Initially, ‘Glasses of Grace’ started because my niece, Grace, had to get glasses for reading. Since grace is such a spiritual topic and the fact that my niece is such a doll, I started thinking about the ways God shows us His grace on a daily basis. From His servings, His glasses, of grace to us - to seeing the world through the eyes of grace (or Grace, since she had new glasses and better sight), it made sense in more ways than one, so a title was born. Blessings and all, this is my life…

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Promise of Christmas

This past Sunday morning (Dec 21), Pastor Mel preached what I believe was the best sermon on the Christmas story that I have ever heard. Following are the notes:

The Promise of Christmas
Matthew 1:18-25

Matthew 1:18-25 - "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel" which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. "

***God loves the impossible - That is when He does His best work!

***Verse 22 is talking about the prophet Isaiah: "Now all this took place that the prophecy (of Isaiah) would be fulfilled."

***The prophecy and its fulfillment are both from God - God spoke through Isaiah 700 years earlier.

***God always keeps His promises.

***God had a sovereign promise to fulfill through Mary.

Isaiah 6:1-8 - Isaiah's Commission - "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Isaiah 7:14 - "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."

Isaiah 9:6-7 -
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this."

Luke 1:34-38 - ""How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her."

***And Mary was amazed - She'd studied the scriptures and now realized Isaiah was talking about HER! (W - O - W!!!)

***Mary's assignment is not so different from ours because God has chosen each of us for an assignment.

***God knows your name and had a sovereign plan for your life. He is bringing about circumstances that you may hear and obey Him.

***Security does not mean isolation from all pain, but it means confidence in God's purpose and will.

***As long as you remain in His hands, God can do anything in your life. He is the same God to you as He was to Mary!

***No matter what your circumstances, choose to remain in the hands of God and trust Him.

***There may be times you feel ill-equipped and all alone, but God shows up and tells you not to worry...He has a plan.

***What has been written in heaven regarding your life?

This really was an excellent sermon to me. I absolutely LOVE the way Pastor Mel brings new eyes to things I've known in my mind for years, like this Christmas story. They are certainly very sobering thoughts! While I knew Mary realized what a miracle Jesus' birth was, I had never thought about the fact that Mary had studied the scriptures herself and what it must have been like for her to realize in the moment that the angel spoke to her that SHE would be the one all this would be fulfilled through. Can you imagine what a sobering realization that must have been for her? That thought has been on my mind all week. I really just can't even imagine!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The 10th Commandment

Following are the notes on the 10th Commandment, from the sermon series, "Living Life to the Power of Ten."

Exodus 20:17

Exodus 20:17 - "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

***Everything God promised is found in putting God first. Everything God promised can be destroyed by putting 'Me' first.

***The 10th Commandment is about finding contentment.

***Self-centeredness always leads to self-pity.

*** To be content in life is not to possess good self-confidence, but to have absolute confidence in God.

***When we say we are not content, we are saying that God is not enough.

1Timothy 6:6-10 - "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

Psalm 73:25 - "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you."

***The greatness of Christianity is not simply the blessings that come, but the relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

***The 10 Commandments are given under the premise that we want to belong and that we have made a committment to God and to one another.

***When you find Jesus Christ, you will find contentment in life.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My sweet nieces

This is one of the pictures that Kate and Grace had made on one of their picture days this year at their new school. Their individual pictures turned out great as well, but I thought it was awesome that they let siblings have their pictures made together too. They both continue to love their new school and I am thrilled! They have both just grown up SO fast and I continue to be one very lucky aunt! :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things I dislike:

There are a few things in life that I really just don't like:

**celery :-)
**inconsiderate people
**loud people
**a few other veggies (!!)

But one of the things I most dislike is this:

people coming to my door well after dark, ringing the doorbell and banging on the door when it's obvious that I am either not going to answer, or I am not home.

This has happened to me twice recently. The first time was the night got back from my mom's a few weeks ago. There I was, sittin' on my couch, laptop in my lap, tv on, happy as a clam when all the sudden, 'ring...,' 'ring....'. Now if it had been daylight, I would have gone to the door, no question, but the fact that I live by myself doesn't make me relish the thought of answering the door after dark. So I didn't do anything....just sat there....then, 'ring, ring, ring, ring, ring'....knock knock knock knock knock! I could tell they were persistent, but I can be just the same, so I got up to come back to another room to look out the window and there was a car in my driveway. I still decided it wasn't in my best interest to answer, so I didn't. About an hour later, I looked out to see if they had left anything or whatever and there was nothing. Kinda strange.

So here I am last night, about 9:45, it's dark, my bath water was running, when all the sudden, 'ring.' Of course, my cats run and hide, not that they could do much anyway, but it was surely an 'every man for himself' sort of deal! :-) So again, I wasn't about to go to the door. The same story followed as before, just as persistently, if not a little moreso. I peeked around the corner to be sure my alarm was set, and luckily it was. (One of the best things I did when I had my alarm system installed was to have a keypad put in my bedroom. I wasn't going to do it because it was $100 more, but my mom insisted I need to do that, and I've been SO glad I did!) Eventually, whoever it was went away, but it was a little unsettling once again, that someone would think it was okay to come to a person's door well after dark, when they aren't expecting anyone, and make such a ruckus. I looked again this morning to see if they had left anything, and nothing was there.

I can't decide exactly what to do in this situation. I obviously can't know when someone might show up like that, and I NEVER intend to answer the door after dark, but you just can't be too careful this day and time. I had totally forgotten about the first time it happened until it happened again last night and now I'm wondering what's up. Just kinda weird.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The 9th Commandment

The week away at my mom's got me behind on my sermon notes. I've got the CD for hte 8th sermon, but haven't sat down to listen to it where I can take notes. I will do that very soon, but following are the notes from November 30's sermon regarding the ninth commandment, from the sermon series, "Living Life to the Power of Ten."

Exodus 20:16

Exodus 20:16 - "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

Pastor Mel started out by telling a story about a man named Alexander Papaderos. The story is too long to recount here, but I found it on the internet and if you are interested, you can go HERE to read it. It is a great answer to the question, 'What is the meaning of life?'

***Are you reflecting the light of Christ into the world in which you live?

***As we walk in this world, it sees the light of God reflected in our eyes.

***Don't give evidence that would injure the reputation of another person.

***The sin of silence is as powerful as the sin of lying lips.

***We need integrity in our words. We need to be speaking truth at all times.

***When people think of your life, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

***We build integrity by the way we live our life.

***God is truth and if we are to reflect Him to a watching world, we must be truthful in the way we live.

***Because God is truth, we can stand on His word with confidence.

***Our lives will be vindicated when we trust in God's word.

***As a Christian, our integrity is a powerful tool to a watching world.

***Our words have the power to build up or tear down.

***God is watching the way we regard we build them up?

Proverbs 4:24 - "Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips."

Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful and above all things beyond cure. Who can understand it?"

***Sin has damaged our heart and we have a self-centered nature that wants to build ourselves up and tear others down.

***To obey this commandment, we need to control our tongue.

***If you are walking with God, you won't be shaken by hurtful words. We know the truth and keep silent knowing we will be vindicated.

***Knowing the power of words, are you willing to let someone else hold you accountable for them?

***Ask the Holy Spirit to help you hold your tongue.

***Obey the Holy Spirit even if this means awkward silence.

***Ask the Holy Spirit to take away your anger and fill you with joy.

***Ask the Holy Spirit to help you encourage others. Speak words they need to hear.

***If you allow the world to taint you, how in the world will God use you to be a light to others?

***Your life can be of such upstanding nature that God can use you to speak truth to set others free!

This was a great sermon and I took 2.5 pages of notes! WOW! Such wisdom.

As I mentioned earlier, I haven't had time to listen to the 8th commandment CD yet. We had our Living Christmas Tree last weekend, so we had rehearsals all week leading up to that, and this week has just been busy. I will get those notes posted soon though for anyone who may be interested.