Discover the height, depth, width and length of God's great love for you.

Grace

Discover the height, depth, width and length of God's great love for you.

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND what I do.
The things I want to do, the things I know to do, I do not do them.

But WHAT I HATE, that is what I DO.

My heart is DECEITFUL and beyond all cure. My sins have SEPARATED me from God and have hidden his face from me.
You must grow weary of my trampling through your courts of grace with my vain requests for forgiveness.

Oh, God, can you still HEAR me?

Please speak to me.

I am undone.

In my darkness, I hear your voice,

Come now,

And with its sound, I am once again reminded of your TENDER MERCIES.

You are COMPASSIONATE and GRACIOUS, Lord. You are SLOW TO ANGER and ABOUNDING IN LOVE.

You do not deal with me as my sins deserve nor do you repay me according to my offenses.

Instead, you are PATIENT WITH ME. 

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so GREAT IS YOUR LOVE FOR ME.

You are FAITHFUL TO FORGIVE – when I confess – and to cleanse my heart of its unrighteousness.

As far as the east is from the west, you have removed my transgressions from me.

YOU REMEMBER THEM NO MORE.

From your abundance, Lord, I have received your GRACE UPON GRACE.

Of this my heart will forever sing!

 

 

 

*This expression of praise for God’s love, forgiveness and grace is a compilation and personalization of the following Scriptures: Romans 7:15; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 59:2; Isaiah 1:11-15; Job 11:5; Isaiah 6:5; Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 51:1; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 103:10; 2 Peter 3:9; Psalm 103:11; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; John 1:16 and Psalm 89:1

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A Very Smiley Christmas (A Year of Smiles – Day 335)

Adobe Spark (46)

There’s only twenty-five days until Christmas. TWENTY-FIVE! Are you ready? I am!… unless we’re talking about having all my presents purchased, wrapped and sitting under the tree! Then, no. No, I am not. But I am ready for the Christmas season. I love this time of year. There are so many wonderful ways to celebrate, so many sights, smells, tastes and sounds that are unique to the Christmas holiday. And, of course, there are so many SMILES to find and share.

So, without further ado…

Let the Christmas SMILES begin! <SQUEAL> I’m so excited! 😉

CHRISTMAS SMILE #1 (Reason to SMILE #335): THE CHRISTMAS TREE

I’ve always thought it strange to sing a ballad to a tree.
You know the one, don’t you, about the fir forever green?

We hear it playing in the stores, while we’re Christmas shopping.
We hum along to its tune in movies that we’re watching.

As it’s sung, sweet voices raise with fervor and great passion
For the object of their joy and holiday affection.

Friends, families, strangers even, the tree they gather ’roundchristmas-tree-1833186_1280
As hand-in-hand, they sway in sync to music’s mellow sound.

I see these scenes and wonder “Who on earth does this so?
It’s a tree, for heaven’s sake, not a sacred shrine — although…’

I do love my Christmas tree. It’s first to bedeck my halls.
I love to see the twinkling lights drape branches stretched so tall.

It’s smell wafts through the air and prompts frequent inhalations
Made with eyes closed up tight – Oh, the mem’ries it emblazons!

It’s beauty, natural and God-made, is cheerfully adorned
With ribbons, stars of gold and red, and strings of air-popped corn.

Oh, how could I have Christmas if I did not have my tree!
For more than decoration this fir tree is to me.

This evergreen reminds me of a life everlasting.
Hope springs from its branches and the shadows it is casting.

For one day, the One whose birth we joyously celebrate
Did give His life upon a tree for you and me to save.

The precious gift of Christmas gave His life for all the world
So we could live forever in the presence of the Lord.

Yes! I love my Christmas tree; to it’s sign of hope, I’ll cling.
I’ll praise God for it’s message and for all the SMILES it brings!

 

Just don’t expect me to hold hands in a circle around the thing and sing to it!

It ain’t happenin’.

Period. 😉

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 296

Reason to SMILE #296: SECOND CHANCES

Adobe Spark (34)

Time and time again,
I know that I will falter.
I know my steps will be misled.
This fate I cannot alter.

I try to choose the way of good;
It is my heart’s desire.
Yet when my will is put to test,
I find it all haywire.

There are times I have been proud.
I’ve stood my ground in battle.
But more than these, I am afraid,
I see resolve unravel.

Oh, but thanks be to our God!
Great mercy He advances
And ev’ry time we’ve fallen short
He’s given second chances.

… and third and fourth and fifth and …

What a loving and merciful God we serve! No matter how many times we fail, He’s there to pick us up and give us a chance to try again. Each new chance is a reason to SMILE and an opportunity to share that same mercy and grace to the world around us.

Have you been given a second chance? Why not give the same to others?

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:13 (NLT)  

A Year of Smiles – Day 276

Reason to SMILE #276: YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER

Adobe Spark (19)

I will not be overcome!

What power in this phrase.
What victory when spoken.

Though tossed about by life’s responsibilities,
I will not be overcome.

Though overwhelmed by fears of failure,
I will not be overcome.

Though attacked by changing circumstances,
I will not be overcome.

Though the enemy tries to steal my courage,
I will not be overcome.

For I am a child of God,
And my God will overcome.

No longer need I worry over threatening tasks.
No longer need I live in the shadows hiding from the unexpected.

I will cower no more under the abilities of others.
I will not live subjected to the expectations of this world.

Though I may be shaken or even set aback,
I will not be overcome.

The promise of my Lord is
He will overcome!

A Year of Smiles – Day 274

Reason to SMILE #274: STEPPING OUT OF THE BOAT

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Because God’s Servant Stepped Out of the Boat

(Click the link to read the story of one who faithfully stepped out of the boat and changed the lives of countless, including the lives of my son and husband!)

Comfort is a good thing. We like it and that’s okay. Comfort, however, tends to beget complacency. And complacency makes it difficult to do the work God calls us to do, especially when the work is something new or somewhere new. Often times, God must wake us up out of our complacency if we are to be of any use to Him.

Just as He called out to Peter to step out of the boat and walk to Him on the water, God also calls out to us to step out of our boats, to step out of comfort zones. At times, the step God wants us to take may be small, such as reaching out to a new neighbor with an invitation to church or sharing the Gospel with a co-worker. Other times, the step God calls us to make is a giant leap of faith, such as packing up your life and moving to a foreign land to serve the Lord as a missionary or pursuing a new opportunity for ministry.

No matter the size of the step, when we heed God’s call to get out of the boat, the result will always be a blessing. If we step out in faith and keep our eyes on the Lord, the SMILES will not only be ours but they will belong to every person whose life we touch along the way.

A Year of Smiles – Day 260

Reason to SMILE #260: A CLEAN SLATE

Adobe Spark (12)
 

Yesterday is behind us.

The night has washed the past away.

The only thing remaining

Is a clean and empty slate.

 

The morning sunlight rises

And with it, hope is born anew.

A precious gift – a promise –

Is this day God made for you.

 

A new week is upon us. A week filled with new opportunities for…

… absolutely anything you can imagine!

But don’t forget to include a whole lotta SMILES!

A Year of Smiles – Day 257

Reason to SMILE #257: READING

Mommy, won’t you read to me?

I love to hear you speak.

Your voice calms me when I’m tired

And helps me drift to sleep.

Mommy, won’t you read to me?

I have so much to learn.

I’ll look at all the pictures

While I take in ev’ry word.

Mommy, won’t you read with me?

This is my favorite book!

I know we’ve read it tons of times –

Please! Just one more look.

Mommy, won’t you read with me?

I’m practicing, you see.

I might miss a word or two

But I know that you’ll help me.

Mommy, let me read to you!

This story is brand new

And I can read ev’ry word.

Daddy’s proud – aren’t you?

Mommy, let me read to you!

I know you’re awfully busy.

I’ll help by reading while you work

To make the time pass quickly.

Mommy, won’t you read with me?

I miss our reading time.

It made me feel so special

To have you by my side.

Mommy, can I read to you?

I know you’re tired and weak.

I’ll read with you and show my love

Just like you did for me.

A Year of Smiles – Day 238

Reason to SMILE #238: A HAND TO HOLD


When waves are crashing all around,

When winds are whipping bold,

Lift up your eyes and you will see

A hand for you to hold.

 
When fear is knocking at your door,

When doubts have left you cold,

Take heart for there will always be

A hand for you to hold.

 
He’s always there to rescue you.

He’ll give you strength untold.

Just speak His name and you will find

A hand for you to hold.

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:29b-31‬a NIV‬‬

A Year of Smiles – Day 226

Reason to SMILE #226: TRUTH

My SMILE today may seem a bit unusual and may not actually feel like a SMILE at all.  As I’ve been pondering recent events in our world, I couldn’t help but be reminded of a song I wrote many years ago.  My heart aches for our children and the world we have created for them.  My only solace is the Truth of God’s Word, the promises of His plan and surety of His control.  No matter what the situation around me, the foundation of God’s Truth on which I stand brings a peaceful SMILE to my soul.

I share the following with you in hopes that you will be inspired to make a difference in the world around you and to point the way to the TRUTH.


Fires burn across the land,

The smoke fills the skies.

Angry men shout out and scream;

Some break down and cry.

 

Children watch as people die;

They see the hate, the pain.

Their little eyes can’t believe

The suffering and the shame.

 

Is this the world we want to show our children?

Is this the place we want them to call home?

We tell them that we love them but don’t show them the same.

Is this the truth we want them to know?

 

I wrote these lyrics twenty-five years ago.  I was almost eighteen years old and had just watched news coverage of the Los Angeles Riots of 1992.  I was horrified as pictures of violence, hate, fear and desperation flashed before my eyes.  I was overwhelmed with uncertainty and fear even though I lived on the opposite side of the country.  I did not understand it all and I knew there were children and other young people trying to make sense of the chaos, as well.

I wondered what these children were learning from the situation.  What lessons about life were they gleaning?  Were they giving up all hope at that moment?  Was their innocence slipping away as disturbing images of humanity at its worst invaded their ideals of safety and security?  Were they resigning to believe that this was how life was supposed to be?  Were these children accepting the hate, violence and pride as their truth?

Now, twenty-five years later, we find ourselves seeing familiar images flash on our TV screens.  And I cannot help but wonder.  Where are those children who watched similar scenes so many years ago?  They are the adults of our world now.  Are they watching in horror as they did as a child?  Are they worried about their own children and the effect this situation will have on their young lives?  Are they outraged?  Are they scared?  Are they worried?  Or are they hitting the power button, shrugging their shoulders and walking away?  After all, that’s life.  That’s the truth of our existence and there’s nothing anyone can do about it….

Oh, my friends, there is hope.  We can redefine the truth that our world accepts today by pointing the way to THE TRUTH, Jesus Christ.  He is our only Way to healing, restoration and salvation.  He is our only Truth in the midst of the chaos and deception orchestrated by our enemy, the devil.  He is our only source of abundant Life, peace, hope and yes, SMILES.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV)

The road to Truth starts with Love.  Love starts with you and me.

A Year of Smiles – Day 207

Reason to SMILE #207: END OF SUMMER/BEGINNING OF SCHOOL

 cheering-smiley-face

Summer is waning – 

Except for the heat.

And kids will soon be

At school in their seats.


Five days of freedom

Remain for a few.

ONLY FIVE DAYS?

But there’s so much to do!


There’s shopping for glue

And rulers and pens,

Pencils and paper –

Is that wide-ruled or thin?


There’s sports registration 

And after school care

There’s shopping for clothes – 

Do they need underwear?


There’s schedules to change 

And sleep to adjust;

There’s groceries to buy –

Those snacks are a must!


Oh, then there are shoes. 

I almost forgot.

For one little “swish”

Small fortunes are lost!


There’s so much to do

And so little time.

Oh, how did the days 

Of summer pass by?


While surveying lists

And mourning lost time,

Your kids in the house 

Are found running wild.


The TV is blaring;

Their rooms are a mess.

They’re fighting and nagging;

They’re being such pests.


You start to get up 

But halt in your tracks.

You look at the date,

Then SMILE and relax.


There’s only five days;

School soon will begin.

The house will be empty.

You’ll have peace once again! 😉