Each month, the Laced with Grace team would like to share a down-loadable Scripture desktop for your computer. You will have a choice of three different sizes: 1280 x 853, 1800 x 1200, or 2400 x 1600, or Facebook Time Line Cover. Click on the size you would like, right-click...Read More
"So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty." ~ Isaiah 55:11a
It was a day of filling things up – empty things. The sugar bowl was empty when I found it with my black coffee. The sugar canister, the second place I looked, was empty too. The day required me to problem solve before I had my first cup of coffee! I filled every sugar container to the brim, added some to my cup and drank the lukewarm liquid.
Dishes waited on the counter to be washed (they are always waiting); signs of boys raiding the kitchen after dinner last night. No soap in the dispenser! Empty! No washing until filling, no filling until finding. Where is the soap? Rummaging through half empty bottles under the sink, I find the dish soap and fill the dispenser – washing can begin.
There are days I feel like an empty dispenser, nothing more to give, all gone. There can be no filling until finding, finding Him – the only One who fills the emptied. Filling and washing, God does both. It is when I am empty, completely empty, that He pours the best inside. Not from a half empty bottle, but from Himself. Like the waiting dishes, He waits; waits for me to empty out of myself so He can fill me with something better – His Spirit. When I am trying to live on empty, in my own strength, it doesn’t take long to become weary, tired, stressed, and feeling like old dry bones. But when He fills me, I have power that is not my own…power to love, have joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
I don’t like finding things empty, especially the sugar bowl when I need my coffee. But God is different, He wants me to start every day emptied out (of myself), not so I can walk around empty, but so He can fill me with those good and perfect things from His Spirit. Things I can’t accomplish in my own strength.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11
Are you in need of filling today?
“There is no such thing as bad publicity”. Many people have been associated with this quote, but no one concrete is listed as the person who coined the phrase. I personally think that there is bad publicity.
Some of you may have heard, read, or even viewed (like me) the issue about a business located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The business owners asked for help for their failing business from a prominent person in their field. This consultation went very bad and did not have the outcome the business owners may have hoped for.
I watched the video online and what really bothered me was not the attitude, but the words that came out of one of the owners. In one sentence God was praised for given the person talent, but in the next sentence corrupting talk came out of the owner’s moth. All I could do was shake my head in disbelief.
Paul wrote in the letter to the church in Ephesus:
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
(Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV ~ emphasis mine)
When we become His children we are His ambassadors and should act that way. No matter in what situation we are in, we should be kind to one another, and especially be forgiving one another.
I agree that some situations may become stressful and we are overwhelmed. But that should not rattle our cage; instead we should take a deep breath and lift our eyes and heart to heaven. Will it always work? No, I know that I have been in situations where some words flew out of my mouth that I regretted the minute they came out. But if we do say something that is not wholesome, what can we do? Ask the person you are dealing with for forgiveness.
It may be awkward at first when spewing off some unwholesome words and than ask for forgiveness, but it is the right thing to do. Especially when it happens with people that do not know God. Remember, He is the one we represent in this world.
Lord of mercy and grace. Guard my lips and may the words that come out of my mouth be kind, tenderhearted, and always forgiving. Lord, use me today to show the world what it means to be a follow of Your Word. In the precious name of Jesus ~ Amen.Read More
I am sure you are deeply saddened as I am as I watch the news coverage of the devastating tornadoes that ripped thru Oklahoma. Wicked storms that devastated neighborhoods, and ripped unsuspecting lives out of schools, gas stations and people’s backyards. The last count I heard was over 50 lives lost.
What a tragedy.
Is it possible to go through tough times and still have peace in the midst of trials?
Jesus taught several things about persevering through trials. The greatest thing that we can do for our family, friends and neighbors when tragedy hits is seek Him. And pray! It is easy to look towards others for help but our help comes from the Lord! It MUST come from the Lord!
You may wonder how in the world we can feel peace during such difficult times, this is how…
John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me (Jesus) you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
God has told us the truth, that at times, life will be difficult. But He has provided to us a way to overcome these tough times. His peace is amazing and His love cannot be matched. Victory through tough times comes by staying connected to other believers, reading Gods word, trusting God, praying, worshiping and keeping the faith.
If your heart is troubled today, lift your eyes up and allow the winds of His love to sweep over you.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the promise that You will never leave us nor forsake us. Even in difficult times, in tragedy, in those things that take us by surprise and the things that we simply do not understand…even in those times, You are near. Breathe Your love and Your peace on us sweet Lord. And today especially, we pray that your Power will be felt in Oklahoma. Touch the hurting, comfort families and bring restoration all over. AMEN
Have you ever found yourself digging around in your kitchen trash can? Last week I noticed a discrepancy on our online bank statement. The amount I had written from our debit card in the checkbook was $5 less than what the statement showed. I thought I had thrown the receipt in the trash that morning so I decided to find it in case we needed it to get our money back. I thought the receipt was right on top but had to dig around a little bit. And it turned out I had ripped it up with a couple other receipts so it was in several pieces.
It was not exactly a pleasant job to begin digging through the trash. I knew that the trash bag was fairly new since I had just replaced it not long before this, and I figured the receipt would be pretty easy to find. But as I started digging I was surprised at how much trash was already in there in such a short time and how it was already getting gross and smelly! In less than a day we’d gotten rid of quite a bit of garbage. Pieces of paper and used packaging mixed with empty, sticky drink cups and smelly food scraps. The bag was fuller than I realized.
I thought how it can be the same in our lives. It does not take long to fill up our minds and lives with useless garbage. These things in themselves may be harmless as were the things in our trash can. But when they were all in their together, they created quite a mess and stink. All those pieces of garbage kept me from finding the tiny piece of paper I needed.
How many things do we allow in our lives that are really taking up space and wasting our time? We may think an activity has no harmful effects in our lives. But does it have any value? Or is it just a waste? So many things can quickly fill up our lives without our even being aware of it happening. I did not know how much trash we threw away in less than a day’s time until I started digging into it and remembering throwing away most of the items myself.
This experience reminded me how it is so easy to not pay attention to what we have filling our lives. We need to keep trash from filling our lives because the trash prevents us from paying attention to the important things that do matter, like our relationships with God, our family, and others. Once again this verse from Colossians 3:2 comes to my mind.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Next time you throw something in the garbage, take a moment to pause and think if there is any garbage filling up your heart that is making it hard to focus on God.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
Have a day of blessings!Read More
Today is my oldest child’s 44th birthday. I could tell you the time has gone by faster than I would ever have believed possible, and while that is true there is something else I have on my heart I want to say.
We who have entered that season of life where the nest is empty and time has become a precious commodity, are apt to tell you things like, “Cherish the moments.” or “Before you know it your little ones will be grown with little ones of their own. Be careful to choose those things that have eternal value.”
Those things are right and good, but I sometimes fear they come with a good bit of potential guilt and shame. I want to put my arm across your shoulders, draw you close and hand you a measure of grace.
For those days when you finally get to lay your head on the pillow and all you can do is rehearse the ways you failed to be all you wanted to be- grace.
In those seasons of slammed doors and moody faces and never being able to talk without having it degenerate into an argument – grace.
During times of crises, when it is all you can do to open your eyes in the morning, let alone put your feet on the floor and walk into the day – grace.
For the time when it seems as though, despite your best efforts, it has all gone wrong and you wish you could just race ahead to better, easier years – grace.
His grace to fill in the places where you were found a bit wanting. His grace to somehow bring good out of the very worst of times. His grace to make it possible for love to win. His grace that holds the promise of hope even when it seems it can never be good.
Here is something I will tell you. When I say to my grown children, “I am sorry for all the terrible mistakes I made,” they look at me as though they haven’t a clue what I’m talking about.
I wrote this post for my own blog a couple of weeks ago and felt it was something I should share here as well. I pray there is someone it will encourage and bless.