Category Archives: Grace

Overwhelming GRACE

0verwhelming GRACE

overwhelming GRACE

Overwhelming GRACE

by Lydia Floren

When life seems overwhelming, it is hard to wait on God. And even when we choose to be still,  our minds can continue to race, robbing us of this precious time to re-energize and refocus.

Praying GRACE is an awesome way to break free of swirling thoughts, and drink in God’s peace and love.

Give thanks:

Thank you, God, that you are here. You love me, and those Iove. You know exactly what is going on. You meet me right where I am and are leading me in the next step. You are powerful and have everything under control. I am safe.

Release:

Father, you know all of these things swirling around in my head. I just leave them one by one at your feet. You are in control. I don’t need to be, and frankly, I can’t be.  Thank you for helping me to see that. Forgive me when I try to take control instead of trusting you.

Accept:

Father, I accept the lighter load of following you, instead of trying to figure out everything on my own. I accept Your leadership and direction. Right now I choose to listen as you speak through your word, and your still small voice within me.

Continue:

God, I choose to continue moving forward in the way you have already led me, trusting you to make clear any changes that need to be made.  Thank you that even if/when things don’t seem clear, you will open doors, close others, helping me to see plainly which way to go.

Enjoy:

Father thank you that I can just enjoy the day in front of me, knowing that You’re with me–reassuring, guiding, loving. I can enjoy each moment knowing that you’re taking care of everything, and that you have the big picture in mind.

                This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

you are lovely, and loved.

God's grace is overwhelming

Do I Do That?

Do I Do That 10:22:15by Lydia Floren

Don’t people just annoy you sometimes?  For example, maybe

  • You’re in a hurry, and someone’s blocking traffic.  Really?  There is a slow lane for a reason, buddy.
  • All your friends are talking about a great party last week, and you weren’t invited.  What’s that about?
  • Someone talks too loud at the next table of the restaurant, or crowds you in the airplane seat, or gets ahead of you in line.  Tone it down already. Keep to yourself. Wait your turn.

Annoyances can quickly change a decent day into a crappy day.

A remedy:
My sister, Rebekah, taught me a great tip to counter this tendency to let people get to me. When she starts to get annoyed with someone, she’s learned to stop and ask herself this simple question:

Do I do that?

I’ve been trying it.  When I sense my irritation rising, and I remember to ask myself, “Do I do that?”, my mind shifts gears.  That simple question prompts me to look at things from a different perspective, and to think about someone else – not just myself.  And, of course, It doesn’t take long for my answer to slam me in the gut:

Do I do that?  Yes, yes I do:

Yes, there are times when I block traffic.
Yes, I do hurt people’s feelings (albeit unknowingly).
Yes, I can be rude.  Or just plain selfish.

But wait wait wait.  This is ME.  I don’t mean to be vexing.  YOU understand, don’t you?  Don’t you?

Aaaah.  I get it. If I am not trying to annoy YOU, maybe – just maybe – YOU aren’t trying to annoy ME either.  And you know, maybe – just maybe – I am on edge for an entirely different reason.

Asking “Do I do that?” prompts me to give grace to others, and grace to myself.

Try it.  The next time you find yourself getting annoyed with someone ask

Do I do that?

Let us know how it goes!  We’d love to hear from you!

Sharing a sunset. Enjoying the presence of God.

sharing-sunset-title

by Lydia Floren

“Solitude is not withdrawal in order to get away.  It is withdrawal in order to be with Someone who normally gets crowded out of our lives…. it is the place of love and trust.  It therefore puts presence before action and seeks companionship before help.”   (Charles Rigma)

So many times when I am alone with God,  I have an agenda.  I might want perspective, or wisdom, or direction, or healing of some sort.  But I think much of that time with HIm  would be better spent not seeking anything, except to just hang out with Him.  No agenda. No words, really. Just two friends relishing a companionable silence—aware of each other, but not expecting from each other.  We have an understanding: I enjoy His presence, and He enjoys mine.  

I liken it to sitting with a close friend at the beach watching a sunset.   Though no words are exchanged, the  connectedness is almost palpable.  And the silence between us seems to magnify the beauty surrounding us.

In Heaven, I expect God and I will share many such quiet moments, enjoying the sweep of a mountain vista, the trill of a child’s laugh. Or the velvet touch of a horse’s nuzzle, or the fragrance of a rose in bloom.  But those experiences will pale compared to the stunning beauty of God Himself. His integrity. His wisdom. His vitality. His strength. His gentleness.

heaven is a ways off, thought, and there is much yet to do in this life. People to help.  Commitments to keep.  Plans to make, and then to follow.

There is a journey.  And I am on it. 

However, I must remember: part of that journey includes tasting a bit of heaven from time to time.  It is dangling my legs over a seawall with a Good Friend, watching the horizon together in companionable silence.  It is enjoying My Creator’s presence, not for what I can learn from Him, or for what He can do for me—but simply because He is there, and I love Him, and He loves me. 

And because it is just nice to share a sunset together.

Share with us: How do you find the time to enjoy God’s company?

sunrayblog

 

Recent posts – Time Management Series: Taking Aim: Goal Series – Part IBeginning With The End In Mind: Goal Series – Part II, The Right Things For The Right Reasons: Goal Series – Part III

Live Grace — Invite God In

 

live grace, invite god in squareby Lydia Floren

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. Revelations 3:20 NASB

At some point in your life God knocks on your door, and you recognize that knock. You realize that He is real, and that He loves you, and that you need Him.

You have two choices:
1. Keep Him out. You can choose to keep the door to your heart shut tight. He will respect that choice. He is a gentleman. He won’t force Himself on you, no matter how self-destructive your decision might be.
2. Let Him in. You can choose to open the door to your heart. Maybe the reality of your need–and of God’s presence—has eclipsed your hesitation, and you decide to open your life to Him. Here is a way to do that:

Open the door by praying GRACE:

Live GRACE: Invite God in.   GRACE:  Give thanks, Release, Accept, Continue, and Enjoy.

Give thanks:
Thank You, God, that You are real, and good, and powerful, and loving,
Thank You for giving me life, and the ability to make my own choices.
Thank You that You are committed to loving me and every other person You have created, whether I choose to accept
or reject that love.
Thank You for helping me to see that I need You. That I can never make myself perfect. Thank You for showing me
my sins, not so that I can beat myself up about them, but so that You can free me of them.
Thank You providing a way to make things right with You, by sending Your son Jesus, and allowing Him to die so
that could be free of shame.

Father thank You that You are real, and that You love me.
I choose to invite You into my life right now.

Release:
Thank You for releasing me from guilt.
Thank You that You know every wrong thing I have thought or said or done, and that You have loved me through it all.
Thank You that You have made provision for those wrongs through Jesus’s blood sacrifice.
Thank You that Your forgiveness is complete: You wipe everything away.

I choose to release my sins to You.

Accept
Thank You for accepting me just like I am–right where I am–and loving me.
Thank You for accepting me as Your child, and protecting me and caring for me.
Thank You for accepting the reality that, as much as I would like to think otherwise, there will be times in the
future when I will wander away from You, and will need a fresh dose of Your grace.

I choose to accept Your love and forgiveness, which frees me from guilt and shame.

Continue
Thank You for Your continued presence with me and within me throughout the rest of my life.
Thank You for Your calling– to love You with all my heart, and to love myself, and to love my neighbor as myself.
Thank You that You will continue to guide me in fulfilling that calling, and redirect me if I head down the wrong path.

Father, I choose to continue, to follow You every day.

Enjoy
Thank You for enjoying me.
Thank You that You value my company.
Thank You that You that You love to give me good gifts, and that You scatter them throughout my day and life.
Thank You for inventing laughter and joy and love and relationships.
Thank You for the gift of hope: that I can welcome the day with anticipation, knowing You are working all things to
good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.
Thank You that with You I need never be afraid.

Father, I choose to enjoy each day with a grateful heart.

Just so you understand: praying GRACE is not something you just do just once. It is something you do over and over again. And every time you pray GRACE, God refreshes your faith and restores your soul.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3

Living Grace

living grace titleby Lydia Floren

Do you ever feel bogged down? Not by anything external, but by what goes on inside your head?  I know I do. Regrets and  hurts sap my strength. Worries and  frustrations drain away my joy.

Lately I’ve been figuring out a cool way to get back on track every day, so that I can go forward refreshed and energized:  I’ve been learning to pray GRACE.

Pray GRACE:

Give thanks

Release

Accept

Continue

Enjoy

 

For example, in the morning I might pray something like this:

 

Give thanks

Thank You Father, for life that is in me and in the world around me. Thank You for air to breathe, a beating heart, five senses and four limbs. Thank You for the past, present, and future. Thank You for You:  Your goodness, Your commitment to be with me and within me, Your love and care. Thank You for the particular situations that are on my mind, that You work all things to good, that You understand and will lead me in the right way to look at things, and how best to proceed.

 

Release 

Father, I know I have been carrying around all kinds of baggage, and right now I just want to leave everything right here at Your feet.  I release

  • my self-reliance: those times that I have gone my own way instead of your way.
  • regret for what I have done that may have hurt myself or others, and
  • any hurt that I am experiencing as a consequence of someone’s actions for what has been done to me.
  • my habit of beating myself up over stuff. Thank you that you do not want or expect me to live under condemnation, a slave of shame or guilt. That is precisely what you gave your life for.
  • grudges I am holding against others: resentment and/or unforgiveness
  • things dragging me down that I’m not consciously aware of: You know even more than I do what those things might be.

Accept 

Thank you for my life

  • where I am in time and space,
  • my unique gifts and talents, my incredible value, and belonging to you and the family of God
  • the privilege of joining with You to love those around me, and that you use me just as I am, not “perfect” by my own false standards.

Thank You for You

  • You being with me and within me, and never leaving me.
  • That You are committed to me: You have my back.
  • that you are Truth, and You have freed me.

Thank you for the freedom

  • of your forgiveness
  • from hanging on to hurt, condemnation, and the expectations of others.
  • From fear as I leave my worries with you.

Thank you that every day is a new day that I can embrace with anticipation.

Continue

Help me to continue moving forward in the direction You’ve already led me.

  • According to the plans carefully—and prayerfully– formulated.
  • Utilizing the habit(s) you have led me to establish
  • keeping the commitments you have asked me to keep.

Thank you that you fill in the blanks of my imperfect efforts with your perfect sufficiency.

And as I go, thank you that you will show me what  changes you might want to make in those plans, habits and commitments.

 Enjoy today

Thank you for the constants in my day:  your love, your presence, your commitment to provide and protect and lead me, your working in this world.

Thank You for the unexpected:

  • the gifts You give me throughout the day:  a beautiful sky, a smile, a connection, a new friend.
  • the surprising ways You work sometimes. ways I don’t anticipate or understand.
  • opportunities to love and bless those around me.
  • unique ways You communicate with me through your still small voice, your word, circumstances, your creation, and other people

Praying GRACE—it’s a great way to live!

PS:  I am really excited about this GRACE model!  I am finding all kinds of applications for it.  Expect to hear more about Living Grace in the near future!  Below is a tool that can be printed on a 4×6 card so you can try Praying Grace, filling in your own blanks. (You can also find this on our Pinterest page)

Take a moment and share with us:  How are you living grace in your day?  

grace workpage 4x6

No Condemnation

no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 NIV)

Really?  Because I feel condemnation all the time.  I am not good enough. I fail. I screw up. I am selfish, willful, petty, uncontrolled, petulant, uncaring, grumpy, reclusive, controlling, critical, judgmental, prideful, gluttonous.  And then I am paralyzed by guilt, remorse, shame, embarrassment.

And Satan claps his hands:  he “gets” me with my sins, he “keeps me” with the guilt.

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Really.  I must face the reality of my imperfections and accept them, but at the same time know that no matter what I have done, and what I will do, I am not condemned. I am not held hostage to ongoing guilt, pervading doom, defeat, anger, resentment, worry.  I do not have to–I am not supposed to–live in such an environment.

Being in Christ Jesus is having the power and the courage to face my sins every day, and receive forgiveness for them. Every day. It is the easiest and the hardest thing.

“I can do it myself”  The biggest most difficult sin I have to face—every day—is that I think I can do a better job of directing my life than God can.  There is a two year old in my head stomping her foot  declaring “I can do it myself.”  I am convinced that my way will make me happy, bring me joy.

  • How many times do I have to fall down and scrape my knee before I willingly reach up and grab his big comforting hand–always extended–and choose to hang on?

As many times as it takes.

  • How much longer will he extend His hand to me? How long  before he grows tired of my petulance and rebelliousness? My disrespect? My not believing that he truly does love me, and will lead me and take care of me if I let him?

Until I die. That is how long his hand remains extended.  That’s how much time I have.

  • Am I really going to waste whatever time I have been given by insisting on my own flawed way?  Am I really going to miss out on joy in this life, and in even having a life after death, because of my willfulness?

I hope not.

Once I start to get this, I stop.  Turn around. And run into his arms. There is no condemnation there. Only love, and His delight that I am there with Him.

In Christ Jesus, I can relax and truly begin to live.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Romans 8:1-2  NIV)

no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Pushing the RESET button–Donuts and Do-Overs

God's grace

One of my happiest childhood memories started out poorly. I was 6 years old on Saturday morning. My two siblings and I were already squabbling. After several minutes of screaming (and crabby parents) my mom made a dramatic announcement:

“Y’all listen up. We are all going to start our day over. Everyone go back to bed and stay there. In a few minutes I will let you know when it’s time to get up.”

Our arguments gave way to giggles as we climbed back beneath the sheets, curious at this unexpected turn of events. Sure enough, after a little while she called down the hall “Time to get up! breakfast!” We jumped out of bed, and bounded into the kitchen to discover my dad had snuck out and gotten donuts — a rare treat in our house back then.

It turned out to be a great day.

Many years later I still remember the rush of excitement, the dramatic shift of mood that morning — the power of choosing to starting over.

The power of starting over—a picture of God’s grace.

Every day God invites us to a “do-over,” to get our day going with the joy of a fresh start. He doesn’t want us to rehash old problems and issues. He wants us to let them go, just as He has let them go for us.

We never have to be stuck in our old habits of condemnation, defeat, worry, addiction, unforgiveness, perfectionism, or people-pleasing. God does not want us to be. That is why He came: to set us free.

I have to admit, it is hard for me, a recovering perfectionist, to push the RESET button of God’s grace every day. I want to get it right. Do it myself. Without Him. I have to remind myself that “getting it right” can only happen WITH Him — if I get it right in His timing, His power, with His presence. Receiving His grace, starting fresh, requires that I acknowledge to myself and to God that I need Him. Every day. Throughout the day.

God’s Grace is the RESET button that releases us from condemnation and frees us to truly live in joy.

As this new year begins, resolve to push the RESET button early and often.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:1-2 NASB

This is the day that the lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:34 ESV

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-20 NASB

We would love to hear from you:
• Do you have a “do-over” story?

• What helps you remember to push the reset button?

Share your ideas/pictures/stories!
o email
o facebook
o twitter
o pinterest

My reminder to push the reset button!

My reminder to push the reset button!