The Word Weaver
Inviting you to know & embrace Jesus Christ
Deb Weaver
by The Word Weaver, Deb on February 15th, 2018

​If there was an urgent, life-altering message, wouldn’t you want to know? 

Wouldn’t you want to investigate its veracity? 

Wouldn’t you want to respond aright?

​Here it is:  

​We NEED Jesus.  Every single one of us need Him, regardless of our differences:  
  • age 
  • background 
  • choices we’ve made 
  • the color of our skin 
  • gender 
  • interests 
  • I.Q.
  • nationality 
  • religious beliefs 
  • socio-economic status 
  • titles we bear
  • what’s been done by us or to us

We share this one absolute need.  We NEED Jesus. 

This universal truth has not been hidden from us.  It has been proclaimed fiercely, relentlessly, passionately.

Stop a moment and look for its message:
  • Revealed in the deepening blush of the afternoon sky
  • Declared on the blood-stained cross
  • Exploded from the empty tomb
  • Whispered in the sprout of joy that unfurls in a quiet moment
  • Highlighted throughout our Bibles
  • Echoed in the black, empty cells of our darkest sin
  • Experienced in the excruciating crucible of hurt, loss, need, or fear
  • Demonstrated in the lives of the faithful throughout history

God repeats this truth over and over. 

But maybe you’ve missed it.

Or perhaps you’re nodding your heard in mental ascent that Jesus is important, but you’re failing to embrace this real, resurrected God in the grit, grime, and grunt of your daily life.
Quote by David G. Benner from his book The Gift of Being Yourself/ Used in The Word Weaver blog post
​Dr. David G. Benner, in his book, The Gift of Being Yourself, says:
 
“Too often we have not allowed the initial introduction to deepen into a deep, intimate knowing.  Though we glibly talk about a personal relationship with God, many of us know God less well than we know our casual acquaintances.  Too easily we have settled for knowing about God.  Too easily our actual relationship with God is remarkably superficial…

If this is your experience, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by guilt. Hear God’s call to a deep personal encounter as an invitation, not a reprimand.  It is an invitation to step out of the security of your boat and meet Jesus in the vulnerability and chaos of your inner storms.  It is an invitation to move beyond objective knowledge to personal knowing.  It is an invitation to truly know God.”
Heart to heart conversation on The Word Weaver blog
​Friend, there’s no shame here. 

Just let me lean in closer to you and gently reiterate how important it is that we get this truth. 

Personally.  Deeply.  Experientially. 

There is no greater priority than our relationship with Jesus. 

You and I need Jesus.  Yes, we absolutely need Him for the salvation and new life that was purchased for us by Christ’s sacrificial death and victorious resurrection. 

We also need Him in the now moments of our everyday lives.  
For the person who staggers in confusion, there is no greater priority.  The Bible tells us the truth about who we are and what we are like, and who God is and what He is like.  We are deeply loved and deeply flawed.  We are in desperate need of a Savior.  There is one way to God the Father, and we will only find it in Jesus Christ.  Seek Him. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Lucidity expands as we discover truth. 

For the person who has recently held out her hands and accepted the gift of salvation, there is no greater priority.  Love grows us as we embrace the God delights in us just as we are.

For the person imprisoned and bound by his sin, there is no greater priority. Jesus transforms us from the inside out as we look to and respond to Him.  Liberty resides in the resurrection power of the Living God. 

For the person who is walking with Jesus through a painful, piercing season, there is no greater priority.  Perspective and peace descend in the presence of Christ.

For the person whose hope has drained through life’s sieve of pace and pain, there is no greater priority.  When we realize that He is not only with us but for us and when we rely upon His power within us, perseverance reshapes and strengthens us.

We need Jesus.  There is no greater priority than leaning on and learning from Him.
 
In John 5: 19-20 (NIV): “Jesus gave them this answer: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does.  Yes, to your amazement He will show Him even greater things than these.” 

If the Savior of the world could not do anything of eternal value without focusing on and following the Father, how can we? 

We can’t. 

Jesus spelled it out in John 15:5 (NIV):  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” 

Without Jesus Christ in the center, I can do nothing.  You can do nothing.  

​So how do we live?  

​The apostle Paul gives us instructions:  

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12: 1-2 (NIV)

Surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses—countless numbers of real people, (many of whom were noted in the previous chapter of Hebrews), surround us.  These ordinary individuals walked this dusty orb too.  They:
  • lived extraordinary lives by faith
  • heard, believed, and heeded the voice of the Living God
  • continue to live forever in the glorious, radiant presence of God
  • stand and testify to us that our God is trustworthy, able, enough, worthy
  • cheer us on toward the finish line  

​Listen!  Can you hear them?  

​They shout truth!  They urge us to believe and to trust Him regardless of what happens or what we face.  They declare that whatever He asks of us is worth it, that He is worthy, that He can transform our lives.  They encourage us to take the next step and to keep at it till we get Home. Victory is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.

They were ordinary men and women like us.  They didn’t have it easier.  It wasn’t easier for them.  They didn’t possess skills or qualities that made it possible for them to do amazing things.

No, what these faithful men and women of the past had—and what is also available to us—is the presence and power of the Living God for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  

This overcoming power is from the Gospel of grace.  The work of God in our lives changes us, and it changes the world. 

Jesus offers this life of power to all of us in His nail-scarred hands.  When we believe in Him, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who enables us to live with extraordinary faith and obedience.

Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles—We can’t run in a heavy, flapping robe.  The extra weight and excess fabric gets in the way.  The same is for us in this life.  If we are to follow Jesus, there are things we need to throw off in order to race well.  We need to discard whatever hinders us regardless of how small or seemingly insignificant.  What this entails—what habits, attitudes, or actions—may be different for you and for me. 

It’s important to daily inventory our lives.  May we ask the Holy Spirit to reveal: 
  • What does God say about this?  Does it line up with His Word?
  • What gets in the way of God’s purposes in me? 
  • What distracts me? 
  • What moves my attention from the things above to earthly things? 
  • What sins repeatedly trip me up? 
  • How may I flee them? 
  • What boundaries and safety nets does God want me to employ so that I may circumvent these traps? 

We do this in order to run well during this pilgrimage of faith.

Run with perseverance the race marked out for us—without looking to the left or to the right. 

No comparing ourselves with others or our tasks with theirs.  No pouting over how hard our life is compared to how easy theirs looks.  No complaining that they’re doing it wrong.  No wishing that we had their calling, their life, or their gifts. We resolutely refuse the bitter seeds of jealousy.

Rather than looking around at others and what God seems to be doing in their lives, we must narrow our field of vision and, instead, focus on how God is calling us. 

It’s essential to get our individual instructions from the One who marked the map of our races before the foundations of the world (see Ephesians 1:4, 2: 10, Psalm 139:16, John 10: 1-5)

Fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith

Where our gaze lingers, our lives follow.   

If our heads are whipping around trying to attend to everything, we will miss the mark. 

If we’re not concentrating on the Word and Spirit of God, we will miss important information. 

If we’re enthralled by anything other than Jesus, we are headed for disaster.

MacMillan Dictionary notes that if you fix your eyes on someone or something, you “look straight at them and at nothing else.” 

We are not just to fix our eyes anywhere, but to fix our eyes on Jesus. 

He initiated our faith, and He will complete it.  He is the One to whom we must pay attention.  His opinion matters most.  His voice is vital.  His direction is necessary.  Heeding His call is vital.

​This call is costly.   

​It requires tuning out the cacophony of competing calls: The seductive whisper of personal desire and ease. The subtle insinuation of selfishness and personal rights.  The driving beat of ambition and desire.  The bitter traps of envy and entitlement.  The clamor of fear and lies. The relentless temptation to waste moments. 

The distractions we face are endless.

Though God is able to speak loudly, He most often chooses to speak in a still, small voice.  It’s easy to miss it, especially in a world screaming as if its hair is on fire, in a media-conscious society that notifies us whenever anyone breathes, and in a culture that rewards our shallow attention spans.  We must focus in the midst of this noise.

I often have trouble hearing when there’s ambient noise in the background.  Sounds bounce off and collide with one another, and I can’t hear clearly. It takes more concentration and effort to interpret the message.   When it’s loud, I find myself leaning in, paying closer attention.  I watch the lips of the person speaking.  It helps if I know them and their thoughts well.

Likewise, we must lean in closer to Jesus to listen and to train our attention on His face so that we hear His voice.  We ask Him to show us:  How do you see me?  What do You think?  What is most important?  What is most needed?   What do You want me to do? 

We redirect our roots into the nourishing soil of His love and grace.  We soak ourselves in His truth.  We study His character, His ways, His words, His works. We worship and converse with Him continually. We learn to accept and savor His love, and we learn to love Him back in every small moment of our lives.

Writer Jessica Van Roekel  reminds us, “If we want to be held by the anchor, then we must behold the anchor.”

So, how do we run with perseverance? 
How do we throw off everything that hinders our steps? 
How do we cut free from the entrapment of our own sin? 
How do we quiet the clamoring of our own hearts? 
How do we know where to go or what to say? 
How do we successfully complete this race of faith?

This is how we live: we fix our eyes on Jesus.  We behold Him in every moment.

There’s no other way.
Scripture Hebrews 12:2 Fix Our Eyes on Jesus/ The Word Weaver blog post

 
Related posts & resources on The Word Weaver blog
​“The Hope Series”, Welcome Grace blog posts by Jessica Van Roekel
Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman
 
The Word Weaver blog:
Praying For God’s Strength in My Weakness
Led by Love
Take My Hand
Tweetable quotes from The Word Weaver blog post

by The Word Weaver, Deb on February 1st, 2018

​We like stories of strength, don’t we?

When I was barely old enough to walk to our local library, I checked out tale after tale about legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan.  I relished the unbelievable stories of his superhuman strength.  Growing up along Lake Huron, one of my favorite pieces of folklore was how he cupped his humongous hands and carved out The Great Lakes to provide fresh watering holes for Babe, his enormous blue ox.

As I got a little older, I moved beyond make-believe to real-life heroes such as: Harriet Tubman, Davy Crockett, Babe Ruth, George Washington Carver, and Winston Churchill.  I still love a true story of strength and determination.

I’ve been following Jesus for thirty-seven years now.  Because I appear quiet and steady, you might look at me and think that I’ve got it together.  That I am strong. You may even think that faith comes easily or naturally for me.  

​May I be completely honest with you?  

​That perception is erroneous and far from true. 

You don’t see my insides.  You don’t see the struggles.  You don’t see the battles I fight with depression or anxiety.  You don’t see the tears I shed over the pages of my Bible. 

I have more questions than I did when I was eighteen.  I see my sin more clearly.  I struggle with my motives and ambitions.  Without realizing it, I often chase myself in circles trying to make things happen in my way, in my timing, and with my effort. 

More days than not, I find myself weary and ragged inside. When I look too far ahead, uncertainty looms large and fear blots my vision.  I am overwhelmed by the raucous pace, the ravaging needs, and the relentless weight of this wicked world. I ache over injustice and cruelty. I hurt deeply for others and absorb their bloody pain along with my own. 

Without immersing myself in the truth of God’s Word (and many times even after I’ve done so), I’m ready to collapse.

I berate myself, feeling like I should be stronger by now, that a life of faith should be easier by now, that I shouldn’t have to fight for joy quite so often.

My “should be’s” sometimes keep me from seeking and accepting God’s ready help.  Perhaps you understand this struggle too. 
Blog post quoting Unseen author Sara Hagerty/ Praying for God
​Author Sara Hagerty understands too.  In her excellent book, Unseen, she says: 

“I am afraid because I am naked.  And I hide myself from God while simply waiting for this hard moment to pass. 

These bare places are invitations.  God invites us to exchange what feels raw and vulnerable for His strength.  God never intended for us to hide from Him, to live with parts of us untouchable to Him.  It’s in those naked-place moments—the times we allow ourselves to be exposed before God—that He covers us with Himself, blankets us in His safe love, and replaces our exposed weakness with His strength.”
​For years this weakness—this inability to barrel through life—has felt like a detriment to me.  I’m discovering that is a lie.

My acknowledgement of weakness is a sacred gift.  It’s actually the only key that unlocks true strength.

When I strive to depend upon my false perception of strength, it crumples quickly like sodden, soggy cardboard sitting in the rain.  My strength is no strength at all.  That’s actually good news.  By divine design, we cannot live on our own. In John 15, Jesus said, “… Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”  I’m embarrassed to tell you, though, how often I’ve tried.  

​We appreciate stories of strength. So why do I tell you all this about my weakness?  

​I’m sharing a divine mystery that I’m learning.  When I am overcome by the painful realities of this life, if I will choose to:
  • stop trying to fortify or stretch my nothing over anything
  • admit my true needy state, &
  • look to Jesus, our Immanuel—God WITH us,
something miraculous happens.  He exchanges what I lack with His unending supply.  I begin to depend—truly depend—upon Him, moment by moment, day by day. 

He is enough.  And His supernatural strength surpasses my desperate need. 

And, man, do I need Him!    
My weakness is the key that unlocks True Strength in Jesus/ The Word Weaver blog post/ Praying for God
​My weakness is the secret key to His source of strength.  In Christ is hidden all the treasures—every single thing that we need. (Colossians 2: 3 & 2 Peter 1:3)  My admission of lack unlocks the storeroom of heavenly resources.  

When I admit that I am weak, God reveals His strength.  He exchanges my lack for His abundance.  Jesus Christ proclaims, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

Recognition of my weakness is an internal emergency signal reminding me to turn to the One who is strong.  He delights in giving me what I truly need.  Pleasure is written all over His face when I bring Him my weakness and exchange it for His ability.

And He offers to do the same for you.

​Speaking of whom, let’s think about you for a moment.  

Opening Our Hearts together with soul questions in the The Word Weaver blog post/ Praying For God
​In this space before God, please consider these questions personally and honestly:
  • Are you feeling weak?  Worn out?
  • Do you fear you will not be able to keep going?
  • Are you disheartened by our world’s capacity for evil?
  • Are you crippling beneath the weight of your own sin?
  • Do you despair of ever conquering the battles you face?
  • Are you (or someone you love) staggering with excruciating pain and fear?
​Did your heart pound yes in response to any of these questions?  Did tears crowd your eyes? 

If so, I am sorry.  I stand with you.  I stretch out my arms in supplication toward heaven asking God to meet your every need.     

​Perhaps…

​Perhaps in our weakness, we could scoot over and walk more closely together in the sustaining light of God’s truth and grace.

Perhaps in our weakness, we could stop trying to muster up more faith and ask God for it.

Perhaps in our weakness, we could remind one another to stop shaming ourselves for human frailties and to ask God for His divine strength.  We could remember that He is drawn to our weakness.  He never rolls His eyes over our neediness.  He welcomes us into His arms of love, and in Jesus, we have the right and privilege to be there. 

Perhaps in our weakness, we could take heart in our good, great God.  We could follow the example of King David who dropped to his knees in the midst of his real grief, outrage, distress, fear, and pain; and he “strengthened himself in God.” (1 Samuel 30.)  We could also run to Him and learn to drive our souls’ thirsty, wounded roots deeply down into His nourishing presence and promises. 

Perhaps in our weakness, at the intersection of our real need and His real resource, we will discover real life.  I want that dearly, don’t you?
At the intersection of our real need & God

​Let’s seek God now for what we need:

​Heavenly Father,

Thank You for Your great love and compassion toward us.  You delight in us, take pleasure in us, and give us what we need.  We are able to approach You as beloved children—what a privilege that is!   

We confess that, all too often, we have rejected You as our source and strength. We’ve tried to do life on our own.  At times, when we’ve been shattered by circumstances, we’ve assumed the worst of You and felt that You didn’t care or couldn't help.  We’ve doubted Your Word, Your ways, and Your character.

But we are coming and confessing this before You.  We are laying down our hurt, our independence, our willfulness, and our pride. 

You are our God, and You are good.  Grant us strength to believe that You are who You say You are & that You do what Your Word promises You will do.  You are trustworthy.

Grant us sustaining, supernatural, unexplainable strength right where we are—right in the place that threatens to sink us.  Give us strength to face this day and the next and the next.  With You.  In You.

Please give us the strength to love others right where they are even when we are heartsick over their choices.  Show us how to love one another as You love us.  Embolden us to do so.

May we have strength to ask You to transform us—our thoughts, attitudes, words, and actions. We are holy because You dwell within us, and it is Your power and Your strength that makes us more like Jesus.  May we trust You more.

We are weak, Lord, but You are strong.  We need You, AND we want You.  You are our strength in every situation.

Amen. 
Scripture from Philippians 4:13 / I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. / Included in The Word Weaver blog prayer post about strength
The Word Weaver blog post Praying For God
The Word Weaver Blog post quotes to tweet

by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 18th, 2018

Offer what you hold in your hands to God
​Writers create meals from raw ingredients: experiences, ideas, and words.  Sometimes as we pray and stir, the phrases transform the concepts into sumptuous, savory recipes that nourish and sustain our readers. 

Sometimes we pray and labor long, yet nothing holds together.  The words fall flat.  The scene scorches.  Every thought sours and separates.  It happens.  We clean up the mess and start over.   

Eventually, though, it’s time to serve the guests.   

​What happens if nothing is ready?   

​Sitting in exhausted anguish amidst the discarded drafts, I asked, “What do we do now, Lord?”

The story of the young boy who offered his lunch to Jesus came to mind.  I sensed God saying, “Offer what you hold in your hands.”   

To be honest, I cried.  “Lord, I don’t see anything.  Please show me what’s there.”

There was only one thing in my hands.  It was so small that He had to point it out to me, but it was there.

It had been there all week.  As I showed up to write, asking for God to speak in and through me.  As I crafted sentences and discarded them.  As I watched the deadline approach without panic.  As I waited and listened.  As I asked and anticipated without demanding.  And even as I expressed my disappointment.

​We marveled over it together:

​Faith.     

Childlike faith in Christ Jesus. 

Faith that listens for His voice, seeks His heart, and believes His Word. 

Faith rooted in grace and flowering in holiness.  

Open-hearted faith stretching in halting steps of trust and reliance.    
​Susie Larson says, in her excellent book, Your Beautiful Purpose, “Our calling isn’t to eloquence or perfection.  But our calling is to faith—engaged, living, and breathing faith that pursues the heart of God and brings life to the circumstances we encounter on the journey.” 

So, now, at the request of my Father, I extend this offering of faith in my hands—however meager it may seem—and trust that Jesus will miraculously multiply it into a meaningful meal for another hungry soul.   
Our Calling is to faith/ Quote by Susie Larson

by The Word Weaver, Deb on January 4th, 2018

Series of blog posts, www.thewordweaver.com, that focus on prayer.

Despite My Fearful What-Ifs, My Prayer Is: Surrender

​I write things in my journal that I wouldn’t dare say anywhere else.  Thoughts and feelings that hide within my unconscious tumble out in this regular, rambling conversation with the Lord. 

If you were reading it, you might drag yourself through mundane details of my day-to-day experiences, thinking that I’m the most boring, timid, whiny person on earth.  And then, suddenly, you’d stumble into a vast puddle of passionate, messy guts spilled onto the page.  You’d wade through the real stuff of life and follow along as I work it out with God.  Then you’d go back to boring.  That’s okay.  It’s not for you that I’m keeping it.

This journal shapes me, and it’s why I continue to write in it every day.  It helps me to know my heart.  In it, I:  
  • express gratitude
  • explore truth
  • find patterns
  • finger painful wounds
  • address sin or selfishness
  • ask questions. 

The number-one, oft-repeated question I pose in these pages is:  

What if . . . ?

​Some people ask this question with an ignited imagination.  Perhaps you are one such beautiful soul.  Perhaps you fling open the doors of possibility pondering, What if?, as you leap through the threshold with wonder, delight, and curiosity.  Perhaps you explore life in the spacious place between what-if and what-could-be.

I stand in amazement and awe.  I applaud you.  Some of my favorite writers, artists, and friends create life in that curious space. 

But that is a foreign land to me. 

My what-ifs are not lighthearted, playful, or curious queries. No, they emerge from the barricaded door of the dark, dank, disturbing basement.  These rotten rats scurry up the water pipes, squeeze through the crack at the bottom of the door, and slither up my spine, before settling into my shadowy thoughts. 

From there, they periodically get deposited into my journal.  Thankfully. 

My honest cries of confession pour across the page before God.  He crouches down with me, pries my fingers from over my eyes, and shines His grace and truth over the darkened corners of my cell. 

His perfect, radiant love casts out my worries and fears, one by one, over and over. 

Slowly and repeatedly, His truth rescues and releases me from strongholds that incarcerate my mind and that inhibit my feet from following Him.  

Last week, I recorded my insecurities about writing once more.  It’s a recurring theme. Here’s a peek:
  • I don’t know what to say, where to start.  What if writing a book is too big for me?
  • I know that, on my own, my words fall flat.  What if you do not ignite them?
  • What if I can’t write?  What if my thoughts mysteriously vanish?  What if I’m not organized enough?
  • What if I’m too lazy or overwhelmed or busy to stay with it? I start and abandon so many things.  What if this just adds to the pile?
  • What if I have nothing significant to say?
  • What if I get it all wrong?  What if my words cause more harm than good?
  • What if I fail?  What if it never gets published?  Or worse, what if no one reads it?
  • What if my perspective doesn’t matter?

In the hallowed hush that followed my honesty, He calmed me.
 
I sensed what may be His direction, “Do it for Me. Surrender your expectations, fears, and what-ifs.  Stop looking at anyone, anything but Me.

Surrender to Me.  Trust Me.  That is success.

Write regardless of:  where this takes you, how hard it is, or how inadequate you feel.  Whether or not it’s published.  Write.

Write because I’ve created you to:  express your soul through your love of language, connect and communicate with others who wrestle with faith, and point people to Me.

Write because it gives you and Me pleasure.

Write because it makes you desperate for Me.

Do it for Me. Through Me. With Me.  In Me. 

We do it together, one surrendered day, one surrendered page at a time.”

It's a process of trust:

​Last week, this journal of our journey together dealt with my writing fears.  Yesterday it was about my pride and bitter feelings.  Tomorrow it will be about something else. 

Every day He asks me to surrender.  Not just my fears or dreams.  All of me.  Wholly His.  His holy. 

Surrender is the means for abiding in Him.  
Abiding requires my surrender/blog post www.thewordweaver.com
​Ann Voskamp expresses it this way:
Ann Voskamp Quote:  Surrendered yes holds space for God/blog post www.thewordweaver.com
​My surrendered yes includes sitting down and writing despite my fears and insecurities.  My surrendered yes creates a space for God and for the way that He works in me.

Your surrendered yes creates a space for God and for the way that He works in you.

In this space of surrender, we discover that all is well with our souls. We remember that He is good, He is enough, and He is able.

Surrender is a sacred space of response to our Holy God.  It creates an avenue for God to do life-transformative miracles in us, through us.  

Let's Pray:

​Heavenly Father,

You are holy and Almighty.  There is no other God than You.  We bow before You.  Speak to us personally.  May we hear Your voice and respond aright.

What is it that You are calling us to surrender? 

What is not in alignment with Your ways and Your Word? 

Show us our sin and arrogant reliance upon ourselves.   Reveal our fears. Pinpoint our unbelief.  Underscore our selfishness.  Bring us to complete honesty by Your Spirit. 

Oh, Father, may we offer our whole lives as an offering before You.  May we surrender to the glorious flames of Your consuming Presence, Promises, Purity, Power, and Purposes.  Refine us and reshape us into the image of Your Son.    

When we wrestle with Your Word, Your way, or Your will, enable us to see that surrender is much less about losing something and far more about gaining freedom and joy. 

With our minds fixed upon You, our hearts rooted in Your love, and feet standing in Your truth, may we take the next step.  Stir us to surrender, Lord.

For Your glory and Your purposes, for You alone are worthy.

We lay these requests before You in the Name of Your precious Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ,

Amen.
Connecting threads/Readers of www.thewordweaver.com blog share heart-to-heart

Questions to Consider:

​What might God be asking you to surrender? 

How may I pray for you to do so?
Related  prayer posts from The Word Weaver blog:
Encouragement for Those Who Hesitate to Ask God
Allowing God to Quench Our Thirst
Grasping Love

Related resources I recommend:
The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

​Click on the following quotes from this post to easily tweet and share with your friends on Twitter:


by The Word Weaver, Deb on December 21st, 2017

Unwrapping the Gift of the Season:  Grace is So Much More Than We Realize

​This season uncovers our desires, doesn’t it?

The wanting.  The waiting.  The wonder. 

The ache of longing.  The possibility of hope.

Drawn by the Light, I tiptoe closer.  I circle it, content to simply gaze in growing anticipation at this glowing gift.

Then I can’t help myself.  I stretch out a hand and touch it.  Finger its wrapping.  When no one is looking I dare to heft it into my arms and shake it. 

Entranced, I check and double-check the tag.  Is it really for me?  Could it be?  This beautiful, ginormous box? 
Grace is a Greater Gift than we Imagine
​Look!  Do you see it, there on the tag?  It’s addressed to you and to me . . . 

Oooh, this will be good!  Our Father is a lavish, loving Giver. 

We peel back the wrapping and catch our breath. 

There cradled in the crèche, multiplied in the miracles, nailed to the tree, exploding from the tomb—Grace!  
 

​This incredible gift triggers a few different responses at this point:

We could walk away, convinced that the gift is meant for everyone else except us. 

Perhaps feelings of shame flood us.  We recoil, thinking:  “He loves the world, so technically this includes me, but it wouldn’t be right to accept.  It’s too much. I don’t deserve it.” 

As we pivot, the Father picks up His priceless present and emphatically extends it toward us, urging us to reconsider. With mournful cords of longing and regret clanging within, one walks away from Gift and Giver.     

Or

​We could look it over, shrug indifferently, and place it back in the box.  Perhaps we assume to know exactly what it is, what it’s like, or how it works. 

We avoid the gaze of The Giver, privately thinking, “Grace is a nice thought but a lousy gift. It wasn’t what I wanted or needed; I’m doing fine without it.” 

We set it aside, slide it under the bed, or bury it in the back of the closet.  Then we go our own way, often returning to our tedious tally sheets, entering good deeds to counterbalance the rest.  We cannot alter grace and, in trying to do so, we reject both the Giver and the Gift.

Or

We could approach this precious, surprising gift with the anticipation and excitement of a beloved child.  Perhaps we tear into the wrapping with wonder and joy.  Open it and fully receive all its goodness.  Inhale this lavish grace greedily.  Exhale generously, sharing God’s grace with others. 

Running into the arms of the Father and bowling Him over with hard hugs of gratitude.  Leaning into and relying upon this amazing grace.  Accepting and savoring both the Giver and the Gift.

Every. Single. Day.

Despite our doubts. Despite our questions.  Balancing our pain and His goodness in our hearts. 

When we’re happy or sad. When we’re lonely and afraid.  When we offend God and others.  When our lives sit in ruins.  When we love well and when we do not.  

​Oh, grace is not what we think it is!

​More often than not, you and I treat grace like the innocuous phrase, “Bless you,” after a sneeze.  It becomes a well-intended nicety but an unnecessary and impractical one. 
 
Grace is stronger, deeper, better, more necessary than we ever expect.  It’s not an artificially sweetened, watered-down idea.  It’s real, fierce, passionate, enduring, and life-giving. 

It’s laid at the feet of our sinful souls with God’s full knowledge of who we are, what we’ve done, and what it’s cost Him. Yet it’s given willingly, purposely, lovingly, longingly. 

Once we open and embrace this treasure trove, we are changed.  Grace transforms our identity and our essence.  It changes everything. 

We cannot live without God’s grace, gifted in Christ Jesus—here or hereafter.  Divine grace drenching us.  Scarlet grace, saving us.  Sustaining grace nourishing us.

We cannot earn it. Purchase it.  Repay it.  And ultimately, we cannot ignore it.

Too many of us try.  Though salvation through grace is offered to all, only some of us actually receive it.  Sobering, isn’t it?  It becomes ours only when we—you and I—recognize our need, reaching out to receive it. 

Grace, grace, amazing grace.  Our only hope.  Our infinite joy.  Grace, ours for the taking. 
This grace—with our names etched upon it—is the Gift of God.  The Giver gives Himself. To us. For us.  
Grace is the Greatest Gift. God gives Himself.
​Today, let’s consider our own responses to this beautiful gift.

I’ll scoot over, and we can it delight in it together.  There’s more than enough for both of us.  It’s big enough to enfold us all. 

Let’s receive and adore Him!  Merry Christmas! 
Quotes from The Word Weaver blog post to tweet

Click on the following quotes from this post to easily tweet and share with your friends on Twitter:

Related Posts & Resources on The Word Weaver blog
Related posts from The Word Weaver blog:
He Made Room For Us
To See With the Heart of a Child

Related resources I recommend:
Grace--More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado
The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
The Grace-Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn
Lay It Down by Bill Tell
The Cure--What if God Isn't Who You Think He Is & Neither Are You?  by Lynch, McNichol, & Thrall