• A good foot rub relaxes body and soul • We often take things we use daily for granted • Comfort is bare feet on the cool grassy ground • Bringers of good news are like sunshine after a cloudy day • Be mindful of where you go and whom you walk with • Travel brings new discoveries and renewed relationships • Stand firmly for goodness and justice • Consider possible consequences to avoid slipping • Some paths are full of rocks, roots, and washouts • Wisdom speaks from experience • Heed words of wisdom to avoid stumbling • It’s good to put your feet up and breathe after a busy day • Walk through life seeing interruptions as positive opportunities • Follow the feet of our Shepherd
–from “Reflections from the Everyday” Charlotte-Anne Allen
Crash! “Oh, no! I didn’t know that was there!” “Goodness gracious! What happened now?!” Responding with good grace we cleaned up the mess together.
Ever been in a situation like that? … I was thinking about how we use the words grace and gracious in so many ways. Handy for many circumstances! “Grace” is the middle name we gave our daughter and “gracious” is literally “filled with God’s grace”. They are beautiful words rich in meaning.
What thoughts or pictures do these two words bring to your mind? Perhaps you think of love, kindness, goodwill, forgiveness, generosity, and maybe a certain ease or elegance…
Can you think of some positive uses of these words? Maybe you have another saying or proverb. Here in the south, we “say grace” when we offer thanks to God before a meal. We are grateful when we have “gracious plenty”, whether that is something physical, emotional, or spiritual. A person’s “saving grace” is some quality about them that balances or makes up for not-so-great qualities. Responding “with good grace”, with patience and politeness, is a good attribute to pursue! Whom of us have not appreciated a “grace period” for some overdue or forgotten responsibility or chore? “Goodness gracious” fills many a need for expressions of surprise, dismay, or awe… Sometimes there are just no other words.
What about some other phrases that express our needs or mistakes?! “By the grace of God” acknowledges our own need for God, as well as our humility and our compassion for others who are in difficult circumstances. We all “fall from grace” at times, losing favor or the liking of others, whether it is a word misspoken or unsaid, miscommunication, or any number of perceived or real shortcomings.
I can relate to Paul as he talked about grace in his letters to the church in Corinth. He said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect” *(1 Corinthians 15:10). He reminds us that it’s God’s grace that brings life and that we need to extend that grace to others. Paul called this the “grace of giving”. Isn’t that a wonderful way of putting it?!
But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving. 2 Corinthians 8:7
My prayers for us all is that even as we receive God’s awesome gift of grace, we will also excel in this grace of giving.
● The right combination of ingredients brings out our best ● The blending of our experiences shape who we are ● Consider the ways you can improve yourself and then follow through ● Using a fresh perspective opens our eyes and hearts ● Making needed adjustments keeps us out of the rut and enriches life ● Memories are thoughts that bubble up and burst upon us, often at unexpected times ● Be true to your faith and commitment wherever you are ● A calm and even temperament is much to be desired ● Adding some sweetness brings smiles and shares happiness ● Begin all things with a solid base as you look ahead ● Establish positive routines for development and accomplishment ● When we’re feeling the heat, God’s Spirit helps us to rise
These words between friends, family members, or others are an expression of mutual affection and support. Have you ever considered how powerful they are?
For those on the receiving end, these simple phrases can bring a wealth of meaning, can’t they? I’m happy… We’re enjoying each other’s company… You’re special. They can also express empathy and compassion. I’m so sorry… I regret what happened… I still care.
What about when we speak those words? Sometimes it is so easy to say them, especially when we are happy and are spending enjoyable time in each other’s company. In parting, they are reminders for each other which we take with us, lifting each other up and bringing smiles to faces.
Have you ever struggled to say or to return them? Maybe there has been some strain in your relationship, some hurt or struggle… some unkind or ill-spoken thought. How difficult they can be to say in the face of great loss. Death, poor health prognosis, violence, or our own failures… In those times “love you” and “love you too” can be both painful and healing.
As I was reading in the book of Romans this morning, I came upon a word that expresses these very thoughts!
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” *
I was curious about the word “honor”, so I looked up the meaning for its use in this passage [Yes, a bit nerdy maybe but doing this has really helped me to understand verses in the Bible better!]. It said: “a valuing by which the price is fixed (of the price itself, of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold); honor which belongs or is shown to one (by reason of rank…, deference, reverence)“.
Honor is linked with price and value… and (in that passage) with love! 1Corinthians 6:20 uses the same word, translated as “price”. “For you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” It struck me of the great price already paid for us through Jesus. Each of us are loved, valued, and honored. Do we love, value, and honor each other to this extent? How do we even wrap our minds around that?!
My prayer for us today, is that we will be more aware of the power of these simple words to and from God and with others. May we use them often, with greater appreciation and understanding. May we be transformed and filled as we both give and receive.
“Sit boy, sit. Now, lie down… Good dog!” How many have enjoyed the company of their dog or other pet? Have you noticed how dogs will turn around and around to find just the right position before settling down in happy contentment for a time of rest? They like to lie down close to their caregiver or climb up on their lap… even those who have overgrown said lap! There is a special bond and sense of peace from such companionship.
Most of us have struggled at some time with being able to lie down and to sleep peacefully. Our bodies and minds, when stressed, excited, or wound-up by the day, have difficultly settling and relaxing. Have you ever gone to bed exhausted but then your brain just won’t shut down enough to relax?! Our thoughts, even sometimes good ones, just keep churning away! Then too, often the chaos of our world weighs us down or we find ourselves constantly bombarded by negative news or surroundings. Health challenges and any number of stressors just contribute to the tossing and turning!
That reminds me of the story of David in the Bible, who found himself pursued by a jealous king who was intent on killing him. I imagine that David often found himself short on sleep. He certainly had occasion to fear and to find rest almost impossible as he ran for his life! But David showed his continued faith and reliance on God in the book of Psalms as he said,
I will both lie down and sleep in peace. For you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety. *
I lie down and sleep. I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. *
David was far from perfect. He was a man of war and made many mistakes, but he valued that special bond with God. Like the dog turning around and around to find that ‘just right’ spot, he sought God’s closeness and comfort.
I know that when I remain tired and unable to sleep well, I am little good for anyone, including myself. Perhaps we can take a lesson from the dog… Can you just imagine climbing up into God’s lap and heaving a sigh of contentment and peace? Can we trust Him enough with our yesterday, today, and tomorrow to allow our minds and bodies to receive His gift of rest? Restored for another day, another hour, another minute.
My prayer for us is that we too will know God’s companionship and experience that special bond. Let Him draw you closer! Climb up into His lap! Lie down and find rest. God bless.