The gift of grace Sunday, Sep 16 2012 

If I could, I would take charge of my life and make it turn out just right. I can’t. I have tried and failed repeatedly.

Fully functional people are organized, disciplined and able to get what they want out of life. Organization is out of the question for me; the very idea of discipline makes me feel guilty. I have broken virtually every resolution I ever made. And as for getting what I want out of life, what I want most is love, and love comes only as a gift. All I can “do” is be willingly, actively open to receiving the gift.

I know love is a gift because I have experienced more love in my life than I could ever have deserved or earned. I cannot take credit for any of it. It is all grace. I have no doubt that a loving prescence has abided with me over the years, mysteriously weaving love’s presence through my aspirations and failures.

Still, I cannot shake the feeling that I should have done it all by myself. Some tight, addicted voice inside me keeps saying, “You should be on top of things, in control” it is a cop-out to depend on grace.” The voice is old and empty’ I know it is not from my living heart. But it is powerful. For every failure in my life, I feel either guilt or shame, and sometimes both. And it is all right.

It is better than all right, for it has been more my failures than my successes that have opened me to love. When I find myself being overconcerned with efficiency, I turn my attention to the mysterious, amazing grace that has seen me through all my dysfunctions. Sometimes I turn there because I need help. Sometimes I turn in gratitude. But mostly, my turning toward grace is a simple, wordless act of love.

Prayer: God, help me to loosen my compulive grip on myself, and teach me to receive your grace.

-Gerald G. May- excerpt taken from Galatians 2:20-21,  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

Calming Our Fear Saturday, Feb 11 2012 

Fear is usually present in the lives of adult children. We are afraid of rejection, abandonment, abuse and deprivation; we might even develop an array of phobias. We may have a fear of failure based on having been told repeatedly that we will never amount to anything. This fear stopped many of us from believing that the future held any promise.

Others avoid success because they feel a need to live up to unrealistic expectations. We may resist accepting responsibilities that we believe are beyond our ability.

Our concerns can be faced and subdued as we experience God’s perfect love for us. In Christ, there is no fear of rejection, abandonment, failure, or the future. As the child within us is nurtured by the Holy Spirit’s loving and gentle touch, our misgivings can be dispelled. We are children of God, so we do not need to be afraid. He is always with us, guiding and protecting us. Rather than fear God, we can respect and rely on his presence in our lives.

Our reverence for God can gradually overshadow our fears from the past and give us hope for the future. Then we can say with David, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”

Prayer: Ease my fears, Lord, and help me to trust and rest in you.

-Ron Ross- excerpt taken from Psalms 27,  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

The Gift of Grace Friday, Sep 16 2011 

If I could, I would take charge of my life and make it turn out just right. I can’t. I have tried and failed repeatedly.

Fully functional people are organized, disciplined and able to get what they want out of life. Organization is out of the question for me; the very idea of discipline makes me feel guilty. I have broken virtually every resolution I ever made. And as for getting what I want out of life, what I want most is love, and love comes only as a gift. All I can “do” is be willingly, actively open to receiving the gift.

I know love is a gift because I have experienced more love in my life than I could ever have deserved or earned. I cannot take credit for any of it. It is all grace. I have no doubt that a loving presence has abided with me over the years, mysteriously weaving love’s presence through my aspirations and failures.

Still, I cannot shake the feeling that I should have done it all by myself. Some tight, addicted voice inside me keeps saying, “You should be on top of things, in control; it is a cop-out to depend on grace.” The voice is old and empty; I know it is not from my living heart. But it is powerful. For every failure in my life, I feel either guilt or shame, and sometimes both. And it is all right.

It is better than all right, for it has been more my failures than my successes that have opened me to love. When I find myself being overconcerned with efficiency, I turn my attention to the mysterious, amazing grace that has seen me through all my dysfunctions. Sometimes I turn there because I need help. Sometimes I turn in gratitude. But mostly, my turning toward grace is a simple, wordless act of love.

Prayer: God, help me to loosen my compulsive grip on myself, and teach me to receive your grace.

-Gerald G. May- excerpt taken from Galations 2:20-21  NIV Recovery Devotional Bible

What are YOU made of? Monday, May 23 2011 

Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”

Do you have a stout heart? Are you strong like a mighty oak tree? Do your roots go deep? Are you a person of substance? When the sky gets dark and the weather gets rough, does your character stand strong like a growing tree, or does it fade away the same way a shadow does when the clouds roll in?

The choice is yours. You can spend the day hoping for the sun to shine, so that you look good. Or you cultivate your character, growing it daily inch by inch, until one day it not only provides your strength, but also stands as a symbol of stability to those around you.

-John Maxwell-  excerpt from “The Choice is Yours”

Character cannot be

Developed in ease and quiet.

Only through experience of trial

And suffering can the soul

be strengthened, vision cleared,

Ambition inspired,

And success achieved.

-HELEN KELLER-