Saturday, November 26, 2016

Making Room

In 1971 we had twenty-eight family members at home for Christmas.  You should have seen the scramble my Dad and Mom had to manage in order to make room for that many kids, grandkids, and in-laws.  Somehow, Dad pulled it off by borrowing mattresses, clearing out clutter and managing the available space.  I ended up sleeping on the floor of the kitchen in an upstairs apartment we rented out.  Lynn had to sleep in the same room with Mom and Dad, and the others … we just made room. 

We made room!

We, you and I, are going to be busy these next few weeks.  We’ve got turkeys and hams to bake, pies to make, cards to sign, checks to write and debit cards to swipe.  We’re gonna be busy. 

And in all of that – will we still make room for the important – the critical piece of it all?

I have been reflecting on a Christmas carol this morning.  The words say it this way:

“Lord, You left your throne
and your kingly crown
when you came 
to this earth for me

But in Bethlehem’s home
there was found no room
For thy Holy nativity"

 "O come to my heart Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for Thee”

What a sad tale to tell if, come December 26, we did not make a space for a few minutes with the Light of the World – Jesus, the Son of God. 

The cards are nice.
   The songs are joyful.
      The food is delicious. 
         The family times are priceless.

And the moments with The Greatest Gift of Heaven are eternal. 

Words of Hope
Encouragement Inspiration
One Word at a Time

Saturday, November 19, 2016

When God Shouts

Can you imagine God shouting out loud?  Sometimes, I’ve imagined God shouting at me, and in my imagination his words were probably …

“You stupid man.”
“What is wrong with you.”
“You failed again.  Oh great!”

Now remember, I said ‘in my imagination.”

Today, here is how I imagine that God shouts.

I think He shouted out over 2,000 years ago when Christ hung on the cross, and His words were these: 

I LOVE YOU!

And I think those words still echo today.  We humans have a difficult time accepting the fact that we are loved so unconditionally by God.  We think we are so far beyond love and forgiveness, even now as these words are being read, some are shaking their head and saying “Not me.  God couldn’t love me that much.  You see, I’ve said …  I’ve done … I’ve gone to …”

And God says, “Yes, I know, and I still love you.”

And He continues: “You see.  I had to watch in great agony as my Son was impaled on the cross for all of you, yes, even YOU, ______ (your name goes in this space).  I could have stopped it all.  I could have come down and interrupted that scene, but I had you in mind, and what you face and have faced, and will face.  I wanted my message of love to reach across all those years to you this very moment.  And so today – in 2016 or in whatever year you read these words – just know that I, your God, love you – YOU!  It really only boils down to this … will you accept my love and will you love me back?”

I love Philip Yancey’s quote:  God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are.”  (What’s So Amazing about Grace)

I used this quote recently, and it is so appropriate for today’s message.  It is from Brennan Manning.

“Why is Brennan Manning loveable in the eyes of God? Because on February 8th 1956, in a shattering life-changing experience, I committed my life to Jesus? 

Does God love me because ever since I was ordained a priest in 1963 I roamed the country and lately all over the world proclaiming the Good News of the gospel of grace? 

Does God love me because I tithe to the poor? 

Does he love me because back in New Orleans I work on skid row with alcoholics, addicts, and those who suffer with Aids?? 

Does God love me because I spend two hours every day in prayer?  If I believe that stuff I’m a Pharisee.  Then I feel I’m entitled to be comfortably close to Christ because of my good works. 

The gospel of grace says, “Brennen, you’re loveable for one reason only – Because God loves you. Period.”  
~Brennan Manning

How about that?  God loves us – you and me!  Period.

So when God shouts, here is what He shouts.

I HAVE LOVED YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE.  Jeremiah 31:3   

GOD SHOWS HIS LOVE FOR US IN THAT WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US.  Romans 5:8

AND YOU, O LORD, ARE A GOD WHO IS MERCIFUL AND GRACIOUS.  YOU ABOUND IN UNMOVEABLE LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS.

And now we see what God likes to shout about.  He shouts out His abundant LOVE. 

Today is a good day to finally and forever accept His love.  Are you open?  

Invite Him to come near.  He hears you – and you don’t have to shout.

Anne Lamont says it so well in her book Help Thanks Wow -

“God help me.  This is a great prayer.”




Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
Inspiration
One Word at a Time


Saturday, November 12, 2016

When Grace Remain

 In John Chapter 12  we read of Mary rushing in to where Jesus is sitting.  She does the strangest thing.   She breaks open a bottle of very costly perfume called nard and rubs it on his feet, and then wipes his feet with her hair.

She wiped his feet with her hair!  How amazing is that?

~Nard is perfume.
~Nard has a wonderful aroma, or so I’m told.
~Nard is expensive – it was worth a year’s
   wages in those days.

And she poured it on the feet of the Master.

And John 12:3 says that the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

It was all used up.  The bottle was empty.  Flattened.  Broken open and spilled out.

It was spread all over the feet of the Savior – yet it remained.  The essence of the nard still filled the house.

In simple terms – the nard was gone, yet it remained.  The fragrance remained long after the bottle was poured out.

When I leave a room, or a group of people, what remains?
~What impressions do I leave behind?
~What do people remember most about me?
~When I speak, do I speak the truth?
~Do I offer words of hope?
~When I write do I discourage or encourage?

I never get far from this quote by Maya Angelou.


When it is all said and done; when we have …
  given
    spoken
      acted
        reacted
          raged
            wrangled
              spewed forth
                ranted
                  or blessed

                    DOES GRACE REMAIN?

Do people remember us for our grace or for our ungrace?

Do people remember us for how we positively affected them or did we leave a negative taste in their mouth. 

I hope the essence of grace spews forth from my words and actions.

Let it be so.




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Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
Inspiration
One Word at a Time