C.C. True Confessions-who am I? #88

I readily confess to you, dear readers, I am not the person I once was.  This realization is not the result of identity theft nor of an identity crisis.  It is the result of transformation over time which has taken place at the hands of the Master Potter.

The question was put to me, “Who are you?”  So many ways to answer that question – how do I define myself?  by my job title? by my relationships? by my achievements? by my possessions?  Who am I?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

What can I say?  Who am I?  I am an orphan, now adopted.  I am the fatherless, now a daughter of the King of Creation, my Heavenly Father.  I am the rejected, now chosen and set apart.  I am a beggar, now made rich – I am the lame no longer limping.  I am a captive, now set free.

I am a wayward wanderer, now welcomed home at last.  I am an outcast, now accepted.  I am the nameless, now known by name.  I am the weak, now made strong. I am the weary, now renewed.  I am a leper, now fully cleansed.  I am a criminal, now fully pardoned.  I am a debtor whose debt has been paid in full.  I am a sinner, now fully forgiven – a sinner transformed into a saint through the pain of the Potter’s wheel.  I am the wearer of filthy rags, now clothed in the white robe of my Redeemer’s righteousness.

I am an empty vessel, now full.  I am the sick, now made well.  I am the blind, now given sight.  I am the unseen, now seen – the voiceless now heard – the misunderstood, now fully comprehended.  I am the lost, now found.  I am a desert dweller, mercifully maintained by the miracle of manna new every morning.  I am the thirsty, allowed to drink from the Living Water.  I am a heart transplant recipient, the stony-hearted given a new heart of flesh in a life saving operation.

I am the directionless, now given purpose – the hopeless, now filled with hope.  I am the despairing, now joyfully overflowing.  I am the mourning, now dancing -the weeping, now singing.  I am a fool, given wisdom – a rebel granted grace.  I am the proud, now learning humility – the deceitful now learning to speak only truth. I am a coward learning courage.  I am the selfish, learning generosity.  I am the careless, learning how to care for others.

I am a stumbling block turned into a stepping stone.  I am a would be master turned into a willing servant.  I am a renegade turned into a faithful follower.  I am the discouraged, learning how to persevere.  I am one who does evil learning to do good.  I am one who hates, learning to love.

I am a rule follower and a lawbreaker – now a relationship pursuer and a lover of the laws of God.

I am a doubter learning to trust, I am a sojourner headed home to heaven.  I am one who walks by sight, now learning to walk with eyes of faith.  I am the repentant, the rescued, the redeemed, the reconciled, the restored, the renewed child of my Heavenly Father.  I am counted, I am called.  I am known, I am named.  I am called by name, just like every star He holds in its place.

I am the clay on the Master Potter’s wheel.  I am a work in progress.

I am the least of these.  and yet  

“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us (me) all things?”  (Romans 8:32)

I am the least of these.  and yet 

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

I am the least of these.  and yet  . . .   God says to me,

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”  (Jeremiah 31:3)

I am the least of these.  and yet   . . .

and yet there is a story told in Matthew and in Luke about a man who owns one hundred sheep and one of them goes missing. This man pursues his sheep, finds it and brings it safely home to be with the rest of the flock.  (I guess 99% isn’t good enough for him?)  Then we read,

“In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”  (Matthew 18:14)   and we read,

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  (Luke 15:7)  (I guess God isn’t satisfied with 99% either)

I am the least of these.  and yet  

“He (the Lord) is patient with you, (me) not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  (2 Peter 3:9)

Who am I?  I am the clay on the Potter’s wheel, being fashioned day by day into a vessel for His use.  I am the jar of clay with the priceless treasure of His Holy Spirit living inside of me.

I am the least of these,  and yet   . . .   God says,

“Since you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.”  (Isaiah 43:4)

and that’s just what God did, He sent Jesus to die on the cross in exchange for me –

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13)

and that’s just what Jesus did – my identity is secure in Christ.

sincerely,      Grace Day

C.C. True Confessions – Overcomers #87

I confess – this post is a continuation of a previous post, “C.C. True Confessions – Overcomers #84”.  But we are a country full of overcomers.  There are always more stories of courage and perseverance to share .  So I thought I would write about a few more.

Not surprisingly, this story of underdogs overcoming obstacles and odds to win a gold medal is documented in a movie, the movie “October Sky.”  This gold medal was not won at an Olympics but at the 1960 National Science Fair in Indianapolis, Indiana.  These students, Homer Hickam, Billy Rose, Quentin Wilson, Jimmy Carroll, Roy Cooke and Sherman Siers became known as “the rocket boys” in their hometown of Coalwood, West Virginia.  These boys, from this poor mining community, persevered, making and launching thirty-five rockets in their quest to qualify for the National Science Fair.  That gold medal opened doors of opportunity for each of them to attend college rather than work in the mines after high school.

This past week another American overcomer shared her story with us.   Alice Marie Johnson was serving a life sentence in prison when she was released in 2018 after twenty-two years of incarceration.  Her personal story is an inspiration to anyone who hears it.  While in prison she became a playwright, a mentor, a certified hospice volunteer, an ordained minister, worked with disabled women and received the Special Olympics’ event coordinator of the year award.

In her own words, Alice stated that her body was imprisoned but not her mind. She never gave up hope but continued to fight for her freedom.  Through her courage and perseverance, it seems to me, Alice accomplished more behind bars than many of us accomplish even though we have our freedom.  Alice is an overcomer in the truest sense of the word.  Even while still in prison, she had already overcome so many obstacles, becoming an ordained minister and finding meaning and purpose in her life serving God by serving others.

Whether in prison or out, Alice’s life was already that of a victorious overcomer. Her circumstances did not dictate her decision to overcome her obstacles and to make her life count for God.  This is conviction.  This is courage.  Alice spoke of her unshakable faith which saw her through her darkest days.  Now she has received a full pardon from the President, giving her a clean slate.

Actually, Alice already had a clean slate.  That’s what each of us receives from God, a full pardon, the moment we accept the sacrifice of Jesus death on that cross in our place.  Jesus has paid our price and we are fully pardoned.  We are free. I’m guessing Alice knew that kind of freedom, the freedom that doesn’t depend on our earthly circumstances, long before her release from prison.

Alice is an overcomer.  We are all overcomers in Christ Jesus.  The words in Romans 8:35-37 make that truth abundantly clear,

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  . . .   No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

more than conquerors – that’s you and that’s me, in Christ.  We are met to live as overcomers, pardoned, freed, fearless, courageous – followers of Christ, children of God, our Heavenly Father.  Thank you, Alice Marie Johnson, for letting your light shine in this dark time, inspiring us all.

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

“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 6:6 & 8)

sincerely,          Grace Day



Corona Chronicles-True Confessions#86

I wonder if she is weeping today?  I confess – I am.  Surely Katharine Bates, who wrote “America the Beautiful”, must be mourning what is happening in her “alabaster cities gleaming” – the cities she memorialized in her 1895 song lyrics.  I know I am – grieving that is.

Why am I weeping over places I have never been and will never visit?  I am crying for people I have never met and likely never will.  Why am I so inexplicably sad?  It is not my city burned down, my business gone, my job gone because the store where I worked is no longer there.  It is not my once beautiful park now unrecognizable, my magnificent/miracle mile now marred, my church defaced, my city streets once full of families out to enjoy a summer evening now full of angry, armed, assailants daring anyone to defy them.

So why am I so deeply despondent over this rising tide of violence?  After all, it hasn’t come to my family, to my house, to my door – well, not yet.  Maybe it’s because I can’t escape the truth of these words from the song “No Man is an Island” – “Each man’s joy is joy to me, Each man’s grief is my own.  . . .   I will defend, Each man as my brother, Each man as my friend.   . . .   We all look to the One above, For our strength to renew.”

I can’t escape the truth of these words.  Harm to my fellow Americans is harm to me, it is harm to us all.  What we have witnessed across our country and in our streets at the hands of BLM is deception, deception designed to distract us, to divide us and to destroy our cities, our freedoms and our lives.  Any message has long been lost in the mayhem their violence creates.

This is particularly ironic at this moment in history, as the fifty-seventh anniversary of The March on Washington was yesterday.  It was there Dr. King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech, words still resonating and relevant today.  I also find these words from Dr. King’s 1964 Nobel Prize lecture to be words as relevant today as they were then.  Dr. King stated regarding violence,

“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral.  . . . violence never brings permanent peace.  It solves no social problem: Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love.  It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible.  It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”   In contrast Dr. King said of nonviolence,

“It seeks to secure moral ends through moral means.  Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon.  Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.”

That explains so much of Dr. King’s legacy.  They didn’t burn the buses, they boycotted them.  The economic impact dealt the blow and achieved their goal. They didn’t destroy the lunch counters they wished to sit at, they sat until laws changed to right that wrong.  The goal was achieved with the stores still standing.

I am reminded of these words in 1 Peter 2:12, which exemplify Dr. King’s approach to bringing about change and securing justice, which instruct us to –

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”

Win a victory by doing what is right, not what is wrong.  It takes courage and compassion to stand up for the oppressed, to speak out for what is right.  It requires no courage to shout profanity, to throw a brick, to spray paint a monument, to loot a store, to burn a building, to vandalize other people’s property, to violently attack people – no courage is needed for any of these actions.  That would explain why most of this activity takes place after dark, perpetrated by masked and hooded individuals, secure in their anonymity as part of a nameless, faceless mob.

Darkness is the cover of cowards.  Striking parallels to the actions of the KKK make the actions of BLM all the more ironic.  I thought they were against oppression and for justice.  But their tactics are oppressive and there is nothing just about their actions, including destroying other people’s property or livelihoods, which include black owned businesses and neighborhoods.   There is nothing just about looting/stealing from the vandalized stores and calling it “reparations.”  Crime is crime no matter what name you give to it.

This is clearly injustice masquerading as justice.  Isaiah had something to say about that in Isaiah 5:20 & 23, when he cried out,

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.    Woe to those  . . . who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.”

Woe indeed!  In this moment when the deeds of darkness, the deeds of lawlessness, of oppression and of injustice seem to surround us all – I hang onto the promise in Psalm 30:5 which says,

“weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”(John 1:5)

We can each do as Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16,  ” . . . let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

After all, Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world.”  (Matthew 5:14)

This dark world needs some light right about now, so we must be that city on a hill  providing God’s light in this dark time.

sincerely,          Grace Day













C.C. persevering in prayer #85

I confess – I too often avoid or put off going to my knees in prayer, though I feel the need so urgently, though I feel the pull so persistent within me to come away, though I feel the cares of the world and my own becoming too heavy to continue to carry – I also carry within me the memory of moments past spent there in that sacred space, suspended in the safety of His presence – and I know when I enter in, I will be loathe to leave –

while time passes unheeded as I cast my cares and place my petitions before my Heavenly Father – I resist rising again to take up my cross, preferring on bended knee to remain, the needs so great, the petitions so urgent, the circumstances so dire – this place of intercession binding me to God’s very heart for those He loves – how can I rise when there is so much and there are so many needing prayer?

I dare not enter in this sacred place of prayer unless I am prepared to pour out all I hold so tightly within me, leaving me empty and able to share in suffering not my own, added to the pain already in my possession – it is a brokenness I resist, as I fight so valiantly to hold myself together  . . .

I know in prayer I will be broken before I am so gently and miraculously put back together again so that I can rise from my bended knees and go forth, only to return again and again – still I am slow to kneel – reluctant to be broken yet one more time again – missing what He waits to give to those who enter in, in obedience   . . .

Lord, help me to obey Your commands to pray, starting with Philippians 4:6-7,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”  (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”  (Ephesians 6:18)

Clearly, my Heavenly Father invites me, even commands me to pray.  In Jeremiah 33:3 He says,

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”   and in 1 Peter 5:7 He tells me to,

“Cast all your (my) anxiety on Him because He cares for you (me).”

I am told to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  (Romans 12:12)  Some translations say constant, some say persistent in prayer, reinforcing to me my need to be in constant communication with my Heavenly Father, which would be what 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells me to do, which is to –

“pray without ceasing;”

James 5:16 reminds me, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

There is an interesting story in Luke 18 about persevering in prayer.  “Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”   Jesus proceeded to tell His disciples about a widow who asked a judge for justice against her adversary.  The judge ignored the widow repeatedly, so she continued to petition him for justice.  Finally, the judge granted the widow’s petition because of her persistence.  Jesus summed it up this way to His disciples,

“And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?  Will He keep putting them off?  I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly.”

There is no shortage of things to pray about in these days of COVID and riots and isolation and uncertainty.  But God has promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14-15,

“if My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.”

Lord, help me to pray without ceasing  

sincerely,           Grace Day






C.C. True Confessions – Overcomers #84

I confess – I always root for the underdog.  I can’t help it.  Whether in sports contests or in life, it is the underdog that I support, the underdog that I cheer on, the underdog that I applaud, the underdog that I celebrate.  It is the overcoming of obstacles, the defying of the odds, the quiet courage of persistence when all seems lost – that make the final victory so miraculous and so meaningful to those who achieve it, to those who witness their achievement and to those who continue to learn their story in future years and to be inspired by it.

A legacy of overcoming – that is a legacy worth leaving for future generations. That’s why I love the story of the Wiley College 1935 debate team, which was told in the movie “The Great Debaters.”  This debate team from the historically black college, Wiley, fought for the right to compete against white colleges and ended up defeating the current national champs, the University of Southern California. (although in the movie it is Harvard that they defeat)  Nonetheless, this team coached by Melvin B. Tolson, was clearly the unlikely underdog, yet they emerged victorious over the current reigning champion in 1935.

That’s why I love the story of the Texas Western Miners 1966 basketball team.  This story is told in the movie “Glory Road.”  The Miners were clearly the underdogs as they faced No. 1 Kentucky in the championship game for the NCAA title.  Texas Western made history by starting five black players against Rupp’s all white team and by winning the game to take the national title.  This was considered a stunning upset and it resulted in college basketball opportunities for minorities expanding exponentially almost overnight.

When underdogs succeed, they inspire us all to keep on pursuing our dreams, to not give up, to not lose heart.  Jackie Robinson did the same thing in baseball, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps.  Wilma Rudolph’s life story provides another example of overcoming obstacles in order to realize a dream.

As a child Wilma was stricken with double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio. This left her with a partially paralyzed left leg and foot.  Because of this, she wore braces on her legs as a young girl.  Doctors told her she would never walk again. Wilma proved them wrong.  In Rome, Italy in the 1960 Olympics, Wilma became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at a single Olympics.  Clearly, Wilma had overcome adversity and the odds to triumph.  She was a sports icon, called “the fastest woman in the world.”  I love a good comeback story and this is definitely one to inspire!

Jaime Escalante is another underdog who had to overcome many obstacles in his lifetime.  The movie “Stand and Deliver” tells his story.  He was born in Bolivia but came to the U.S. in the sixties seeking a better life.  He taught math at Garfield High School in east Los Angeles where drugs and violence were dominant and the students there were considered unteachable. Escalante proved them wrong!  He began teaching calculus against the objections of the administration and in 1981 fifteen students took the Advanced Placement test in calculus and fourteen passed.  In 1982, eighteen students took and passed the AP calculus test and were accused of cheating.  When every student passed a retest, those rumors were put to rest.  In 1987 the number increased to one hundred twenty-seven students taking the AP test and eighty-five passing the test.

Escalante wasn’t the overcomer here as much as were his students.  They came from difficult home situations, poverty, surrounded by gangs and drugs, they were poorly prepared academically, lacking the prerequisite math skills needed to learn calculus – the obstacles appeared insurmountable.  But this teacher believed in his students year after year, believed that they were capable of mastering those math skills and by extension much more.  The work ethic and discipline those students learned while accomplishing their goal allowed them to succeed in life far beyond calculus.  They got scholarships to colleges, allowing them to pursue careers and dreams that would not have been possible otherwise.  (I guess they weren’t unteachable after all?)

There are so many stories of people overcoming great obstacles to reach their goals and realize their dreams.  Wilma Rudolph said, “The triumph cannot be had without the struggle.”  She should know.  She lived it.  So did Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan.  These three women worked at NASA during the 60’s in the male dominated fields of math, science and engineering.  They were trailblazers for all who would follow in their footsteps.  The movie “Hidden Figures” tells their story.

Another movie, “Gifted Hands,” tells the story of yet another overcomer, Dr. Ben Carson.  Dr. Carson grew up in inner city Detroit. His mother worked multiple jobs to support the family.  Because he was such a poor student, he was ridiculed by his classmates who called him “the dumbest kid in school.”  However, Dr. Carson would turn things around, earning all A’s by the time he graduated from high school. Overcoming obstacles and defying the odds, He attended Yale on a full scholarship and went on to become a world renowned neurosurgeon.  Dr. Carson is currently serving as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development after retiring from medicine in 2013.

These are just a few of the many stories of opportunity and of overcoming that take place in our country every day.  Were we to tell them all, there would be no end as people continue to overcome obstacles every day as they courageously pursue their dreams, grateful that they are free to do so in this country.

Why so many movie references, you ask?  I guess movies have been made about these real life people who have overcome many obstacles in order to succeed because we love to hear these stories.  We are encouraged, uplifted and inspired by each person’s story. We want to believe that with persistence and courage, we too can rise above whatever holds us back and succeed in realizing our dreams.

We all need a reason to hope.  Especially now when fear due to COVID and unrest due to riots dominate daily life, we need to believe all is not lost in these times that seem so dark.  It is now I hang onto the words in John 1:5,

“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.”

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 12:21)  Those words show me the way out of this darkness.  1 Timothy 6:12 tells me to,

“Fight the good fight of the faith.”  Then 1 John 5:4-5 tells me,

“for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

Faith is the victory that will overcome.  John 16:33 reminds me our outcome is secure in a Sovereign God’s loving hands saying,

“In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

I will rest secure in that knowledge today – let us be a nation of overcomers, of faithful overcomers – letting God’s light shine into our darkness and extinguish it – let love triumph over hate, good over evil, truth over lies, freedom over oppression,

sincerely,       Grace Day












C.C.-True Confessions-the real thing #83

Life is full of irony and I confess – unless I am looking, the presence and the absurdity of it often escapes my notice.  A recent example is the pre-COVID screen time debate.  Actually, it wasn’t much of a debate but more of a mandate.  Both educators and parents were pretty much in agreement that children needed less screen time not more.  There was endless talk of limiting children’s screen time because too much screen time, whether TV, computer or phone, isn’t good for their development or their overall well being.

It was a constant battle to get kids off their phones or away from the TV or computer so they could engage in some physical activity and in face to face interactions with real people.  Enter COVID-19!  COVID effectively put an end to that debate or endeavor to liberate children from their ever present screens.  Now more screen time is required of them, not less.

This is because closed schools have had to move instruction online in order for their students to continue with classes.  How ironic that parents who once begged their children to get off the computer and go play outside, now need to be sure their children are logged in and in front of the computer screen for several hours each day.  (this in addition to TV and phone time)

So children are getting even more screen time and missing all the personal interactions with classmates and teachers that school normally provided. Children learn better in a hands on, interactive environment.  I’m wondering how classes such as band, orchestra, choir, physical education, theater, ceramics and other art classes plus science labs and speech and debate classes are adapting?  No more putting problems on the board or class discussions.  Online learning lacks certain capabilities simply because it is limited in what it can provide.  Let’s face it.  There is no substitute for the real thing.

And ironically, because children have been isolated at home with no where to go, no summer sports or camps or other activities, they are even more likely to spend their time in front of the TV, on their phone or playing computer games etc.

Students aren’t the only ones subject to increased screen time.  For those able to work from home, time in front of their computer screen is a necessity. Additionally, many activities that used to take place in person, moved online.  Zoom became the new meeting place for me, as it did for many others.  Any meetings I used to attend in person, such as Bible studies, now took place on line, meaning more screen time.

How ironic, that pre-COVID so many of us were bemoaning the fact we spent so much time in front of our various screens (TV, phone, computer) and so many of our New Year’s resolutions were to decrease our screen time and allow time for more in person interactions.  That is a resolution no one could keep this year!  It is as if the whole world just packed up and moved online!

People were complaining of feeling lonely and isolated pre-COVID.  There was talk of how we were more connected than ever before (via cyberspace, Facebook etc.) and yet more isolated than ever before at the same time.  (another irony)  The lockdowns exacerbated these feelings for so many.

When some of my zoom groups started meeting in person again, we all acknowledged how we much preferred in person to zoom.  I was surprised myself to discover the depth of the difference of the experience.  It didn’t become apparent to me until in person meetings resumed after having been on zoom for some months.

Instead of feeling drained after a zoom meeting (complete with technical difficulties often) I felt energized and encouraged after spending personal time with real people face to face.  It is easier to share your thoughts and feelings in person, I think.  And again, it’s true – there is no substitute for the real thing.

I am also finding online church to be lacking in some intangible but important ways.  It is no one’s fault.  Being able to hear a sermon online is certainly a blessing and I am grateful to live in a country where that is still allowed.  Most churches do have an online presence and ministry which is vital to reaching people wherever they are.

Still an online church service cannot come close to replicating the in person worship time shared with other believers, my brothers and sisters in the faith. Once again, there is no substitute for the real thing.  I guess that’s why it says in Hebrews 10:25,

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”   (Hebrews 10:24)

When we meet together we encourage each other, we spur one another on.  I know I need that shared time with others and the encouragement we provide each other.

“For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.”  (Matthew 18:20)

“Assemble the people – men, women and children, and the aliens living in your towns – so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.  Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”  (Deuteronomy 31:12-13)

That’s what I miss.  That’s what we miss when God’s houses are closed to us.  We miss the assembling of ourselves together as God intended for us to do.  King David spoke often about going to God’s house to worship with others.

“But I, by Your great mercy, will come into Your house; in reverence will I bow down toward Your holy temple.”  (Psalm 5:7)

“I will give You thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise You.”  (Psalm 35:18)

“I will declare Your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise You.”  (Psalm 22:22)

“Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints.”  (Psalm 149:1)

the assembly of the saints – that’s saved sinners, that’s me and that’s you – that’s whosoever will – whosoever will accept God’s invitation – whosoever will come – whosoever will show up – whosoever will enter His gates (church) with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; (Psalm 100:4)

That’s what David longed for, that’s what David lived for, that’s what David did – he praised God in the great assembly of people come to worship God and to give God His due –  that’s what worship is – giving God thanksgiving and praise together as His people.

1 Corinthians 13:12 tells me, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; (maybe that’s what all these computer screens are, but a poor reflection) then we shall  see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

just as the difference between zoom and in person is vaster than it would seem to be, just as online school does not come close to replicating in person school, just as the difference between online church and in person church cannot be underestimated nor overstated, nor fully realized –

so too, our limited vision of what awaits us in eternity is most certainly but a poor reflection of the real thing.  The real thing is so far superior that we cannot truly imagine it until we experience it when we behold Him face to face.

that’s why an online experience doesn’t satisfy, it doesn’t fill our God created craving for connection and community – we were made for the face to face, with each other and with our Creator.  There is no substitute for the real thing.

my prayer for you today, dear readers, is this –

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”   (Numbers 6:24-26)

to see His face, to receive His peace – there is no substitute for the real thing!

sincerely,         Grace Day









C.C. Protesters & Police Officers #82

Job asked a question of God.  So did Jeremiah.  Job asked it this way –

“Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?”  (Job 21:7)

Jeremiah asked the same question of God, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?  Why do all the faithless live at ease?”  (Jeremiah 12:1)

King David also asked God, “How long will the wicked, O Lord, how long will the wicked be jubilant?”  (some translations say triumph instead of be jubilant)  (Psalm 94:3)

I confess – I find myself asking these same questions today, as I watch the burning, looting, graffiti, vandalism, violence and killing continue in so many cities across our country.  These acts are against the law, yet it seems the guilty are not only going unpunished, they are being allowed and encouraged to continue in their criminal activities.  Property continues to be destroyed, lives continue to be lost.

But there is no outcry from the people.  Or maybe there is, but it is quickly silenced and so goes unheard.  The few that have been arrested, have been released without charges, rendering any police efforts to protect property and lives meaningless.  If there is no consequence, there is no reason not to do whatever harm one wishes to do to others.

I feel Isaiah’s anguish as he cried out, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.   . . .    who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.”   (Isaiah 5:20-23)

Hard to believe those words were written almost three thousand years ago.  They sound like they are describing current day events.  Isaiah continues in chapter 59:3-8,

“Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.  No one calls for justice; no one pleads his case with integrity.  They rely on empty arguments and speak lies; they conceive trouble and give birth to evil.   . . .   Their deeds are evil deeds, and acts of violence are in their hands.  . . .  they are swift to shed innocent blood.  Their thoughts are evil thoughts; ruin and destruction mark their ways.  The way of peace they do not know; there is no justice in their paths.  They have turned them into crooked roads; no one who walks in them will know peace.”

That’s the picture I see before me of our cities today, they are marred by ruin and destruction and there is no justice for those that have lost their lives or their livelihoods when their businesses were destroyed.  It appears that evil is triumphing right now.  Could it be because evil is masquerading as justice?

Today, I am remembering Breann Leath.  She was a young, beautiful IMPD police officer who died in the line of duty on April 9th, 2020.  She was only twenty-four years old.  She left behind a young son, not to mention all her other grieving family and friends.  Breann is not the first to give her life for those of us whom she served and protected and she won’t be the last.  But I would give to Breann the honor that is her due.

Not many of us have jobs that require us to put our life on the line each day simply by going to work.  But police officers do.  When she went to work that morning, it was a typical day for Breann.  She answered a domestic disturbance call and was shot dead before she ever entered the residence.  Not many of us have jobs that require extraordinary courage just to show up for work.  Breann did.  And Breann showed up.  So do millions of other officers across this country show up day after day and night after night.

Will we realize too late what we had after it is gone?  Oh, and one more thing. Breann was black.  And I think her life mattered.  But then, I think life matters.

I think David Dorn’s life mattered.  I think Bernell Trammell’s life mattered.  (so much for the right to free speech)  I think Lorenzo Anderson’s life mattered.  All these black lives mattered.  But not to BLM and the media apparently.

Law enforcement officers were our heroes.  (remember 9-11?)  They have been our protectors and our peacekeepers.  Without their service and self-sacrifice we will know neither safety nor peace.  We are already experiencing the chaos and confusion that comes with their absence.  A nation without the rule of law will be subject to the rule of tyrants.

A protester in Portland has defiantly declared war on the police.  BLM and COVID rule right now.  They decide which lives matter.  They decide who is essential and who is expendable.  I feel like David when he cried out to God in Psalm 119:136 saying,

“Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for Your law is not obeyed.”

Even though I feel like crying over the suffering and injustice I witness all around me, I find these instructions in Psalm 37:1-9 to guide me.

“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.   . . .    Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil.  For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.”

God says in Isaiah 61:8,  “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity.”

So I will, “Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.  For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.”  (Psalm 37:27-28)

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”  (Micah 6:8)

justice, mercy, humility

sincerely,        Grace Day




C.C. a pathway to peace #81

I confess – I’m hearing voices again.  Well, actually it’s more like music.  They are musical voices. (commonly called a choir)  They are singing the words to a favorite old song of mine, words which now keep running through my mind.  “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.  Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.”  Probably no coincidence that I would be wistfully wishing for peace now, when there seems to be so little of it in our city streets and across our country.  And across the globe as well.

Conflict is nothing new.  (Solomon always said, there is nothing new under the sun) And he was right apparently.  Conflict was present in the very first family on earth.  Cain killed his own brother, Abel, and we have been at odds with each other ever since, it seems.  Not exactly what God intended for us.  Not even close.

And so here we are today still fighting each other.  Nations fight against other nations.  Within those nations people fight against each other for power and control.  Generation fights against generation, labor fights management, religions oppose each other while simultaneously fighting within themselves – just as Cain and Abel fought within their own family.  There is no peace.

Romans 12:17-21 has some very relevant and good advice for me, if I want to pursue peace.  I am told, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.  On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Wow!  That pretty much says it all.  If it is that simple, why don’t we have peace in our daily lives and in our world?  I guess it is harder to follow this advice than one would think.  I am told as far as it depends on me to live peacefully with others.  So it has to start with me.  I am not responsible for others’ choices, but I will be held accountable for my own.

And then I’m told, do not take revenge.  Why?  Because that’s God’s call.  “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.”  (Nahum 1:3)

Today’s gang culture would be totally revolutionized without the revenge thing going on.  It is precisely revenge which keeps everything in motion for gangs and their agendas.  Actually revenge is a common motive for much of our violence, as people attempt to pay back or to right real or perceived wrongs.

Jesus’s advice to me to show my enemy kindness, to feed him, clothe him etc. is as counter cultural today as it was when He first told His followers more than two thousand years ago to do the same thing.  Not much has changed since then because human nature doesn’t change.

If I really want to be counter cultural, if I really want to be a true revolutionary, I must do that whole turning of the cheek thing.  I must practice what Jesus preached in Luke 6:27-31 when He said,

“But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.  If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.   . . .   Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

Responding to other people like that would definitely reverse the revenge cycle. But who is bold enough, strong enough to take that first step?  I thought everyone wants to be a trend setter, but apparently when it comes to peace everyone is a follower, waiting for someone else to make the first move –  the first to offer the other cheek – the first to offer a gesture of kindness or the first apology.

Who will be first in turning the other cheek?  Could it be me?  The song in my head continues on, “With God as our Father, brothers all are we. Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony.”  As Gary said to Julius in the movie “Remember the Titans,”  “I know now that I was only hating my brother.”  We must recognize our common humanity.  We must realize there is more that unites us than divides us. Where I choose to focus will determine my perceptions.  My perceptions will determine my actions.  Therefore, I would do well to keep my focus on God and His word.

If peace is to begin with me, I need to focus on my Heavenly Father’s instructions.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.    . . .   ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”   (Romans 13:8-10)

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”   (Psalm 34:14)

Lord, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!

love does no harm!  

sincerely,        Grace Day







C.C. Pilgrims, Pioneers & Patriots #80

I confess – I do not recognize America today.  I grew up learning about Pilgrims and Pioneers and Patriots. It was Pilgrims who left everything behind to travel by ship to a new world, in the hope of escaping religious persecution and of building a better life for themselves.  Many didn’t survive the voyage but died before ever reaching America.  They took a risk. They risked everything. (sea travel in the 1600’s was dangerous and uncertain)  They risked everything to pursue their dreams and find freedom.

I learned about Pioneers.  They left the known safety of the settlements and cities they had built to set out in covered wagons into the unknown, unsettled lands to their west.  Many didn’t survive that journey either.  Whether crossing the mighty Mississippi, the plains or the Rockies, sickness and harsh winter weather often took their toll, leaving many dead before they reached their destination.  Still Pioneers continued to venture west, courageously crossing this continent in covered wagons, until they reached the Pacific Ocean. They took a risk.  They risked everything.  They risked everything in pursuit of their dreams.

The Patriots risked everything including their lives to fight the British for their independence.  It would have been much easier and safer to simply remain a colony and comply with whatever Britain required of them.  But they valued something more than their individual lives, and that was liberty.  (Give me liberty or give me death)  And so they took a risk. They risked everything.  They risked their own lives in order to be free.  They risked their own lives to leave us a legacy and a life of freedom.

There were others who also valued freedom more than life.  The Underground Railroad is a testament to that.  Those who risked their lives escaping slavery and those who risked their lives to help those who were escaping, knew at what cost freedom comes.  Harriet Tubman was one such person.  She not only escaped herself, but she helped many others to escape, returning many times, risking her own life every time so that others might find freedom.  She took a risk.  They all took a risk. They risked everything for freedom.

Our nation’s history has not been a history of cowardice but one of courage.  We not only took risks for our own freedoms but we have risked our lives in order to liberate others.  We stormed the beaches of Normandy and liberated those in Germany’s death camps. Heroes such as the Tuskegee Airmen helped others find freedom from Nazi Germany’s invasion and oppression.  They took a risk.  They risked everything. They risked their own lives in order that others might be free.

America’s tradition of courage has continued in her exploration of space. Although we put a man on the moon in 1969, the Apollo 13 flight in April of 1970 proved a test of endurance and courage for everyone involved in bringing those three astronauts safely back to earth after a problem with their spacecraft occurred.

Sixteen years later, Americans were still courageously exploring space.  I remember all too clearly January 28th, 1986.  The space shuttle Challenger launched, carrying seven astronauts into space.  It burst into flames seconds later. There were no survivors.  Seventeen years later, on February 1st, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia would burst into flames as it returned to earth, killing the seven astronauts that it carried on board.  Those astronauts took a risk.  They risked everything.  They risked it all in pursuit of their dreams.

America’s legacy of courage has continued and was never more evident than on September 11th, 2001.  On that day firefighters, police officers and other first responders ran into burning buildings, not away from them.  They took a risk. They risked everything.  They risked their own lives in their valiant effort to save the lives of others.  They risked their own lives in the execution of what they had pledged their lives to – their sacred duty to serve and to protect.  They left no doubt that day of their courage and their character.  How quickly we forget our history.

As we look back, we see that in the past, America has been marked by her courage not her cowardice.  She has needed courage because freedom is not for the faint of heart.  Freedom requires courage – courage to create it and courage to sustain it. With the writing and the ratifying of the Declaration of Independence, the opportunity for equality, justice and freedom was created.

The sacred task then became to make the vision of those that penned those words a reality and to keep it a reality for future generations.  The implementation of those words which guarantee to us all the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, rights which are given to us by God not by any government, has been a constant and often bloody process.

The Civil War attests to that as do the civil rights protests of the 60’s.  The United States has faced many foes in her short two-hundred forty-four year history.  I refuse to believe that COVID-19 will be the foe that brings about her untimely death.  We have fought too hard and come too far to allow her to die now.

These words of Dr. Otto Gritschneder should give us all pause.  “He who falls asleep in a democracy will wake up in a dictatorship.”   If the United States dies, freedom dies with her – our individual freedoms and our freedom as a country. When we become the oppressed, we will no longer be free to supply food and medicine and disaster relief aid to those in need around the globe.

Freedom has always been worth fighting for, worth the cost.  Until now?  The silence is deafening.  Since we were attacked mid-March by COVID-19, we as a people have continued to walk into Walmarts and into Home Depots and into liquor stores and into Planned Parenthood centers and into Costco and we haven’t batted an eye nor missed a step.

And yet we don’t have the courage to walk into a polling place and cast our vote in person on November 3rd?  Or do we believe that a polling place is vastly more dangerous than a Costco or a liquor store?  If all the polling places are open as in years past, crowds will be light and spread out over many locations.  Only by closing some of the polls will crowds and wait times increase.  Voting in person is the hallmark of a democracy.  Without it, democracy dies.

How unbelievable that with the heritage left to us by such people as were the Pilgrims, the Pioneers, the Patriots, the Harriet Tubmans, the Tuskegee Airmen, the Astronauts, the Martin Luther King Jr.s, – a heritage of courage, a heritage of risking it all for the freedoms that will live on long after we are gone – how unbelievable that we would be too afraid to vote in person.  Rather, we would sit silently by, paralyzed by fear in a cancel culture, fear of not being politically correct as rampant as fear of COVID, and let America die on our watch.

Options, freedom of choice, the ability to choose for oneself, is essential in a free society.  We have long had the option to vote by mail (absentee ballot) if we choose to do so, rather than to vote in person.  This choice should never be taken from us. Likewise, the choice to vote in person should not be denied us either.  Closing the polls would deny us that choice.  Having the polls open does not deny anyone their right to vote by mail.  Both choices should always be available in an election.  Will we let fear dictate otherwise?

Shame on us!  Our legacy is courage not cowardice.  With the courage of our convictions let us correct our mistakes and fulfill the promise of our Declaration of Independence.  Let us pray that “government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”   (Gettysburg Address)

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”   (2 Timothy 1:7)

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

sincerely,       Grace Day













C.C.-True Confessions-football&faith#79

I confess – I love football.  And because I do, I also love movies about football.  I love movies such as The Blind Side, Remember the Titans, Facing the Giants, Rudy, We Are Marshall, When the Game Stands Tall, Woodlawn, and the football movie I first fell in love with, Brian’s Song.

It doesn’t hurt that most of these movies are true stories about real life people.  I find these movies inspiring, I guess because there are always obstacles to be overcome in every story.  In each movie, there is conflict both on and off the field. Each player must have the commitment, the conviction and the courage to face their challenges (on and off the field) or neither they nor their team will succeed in the end.

In these movies, the players faithfully and fearlessly pursue their passion to the bitter end.  Rudy was one such individual.  Even though he was too small to be seriously considered for college football and he didn’t have the grades to get into Notre Dame, his dream was to play football for this university.  Through hard work academically, he eventually became a student at Notre Dame but then had to make the team as a walk on.  He made the team but was told he would never dress for a game, even though he endured the grueling practices and scrimmages against the starters, the purpose of which was to make them better and prepare them for the next game.

Rudy was never going to be in the limelight or become famous.  But he showed up week after week to practice and gave it his all.  Finally there comes a moment in the movie where Rudy considers quitting.  Fortunately, he gets some good advice and he doesn’t give up.  Toward the end of the movie, he does get to dress for the final game of his senior year.  It is then we see the impact his persistence and dedication to the game and to his teammates has had on other people.

His contribution to the team turns out not to be in tackles, in throwing passes or in scoring touchdowns.  It turns out to be in the lives he encouraged and inspired as he continued to show up day after day in pursuit of his dream.  Rudy didn’t realize he was making a difference in so many lives, but he was – just by having the courage not to quit.  Rudy’s impact did not show up on the scoreboard, it showed up in the lives of those he inspired.

In pursuing his own dream wholeheartedly, Rudy encouraged others to do the same.  Maybe that’s why we like football as spectators.  We love the drama, we love the contest, the conflict, the facing of fears, the overcoming of obstacles – the uncertainty of the outcome, the ever present possibility of the last second score as the game clock runs out.

I love football because it is a metaphor for life.  And as it turns out, Vince Lombardi agrees with me.  He said, “Football is like life.  It requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.”  Lombardi used words like sacrifice and self-denial, which aren’t all that popular today.  Neither is respect for authority, come to think of it.

Reminds me of something Jesus said in Luke 9:23-26.  “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?  If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Deny himself?  Daily carry a cross? (bear a burden)  Follow someone in authority over me?  Clearly, a life of faith, like football, is not for the faint of heart.  To walk in faith, day after day, requires commitment, conviction and courage.  (the three “C”s of football and of faith)

And just like football, life is filled with pain and setbacks and failure.  But Jesus (my life coach) knew that would be the case when He warned, “All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”  In other words, in football speak, hold that line.  You may have to endure some hits but stand firm as it says in Matthew 10:22.

Football is about overcoming obstacles, about fighting the enemy  – so is faith.  Both require perseverance.  In Remember the Titans the enemy was racial prejudice. In Brian’s Song the enemy was cancer.  In We are Marshall the enemy was loss, overwhelming loss of life.  Could a new team come to life after such a loss?  Every ounce of courage was needed to answer that question.

Who is the enemy of my faith?  Ephesians 6:12 tells me, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I am also told in 1 Peter 5:8-9 that, ” . . . Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  What should I do in response? “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  (there’s that standing firm again)

In football and in faith, perseverance seems to be key.  James 1:2-4 tells me to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

I am called to persevere.  I have plenty of opportunity during these days to practice perseverance.  By God’s grace I will persevere through COVID and conflict, through layoffs and losses, through fear and through failure, through weakness and through weariness – until I come out on the other side with faith mature as James said, not lacking anything, but full of hope and strength, standing firm in the stance of faith.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men (women) of courage; be strong.”  (1 Corinthians 16:13)

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”  (James 1:12)

sincerely,       Grace Day