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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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

 

Inviting Friendship: Part 2

Feeling Uncomfortable

Eating out alone is uncomfortable for me. I feel awkward, as if I don’t know where to look other than my food. I don’t want to people watch that seems rude, though people fascinate me. I usually have a book to read when I’m travelling and will bury my head in its pages at airport restaurants. I rarely eat out alone when home.

Gathering with family or friends around a table, whether at home or at a restaurant for a meal is more than nourishment for our bodies. It’s nourishment for our wellbeing. Interaction with others in a safe and friendly atmosphere brings us a sense of belonging, a sense of caring about each other, it helps us to bond. It helps friendship to blossom and grow.

We see the same thing in churches every weekend before the meeting starts, people sitting with heads buried in their phones or the church bulletin avoiding eye contact. Not because they don’t want to be friendly, rather because they feel uncomfortable being there alone or unknown.

Some arrive late on purpose to avoid the awkwardness of not knowing anyone, yet wanting to be there, and they promptly leave when the service have ended. Another week has gone by and they are no nearer to making friends with their fellow believers than they were when they first started attending. They come to visit the family and go away feeling ignored.

Inviting Friendship

When we invite people into our homes we want them to feel welcomed and comfortable. We want them to feel at home, we want them to know it’s okay to lose the shoes and get comfy on the sofa. We want them to feel safe, relaxed and know they are with family. We want them to interact with the family as family, not sit with their heads buried in a book or phone feeling disconnected.

When I first attended the church I’m planted in, there was about 150 people at that particular campus. It was easy for them to notice that my husband and I were new there. Those sitting around us welcomed us with genuine warmth and each week we got to know more and more people. The church has grown over the last fifteen years into what some call a mega church.

Friendship begins with an invitation; invite someone to be a friend by being a friend.

When you attend a large church you are not going to know everybody, you are not going be able to invite everybody out for coffee. So how do we make friends in mega church? Same as you would in a smaller church. Start by connecting with those around you. Get to know their names. Make a point of talking with them before or after the service. Invite them to the small group you attend. Invite them out for coffee. Do it all with genuine love and interest for the other person. Value them, they are real people who God loves.

“Acknowledging the value of a soul plants in us a seed of willingness to build others up, encourage others, and call the greatness out of them.” Rick Bezet

When we value people as God values people we will see their worth as He does. When they see that we genuinely care about them, they will put down the phone and the bulletin and begin to interact; could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Don’t stop at only befriending those in your church, look outside. Show them the same love you show the person in the next pew.

Just as lotions and fragrance gives sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs27:9

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

What does Friendship look like for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box either through the blog site or on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page.

The month of August I will be doing some giveaways, starting with Rick Bezet’s book Real Love In An Angry World: How to Stick to your Convictions Without Alienating People. Be on the lookout.

Hope your soul is refreshed this week with friendship!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living a God Colored Life

 

A simple gift. A thoughtful gift. One I would enjoy, if only I had the time.

Time to spare. Time to sit. Time to color.

It would be six months before I found the time. It’s not as if I was constantly busy the whole six months. Sure, work, family and church took up a good proportion but, my downtime hours were filled with non important things; surfing social media, reading way too many blog posts and watching the box (television). I had the time. I filled it with clutter.

The Time Had Come

My eight year old grandson was spending the afternoon with me, when he tired of building Lego and asked for paper and colored pencils I remembered the gift of the inspirational coloring book.

He did a little coloring on the fist page and promptly returned to the Lego.

I flicked through the pages, my eyes feasted on beautiful intricate designs, each page featuring an encouraging scripture. It was my turn and my time to pick up the colored pencils and begin the creative process of turning a black and white page into a masterpiece of color.

Okay folks, I’m not going to make a living as an artist as you can see from the above picture, but I enjoyed it. I picked up a pencil and commenced. Yellow for the center of the flower, then a pink for the petals. Add jade, aqua, mid blue and a soft brown and my first design on a page loaded with design was done. Just a trillion more to go! The intricate designs fascinated me, I scoured the book in search of duplicate designs. I didn’t find any.

He colors us with His love, grace and mercy

As I continued with my artwork I thought about the Lord, how He colors our lives with His love, His grace and His mercy, carefully and meticulously taking us from a life of generic black and white, to one filled with colors that only He can create.

It takes time to color the intricate designs in the book, my first masterpiece is only half done, still a lot of coloring to do. The pencils are line up ready to be used, ready to bring more color to the design. I’m sure thousands of inspirational coloring books has been sold, and just as many have already been colored, yet, none of them will look like my artwork. It is uniquely mine!

Uniquely His

When we invite God in to color our lives we will become a masterpiece that is uniquely His. He doesn’t color us in one go. He could, but that would be too much for us to take; He’s kind and gentle like that! He doesn’t rush us but draws us patiently into a closer relationship with Himself. James 1: 2-3 in the Message Bible talks about our true colors coming out when we are under pressure. As we allow God to color us as His masterpiece it will be His colors in us that will be exposed.

You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

 

Are you ready for more God color in your life? I know I am, what about you?

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

 

Father’s Day: Simple Pleasures

He stooped over his cane as he walked, his once sprightly gait was now slow, but steady. I watched from a short distance away, he was determined the rising incline of the bridge was not going to win. Not that day, or any day soon.

It didn’t matter the bus he needed was already at the stop, he couldn’t go any faster even if he wanted to. The bus would have to go without him even though it would be another hour before the next.

The man I call dad, the man who use to carry me on his shoulders when I was a child. The man who worked double shifts down the coal mine to provide for his family. Now moved at a much slower pace.

Each time I visit home I notice the changes in my dad. His muscles are not what they once were when he mined for coal. His face a little thinner, his hair though still plentiful is not as bushy as it use to be.

Time Waits For No Man or Woman

Time ages us, it moves on whether we want it to or not. We may not notice the subtle changes in ourselves but believe me they are happening; to all of us.

My dad will be 91 years old this year, he has seen much in his life time. The days of his youth shepherding sheep and helping in the family vineyard took a turn when World War ll came to his part of Europe. He exchanged his shepherds staff for a gun, fighting to protect the freedom that was soon to be taken away.

Moving to Wales after WW ll meant learning a new language (English) and a new craft; coal mining, way below the surface where the sun doesn’t shine. A job he would do all his adult working life, one far removed from shepherding sheep. A job in which he lost friends due to caving in of the rock wall, a risk he took everyday in order to put food on the table.

He didn’t seek riches or position, rather the simple pleasures of life; family, friends, food and good health. These are still important to him. When my four year old grandson took the journey over the pond to visit his great-grandfather a few months ago the one thing they did together was to walk hand in hand down a country lane to feed a horse…picture that a 4 year old and a 90 year old walking together enjoying a simple pleasure. No generation gap there!

They Were Young Once

Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:2

When we look at an elderly man/woman, let’s remember he/she has lived and probably seen more changes in his/her life time than we may see in ours. Give honor to our elders, be courteous, be kind, be patient, be respectful. Remember they were young once and one day you and I will be the elderly.

I pray when I am 90 years old that I will continue to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Hopefully there will be a 4 year old great-granddaughter or great-grandson in the picture.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

When You Lose Sight of Your Calling

I wanted to purchase a pair of wide legged linen pants, so why was I trying on not one but two pairs of skinny jeans? It was the colors that caught my eye; a cool shade of aqua and a happy red to be precise. The jeans felt comfortable, but looking in the mirror I could see they were not a good fit at all.

I continued my search. I found a pretty summer dress in green and navy with a tad of white and oh, a cute floral blouse. Back to the dressing room I went, decided I didn’t like the blouse after all, but I did say yes to the dress and a pair of leggings.

I can get distracted by pretty things especially anything with small Polkadots and, yes I did pull a few items of clothing with Polkadots off the rack.

Stay focused! I told myself. Linen pants, linen pants I repeated to bring my mission back into view.

It took me three hours to buy one pair of linen pants. Plus another hour to visit a new children’s store in town where I purchased some clothes for my three grandchildren…going to that store was not part of the day’s plan. Can you say DISTRACTIONS.

Losing focus when shopping can lead to impulse buying i.e. dress, leggings and kids clothes. Losing focus on God’s plan for our lives can cause us to run impulsively in many directions other than the path we are called to walk.

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Proverbs 4:25 NIV

Stay Focused!

Focused on Jesus and focused on what He has placed in our hands to do. It’s so easy to be distracted, to lose sight of a goal especially when it is seems far off.

We get involved in too many things and neglect the one thing the Lord has asked us to do. Whatever it is stay focused. Spend time in His word and in prayer. Listen and be alert to His direction. If you get distracted, refocus! We don’t always realize the significance of what the Lord has placed in our heart’s to do and, we may never know until we are home with Him.

Proverbs 4:27 tells us “Do not look to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

 

What distracts you and what helps you to refocus? Share your thoughts in the comment box.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance