Thursday, May 31, 2018

Written On Walls and Doorposts

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 150: Today, I am grateful we can write things on walls, doorposts and on our hearts. 

I love to have scripture and other thoughts on my wall. Written on prints, with vinyl lettering or painted. "Be still and know I am God." -Psalm 46:10 is over my kitchen sink, above the coffee maker. A key positioning in my home. 

Over the door to the garage... the one our family uses... I created "Always remember your faith, your manners and the way home." It is a way of saying love God, love others and you will always be loved at home. I still smile when our adult children come through that door. 

Moses gave this instruction to the Israelites after receiving the Ten Commandments: 

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. -Deuteronomy 6:5-9 

The people needed to not only receive God's instruction and know his rules, they needed to embrace them and live them. The commandments were never meant to be a burden, but a sure way to live with relationship success. Seeking his face through keeping his instruction would better their lives in every way. Especially, while living in a community and camping in the desert for 40 years. 

God's laws are still good. Reminders of His Word help us write them on our hearts. Today's image is another that can be found online. All Good Things has a wide variety of scripture prints. The watercolor flowers are so lovely and the scripture from Deuteronomy is a great reminder that we need to blanket ourselves in the goodness of his direction. 

We are never truly lost when He is with us. His Word illuminates our days and fills our celebrations with joy. It lifts us up on dark days and provides us with daily direction. It comforts us in tough times, too. Post-it notes with scripture are a great way to start.

For me, it helps to have scripture as a part of our decor, tucked in unexpected places and boldly displayed. It is hard to choose a few favorites when there are so many. So, I don't really choose. I add to and swap out. The favorites remain. 

Today, I am grateful we can write things on walls, doorposts and on our hearts.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bear One Another In Love

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 149: Today, I am grateful we can bear with one another in love. 

I am a morning person, but today... the truth is... I am feeling kind of grumpy. It is pouring. The puppy doesn't love the rain and needs some special attention. The rain brings out the ants... they are so annoying. My coffee was cold before I got to drink more than a sip. (Thank goodness for the microwave to warm it.) I am tired enough for a Friday and it is not Friday. There is a long to-do list at work. There is a long to-do list on second shift, too... at home. Sounding kind of whiney, right? 

I am grateful for those who bear with me when I am kind of a bear. 

I often look at Ephesians 4:2 a lofty, desirable, worthy goal. I know it is not an easy verse to live out. In fact, it is only with the Spirit's help that we can fully be humble, gentle, patient and gracious towards others. We all have faults. 

"Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love." -Ephesians 4:2

Love covers a multitude of faults. Love covering faults is called grace. How we savor those whose receive us with grace. They are a breath of fresh air in our world. They love us back on to the right track. The one we intended, but stumbled off. 

1 Peter 4:8 puts it another way:

"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins." -1 Peter 4:8

My day can be realigned with prayer and petitioning for grace to meet whatever the day may bring. It is pouring down rain and I have so much to be grateful for:

Sump pumps.
Cute galoshes.
No need to water the plants today.
My roof doesn't leak.
My windshield wipers work.
My life is full of good people. 

There are many ways to battle a grump. Mine is about gone. A hot, clean shower ahead. Suddenly, "Singing in the Rain" seems the tune of the day. Or, "Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude. If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane".  Yes, we can laugh.

(If you like today's image, Ruth Chou Simons is the artist and can be found at Gracelaced. If you are looking for scripture art, her prints are beautiful.) 

Today, I am grateful we can bear with one another in love... especially those who bear with me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018


Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 148: Today, I am grateful for abundance.

If you have ever gardened or farmed, you know that you can do the same thing two years in a row, but the outcome is not always the same. The variables of rain, heat, bugs and even soil conditions can vary. There are complicated plans for getting the most of the land, but some years we have a humble, meager crop and other years, there is abundance. In the worst years, there is not much crop at all. 

Think of tomatoes and zucchini. When abundant, you can't hardly give them away. Is it any wonder that we have learned to cook them in so many different ways. Abundance makes sharing so easy.  

Do I remember to give thanks in abundance? 

The year I chose "enough" as my one little word to ponder and pray about, it seemed to draw my focus away from abundance. Yet, the scriptures talk of abundance, so it is not wrong to savor it, too. 

One of the great discoveries in abundance is this scripture:

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." -John 10:10

Jesus changed things by walking in our human skin. His death and resurrection shocked the world and two thousand years later, he is still changing lives. This verse sums it up in just two sentences in a way I have never noticed before. 

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." Satan is a liar. God gave Moses the ten commandments... twice... so that the people might have a simple version of how to live a good, abundant life in him. The first four are about how to love and respect God. The final six are God's guide to living with each other in harmony. Jesus gave us the "Spark Notes" version when he said, "Love God. Love each other." 

The thief that steals our joy and abundance, does so with lies. He tells us life should be fair. We should all be size 8. We should all have half million dollar homes. We deserve to be "happy" at the expense of others. If "no one knows", or the lie is little, it won't matter. Satan is a liar. 

 "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Living within the framework of the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule. 

"Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets." -Matthew 7:12 

The essence... the intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of the laws of God... they can fill our lives with goodness and abundance when we choose them. Not accidentally, but by praying, pondering and pursuing their truths. Do this, and abundance follows. 

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
-Mark 12:29-31

When walking in step to the spirit, our concept of what abundance means may change. In fact, it will change. 

So many with affluence and wealth end up being slaves to addictions and are perpetually dissatisfied. It is profoundly sad. The feelings of "I own the world." and "I can buy anything I desire." do not lead to happiness. They can buy minutes of pleasure, but good feelings vanish faster with each luxurious purchase... until the happy feelings are less than fleeting seconds on the clock. This world cannot truly satisfy what the soul desperately craves. 

He is our soul's missing piece. When we recognize him as Lord, we have contentment, joy and abundance. It is not what we deserve, but what he longs to pour into our lives because he loves us. We fear meeting him in confession of our sins, but he already knows them.  He loved us enough to take our place when our sin required a sacrifice. The righteous part of God's character cannot be ignored. He longs for us to live amazing lives. Free from the weight of our failures.

I thank God every day I don't get what I deserve. His love and forgiveness pour abundance into each and every day, no matter the circumstances we might face in a world that does not recognize him as King. Someday, the world will. The hour grows closer. We live in hope and without fear... with abundance... no matter our circumstances. 

Today, I am grateful for abundance.

Monday, May 28, 2018

What It Means To Be Free

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 148: Today, I am grateful for the chance to reflect on what it means to be free. 

(Long post know the drill...skip it or grab the coffee cup and join me on the journey.)

Freedom isn't free...somebody pays the price. Memorial Day has a bit of an unorganized history. Decorating the graves of loved ones is an ancient custom in many cultures. Loved ones gone ...but never forgotten. The roots here in the USA seem to be Post-Civil War beginning in the south and catching on after President Lincoln's assassination. It has evolved into what we know as "Memorial Day" .

This quote from James A. Garfield is from one of the first gatherings at Arlington Cemetery to remember those who gave all for country, freedom and family:

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
- James A. Garfield May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery

Yes...they go for country, but what is a country? It is a diverse population of people seeking to live life to the best of their abilities with the resources, beliefs, opportunities, education, talents and gifts they possess. This country is a true melting pot...and it is most beautiful when we blend together as brothers and sisters. 

Being "American" has less to do with out roots...and ethnicity...and more to do with our choices.

Our ancestors...our brothers and sisters of this nation... came in different ways, but they came. The first ones came and discovered there were people already here. Different from them in so many ways...yet they shared meals, loved their families and worked hard to survive. Not really so different.

Today... 250 years after the earliest ships arrived in the "new world" and discovered they were not alone ...our blending of this nation continues. It isn't easy when we come from so many different places and belief systems. Still, here we are in this vast land we call the United States of America. We have grown together to make this place our own. We are at our finest when we lay down our differences and lift each other up.

The older I get...the more I am offended by the things that put up walls between us. I do like things that create a circle or a barrier that keeps another out and feeling "less than" or "not enough". We can't "right an old wrong" by creating and indulging new ones the same thing. If we don't learn from the mistakes in our history...we are doomed to repeat them. Only forgiveness brings real healing, for both the offender and the offended. 

Our forefathers...our grandparents...our aunts and uncles...our brothers and sisters...our sons and daughters...neighbors and teachers have offered their bodies as living sacrifices to the cause of freedom. We have made mistakes...some of them horrific...but we have saved lives and preserved human life and dignity here and abroad. To see images of soldiers holding wars smallest victims in their arms melts my heart. At my nieces college graduation a few weeks ago at Olivet, my brother said the most memorable moment was when the ROTC students were commissioned and received a standing ovation. 

These are turbulent times. The diversity and brotherhood in the armed forces is unique. When a "brother's" life depends on you...and vice-versa...a bond forms. One not easily forgotten or broken. Race, creed, home states...sure they each have roots...but together they are brothers and sisters of the armed forces.

What causes us to put up barriers that divide, separate and hate? What is the root? Is it pride and arrogance? Is it jealousy or ambition? Is it unforgiven anger for wrongs that can't be righted... only forgiven? Are we blinded by "our own rights" that we step on the dignity of another, violating their most basic human rights? Is it lack of understanding because we have never "walked a mile in another man's moccasins"?

What about believers in Christ? Galations 5:13 states: 
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."

Called to be free...but not indulgent or reckless. We were called to "serve one another humbly in love." Easier said than done, right?

Then in verse 22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

When I look in the mirror today, what is my spirit fruit? Oh, some days I see the good things He is doing, when I allow His spirit to move and work within. Then, there are other the end of the day...I do not even want to look in the mirror and review the things I have thought, said and done. I am a work in progress today... and everyday... and praise God he is not finished with me yet!

This passage has an amazing finish with verses 24-26. 
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

Let's dig deeper in to that one:
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Those who believe belong. Those who belong have been crucified with Him. He took the nails. He paid the price so we could have the benefit and the freedom from self destructive passions and desires. He nailed them to the cross so me might be free!

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." If we live by the Spirit and the Spirit lives in us...we can and will "keep step with the Spirit". I love that line. Like the beautiful cadence of souls marching together to the the beat, rate, and rhythm of HIS Spirit as we seek to be like him. Think of it as a marching band...or an infantry of believers keeping step. Love that!

"Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." As...this is not who or what we were called to be. These things are not LOVE and these things are not of God...who is love.

He wants us to be free ...truly we were called to be. Called up to the army of the Lord to spread the gospel. Called to share and preserve the freedom we have in Him.

Today...I am grateful...on this end of Memorial Day Weekend...for freedom and the chance to reflect on what it really means to be free.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Clean Sheets

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 147: Today, I am grateful for clean sheets. 

Some of my favorite gratitudes are the most simple. Clean sheets. There is nothing like crawling into them with their crisp feel and fresh scent. 

One of the official signs of being an adult is the glorious joy of falling into bed at the end of a long day, long week or busy weekend. To have clean sheets on top of it all, is the best! 

Short and simple today. 

"At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me."
-Jeremiah 31:26

The sleep of clean sheets is amazingly sweet. 

Today, I am grateful for clean sheets.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Wonderful Joy Ahead

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 146: Today, I am grateful for the wonderful joy ahead.

This is a season of celebrations beginning with Mother's Day and sailing through graduations, weddings and anniversaries for so many... all before Father's day arrives. Matt and Jennifer mark twenty-five years of marriage ... and Chase and Emma will celebrate their first. Many others share the popular Memorial Day weekend, depending on their year of marriage. 

The weekend brings joy... and a few tears as we remember the many who have gone out in service to our country and return with their bodies blanketed in the American flag, a sincere and warm reminder that they gave their lives in love of country and home. 

For me, there is a reverence in an honor guard salute, the bugle's mournful tune and the presentation of the folded flag that is very personal, as we have walked that path. As we see the flags flying this weekend, it is good to remember that there are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandparents, fiances, cousins and so many more that feel the loss of an empty place at the table and every family gathering after that day of notification that a loved one has died while in active service.

For the believer, we can take heart and find peace in knowing that "there is wonderful joy ahead." 

"So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." -1 Peter 1:6-7

Be truly glad... sounds like a strange instruction for those who suffer or grieve. When the tough times come... and they will... our facing our trials with trust and hope are not only evidence of our faith, but they result in us growing stronger and more fierce in our convictions that God is good ... even when life doesn't feel that good. 

I can not think of one scripture that tells us to trust our feelings. Scriptures guide us "to know" that he is God. Scriptures remind us we do not have to be ruled by our emotions. We can choose joy and hope, even in suffering. We can... with his strength... experience tough emotions and choose to trust his heart when his ways seem hard to understand. His big picture is huge. Our short stories are ... well... short. But he lives big in our lives... even in... especially in the hard times. 

Savor the weekend celebrations. Cherish the memories of those who gave all that we might be protected and free. Choose joy knowing that Jesus sacrificed all that we might be redeemed, adopted and free. 

Today, I am grateful for the wonderful joy ahead.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Toilet Paper Changers

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 145: Today, I am grateful for the people who change the toilet paper roll.  
Seriously, how have I missed this?  You know who they are! The unsung heros on custodial teams, moms, wives, gifted men and some of the most eligible bachelors on the planet are the ones who magically make sure the toilet paper roll is never empty.  
We have given thanks for toilet paper and given instruction for "proper over the top" hanging, but we have neglected to bless the hands that change the roll.   
Some of the most simple gratitudes are my favorite. They are so easily overlooked.
Is there any spiritual relevance here? Toilet paper takes care of what would otherwise be a terrible mess. It does the dirtiest of jobs. It seems to be readily available, but taken for granted. The cost... the life of a tree was sacrificed.
God's grace is readily available, but we often take if for granted. We even try to ignore Him at times, until we are in need. We want the convenience of a mighty God who answers prayers and took on our skin to understand us better. We expect that he will be there when we need him, but forget to be grateful for the daily love and grace he pours into our lives. 
Jesus died on a tree... the propitiation for our sins. He sought us out. Offered us the cleansing power of his grace and gave his life, so we could love forever changed. 
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.-Hebrews 2:17
"Victory In Jesus" is an old hymn that has been on my heart this week. We have a sweet sister at church named Rosie, who loves the old song. Sweet Rosie is in her 70's and is one of God's special people with a mind has remained childlike her entire life. Be careful to watch and listen closely to the special ones, as the veil between them and the things of the spirit is thin. Rosie may not solve big math problems and the poor girl was raised a Cardinal fan...but she is highly sensitive to the things of the Holy Spirit and His Word is written on her heart. I've known her to speak a prayer and a blessing on a newborn child that would give you chills... the good kind. 
Rosie knows the purity of God's grace that wipes away all our messes. She trusts him for her daily bread, and through his people, He supplies all of her needs. He supplies all of our needs. 
There are hands unseen that provide a way for us to be clean and new again. 

Today, I am grateful for the people who change the toilet paper roll. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

No Comparison

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 144: Today, I am grateful God does not compare what he creates. 

"God does not compare what He creates." - Bob Goff

I love it. I think I've missed this one. I have been a little obsessed with the creative face of God for a couple of years, since discovering Bible Journaling. 

When you are God... which I have no experience at being... I can't even imagine what it must be like to create something from nothing. I get pretty excited with markers, pencils, pens and watercolors. 

Meet Obed. He is my ostrich, inspired by a journaling page I pinned on Pinterest months ago. I am no idea who to credit with the inspiration but I loved him. 

I was afraid to try and freehand him, but didn't have a good way to trace him hand, so I dared to draw, with some encouragement from my sweet friend, Elaina. You see, it doesn't really matter if it is perfect. What matters is the heart in the art, and the meditation on the scripture. Look at this passage...

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness  and rivers in the desert. The wild beasts will honor me,the jackals and the ostriches,  for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert,to give drink to my chosen people,-Isaiah 43:18-20 

Let's look a little closer:

BEHOLD.... just look at it!
I AM .... love that name, the one he gave Moses.
A NEW THING ...not the same thing... our God is not boring. 
; ... a semi colon means pause and take it in. 
THE WILD BEASTS... not the tame but the wild ones.
WILL HONOR ME... all nature bows to his sovereignty. 
THE JACKALS... Unloved by most humans... but howling his praises.
AND THE OSTRICHES... One of the whimsical creations. 

Each one is created to his delight. Not for comparison, but for His enjoyment and ours. Each one has part in nature's balance. Such beautiful landscapes and seascapes were created to delight up.

When acting in His image, He wants us to encourage and build each other up with sincere affirmations. Not to compulsively compete and compare. We are all uniquely made in His image... reflecting his differently. How amazing is that? 

One of the ways we experience this is in sports. When we have success as a team, it is even more thrilling than a personal victory. To do something well... or even amazing... is better with friends. Every member of the team has to do their part, maximizing their personal potential for the good of the team. 

When he told us to "go and make disciples"... he simply said, "Go.". The implication was that we would go together, each doing our own thing. But, together, we are always better. God made us for relationships. We need each other in community and in creating good things in our our world. Communion together is better than competition. 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.-Romans 12:10

With all the wonder and whimsy of the ostrich, elephant, camel, dolphin and octopus. Our God is so great. 

Today, I am grateful God does not compare what he creates. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Unhurried Moments

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 143: Today, I am grateful for unhurried moments. 

There are not many in May. 

This quote spoke to my heart. I need to watch those who show love without hurry and imitate their behaviors.

Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is the one thing hurried people don't have. -John Ortberg

The way I see it. Children, senior citizens and dogs are where you find some great examples. In any combination of these three... together... they seem to be masterful. All three of these classes are often swept aside when we get too busy. 

I am grateful my parents made us make time for the seniors in our world. Now, my definition of senior gets younger every day, and my idea of youth gets older. Still, from any vantage point, there are daily examples of love being poured out simply be removing the hurry and the worry. 

Last year, I focused on enough. This year, savor is my one little word. I have come to realize that when we celebrate the "enough" in our lives, we find ourselves savoring more. Delighting in the little things. 

Walking instead of driving when we can. Planting seeds and potting flowers. French press instead of Keurig coffee. Home cooked meals from seasonal produce. Getting up early to savor the break of day. Memorizing scripture. Brewed tea. In these things we find a joy and contentment as they are unhurried. 

Going slow is not a waste of time it is a good for a relationship. The best things take a little time. I am so grateful the love of my life was in my circle of friends before he was my boyfriend. Our relationship with our Lord grows stronger as we wait on him and for him, too. 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! -Psalm 27:14

Some things are worth waiting for. As Olaf, from Frozen said it, "Some people are worth melting for."

Today, I am grateful for unhurried moments. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 142: Today, I am grateful for homecomings. 

Everyone loves the feeling of coming home. College kids are do. Military men and women hold onto the promise of the homecoming on the toughest days. Those released from hospital stays take in the first breath of home like an extra dose of good medicine. Those with dogs at home know that every homecoming is celebration worthy, even if your trip was only to the mailbox. Homecomings are a reason to rejoice. 

Early in our marriage, I learned somewhere that it was so important to not greet my spouse at the end of the day with everything that went wrong, but to make the homecoming something to look forward to at the end of the day. I think it was good advice. Most of us have daily bumps, foes and woes as we go through the work day. Going home should be sweet. 

God designed us for homecomings. He created us to be with Him in a relationship. Sons and daughters of the Creator of the Universe. When you hold time and eternity in your hand, there is no reason for a short story. His big picture is full of mystery and surprise, but one thing we can be sure of is that we were born to be his. Designed with free will, loved beyond measure and deeply treasured. 

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. -Ephesians 1:5(NLT)

I have been reading a book series and studying the New Testament chronologically. The gospels had us walking with Jesus every day and gain new insights as we studied how he moved, how he prayed, how he taught, when he healed and when he allowed some suffering. Along with the study, my pastor gifted me with Ted Dekker's "30 A.D.". The timing was perfect. In the book, a young bedouin woman with so much hurt and grief in her short life, encounters the life altering and changing grace of Jesus. They have been a great combination. 

In the novel series, they refer to Jesus by his Hebrew name, Yeshua. Authentic for the setting. When you say it outloud, is has such a calming feel. There is a "shh" in the name. Quieting and calming. "Be still and know" comes to mind. 

The Bible study and the novel, together, have made me think about how hard it would be to have him with us in a physical way... but then to have him leave. Today, we know the power of the Holy Spirit is real and keeps us connected in powerful ways, but surely his disciples missed sharing a meal and the physical hand on their shoulders when they needed encouragement. 

Yeshua. Beautiful, isn't it? So are his promises. We are promised a homecoming. 

"There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?" -John 14:2

Does it get any better than that? Adoption into the King of Kings family and the promise of home. 

 Today, I am grateful for homecomings. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fresh, New Mornings

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 141: Today, I am grateful for fresh, new mornings.

Winter was long. And, it looks like spring will be short. Soon the summer heat will settle in. For now, we can choose to savor the warm days, cool nights and fresh mornings that seem just right. Spring mornings are the very best! 

I know some people only have one 5 o'clock in their day, and it is not in the morning. I feel the same about 10 o'clock. Mine is not in the evening. 

Morning is my favorite time of day because of the fresh, new and unspoiled feeling. I know that given a little time, I am going to mess something up... but the pristine feeling of each new morning brings with it a sense of awe and wonder. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. -
Lamentations 3:22-23

His love never stops and he gives us mornings for the reset. We can begin again with a prayer of thanksgiving for his great faithfulness. Then, we can present him our hearts, asking for guidance for the whole day. 

"Lord, helps me to see what you want us to see, and do what you want me to do." 

Such a simple prayer to carry with us through the day. Yet, it can change everything. It is so easy to present him my fresh, new morning as a gift, but how many minutes will it take, before I take back the reins and begin to refocus on my own agendas, again? It is a daily battle to live in the "not my will, but thine be done" zone. 

Still, he delights in our successes and forgives our failures. His love is rock solid and unyielding. His mercies never cease for those who come with a repentant heart. He is faithful to grant us new days, every single day. 

Today, I am grateful for fresh, new mornings.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Place At The Table

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 140: Today, I am grateful for a place at the table. 

Remember as a kid you had your place at the table? And in your own home, it is likely everyone has a spot. In large families, we can tell who is missing by an empty chair. In small families, we are still creatures of habit. 

I love this reminder of our God's unfailing love for us in this quote. 

"Your health can be taken and your money stole - but your place at  God's table is permanent."  -Max Lucado 

Our time on earth can have difficulties, but  our God promises that he will never leave us our forsake us. He does not abandon his children. Through His infinite, matchless grace, we are gifted with a place at the table. 

I am a fan of round tables that make conversations easier and feel inviting. Jesus disciples would fuss at times about who would sit next to Jesus, as it was thought to be an important place. Jesus reminds them to be careful setting up the expectation to be in the best spot. 

"When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table."
-Luke 22:14

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” 
-Matthew 20:16

He doesn't want us to fret about positions of prestige. He wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to never forget that His love and sacrifice earned us a place at the table. 

Today, I am grateful for a place at the table. 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Whole Heart - Whole Life

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 139: Today, I am grateful for a front row seat at a royal wedding, compliments of the BBC. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were married today. Like much of the world, I was watching. There has been something about this love story that is extra sweet. Harry and Meghan both seem to want to touch the hurting and reach out to the wounded. The want to be sincere and real amongst the people and the charities they serve and support. They have both lived in worlds where much is put on for show... but it does not satisfy. 

Can it be, this young couple... in spite of the paparazzi, cameras, social media and complicated families... have found something special together? I hope so. 

The stories of the two of them that come after the cameras are the most touching. Tales of their repeat visits to the places and missions that pull at their heartstrings. 

It appears to me, that these two people came together at just the right time, for a real and deep connection.

 Although the media makes us feel as if we know them, and we do have some snapshots into their stories, none of us truly knows their hearts. Yet, there is something about the way they look at each other and lean into each others that speaks volumes about two people who have found their way to each other... and found a home. 

She grew up around celebrities and the ways of Hollywood. He grew up royal. She seems to not be afraid of hard work and has a determined spirit. He knew greater luxuries, but found a real sense of purpose during his years in the royal military service followed by his creation of the Invictus Games helping wounded soldiers to be athletic warriors again. 

They both seem to have a work ethic and an understanding that their privileged lifestyles are not normal. It makes them very likeable. He seems sentimental and tender toward her. She seems to lean into him with a sense of wonder that he gets her, loves her and truly likes her. At the time they came together, they had started to come into their own. Then, love changed everything. 

I imagine they have lived under a microscope since going public with their relationship. What started in secret was precious, but to move forward, they had to face the cameras, their families and friends. Today, 10 million or more watched them say "I Do". 

The Rev. Michael Curry gave a dynamic message that spoke the truth and hope in the gospel of love as it manifests through Jesus. They took their vows, made in a holy covenant sealed by God and in front of human witnesses. Their smiles said it all. Some were intimate, as they likely read each other's thoughts, and others were joy bursting grins out of pure celebration. "Stand By Me" was the perfect song for the unique fabric of the new life Harry and Meghan will weave together. 

We all love a fairytale; the truth is that real love is not always easy, but it is always worth it. Love conquers fear and heals the deepest wounds. Love does not put up lines that divide. Love tears down walls. Love says "I'm sorry." Love forgives.  Love says, "I will wait for you." Love says, "We can face each new day... the happy and the hard... together. Love brings out the best in us. 

The Spirit of our Living Lord showed up at the royal ceremony. I do hope they invite Him into the marriage. They came together in a way that seems to be against all odds. Fairytale?  Love conquered all the obstacles in their way, bringing them to this special day. Love will make it last. 

I hope they remember, God is love.

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. - 1 John 4:12 

Weddings, births and funerals are sacred moments. Love makes this crazy ride on our lovely blue planet worthwhile. God's love brings it to full expression. It was a beautiful day for a wedding. 

Today, I am grateful for a front row seat at a royal wedding, compliments of the BBC. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Nature's Whites

Daily Gratitude Year 6- Day 138: Today, I am grateful for nature's whites.

Spring has truly sprung. I tend to think of it as a season of bright, happy colors. A perfect compliment to the color bursts are the many shades of white. 

I love white. For me, it is better in nature than as a clothing choice, as seem to be a magnet for messes. One of my favorite weeks in the spring is when my flowering crabtree in the backyard is flocked with its pretty white and pink flowers. 

This year was strange, we went from snow to full bloom in about two weeks. Yes... from frost to flowered... in a not much more than a moment. When the flowering crabtree sheds its flowers, it gives the backyard the illusion of a spring snow. It is breathtaking. 

What whites catch your eye today?

Spring brides in shades of white, glowing with the wonder of what lies ahead cannot help but smile. The little white ducks and graceful swans swimming along with a sense of contentment seem so at peace with the world. The sweet scent of the lily of the valley is magical. Dandelion puffs provide ample opportunities for wishes. These, too, are part of nature's whites. 

White is a symbol of purity, innocence, virginity and peace. These things are of high value... priceless, though some may try to put a price on them. 

For King and Country's song, "Priceless" is Earworms choice this morning. I know I have shared it before, and I still really love the song. It is a song of promise and healing for those who have been caught in the ugliness of human trafficking. "I see you dressed in white. Every wrong made right. I see a rose in bloom, at the sight of you.Oh, so priceless. You're irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable.Darling, it's beautiful. I see it all in you. Oh, so priceless."

This video is a reminder that human nature isn't so snow white. But there is hope and healing, when the brave choose to take a stand for those who have no voice to be God's hands and feet to the hurting, hopeless and dying. Those who live as pawns, lost in the darkness of human trafficking, statistically don't live long. The time for rescue is short. The time it takes to heal is long. 

Perhaps, this spring, nature's whites can be an assigned prayer trigger. What does that  mean? When savoring nature's whites, flood heaven with prayers for those suffering the abuses in the sex trades. Pray for the protection of  those called to rescue, recover and help restore the lives impacted by this dark side of human nature. They need prayers for protection, mission success and for the wounded souls to be open to receiving the hope, help and healing. 

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. -Isaiah 1:18

Snow and wool are two more of nature's amazing whites. Reminders in all seasons to create a prayer covering for those waiting for His hands and feet to show up with Good News of hope and a future. Nature's whites can remind us that we can be redeemed "as white as snow". (I am so happy it isn't snowing!)

Today, I am grateful for nature's whites.