from listening to love . . .

who would have thought that listening is the first step on the path to love?  It’s not an easy path, the climb is steep, the incline often sharp.  No steps can be skipped over along the way.  This journey is not for the faint of heart.

James said in chapter one, verse 19 – “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”   Quick to listen  . . . and then learn to listen long . . . I need to listen not just with my ears but with my heart . . .  I need to hear not just the words that are spoken, but the words that are not spoken as well.  We all want to feel that we have been heard.

Listening allows me to learn about another person.  I get to know them.  I began to know another person in a way that I didn’t previously.  I can know them more completely.  “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  (1 Corinthians 13:12)  This new knowledge paves the way for understanding.

It is understanding that opens the door for empathy to enter in.  And when empathy arrives, her presence brings a new perspective.  I am granted the grace to see the world through another’s eyes. The view is different than I have ever experienced before.  I am humbled and enriched as I see the world in this new way.  The gift of empathy is that I am able to feel and to share in another person’s pain.

“Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,  . . .  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities;  . . .  and by His wounds we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:4-5)

Then empathy invites compassion in.  I am filled with compassion for this one I have been listening to and learning from.  It is empathy which makes possible compassion.  Compassion has no way in without empathy’s invitation.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)  “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.” (Psalm 145:9)

Compassion is a crucial step in the journey.  It is compassion that gives birth to the miracle that is mercy.  When I am able to feel compassion for another person, I will learn to minister to them with mercy.

“But in Your great mercy You did not put an end to them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and merciful God.”  (Nehemiah 9:31)  “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”  (Hosea 6:6)  “Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance?  You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.”  (Micah 7:18)

It is out of mercy that forgiveness flows.  Christ’s forgiveness frees me from the guilt of my sins and from the penalty of death attached to them.  When I forgive others, I am relieved of the burden carrying a grudge against them becomes over time.  I am set free.  Forgiveness frees me and forgiveness frees those I forgive. Forgiveness releases both the giver and the receiver from the bondage in which unforgiveness holds them each captive.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  (Ephesians 4:32)  ” . . . Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  . . .  Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.”  (Matthew 18:21-22)

It is forgiveness that makes room for love to enter.  Forgiveness opens the flood gates wide and lets love in!  and love, well love is what?   all you need?  . . . makes the world go round?  . . . conquers all?

I do know this about love.  “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”  (1 Peter 4:8)

and this, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”  (1 Corinthians 13:13)

it is love that is required in the greatest commandment.  ” ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’  Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ ” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Two commandments requiring love.  And the path that leads to love starts with listening.  Listening leads to knowledge which makes possible understanding which ushers in empathy which invites compassion in which births mercy.  Mercy makes a way for forgiveness to flow freely in, washing away wounds and preparing the place where love will come to live.  

“As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in My love.”  (John 15:9)  

sincerely,      Grace Day    



a good-soil heart

Lord, give me a good-soil heart like the one in Your parable about the sower.  Give me a heart like the farmers’ fields of good soil.  The farmers have prepared their fields to receive the precious seeds they will sow. They have plowed the earth, broken up the ground beneath their feet, so that the seeds they sow will have a soft place to land, a safe place to rest, protected, under the cover of the broken sod, until they can take root, grow strong and produce a crop.

Lord, You know I need a good-soil heart to receive the seed that is Your living word.  You want me to receive all Your words.  You said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  (Matthew 4:4)

Lord, prepare my heart to receive Your words.  Plowing disrupts the smooth, unbroken surface of my heart.  A surface which grows hard as time passes, covered over with weeds, thistles and thorns if no one comes along to break through to the good soil hidden beneath the hard exterior.

But You can break through, Lord.  You know there is good soil underneath the rocky surface.  You said, “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  (Ezekiel 36:26)  A heart of flesh can be prepared; it can be plowed, broken open, ready to receive Your words of life.

I would protect my heart.  I would let no pain pierce its surface.  But You would have it break into a thousand pieces, making thousands of spaces into which Your word can fall, landing so deeply, so far down in the broken fissures of my heart’s soil, that it takes root, grows strong and produces a harvest of goodness that You intended all along.

Plowing is never pleasant, but it is necessary if planting is to be successful.  The soil has to be prepared before the sower can sow the seed.  Prepare my heart, Lord. Prepare my heart to receive Your words, prepare my heart to receive You.  If giving me the good-soil heart that I desire, means breaking my heart up like the farmer does the field, then that is how it has to be.

I trust You, Heavenly Father.  Only with You can a broken heart still be a heart that knows comfort.  You are the God of all comfort.  Only with You can a broken heart still be full of joy.  You are the source of all true joy.  Only with You, can a broken heart, that can’t hold onto anything else, still hold hope so securely – even while everything else falls away through the cracks.

Except the seed of Your word which takes root and grows strong.  “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”  (Luke 8:15)

Lord, give me a good-soil heart.

sincerely,       Grace Day





what to do with my “To Do” list?

I’ve already admitted that I’m a planner, so naturally I am a maker of “to do” lists. Once I have created said list however, the problems begin.  I created the list, I brought it to life, so to speak – but now my list takes on a life of its own.  We are locked in a battle for control.  Am I the boss of my list or is my list the boss of me?

Hard to tell sometimes, I’m sure.  I mean I made the list, but now the list is running my life. (well, at least my day)  I tell my list that I brought her into this world and I can take her out of it (as I point threateningly towards the trash can) but she is not alarmed.  She knows I would never throw her out without crossing each of her entries off the list.  And this will take time.  More time than I have.

Because she knows this about me.  I make lists longer than there are hours in the day to actually do what is on my “to do” list at any given time .  My list knows there will be carry over.  She will live to see another day.  She knows she is in no danger of me “trashing” her.

What other options are open to me?  Cross items off the list that I did not actually do?  No, she knows when I cheat and will not allow it.  She overwhelms me with guilt and will not relent until I make things right, either by putting the entry back on the list or actually accomplishing said task.

Creating a “to do” list is supposed to simplify my life, or at least my day.  But because my list takes on a life of her own, this is not the case.  I have to justify my entries to her, then clarify them.  I find myself trying to pacify my list when her insistence on me sticking to her plan (which was originally my plan until I wrote it down) is being met with resistance from me.  If I cannot mollify her or rectify the situation, then I will simply defy her.

Clarifying, justifying, pacifying, mollifying, rectifying, defying –  it’s exhausting.  Am I really going to let my “to do” list run my day or ruin it?  It started out with such promise, but now she is just a reminder of all that I failed to accomplish today.  I don’t want to keep her around.  She just lies there, silently showing me all that I didn’t get done today.  I’m wishing I had never created her in the first place. Without my list to accuse me, who’s to say whether my day was productive or unproductive?

“to do” lists are mainly made up of the most mundane things anyway.  So who needs them?  I mean the entries are things such as, “take Fluffy to vet, get groceries, put trash out, pay bills, cut grass, return emails  . . . “.   I never see entries like, “have mountain top experience, receive promotion, lay on beach, read book, invent next big thing, cure cancer, move mountain, climb mountain, hike Appalachian trail . . . etc.”

Then I realize, those are entries for a different list, what we call a “bucket list.” But it’s the “to do” list that runs my life, not my “bucket list.”  That list gets tucked away somewhere and forgotten while my “to do” list and I duke it out every day to see who’s in control.  I have created a monster and now I must deal with her.

It occurs to me that I have given my “to do” list too much power and I must now take it back.  But how?  By refusing to let her have the final say.  The words, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  (Proverbs 16:9) run through my mind.  I may plan my course of action by making a “to do” list, but I need to remember that God may have other plans for me and He will determine my steps, not my list.

Jeremiah 10:23 confirms this, saying, “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.”

Rather than letting my self-created “to do” list rule over my day, I know I would be better off to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways I should acknowledge Him, so that He can direct my paths.”  (and not my “to do” list)  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

My “to do” list is made up of such mundane things, I am always grateful when God overrules it with His own divine agenda.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:9)  I am better off with God directing my daily steps than I am following my list.

Or maybe I should invite God into my list making?  Add some entries such as “Be still and know that I am God.”, “Feed My sheep.”, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”,  “pray without ceasing”, or “give thanks in all circumstances.”  Now that’s a list!

What to do with my “to do” list?  I can trash it or I can let God transform it.  I can let it become the boss of me or I can acknowledge that my Heavenly Father is the better boss of me than my list or than I am of myself.

With God as the Maker of my daily list, I will be better able to redeem the time and order my days aright, that I might gain a heart of wisdom.  (Psalm 90:12)

And as a bonus, there is no guilty carry over from the day before’s list.  “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)

Just what I want.  Just what I need.  A fresh start, a clean slate, a second chance with a new kinder, gentler “to do” list, hopefully guided more by God and less by me.  The mundane may still be on my list, but God is at work – His miracles made manifest amid the mundane of my everyday.  My mustard seed is enough.

sincerely,      Grace Day











from stumbling block to stepping stone

it doesn’t take much to turn a stumbling stone (or block) into a stepping stone, but the impact on each individual who travels that particular path is far greater than one would imagine.  All that is required to turn a stumbling stone into a stepping stone is that the standing stone be laid down, flattest side up.  Now it is useful. Before it was blocking the path, now the same stone provides a way across whatever small break in the path has presented itself.

Usually it is water, especially after a heavy rain, that may be flowing across a usually dry path.  Not enough water to warrant a bridge mind you, but enough water that stepping stones are needed.  Not a lot, just a few stones, to provide a way across the unforeseen gap in the path and enable the traveler to keep going forward, not to have to turn back.

How many times have I done this while hiking?  I come across what is normally a dry riverbed now covered with water.  Simply by knocking over some standing rocks they become stepping stones providing safe passage for the few steps I need to cross.

Stepping stones aren’t grand like a bridge, they don’t need to be.  They just need to help people on their journey on that small part of the path.  Stepping stones provide just what is needed in that moment, a place to put my foot just long enough to get my balance and take the next step.  Stepping stones stand in the gap by lying down in the gap.  They lie in the mud, the muck and the mire so that my feet don’t get stuck there.

That’s the beauty of a stepping stone.  The secret of the stepping stone is that it lies down rather than stands up.  This is counter cultural to us.  We are told to stand up for ourselves, to stand up to other people, not to let people walk all over us.    Then I read “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)   Jesus did that.

“The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord.  I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.  This command I received from My Father.”  (John 10:17-18)

I want to be a stepping stone for the people God puts in my path.  I surely don’t want to be a stumbling block, causing them harm, standing in their way, blocking their view or their path.  Lord, forgive me when I’m so busy standing firm that I forget to lay down just long enough for someone to find a foothold and cross over, continuing on their way to You.

Ecclesiastes 3 talks about a time for everything under heaven and gives many examples such as “a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to weep and a time to laugh,”  well, you get the idea.

In Ephesians 6, I read, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  . . .  so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then,  . . . ”

In 1 Corinthians 8:9 I read, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.”  And in Romans 14:13 I am told, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”

I think I’d like to add to the list in Ecclesiastes chapter three another “time to” guideline.  I’m thinking, “a time to stand up and a time to lie down.”  I am told to stand firm in my faith but I am also told to lay down my life for others.  They are not mutually exclusive.  I can do both.  I am commanded to do both.

Laying down my life may not be the grand gesture some of the martyrs of the faith have been called to in the past.  It is the dying to self a thousand times a day, laying down my life again and again – which I must learn to do if I would transform from a stumbling stone into a stepping stone.  Only then can the Master use me for His good purposes.

Jesus was a stone mason.  He surely knows how to turn a stumbling block like me into a stepping stone.  I pray that He puts me in place every day, right where I am needed, right where He wants me.  He alone can accomplish this transition, this transformation in me, turning me from a stumbling block into a stepping stone. This is accomplished by turning me on my side and laying me down, just as I did with the rocks in my road in order to turn them into stepping stones.

The humbling of the stumbling stone, I call it.  I experience this often from the gentle hand of my Heavenly Father.  Without this humbling I cannot be the stepping stone that serves His purposes by providing passage for His people along the path.

Lord, help me to stand when You want me to stand firm.  Help me to lay down and become a stepping stone when that is what is needed.  Both take courage.  Give me the wisdom to know when to do the one and when to become the other.

sincerely,        Grace Day






bring back the plates! please!

something’s missing  . . .  I know it every time I walk past my favorite garden with the “Be Kind” flag flowing among the flowers, proclaiming the message of the garden for all to see.  I take this message to heart.  It is my daily reminder to do just that, to “be kind.”  But still, something is missing.  I sense it, I feel it, I know it to be true – every time I pass by.

The flowers are as pretty as in seasons past, the stepping stones are perfectly in place, making a pathway through the flowers, the garden lights are in place along the path and other yard art is in place as well.  The garden appears the picture of perfection.

But I know better.  I know that something is missing.  This picture of perfection is not complete.  And I know why.  The plates are missing!  I know what you are thinking right about now, dear readers.  “Why would there be plates in a garden?” “What would be their purpose?”

Well, let me tell you.  These aren’t just any ordinary plates.  Oh, no –  they are brightly colored, decorative plates of various sizes and colors and patterns that hang against the side of the house that is next to the garden.  These plates are as colorful as the flowers they watch over from their protective position overlooking the garden.  They are actually as much a part of the garden as the flowers are in my mind.  And this season they are missing.

Now the side of the house seems empty, blank and barren as I walk by each day.  I had not realized I looked forward to the reappearance of the plates each spring, as much as I do the flowers.  I did not miss the plates until they were not there any more.  (of course)  But now I realize the important place the plates hold as a part of “the Be Kind garden”.  (not very kind to exclude the plates, I’m thinking)

This got me to thinking about the body of Christ to which we belong.  If any of us goes missing, the whole body suffers.  Every person is important to God, no matter our function or role as a part of the whole.  The body needs all of its members or parts.

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.  So it is with Christ.   . . .   God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.     . . .   If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”   (1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-20 & 26)

And so I can be a part of something bigger than myself.  I can belong to the body of Christ here on earth.  When someone is missing from the body, I know it and I feel their absence.  They leave a space, an empty space.  A space as empty as the space above the garden where the colorful plates used to hang.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I miss those plates.   Bring back the plates please!

sincerely,       Grace Day







a random reflection

could it be that this detour I think I’m on is really not a detour at all?  I only think I’m on a detour because this is not what I had planned for myself.

then I remember, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”   (Proverbs 16:9)

so to God this path I’m on is not a detour at all  . . .  it’s His path . . .  it’s part of His plan for me  . . .

“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”    (Psalm 33:11)

so while I’m waiting (patiently or impatiently, depending on the moment) for this detour I’m on to be over –  God is saying, “Get a grip girl, this is NOT a detour, this is your life, start living it!  This is the path I have prepared for you.  Walk it!”

I may feel lost traveling this path I did not plan on taking  . . .   but I am not lost to my Heavenly Father  . . .

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”    (Job 23:10)

I will get a grip,  I will hold onto His hand – though it’s He who’s holding onto me . . .

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”   (Isaiah 41:13)

I will walk this path before me obediently, faithfully, persistently, joyfully, thankfully, hopefully  . . . this is not a detour  . . . this is God’s chosen path for me . . .

this is the road home  . . .

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  (Proverbs 19:21)

sincerely,              Grace Day







the perils and pitfalls of pickleball

I know the last time I wrote about my enthusiasm for the game that is pickleball, I spoke only of the pleasures of the game, never mentioning any pitfalls or perils. Well, it may be a well kept secret, but there are both perils and pitfalls to this game that seemed so innocuous to me when I was first introduced to it.

I mean no one considers pickleball an extreme sport like hang gliding or snow boarding.  I was told it is popular in the retirement villages in Florida.  If it’s safe enough for seniors, that was endorsement enough for me.  That is, until the day I received a purple thumb from pickleball.  No, that is not an award for excellence of play,  nor is it something good like having a green thumb.

During a game, the pickleball hit my thumb instead of my paddle.  It was a glancing blow, seemingly harmless at the time except for the initial sharp sting upon contact.  In truth, it was the result of a forceful spin put on the ball by my opponent, unbeknownst to me.  I continued to play, finishing the game.  It wasn’t until later that I realized my thumb was swollen, sore and turning a deep shade of purple.  It remained in this state of painful purpleness for several days.

My thumb also became numb and painfully tingly for a short time.  This gave me great empathy for a friend whom I knew was experiencing this same kind of pain on a much greater scale, over a much longer period of time, with his whole arm.  I had a whole new appreciation for my thumb when I didn’t have the use of it as usual.  That whole opposable appendage thing is really crucial to daily life.

But I digress.  So I returned to the game of pickleball in due time, the whole purple thumb thing forgotten when my thumb was no longer purple to remind me of this pitfall.  And then it hit me.  I mean literally, it hit me.  Yes, the pickleball hit me square (or round) full force in the eye.  I never saw it coming.  (well obviously)  It spun off my paddle right into my eye.  This was the result of the forceful spin put on the ball by my opponent.  (I’ve got to start playing with nicer or maybe less skilled people)  This eye incident definitely counts as a peril.

My eye is currently  red from the broken blood vessels and purple around the eye socket, but I can see just fine!  This is not a complaint but a praise of thankfulness. “Oh God forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine!”  (author unknown)   So  . . .   will I return to the game of pickleball?  Maybe I should start wearing goggles when I play?  Maybe a helmet?  Maybe full body armor?  (this is looking a lot like football gear all of a sudden) but I don’t want bruises all over my body.

Will I be so weighed down with all my protective gear that I won’t be able to play the game effectively?  This I do know.  It is time for a risk/reward analysis.  In other words, it is time for me to count the cost!  I do this everyday, consciously or unconsciously, for most decisions that I make about how and where I will invest my time, my skills and my money.

Jesus challenged His disciples to count the cost before they decided to follow Him. In Luke 14: 28-30 he said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.  Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ ”

I, too, am asked to count the cost before following Jesus.  He said in Luke 9:23-25, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”  This is some serious risk/reward analysis!

I want to know what I’m signing on for.  Jesus makes it pretty clear.  In John 15:18 & 20 He told His disciples, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first.  . . .   No servant is greater than his master.  If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you also.”

Jesus also told them, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”  (Matthew 8:20)   I’d call that full disclosure.

Jesus has issued the invitation, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”  (Matthew 16:24)

With His invitation He does provide some reassurance, however.  “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

And along with Jesus’ invitation to take up my cross and follow Him, He reveals the rest of His invitation to me and to you in Matthew 11:28-30, when He says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (a heavy wooden cross is lighter than the weight of all my sin, which I’ve been carrying around for years?  actually, yes, it’s a great trade)

Seems like everyone I know today says they are weary, stressed and desire rest. Who would have thought that by taking up a heavy wooden cross, I would actually lighten my load and find rest for my soul?  But that is exactly what I experience on a daily basis.

All things considered, I will again set foot on a pickleball court, being convinced that the pleasures of the game outweigh its’ pitfalls and its’ perils.  (although those who look upon my eye right now might beg to differ)

I will also continue to follow after Jesus, being convinced that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39)

I have His promise in 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

God’s word also tells me, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”   (2 Corinthians 4:17)

As I count the cost of following Christ, I say along with Paul, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him,  . . . ”  (Philippians 3:8-9)

A missionary once said it best when he stated,  “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”   God’s promises are true.  He is faithful to His word.  The rewards of taking up my cross and following Jesus far outweigh the risks Jesus told me to expect in this world.  I will return to the court, I will continue on the path put before me, following His footsteps.

sincerely,       Grace Day











reflections from the cliff (or the chasm)

or beyond the chasm  . . .

sometimes you don’t come to a cliff, the cliff comes to you –  sometimes you don’t step off the cliff into the chasm, the cliff disappears beneath your feet and you are in the chasm . . .

you are careful to stay on the path, but the path becomes a cliff and the cliff becomes a chasm  . . .  and you are free falling

you never signed up to go bungee jumping, you never even packed a parachute . . .

yet here you are, free falling through this unknown, unexpected chasm;  your cries echoing around you in the silence  . . .

you don’t know where they are landing, you don’t know where you will land  . . .

you wonder if anyone can hear you from the chasm, you wonder what awaits you at the bottom  . . .

you wonder if your chasm even has a bottom?  . . .   and then  . . .

you realize that Someone has you by the hand  . . .

Someone has heard you,  Someone is with you  . . .

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”   (Isaiah 41:13)

“But now, this is what the Lord says – ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.’ ”  (Isaiah 43:1-2)   . . .

and when I am free falling through the chasm You are with me; You catch me with Your strong right hand, You carry me.  You are with me in the falling even as You are preparing the place where You know I will land   . . .

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him”    (1 Corinthians 2:9)

I called out to You from my chasm and You came  . . .

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.  From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.    . . .   He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.”  or a deep never-ending chasm  (Psalm 18:6 & 16)

There will be more cliffs and chasms in my path as I continue following after Jesus. But this I know,  “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack (cliff and chasm)  and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom.  (where He is preparing a place for me to land)  To Him be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”  (2 Timothy 4:18)

It is my Heavenly Father who “redeems my life from the pit or the chasm and crowns me with love and compassion,”   (Psalm 103:4)

No matter how fast or how far I am falling, I have this assurance – “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”  (John 10:27-30)

And that’s right where I want to be, chasm or no chasm, being held secure in my Heavenly Father’s hands.  “For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.  In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him.  The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.”  (Psalm 95:3-5)

Those are the hands I want holding me, there is no where I can go that is beyond their redemptive reach.  For that I am truly grateful.

“Reach down Your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters,”   (Psalm 144:7)   And that’s just what God did.  He saw my chasm coming and prepared the way ahead of me even as He walked with me (or free fell with me as the case may be) through it.

“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He answers him from His holy heaven with the saving power of His right hand.  Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but I trust in the name of the Lord my God.”  (Psalm 20:6-7)

sincerely,        Grace Day








the BUMP is back!

it’s bigger, bolder, brighter, bluer and it’s back  – well technically the bump never left, it is still there, same as always; same place, same size – unaltered by time.  It is the warning sign that has changed.  It has become new and improved, if you will.  This became apparent to me on my morning walk when as I neared the place where the old orange BUMP letters were (they are now quite faded but still visible) I was startled to see even bigger, bright blue, bold letters – BUMP –  ahead of where the old neon orange letters spelling BUMP were.  Now covering the faded orange letters is a large, bright, yellow-gold rectangle with diagonal stripes spanning the entire width of the cartpath.

A double warning!  Unmistakable.  Inescapable.  No one is going to miss this.  But why all the over kill?  I wondered.  Wasn’t the old warning sign enough?  Were people not heeding the old neon orange BUMP letters, so something more drastic had to be done?  Is the actual bump really that dangerous?  Are golf carts careening out of control and crashing?  Are people tripping and falling and suffering bodily injury?  Is the bump more of a hazard than the normal hazards one would expect on a golf course?

I pondered these things as I continued my walk unharmed, thanks to the glaringly large letter warning in the form of the word BUMP.  If this new warning didn’t work, would I soon see signs along the cart path such as “Beware of BUMP” or “BUMP ahead, proceed with caution” or “prepare for upcoming BUMP” or “BUMP – 300 feet ahead, travel at your own risk”, then “BUMP – 200 feet”, “BUMP – 100 feet”, then “you are now entering THE BUMP zone, use extreme caution”?  These warning signs would certainly get anyone’s attention.

They would get my attention.  How nice to have a sign warning me when something unexpected lies in my path just out of sight.  This wasn’t the case for some dear friends of mine just recently. They were walking along their life’s path; walking faithfully, joyfully, purposefully, obediently.  There were no warning signs posted for their particular bump, which turned out to be not a bump at all but a cliff.  A full blown drop off.  A cliff they did not see coming and so they had no way to prepare for it or to plan for it.

They did not see the cliff coming because there were no warning signs posted along their path.  And none of us can see any further down the road than our physical vision allows.  That whole crystal ball thing just isn’t helpful or reliable. This cliff appeared out of nowhere.  Their path literally gave way, turning into a cliff which then dissolved right beneath their feet into a chasm, sending them into a free fall.  A free fall with an unknown end in an abyss with an unknown bottom.

There was no CLIFF sign to warn my friends about what was ahead, as my BUMP sign warns me every morning, lest I be lost in thought and forget to prepare by adjusting my stride.  They were not warned to prepare for a free fall.  There was no time for my friends to purchase parachutes.

But even though my friends had no BUMP sign in their path (which would have been such an understatement anyway.  How would it read?  “Road ends, only way out is off the cliff” or “Detour ahead, may involve some off-road, in the air travel”), they had something better.  They didn’t see this coming but they walk with and follow the One who did know this was coming, the One who was already at work preparing their next path; the One who knows the beginning from the end.  They were surprised, but our Heavenly Father was not.

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.”  (Isaiah 46:10)  ” . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”  (Revelation 21:6)  God knows what we will face in our future and is always at work preparing the way ahead of us.

David said in Psalm 139:5-6 of God, “You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  (Deuteronomy 31:8)

In Isaiah 45:2 my Heavenly Father reminds me, “I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Talk about some heavy duty path preparation! Definitely sounds like my Heavenly Father is preparing the way ahead of me, even if I don’t see Him doing it, even if I don’t realize that He has indeed gone ahead of me.  I just need to open my eyes to see and to appreciate all the ways He has prepared and made beautiful the path He has for me to travel as I follow after Him,  BUMPS, CLIFFS, CHASMS and all.

So my friends found themselves very unexpectedly free falling through the abyss that they never saw coming.  But our Creator was already at work on their behalf, making a way for them where there was no way.  “This is what the Lord says – He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,  . . .  ‘See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert (abyss) and streams in the wasteland.’ ”   (Isaiah 43:16, 19)

Their old path had disappeared, crumbling away beneath their feet.  But God was busy creating and providing a new path for them to walk upon.  Their feet would again be on level ground.  “I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit (abyss), out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”  (Psalm 40:1-2)  God was with my friends in the abyss and He led them out of the abyss by the new path He had created and provided, just for them.

I smile as I encounter my very big, very bold, very bright blue BUMP letters each morning warning me of such a minor thing that I probably would not take notice of it except for the letters pointing it out to me and telling me I should take notice of it.

And then there’s real life, where at any moment my level path may become a steep incline or a cliff giving way to a chasm.  However, I don’t need to waste a moment in worry over what lies ahead or worry that there might not be a BUMP sign on my path to alert me, to warn me that there is danger up ahead.

I have decided instead to “Trust in the Lord with all my heart and to lean not on my own understanding; instead, in all my ways I will acknowledge and seek God, and He will make my paths straight, He will direct my paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I don’t need a BUMP sign as long as I’m following in Jesus’ footsteps.  He knows the way that I take, He is the way and He is preparing the way ahead of me.

“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”   (Psalm 143:10)

Oh Lord, “guide me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.  lead me in the way everlasting.”   (Psalm 23:3 & 139:24)

sincerely,       Grace Day

PS.  thinking about appropriate cliff warning signs  . . .   how about  . . . “cliff with attached chasm now beneath your feet – no alternate routes available – wings would be good, engage wings now, halos won’t help, water wings don’t count but the prayers of the saints do, so proceed with prayer!”








a dangerous combination

logs and stones  . . .   and I have them both.  I have logs in my eyes and stones in my pockets.  This is a dangerous combination to be sure.  If I don’t get the logs out of my eyes, I will not be able to see clearly enough to throw my stones with any accuracy, now will I?  And I want to hit my intended target, don’t I?  Or maybe, when I can see more clearly, I will see that I have no business throwing stones at other people.  In the meantime, in my current state, I am a dangerous combination of poor vision and plenty of ammunition.

Jesus proposed the solution for both problems.  He said in Matthew 7 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank (log) in your own eye?  . . .   You hypocrite, first take the plank (log) out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your bother’s eye.”  (of course when I’m seeing more clearly, I will realize what I thought were logs in others’ eyes, were only specks all along)

Now when I began to lose my logs, I began to see more clearly.  And what I see more clearly are my own shortcomings and my own sins.  I began to feel the weight of the stones in my pockets that I carry with me into every situation wherever I go.  I began to realize I have no good use for them.

Jesus confirmed this when he spoke to those who brought before Him a woman they had caught in adultery.  They wanted to stone her, as their law commanded them to do.  But first they asked Jesus what He thought should be done.  His reply? “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  (this should be my first clue that I’m never going to need or use my stones for throwing at others, so why am I still carrying them around?  they are weighing me down)

Now when they heard Jesus’ answer, those in the crowd began to leave, one by one, until no one was left but Jesus and the woman accused of adultery.  It was then that Jesus asked her, ” ‘Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?’  ‘No one, sir,’  she said.  ‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared.  ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’ ”   (John 8:7-11)

And in that quiet moment it was over.  With one simple instruction Jesus had rescued her from the angry crowd and given her back her life.  She had been brought to Jesus against her will, a woman condemned to die by others –  she left, a woman forgiven, freed from her sin, rescued and redeemed by Jesus.  No one had a stone to throw that day and neither do I.  It’s time to empty my pockets of their stones.

That’s why Jesus came in the first place.  “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”  (John 3:17)

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”  (Luke 19:10)

I will spend my lifetime trying to lose the logs from my eyes and to empty the stones from my pockets.  But every little bit I leave behind gives me clearer vision and a lighter load for the journey ahead.  I need both.

sincerely,          Grace Day