Archive for March, 2008

Hi Folks,

After getting my feet wet on with a Yahoo 360° blog, I felt ready to move to something else. Yahoo provides a great service, but it seems more oriented to “family news” than I want this blog to be.

The purpose of my blog is to encourage and edify the Body of Christ as I grow in Christ. So this is part journal, part teaching, part sharing my passion for Christ. With the personal desire that (1) you, the reader are blessed and motivated to pursue God more fully; and (2) I, the writer, grow in Christ as I write and prepare to write regularly.

But first, I needed a name for the blog. Sandy’s Blog sounded too egotistical to me. I pretty much assume you don’t really care what I have to say. Hopefully, you care what the Holy Spirit might say through me. So Sandy’s Blog was out.

The Evolution of a Name
(Yes, I believe in evolution…the kind that’s otherwise know as progressive revelation — or hearing from God progressively instead of having Him dump the whole answer in your lap (or mind or spirit) all at once.)

One of my favorite verses is Jonah 2:8 — “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” It might sound like a negative verse to you, but it motivates me not to cling to those idols because I want all the grace God has for me.

So I began thinking…what’s the opposite of the word “forfeit?” And the King James version (yes, I’m old enough to have done most of my Scripture memorization in KJV) of Philippians 3:12 came to mind: Paul wants to apprehend that for which Christ apprended him.

The light bulb went off. I don’t want to forfeit grace, I want to apprehend it. Newer translations of the Bible say “take hold.” I don’t want to give up grace God has for me without a fight, I want to take hold of it.

So I looked up the word in Strong’s Greek Dictionary. And I found that the word in Philippians that is translated “apprehend” or “take hold of” was a key word in one of the first sermons I preached.

Well, that’s enough connections for me. “Apprehending Grace” it is.

I hope you’ll visit often and add your comments so that we can apprehend God’s grace together.

Grace & peace,
Sandy

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Today is the first anniversary of Dad’s death. Because it’s the day after my birthday, it’s a day I can’t just forget.

I praise God that I am doing really well. I am thankful that Dad accepted Christ in his last seconds of life. I am thankful to God for allowing Dad to do so. I am thankful to God for healing. I have experienced so much of it in the past year – both from the grieving of Dad’s death and from other experiences

My first thought this morning was remembering what I had been doing a year ago at that moment (helping to get dad from the table to his bed for the last time). I was immediately thankful that I was there. Thankful that I was able to be a part of his last days and moments. Thankful that I was able to show my love during that time.

My thoughts turned to how it only seemed appropriate to blog today, but I wasn’t sure what I would blog.

I guess all I want to say is “Thank you, Lord!” and to those going through grief — everyone’s healing comes differently, but there is healing!

P.S. At about 3:40pm, I realized that the time of dad’s death had passed without my noticing it. (He died about 3pm.) It was bittersweet. But the sweet outweights the bitter now. Praise God in all things! Because He is worthy and He is GOOD!

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Mondays are my busy days. I have a graduate class on Monday nights and have to leave my home office by 3pm to make it on time. I prefer to leave at 2:30. I don’t get back home until nearly midnight. Then I have a 7am business meeting every Tuesday. So before I leave at 3pm I have to have everything I need for my Tuesday morning in a neat pile or briefcase because there’s not a lot of time between midnight Monday and 7am Tuesday. When I look at it in print, that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it just seems to cramp my time all day on Monday. If anything out of the ordinary comes up (and you know it always does) I feel unable to accomplish all that I “need” to get done before leaving for class.

So this (Monday) morning, I was praying through my daily prayer list (yes, I’m a list person). The list was interrupted by remembering something I needed to do. I decided that stopping the prayer to accomplish the task was more beneficial to my prayer time than trying to remember it while praying or adding it to my list of things to do. I did the task and went back to my prayer time…At which point I almost immediately needed to go to the bathroom. “Nothing like an uninterrupted prayer time,” I thought. (Too much information, you’re probably thinking!)

Can you feel the frustration beginning to set in? Now on any other morning, I wouldn’t be frustrated, it’s just that I know I’m up against this hard deadline of leaving by 3pm. Well, as I walked upstairs to the bathroom, I continued to pray. Somewhere between my desk and the bathroom God whispered in my ear…”Do you think I’ve given you more to do today than I’ve given you time to do it?”

And it hit me. I can approach today with the knowledge that I have a lot to do and seemingly little time to do it, or I can approach the day confident that God has given me all the resources I need to accomplish those things He’s called me to. There’s not really anything on my list today that doesn’t support something He’s called me to. I’m confident of that. So why don’t I just drop my own expectations and the expectations of others and choose to be confident that the God who is sovereign over all things knows what He’s doing and will enable me to accomplish what needs to get done today? I’m choosing that approach today. I’ll probably need to be reminded of it tomorrow and next Monday, but it’s the way I want to live. Trusting that God has my life in control and not stressing about my schedule and my to-do list.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
      2 Corinthians 9:8

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Hanging on a cross, He died for me.
How quickly I forget
The awesome pain He endured for me.
He gave me life and yet
Earthly things still hold me back.
I cannot let them go
Despite His love and sacrifice.

Lord free me from my earthbound trusts
And bring me heaven’s life.
The Kingdom of God here with us
Brings love and sacrifice.
For where there is one the other must follow
And so I follow Christ.
For love and life He transcends all.
He made the ultimate sacrifice.

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I’ve been avoiding my blog! I’m in the process of transferring from one blog service (Yahoo) to another (we’ll see which one wins out!). Hence, whatever I write here must be transferred there, wherever there is. I know others who have decided to write a blog and have it up and running in what seems to me to be minutes. And of course, all the blog services make that promise. But what is minutes to others has been months for me. Aargh!

So lately I’ve been reminding myself a lot that God has uniquely gifted each of us and no, I’m not particularly lacking in intelligence just because I can’t get my new blog to work! 🙂 And even if I were inordinately lacking in intelligence God would still be over-the-top wild about me! And in order to avoid reminding myself of these things over and over again I’ve been avoiding blogging.

I’ve been avoiding blogging so that my self image doesn’t take a hit each time I try and fail at making the conversion. I’m not proud of this. I’m not proud that not being able to accomplish this technical task makes me feel stupid (there, I said the word instead of couching it kindly as “lacking in intelligence”). I’m not proud that my approach has been to avoid the issue altogether.

One maxim I’ve learned is that when things seem to be happening in an unusual way, look for what’s behind it. Is God at work? (Well, the answer to that one is always “yes” because God is always at work in our lives.) Perhaps better stated, the question should be “What is God trying to teach me by getting my attention with these unusual circumstances?”

It doesn’t make sense to me that transferring blog services should be so difficult for me, so this morning I am asking “what might God be trying to teach me?” I can come up with several thoughts on my own, but the answer requires listening for His voice and to His Spirit. Here are my potential thoughts…

  • God is giving me opportunities to practice not becoming frustrated when things don’t move as quickly as I’d like or when I’m not able to accomplish what I think I should be able to accomplish — and by giving me opportunities to practice this, He is teaching me patience
  • God is reminding me that I’m not as smart as I would like to think I am (a little dose of humility is always good for us)
  • God is teaching me about my need to rely on others (after all, we are a Body that is to work together, not just individual parts that work on their own)
  • God is demonstrating how little it takes for me to be unfaithful to a task He has called me (revealing that I lack perseverence and that my heart condition is not as undivided as He would like it to be)
  • God is teaching me about His faithfulness by demonstrating to me my own lack of faithfulness (His faithfulness so far surpasses my own — and this lesson translates to every other area — His mercy so far surpasses my own, His goodness so far surpasses my own, His love so far surpasses my own, His justice so far surpasses my own, etc.)

Wow! Since all of those possibilities occurred to me in the short span of five minutes or so, I’m guessing that He’s doing all of those things. The one that shouts at me the loudest, however, is the last one. I am thankful that the God I serve is so infinitely more faithful than I am. Praise His precious Name. And if a little technological frustration is what it takes to remind me of that, I’ll take it. Lord, You are so infinitely good to me! Thank You!

(And to my readers…I apologize for “being gone” for the past 6 weeks and I’m working on being faithful to you! Be blessed!)

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