Leaning into Thankful: Part 3 of 3

Returning Home to Grace

NLC Worship CD, Our God & Our King song Thankful, describes where I was, and where my heart is now. I have written the words to the song in bold throughout this post, I pray you are encouraged by them.

Though I accepted Jesus as my savior in my teens, I would be in my late forties before I realized what grace was about and Who grace is!

For ten years I was away from church. It wasn’t something I decided to do one Sunday morning; it was a slow walking away. Missed a meeting here, missed a meeting there, and before I realized it ten years had gone by. Ten years away from fellowship with the saints of God and ten years away from personal fellowship with my Heavenly Father. My bible gathered dust and my prayers were not powerful, they were; Pitiful. Worrisome. Complaining prayers. Sometimes they were cries for help, but mostly they were pity-party style.

I was homesick. A foreigner in a foreign land and I longed to go home where people understood me. I had moved countries and hadn’t settled in a church, I had visited many but none seemed a good fit, so it was easy to miss meetings. No-one was going to miss me.

Nightly muffled tears ran down my cheeks as I silently prayed, “Lord, I wanna go home.” I was referring to my earthly home. He knew better. I needed my spiritual home. I needed Him.

I was invited to attend a bible study group in a neighbor’s home; I went because I didn’t like to say no to my sweet neighbor. The group met weekly and I returned each week even though most weeks I reckoned it was going to be my last week. Slowly I was being drawn back to the Father. I knew I needed to find a church home.

I visited two other churches before I walked into New Life Church (NLC). As soon as I walked into the sanctuary I felt the presence of the Lord, something (someone) I had not felt in ten years. A sigh went out from deep within me as I breathed out the words “Home.”

I was lost, Jesus you found me. In your mercy you sought me out, lifted me out of the ashes, to your unfailing love. To your unfailing love

I was lost, but He knew where I was and He was patient with me. He didn’t leave me but drew me quietly back to Himself. The song talks about the Lord lifting us out of the ashes and pulling us out of the wreckage. That is exactly what He did for me, and He will do it for you if you are willing.

 You came for me when I was lost, hopelessly lost. Your life for my liberty on the cross traded on the cross.

I was the guilty-one not Jesus, yet He died for me, trading places so I may live in His liberty and freedom. He did this for you too.

King of Kings, rising in Glory. To the darkness your light has come, pulling me out of the wreckage to your unfailing love. To your unfailing love

His love is truly unfailing, He is not fickle like me, and the pressures of this life don’t control Him. He is light and He brought me out from under the dark cloud that engulfed me.

For your love everlasting, I will be thankful. For your mercy unending, I will be thankful. For the cross that you carried, I will be thankful. All my sin has been buried, I will be thankful.

I am thankful God did not give up on me, thankful He pursued me before and after I asked Him to be in my heart. I am forever thankful for His love, His mercy, His sacrifice and His forgiveness. I am thankful for His unfailing love. I am thankful I came face to face with Grace.

Our Heavenly Father waits for us with eager eyes and a longing heart for our return home to Him. He pursues us with His love and gently draws us closer to Himself. Come home dear one, back into fellowship with the One who loves you. He’s waiting for you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

I had the privilege of sharing this article a few months back on Alice Standford’s blog mesetfree.com be sure to check her website out. Oops! sorry my link button is not working to connect you straight to Alice’s blog, but type in her web address in a search engine, you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

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Leaning into Thankful: Part 2 of 3

 Thankful Ten

Photo Credit: Alex Geerts Unsplash

Thanksgiving: The time of year when we pause to reflect on the things we are thankful for.

Have you noticed the Thankful posts on social media? I have…

…and they have inspired me to write down at least one thing each day that I am thankful for. Rather than go for the usual list of family and friends; for which I am deeply thankful. I thought it would be good to narrow the list down to things I would normally take for granted.

Get creative or take the simple route. Own it, It’s yours!

Starting November 13th through November 23rd (Thanksgiving Day) join me in jotting down what you are thankful for and why. Doesn’t have to be eloquent, raw honesty is always good. Grab a notepad or if you journal write it there. Get creative or take the simple route. Own it, it’s yours! Your list can be as private or public as you choose. The main deal is appreciating and giving thanks to the Lord for the everyday things in our lives.

I’ll go First

I am thankful for HOT WATER!

Let me explain why.

Hot water was an everyday item I took for granted until I went to Guatemala in 2010 on a ten day mission trip to the wonderful people of the Zacapa mountains. The team would leave our low key, but comfortable hotel in pick-up trucks each day and head for the mountains visiting a different village each day.

The scenery and the people were beautiful and the roads were DUSTY . By the time we got back to our hotel each night we were covered from head to toe in fine brown dust. There was no way to leave showering until the morning no matter how tired we were.

The hotel was comfortable and the food was great, but there was one thing that caused me dread and that was taking my nightly shower. NO HOT WATER! Not even cool water. It was colder than cold. It was icy cold.

Each night before getting into the icy cold shower I would have to tell myself to be brave. The worst part was washing my hair, oh am I glad I took a two in one shampoo/conditioner. That was one less rinse under the icy cold water.

On my return home the hot water from my shower never felt more welcoming. Seriously, I was worshiping the Lord with a thankful heart for hot water.

Hot water is not available worldwide. I am so thankful I have the privilege to take hot water showers.

Now it’s Your Turn

I invite you to not only keep your personal account for ten days of the everyday things you are thankful for but to also join me each day November 13th through 23rd on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page for Thankful Ten.

“I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.” Ps 35:18

 

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Share this post with a friend and invite them to join in Thankful Ten over on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook Page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.