Friday, October 28, 2011

Morning Coffee - Saying Grace with Brenda

"where grace swirls around us all day -- intercepting, under-girding, increasing, changing, deepening, enriching?"   Brenda

Brenda, who blogs at It's a Beautiful Life, expressed this thought on her blog today along with a weekend challenge.  Read her post here: Saying Grace

I'm joining in on the challenge to experience the intercepting, under-girding, increasing, changing, deepening, enriching power of Grace.

I believe I will first "say Grace" and then enjoy a second cup of coffee!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Morning Coffee - Trails of Adventure

I, the Creator of the universe, am the most creative Being imaginable.  I will not leave you circling in deeply rutted paths.  Instead, I will lead you along fresh trails of adventure, revealing to you things you did not know.
Sarah Young
Jesus Calling

This devotional message this morning reminded me of one of my favorite writings.

The Bike Ride

At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited Heaven or Hell when I die. He was out there sort of like the President. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn't really know Him.

But later on when I recognized my Higher Power, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride; but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since . . . life with my Higher Power, that is. God makes life exciting.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!"

I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are You taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure; and when I'd say, "I'm scared,” He'd lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey; our journey, God's and mine.

And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away. They're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life. I thought he'd wreck it. But He knew bike secrets, knew how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high places filled with rocks, fly to shorten scary passages.

And I'm learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, my Higher Power.

And when I'm sure I can't do any more, He just smiles and says, "PEDAL!"
One more cup of coffee before I don my helmet and climb onto that Bicycle-built-for-Two.  We could have quite a ride today.  And I need to keep pedaling!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Morning Coffee - Pounded and Polished!

"I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument" Isa. 41:15
A bar of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value.
Streams in the Desert
Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman

If you think about that bar of steel and how it reacts to the firing, beating and pounding, it doesn’t rail and fight back against the changes being wrought.  Instead there is a beautiful yielding to the work being done – as if it knows that it is being transformed into something of far greater value. 

Time for a second cup of coffee and a prayer for acceptance of whatever the day ahead brings, trusting that He is only crafting a better me.  


Friday, October 21, 2011

Morning Coffee - Sweating the Small Stuff

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
      Blessed be the name of the LORD.”  Job 1:21

The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise:  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.  Remember that all good things – your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time – are gifts from Me.  Instead of feeling entitled to all these blessings, respond to them with gratitude.  Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand.

Jesus Calling
Sarah Young

“Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you…”.   Right off, our minds go to the big things in life – loss of job, loss of family, loss of health.  But sometimes I think we have more trouble letting go of the small things.  I know that for me it’s the small stuff that gives me more trouble.  It’s as if the small stuff is really mine and I shouldn’t have to go without or deal with inconveniences and besides, it’s all sort of flying under God’s radar anyway, isn’t it?  This isn’t the stuff God cares about; He only deals in the big stuff.   

Boy, how wrong I can be sometimes.  In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if my reaction to the small stuff isn’t more indicative of the true perspective of my heart and mind.  The big stuff is – well, big – and big stuff takes extra intentional attention and I usually can muster some of that when I need to.  But the little stuff is allowed to slip by unnoticed – by me anyway.  And really, only me.  Others notice.

Time to refill my cup and prepare to focus on the small stuff of this day.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Morning Coffee - Nothing to disclose!

“Come to me with your defenses down, ready to be blessed and filled with My presence.  Relax, and feel the relief of being totally open and authentic with Me.  You have nothing to hide and nothing to disclose, because I know everything about you already.  You can have no other relationship like this one.  Take time to savor its richness, basking in My golden light.”

Jesus Calling
Sarah Young

I have “nothing to hide and nothing to disclose”.   What a reassuring thought; and one I needed to hear. 

Recently I’ve been struggling with a comment I made to a friend in an email.  I started second guessing what I had written; worrying how she may have interpreted my thoughts.   Since I am new to this grieving-the-loss-of-a-spouse process, I began to worry whether I’m doing it right.  Do people think I am grieving properly?  Am I saying the right things?  Do I sound too flippant?

The antidote to these second-guessing questions of mine is simply expressed by Young in this devotional message.  I have “nothing to hide and nothing to disclose”, because He knows everything about me already.  In other words, if God understands and tells me I don’t need to explain myself to Him, I certainly needn’t spend time worrying about explaining myself to others.  As Young wrote, “Relax and feel the relief of being totally open and authentic with Me.”

Time to pour a second cup of coffee and bask in the worry-free warmth of His complete understanding.