Simplify 4 Lives

A quest for a life that's simpler, sweeter, and a little more satisfying…

The Grace Challenge September 19, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Grow — celestesda @ 10:44 pm

I’ve got this book that my mother-in-law gave me at some point, over a year ago, I think.  She’s always giving me neat little things she’s picked up here or there, because she’s a super-bargain-shop-every-yard sale lady.  I love it because all I have to do is tell her “I’m looking for this…” and she finds it in super lightning speed.  I digress.  She gave me this book titled The Power of a Positive Mom. It’s just a little devotional book that you’re supposed to read once a week to reflect and grow in your quest to be a good, Christian mother. It’s got some really neat devotions, but I’ve not been very faithful about reading them on a regular basis.  In fact, I’ve gotten to week 3.  It’s titled “The Grace Challege” and last Thursday night, as I was reading it, God knocked me over me with the words.  It felt like I’d been run over by a train when I finished.  The key scripture verse is Leviticus 19:16-18, which discusses how we should treat others. Here is an excerpt of the reflection:

“As Christians, of course, we are no longer under the rule of Levitical law; we are under grace, thanks to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us.  As recipients of God’s glorious grace, then, we ought to be showering grace on others in turn.  And what does grace toward others look like?…Guarding our mouths from gossip, forgiving, not holding grudges – all of these are practical ways we can shed God’s grace on the people around us.  Let’s teach our kids, through our words and our example, to reflect on the goodness of God’s wonderful grace and, in turn, to offer that grace to others.”

Wow!  Powerful words.  Powerful thoughts going through my head, sadness over all of the times I’ve denied grace to others, been short with my words, and quick to anger, with those around me, including my own family.  That night, I prayed that God can help me to begin showering more grace upon others, especially those I love most, instead of being less patient, less forgiving, quick tempered, and downright grumpy.  What a difference it has made!  Though my days have been far from perfect, my mood is improved, and I let things slide that, in the grand scheme of life, don’t really matter.  I’m going to continue this prayer, and the practicing of showing grace towards others, until it is my second nature.  Is this something that would apply to your life as well?  If so, take the Grace Challenge with me!

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If We’ve Ever Needed You… September 9, 2010

Filed under: Faith — celestesda @ 10:55 pm

This song by Casting Crowns has been plaguing me lately. You can watch hear it in a YouTube Video here.  I think it’s the lyrics that get me every time.  It’s the raw reminder of the eternal selfishness and short memory of the human race.  How is it that elephants can remember events and places from their childhood, yet we cannot remember the blessings and grace that God has given us over and over in our lives?  The song echoes in my mind more and more as the political voting season is upon us.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Hear our cry, Lord, we pray
Our faces down, our hands are raised
You called us out, we turned away
We’ve turned away

With shipwrecked faith, the idols rise
We do what is right in our own eyes
Our children now will pay the price
We need Your light, Lord, shine Your light

If we’ve ever needed You
Lord, it’s now, Lord, it’s now
We are desperate for Your hand
We’re reaching out, we’re reaching out

Wow!  Powerful words of reminder and remorse.  This is just another reason and motivator in my steps to simplify my life and live it the best way that I can.  I’m trying to lay my idols down, and reach out to the Lord.  What do you think about this song?  Does it give you motivation?  I hope that it does.  I think Mark Hall got it right.  Joel 2:12-19, Matthew 22:35-37