRUDGINGLY.

–To nurture my RELATION TO YOU.

–To be an EXAMPLE of GODLINESS.

–To be TRANSPARENT.

–To have COURAGE to face issues.

–To be GENTLE.

–To remember YOU ARE MY LEADER.

Honor or Infamy?

In Matthew 26 we read a story of a famous person and an infamous person.

Mary, who valued Jesus above her highest treasure, poured it all out on his head.

Judas, who disdained Jesus as worthless, not only censured Mary but also sold Jesus for a pittance.

Both of these have gone down in history—she in honor;  he in infamy.

“What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be…”
                                                                    [Albert B. Simpson]

That Final Move

Our suitcases are almost ready to go.  Some were a bit too heavy and things had to be shifted around.  What a bother!  Won’t it be nice when we “move” to heaven?  No planning, packing, overweight, lugging suitcases, customs,  or unpacking!

Wow, I’m ready to go!  (Now, where do we put the toothbrushes, and this warm jacket?  And these clothes we’re wearing now?)

(I won’t be able to post anything on this blog for 2-3 days, so please be patient.)

Unravel or Unfold?

Most days are pretty predictable.  But when it doesn’t turn out the way I had thought, did it unravel—or did it unfold?  Or was it unwrapped or unveiled? 

“Unravel” suggests that I had it figured out but it didn’t work, and the result was less than pretty.  And then I most likely came “unglued”!

“Unfold” or “unwrap” or “unveil” suggests that God has a plan unknown to me which he brings about during the course of a day.  Imagine seeing an intricate design of a hand-woven cloth as it is unfolded.  Or a gift from a loved one being unwrapped.  Or a masterpiece being unveiled.  I want to think of my day as a well-planned gift from my Creator and my Lover which He shows me bit by bit.  He invites me to enjoy it and participate in His ongoing work—work on me and work in the world.

What Keeps Me Going?

Lord, help me each day…

…to be thankful —for the beauty and love you place in my life.

…joyful—because You love me.

…content—because You provide.

…alert—because the enemy is prowling.

…loving & compassionate—because people around me have real needs.

…sensitive—because You want me to serve.

…humble—because pride keeps popping out.

…faithful—because I love You and want to please You and hear Your “well done.”

…courageous—because You haven’t promised a life of ease, and because YOU
ARE WITH ME!

…prayerful—because I and those I love need you!

On Being an Alien

For most Americans, an “alien” is a character with malformed facial features and strange-looking appendages.  I hope that doesn’t describe me, even though the government of the country where I happily reside classifies me as an “alien.” I don’t look like the citizens of this country.  I don’t sound like them.  I don’t think like them. 

In a few days, I will present my passport to an immigration official in my home country.  If I’m lucky, he/she will say “Welcome home!”  (That actually happened once. Smile)  I will no longer look or sound different from all the other people in the airport or on the street—or will I?  Actually, I will probably not feel like I belong there either.  Peter says that I am an “alien and stranger in the world” (1 Peter 2:11 NIV) no matter what country I happen to be in.

So where do I belong?  My real citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  And I am one of those described as “… chosen people… royal priests…a holy nation, God’s very own possession. (1 Peter 2:9-10 NLT). 

Yes, I’m an alien here.  But more accurately, I’m an ambassador on business for my King!  It shouldn’t worry me if I don’t fit in.

How God Feels About Me

Being a parent (though my sons are now grown) has helped me to understand more about how God feels about me.

I love my children; my heart yearns for them.

God loves me infinitely more.  Eph 3:18-19, Jer 31:3, Rom 8:38-39

“…how wide, long, high, deep is his love…too great to understand fully”

I enjoy and delight in being with them.

God takes pleasure in my company.

Zeph 3:17 “He will take delight in your with gladness…will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

I can hardly wait for the day I can see them.

God is also looking forward to eternity together with me.

Rev 21:3 “God’s home is now among his people!  He will live with them…

Jn 17:24 “I want these you’ve given me to be with me where I am.”

I eagerly await and cherish every communication from them, wanting them to take initiative sometimes.

God loves to hear from me in prayer, even if it’s just “baby talk.”

Ps 27:8 “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’”

I share their hurts, joys, and hopes.

God experiences my life along with me, and my faithful High Priest can fully sympathize.

Heb 4:15 “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do…”

I’m so proud of them.

God is going to show me off to the powers in eternity. My picture is on his fridge Smile

Job 1:8 “Have you noticed my servant Job?  He’s is the finest man in all the earth…”

Heb 11 (whole chapter)

I applaud each of their achievements.

God notices each thing, even service done in secret or unnoticed and will reward me.

Mt 10:42 “If you give even a cup of cold water…you will surely be rewarded.”

I teach, guide and encourage them the best I can.  I want them to reach their full potential, fulfill God’s plans for their lives.

God teaches me, and his goal is to make me like Christ.  He has a wonderful plan for my life & will complete it!

Phil 1:6 “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

I am careful to model by my behavior what I want them to do.

Christ is my example.  Fix my eyes on him.

1 Peter 2:21b “He is your example and you must follow in his steps.”

Hebrews 3:1 “fix your thoughts on Jesus”; 12:1-2 “Let us run with endurance…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

I delight in giving them good things.

God’s gifts are fantastic—in this life and the next.  What surprises are in store!

Js 1:17 “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father…”

I disciplined and corrected them when they needed it.

God disciplines and corrects me too.

Hb 12:6 “The Lord disciplines those he loves…”

My goal is to teach them to eventually be independent because I won’t always be with them.

God teaches me a lot BUT I’ll always need him, and he’ll always be there for me!

Jn 14:16-18 “I will not abandon you as orphans…the Holy Spirit will never leave you…he will be in you.”

Mt 28:20b “I am with you always…”;

Envious Prophets

The Bible is just full of treasures waiting to be discovered—and rediscovered!  Here’s one I found some time ago and read again today. This diagram helps to show the beautiful symmetry of God’s plan of salvation in the Old Testament times and now in the New Testament and beyond. And it shows the central role of each Person of the Trinity in our salvation.  We are so blessed!

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory.  They were shown a that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things angels long to catch a glimpse of.”                 1 Peter 1:10-12 (New English Translation)

1 Peter 1_10-12 diagram

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