Saturday, August 25, 2007

Investing or Grace? What's the Motivation?

I'm not sure why, but over the last month or so my mind has been truly pondering this concept called grace. Perhaps it is because my dear friend lives in "Grace-land", or perhaps the Holy Spirit is teaching me something new. (Or both!) I've been trying to put those "Grace-thoughts" into words and have been doing a poor job of it...but I thought I'd be real and do some ramblings about it here.

Do we invest in people's lives consciously, or unconsciously, hoping for something in return?

In return for support, comfort, promotion, favor, loyalty, good will?

Do we ever subconsciously think, "So-and-so owes me (any of the above) because I did this-or-that for her?"

If that is the case, those acts of kindness we do are truly "investments” into human bank accounts as we seek a "return" of some kind no matter how big or small. Pay back is expected or anticipated.


If we pour ourselves into people simply because Christ’s love compels us to meet a need (either emotionally, physically, financially, or even spiritually by offering godly counsel);

If we give of ourselves freely to those who may eventually betray us, to those who have no power to reciprocate;

If we bestow acts of kindness into people truly without any hope or thought of "return" (not even a "thank you"), we go against worldly wisdom truly becoming conduits of God's abundant grace.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wonderful Weekend!

(Atlanta from my hotel room)

God just blessed my socks off this past weekend! Cassie (my 16 year old daughter)) and I went with a small group from our church to Atlanta for a Beth Moore/Women of Faith Conference. Having Cassie share the experience was almost more than my heart could hold.

I'm not one prone to tears (unless my feelings are hurt), so it amazes even me that I spent the entire Beth Moore Conference crying from either extreme laughter or an extreme touch from God. I could feel the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment I walked into the Arena. It shouldn't have surprised me when Beth said she had asked God to fill the Arena with His emotional presence that day.

I thought my "toes" were safe when the topic was "Comfort". I thought, "How can there be anything convicting in the topic of 'Comfort'?" Boy was I wrong! The message was about being members of the "Cult of Comfort" which our society endorses, and that we are not to be compelled by comfort, but by our love for Christ. There was much food for thought, let me tell you!

While the Women of Faith part was fun (Sandi Patty was incredible as usual, and who knew Nicole C. Mullen has so much energy!) my heart was most blessed by my time with Beth Moore.

On a side note: I think we underestimate the ability of our teens to grasp the things of God. Cassie was as blessed as I and took as many notes. Perhaps the reason so many of our youth are still "babes" in Christ is because we don't offer them anything solid. I'm developing a whole philosophy on church youth ministries, but I'll save it for later.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Thinking Suicide? WAIT!

(Originally written on Monday, August 21, 2006)

They lived on the same street this man and woman, my street. Both were around sixty. The former used a gun, the latter pills, but the results were the same.
Lives were ended.
Their lives.

Within the last month these two acquaintances of mine killed themselves. I passed each house on my morning walk and exchanged pleasantries:

“Good morning,” we’d each call out.
“How are you today?”
“Fine. How are you?”

Sometimes we’d say more. The last time I saw “her” she reminisced about what a godly man her father was and how she still missed him even after all these years. I had no clue, no clue she struggled with depression. No clue she would choose to end her own life.

I’m sad, and I’m afraid.

I’m sad because these two people couldn’t fight their way to the surface; they drowned in their sorrow either unable to grasp hold of hands willing to lift them up, or (horror of horrors) there were no hands extended to them. (Was my hand held out?)

I’m afraid. I’m afraid because I know there are thousands of people just like them suffocated by their life circumstances. People who feel there is no way out of their suffering except through death at their own hands. How many of these people do I know but am unaware of their struggle?

If you are one of those totally overwhelmed by life – PLEASE, STOP!!!! Don’t hurt yourself! There are hands extending out to you! Before you do something drastic, PLEASE write me (or call me if you know me) and let me talk to you and pray for you. I mean it! I’m not just saying it to be nice or because I’m a preacher’s wife. I want to offer a heartfelt cry for mercy to heaven on your behalf. It’s not a bother. It would be my privilege.

There is another hand held out to you which is much stronger than mine:

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
~ Psalm 40:1-3

~ Drewe Llyn