Saturday, December 19, 2009

Will the REAL Christmas Please Stand Up?

Distractions are everywhere. Like the Grinch, "Noise! Noise! Noise!" was his cry; I feel his pain! There's tons of noise surrounding this season where we declare that "Christ the Savior is born!" You know, we might be saying it in our churches, but our everyday existences during the holidays it's not said very loudly or well. Lights, and did I mention sounds, smells and all the scenes of the season really don't share Christ. They are certain to share commercialism, greed and excess! Sorry, but it's true. With some introspect we all can recognize that a little simpler, a little less of what's wrong and a GREATER focus of what's right will bring the REAL Christmas to our lives. How consumed are we over our decor, food, gifts...(you put what you will here!)?? But it's also about family~this is the secularist view~the tradition, the spirit of good will....we can see it all over the TV and the idea of family and friends gathering to partake of WHAT???? Food and what? While a focus on family isn't bad~it's not the one we need to have at heart~in our minds and souls~

Forgive me, but anybody notice the attitudes in the stores this time of year? I know this is negative, but to decry all the glories of something that really isn't all that good~bad attitudes and bad behavior isn't right, but while the shopper may be looking for something GOOD like a gift for another, why does the behavior and attitude have to be so rude?

Sugar and rich foods cause all sorts of problems as well. Weight gain and health issues get more complicated. But "our ideas," what's marketed to us is that big huge candy cane or cookies or something else yummy...Oh my mouth is watering..but what is this excess doing to us in the end and the GREATER question~what does this have to do with Jesus and His birth?

We give...Oh yes we do~but don't we "like to receive" too? Let's be real. How far will we get if we only gave? If we only...another idea too is how smug some of us feel when we give. I get sick over the idea of "the less fortunate gift giving deal." Anyone give to someone out of pity? Is THIS love? Uh....

But LOVE was born on that very time of year, when shepherds were in the fields, and people were required to register in their home towns to pay their taxes. Caesar Augustus was Emperor of Rome and wise men were star gazers. Love, real and lasting Love was born~humbly, simply, and without fan fare. But it's not how we remember it with our Christmas celebrations. We get all torn up~even children's padgets can be stressful and harming when children are pressured. PRESSURE that is unnecessary~where did the humility and simplicity go? Why are we in such a tizzy?

The REAL Christmas is LOVE! For God so loved...LOVED the world that He sent His only begotten Son...Love ~greater love hath no man than that He should lay down His life~for HIS FRIENDS...LOVE~Love thy neighbor as thyself....LOVE, love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul and mind...LOVE...that the world may know if we have love one for the other...LOVE~
The embodiment of God's love is His Son, Jesus who in all humility came~and He died just 33 years later, crucified unjustly on a Roman cross. The cross has come to symbolize so much for so many~perhaps it's the REAL CHRISTMAS tree, and LOVE is the REAL CHRISTMAS focus...all this holiday hustle, hurry and bustle isn't about Jesus~it's about man or man's ideas...but LOVE is distinctly FOR mankind, not about mankind.

The REAL Christmas is Jesus~and in each of our lives we must find a way~during ANY holiday to make it all about Him. John said, HE must increase and I must decrease. True of everyone~true of me. We must focus and worship the Savior, the Love of God~Jesus the Christ in all our actions and beliefs. Then truly our Christmas will be as the word actually means ~ a Worship of Christ. Christ-Mass ~True and devoted in us as well look to the Savior!

Merry Christ Mass and may your holidays be real HOLY days!
Lady Graceful
Luke 2

Friday, November 6, 2009

To the Summit!

Ever been in a mess, a real pickle where it seemed nearly impossible to get out? Ever found yourself in a struggle or with a real challenge that you wondered how on earth you were going to make it through?

Everyday we are all faced with things, situations and problems that seem unsolvable, unable to fix or just tough! How do we get beyond the struggle to the place of victory, joy and peace?

Perseverance is a huge key to being successful at anything. Remember the children's story of The Little Engine That Could who pressed up the steep mountain with the words, "I think I can! I think I can!" as he pushed right up that obstacle to find himself at the summit with full victory? He never gives up nor in...he continues as hard and as steady as he can go..up, up, up until he reaches the top in victory, sweet victory!

For us, the bigger the problem, the greater the demand to overcome, the sweeter the victory! The more we invest, the better the payout! Even in our problems, something of refinement is occurring. Refinement, a purification of ourselves and we reach deeper, harder, in more earnest to find the solution, the way, the ability.

Reaching deeply into ourselves is only one point of finding the solution. While important, and it must not be overlooked that we have to have ourselves "on board" to gain what is needed to do the task, we do have to look beyond ourselves as well. Looking at that little train with all his will and desire, NEVER could have reached the summit without the fuel for his engine~the coal for his furnace that was stoked so that his energy was sustained in the struggle. Where can we find such power giving energy for ourselves?

Only in God can we find this kind of energy. He is the total source of all we have and all we will ever become! Perseverance is key, but having the energy source is essential...even more important than our own will to win! God's abilities far exceed our own, and it's in His power and might that we have the umph to press on up that hill to our summit~our personal victory!

Are you struggling with a need in your life? Do you have a goal that you desire or a problem that needs solving? God is the answer! He enables each of us to push forward until we reach our summit.
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Peace


In the 1960's the peace symbol became popular as a way of protesting a war and promoting the idea of pacifism. Even the American President, Richard Nixon was photographed with his arms held high and his hands making the gesture. Peace is just a important today in our world as it has ever been. I am not protesting or even commenting on the military efforts today, but about the internal war that rages in our beings, our hearts, souls and minds.

Peace is something we all want. We desire peace. Peace is desirable. It brings satisfaction and security. But with inner conflict, peace isn't achieved while our inner self rages. Peace is only achieved as issues are laid to rest, problems dealt with and progress made. But how can we achieve peace?

Are we capable of peace without seeking God to help us?

God is a God of all comfort who comforts us. . . Isaiah said that God would keep the person in "perfect peace" who continually thinks upon Him. The Bible promises a "peace that passes all understanding."

How can we reconcile what God says to help ourselves to have His peace.

It's His peace that is authentic and purest in nature.

1. Prayer. We need to look to God as our source, shield, and salvation.

2. Confession. Is there something standing between us and God. Confess or tell it to God. Ask Him to remove the obstacles to knowing Him which is knowing peace!

3. Walking with God. When we keep our minds on God and His benefits, methods and Person, we can have confidence to know that our Creator who cares is right there with us~even when it's not fun!

4. Singing to Him. Praising God may seem silly, but what we listen to does affect our thinking. Is our music lifting the soul closer towards the Savior or sinking us down towards the pit? Music can help to heal, and the kinds of music is important.

5. Scripture. How well do we know His Words? Do we realize that He wrote them just for us? THINK: WHAT IF the Bible were to disappear from the earth today? In many countries it's illegal to own a Bible and Christians die to preserve their ability to have access to God's Word. How much more we should treasure the Word of God to give us His thoughts for and to us!

Peace that exceeds ALL understanding is possible only with God, our Lord and Savior!

In Peace,
Lady Graceful

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pain

Our bodies ache; our hearts ache. Sometimes the pain is unbearable. Other times we are just fine and doing well, but it's the reality that in our lives the rain will come, the storm clouds of hurt that should turn our hearts wholly to God!

God is our refuge and strength. A help in the times of turmoil, trouble, distress and pain.

But what does this look like?

Is it a kind of stoicism where no flinch is noticed and no darkness known in the life of the believer? Some have said that the Christian life is only full of God's wonderful riches in Christ Jesus, and these don't include troubles . . . but don't they?

Is it strongly standing on the facts of God's promises when darkness hides the light of day? This is a closer reality to dealing in the pain of circumstances where we are not able to change our situations or someone has hurt us.

Our pain can be self induced or it can come from another source, but whichever, it's pain none the less.

God is present and knows our troubles, our distress.

I have found great comfort in knowing two things: He cares for me, and there's a reason for my suffering. He has said in I Peter 5:7 that I can give Him my burdens because He cares about me. I can depend on this~for Him to support me in my trial. My reason for troubles while seem self or other inflicted is actually to give God praise for His support in testimony to those who may be experiencing the same that I have gone through. My witness or what I've gone through can actually give God glory to one who may come after me in the same or similar circumstance. This is so deep really, and simple all at the same time!

When I am hurt, sad, lonely, distressed, lost, in pain~I can know He cares and there is purpose.

I can trust the ever TRUSTABLE GOD in my pain.

I am trusting now.
Lady Graceful

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's WHAT We Do on Sunday . . .

We live in such a busy world and the holidays will hold us captive from now until they arrive busling about trying to create for ourselves some kind of perfect "image" of happiness. Whew! This is profound, I think...but for someone who feels a bit overwhelmed, busyness can be a killer! Running here and there~this place~that activity, we go and go and go go go! No wonder stress is killing our bodies, minds, AND our spiritual life!

I wish I had a "plug nickle" for every time~EVERY TIME the church plans an activity or event or something that I have seen the "faithful few" trickle in . . . Of course you have the "dead-ringers: the pastor and his family and those who come, faithfully! Praise God for those who support their house of worship!!!!!

But more often than not, I get to hear all the reasons and busyness in people's lives~lives that have been taken over~Yeah, you've got Lady G right~TAKEN OVER with other things than a concern for His church, His body of believers, His mission . . .

"I have ___________, so we won't be there," is so common that it's no wonder that state of the church is in perile in America. Christians have found their way into this world to the neglect of God's business for activities and things of this world. Is it ALL wrong? Is busyness sin?

I consider these questions as one who is present and accounted for~leading the pack, if you will to "charge the gates of hell" with my Lord's arsenal, but find that some of my brothers and sisters do not realize just HOW important the church really is to the Christian walk. There are even some who have forsaken the body for a life of Christ-following beyond the doors of the "traditional" church . . . house churching which isn't bad, I don't believe as it's a New Testament model, but house churching isn't an issue that I'm discussing, but the neglect of God's house!

Neglect for the church and embracing the cares of this world are trends everywhere! We are admonished not to lay up our treasures in this world, not to become conformed to the image of this world, to be peculiar people. WHERE does this fit into the lifestyle that we have chosen as the American Christian church? I don't care what your denomination is or if you are nondemoninational~lifestyle cannont override our desire to please the Lord Jesus Christ! We must support what He finds pleasing.

When my daughter was younger, she wanted to do gymnastics and cheer. I am going to stomp some toes here, I am sure . . . perhaps I can do this tenderly by sharing our story and you can take from it what you will. When we found out that our child would be required to travel for Sunday and Wednesday meets, that was the end of that. As talented and athletic as she is, this was NOT the path for her . . . besides, when we could see that cheer in so many ways was "suggestive dance" we put a halt to this quick! Another example comes from our own family~yes, we are narrow in our lifestyle~ Praise God-YES!! FOR STRAIGHT IS THE GATE AND NARROW the WAY!!! Our daughter attends AWANA and has put her heart and mind into learning the Scripture. She actually has such a knowledge of the Bible that it's rather intimidating for me, her mother to teacher her sometimes . . . and she is old enough NOW to be a leader in training within the program. She is purely qualified. But! For her own spiritual development, we have with her desire, encouraged her to stay in her class~learning! LEARNING verses the fun, not that learning isn't fun, but learning instead of being out there~
I will say that her time for leading is here in other ways, but her desire to know the Word is preeminent! I am thankful for this, but it didn't all start when she was 14~oh no! It came in the years as a young child, and we dressed her modestly and taught her and led her in the way. I am amazed at Christian parents who allow their child to assimilate the world's values because "oh it's soooo cute!" Yeah, all puppies and kittens, babies are cute~even when they are biting and without training, but when these grow up~what a challenge to train and show the way!

Folks have taken the "it's what we do on Sunday" attitude with their church lives . . . "I'll be there as long as . . .(you name the activity or function) doesn't interfere as if church is a sideline prospect or proposition!!!!!!!!! Is it any wonder folks, that the church numbers are diminishing in our nation? WE ARE IN TROUBLE as a Christian people, and few seem to care! There's no repentence, no sorrow, no fear of God! WE MUST get back to the CALL of GOD to worship HIM in power and in truth!

I encourage you to consider your ways before the Lord. Don't listen to me, but consider your own relationship with God. Is your church life just something you do on Sunday? Is your relationship with the Lord one that will take a back seat for other things?

First it is paramount to confess our sins to God who is our judge, not me. The Lord knows your heart and mind. He is able to forgive.

One favorite passage of Scripture that holds such a promise,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I Jn 1:9

We can count on His promises to restore us to God and His plan for our lives~and once we have moved in this direction, we should follow the Lord in concern for His people.

In His Grace,
Lady Graceful
John 17~Jesus' prayer in the Garden before His arrest. He was concerned for His followers-this is you and me!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thankfulness

It's almost that time of year when we are SUPPOSED to be thankful...but I have preempted the holiday with a little thankfulness before it because of all of God's wonderful blessings. Don't get Lady G wrong, I have problems and struggles just like you do...I may even have one or two more...but sometimes when I need to refocus and adjust my 'eyesight' a little, OK..a lot! I need to focus on my blessings!

What about you? What are you thankful for in your everyday? Can you name a thing or person or two? Start up a Thankful Log to chronicle all the goodness of God whether it's from Him through the beauty of nature or someone who cared enough to... God's goodness is amazing, and it's all around us!

Yeah, I have some problems, and I know you do too, but we can both be thankful BEFORE we buy the turkey, cranberries and yams (if you don't know what these are...leave me the question...) and we can THANK GOD for everything He has, is and will do in our lives!

Happy Thanks GIVING~a head of the season!
Lady Graceful

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Forgiveness


Ever been wronged? Had your dander kicked up to realize that the person really didn't mean it OR that they did?

Forgiveness is the only action that can bring real reconciliation in a situation like this, and because forgiveness isn't easy, we must depend upon God to help us and to issue grace to the offender(s) in our lives.

I have someone who is on my "fifth nerve." Yes, Lady Graceful has issues at times with this~so you are not alone with the problem of interpersonal relationships that can be painful...I really have to deal with this thing too; as it can get out of hand! REAL resentments can build, and then broken relationships will occur~or maybe they already have occurred!

Forgiveness~genuine putting down the AX and giving the person the benefit of the doubt is the only way that something like this can be healed in a relationship. A healing so sound and strong that the offender is treated as if the offense had never occurred~and not just treated in some superficial way either, but genuinely forgiven, forgotten and restored to fellowship.

OK~I KNOW this is near utterly impossible! In fact, it is impossible without the grace of our Lord and Savior empowering us to forgive and restore.

If we consider that often people are not "out to get us" but are just rubbing us the wrong way innocently~and ignorantly, then forgiving may come easier, but will forgetting be something within our human-ness?

Probably not. But with God all things are possible. I John tells us that if we hate our brother who we have seen, how can we love God Who we have not? We are called to be reconciled to each other in grace.

Easy~nope!

Power from above~yup!

God alone is the source for such powerful forgiveness! The walk of faith in Christ is what brings us to the place to be able to forgive EVEN when I'm not asked to forgive, EVEN when the person continues to hit that nerve!

Forgiveness~STRAIGHT FROM our Heavenly Father~

Grace,
Lady Graceful

Friday, September 18, 2009

English Speakers and the Bible~

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Period~without error and God breathed communication from God to mankind. There are many translations of the Bible, from the Catholic Bible to the Bibles of the Reformation era such as Wycliffe's to the 1611 King James Version. Today many new translations have been added as well as many paraphrased versions. Paraphrases are not translated works from the oldest known documents, but are off shoots from other translation works into common speech. Preferring a solid translation will be most helpful in the most accurate forms. Unfortunately there's not been a English translation or any other translation from the original languages found without some sort of error. . .so what is the serious student of God's Word to do? It has been suggested that since so many of today's Bible students are not actual Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic readers, using a comparative method of using several translations is best to study out all the nuances of meaning a verse or word may have. The who, what, where, when and why must be answered for each verse and passage. Scripture will interpret Scripture. Remember that the Bible while a wholly holy inspired text is also a wonderful piece of literature that will inspire and instruct. Using a comparative study method (and there are Bible compilations for this that can be purchased and here's a website:http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/bible.html) will give the most information and insight into the intended meaning of the verses studied.

II Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. KJV

We must put all diligence into understanding just what God intends for us to know from His Word, the Bible~

Truly God's Word is a lamp for our feet and a shining light upon our paths!

In His Grace,
Lady Graceful

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Differences

Differences in people are so vast that there really isn't a description to account for them all. Today we use the words 'special needs.' but again this term is so very broad. So broad that it is nearly impossible to describe everyone who "fit" this particular term as if some are and are not in this frame...I like the fact that we are all different creations, made by God in His image...True, no human is identical including identical twins as the twin studies have shown, but differences are many in the human condition. As we look around there are tall and every variation of tall from the very to the just a little bit. Shortness has its terms too as does weight, looks, intellect, abilities and more...we have descriptive terms and ideas about who and what is a proper way of seeing the differences around us including cultures and races as well.

"I am human!" screamed the tormented, frightened John Merrick as he is literally chased by a mob of men in his day who are shocked and drawn to him~his life of being different or with special needs was of inordinate condition. So disfigured he lived and dealt with life with its circumstances as best he could as he could. While I am not an authority on his life, I have been moved by the film concerning his life, The Elephant Man (1980) truly to tears. What torment for a soul who found so little grace and mercy in his life! I found in what reading I've been able to do on his life a call to reach within to find a way, deep and honest to look at how we deal with differences in people. All people, all differences. I have no idea if the quote is accurate from his mind or if such a circumstance he found himself as portrayed in this film, but I do know that people, all people do deserve dignity and respect and honor from all of us for whatever human condition we may find each other.

It's true that there is so much hype over the death of yet another famous person in our society who has died at the hands of drug addiction. But I am considering more than this person's life and end, but what had to have been a huge challenge in living with the disfigurement of vitiligo. Vitiligo as so much is discussed since this celebrity's passing, affects persons with a condition that destroys pigment in the skin leaving it with "spots" or albino looking patches. I have known persons with such, and it's very disfiguring. These folks were some of the best you'd ever want to know...now I am not generalizing, but being very specific about the people I knew personally. But in thinking about differences, it has led me to consider someone who somewhat like Merrick, but certainly the similarities may end here in that this 20th century famous person had money and prestige, Merrick while also in the public eye had none. No fortune to remedy his condition or to alter it...but what courage to do so and step forward as best one could...as best anyone can...and people everyday step forward with their differences to face society with altered or unalterd differences~not saying they should be alterd, just observing that some do alter...

I'd like to see more compassion and acceptance for differences among humanity. I know that this is a place that is virtually unreachable in the human condition alone because we all have preferences and ideas about who and what we can accept. But I believe that as we recognize each human being as created in the image of God~God who breathed the breath of Life into man so that man became a living soul makes acceptance of differences a much greater possibility in our world. Do I seek to become one who says there is no standard? Do I say there should be no differences? I don't think we can deny either standard or difference, but we must recognize the Creator and His righteous position to create whomever He choses. . .and treat those with such differences as unique from ourselves with the respect the Creator expects for His creation.

Throughout time and in a not too distant past those who were seen as unique were persecuted, and really in some ways this is still true today..can't we offer the olive brance of peace and the grace of our Lord to those who are unlike us? Oh, don't assume I am exclusively talking race relations either, while this issue is included here, it's NOT my sole purpose...I seek to call out to all about every difference from each of us in our own differences to offer that peace and grace to our fellow man letting God be judge and exactor of all justice in His righteousness not ours...it's walking by faith~seeing humanity as God does...

"Let me see this world dear Lord, as though I were looking through Your eyes!"
A world of men who don't want You, Lord..
A world for which You bled and died..."

God's concern with humanity is not so shallow as we make it for ourselves, and we must look to Him to help us overcome whatever prevents us from fully embracing those with differences~whatever they are~In His Name!

blessings
Lady Graceful

Thursday, September 3, 2009

How Great Thou Art

This has got to be one of the most beautiful hymns of the 20th century. For me, it holds special meaning as it was one of my brother's favorites as he felt it was a gorgeous praise song to God.

Then sings my soul...

What a thought that my soul can be so happy that it will sing~to God, HOW GREAT Thou art! How great Thou art!

Originally the song was a Swedish poem by Carl Gustav Boberg (1859-1940). Two additional verses were added by the translator, Stewart Hine which were his own.

Today as we go about our everday mundane tasks, may we find the tune in our soul to sing His praises like the sentament of How Great Thou Art!

Lady Graceful

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Standing on the Promises!

God's Word holds many promises for the believer. Promises of protection, love, care, benefits and more. What a joy to know that God is a loving a compassionate Father, one who is concerned with us, just where we are...how we are...in every circumstance of life.

In having suffered grief and loss some years ago now, I am aware of the pain of loss and feelings of sadness surrounding illness and losses. It took God's graciousness and peace to help me get through it, but also time for healing. In the early days, months, years even, I could be found weeping at some memory that would come. . .often of despair, but sometimes of joy too...in knowing that God is good! Emotions can run high when we are vulnerable.

We must saturate ourselves in God's Word to get through the toughest challenges of our lives. And surely we should be soaking up His Word on good days too~but when we are weakest, loneliest, saddest, sickest, hurting and afraid, we MUST reach out to Him as the smallest baby cries in pity and helplessness for the mother and father to help!

God can be our refuge and strength, our ever present help in times of danger and distress! The idea of a refuge is one of safety. He makes a place safe and secure for His child. I like to think we are nestled snuggly down inside His huge loving, Creator hands~where nothing harmful or hurtful cannot get to us unless He allows it~AND IF He allows it, then and He will sustain me through it...

A new buzz phrase, "If He puts you in it, He will get you through it!" WOW! I can count on Him, can't I? If His Word is true, then I can have confidence that whatever I may face, I can trust Him and take Him at His Word...

God's promises are a huge source of comfort for the believer. I just don't know how those who chose to reject God make it without the promises from His Word. This world is too hard to resist belief in the God of all comfort who comforts...so that we may be able to comfort those with the same comfort we have been comforted...

Standing on the Promises! Strong and Sure!
Lady Graceful
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (King James Version)

3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Godliness With Contentment...

Do we even know that word any more? Contentment, peacefulness, quiet spirit, being ok. . . and godliness~being like our God. What a tall order for our lives. Are these possible? Is it truly possible to know contentment in godliness? God says they are "great gain" which implies they are worthwhile and to be desired. But how? How can I be content with the world raging around me, calling out to me to distract me in so many directions that I find it difficult to focus on the Lord's still quiet voice, His Word, His ways, His plan? Truths lie in the Scriptures to a life of great gain. The first step is knowing the Scriptures. I must decide and then dedicate myself to studying the Word. This is a purposeful decision, because I must pursue the study of the Bible or it just won't happen. I am too busy, too tired, too this or too that~ but without knowing the Word, I won't know Its Author, the Inspiration behind and literally within each Word~God. And the contentment, the peace which I seek will elude me; I will find myself empty without it. The things of this world such as riches and fame will not satisfy my longing for God. Only He can take care of the inner call or cry for Him, so why do I find myself looking in places other than His Word? His Word contains His message to my hungry soul. Today, I pledge to read each day His Word and to contemplate God in my life~to seek godliness with contentment so that I will be in a place of great gain!

Won't you join me in reading the Bible each day? As David, King of Israel said, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." God says, "Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." I am guessing His contentment and godliness are among the things He will show~
Grace and Peace,
Lady Graceful

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Lord is MY Shepherd...

I shall not want.
He maketh me to lay down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters,
He restoreth my soul.

Yeah, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death
I shall fear no evil
For Thou art with me~
Thy rod and Thy staff
they comfort me...

God's plan through all adversity in life is to bring us closer to Him. As a Shepherd, He cares for His little lambs with utmost care with His tools of protection and correction: His rod and staff. These are a comfort as I walk into valleys, particularly the one of the "shadow of death." Could there be a worse one for me to enter that He is not present? Just the name of this valley is frightening...but His strength and presence brings the response that in all the evil intended for me in that valley, I will not fear~He is with me...comforting with His tools and presence! Only God can do such great and mighty works like these!

He is the Great Shepherd and a loving loving Lord. Peace, hope, joy, contentment and more are benefits of His presence and tools in any valley. Comfort is His way of loving His lamb!

I praise Him for ALL He is as Shepherd in my life!

Praising Him all the day long!Even in the valley!
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Friday, April 24, 2009

Praying for Josiah...URGENT!

The precious child of my former youth pastor's son (4 y.o.)is diagnosed with a grade four gliobastoma, which is the worst form of brain cancer.

Today, Saturday April 25th 2:00PM EVERYONE is asked to lift this child before the Lord for healing~a miracle is needed here!

Praying for a MIRACLE!
Lady Graceful
Jer. 33:3

Just Have to Praise Him!

This might seem very trivial to some. I have some difficulty sharing this really. Sometimes our blessings are found in some stuff that in reality shouldn't matter much~but it does...

Well...it does...no matter how hard I try to tell myself it doesn't matter!

I want to praise God for the new counter top my husband installed in our home today! It's not granite, corian or marble or even tile...it's just plain ole laminate! But it's such a blessing to have it!

Over the past several months, supplies and items have been collected, a faucet, a hose, a tube of caulk, this and that...until today and after about four more trips to the hardware IT WAS FINISHED!!

As these things found their way IN MY WAY into my life, WHEN became the question I did not ask...nagging never helps ;-)

But little by little, item by item, as the supplies were gathered and the builder became prepared for the job...beauty emerged from the ashes!

YOU DON'T KNOW nor can you imagine just HOW ugly my kitchen was!!
But it's just like our Heavenly Father to work quietly in much the same way gathering and preparing for a day when beauty will emerge~how long O Lord will you wait? We long for You God to do in us what we cannot do for ourselves!

Yes! It's just a simple countertop...but to it's owner it's a thing so grand...
We are just humanity, but to our Owner/Designer, we are grand as well...
I was thinking up an acronym for G.O.D.
G Gracious
O Omnipotent
D Designer

That's HIM~I praise Him for my countertop and what He is doing with ME...hey...wonder what He's gathering in my life for the finished effect?

In Him with Praise!
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Friday, April 17, 2009

When ALL Seems Lost...

I had a very unusual experience yesterday. I went to my doctor...actually to the nurse for some medical advice concerning healthy eating and ended up in the Emergency room...hooked to O2, IV inserted, 12-lead EKG...Let me explain...

I have an irregular heart rhythm...I take meds to control and care for me heart. I have no heart disease; they tell me...OK...So ALL seemed lost yesterday...in the blink of a moment HOW did I end up in the ER?

About three mos ago I hurt my left shoulder. It STILL hurts, and now since it hurts ALOT when I move it I mentioned it to the nurse...who took me into the doctor...who b/c of my potential risk and history sent me to the ER...

I really got upset. So upset that I cried and cried...it's not a fear of dying...it was that yesterday was the seventh anniversary of my brother's death, my only sibling...so I DID NOT want to put my parents and family through this on THAT day...dying isn't a choice I suppose...or even ER visits when your doctor is worried...OK...
So let me say that after the evaluation...the 5ALARM Fire Drill~Thank the Lord...It is 'just' my shoulder...as I suspected...and now my doctor is relieved..I will get an appointment to see an orthopod...but hey...as I lay there...O2 up my nose...

I was scared. I was anxious...THEY were giving me heart palpitations and a fast rate..the more the nurse and doctor came in...WHEW!...

I am praising GOD for His control when I cannot be...my experience reminds me of the TV show when the man who had faked illness was in the ER to get his heart shocked by the zealous ER team... but what if...AGAIN it's in His control...

Yeah..I'm glad it was my shoulder and not my heart...broken hearts are hard to fix~shoulders while painful...I can get by...

God is in control WHEN I am not! All might have seemed lost, but He was there with me...I can praise Him even when I am not in control...because HE ALWAYS IS!

In trust and faith
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hope in God~

When circumstances are not the best, it is God who I can lean upon most.

Psalm 42

1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Truly God is Someone I can count upon. You can too...He is ever faithful and trustable with all of our needs.

Trusting so that I have HOPE in GOD...
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Monday, April 13, 2009

He Knows My Name!

I picked up a sticky note that holds our daughter's name from a lovely gift she received yesterday. As I noticed her name and thought of the generosity of the giver, it occurred to me that our Heavenly Father knows my name and has it fixed firmly upon the generous gift He has for me!

As a believer in Jesus Christ and trusting in His shed blood upon the cross of Calvary, I can rejoice in the peace as joy that HE HAS MY NAME written in the Lamb's Book of Life~a book to record those who trust in the Savior...how awesome it is to know that of all of creation, God is fully able and totally committed to each and every person throughout times past, present and the future to keep His saved secure until the day of Christ's return. At His return He will come to earth again as reigning King. Whew! What a Savior~What a God~and He KNOWS my name!

Me.

Thank you, Lord!

In Assurance,
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Resurrection Morning!

Happy Easter Everyone! He LIVES! We don't worship a dead and buried Savior, but One who is alive forever more with God the Heavenly Father!

In just a few short hours in our time zone the sun will rise just as it did that first resurrection morning when the women went to anoint the body of our Lord who had been placed in the tomb with the huge rock to seal it. Imagine their grief and that of the disciples in despair believing that their Master and friend was gone forever, killed on the cross, the cruelest form of execution of the day. I have wondered if they worried if they were going to be next because not only had Peter denied the Lord when questioned, but they were hiding out as it seemed in a room away from all the activity and bustle of the day. Fear must have consumed them along with their grief,perhaps guilt too. What could they have done to have stopped the events that unfolded before their eyes? These are very real human emotions that seem possible for ones in this circumstance of losing their leader.

But it was the women whose task it was to anoint the body of the Lord in death who were first to approach the tomb, surprised and almost in shock. I do suppose that I would have been rubbing my own eyes in disbelief as I saw the angel and heard his word, "He is not here; for He has risen from the dead." Running, these women as I imagine them were exited to tell the others...they knew where to find them...had they been there before going to the tomb waiting and praying? Upon reaching the disciples it was Peter and John who run back to the tomb to SEE for themselves. I think it's interesting that the first thoughts seem to be that someone had stolen the body...where was their faith? Had they not listened to their Lord?

Easter brings so much for us as we can consider all the emotions of the disciples that ultimately end in joy and knowledge that Jesus Christ arose out of that grave to walk among the people again. His victory over death is a major distinctive of Christian belief for if He remains dead, then He is like all other worshiped or revered.

Often we are bombarded by cares that we can't control or that seem to come out of nowhere. It is in these times that if we trust God we can see that His plan is one that while it may take us through the darkness, we can rest assured that dawn is on its way~JOY COMES IN THE MORNING! Weeping only lasts for the night...

Joy and peace in knowing that God has a plan that in our humanness seems harsh, not doable, incomprehensible...but if it's His plan then He will carry us through it...Carry us, step by step, inch by inch into safety and His presence.

Oh those disciples were upset and afraid hiding up in that upper room to find that the God of the Universe had it under control all along. I need to remember that in circumstances that are difficult and build my faith.

It's not long and the sun will be peaking up...Happy Easter!
IN Power and Peace~both are the Lord's
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Pray for Josiah...


Please leave a message and I will forward to the family.

In His Grace,
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

The Significance of the Cross at Easter


The shed blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior is a wonderful gift to humanity to pay for our imperfection before a holy and righteous God who is intolerant of sin. So intolerant that He does condemn those who reject His gift to eternal separation from Him~a place many wince over and may deny called hell.

The great news of Easter is that Jesus made it possible by His substitute death on that Roman cross for me, you, all of the people of the world to receive His offer to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

In the previous post concerning the significance of the blood at Easter, I discussed just why a blood sacrifice was necessary for the plan of salvation, for the forgiveness of sin. It couldn't be just any blood either, but the most perfect lamb during Old Testament practices, and the precious blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world as John the Baptist called Jesus when he first sees Christ and introduces Him to his own followers. But why a Roman cross? Does this lay at the feet of why Jesus died or who killed Him?

In recent years, there have been those who have blamed various people groups for the death of Jesus Christ in ways that have created horror and shame to those who most unbecomingly have behaved. Particularly I am thinking of the Holocaust where literally millions upon millions of Jews and Jewish sympathizers were killed because somewhat in relationship to their historic part in the death of Christ. It was a Jew, Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord and religious leaders who took Jesus before Pilate, the Roman governor for execution with the accusation of blasphemy for claiming to be "king of the Jews" and God. These claims were not tolerated like they might be today as often people who are ill or misguided will in some warp of mind claim to be Jesus Christ as Charles Manson has done or a man I once met who claimed to be "the messiah to witches." Now both of these are stories in themselves, but no one is executing either of these for claiming such as would have the religious of that day...Jesus was brought before Pilate by His accusers.

It's interesting that Pilate found no fault with Him. No fault and no real reason to condemn Him, but because he could see the political problems and possibility of revolt, he had to do something. But as conflicted as Pilate was as evidenced by the washing of his hands to cleanse them of the blood of the Innocent, he allowed Jesus to be traded for the murderer, Barabbas and crucified.

Crucifixion was a common form of capital punishment in Roman times. There were many forms of cruel punishment for the criminal including removal of limbs, eyes, tongue or whatever "offending" body part if one was found guilty along with prison and beheading. The Roman Empire of occupation was a violent society. In order to remain in power, the organization of government ruled with violence, and the Caesar was revered as a god~remember that religious tolerance was practiced because of the polytheistic practices of the Roman people. The Roman gods were human like in their nature,but held supernatural powers. In reading a good article about the usefulness of studying Greek and Roman mythology which are the tales of their gods, the writer says that even the Romans did not believe all of the myths, but allowed them as explanations for the events of nature and circumstance. You can read it: .

Since violence was common place and the territory of the Roman Empire vast, laws were obeyed generally with few rebellions by dissenters. Remember that Rome occupied most of the known world. From the shores of England to well beyond India into Asia towards China the Empire was divided into provinces with governors who worked to control and order the people of those areas under the authority of the Caesar with the Roman soldier and army as enforcement. It was harsh and not a good idea to come into contrast or dissent with Rome.

When the religious brought Jesus before Pilate, circumstances went against Jesus' case as it was not only the leaders who made accusations, but when the choice was given to the people to release Him or the criminal, the people cried, "Give us Barabbas!" No Roman governor wanted an uprising or mob scene to erupt. His fate humanly speaking was taking full hold. Jesus was condemned to death.

As the most terrible form of capitol punishment it was reserved for the most violent offenders, slaves, captives, and treason along with other methods.(Fairchild, Mary About.com). The Roman cross was wood with an upright vertically and with a horizontal piece that held the arms and legs of the accused. The crimes would be listed above the person on a sign, such as was done when the sign over Jesus read, "king of the Jews." After extreme torture, the victim would be made to carry his own cross in humiliation through the streets to the place where the attaching by nailing or tying limbs upon the cross would occur. Sometimes there would also be a footrest or seat to hold the criminal so that the death was more prolonged but with less agony. If no foot or seat area and the body only hanging by the nailed limbs, death was agonizing as suffocation, dislocation, brain death and heart failure occurred. If death didn't come quickly enough as an act of mercy the legs were broken or the side pierced. In Jesus' execution, He was hung without rests, and his side was pierced. His death did not take days but hours, some evidence that no rest was present.

As gruesome as this form of punishment, the cross itself has become a symbol of salvation for believers. Because of Jesus' death and suffering, the cross is worn as an icon of faith and belief.

Jesus was crucified because it was the worst punishment the known world offered. It fulfills Isaiah's prophecy "Isaiah 53

1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.


12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

The cross is part of Easter as the vehicle by which the Lord died. It's role was that of holding upright towards God the Savior who would bare the sin of the entire human race. No wonder He cried, "My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken me?" as God unable to view sin placed upon Jesus, rejected Him. Never before had Jesus experienced separation from the Father.

As a Christian, the cross holds significance to me because it totally symbolizes the love of our Suffering Savior.

This Easter let's be thankful for the cross of Calvary; it's a reminder of the price paid to bring us to God.

Happy Easter Celebration!
In Him
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Signifcance of the Blood at Easter


Easter brings a beautiful time of year that holds great significance for the Christian where the cross and blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ are concerned. No other religion has ever claimed either that their god or leader to be worshiped has lasted beyond the grave like Christianity. Many followers of these other belief systems can point to an tomb or grave where lay the remains of their revered, but not the Christian. There are no bones, nothing but what was said by an angel as recorded in Scripture that "He is not here,for He has risen..." What is the importance of the cross,and why was blood necessary for the work of salvation for man's state of sinfulness? As we celebrate the holiest of weeks before Easter let us consider these questions.

First I want to share with you why there was a blood sacrifice by Jesus dying upon the cross. Then we will look at the cross itself and how it became the vehicle for the execution of Jesus.

Man since creation in the Garden of Eden enjoyed full fellowship and relationship with God his Creator. God made man, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life so that man became a living soul...not so for the animals. Man is not of the animal kingdom as our scientists categorize, but made in the very image of God,"Let us make man in our image." This is an important distinction. Man's relationship hinged and was in full knowledge of the rules and decrees of the Lord, God. God throughout creation gave man instructions and special jobs. He tended the garden, named all the animals and even was given a special tree to not eat from~one special tree that was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Man knew the rules or so it seemed, and there was harmony, happiness and health for all of God's creation. God even said, "it was good." This implies with all of God's holiness and power that creation had to be VERY VERY good because how excellent does something have to be before GOD says that it's good? I suspect it was way beyond our imagination how wonderful it could be...gorgeous and perfect in every way...God's perfect creation.

But perfect creation didn't last as enters the serpent who takes advantage of the woman where her knowledge and understanding of the Word of God was concerned, for when the serpent twisted the Scriptures, Eve went along with his summation and even twisted Scripture herself. Not a good sign that God's created humanity was doing its job in knowing His laws and instructions. Then ignorance led to disobedience which led to a consequence that initially was for the garden dwellers alone to bear but was passed on into generations to this day~death. "For the wages of sin is death, and in the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Before God's issue of justice for the wrong doing, Adam and Eve found themselves naked and ashamed before their God who had made them,"Adam where are you?" God cried out to bring Adam to his senses,a place of true repentance. Imagine the fear and distress these two felt in KNOWING they were disobedient. I think of our little ones who hide their faces in shame or my son who would in order to "hide" what he had done wrong, cover my eyes,"mama,don't look!" he would say to me...But God saw just as I can often see too.

Consequences reached beyond the break in relationship, and extended into the creation; what was once a place of tranquility, became a place for the death of the souls and the first sacrifice of an animal. We must remember that God shed the blood of the innocent to cover the sin, so creating for Adam and Eve skins made into clothing to cover their nakedness. I have heard it said that as the one who had given each animal his or her name, imagine the grief and shame heaped upon Adam for the loss of a "friend." Whether or not Adam felt this emotional upset one thing stands clear, blood was shed to cover the sin or disobedience and it was for Adam and Eve~they were to blame as is transferred to all of mankind.

Forever the perfect world of Adam and Eve was changed. Now cursed,"they would surely die." as disobedient humanity. Cast from the garden, Adam and Eve were left to find their own way, but they took the animal sacrifice with them out of the garden to their family as demonstrated by their son, Abel who offered to God a pleasing sacrifice acceptable by God. In contrast, his brother offered one unpleasing which was at the seat of family disunity. Consequences of sin followed these first generation humans as the sins of the fathers followed into the 3rd and 4th generations. There is a division here where Cain is divided from his family forever an unbeliever, unacceptable~perhaps the earliest of the heathen nations for whom the nation of Israel was forever waring. Another consequence of sin. A family, a world divided in belief and practice. This goes on to this day with all manner of various beliefs represented by all sorts of pagan, and cultural beliefs inconsistent with the Judeo-Christian beliefs. And I don't have to discuss any further the discourse among many in these areas.

The blood sacrifice was symbolic and practiced throughout the Old Testament throughout the Tabernacle worship and even Temple worship. Today Jews do not practice this form of worship to God.

In each and every generation there were those who followed the sacrificial practices for offering for sin. There was a priesthood system developed as well as prophets who spoke and convened with God to bring the message of God to the people. They told of God's promised Messiah,a redeemer from the Lord.

The priest would go into an area of the holiest where the Lord,God was met with over the sins of the people. There were ceremonial washings and all types of priestly preparations including a rope tied upon the priest's leg so if some sin were unconfessed, his body could be hauled out as he would be struck down by the Lord. God was serious about not being in the presence of sin. So serious in fact, that when Jesus was on the cross, He experienced His Father's rejection "My God! My God!Why hast thou forsaken me?" he cried. God is intolerant of sin. AND He categorizes it all with the same sentence~death. Death that is an eternal separation from God's presence. This has little to do with how we humans decide which sins are worse than others.

In Leviticus it tells us that "the life is in the blood" meaning that not only as humans and created beings,such as animals we all need our blood to sustain life, but that spiritually, blood would be required to bring forgiveness to mankind's position of enmity with God.

In Isaiah the prophet told that the sins of humanity would be upon the messiah. Messiah, promised one in Hebrew; Christ is Greek for messiah. I discussed in detail the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy where Jesus was concerned. Go to see this post.

John the Baptist,cousin messenger of Jesus said when he saw Jesus,"behold!The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world!" What a statement of credibility for who this Jesus is...John linked Jesus to the sacrificial ssytems of the older times when the priest made offerings on behalf of the people.

Jesus told His disciples that in three days "this temple will be destroyed and I will rebuild it up." He tried to tell them of His impending execution and resurrection. In the Passover celebration He broke the bread and said, "take eat this is my body which is broken for you. This is my blood which is shed for you." Jesus was foretelling of His death instructing His disciples to observe this practice until He comes again. Today, we call this the Lord's Supper or the Last Supper which has been the subject of many great works of art. It was in this event that Jesus also told of a betrayer.

Next time I will discuss the Significance of the Cross. Why was this form of execution used in the death of Jesus?

The Bible says without the shedding of blood there is no remission or forgiveness for sin. This is very important. Jesus' blood is the payment for the errors of humanity. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Easter is a wonderful time of year where we celebrate what Jesus did when He paid for our sins and enabled humanity to have a relationship with God. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Savior, accept Him today and trust in His shed blood to save you from eternal separation from God. When others are looking for the true meaning of life, when we seek God through His Son Jesus we can know that the blood made the difference and that we are His through adoption and in Christ. Accept Him today. Let this Easter be your best season ever!

If you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior,or you have comments please contact me!
Happy Easter!

In Grace and Mercy,
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Praying for Josiah, Stacy and Sherrill

I have three urgent prayer requests that are urgent in need.
Josiah is four and scheduled for brain surgery this Good Friday~April 10th. Join the Facebook group: Praying for Josiah Herring for more info.

Stacy is a young wife and mother who is recently dx with Cancer undergoing treatments. Her children are very very young.

Sherrill underwent open heart last week. Her health is frail and needs prayer for healing.

THANKS for joining me in praying for these! The Lord has answered us graciously in the past according to His will, and we are trusting Him to do His Will concerning these dear ones.

Thanks for joining us in praying!

In peace and joy,
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Easter Celebration with the Wordless Book

Happy Easter!
Thanks to TOS Homeschool Minute eNewsletter, I was sent a link to the Wordless Book that if you've never seen or used it...AWESOME to share truth about what Jesus did and how to accept Him into your life. This is really neat, not so techy, but beautifully written and full of Scripture to share the plan of salvation. What's better this Easter season than focusing on the REAL event of it all~the Cross and the VICTORY in the power of the Resurrection!!

It's NOT ABOUT THE BUNNY~IT'S ABOUT THE LAMB! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! Praises to Him!

berean.org/bibleteacher/wb.html (Wordless Book)

May you find His grace sufficient and His peace this Easter season!

Praises to Him!
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Easter~Pastoral Thoughts on the Resurrection

I have had the joy of reconnecting with old friends on facebook, recently finding my former youth director of my teen years. He has gone on to pastor several churches over the years (over thirty now), parented along with his sweet wife a great family and is currently pastoring a church in Idaho. He wrote this inspirational piece as part of Easter and with the situation of having a wee young grandson who is very very ill. I asked his permission which he graciously granted for me to share his piece with you. May you be blessed by his thoughts as we consider the miracle of that morning two thousand years ago...the morning unlike any other that has changed the destiny of mankind of one facing defeat and loss to one of victory and hope!

Resurrection Morning
by Rev. Dean Herring

“And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:6

Resurrection morning did not begin as a day of victory and celebration, at least not in the lives of the people who should have known better. That day began as a day of gloom – nothing more than a depressing sequel to what had been a very bad and eventful week. These Galileans did not enjoy their visit to the big city, and it is no wonder that they would soon return to the comfort zone of their rural upbringing. They longed to feel the gentle sea breeze of Galilee on their face again. Jerusalem had been a hard place for them. Their dreams, their hopes, and their plans had all come crashing down on a skull shaped hill called Golgotha.

Jesus had warned them of what was to come, but they heard only what they wanted to hear. With the exception of the “sinner” woman who anointed his feet with burial spices and tears, no one seemed to grasp what He was saying. They were weary of Roman rule, and they desired a kingdom. They wanted it now. They had already discussed what positions they would hold in this new kingdom, and at this point had no idea what Jesus was talking about when He told them that the servant would be the greatest position attainable. They expected a coup d’├ętat, but what they got was something very different.

There was no crown – except the crude one fashioned with thorns, no throne – except a rugged tree, no coronation – except the mocking of the Roman soldiers, and no palace – except a borrowed garden tomb. The only military action was advanced by Peter in the garden, and the Lord Himself had over-ruled that. Was He actually going to submit? Was He capitulating to the enemy? Whatever boldness they may have mustered soon gave way to fear, and they all ran. This was clearly not the scenario that they had anticipated when they followed Jesus.

For three confused days they lived in numbed disbelief. Then on the first day of the week those faithful women made their early morning journey to where the body of their Savior had been placed. Their gait was that of women with a heavy heart. The spices they brought with them were intended for the dead, and that is exactly what they expected to find in that garden tomb. Their speech was the conversation of people who were focused on temporal obstacles. They fretted “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?”

What they had waiting on them was an empty tomb and the glorious announcement that “He is risen; He is not here”. On their way back from the garden they were met by Christ Himself, and they worshipped their Risen Savior! Had they listened to His words, none of this would have been an unexpected surprise.

So many times we find ourselves overwhelmed by events beyond our control. Like the disciples, we often run from the Lord when things don’t go as we planned. In extreme moments, as with Peter, we may blend with the world and act as though we don’t even know Him. Once we turn a deaf ear to what He is saying to us in His Word, the obstacles become the objects of our focus. Remember this: If God can empty the tomb, moving the stone is no problem to Him. We serve a God “that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. Ephesians 3:20


Happy Easter Everyone!

Expecting a miracle this Easter season,
Lady Graceful

Phil 1:6

Please remember this pastor's grandson in your prayers, and if you want more info you can join the facebook group: Praying for Josiah Herring. There are pictures and updates so we can pray and keep updated on this tiny boy and his family's needs. Thank you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Counting "It" All Joy

I don't know of anyone who enjoys hard tough days. In fact most of us want the life of smooth sailing in calm and easy seas. Growing up in a coastal city where ocean liners come and go gliding over smooth glassy waters I can easily relate to life where an easy rocking of the ship, one that lulls the senses into a deep sleep, but also I have had the experience a time or two in a small sea craft when that ocean liner coming into port speedily creating its wake, waves 5-10 feet high from the water's surface coming like a wall to capsize that same small boat where only moments before it was easy does it as porpoise swam near us rising just enough out of the water for us to see and gulls circling overhead wishing for a stray fish or two to become their lunch that day.

"Hit the throttle~ NOW!" was my Daddy's yell to me. "I said, NOW~ Go ON~ ALL the WAY!" he further instructed with, "Turn into the wave. Hit it straight on! OPEN UP the engine(turn on high motor speed)Hang ON!" I am at the wheel. I am listening intently for my father's instructions as loudly and anxiously he gives them...if I fail, we might capsize, turn over or worse yet, drown in the salty ocean waters at the mouth of the river that leads into the ocean.

This event is not what would be called a nice fishing trip or one that is ordinary in nature. Not less than a mile from the shore~a distance that should not evoke danger or distress, our small craft, a sixteen foot open bow boat with a 75 horse engine carrying a man and his teenage daughter pulling a fifty foot net for fish and other sea delicacies finds troubles. BIG looming danger that had the potential for disaster. Obviously I am here as is the older gentleman in his recliner remembering those past days, the boat under its shelter all are safe and sound...but in the moment of danger~distress~anxiety~trouble...

I hit the lever called the "throttle" that sped that engine to its maximum speed and turned the bow (front) of the boat directly into the oncoming wave. ALL I could see was a wave of water, a huge wall coming towards us...It was us and the wave...IF it had crested and rolled over us we'd have been lost, but running into the wave, the trouble head on took us UP and OVER, miraculously OVER the wave to "fly" for just a bit into the air and hit very very very hard onto the back side of the moving water's break~BAM! We sat down. I was surprised that our boat did not crack apart by the force. Smaller waves came and came...wake will only stop on the shoreline...we were between the wake and the shore so we received the impact of its force each time with the lessening intensity of the waves from the ship as it sped into harbor. Usually the ships slowed into port and a tug would come and guide them in...Not this day, something unusual had occurred. Both as a result of the situation and the situation itself.

My father's urgency and instructions became so important that I closely listened like no teenager might have because the situation demanded it. In life, there are situations that are so intense that we must heed so closely to our heavenly Father's instructions that if we fail we might parish or fail. My Daddy yelled, but my heavenly Father speaks in a quiet and still voice. Oh I suppose there are times He yells at me too! I have heard Him (not hearing voices, but in His Word, He speaks...)so very LOUDLY telling me what He wants me to do and with urgency. I well remember the call or the clear understanding about a church volunteer ministry I was to participate in not too far back. He speaks, and I must listen closely and earnestly.

If I had rebelled and said, "NO WAY Daddy! I'm NOT going to do what you are asking of me!" Think of the disaster that awaited us as that huge wall of water washed over us and sent us possibly to our graves. Rebellion causes all sorts of troubles in this life not just between parents and children, but God is not pleased when I tell Him "No!" He is gracious and patient with me, but honestly I think I tire His patience sometimes...but WHAT a loving Father! He guides and provides despite my willfulness and stubborn shortsightedness. Oh yes, I could have said, "Daddy, I know ALL ABOUT that wave coming towards us..and YOU are WRONG! I don't need to head the bow of the boat into the wave head on...I don't need to speed the engine...I don't need to hang on tight!" Ignorantly and nearsightedly we could have perished. But as an obedient daughter I did exactly as I was instructed, and thankfully my wise Daddy knew what to do, to TELL ME to do! Nearsightedness is another issue I must address with my heavenly Father when He instructs me to follow Him..."but God! HOLD ON...I don't want to do..I am tired...I am this or that...or NO..." Potential troubles lay for me if I fail to follow Him as He directs because while He is ever present, always knowing, my vision and understanding are limited. God's in total control. I AM NOT!

It's my prayer that today we give over ourselves to our heavenly Father and His will so that when the wall of water in this life comes to swallow us up, we are saved by His grace and mercy to yet another new day to have joy and count it joy that we have overcome! Oh being a survivor of this wake is not a huge deal compared to the many trials of life that are around us every day. May we be obedient to our Father's commands, His instructions and decrees so that we find ourselves back in smooth waters having ridden out the waves that were once so dangerous.

I wish you His ever guiding hand of protection and peace for the journey over the "wall of water" in your life. It's a frightening thing to face, but with the God of Creation, our Holy Father we will find joy in the victory of coming out the other side better for the experience.

Some of my favorite verses concerning trials are

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise Him there is a purpose behind every trial...or wall of water in our lives! May I give Him the glory and have count "IT" all joy!

In His Mercy,
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finding Myself in Him, Quietly Alone

Noise! Noise! Noise! Loud sounds from the television; music blaring! Sounds all around to drown out thoughts and feelings. Diversion. Interruption. Accompaniment. Birds not heard. Trees rustling in the breeze. The buzz of the yellow and black bumble bee unable to be heard above the sounds of the roadway as cars pass quickly, in a hurry to go. Anxious chatter from those we know. Pleasantries, superficial language not real communication or connection.

Shhhh. Be still. Oh it won't hurt, or pain. I'm trying it...There are sounds I've not heard before. A squeak where there shouldn't be faint but distinct. If the everyday distractions are present, I would have missed it...it would have eluded my attention.

Hmmmm...what else am I missing? Could there be something I am missing that is taken up by all the clinging and clanging in my life? Am I seeking the business and noise to drown out something deep inside?

In Psalm 23 the shepherd Psalmist, David says that God leads him beside still waters and restores his soul. Still waters are not turbulent. They are calm and quiet. I am encouraged also to be still and know that He is God or rather that God is God. Being still and quiet lends itself to a contemplation of Who God is and what He has done for me.

On the other hand if I am busy busy busy running here, there and yonder can I hear Him? Can I sense Him? Will I be restored, renewed, reinvigorated in Him?

I came across this song tonight that I want to share with you because it's meaning is timeless. Often our busy, noisy, event-filled lives is an act to become...to be...

All I Ever Have to Be

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.

But I'm still hurting,
Wondering if I'll ever be
The one I think I am.

I think I am.

Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.

And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.

Who you are...


And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.


When Mary, sister of Martha poured out the precious oil upon Jesus' feet drying them with her hair, her worship was subtle, quiet and profound. Did Mary content herself with so many cares of this world or with the worship of her Savior? She worshiped. She was where and how she was supposed to be which wasn't very popular with her sister or the disciple, Judas (the betrayer who also was treasurer.)

May I get quiet, still and worshipful, knowing that the struggle within can be filled by Him alone to be who HE HAS MADE ME TO BE! And may I prayerfully be satisfied with His creation~me.

May we both know Him more fully in simple, quiet and peaceful ways that teach us that we are His creation, and in Him we are complete.

In peace,
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Monday, March 23, 2009

How Did Jesus Fulfill the Old Testament Law for Salvation?

Christians claim Jesus of Nazareth the Messiah of the Nation of Israel's Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Jews see Him as a teacher. How did Jesus fulfill the Old Testament Law for Salvation being the Messiah as prophesied of old and bring the offering for sin once for all?

From the Garden, the first promise of a Messiah or Promised One is found in Genesis 3:15. Mankind had disobeyed God, twisted the Words of God and had sinned. There were consequences for this act. The serpent was cursed, Eve was cursed and man was cursed. It was not a good day for humanity. . .To the serpent came the words of promise,

"And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

When God told the serpent this, He was promising a virgin born victor over the effects of sin~death.

Genesis 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Sin brings death both physical and spiritual. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life ina]">[Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23. Death~for all.

Jesus claimed to be God. This was what humanly speaking was His accusers accusation. It was the offense claimed by the religious leaders of the day to be enough to incite rage in the people crying out for His execution. But it was His timing and His Father's will. John 17 in Jesus' prayer in the Garden was a cry unto the Father concerning the will of God, "Father, not my will but thine."

The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament witnesses to these early believers in a way to correlate the law of sacrifices for sin~the blood sacrifices as by the priests for sin in the Tabernacle and later the Temple places of worship.

"Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." Hebrews 7:27.

Jesus offered himself for the sins once, but Old Testament priests had to offer daily for themselves first then the people. Further in Hebrews it says:

Hebrews 9

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.

And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.

Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.

Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.(Old Testament)

19For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,

Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.

Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Clearly the writer wants these believers to understand that Jesus fulfilled the first testament or the Law. Praise God! WHAT A Savior!

I praise our Lord for His sacrifice for me! Have you placed your faith in His shed blood to save you from your sins?

Today is the day to consider knowing Christ~His salvation!

I pray you will look to Him.

In Jesus' name,

Lady Graceful

Phil. 1:6

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Voice of God

Some claim audible dealings with God. I have not heard Him in that way, but I know in Bible times He made Himself known in various ways from dreams, visions, burning bush experiences, and even a blinding experience on a road called Damascus. Today one thing is certain that God does call to us. . . and while you may be like me and never have heard audible sounds in your ears, we can hear Him call and talk to us each and every moment of the day~through His Word!

The Bible speaks untold wisdom for the Christian who will heed Its words. Solomon, the wisest man of all time, continually encouraged his son to listen to wisdom, to heed the knowledge from God.

We have all been given basic instructions for this life. Basic yet profound! Just reading the Ten Commandments God lays out basic rules for dealing with Himself, within the family and with all of humanity. These are NOT negotiable instances where a Christian can decide to obey or ignore the voice of God. We must heed what is in His Word!

Basic is the plan of salvation, the very thought that mankind needs a Savior to redeem him from the path that was set when the original sin happened in the Garden of Eden. This is the first cry of God to us. In Romans 1:20 we can know that all of humanity is without excuse in knowing God. He has shown His power and God-ness through His creation to all mankind! Does this mean we have no responsibility to share Christ with our family, friends, neighbors, everyone? The command of Jesus to his followers is to go and teach...while an innate knowledge of God exists, it is our duty to share the Savior with the world.

Basic things the Lord tells his people are not always the simplest of instructions. He says we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. I have found this interesting because we can find ourselves either focused on the first or the latter parts, not realizing that both are essential to the other! How can I love my neighbor if I hate me? Some self love as God bought believers is absolutely necessary to be able to love others. We are to turn the other cheek when we have been grievously offended. Tough, but not impossible! AND these are the basics of His voice...Study to show ourselves approved unto God rightly dividing or handling the Word of truth (Scripture.) Here is another basic...knowing God's Word through study so that we can handle It with the respect and understanding He desires for His purposes!

If you ever wonder if God is speaking to you~IS He calling out your name for some task or job or mission in this life? Think on His Word. What He places in your heart will never be in contradiction to His Word. Careful study of the Bible is essential to hearing the voice of God in our lives~ we must pay close attention just as though He is whispering in our ear the very secrets of the throne of God!

The Voice of God is audible~through His Word and will ALWAYS be in line with Scripture!

Manson said *he* was Jesus Christ~ha! If he had known the Bible, or his *followers* known the Scripture he would have been identified much earlier than he was for his illogical and false thinking~NO murderer could be the Messiah (Hebrew) or Christ (Greek.)

I encourage us all to seek out God's voice in His Word daily~to know what He wants us to do and become! AND remember that *voice* will never be in contradiction to His Word, the Bible!

In Him
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

J.O.Y. in Life

This is the day that the Lord hath made! I will rejoice and be glad it in!

I am happy that you stopped by to visit.

My relationship with God through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is very important to me. Through Christ I have become a daughter of the King, and I seek to please Him in my life.

Thought For The Day~Jesus Others and You equals JOY!

There is a children's song that says just these words:
Jesus and others and you!
What a wonderful way to spell JOY!
Jesus and others and you~
In the life of each girl and each boy!
J is for Jesus for He has first place.
O is for others we meet face to face.
Y is for you and whatever you do~
put Jesus first, put yourself last~
and spell Joy!

Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Loving my neighbor might put me out sometimes or burden me in some way. If I am to please Him and have His joy in my life, thinking of others is essential.

If I am lonely~reach out to someone forgotten.
If I am hungry~fix a meal and share it~it will taste better!
If I am tired~rest in the Lord and He will strengthen and refresh!
If I am depressed~get up and find something to help someone to focus on another will help me!
If I am broken~helping to bind up another person's brokeness heals me.

To help myself I help others. Giving equals the greatest receiving~living equals dying. Jesus said, Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. Before this, Jesus said, Remember Lot's wife. This is the woman who in running for her life with her family when her city was being destroyed by God's judgment LOOKED back in grief and horror longing for her life of the past! She was focused on herself and the judgment was that she turned IMMEDIATELY into a pillar of salt! It is well in our souls when we are forward looking: focusing on God and others, not ourselves!

What an oxymoron~dying to live/living to die~TO SELF!

Remember that giving to others will bring JOY and please God.

In Him,
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Friday, March 20, 2009

Grace and Forgiveness Tied in a Bow!

It's amazing how God's grace and forgiveness are each hinged one to the other by our Lord. God gave grace, His undeserving favor to humankind through His son, Jesus Christ to offer forgiveness. Without his offer in mercy, there would be no grace, for in mercy He has viewed the sinful condition of mankind and then saw that it would require reconciliation to bring humanity to Himself in the form of grace which brings forgivenss to the person recieving it.

What an offer from a loving God to people everywhere!

God so loved us that while we were yet (or still) sinners Christ died for us.

This Easter Season is a time of careful reflection regarding our relationship with God. Do you know Him? Have you experienced His grace through mercy bringing you His forgiveness?

Consider that peace with God begins here! And it surpasses all human reasoning that God could send His son to reconcile man to Himself. The Cross, cruelest form of execution was common place inthe Roman world. Jesus Christ (Christ meaning the Hebrew word Messiah in Greek) was unjustly accused and executed in this way that totally changed the way man can approach God since the beginning of time. When Jesus cried, "It is finished!" He signified the completion of that portion of grace where humanity's debt was paid in full~redeemed!

Enjoy this Easter season with the knowledge that God Grace and mercy bring His forgiveness!

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;
Hebrews 9:28a

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring~Seeking Precious Resources IN God. . .

Today is a beautiful Lord's day...Every day is His! Sunny warm with bright blue skies. I am excited to get out today and ramble around! Kids are working hard in their educational pursuits...son is reading, daughter is internet surfing~I'm so thankful to have them in my life! I have heard all kinds of rantings about how much trouble kids are...and yes, they are troubles sometimes! BUT what a huge blessing for the future!

I have a wonderful way to think of spring, a time of beauty and renewal after the harsh and bitter winter that often comes in our lives.

SPRING~
Seeking
Precious
Resources
I
N
God!

We need to rely up Him for our joy and renewal as the once darkened cold and blustery winter has passed, and green is coming up from the ground and colors of God's splendor in flowery delight are peeking to the light of the sun~to His delight and ours!! Praise Him for Spring, the season each year and in our lives! God is so good to His children! I praise Him for it in my own life. Trials, successes, failures, joys, sickness, battles, victories, each with a price and process! Thank You God for remembering us with the warmth of the Son in our hearts to bring out your beauty~
the beauty of Spring as we rely upon you for all of our resources!

So many are finding difficulty these days with the economic situations they face. We too have been and are there as well. Next post I will share what happened and how God has blessed us! Along with some info that can help YOU LIVE ON LESS~yes! It's possible to live on less!! AND not feel deprived! Let's focus on HIS resources this spring daily in our lives, fully reaching out to Him for renewal and substance!

I am wishing you grace and mercy from God the Father!

Lady Grace
Phil. 1:6