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Lights of Grace

A Kernel of Apathy…

…can grow anywhere at anytime, faster and denser than a patch of kudzu weed.  Where does it come from?  What nourishes it?  How do you recognize it?

                This week we celebrate the freedom of the United States of America.  How do we guard and protect that freedom from apathy?

                Well, can you cite at least one good thing our current president has done for our country? Here’s my example: he brought the remains of U.S. soldiers from the North Korean War home to American soil. My father was a veteran of that war, all defending our freedom. This was something to give thanks for as it brought closure and honor to so many.

                Do you know who your state government officials in Washington are?

                Do you know who your local government officials are?

                Do you know that these officials ran for public office to serve? Therefore, you can and should contact them when you have questions, concerns and suggestions.

                If you couldn’t answer even ONE of these questions I ask you to consider this – when did that kernel of apathy get planted in your heart and soul?  Has it been there so long you fail to recognize it for what it is?

                On this July 4, 2019, let us never forget the powerful words that not only declared America as a free nation, but also what it means to be free:

                “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”              

——U.S. Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

                God, our Creator, gave us this freedom along with His Holy guidance to secure and honor that freedom.  Let us be thankful and never forget that…              

                God Blessed America.


photo cc Linda Breeden

  “And the Lord is the Spirit: and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 

2 Cor. 3:17

Kernels are…

breadcrumbs of our life.

Kernels are…

Kernels are seeds we plant as we journey through life, from season to season.”





We leave kernels behind like tracks in the sand that show our past seasons; but, like sand near the ocean, the seasons of wind and water erase them.  They become bittersweet memories or just bitter memories, leaving scars.  They come in the form of words, actions, behaviors, thoughts, emotions, intentions and often, ‘un-intentions’.

Each Wednesday, here on my blog, Sparklers: Lights of Grace, you will rise and shine, greeted by my ‘something to think about’ Wednesday blog called, Sparklers Garden:  Kernels of….  My greatest hope is that by planting our kernels we will reset our view about whatever season we are traveling in. 

A Kernel of Faith

A kernel of faith is all you need to get through the ups and downs of life’s many seasons.  Right?

Some seasons are crystal clear. The sky is blue, the varying hues of nature crisp and the heart is bursting with the joy of it all – we see it. For this, we give thanks with all our heart and soul.

But, sometimes it can be so bright that all you see is what’s right in front of you.  This makes it hard to know where the blessings came from, therefore making it easy to feel invincible. 

Meanwhile other seasons can be a mist of pain and darkness where there is no up, no down, and no side to side.

Either of these causes life to lose its luster.  Either also makes the world seem flat.  Our steps try to go backward to a bright and easy season in our life.  But, those footprints are gone and we eventually collide with a big rubber wall that bounces us right back to the present.

Our season may be murky.  We run to the right — smack into a hard wall. We try it again with a slightly different direction, ziz-zagging our way to the left, then to the right as if we can fool life into a different season.

There’s no fooling the seasons of life, so again we smack into a wall, this time staggering upright, bruises and all.  The only direction left is forward, but the swirling mist hides what waits for us there. Scary, huh?

Perhaps, much like the long ago theory that the earth is flat, our life too has become flat.  If we go forward, we might just step off the edge.  Then what?  Well, when a season in life changes, there’s no way to go back.  It’s also impossible to remain still. Stagnation becomes a living death. 

Moving into the next season is the only option.  But that’s scary.  It’s going to take courage and we can’t find it in the fog that surrounds us. Where can this much courage be found? 

Listen. 

Listen and hear those words in your head – the two words that provide direction. Those words are, “you know”. 

You know to raise your hands to heart level – yes both at the same time.  In one you speak your fear; in the other you speak your faith; both of the unknown facing you.  Then you put them together, clasped in prayer, releasing fears by giving them to God – and don’t even think about taking them back (remember that rubber wall?).

This is when the grace of courage is given.  Works every time –  in His timing.

************

  It’s hard to to see evidence of faith in times like these when the entire world seems flat.  Let’s grow this Sparkler Garden! 

Please, share your own Kernel of… in the comments section in hopes that your kernel will touch at least one person reading it, and that one person is changed and in the doing, will provide a kernel that will grow in someone else. 

Luke 8:11

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.”

You know.

What Did You Do Today?

No Means No

Better life

 

Women don’t leave a relationship easily, even when it is one of pain. They tend to give the benefit of the doubt more than is wise – trusting that the other person didn’t mean to cause harm. She eventually learns that your damage, while difficult, didn’t reach her mind or her soul. This realization is her point of no return. She is finished with you.

Hers is a forever good-bye. Nothing you can say or do will change that. You’re fooling yourself if you think otherwise. Her trust has been destroyed. She is so much stronger because she now knows that she deserves better than what you could ever give her. She moves forward, totally detached from whatever space you had taken up in her life. She will never reattach to your kind of betrayal.

Ever.

You are only a fading dark spot on the horizon– a minor mistake made and forgotten. She doesn’t look back. Her eyes face the next season as life brings forth the joys and blessings that were meant for her all along. She has experienced the worst from you. She cherishes her new best life and is thankful for it.

You are not, nor will you be, any part of her life – ever. Civility and respect means that NO means NO. You don’t have a say in her definition of that word.  The best you can hope for is that she has forgiven you.

Take heed: Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation.

Understand these words… and go fix yourself.

God Doesn’t Do Lucky

God Doesn't Do Lucky

I haven’t posted a blog in six months.

What’s that about?

So, I thought I could sit and draft 50 words or so and say I have.

So I typed some words.  Then I deleted them.  I typed some more – deleted them too.

Then I just stared at the blank screen and noticed a pop up message that said, “You haven’t written anything yet.”

That was helpful.  No, I’m not being glib.  It was helpful because it made me think.

What else have I not done?

haven’t lost that 10 pounds I’ve talked about for yeeeeeeears.

haven’t gone to Italy – I really want to go.

haven’t … hmmmm,  so many have nots that I’m embarrassed to list them.

Better to list my haves I think!

have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior

have loved and been loved by my husband and children

have learned unconditional love from my dog

have many wonderful family and friends

-have good health

have made a difference in people’s lives

have made mistakes – have asked for forgiveness – have given forgiveness – have forgiven myself

have helped others in little ways because those add up to big ways

-have lived a happy life.

Ah, this is helpful because it makes me think.  I’ve actually done all of the important things in life.

Aren’t I lucky.

As my friend Valye said, “No honey, you are blessed.  God doesn’t do lucky.

In A Blink

Sunrise brings light to darkness as this security camera caught on tape, in 33 seconds – the time it takes to inhale deeply, to smile – to blink.

 

 

 

According to Answer.com, the average person blinks 6.2 million times in a year.  As 2017 closes…in a few short hours, we will celebrate the joys, recognize the sadness, and hopefully, remember what it taught us.  It seems we were here at this time and place – only a blink ago – welcoming in 2017.

But what is a blink? Perhaps it is this very moment.

Now blink.  What were you doing? Thinking of what will be? Was it with regret or with hope?

It only takes a blink …

… to be born.

… to die.

…to be grateful.

…to feel sorrow.

…to forgive and to be forgiven.

… to experience peace.

… to be in the moment and to know that moment.

What will you do with your 6.2 million blinks in 2018?

 

 

1 Corinthians 15:52 ESV

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

Changing Hearts is God’s Work

Forgiveness
Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent foresees evil and hides”.

How does a person forgive something that — to them — is unforgivable?

Jesus, while in agony on the cross said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

Often in our humanness we wonder, “But what if they do know? What if their actions are calculated and self-serving?”  Distrust replaces love and forgiveness and when this happens, it’s time to be honest with God.  The best way to do this is by going to His word for direction.

Proverbs 22:3 says, “The prudent foresees evil and hides himself”.  But sometimes forgiveness requires caution because it is different from trust, necessitating the dynamics of a relationship to change.    Until an offender has a true change of heart, and because we can’t see that person’s heart, wisdom says to limit our trust in that person.

Trust is a like a four-way intersection where adherence to the wishes, viewpoints, or beliefs of others must intersect with humility and acceptance, even though they may not be the same as yours.  Pretense of respect and honor, shrouded in hollow words are as transparent as a full moon on a cloudless night.   For honor to shine true, the respect must be real.  How do we know if it’s real? We must proceed with caution given to us by the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:16, “be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”. 

Forgiveness doesn’t mean acceptance, or even forgetting of transgressions. It requires truth which means letting go of that which has caused hurt, whether forgiveness was requested or not.  This becomes a decision of the will – a conscious choice made in the name of Christ – to forget as much as possible and to move on with your life. It doesn’t mean we’re not to forgive.  Forgiveness may influence our world, but we must be humble and grateful for God’s love and forgiveness of us as we forgive others while maintaining the recognition that we are not God.

Changing hearts is God’s work.

 

Houston Needs Our Prayers!

The courage of our country fills me with hope and pride as concerns about ‘stuff’, at this time, do not matter.  So many people are in need of rescuing in Texas from an event that no protest, no law, no political party and no individual could start or stop.  Yet, so many people throughout our country, all a mixture of races, genders, cultures, and beliefs are blinded to those things, now sparked into the perspective necessary to come together to rescue those trapped by Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters.

Sound bites from the media:

“Let me go get what we got to do.” – rescuer with a boat.

“Lessons in survival on the first day of school.” – local news reporter

“I put 12 people in two pickup trucks, somehow. One was just a guy in his pickup, and I put four friends and two puppies in that one, and then I put a family in there — kids in the back — and then we added two older men to that.” –rescuer, making the impossible possible.

“We don’t wait for help. We’ve been there before. We do this because it’s what we’re supposed to do – we’re supposed to help our neighbors.”  Clyde Cain, a founding leader of the “Cajun Navy” from Louisiana.

 “Will keep going for as long as it takes.” Andre Barnes, newest member of the Cajun Navy.

Across our street, across our state, across our nation, we are banding together just figuring out what we can do to help our brothers and sisters.  Will we do it perfectly? Never have. But if we help one or thousands, we are not waiting and it is in the doing that makes all the difference.  Let’s not wait. We can all pray and God accepts all prayers as perfect.

Ryan Stevenson’s song offers inspiring words of hope and courage.  Courage is, after all, holding faith in one hand and fear in the other, clasping them together in prayer.   Houston needs our prayers.

 

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