Reason to SMILE #11: MORNINGS

 

Reason to SMILE #11: MORNINGS - Are you a morning person? If not, you may want to read this to discover how to appreciate each new day. | https://acoupleofstarsandahappyface.wordpress.com

Have you ever met a morning person?

No matter how early, a morning person is always cheerful and ready to meet the day with vim and vigor.  This person sings, “Hello” to everyone she encounters and bounces across the room like a child running off to play.

It truly is disgusting!

As you may have guessed, I am NOT a morning person.  It takes me quite a while each day to get moving and when I do, I really do not mind if no one says, “Good morning” to me or even speaks to me at all.  The only things I desire in the morning are

COFFEE

&

SILENCE

Regardless of my aversion to mornings, I am grateful for each one.  Mornings are a gift.  They offer each of us a fresh start, a new beginning.  Yesterday is, well, yesterday.  The mistakes we made, the hardships we faced, the messes we created, these are all in the past.

In fact, each day is like our own personal “do-over” granted to us by God Himself! With each ray of sunlight that peeks over the horizon, God is saying, “Here you go.  Let’s try this again!”

Now that ought to make us SMILE!

Oh, sure, the troubles from yesterday may still continue.  We made the mess; we have to clean it up.  But each new day gives us the opportunity to make better choices, to rid ourselves of bad habits, to repair broken relationships, to do whatever was left undone yesterday.

I may not be a morning person but I thank God for the mercies He gives to me with each new day.  And as I drink my coffee in silence this morning, I cannot help but SMILE at the endless possibilities this day has to offer.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)  

 

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No One

No matter what you’ve done, no matter where you’ve run, you’re never too far gone that the love and mercy of God cannot reach you.

He will forgive you.

He will break the chains that bind you.

He will heal your brokenness.

He will restore you.

He will love you.

He already loves you.

That is why he seeks you.

So don’t give up hope. Don’t believe what others may say about you.

No one is beyond God’s reach. No one.

God is reaching out for you today. Will you reach out and take His hand?

Where can I go to escape your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I live at the eastern horizon
or settle at the western limits,
even there your hand will lead me;
your right hand will hold on to me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me,
and the light around me will be night”—
even the darkness is not dark to you.
The night shines like the day;
darkness and light are alike to you.

Psalm 139:7-11

 

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

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 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 239

Reason to SMILE #239: BELIEVING THE BEST IN OTHERS

IMG_8478

I wonder how our world would look if we all believed the best in each other.

What if we looked past the rough edges and saw the potential waiting to burst forth.

What if we embraced the awkwardness and peculiarities and allowed them to broaden our horizons and enlighten our perceptions.

What if we ignored the drama and discovered an infectious spirit of energy and attraction.

What if we overlooked the gruff and callous demeanor and the offensive words and actions and focused on the hurting soul in need of love.

What if we forgave the faults we see in others, the same faults we long for others to forgive in us, and see each other as imperfect brothers and sisters doing our best in an imperfect world.

What if we stopped discarding people and embraced each other as a masterpiece of the the Great Creator, a child of God worthy to be loved, pursued, forgiven and accepted.

What if…

Believing the best in others takes practice, patience and persistence. It opens us up to heartache and disappointment but if we make the effort to see others through the eyes of Jesus, I feel certain that our world would be filled with so many more SMILES.

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 191

Reason to SMILE #191: MERCY

I messed up. There’s no other way of looking at it. I completely blew it. I’ve worked for weeks to get a project completed. I’ve coordinated with several different parties from all over the United States, fought with overnight couriers, manipulated schedules and pretty much performed everything short of miracles so all could be finalized today.  Then I had to go and throw all that hard work away with one bad decision. Ugh! I may have played a huge role in completing this project but I’ve also single handedly thrown a huge kink in it’s culmination.

It has not been a good day. Fortunately, I have an understanding boss who did not even flinch with the news of my screw up. Instead, he helped me to meet enough of the requirements of the project today which will allow me time to fix my blunder in the next day or two. It’s humbling when you expect/deserve a negative reaction or speech filled with disappointment but you actually receive a helping hand and sympathetic gesture of forgiveness.

That’s a lot like God. No matter how many times we mess up, He isn’t waiting to give us a tongue lashing or strike us down with a lightning bolt. Instead, He’s waiting to forgive us with open arms. Yes, there may be consequences for our bad choices. We do have to learn from our mistakes. But God shows us mercy by withholding what we truly deserve, separation from Him because of our sins, and giving us what we do not deserve, grace and forgiveness.

I have no idea how my blunder is going to work out. It may be fine and I will be able to SMILE and thank God for the blessing. Or it may be the opposite and I may find myself cleaning up an ugly mess. Though definitely more difficult, I will still be able to SMILE realizing that I have been given an opportunity to learn from my mistake. (Did I mention how hard it will be to find that SMILE?) No matter the outcome, I am thankful for the reminder of the great mercy God shows to me every day of my life.

A Year of Smiles – Day 176

Reason to SMILE #176: GRACE

John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.


God’s grace is not restricted to those who are powerful, those who are rich, those who come from the right neighborhood or those who behave a certain way.  God’s grace is freely given to ALL who believe.

So why is the grace we choose to show limited to only a select few?

Knowing that I am loved, forgiven and accepted by God no matter my past, no matter my mistakes and no matter my proclivity for messing up, is the greatest SMILE of all.

Ephesians 2:8 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

Matthew 7:1-2 (ESV) Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.


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A Year of Smiles – Day 149

philosopher -smiley-thinkingReason to SMILE #149: MEMORIES

Some bring sadness –

Remembering loved ones we can no longer hug, call up for a chat or hear them say “I love you”;

Recalling fun times with friends who were once trusted and close but somehow became distant, wondering what went wrong and dealing with the hurt that still lingers from their rejection;

Agonizing over broken relationships, lost loves that resulted in broken hearts;

Fixating on bad decisions, regrets of the past and wallowing in the ever abundant “what ifs”…

 

Some bring pride –

Reminiscing over accomplishments in your life, the good choices you’ve made and how far you’ve come;

Celebrating milestones in the lives of your children or loved ones;

Memorializing the sacrifices of those who fought bravely for the freedoms you enjoy…

 

Some bring joy –

Remembering the laughter shared with family and friends;

Thinking back on the new experiences and discoveries made on your life’s journey;

Holding dear the love given and received;

Recalling the moments of fun, silliness, sheer enjoyment, complete safety, satisfaction in who you were when nothing was holding you back or weighing you down…

 

No matter the emotion evoked by them, our memories are a part of who we are. Whether regret or delight, pain or joy, each moment in our lives has led us to where we are today.  I’m grateful for the miraculous minds that God has given us that allow us to remember so many things – even the darkest of memories.  You see, my memories may not all be good but I can still SMILE knowing the past is the past, God forgives and comforts, and today is a new opportunity to make better choices and even better memories.

 

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 97

Reason to SMILE #97: LETTING GO

The final “Amen” had been pronounced and the sanctuary was clearing. I sat down to collect my things when I heard a worried yet determined voice say, “Mom, I want you to ground me for nineteen days.” I looked up to answer this curious request as my little boy continued, “I’ve been holding on to something for two years.” As my mind compiled a list of all the things my child could possibly have done to cause such distress, I remembered the Pastor’s sermon illustration of the little boy with his hand caught in a vase because he would not let go of the penny he found inside. Though I did not know what was to follow this introduction to a confession, I did know that God had spoken to my son and my son had listened.

IMG_7729Further explanation revealed a deed which would not have troubled many, I think. My son told a lie to a classmate. He was even punished for the content of the lie; still, he had not admitted that he lied. He held the sin in his heart for two years, and although he had prayed for God’s forgiveness, the conscience of this seven year old would not be eased until mom assured him all was well.

Looking into the face of my little boy, I longed to cheer the apparent sadness that he was feeling as he realized his wrong. I longed to ease the familiar pain that guilt so mercilessly inflicts and I wondered how much greater the longing of our Heavenly Father must be to wipe away the guilt and shame of our transgressions and fill us with peace and joy.  While we cling to our destructive habits and self-serving choices in our search for happiness and contentment, our loving Father patiently waits to bless his children with abundant life and freedom – blessings which are so readily available to the one who is willing to loosen his grip on the world and simply let go.

Taking my hand, my little boy sighed in relief, “I’m glad I let that go!” And as we walked out of the sanctuary, another confession emerged. “Mom, do you know why I wanted to be grounded for just nineteen days?”

“No,” I replied.

“That’s when I get out of school, and I don’t want to be grounded during the summer.”

Hmmm.  I think I’ll let that go and save the lesson on “Facing the Consequences” for another day.

Do you need to let go of something today?  What are you waiting for?  The sooner you do, the sooner you feel that peaceful SMILE again.
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