Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Friday

I went to church today and listened to my best friend give her testimony. Once she had shared her story, I listened to other women who felt liberated to be transparent. There were stories of hurt and pain, of doubt and of being unsure which direction to take. There were feelings of unworthiness and failure and fear of what lies ahead in the next few days.

As I drove home, I began thinking about our plans for this weekend, including church and family activities. I thought of the Easter story and what I want my children to learn this year. The Holy Spirit reminded me of this verse:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” -Luke 23:34

When he said that, Jesus was on the cross. In the midst of his pain, he extended grace to the people who physically hurt him and placed him in that position to die.

It is so difficult in those moments to look at the one who has hurt us. We still feel the sting in our heart or the shortness of breath, and yet the thing we need most for ourselves and for them is to extend grace. They don't deserve it, but neither did we. Jesus died on that cross for us. He had us in mind. He knew we would mess up, he knew we could never be good enough to earn it, and yet, he gave his life for us.

How can I put a limit on the grace that I give?

I know that I am going to need more grace tomorrow. I know in the days to come I will not live up to the perfection that is needed to get me into heaven. I am not worthy on my own to be in His presence. I know I am going to need the grace that Christ gives me. How can I expect this from Him and not extend the same to others?

How do I give when I have nothing left?

There are times we feel we can't give any more. The thing we have to remember is that we are not alone. God is not asking us to give without supplying the gift. We need to be honest, with ourselves and Him and say, "I don't feel like extending grace, but I will do it because it is the right thing and I trust in You to supply that grace". He is so faithful in giving us the good things that we ask for. It may take several attempts on our part, but He will meet our need every time.

I listened intently to my friend today, it is a story I have heard many times and yet, at certain points, I found myself in tears. The anticipation of what was about to happen left me in awe. The grace that she experienced and then turned around and gave away is inspiring to me. This reminder could not have come at a better time.

Good Friday is a picture of grace. It is a gift that is available to everyone. While it is a sad event, the joy comes on Sunday. Our penalty is paid. Justice is served. Victory is His and ours! Don't let the story become dull because you have already heard it. Spend some time with Him this weekend reliving it and rejoicing in it!

Thank you Lord for the amazing gift of grace. I am unworthy and yet you continue to give me more. Please don't let me be dulled by the repetition of Your story. Help me to see and hear this Easter with a new perspective. Allow me to see you suffering for me and then rising to victory so that I can be saved. Enable me to pass your love to others in a way that brings you glory. In Your precious name, Amen.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Helping Kids Grab Hold of Faith

This was such a great program, I had to share it!

Focus on the Family daily broadcast from this week featured Lee Strobel and his daughter Alison. The first podcast from Thursday, April 14 focused mainly on Alison and her new children's book.

The second podcast from Friday, April 15 was a great interview with Lee Strobel. He talked a lot about our role as parents and the impact we have on our children. Very good!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Give Away!

It is time for another give away!

I will be giving away one of my memory frame pendants!

How to enter:
1. Follow my blog. Just click "follow" at the top of this page.
2. Go to the website: and tell me which Memory Frame Pendant is your favorite (there are four).
3. Share a link on FaceBook. Click on the title of this post: Spring Give Away! Then click "share" at the top of the page.
4. "Like" the Gems From His Crown page on FaceBook.

There are four ways to enter. You can do all of them if you want! Make sure you tell me which ones you complete by leaving a comment here or sending me an email.

The winner will be announced on Monday, April 18.

Don't forget Mother's Day on May 8, it is only 3 weeks away.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Seek the Giver not the Gifts

Photographer: markuso

Have you ever known anyone that is all about them? They have plenty of rules and boundaries for themselves, but your boundaries are somehow overlooked or tested. They have no problem asking for things from you, but somehow they never have the time to return the favor.

Our daughter is experiencing some tough times right now. She has not found her niche within her school. She has several friends, but she hasn't made a significant connection with anyone. Without trying to pass my own insecurities to her, I casually ask questions and encourage her to seek out certain girls. There are some that I want her to avoid completely, but instead of saying don't play with her, I have asked questions and tried to guide her in the direction that is best for her. 

There is one little girl that our daughter is drawn to. This "friend" has been mean on more than one occasion and is truly all about herself and no one else. Recently, as we were talking about the latest episode, the Holy Spirit reminded me of 2 Corinthians 6:14- Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? This scripture turned into an interesting breakfast conversation as we discussed farm animals being yoked together. My son loved being a bull while I was the pony yoked to him. They easily understood that he was much bigger and stronger than me and that we could not effectively pull a cart together. Although it was entertaining, both of my kids understood the importance of choosing good friends.

All of this got me thinking about my relationships with others. I fight my emotions and the desires of my heart daily as I try to look at others around me rather than focusing on myself. I am not perfect, but I am aware of my tendencies and I strive to do better everyday.

What about my relationship with God? Am I giving to Him as much as I am asking from Him? He has so many things that He wants to give and bless us with, but He will not bless us if the things are taking us away from Him. If we spend more time focused on His gifts than on spending time in relationship, we will find that the connection is damaged.

Look to the LORD and his strength; 
seek his face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11

We must spend as much (or more) time seeking His presence as we do seeking His presents.

Father God, thank you for your grace even when I don't deserve it. I confess that at times I seek your gifts more than I seek spending time with you. Please forgive me. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to improve our relationship and I want my heart and actions to show that I care more about you than about anything you could ever give me. Amen.


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