How Do You Worship?

August 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Janet Morris Grimes –

In a recent discussion about styles of worship, a friend told me that he and another member of his church are touring the area, visiting churches of all denominations that are experiencing extended periods of growth to find some common denominators.

What they found is this: a church that loves God first and people second is a church that draws others in. They aren’t focused on numbers and size, but by focusing on the needs of the people in their community, growth happens as a natural by-product of the love they dish out. At one church they visited, they had a moment where everyone prayed for someone that needed Christ by name.

The church where I am a member in Antioch, Tennessee is a perfect example. The building is likely to be as full of people on a weekday than during Sunday services. With outreach programs that teach English to non-English speaking people, serve the children of the inner city, serve the children of our own congregation, serve those recovering from addictions and teaching beginner Bible classes for those who are curious, each night of the week is filled with a new group that may not normally set foot in a Christian church for any other reason. With meals and a warm place to take a shower and sleep for the homeless during the cold fall and winter seasons, assistance with cleanup and meals following a massive flood in our area, and a coat drive for families in the neighborhood, our church has become known not for the building, but for the smiling and accepting faces people find when they walk in the doors for any reason.

When these people arrive, they see something that intrigues them enough to return. They see a love for families like their own, and they see enough to make them ask questions about Jesus.

Church growth has little to do with styles of worship. As it turns out, it may have more to do with the One who is being worshiped. Where Jesus is present, others are drawn in, like a city on a hill.

QUOTE: “Worship changes the worshiper into the image of the One being worshiped.” Jack Hayford.

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14 NIV)

A Powerful Reminder

July 26, 2021 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Janet Morris Grimes –

I clearly remember paying that bill. I always do it online, by the fifteenth day of the month, and then document it on my Google calendar.

The only problem was on this particular fifteenth day of July, I was out of town. Driving, on the road for the third consecutive weekend, and to be honest, I had no idea what day it was. To complicate matters, with another full week out of town followed by the daunting task of moving our daughter into the dorm for her first year of college, apparently I never fully went through the stack of mail that awaited us when we finally returned home to stay.

So imagine my surprise when our power went out early in the month of August. I presumed it was caused by construction in the area, and was quick to notify the power company. Instead, they notified me that we were 15 days late in paying our bill, so the power was turned off as a reminder.

That is a pretty powerful reminder, especially when it is 90 degrees outside.

My first thought was: “Oh, it’s August already?” But that retort would have confirmed the dimwit I apparently had become over these wonderful months of summer. I had no way of defending my actions and when I checked my Google calendar, there was no documentation that it had been done in reality. But in my mind, I had already marked it off my list.

Such is the problem with the lack of structure and routine. Perhaps that is why mothers across the globe are so excited to see their children return to school. Because then everyone knows what to expect. Our days fall into a steady pattern, and although it is hectic, it is at least consistent.

Summer has been wonderful, relaxing and filled with the type of opportunities and memories that do not come along every day. A wedding in Ohio? College visits? Vacation? Bible Camp? New job? Done. And I treasured every moment. I can look back at the summer of 2012 with no regrets.

Except for one. Paying that dreaded electric bill. Or rather, the failure to do so.

That is a lesson I will never forget.

And I hate to say it, but bring on the structure.

Killer Carpet

July 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Janet Morris Grimes –

“Here. I will lift up this bunk bed, and you unroll the carpet underneath.” I knew when I uttered those words that our method would never work, but there were only the two of us, and it had to be done.

My oldest daughter and I were in the process of helping my youngest daughter move into her dorm for her first semester of college. The furniture was already in place. Even the clothes in the drawers. But we discovered the well-hidden truck that sold rolls of carpet nearby, and decided that carpet was what the room lacked.

The problem, first and foremost, was that the smallest roll of carpet was still too large for the room. Secondly, the brand new furniture was rather heavy. But perhaps because we were a bit loopy from too many trips up the stairs and the late night packing party from the previous night, we were determined to make it work.

In a perfect world, the room would be empty, then the carpet installed, then the furniture placed on top of it. But we weren’t in a perfect world. We were in a dorm room with pre-existing furniture and the hallways too crowded with others moving in to move anything out there.

So, with a borrowed box cutter, we started the process and quickly proved that we had no carpeting experience. It was too heavy to push or pull more than an inch at a time, and ripped out the majority of our fingernails within the first couple of minutes. Thankfully, the left-behind nail particles blended in with the carpet, so we moved on.

There was no place to put the drawers but on the bunk beds, making them even heavier. Inch by inch, we scooted the carpet underneath and cut around the odd shaped column that protruded from the wall. We nearly severed an arm at the elbow, ripped a shirt, and laughed until we cried, but soon, the floor was mostly covered and the crooked parts remained hidden.

Mission accomplished. Until we tried to open the closet door.

Only then did we discover that the carpet was too thick. The door and the floor could not coexist peacefully with the carpet in between them.

So, out came the box cutter and we cut a huge square out in a spot that could never be hidden.

And our shoddy work is now obvious to everyone who enters.

There is something to be said for doing things in the proper order with careful planning in advance. Those who choose to do otherwise pay the consequences.

Lesson learned and still recovering.

Letting Go

July 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Janet Morris Grimes –

This is for all of our friends who are going through this phase of life along with us.

Pride. Loneliness. Uncertainty. Faith. Tears. Laughter. Hope. Future. Past. Present. Purpose. Exhaustion. Excitement. Planning. Commitment. Investment. Life. Love. Moments. Remember. Expressions. Belief. Growth. Expense. Expansion. Talents. Overcoming. Fun. Roots. Wings. Dedication. Wonder. Wander. Prayer. Trust. Triumph. Shopping. Cleaning. Messing. Organizing. Trashing. Leaving. Arriving. Packing. Parking. Loading. Unloading. Rules. Chances. Choices. Strangers. Neighbors. Friends. Steps. Doors. Open. Closed. Locked. Directions. Signs. Lights. Bulbs. Power. Strips. Windows. Access. Login. Email. Personal. Mailbox. Laundry. Instructions. Shelves. Food. Fridge. Midnight. Movies. Music. Singing. Shower. Identity. Challenge. Depth. Comforter. Noise. Silence. Alone. Away. Anew. Chapters. Seasons. Worth it.

Hugs.

Letting go.

To my daughter, I trust that you and God will have a blast together in college. I can’t wait to hear what He teaches you. You have no idea what He has taught me, because of you. Through you.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the blessing of being a parent. We know that our children belong to You, and trust You to finish what You have started in them. Protect them and keep them safe. Draw them close.

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

I Don’t Want FRA!

June 17, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Janet Morris Grimes –

She walked her daughter gingerly into the school for her first day of Kindergarten. Other students dwarfed the tiny girl, and her new school uniform was bigger than she was. Her eyes widened as she took in all that surrounded her. Brightly colored letters splashed across the walls, more intimidating than welcoming, as they announced things she could not yet understand.

The teacher knelt to meet her face to face. She seemed friendly enough, but the girl buried herself into the legs of her mother. She attempted to climb up her mother. To squeeze tighter. To somehow regain the life that she felt slipping from her fingers.

How had she gotten here? Just yesterday, her days were filled with playtime with her baby sister, splashing in the backyard pool, or riding her bicycle. Popsicles dripping down her chin after lunch, staying up late and sleeping as late as possible. Just yesterday, her home was the center of her universe.

Each day, the same scene played itself out. Tears, sobs, and unanswered questions. Why did it all have to change? What happened to the way things used to be?

Every day, as she put on her uniform, she cried all the way to school, saying over and over again. “I don’t want FRA! I don’t want FRA!”

A dear friend shared this story with me about her daughter’s first week of Kindergarten. It took them most of the week to figure out what she was saying. And why.

FRA, as it turned out, stood for Franklin Road Academy, the name of the private school where she attended. Those initials were on the sign in the front, on the uniform shirt that she wore each day, and on the shirts of her classmates.

She didn’t even know what to call it. Her unexpected surroundings. And though she couldn’t read, she was smart enough to know what those letters said. And to know that she wanted no part of it. Whatever FRA stood for, she wanted out.

I fully understand how she feels. There are many times when my surroundings were changed without notice. My life shifted to a completely new direction, without my permission.

There are many days I feel like screaming, “I don’t want FRA!” Whatever this is, even if I don’t know what to call it, I want no part of it. I want everything to go back to the way it used to be.

The good news is that Jesus is already there, in the midst of our FRA’s. He makes a way for us. He is never surprised by our circumstances. When we face them, and it’s all that we can do to cling to him and cry, he is there.

This beautiful girl went on to adore her Kindergarten experience. As a matter of fact, she thrived.

Jesus wants the same for us. And He knows us well enough to know that it may be our unpleasant and unexpected circumstances that cause us to reach out to Him.

“You hem me in, behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5 NIV).

Next Page »