Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Archive for January, 2013

Our Dear Emmeline

I’m taking a break from my normal genre to share thoughts related to my eldest granddaughter, Emmeline, who will celebrate her 11th birthday in May.  In God’s wisdom, He allowed her to be born with a brain tumor.  In God’s providence, he has provided excellent medical care and financial help through all these years.  In God’s goodness, he has supported her with an “army” of prayer supporters who have stood behind her faithfully.  And now, still in God’s plan, a “growth” of some sort has appeared on her brain stem, triggering alarming symptoms.

Emmeline is an incredibly beautiful and sweet girl who loves the Lord, enjoys making greeting cards and treasures her friends.  She is big sister to five younger siblings and enjoys the love and care of devoted parents.  Most of all, she is loved by God—Who doesn’t make mistakes!

As our family heads into a new part of this journey with her, we pray that we can all keep our eyes on the Lord, leaning ever harder on His goodness, grace, provision, strength, and mercy.  May He be glorified in Emmeline and her family no matter where this leads.  And may those who watch be drawn closer to Him.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

“A Life Worth Living”?

A few days ago I caught the last part of an ad on TV:

“…tasting exquisite foods, driving fancy cars–


What a worldview!  Where are God, others, and eternity?  And does my life bear out what I claim as my values?

     A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” ’
      But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’
     Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.  (Luke 12:13-21 NLT)

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Stop and Listen

What’s similar between the story of Jesus’ “transfiguration” on the mountain and the story of Mary and Martha’s behavior when Jesus was their guest?

In the first, Peter’s response was that he had to DO something:  maybe build some shelters for Jesus and his guests, Moses and Elijah.  In the second, Martha’s priority was on DOING something:  fixing a meal for Jesus and the other guests.

But both Peter and Martha were gently reprimanded and told to just stop and listen to Jesus.  (See Matthew 17:1-8 and Luke 10:38-41.)

Here’s the link to a beautiful song that helps me slow down and listen to the Lord:

“From Glory to Ignominy”

This was the headline in one paper today.  Lance Armstrong’s fall is filed in my mind alongside the disgrace and demise of notorious characters like Saddam Hussein and Khadaffi. And I am reminded of God’s promise/warning that evildoers will surely reap the consequences of their sin sooner or later.  Just as sure is His promise that those who are godly and faithful will be rewarded.  My problem is that I’m too impatient. It’s hard to wait while evil keeps winning and the innocent are oppressed.  Psalm 73 is a great read for times like this. 

A TV commentator talking about Lance’s talk with Oprah said that “full confession must precede redemption and forgiveness.”  Wow!  I wonder if he realized that he was expressing deep spiritual truth as well.  I pray that the world won’t just gawk and point fingers at Lance, but that there will be soul-searching to see where we are denying the truth and condemning ourselves.  Confession and repentance are a heavy price to pay, and there will be consequences—BUT aren’t redemption and forgiveness well worth it in the long run? 

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Freedom vs. “Security”

I’ve just finished reading Madeleine L’Engle’s book, “The Young Unicorns”  (copyright1968)—my first venture into her writings but definitely not the last.

Toward the end of this book, a man who is trying to take over the city by force says, “People don’t want freedom.  Don’t you realize that?  Can you not tell?  People want serenity, safety. Freedom is too dangerous.  You don’t want freedom, Robert….My trusty young followers have found something better than freedom, have you not, my lads?

“Young people today in applying for jobs are not looking for challenge….What the young man or woman applying for a job today is looking for is fringe benefits, a secure retirement policy… adequate, nay more than adequate hospital and medical insurance…

“Man is not capable of freedom.  If we are given freedom we will destroy ourselves…The only way we can be freed from the slavery of freedom is by relinquishing freedom…in a reasonable and pleasurable way.”

Does this sound familiar?

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!

From a Hospital Window

Our hospital room has a stupendous view!  (My husband is having surgery and I stay as his “watcher” as is customary in the country where we live.) From the 11th floor of this one skyscraper, we can see a whole sky-full of other skyscrapers, plus at least 15 cranes visible from our window that are busy building more.  And between them all move streams of cars, vans, and pedestrians. 

It reminds me of Psalm 33 which I’ve been memorizing recently, where God is the one looking down on us all.  For some, this may (and should be) scary.  But for me it’s incredibly comforting.

From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;
     from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—
           he who forms the hearts of all,
           who considers everything they do.
.1the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
      on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
            to deliver them from death
            and keep them alive in famine.

And then the glorious finale to this Psalm, which echoes the cry of my heart.  Notice the theme of hope.

We wait in hope for the LORD;
     he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,    Note
     for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
     even as we put our hope in you.   Rainbow

Maranatha!  Come, Lord Jesus!

Living at the Horizon

A CD we got for Christmas contains a song that talks about “living at the horizon” (by Steve Amerson).   We who belong to God are positioned at the point where heaven and earth meet, serving as ambassadors of the King of heaven, representing Him to the world and handing out invitations to all who will respond:


Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Isaiah 55:1-2

Come to me, all of  you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
     and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

Come with me privately to an isolated place and rest a while.  Mark 6:31

Come…inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.      Matthew 25:34 

What a God this is who eagerly seeks human company! 

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.
And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.”   Psalm 27:8 

Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!


A Modern-Day Daniel

I’ve mentioned Daniel recently in my blog, but he comes to mind again as I think of the courageous stand the Greens, of Hobby Lobby, are taking. 

Like Daniel, they have strong convictions about what God, in His holiness, requires and what He despises.  Daniel and his friends had to make decisions about       

–whether to eat the king’s non-kosher food (chapter 1)
–whether to worship the king’s image (chapter 3)
— whether to worship the king instead of God (chapter 6).

In each case they respectfully refused to be pressured into doing what the government required, choosing to obey God regardless of dire consequences.  And God honored them, using them as showcases of His power and sovereignty to the king and his officials.  In their case, He rescued them from a fiery furnace and from hungry lions.

I thank God for the Greens who are standing as a modern-day Daniel, as a light on a hilltop being viewed by everyone (Mt 5:14-15).  May God bless them and use them to encourage us all to stand for what is right regardless of whatever the consequences may be.

I was deeply moved by a news article yesterday: “Please know that God is good to His church,” one Egyptian Christian said at an interdenominational prayer meeting of more than 10,000 people. “We are really blessed and see this time of tension as a chance for us to work for the Kingdom of God.” 


Staying True

This morning I read the very short book of Jude in a new Bible.   When I looked back on the verses I’d marked, all of them were on the same theme!  See if you can identify that theme in these verses:

v 1:  I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.

v 20-21:  But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

v 24:  Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.  (Answer at the bottom in small type)

Now look once more at each of these verses to see who it is that is responsible for this.  Here is a wonderful interplay of God’s sovereign power and my responsibility to stay close to him, safe from the pitfalls described at length in verses 4-19.


(Answer:   keeping us safe)

New Year Musings…

“It’s a sad day for all of us!”—a famous quote in our family (from my niece), describes our feeling upon taking down the Christmas decorations.  Do all the joy, peace, and hope go with us into the new year?  If God is with us (Immanuel), surely they will.

What does this new year hold?  I don’t make New Year’s resolutions—they’re too quickly broken.  But these are among the things I pray will happen:

–The salvation of a friend.

–Worldwide turning to the Lord.

–Revival among God’s people.

–More Christ-likeness in myself.

–Courage and joy to face whatever lies ahead in this uncertain world, knowing Who holds my hand.

–Christ’s return!  Maranatha! (Aramaic for ‘Our Lord, come!’ in 1 Corinthians 16:22)  I plan to end my posts this year with this word as a reminder to all of us—to keep looking up and be ready whenever He comes.

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