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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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

 

 

 

 

Do You Throw or Carry Your Burdens?

Book giveaway details in post. Enter to win.

I have just returned from my first ever trip to Canada. What a beautiful country! Admittedly, I only saw a small portion of this vast land, but the portion I saw was awesome.

After being reunited with my childhood friend Glenda, and meeting her husband, Andy, at Calgary airport, we made our way south to their home town of Okotoks, just 11 miles away. Okotoks, is surrounded by prairie with a view of the Canadian Rockies rising up to meet the sky in the distance.

I looked out of the car window and I was amazed at the bright, almost florescent yellow fields that greeted me. It would not be the last time I would gaze upon the glimmering yellow canola fields as they were present in abundance.

The vast openness of the prairie was a source of delight and wonder to me. With only a handful of trees dotted here and there, I could literally see for mile, upon uninterrupted picturesque mile. Its beauty rolling out before me in a never ending carpet of green and yellow, reminded me of a verse found in the book of Psalms. (18 vs 19)

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delights in me.

Sometimes life feels so closed in, we worry and fuss, we busy ourselves with details and we wonder if reprieve is possible. The air we breathe is stuffy, our oxygen saturation numbers are low, spiritually speaking; and we gasp in an attempt to survive. Our thoughts and eyes are clouded and we feel trapped, unable to hold our head up: Life has become heavy and burdensome.

That is not how Jesus, wants us to live.

Learning to Live Light

Matthew 11:28-30 tells us, if we are weary and burdened to go to him. He promised to give us rest. He asked that we take His yoke on ourselves and learn from Him. He said He is gentle and humble in His heart. For the second time within the three verses He reminds us that He will give us rest. He tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

I don’t like living closed in and worn down with a heavy burden. The Lord knows I spent way too long in that condition. Give me the open space of His love and the lightness of His yoke. Such a better way to live.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1Peter 5:7

It’s true! Jesus cares about us. He wants to rescue us and bring us into the spacious place of His rest. So why doesn’t He just do it?

Here’s why!

We were given free will, that means we have the freedom to choose. We can choose to stay weighed down by life, longing for rest, gasping for air. Or, we can choose to cast our burdens and anxieties on Jesus. (Google Dictionary definition of the word cast; to throw something forcefully in a specified direction)

It’s a choice. It’s up to each one of us whether we live feeling trapped or not. The solution is found in Jesus. Ladies (gentleman), let’s get good at forcefully throwing our concerns, burdens, anxieties, disappointments, and all that weighs us down straight at the feet of Jesus….and goodness me! Please leave them there.

Before I sign off it’s time for a book giveaway. Real Love in an Angry world: How to Stick to your Convictions Without Alienating People, released in July, author Rick Bezet, Pastor of New Life Church (NLC) Arkansas.

To enter: simply signup to follow me on Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page. That’s it! Nothing complicated. Winner will be announced Monday August 7th and will have until 10pm central time on Wednesday 9th to respond. No response and I will choose another winner. Those already following Grace Lace and Polkadots FB page will automatically be entered.

Join me next week as I travel into the Canadian Rockies.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

 

 

 

 

A Chance Meeting at the Lake

Smell the Bacon

Darkness had not yet given way to light, but it was coming, and soon. It was 5am and my husband was already up. As I slowly awoke from my slumber so did my appetite as the smell of bacon cooking wafted its way to greet me good morning.

It was almost 6am before I arose, the cooked bacon had gone, but not the welcoming smell. Daylight had made her appearance and bade me to start my day. Which was not going to happen until I had a cup of tea and a bowl of porridge (think Goldie Locks and the three bears).

Not My Usual Friday

It was Friday, that meant three things, (1) It was curbside recycle day. (2) Free Friday Download at a local store. (3) My mother’s weekly call (free calls on the weekend).

I hurried down the driveway, hoping not to be seen by neighbors while still wearing my pajama’s and wrapped in a dressing gown that made me look twice as round as I am (think soft, shapeless blanket). Hey! don’t knock it, I got the dressing gown on sale and it’s really comfortable. I needed to get the recycle bin to the curbside before the truck arrived, sometimes they come early and sometimes not. There was no way of knowing and I didn’t want to miss them.

My husband informed he had downloaded the Friday freebie and yay! it was a box of porridge. Something at last I would use. I normally pass the free stuff onto my daughter, but not this time….sorry Sam.

My mother usually calls around 4pm central time, that’s 10pm in Wales. The day was young and the weather an usually cool 78f for a July morning in Arkansas, I had plenty of time to walk and do errands before her call. My favorite place to walk is a local lake with tree covered trails, a welcome shade when the temperature rises.

The Lady With A Divine Appointment

I was half around the bigger of the three lakes when a lady with a hiking stick stopped and asked if I thought it was going to rain. I looked up to the bright blue sky with only a few white clouds feeling a little like Elijah’s servant looking for a black rain cloud. We conversed a little more about the possibility of rain, then she asked if she could walk with me as she believed this was a divine appointment.

We walked side by side, taking about Jesus. She asked me questions of how I received Christ as my Lord and I asked her similar questions. She shared about her family and asked about mine…I gave vague answers. Yes, I’m protective.

She loves gospel blue-grass music and insisted on playing a song for me. Know this I am not a blue grass fan, gospel or not. The song title is On My Father’s Side, maybe you are familiar with it? I wasn’t. The song tells the story of Jesus answering questions in the temple when he was 12 years old. Here are some of the words to the song.

“What’s your name son?”

“On my mother’s side my name is Jesus, but on my father’s side they call me Emanuel.”

“How old are you?”

“On my mother’s side now am 12 years, but on my father’s side I’ve just always been.”

For you [who are born-again have been reborn from above-spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified and] are all children of God [set apart for His purpose with full rights and privileges] through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26 Amp

In this world I answer to several names, Helena, Mam, Nanna, Nurse even the occasional “Hey You!” those are my temporary names.  As I listened to the words of the song I was reminded that my Heavenly Father calls me Redeemed, Beloved and Daughter; my permanent names. If you know Jesus as your Lord; Redeemed. Beloved and Daughter are your permanent names too.

Maybe it was a divine appointment that interrupted my normal Friday routine with a reminder from my Heavenly Father of who I am in Him.

4pm arrived and my mother called right on time.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

How has today been for you? Good? Interesting? Not so Good? Down right awful? Other? Using one of the five tell me in the comments how your day went.

P.S Just a reminder I will be doing a few giveaways in August, starting with Pastor Rick Bezet’s new book Love In an Angry World.

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inviting Friendship: Part 1

Three times, through three different people over a course of a few days the same message came to my attention.  It was one of those listen closely moments.

The subject was that of being a friend, maintaining friendships and reaching out to others in friendship. Which is something I don’t do well, at least not as well as I would like.

Wise Words From Three Wise People

Rick Bezet in his new book, Real Love in an Angry World encourages us to show hospitality, love each other, see the potential in others and give honor.

Christine Caine in First Things with Christine, says “I cannot imagine venturing through life without great relationships! Our courage often comes from the encouragement of others, which is why we’re not suppose to live this life alone.”

Ginny Heisler, a friend from church posted on Facebook (I have her permission to share with you), she wrote;

“I have come to the conclusion that group texts, social media comments and Snapchat stories have given us all the illusion of friendship. Sit down with me and have a cup of coffee while we talk about our dreams, fears, struggles and triumphs. Have dinner at my table, I’ll cook. Play cards (or chess) with me in the park. That’s friendship! That’s how you build a relationship. That’s how iron sharpens iron.”

I get it we all need friends and we need to be a friend. The problem I find is that we are all so wrapped up in our own little worlds. I know I am! We are on the move, running to and fro work, taking and collecting the kids from school, attending church small groups and trying to have a home life. Seriously folks! Who has time for real friends?

I have a lot of friendlies in my life. You know, the people who are more than acquaintances, but don’t quite make the real friend status. We know each other’s name, we pass pleasantries when we run into each other at the grocery store or church and that’s as far as it goes. Friendlies!!

People need real friends because so many of them don’t have real families anymore.” Rick Bezet

We live in a mobile society, no longer do we live our entire life in one town where everybody knows everybody. We move for a variety of reasons, sometimes it’s because of family dynamics, a job change or simply because we are adventurous but, the outcome is the same. We don’t have roots with our new neighbors!

“Friendship starts with an invitation.”

Developing acquaintances into friendlies then into real friends takes time. It takes effort. It takes commitment. It takes planning. Not all acquaintances will become friendlies, and not all friendlies will become real friends. But it is worth the effort, one I am willing to invest in. Will you join me in proactively reaching out in friendship to others. I mean what’s there to lose? At the worst they will remain acquaintances.

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other. John 13:34 Msg

When Jesus lived on earth he was a people person (he still is), he was approachable, friendly and kind hearted. Don’t mistake those qualities for a push over. He spoke to the crowds, but he also went out of his way to speak to the one. He poured into the lives of his disciples, he knew their potential even when they didn’t. He reached out in love.

Isn’t that what we should do? See the potential in others and invest our time and energy by encouraging them. By being there when they are going through a hard time? By laughing with them when they celebrate? Isn’t that what a friend is for to share the bad as well as the good times? To lend a listening ear and a tissue when needed? To want the very best for them and to love them through the ups and downs, and if we are honest with ourselves isn’t that what we want in a friend?

Until next time

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

What has helped you to make new friends and maintain the friendships you have? Feel free to comment, we learn by sharing.

 

 

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.