Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Archive for January, 2016

A Settler or a Sojourner?

If you would ask me where my home is, I would have to scratch my head. When we were in the US for eight months last year, we joked that we were living out of our car and suitcases.  But here on the other side of the world, we don’t really feel at home either.  We look different, sound different, eat differently and think differently than the people of this country.

A more important question is whether we who have transferred our citizenship to heaven look, sound, and think the same as the people around us whose only home is this world.  If I am a settler, I will try to assimilate.  I will spend my time, energy and resources acquiring things that I think I will enhance my happiness here.  And some of those “things” may include intangibles like acceptance, pleasure, and power. 

On the other hand, if I am a sojourner, I won’t set my heart on those things but on preparing for my Real Home.  I will be patient in trials, content with less-than-ideal situations, and hopeful for the future even when the headlines spell doom.  If this is my mentality, I will be in good company:

Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land …. He went without knowing where he was going. And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. …confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.  (Hebrews 11:8-10 NLT)

Moses chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin and …to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward,…. not fearing the king’s anger…because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible. (Hebrews 11.25-27)

Paul: Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)  Read also Romans 8:18-25.

Here’s the link to a beautiful “Sojourner’s Song” by Buddy Greene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73-6P09xaAE

Heart’s Longing

Oh to…
Rest in your arms
Relax in Your will
Revel in Your goodness
Rejoice in Your beauty
Renounce my selfish ways
Repent of my pride
Remember and obey Your instructions
Recount Your past faithfulness
Realize Your wonderful purposes for me
Reflect Your glory for the world to see!

Helping to Change the World

Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.  John 16:24

It’s true!  Just the other day two of the things I’ve been praying for have been answered!  Saeed Abedini was released from imprisonment in Iran, and my friend’s sick grandchildren are well!  Besides that, some other friends’ house was rented out and yet another friend’s grandchild is on the way to recovery from a serious skin condition we’d prayed about for a long time.  Because I helped to pray for these things, I share in the joy as God answers, and I delight in being part of God’s team.

What a responsibility and privilege it is to participate in God’s plan and in people’s lives by praying for them.  God loves to hear us pray, and He does answer!  All the more reason to keep praying.

Love Song

High and holy
Sovereign, Savior
Creator, Sustainer
Comforter, Friend
You gave me life twice
You chose me forever
I’ll live for you.

My life is yours
You’re all I need
Please keep me true, trusting you
Rejoicing, thanking, growing, serving, glowing
Sharing your love with the world.

(No) Peace on Earth

peace_on_earth_by_alohasiempre-d4i35fg

During Christmas, “Peace” is prominently displayed, echoing the words of the angels who announced Jesus’ birth to shepherds and then concluded with, 
“…peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

But turn a few pages and read Jesus startling words, “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other!”  (Luke 12:51 NLT)

So did Jesus come to bring peace on earth, or didn’t he?  What seems to be a contradiction becomes clear when we look at a couple of things:

1) The context.  In the first, peace is announced “to those with whom God is pleased,” which would exclude those who reject him.  In the second, Jesus goes on to explain that even families will be divided because some will believe in him and others will not.  We’ve all seen plenty of examples of this at all levels of society!

2) The meaning of “peace.”  As with many words, this one has several senses.  The kind of peace Jesus did not come to bring was smooth personal relationships between people when some reject him.  What he, the Messiah, did come to bring was reconciliation with God and all the blessings (security, harmony, well-being) that would involve for those who submit to his rule and become part of his Kingdom.  Will you be part of his Kingdom and enjoy that wonderful peace?

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
Of peace on earth good will to men

And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Holding onto Christmas

I hate to take the Christmas tree down.  It never seems like I’ve enjoyed it enough yet, nor fully explored the wonder that Christmas holds—a loving God becoming man and coming to rescue us from our sin and its consequences.

Michael Card is a singer who goes a long way in capturing the miracle of the Incarnation with words like these: 

“Their (the prophets’) wildest dreams had simply not been wild enough.”

“Give up on your wondering.  Fall down on your knees!”

And then the life of those who choose to follow Him:

“…who belong to eternity, stranded in time…”

“There is a wonder and wildness to life, and freedom for all who obey…”

As the new year begins, I take the first step into a new chapter of that wild life of freedom, drawing ever nearer to the time when my heavenly Bridegroom will come for me and the whole journey will be oh so worthwhile!

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