Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

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Sensing God

O God,
You are silent to our ears,
but I “hear” your praise in the birds’ songs
in the song of praise of your people
in the voice of a friend.

You are invisible to my eyes,
but I “see’ you in the beauty of a flower, the sky.

Your touch cannot be felt
but in the hug of a friend,
in your healing of my pains.

I can’t smell your fragrance,
but get whiffs of the perfume of a gardenia
and I long to be a conduit of Christ’s fragrance
as I see Your love spread through Your honorable servants.

Your goodness is not perceived by my taste buds,
but I “taste and see” that You are good!
I get a foretaste of glory now and then—
in all the things listed above,
in a divine stirring of my heart
in the daily gifts from Your hand.

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Daily Frustration or Feast?

Is my life with God an experience of…

Discipline or Devotion?
     I am His!

Duty or Delight?
     Enjoy Him!

Drudgery or Contentment?
     He’s all I need!

Dread or Thanksgiving?
     He meets all my needs!

Distrust or Trust?
     He’s in control & loves me; all will be well!

True Perspective

I really identify with Asaph.  He’s the guy who was fuming over the teflon-coated “fat cats” who never seemed to get what they deserved for all their pride, cruelty, wickedness, and total disregard for God. He even got to wondering if his own pure life was all in vain—UNTIL he came face to face with God and got it all in proper perspective. 

So what about me?  Like Asaph…

…I look around me.  Life seems so unfair!  I become cynical.
…I look within me.  I am bitter, foolish, ignorant.
…I look up—at God. 
            He holds me, guides me, leads me to a glorious destiny.              
            He is all I want, all I need. 
            He is the strength of my heart no matter what happens. 
            He is mine forever. 

And I am secure!

(Taken from Psalm 73.)

Two Beloved Children

A movie called “Someone Else’s Child” jumped out at me one evening when I needed some mindless relaxation.  Inspired by actual events, it turned out to be the gripping story of Corey, who gave birth and then realized eight years later that Christopher, whom she had raised and loved very much, was not her son!  Eventually she finds her own son, named Nelson by a couple who adopted him but turned out to be abusive.

Corey ends up formally adopting Christopher to ensure that he stays with her.  But she also refuses to give up her rights to her natural son.  The two boys are told the truth about the situation and have a chance to get acquainted; they get along famously.  Amazingly, Christopher is not jealous of his mother’s love for Nelson.  He is totally secure in the love of his mother and grandparents, and a close tie develops between the two “brothers.”  The movie ends on an optimistic note and one hopes that eventually both boys will be securely united with Corey, living as one happy family. 

Well, I love analogies, and it dawned on me that this is a beautiful picture of God and His two children.  The Jews are His children by birthright but have been separated from Him for a very long time.  He longs for them, but meanwhile we Gentile believers in Christ have been adopted into His family, living in his home, enjoying His love and blessings.  But God is still seeking to regain His other child, the Jews, and eventually He will.  Should we Gentiles be jealous?  Should we deny their right to the Father’s love, their place in the family, and their share of the inheritance?  No!  Rather, we are enriched when they come to find their true home, their true family in their Father’s house.  God’s love for us Gentiles is not in the least diminished because of his love for his “birth children,” the Jews.  His loving heart expands to receive all who come to Him.

One day we will live all together as God’s happy family.  And oh, what a great reunion that will be! 

Making Himself at Home

If we tell our guests to make themselves at home, what does that mean?  Does it mean we expect them to raid the fridge?  To rearrange the furniture as it suits them?  To invite their own friends in? 

Well, maybe not.  But then what does it mean for Christ to make himself at home in our hearts (Ephesians 3:17)?  If we truly turn over the keys to him, here are some things that might happen:

–If something needs fixing, he’ll do it.
–He can help himself to whatever I have.
–He sets his own schedule of when he wants to do what.
–He can bring his friends in to visit anytime.
–He can play my piano/music—His new tunes and beautiful lyrics.
–He can get rid of the mess & clutter.
–He will do some much-needed rearranging (priorities)
–He will redecorate, changing out some of the pictures on the wall, etc.
–He will discourage unsavory visitors / intruders (e.g. bad attitudes)
–He will delight me with his presence, his love, his wisdom, his stories.
–He will invite me to join in his activities.

Am I ready for this?  Are you?  What’s the alternative?

Persistent Pests

ant_PNG19360

Oh no, not again!?!  Red ants all over the kitchen counter again this morning.  Yes,I know—I’d left a pan soaking in the sink. And yesterday Ron waged another battle with the bukbok (wood borers) that infest the kitchen cupboard as well as the piano and a few other things.  We inject more kerosene into the bukbok holes, scribble poison chalk on the ant trails, fill gaps with sealant and glue and occasionally (if all else fails) a quick squirt of insecticide which I react to.  But before long they’re back again—doing more damage, making a nuisance of themselves.

I have joked that they’re like the Enemy of our souls, never giving up, always plaguing us, finding new ways to get at us, destroying and damaging.  But it’s not really a joke. Even if I may think I have them licked, my pride, worry, laziness and critical spirit keep popping out in new ways.  Oh, woe is me!  When will ever be done battling these? 

Someday I may live in a different place without red ants and bukbok, but there may be other pests and problems to plague me.  I do know Jesus promised that in heaven there will be no destructive moths, rust or thieves!  And there I will no longer battle the sinful nature in me that distrusts, disobeys and distresses.

I praise You, Father, that Your power is greater.  Please seal those holes with Your presence, Your grace, Your greatness and holiness.  Keep me vigilant; don’t let my guard slip and give the Enemy a foothold.

What Happened to Solomon?

Did you know that God gave a list of laws for kings?  Even more amazing is that one of the most famous kings of Israel broke every one of them!  (Deuteronomy 17:14-20)

DO NOT ACQUIRE MANY
War horses, especially from Egypt.  These were the armaments of that day, important for national security.
RATHER, strength and security are to be found in God alone.

Wives, source of pleasure and delight.
RATHER, the heart’s delight is to be found in God alone who gives His good gifts.

Wealth.
RATHER, God Himself is to be our treasure.  We look to Him for provision and honor.

DO
–Make a personal copy of the Scripture and read it every day!  In here we find all those things
Security:  You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. (Psalm 119:114)
Pleasure:  How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.  (Psalm 119:103)
Treasure:  Your teachings are worth more to me than thousands of pieces of gold and silver. (Psalm 119:72)

So what happened to Solomon when he amassed warhorses from Egypt, collected 1000 wives & concubines from many foreign nations, and accumulated stupendous wealth?  You can read his sobering story in 1 Kings 10-11.

And after all these thousands of year, what person or nation hasn’t sought security, pleasure, and wealth?  But why be taken in by the fakes which go sour, don’t last, and just disappoint?  The real thing is found in only one place:  God.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land,
Yes, I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand.

Chorus:
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And be held in sin’s dread sway
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than worldly applause,
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame,
I’d rather be true to His holy name.

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom,
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb.
He’s all my hungering spirit needs
I’d rather have Jesus and let him lead.
(by George Beverly Shea)

Listen to the song here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u62uYEssk7o

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