How do I feel when I look up at the stars? Small? Insignificant? Invisible? Overwhelmed? Awestruck? Curious? Full of wonder? Full of questions? All of the above and more are the true answer to this question. As I write this, I am thinking it has been far too long since I have taken the time to truly gaze into the night sky and let it work its wonder in my soul. Too often clouds cover the stars or the lights of human civilization dim the vibrance of the ageless lights in the sky.

When I do behold the brilliant beauty of stars filling the night sky full of glittering light, I feel strangely connected, even as the vastness of the stars makes me feel alone, just as each star seems alone in the sky, even while surrounded by billions of other stars. I think how these are the same stars those who lived on this earth long before I got here, looked up and saw every night. Civilizations on earth have come and gone, while these stars have remained constant in their constellations. So constant are they in fact, that sailors navigate by them as they sail the oceans.

I feel connected to loved ones far away, thinking they could look up and see the same stars. I feel connected to ancestors I’ve never met – they would have lived their lives under the same canopy of nighttime stars. I feel especially connected to my Creator as I experience the magnitude and multitude of these heavenly lights. Only an infinite God could create something so expansively unfathomable as a sky full of stars, a galaxy full of stars and a universe full of galaxies full of stars.

It is estimated there are over one hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy. And there are two trillion known galaxies! Average stars in a galaxy? – at least one hundred million. (you do the math, I can’t) I write these numbers but I do not comprehend them. It is more than I can ever imagine. A universe more vast than I can ever know, created by a Creator infinite in being, who has made Himself known. It is too wonderful for words. In Psalm 147:4-5, I read this about Him,

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.”

That’s what I think about as I look at the sky – that my Heavenly Father calls each star by name and He knows my name, too! That’s the connection I feel. I live in a limitless universe created by an infinite God, a God who has no limits to His understanding, nor to any other aspect of Himself or His being and He knows who I am. Isaiah 40:26 encourages me to experience this connection to my Creator saying,

“Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”

God sustains all He has made. He does not lose track of even one star! He does not lose track of me, either. “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

The words of Psalm 8:3-9, express how I feel when I look up at the stars in the night sky.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. . . . O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!”

sincerely, Grace Day

a wannabe worldchanger

Some questions stop you in your tracks, forcing you to face them, (if not outright answer them) before continuing on in whatever direction you were headed. The question put to me today is such a question – “What are you doing to change the world?” An obvious answer doesn’t present itself at present, forcing me to pause and ponder my purpose here. “What am I doing to change the world?”, I ask myself. Of course, this presupposes that the world needs changing, but that is probably a given at this point.

This world has seen its share of worldchangers over time, that’s for sure. Inventors are world changers. Bell changed the world with the telephone, the Wright brothers with the airplane, Edison with the light bulb, Magellan with his exploratory sailing around the world, Galileo discovering the earth revolves around the sun, (that was a game changer) and whoever invented the wheel was onto something good, which changed the world forever. Scientists, artists, musicians, writers – many have been world changers. Monet’s paintings changed the world, as did Beethoven’s symphonies, Shakespeare’s sonnets and the music of the Beatles. Fleming’s discovery of penicillin changed the world for the better for everyone. From Lincoln to Mother Theresa to Nelson Mandela, to Hitler, (unfortunately not all worldchangers bring about change that is good) our world has had no shortage of those who would change it, whether for better or for worse.

Today we call our worldchangers “influencers” and they are usually rich and famous because of sports or entertainment such as music, movies, TV etc. With the advent of social media, everyone is a star. But are they worldchangers? Which brings me back to the original question which I have been avoiding thus far, “how am I changing the world?” I am not an inventor, nor a scientist, nor an explorer, or composer and so on. My excuse for not having an answer could be that I am neither rich, nor famous, nor in a position of power or influence such as a person in elected or appointed office. I am not a media personality, nor do I have a pod cast or a radio show.

But these sound more like excuses don’t they? If we are taking up space on this planet then each of us is changing the world one day at a time, for better or for worse, by the decisions we make each day and the way we live our lives. We may feel invisible, but our impact is real on the people around us and through the ripple effect, on many more. (I actually wrote about this recently in a previous post – “the power of one”) So, how am I changing the world?

I pray. That’s right. I pray for this world and the people who live in it. Why? I am told to pray and that prayer changes things. I read in 1 Timothy 2:1-4 these words,

“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. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Then I read in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”

This world would certainly be a more peaceful place if we prayed for our enemies instead of fighting with them. There is so much hurt in the world, so much healing is needed. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells me,

“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.”

Prayer brings forgiveness, hope and healing – changing the world for the better. Prayer changes me, first and foremost. Then, being changed by prayer (time spent with my Heavenly Father) I am equipped to be the worldchanger God calls me to be. In fact, God calls each one of us to be a worldchanger. I am called to be salt and light. Both salt and light dramatically change the world for the better.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. . . . people light a lamp . . . they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

Prayer changes me and prayer changes the world. As a worldchanger I will continue to pray for this world and for the people who live in it. I am told to “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) That is what I must do to change the world. And I am not alone! I have found others who also want to change the world through prayer. We are Intercessors for Indy – and we are just one of many such groups that we know of faithfully praying God’s forgiveness, healing, peace, presence, hope and joy will be made manifest in this world. I am a wannabe worldchanger – to that end, I will be faithful in prayer –

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

sincerely, Grace Day

the conversation of prayer continues

There was a stillness in the room as we considered the question posed to us, “What about prayer excites you?” Had I ever used excited and prayer in the same sentence before? But I realized something as I pondered the question further. Prayer, for me, is like meeting up with a trusted friend. When I know I will be spending time with a close friend, I get excited as I anticipate uninterrupted time with my friend – having her undivided attention, her listening ear, her caring heart, her understanding, her acceptance, her wisdom, her good advice – these are the things I look forward to as I anticipate the time we will spend together.

This is what excites me about prayer – the possibility made reality of spending uninterrupted time with my Heavenly Father – having His undivided attention, having His listening ear, His caring Father’s heart, His complete acceptance of me, (even though He knows me completely), having His understanding, His wisdom, His good advice, His guidance – being in the presence of His transforming, healing power – prayer means entering into that safe space, that sacred space with God. Prayer is hallowed time, time set apart to spend with Him.

Why wouldn’t I want to spend time with Someone who loves me unconditionally? – with Someone who will listen well, without interruption and with understanding and compassion – with Someone who will heal me, teach me, train me, equip me (I need lots of equipping – I lack much) – with Someone who has plans to prosper me and not to harm me, Someone who knows every hair on my head and every word I speak before it’s even on my tongue – Someone who has loved me with an everlasting love and loves me still –

Someone who remembers that I am dust – yet does not blow me off, or blow me away –

this is my Heavenly Father, in whom I live and move and have my being – this is prayer

“I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:1-2)

“I call on You, O God, for You will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:6-8)

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

prayer -spending time with the One who loves me – who loved me enough to die for me

sincerely, Grace Day

the solace of solitude

I’ve written before about how we are created for community. We are not meant to live in isolation. However, we do often find ourselves craving solitude – at least we did in the days before COVID forced us all into prolonged isolation/hibernation against our wills. So what is it about solitude that we desire? You don’t see animals leaving their herd or flock or school or gaggle or whatever to go off by themselves, thinking they are like Henry David Thoreau going off alone to write Walden. Of course, for animals it is a matter of life and death. Lions stay with their pride, elephants, zebras, gazelles, and so on travel and live with their group for their own safety and survival.

Not so with us humans. Created for community, we still seek solace in solitude from time to time. Sometimes, however, solitude is hard to find. Where to go to be alone? The mountains or the beach comes to mind, but if I don’t live close to either, that isn’t going to work for me. Being outdoors anywhere with nature is a good place to seek solitude. Unfortunately, lots of people feel this way, so public parks, like Central Park in New York, are often full of people.

Where do I go to seek solitude? My prayer closet. Now this is metaphorical, rather than literal. Although for some people it is both, they really do have prayer closets. (like in the movie War Room) Jesus instructed His disciples saying,

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6)

Jesus sought solitude when He wanted to pray. Mark 1:35 tells us,

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”

Why would I desire solitude? For rest? For renewal? So that I can “hear myself think” as we so often say? All of the above and more are true. My Heavenly Father often calls me away, so that I can hear His voice though, not my own. In fact, in Psalm 46:10 He says to me,

“Be still, and know that I am God;”

Solitude allows me to be still. In solitude, there are no competing voices, (save my own) therefore I can more easily hear from God. My Heavenly Father leads me to places of solitude.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3)

That’s something solitude does, restores. David, who wrote those words of the twenty-third Psalm, knew that time alone with God was like resting in green pastures, beside quiet waters. There, he could be still and spend time with His Creator.

Maybe solitude isn’t so much a place as it is a person? When I seek solitude, I find it in the presence of my Heavenly Father.

“For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” (Psalm 61:3-4)

In the shelter of Your wings, God, I find solitude and I find solace.

sincerely, Grace Day

strong – what does it look like?

We have been told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what about strength? Is it a matter of perception also or of reality? And furthermore, what kind of strength are we talking about? Physical strength or mental strength (mental toughness) or emotional strength? (resilience) Then there’s interpersonal strength, how we relate to others, how we communicate and form connections. Are we a strong communicator? Do we form strong bonds? Strength of character is what I most wish to cultivate in myself and what I most admire and desire to discover in others.

Now strength of character is not obvious at first glance as is physical strength when I first meet someone, especially if they are a football player, weightlifter or any kind of athlete. The physical strength of these individuals is obvious. Strength of character, on the other hand, is much more subtle and takes time to discern. It often doesn’t surface until things get tough, choices have to be made, or there is some crisis. Actually, adversity can strengthen our character, just as lifting heavy weights or training hard in any sport strengthens the athlete’s body.

Hardship and difficulties are strength training for my character. (nobody ever said working out was fun or easy) But Paul did say this in Romans,

” . . . we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:4) Then James says,

“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.” (James 1:2-4)

Perseverance is one of those character traits that is the mark of a strong person – someone who doesn’t give up on others, themselves or situations – someone who hangs in there and by so doing makes things better. The gift of perseverance is that it inspires others to do the same. Perseverance says, don’t lose hope, don’t give up, don’t quit – perseverance keeps on showing up even after others have given up.

I want to develop a strong character (not be a character). And fortunately for me, Life, filled with challenges, pain, loss, hardships as it is, is the perfect gym for me to work out in to develop my character and make it strong. When do I feel strong?

When I do the right thing. When I say a kind word instead of a hurtful word in a tense situation. When I choose truth over lies, honesty over dishonesty. When I choose the harder more excellent way over the easier, lesser way; when I do not join others in something wrong, but risk the ridicule, perhaps the canceling, for doing what is right. Showing restraint requires more strength than acting on angry impulses. A show of force is not necessarily a show of strength. This is ironic but true. Paul made such an ironic observation when he said about himself,

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Now Paul often identified himself as “a servant of Christ Jesus” (Romans 1:1) which helps explain what he meant about being strong when weak. He was learning the strength of submitting his will to God’s will. Instead of doing things his way, in his own strength; Paul was discovering that when he relied on God’s power rather than his own, things happened that he could not accomplish on his own. Submitting to someone else, requires absolute trust, and it requires an inner strength of character. To the casual observer, submission may appear as weakness, but a closer look reveals just the opposite.

One might perceive Jesus as weak because He was nailed to a cross and died, without putting up much of a fight at all. But consider what Jesus says in John 10:17–18,

“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.”

Appearances can be deceiving, can’t they? What appeared to be weakness, was actually the ultimate act of strength motivated by love. John 15:13 explains,

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

When do I feel strong? When I put someone else’s needs or happiness before my own. When I am lending someone a helping hand. When I am that stepping stone someone uses to pass safely to the other side of the gap in their journey. I feel strong when I am bearing someone else’s burden. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2) Like Paul, I feel strong when I am weak and therefore know how much I need my Heavenly Father’s all sufficient strength. Jesus explained this true strength concept to His disciples in this way, saying –

“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45)

true strength lies in the ability to lift other people up, not in the act of tearing them down –

sincerely, Grace Day

the conversation of prayer

“It takes two to fight.” Isn’t that one of those mom sayings we have all heard a million times? (not to exaggerate or anything) But growing up, I certainly did hear those words often enough from my mom, even as I continued to argue with my sisters and attempt to put the blame solely on them for whatever was transpiring at the time.

Now it occurs to me that prayer is another thing that takes two, because prayer is a conversation and conversation requires a speaker and a listener, hence two. (ok, if you are like me and you talk to yourself, you may beg to differ on this issue of needing at least two for a conversation to take place, but technically conversation requires two people) In a good conversation, the roles of speaker and listener are shared fairly equally between the two participants.

I want to become a better listener. I want to learn to listen with my heart as much as with my ears. (and when my hearing goes, I will really need to hope that my heart has learned to listen well) Today, as I think about my conversations with God, I must admit I too often cast myself in the role of speaker and not often enough do I take on the role of listener. Now I am told in God’s word that I can “cast all my cares on Him, because He cares for me” (1 Peter 5:7) and this is true. Boy do I take my Heavenly Father up on that invitation!

And I am invited to “present my requests to God” in Philippians 4:6. However, that same verse instructs me to do this “with thanksgiving.” How often do I skip the thanks and go straight to my list of needs, wants and desires? (that was a rhetorical question, I am too ashamed to actually answer) Have I patterned my prayer life after the relationship I had with Santa Claus as a small child? I would visit Santa once a year, sit on his lap and let him know what I wanted for Christmas. Other than “HO! HO! HO! and a Merry Christmas to you little girl!” Santa never had much else to say. Of course, I hadn’t waited all that time in line to listen to Santa. I was there to talk; he was there to listen to me talk.

I have gotten pretty good at bending God’s ear. But that’s not conversation if I don’t let God bend my ear right back. And if it’s not conversation, then it’s not prayer either – at least not all that prayer is meant to be. I read in Jeremiah,

“This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it – the Lord is His name: ‘Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ ” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

God will answer me! God will tell me things I don’t know. (there’s a lot I don’t know, so that could take awhile) But I have to take on the role of listener in order for this to happen. I can learn from Samuel a different kind of a prayer. I will make his shout out to God my own.

“Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’ ” (1 Samuel 3:10)

In order to listen well, I need to “be still and know that He is God;” (Psalm 46:10)

I want to participate in my prayer conversations with my Heavenly Father as the listener, not always the speaker who never lets God get a word in edgewise. I often feel He is silent, when in reality, I just haven’t stopped talking ie. complaining, requesting etc. I haven’t been a patient or a persistent listener. (although I have been quite the persistent petitioner at times) It’s not that God isn’t speaking, it’s that I’m not listening. So much noise. This world is such a noisy place. Must be why my Heavenly Father wants to lead me to a quieter place. (if I would just listen to Him)

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:2-3)

He leads me, He restores me, He guides me – I have to be listening to Him for all that to happen. If I’m not listening, He can’t lead me.

Lord, like Samuel, do I dare to say, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”? How easily I am distracted, even as I long for a word from You, I turn on my TV or my music. I seek the company of others but not Your presence. I refuse to come away to Your green pastures and still waters – even though I am starving – hungry and thirsty for a word from You – for what only You offer, Yourself, Your presence. May I desire not what You would do for me or give to me, but instead may I want only what abiding in Your presence brings, which is comfort, peace, purpose, meaning, joy, hope, healing, strength, wisdom, courage, compassion, connection, mercy, forgiveness, knowing, being known, belonging, acceptance – the list is endless – probably because Your presence is infinite.

Oh Lord, speak, for Your servant wants to learn to listen, wants to hear Your still small voice. I know that You listen to me. I want to return the favor.

“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.” (Psalm 18:6) In fact, my Heavenly Father is such a good listener that,

“Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139:4) Now that’s a good listener! Lord, may I learn to recognize and heed Your voice.

If I can recognize my Heavenly Father’s voice, that certainly makes listening easier, doesn’t it? I think about how God’s voice came to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13, when Elijah was waiting on a word.

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

If I’m waiting for booming thunder before I will listen, then I will miss the gentle whisper of God’s voice. I want to be a better listener, a listener that can hear the whisper of God above the shouting of the world’s voices clamoring for my attention.

“Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My doors, waiting at My doorway. For whoever finds Me finds life and receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 8:34-35)

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8)

speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening!

sincerely, Grace Day

roots and wings

Two essentials in life – roots and wings. At first glance, these two would seem to be opposites and therefore mutually exclusive. I would have to choose one or the other if that were the case. But I crave both. I need both in my life. I need roots and I long for wings. I want to be grounded in a safe place where I belong and I want to soar to new places and unknown heights. I want both roots and wings, and I want them simultaneously.

This is the gift of hope. Hope gives me roots and hope gives me wings. Without hope I have neither. But hope graciously gives me both. And hope is the gift of God. Consider what it says in Hebrews 6:19,

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Here hope acts as an anchor, it is roots for me, keeping me grounded and secure. When the writer says “this hope” he is referring to the hope I have in Jesus as my Savior and my Lord. Jesus doesn’t change so my hope in Him has found a home. I can put down roots and know I have found a place where I belong.

But my hope in God also brings me wings. I have His promise in Isaiah 40:31,

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Hope carries me soaring on eagles’ wings. Hope gives me wings of my own. With these wings, I experience the glorious freedom found only in Christ. Hope roots me in the foundation of God’s truth, which never changes, and His truth then sets me free to fly on hope’s wings. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

We are told to give our children roots and wings – that’s what my Heavenly Father has given to me – roots and wings. Rooted in God’s word, I receive the nourishment that sustains my heart and soul. That same nourishment from my roots, strengthens my wings and enables me to soar freely to new heights. My roots and my wings work together! Thank You, Heavenly Father, for giving me both roots and wings.

“Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.” (Colossians 2:7)

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: . . . ‘those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.’ ” (Isaiah 49:22-23)

sincerely, Grace Day

the way of words/competing quotes

I remember the words because I had to memorize them in elementary school. They were the words to a poem by Robert Frost entitled “The Road Not Taken” The words that stuck with me through all these years (becoming my favorite quote) are – “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Since memorizing that poem I have chosen a lot of roads during my lifetime. In fact, life is pretty much a series of constant choices every day. And the choices I make matter. Which path I choose matters.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

How can I know which path to choose? The person in the poem debated before he chose, but he could only see so far down the path and no further. He couldn’t see beyond the bend. He couldn’t know where the path would lead nor where it would end. “long I stood, And looked down one as far as I could, To where it bent in the undergrowth;” He had to make a choice without seeing where the road ended. What to do?

“Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding; in all my ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct my paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Why would I trust God to lead me down any particular path? Maybe because He sees things from a higher perspective than I do. God has a totally different vantage point.

“I am God, and there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Two roads before me – I have a choice to make. The journey is mine for the choosing. I always have a choice. Robert Frost’s poem is about an age-old dilemma – which direction to take? which way is the more desirable? Joshua faced such a choice and said,

” . . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

That choice did not lead down the easiest path, but it was and is the path that leads to life. Consider what Matthew 7:13-14 says,

“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

That sure sounds like a road less traveled by, to me. I am faced with two roads diverging several times each day and choosing the less traveled road is not always easy. Consider what I am instructed to do (or to choose) in Romans 12:9-21 –

“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. . . . Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. . . . Do not repay anyone evil for evil. . . . 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, . . . If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

These are hard choices to make. I don’t always feel like being joyful, patient or faithful. I definitely don’t feel like blessing and feeding those who are hurtful to me and therefore are my enemies. I don’t always want to choose the path of kind words and deeds when others are unkind or even cruel. The path of honesty often seems harder to choose than the path of deception. (just look at those in positions of public trust) The road less traveled by is the lonelier, harder road for sure but it is the road with the better reward at the end. Guess that’s why I like this quote – it reminds me to choose the higher, harder, lonelier way – because in the end that will make all the difference.

And now for the competing quote – also a long time favorite. “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good that I can do, therefore or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Stephen Grellet

For a procrastinator such as myself, these are sobering words. I always think I’ll get to it tomorrow, but today is what I’ve been given, while tomorrow is promised to no one, including me. Sometimes this quote haunts me more than it motivates me. But ultimately these words remind me to live in the moment and not to leave things unsaid or undone that would be a help or an encouragement to someone else. (but always good to leave unsaid and undone those words and deeds which harm and discourage someone else)

I think Paul gave the same advice to the Ephesians that Grellet gave when he said not to defer in doing good. In other words, don’t put it off! Paul said it like this,

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

that’s what I want to do, make the most of every opportunity. Each day is a gift from God and I don’t want to waste one moment – I will not pass this way again.

well, that’s it for the competing quotes. I actually have a third quote that might be my favorite of them all, “though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”

but that’s another post for another day,

sincerely, Grace Day


Monday was more than a day off. It was a day to honor the memory of a man, Martin Luther King, Jr. and to celebrate the legacy he left to us all. Today, back at work, I am looking at a picture of King at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C., taken when he delivered his “I have a dream” speech on August 28th, 1963. I am reading that speech again today along with the students in this classroom. As I read, I realize once again this is possibly the greatest speech of all time. King himself said that this gathering would go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

And so it did. King said they had come to cash the check written by our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation. He stated, “We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.” And so the check was cashed, ending segregation in schools, sports teams, businesses etc. Everyone must have equal opportunity to work, to learn, to live – no one should be denied these things in a free country.

This right to freedom is based on truth – a truth upon which our country was constructed, a truth that is written into our nation’s history because this truth is written into our founding documents. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.” (Declaration of Independence)

And with the declaration of those words, a country came into being – “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” (Gettysburg Address) We were founded for Freedom. And the very foundation of that freedom is an immutable truth – “all men are created equal.” How can this be?, you ask. It certainly doesn’t seem as if this is so. We are each born into different circumstances and born with varying abilities and attributes. But in God’s eyes, because we are created by Him for Him, we each have infinite worth and value, despite what the world might say.

Our Declaration of Independence recognizes this truth – that our worth and the inherit worth of every individual comes from our Creator God because we are created in His image. This truth of all being created by God and therefore all having equal worth and dignity, is the basis for declaring that all men (people) have these unalienable rights, not just some, and that all people, not just some, must be free to pursue and enjoy them. Our freedom comes from God, not government. Our founders knew this truth and built our country on the foundation of this truth.

Today, those that come to our country, like our founders before them, are still coming for the same reason – a desire to be free – a desire to live in freedom, peace and the prosperity that freedom brings with it. But freedom can only be sustained as long as the truth that upholds it remains as its foundation. When truth falls away, the foundation falls and freedom along with it. This nation was built on belief in Almighty God – God’s providence and His sovereignty have long been acknowledged in our public life. (as evidenced in both Washington’s and Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamations, for example)

Dr. King referred repeatedly to “all God’s children” in his “I have a dream” speech, saying “when we allow freedom to ring, . . . we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing . . . Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” That’s how his speech ended on that August day in 1963.

But this was not the end of MLK’s legacy. It was rather a renewal of the truth that had given birth to this country in the first place. Truth – we are all God’s children. We are created equal in God’s eyes. And because we are all equally valuable to our Creator, we are all entitled to live free, all entitled to equal opportunities and equal protection under the law. In God’s eyes, all lives matter – poor lives, elderly lives, infirm lives, pre-born lives, handicapped lives, – not just the lives of the rich and powerful.

MLK left us a legacy of faith, freedom, justice, equality based on the truth that we are all God’s children, equally loved, equally valued and therefore entitled equally to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This has been our nation’s guiding principle from our founding. Although the implementation has been imperfect, the goal based on this truth (that we are made in God’s image and therefore each one has dignity and worth) has remained unchanged over time. Until now.

With the appearance of BLM in our country, a new way of thinking has been introduced into our culture. We have seen these initials painted on our cities’ streets and displayed on sports teams’ uniforms even as we have watched BLM rioters burn down businesses in minority and black neighborhoods. BLM’s actions are the opposite of what one would expect given their name – Black Lives Matter. This organization has devastated and destroyed neighborhoods and cities across our country in the name of – of what? Equality? They tore down, without building up. No lives were uplifted or made better. Many were lost and the very people they purported to care about were left with communities devoid of the businesses that had provided them jobs and places to shop for food, clothes etc.

BLM did not provide progress for anyone, except perhaps its founders, who bought expensive homes with the money they collected in BLM’s name. Simultaneously, we have seen CRT make its appearance in our schools. Coincidence? I think not. Both BLM and CRT have their origins in Marxism. This is significant because Marxism is an atheistic ideology. If there is no God, then human life has no value. This leaves the door open for any and all atrocities against mankind and against any group of people those in power at the moment deem not worthy to live or to partake in the current society.

Critical Race Theory teaches children that the color of their skin determines their identity (oppressor, victim, etc.) and their value. This is the opposite of what Dr. King stated in his speech when he said that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. CRT divides people into groups and pits them against one another. Dr. King said we are all God’s children. (one group – the human race) Dr. King did indeed have a dream. However, BLM and CRT don’t fit into that dream. Instead, they are instruments being used to replace that dream with one called utopia, in which man, not God is in charge.

We all see how well that worked out when Adam and Eve decided to do things their way in the garden. Freedom and peace have been elusive ever since. Still the pilgrims traveled across an ocean in pursuit of this dream, to be free to worship God and live by His principles. Nearly two centuries later, Dr. King would tell the world that he shared in that same dream and urge that it become a reality for all, not just for some. He wanted the check cashed. Not the bank burned down.

BLM and CRT want the bank burned down and everything with it. This was not Dr. King’s vision for our country. He acknowledged our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Emancipation Proclamation and the truths they contain, as the foundation upon which our nation is built. If we take away the foundation, the country collapses. When we remove these self-evident truths, (such as all men are created by God and created equal) we have nothing left on which to stand. It is a slippery slope.

Without God and truth, there is nothing to support freedom, equality, justice, peace – all the things we want in our daily lives. But now we say “there is no truth.” We are like the people Paul talked about in Romans when he said,

“They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)

A country built on lies (propaganda) soon collapses or falls into communism. We are witnessing this process now as truth is under attack from groups such as BLM and from teachings such as CRT. Truth is necessary for freedom to flourish. Jesus said,

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

In observing MLK Day, I am reminded of Dr. King’s legacy and I take heart as I read again the words of his “I have a dream” speech. They are words of truth, full of hope for the future. We have come too far, too many have sacrificed too much, to allow BLM and CRT to tear down the dream of MLK – a dream of freedom, equality, justice and peace. We can yet be the nation Dr. King believed we could be. The self-evident truths of our founding documents will hold firm as our foundation if we do not abandon them.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)

sincerely, Grace Day

feeling forsaken?

We’ve all been there at one time or another – probably more often than we would want to admit to ourselves or to others. But times of feeling deserted and alone come to each one of us, it is inevitable. Even Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” as He hung, dying on the cross. Centuries earlier, King David cried out to God with those same words, which we read in Psalm 22,

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer, by night, and am not silent.” (Psalm 22:1-2)

My times of greatest need are often the times when I feel most alone. People I counted on are nowhere to be found and I am left to face a particular trial or life circumstance alone. Job felt this way, even though three “friends” initially came to advise him during his prolonged time of hardship and loss. But Job was looking for God during his time of tribulation. In fact, Job was desperate to find God, desperate to hear a word from God. We read about it in Job 23 where Job says,

“If only I knew where to find Him (God); if only I could go to His dwelling! . . . But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.” (Job 23:3-9)

I can relate to Job – longing to feel God’s presence, searching desperately for Him, and feeling He is nowhere to be found. I am left abandoned and alone to face life’s current trial – or so I believe. Job had done the work, he had sought God everywhere (east, west, north, south) but to no avail. Time to give up, right? But at this point Job says something surprising, when he says,

“But He (God) knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” How unexpected. Job can’t find God but even in the midst of his apparent abandonment, he states that he still has faith in God. Job says he knows, not just wishes or hopes, but he knows that God knows where he, Job, is. Job knows he is not lost to God, even though he feels God is lost to him at the moment.

Even in his darkest hour, Job testifies that God is not oblivious to his circumstances but knows exactly what he is going through and sees exactly where he is. (“He knows the way that I take”) And even more surprising, Job acknowledges his belief in God’s goodness, even after complaining that God is nowhere to be found, when he says that he, Job, will come forth as gold. In other words, Job believes God will bring him safely and victoriously through his circumstances, even though at the moment, he feels alone and abandoned by everyone, including God.

I wonder if that’s how the three in King Nebuchadnezzar’s red-hot furnace felt? Did they wonder where God was in their trial? Turns out, God was right there in the furnace with them – whether they were aware of it at the time or not.

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’ They replied, ‘Certainly, O king.’ He said, ‘Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.’ ” (Daniel 3:24-25)

God’s presence delivered the three, unbound and unharmed, from the fire in the furnace. God’s presence will deliver me. Even when I am feeling forsaken, I need only remember His promise in Deuteronomy 31:8,

“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.”

I am not alone, I am not forsaken. My Heavenly Father always knows the way that I take. He is in the furnace with me! (even if I can’t see Him, like Job couldn’t)

“God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

sincerely, Grace Day