Discovering the Riches of God

As a child I would sometimes accompany my coal miner father to the colliery a.k.a. the pit, to collect his pay from the  wages office. A cut out in the glass window allowed the wages clerk to pass the small brown envelope containing my dad’s wages to him. No direct deposits in those days. Real money in your hand.

I felt like a big girl, walking through the busy work areas on the surface of the mine. I saw the big wheel that worked the shaft elevator (also known as the cage), saw the coalminers entering and leaving the cage as they started or finished their shift. I always loved seeing the pit pony, as the appointed coalminer walked it safely through the busy work area. On the surface was the offices, the engine room and the building that housed the showers. Believe me ladies, if your man was a coalminer there was NO WAY he was coming into the house covered in coal dust. Even after their hurried shower they still came home looking as if they were wearing black eyeliner.

But for all I saw, it was still only the surface of the coal mine that I experienced. The surface was an interesting place. But the coal, the treasure, lay deep below my feet.

I wonder how many of us have settled for a surface experience in our walk with the Lord? We settle for what we can see. We get involved in the busyness of church life, we give the right churchy responses while all along we have not dug deep into getting to know Jesus and the riches of His love.

And I ask him with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all Christians the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Ephesians 3 msg

To get to the riches of God, we have to leave the surface and choose to go deeper. Lord, take us deeper, show us more of your character. Show us who you are. Your love, your compassion and your grace.

As we allow His very character to saturate us on the inside. It is then, that those very same characteristics will flow out from us to others.

Time to Go

Go Down; down on our knees, to give thanks and praise for God’s provision.

Go Up; keeping our eyes looking up to our heavenly Father for His direction.

Go Out; move out of our comfort zones.

Go Beyond; beyond our self imposed boundaries.

Go forward; moving forward in our personal walk with God, into the future He has for us.

Go Deeper; deeper in the Lord than we have ever gone before.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Ways to Help When Disaster Strikes

Winner of book giveaway in post.

Leaves are just starting to yellow on the trees, early morning brings cooler temperatures in the low 60’s, rising to a pleasant 82f. A welcome relief from the summer heat reaching in the high 90’s f.

People don’t have to force themselves to be outdoors when the weather is beautiful. It calls our name; and we respond by leaving our air conditioned homes and stepping outside into the fresh air. Whether that means sitting on the patio, taking a walk, playing a round of golf, working in the garden or hiking up the nearest mountain. We enjoy the escape into nature and the escape from the concerns of the day. We disconnect if only for a moment and all is well with our little world.

But. All. Is. Not. Well.

Not well in the world around us. As we (me included in the royal we) bask in the beauty of early Fall. There are parts of this country (USA) going through fires and storms on a massive scale.

Even though we may watch the news or follow on social media for a few minutes here and there, it is easy for us to feel disconnected unless we have either been through something similar or have family and friends in the path of the fire or the storm.

Praying. Going. Giving.

I’m not suggesting that we stop everything and glue ourselves to the television or social media. What I am encouraging us to do is first of all pray to our Heavenly Father for protection and wisdom for those in the affected areas. The people who live in these areas and the volunteers who travel to help in the aftermath are still in need of prayer.

My second suggestion, find out how out how best we can help. For some that might mean joining a rescue or volunteer clean up team. Not all are able for one reason or another to go, so here is a third way to help. Collect items to send with the teams….but ONLY items that have been requested, usually it is toiletries, gift cards and water but check with the organization of your choice. Lastly give financially though reputable organizations and churches. It doesn’t have to be large amounts, every cent, every dollar counts. Use the resources we have to be a blessing to those in the disaster areas.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Col 3:23

However we decide to help, whether by praying, going, giving or a combination of the three. Let us remember as we help those in need to do it all to bring honor and glory to the Lord. Not ourselves.

Texas, Florida and Northwest you have not been forgotten.

Two announcements

First: Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able was not claimed. We have a new winner congratulations to Joelda Hope of NM. Second: The winner of Micah Maddox book Anchored In is Danica Stirk of the UK.

Joelda and Danica I know the books will be source of encouragement to you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

 

 

 

 

 

Anchored In:Book Review and Giveaway

Introducing a New Author

Every now and then along comes a new author who’s book speaks to you from the first to the very last page. Micah Maddox book Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full life in a Problem-Filled World spoke to me in a clear relatable voice with every turn of the page.

I met Micah at She Speaks in 2016, a three day conference organized by Proverbs 31 Ministries for writers, speakers and leaders. Brought together through a mutual friend, I found myself sharing table space with her at meal times on more than one occasion. A beautiful young lady, with a smile that lights up her face and a sense of humor that is infectious…who wouldn’t be drawn to her.

I had no idea until I read her book, Anchored In, the pain and struggles she has experienced in her young life. Abandoned by her biological father as a child, cancer that invaded the body of the man she now calls dad and the mysterious illness that almost cost her husband his life. Add to those problems the emotional side, and you have a raging storm.

You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Micah has definitely had her fair share of storms. Haven’t we all in one way or another? Our storms may look different from each others but it’s the same anchor that holds us secure. I love how Micah encourages us to be anchored in the Lord before, during and after the storms in our lives.

 Turn Down the Distractions

A mother to three precious school age children and foster mother to one, a pastor’s wife, women’s ministry leader, conference speaker, blogger, writer and now author. Micah knows how easy it is to be distracted from spending time with the Lord. She encourages us to turn down the distractions and spend time in His presence. I love this quote from her book.

“We often choose the current over the eternal. And when we do, often we later see how our choice to focus on what felt crucial was really a distraction from what God was trying to draw us to-Himself.”

What is Victory?

So often we think victory in our lives is the absence of personal storms, but both you and I know storms can flare up at a moments notice. One moment the sun is shinning and all is well, the next we are experiencing sideways blowing rain. Victory, Micah tells us is not found in how life is going or gone but in God’s presence.

I could keep writing about Anchored In. But I won’t. I don’t want to rob you of the joy of reading it for yourself. You can purchase the book through Amazon, Lifeway, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook and Abingdon Press.

One last quote from Micah, this time about the book, taken from her website MicahMaddox.com “I think you will love it! I hope you do. But most of all I hope you hear from God in it, not from me.”  What can I say? A women with a heart for God and a heart for people.

Book Giveaway

Release date for Anchored In is September 5th. So, yes it’s a brand new book by a brand new author. One I’m sure you will love. To celebrate Micah’s book release I’m giving away one copy of Anchored In.

To enter: Sign-up to receive Grace Lace and Polkadots weekly blog posts via email. You will find the Follow Blog Via Mail button on the right hand panel of the blog page (if using a computer), or scroll way down on your phone. Entry closes on Saturday 9th 2017 at 10pm Central Time. Winner will be announced Monday September 11th 2017 in blog post. Those all ready receiving Grace Lace and Polkadots by email will automatically be entered for the drawing.

The winner of Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able……is Lisa Wistuba. Congratulations Lisa! I will PM you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

P.S I am not receiving compensation in any form to advertise Anchored In. I truly enjoyed the book and believe it will be a source of encouragement to you.

 

 

 

 

Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20

Sometimes I forget the greatness of the one I serve. I know He is my creator and that I am made in His imagine, as are you. My heart releases worship to Him because I’m thankful for Jesus. Thankful for His love and His mercy, thankful that I am part of the whosoever will. Daily I find joy in His presence, listen, there is nothing that can compare or compete with that….

…yet!

Somewhere. Somehow.

I have stopped expecting the exceeding, abundantly, beyond answers to prayer. I know they exist because I have been the recipient of this type of answered prayer many times.

It’s not that I have stopped believing. I do believe.

Rather, I stopped expecting this type of answer, and because of that my requests to God have become in some areas small minded. He can do beyond all that we can ask or think. So why am I thinking small?

I know He is able, capable of doing it. I know He is willing. But will He do it? As I talked this issue out with the Lord it dawned on me, I wasn’t sure if some of my requests are in His will. Are they God given desires? Or pure selfishness? Am I asking for the right reason? The only reason; His glory. So I asked for His help.

I was drawn to start re-reading my already well highlighted and underlined book by Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker. Some books are worth re-reading and The Circle Maker is one of them. While in a local Lifeway Store a Priscilla Shirer book caught my eye with its bright red cover, but it was the title that caused me to pick it up, God Is Able. Seriously folks! It was a given I would pick it up seeing that I was having issues in this area.

A friend gave me a book for my birthday, she had no idea what I was going through, The Daniel Prayer: Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations, author Anne Graham Lotz. I asked for help and I am getting it, though none of these books supersedes God’s written word, The Bible. They sure will be helpful.

Have your prayer requests become small minded? Have you stopped believing or expecting God to answer you in an above and beyond what you can think or ask way? Talk to Him, it’s not like He doesn’t already know. He loves it when we come to Him and ask for His help.

This weeks giveaway is Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able.

To enter simply follow my Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page, make sure you have your notification button turn on so you don’t miss a post. If you already signed up to follow my Facebook page you will automatically be entered. Entry closes on Saturday September 2nd at 10pm Central Time and the winner will be announced on Monday September the 4th.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Little girl with roses: Photo Credit Pixabay

 

When the Dream and the Job Don’t Match/Journal Goes To?

PC: Pixabay

Does your work history seem disconnected from your aspirations and dreams?

Recently, I heard a gentleman talk about how his dream was to be a rock star. He started a rock group, but to make ends meet he worked in a record store. Then he worked as a bank teller, seemingly getting further and further away from his original dream.

Later he was offered a job with an advertising firm. He said he didn’t know the first thing about advertising but was offered the position because of his knowledge with the music and record industry and with banking. You see, the advertising firm had a client who promoted rock groups, another client who was in the record store business and, they also had clients in banking. This firm needed his experience. The experience that had seemed off course to his dream.

While at the advertising firm he learned the ropes of the business. Now he is in partnership with two other friends, friends he has made though his previous endeavors. Together they run their own advertising business. A business they consider their ministry.

He still loves to play in a music group, but instead of desiring to be a rock star, his joy and desire is to lead others in worship of the One who is the Rock; Jesus.

Most of us an relate in some way to his story. I know I do.

It was interesting to hear how the dots connected one job to the next, each one preparing him for his current position both in business and church.

How the dots connected for my Friend

A few years ago the nearby town of Mayflower was hit badly by a tornado. Many churches and organizations helped with the clean-up, the church I call home being one of them. A friend of mine was among those helping, his help went beyond the initial  clean-up. For two years sponsored through his church, he was there for the people, lending a ear for those who wanted to talk, giving spiritual counsel as needed and helping in anyway he could. When the position ended he went to work for a local ministry in their editorial department. He had grown to love the people of Mayflower, so when his church talked about starting a campus in that town my friend and his wife were eager to help. Little did they know at that point they would become the campus pastors. A heart dream from his youth being fulfilled.

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him. Psalm 37:23

Does the dream in your heart and your current position seem disconnected? If so, seek direction from the Lord. Does the dream stem from Him or from selfish desires? Does it line up with the scripture? Are you willing to surrender your dream to Him?

Take heart, if the dream is from the Lord, He will connect the dots as you follow His lead. Each step of the way the Lord refines, molds and shapes us ready for the fulfillment of His dream, His plan. His dream becomes your dream.

Encourage a friend by sharing this post.

Winner of the journal giveaway is…….Cindy Hansberry. Congratulations Cindy!

Next weeks book giveaway is Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able. Be sure to check back in for entry details.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rejoice: Delighting in the Lord/Plus a Book Giveaway

I asked my new to kindergarten grandson: “Why were you dancing in line?” (He had received a warning from his teacher).

His eyes grew big as he excitedly informed me: “Because I’m a happy kid!”

Google Dictionary definition of Re-joice: Feel or show great delight. Well, he was certainly expressing outwardly the inner delight he was feeling.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV

Honestly, we don’t always feel like rejoicing; not even before the Lord. Some days (or weeks/months) we find ourselves trudging through life with just about enough energy to put one foot in front of the other. We don’t feel delighted, so we don’t show delight.

My old trusty Collins Concise Dictionary and Thesaurus describes delight as; take great pleasure and enjoy, feast on, glory in, indulge in, revel in and savor.

Isn’t that what Philippians 4:4 encourages us to do? Take great pleasure, enjoy, feast on, glory in, indulge in, revel in and savor the Lord? Rejoice/Delight…in Him.

Let me put it this way; we are not going to dance in line unless we are a happy kid on the inside. How do we expect to feel and show delight when we are disconnected from the source of our delight?

Tap Dancing on the Inside

King David’s life was not all sunshine and ice cream parties and neither is ours. Turmoil surrounded him even in his family. When he was fleeing from his son Absalom, David declared to the Lord in Psalm 3:3 “But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”

We may come before the Lord with our heads hanging low, but as we spend time in His presence, feasting on His goodness our heads will be lifted. We will dance again because He is our delight. Okay, all the non dancers don’t freak out, you can do a little tap dance on the inside…no one will know your secret except you, the Lord and….. thousand upon thousands of angels.

 You did it: you changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about you. God, my God, I can’t thank you enough.     Psalm 30:11 Message

Whether we dance outwardly or inwardly is not the point. My point is; Jesus is our delight, not our circumstances.

“Jesus is our delight, not our circumstances.”

One way to express the delight we have in Him, is to write it down in a journal. One sentence or a full page, there are no rules, it is entirely up to you how much or little you write, or indeed how often you write. Whether you have a thousand journals…you know you need one more, or you are new to journaling I have just what you want.

I am giving away a beautiful journal with the words Rejoice in the Lord on the front cover and scripture on every other page. See photos.

When I saw the little bird on the front cover I wondered if I should signup for Twitter, so I can tweet about God’s love and grace. Do you use social media to brag on God?

How to enter: Simply leave a comment telling me what type of social media you use (please no links) to brag on God, OR a comment regarding journaling or about the Lord. Choose between the comment box on this site or gracelaceandpolkadots Facebook page. You can comment as much as you want, but only One comment per person will be entered into the drawing. Closes on Saturday August 19th at 10pm central time and winner will be announced Monday 21st in Grace Lace and Polkadots blog post.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

Hydrated in Love and Book Giveaway Winner

Last week we travelled through the prairie of Alberta, Canada and learned of the wide open spaces that only God can take us. Now come journey with me into the Canadian Rockies and see what lessons we can learn.

Foot Traffic

Even though I was a ninety minute drive away I could see the mountains in the distance. They rose up to meet the sky, forming one long dark wall that ran the length of the horizon. I was eager to see for myself the beauty that can only be appreciated when up-close and personal.

First stop was Johnson Canyon, due to time restraint my four friends and I chose to visit the Lower Falls only. A path along the side of the mountain lead us onto a man-made walkway suspended over the icy cold water that flowed from the fall. Narrow in places, the walkway creaked with the weight of foot traffic from the vast number of sightseers. I offered up a silent prayer for the walkway to hold firm. It did!

 

While many focused their attention on the waterfall, a handful of us met a friendly, brown ground squirrel, who stopped by for an impromptu photo shoot. It’s not just the big events in life that deserve our attention, interesting and beautiful things are found along the way too.

Snow in July!

I knew from an internet search Lake Louise is a popular lake to visit and I was about to find out why. As I emerged from the tree laden path into the open my eyes beheld what I can only explain as jaw dropping beauty. The light blue-green water of the lake against the dark rock of the  snow capped mountain was stunning. Snow in July!

I walked the path alongside the lake, taking in the majestic scenery. Unfortunately the path does not go all the way around the lake, so we walked as far as we could before turning back.

I Almost Missed It!

It was on my walk back that I noticed a small stream running down the mountain-side. It could easily have been missed as it was hidden by foliage and tree limbs. The stream poured through the dark underbrush, over rocks smoothed by its constant flow. Not even a fallen tree limb was going to stop it, on it flowed finally making its way into the lake.

I positioned myself for a closer look. I peered into the darkness of the undergrowth and the clear, refreshing water steadily pouring itself out. It reminded me of Jesus our living water.

Hydrated in Love

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT

His love, truth and grace is constantly flowing from Him to us. No amount of underbrush, rocks or fallen limbs in our lives can stop the flow. When life seems dark, He is still present. When we feel dry, His refreshing water is still available. When life is rough, He makes a smooth path. When we feel empty, He fills us up.

We don’t have to be dehydrated in the Lord’s presence, He invites us to drink of Him. Not a one time drink, or an occasional drink, but a continual intake of His love.

Today, be hydrated in His love for you. Come before Him and learn of His grace, read the written Word (scriptures) and know His truth…. Nothing can separate us from His love.

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of Rick Bezet’s new book, Real Love in an Angry World is……Dorothy Johnson!!! Congratulations Dorothy. Please contact me by Wednesday 8/9/17 10pm to receive your prize.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome new followers to Grace Lace and Polkadots (GLP) and to thank all those who faithfully return week after week. If you would like to receive GLP blog directly into your email, you can signup on the blog…simply fill out Follow Blog via Email, It is on the right hand panel in the blog and way down the bottom of the page on a mobile device.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Photo credit for all photos in this blog: Helena Davies