Category Archives: Seeing God Around You

Grace … Get it, Share it, Appreciate it

I met a guy this weekend. A young man that understands grace in a way that I never really will. Scripture tells us that the one forgiven much – loves much. Now don’t get me wrong, I know I am a sinner and I know I don’t deserve His grace … but I also know I am loved and forgiven based on His grace. But the story I heard this weekend just reminded me how huge God’s love really is – an ocean doesn’t even come close to describing it, for an ocean can be measured. Yes, huge, but still measurable. God’s love is even greater. Wow!

So, Grace.

This young man had a rough background. He has done some intense criminal activities, and still could face prison time. But you know … I saw tenderness, humility, and a love for others. He said if he went to prison, he was okay with that. He would just share God’s love there. Wow.

Years ago, I was blessed to travel with a ministry group. Once, a former Hell’s Angel travelled with us sharing his story. Just like this weekend, I was in the presence of someone who understood great forgiveness, great grace, and had a deep love for God.

Scripture tells us that the one forgiven much – loves much!

Neither of these guys were perfect. They both were still growing in the grace and love of our Lord. But they both reminded me how much I too, and you too, need God’s love and forgiveness.

But we often forget it – take it for granted – and don’t even care about showing it. One of the saddest memories in my ministry was the response of a church member when we were doing an Purpose Driven Life Weekend in Louisiana. I scheduled prayer meetings for various small groups in homes scattered throughout the community. One of the homes was owned by a person that had made some unwise decisions in the past … had confessed to his small group and asked for forgiveness from God and from them. And I was the leader for the prayer meeting, not the home owner. But another member said it was inappropriate and I should move the prayer meeting. When I discussed forgiveness and grace with the ‘disappointed member’, they said we shouldn’t forgive and that we forgive way too much. Again, wow. I asked if we should accept his tithes and offerings, let him sing in church … after all, he had asked for forgiveness. They stared in disbelief I would even ask. Once more, wow. But this wow is in my disbelief.

Now, where am I on this scale? Too often a bit too unforgiving and lacking compassion. Too often forgetting how much He has forgiven me. I’ve softened as the birthdays have piled up. It helps me understand how in John 8, when Jesus wrote in the sand – it was the older ones who dropped their rocks and walked away first. We realize how messy we really are … and how great His love truly is.

So … don’t wait till your my age to appreciate His grace. Know now, live in it now, and let the world know – we are forgiven.

Be blessed.

Todd, one with muddy shoes.

Winnie the Pooh – are you that kind of bear?

Winnie the Pooh (from the opening pages)

Sometimes Winnie-the-Pooh likes a game of some sort when he comes downstairs, and sometimes he likes to sit quietly in front of the fire and listen to a story. This evening—“What about a story?” said Christopher Robin.

“What about a story?” I said.

“Could you very sweetly tell Winnie-the-Pooh one?”

“I suppose I could,” I said. “What sort of stories does he like?”

“About himself. Because he’s that sort of Bear.”

“Oh, I see.”

“So could you very sweetly?”

“I’ll try,” I said.”

So I tried …


So begins A.A. Milne’s classic writings on Winnie the Pooh. With the movie ‘Christopher Robin’ hitting the screens in August, I thought I would go back and read the original works. And like almost always, I try to see how I can glean lessons for life from a Christ centered world view and connect it as illustrations for the truths of the Bible. Little kids (and big kids like me) sometimes remember better when things like talking bears, bunnies that do opera (Bugs Bunny), or road runner chasing coyotes are part of the story telling.

And it didn’t take long. On the very first page, I was amazed at the profound insight from Winnie the Pooh’s desire. He likes to hear stories about himself. Because he is that sort of bear.

Really? Seems a bit selfish, a bit narcissistic don’t you think?

But as I pondered, and had a bit of self-revelation, I think we are that sort of bear too. Most of us like to hear people talk about us – we may not admit it but we like it. Compliment us, tell us we are doing well at work, give a shout out to us through Facebook or IG. We not only like to hear it, we like to see it – snap that selfie, give us those duck lips (which are only cute on Daffy, just saying), or tag us in a group pic.

No matter how it is done, most of us selfishly enjoy such attention. But I want to challenge us to see a different way, a Biblical way …

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Outdo one another in showing honor.

But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

I think you get the point. Let’s be encouraging to others, let’s put them before ourselves, let’s serve and lift them up – leaving any glory to Him and Him alone.

This week, how will you make an effort to elevate others? Send a note or email, tell a coworker they are appreciated, write a thank you card to your mother (you heard me, your mother), or whatever.

Just don’t be the kind of bear that likes to only hear stories about yourself. Leave that for Winnie the Pooh.

……

Excerpt From

Winnie-the-Pooh – Deluxe Edition

A. A. Milne

Verses – Phil 2.3, Rom 12.10, John 3.30, 1 Cor 10.24

Spiritual Snapshot of the Week

This is my newest thread in the ‘Muddy Shoes’ blogs-a-sphere. I want to do an occasional ‘Spiritual Snapshot of the Week.’ It is like a visual image moment of what the whole blog is about. It is seeing God in this world – seeing Him work, seeing His majesty, and seeing the beauty of His creation – kind of a Godly ‘Kodak Moment’ or Spiritual Instagram Shot.

So what do these look like? It may be a flower bloom, the wind blowing the limbs of a tree, a child running to his mother, a group praying around a meal, a sunset, the tide at a beach, a tear at a graveside, the cityscape, a run down building, the steeple of a church in the distance, or countless other possibilities. It is not a picture I saw on social media or the USA Today pictures of the week – nope. It will be something I witnessed personally. So your Spiritual Snapshot will be unique to you – and I would love to see snap shots from  your week as well.

Now this week, I came up with the idea too late to pull out my iPhone and take a shot (actually I did take one picture – and it was a great moment, but it is not the one I am going to list.)

This week – I am going for the easy one – a sunrise. Note: I didn’t take the picture (To be honest, I was driving. So to take the picture would’ve been illegal and unsafe.) So since I didn’t take the picture, I will steal one from Jason Yopp’s Instagram – and he posts lots of sunrise or sunset images. The image attached is ripped directly from his social media – so thanks Yopp.

The beauty of a sunrise is something that points us to the artistic Creator. The sunrise reminds us that God joy is new every morning. And this sunrise really hit home. I was driving home from the over-night shift at the hotel. I was tired and frustrated from some difficult guest issues. I missed being with Lisa so much because of our schedule. And, I was feeling a bit in a slump. Then as I traveled Dallas North Tollway, I looked to the East.  I saw some colorful rays breaking through the clouds.  I saw the majestic light crest the horizon. I saw a reminder that God is still on the throne – For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things.

This sunrise did more than just bring physical light – it brought me Spiritual renewal as well. I need more of these – And I truly believe, so do you.

So keep your camera ready. And when you see that Spiritual Snapshot – take a picture and share it with your fam, your friends, and all your peeps.