How to Show God you are Grateful Today…. with a Kiss.

Show your gratitude to God today by giving someone a Kindness inspired by the Holy Spirit. (KISS)



Yesterday marked the anniversary of my infant daughter’s ‘Heaven Day.’
After 40 days of encouraging ups and heartbreaking downs in the NICU,
God’s loving presence embraced me as I held my baby’s beautiful, perfectly formed body for the last time. Peace covered me like the soft, warm wings of
the angels that carried her home.


Days later, while I watched her tiny coffin lowered carefully into the frozen
ground, this peace continued to cover me as the thick, white snow clings to a
barren tree.


Soon after all my friends and family went back to their own lives, I realized
why the loss of a child has been described as having one’s arm cut off. The
limb will never grow back, and the pain is agonizing as the process of the
raw, open wound slowly heals. Insensitive comments and pat explanations
sting as if salt is being rubbed into the open wound.


My husband and I both carried gaping wounds and grieved differently. As a
result, we could not comfort each other. During this lonely, terrible time of
darkness, my sensitive small daughters each regressed as they reacted to the
recent rollercoaster of events and emotions. The oldest, who before Megan’s
death had been potty-trained, reverted and started to cling to me for support.
Both vied for my attention, and bickered between themselves. I struggled to
care for them as the grief sapped so much of my energy.


For example, I remember standing at the sink one day, and yelling out to God,
“Why did you give her to me… only to take her away?” Tears ran down my
cheeks and I shook with pain. Underneath my anger cried a hurt little girl
who felt that God had ignored her prayers. Truly, I had begged for God to
heal my baby.


A few months after both the funeral and my emotional outburst to God, I
bundled up my two older daughters (three-and-a-half, and two-years-old),
and drove to the local mall. Soon after we arrived, I decided to buy ice cream
for my precious little ones in the food court. When I approached the register
to pay for it, the cashier explained that our treats had been taken care of. The
bearded man explained, “Each day a man comes here, and picks someone to
buy ice cream for. Today he picked you and your little girls.”


Oh what a sweet kiss from God when I needed it the most.


My need wasn’t money, for I had plenty to buy ice cream. But what I had
needed to know was that God saw me. I needed to know that He cared about
me, and that He would tend to my tender faith and raw questions.


I now had proof that I was not alone. This was the beginning of my awakening
to the fact that God saw my sore, hurting heart, and grieved with me. He
would gently guide me through my journey, and help me one moment at a
time.


God’s loving touch of sweet provision soothed my raw, hurting heart as cool, sweet ice cream runs down and coats a sore throat.


Twenty-four years later, my eyes still fill with mist when I remember how I
felt during this time, the lowest and loneliest season in my life. But then those
sad tears join with ones of gratefulness as I also remember God’s personal
kisses of kindness.


I now realize how important doing acts of kindness anonymously can be,
for then the recipient does not have to use up energy to repay anybody back.
Because of this, the recipient can truly receive a gift from the hand of God
⁠—the One who is The Giver of all good gifts.


I call these inspired and Spirit-led acts of kindness giving a KISS from God.



A KISS is different from the often referred to, “Random Act of Kindness” or
“RAK,” which has the connotation of just being due to random luck. Instead, a
“Kiss” in not accidental at all, but consists of who looks and prays for someone
who is hurting, and by listening to God, takes action for how to best respond.


“What is Love to me?” someone might ask.


A small cone of vanilla ice cream given by a stranger.

How to have a Jubilee kind of year in 2022 -diamonds included by Amber O’Brien

Happy New year to you my friend! Did you know that every 50 years comes a really special one? …. the Jubilee. I have found the secret of how to have this joyous Jubilee year right now in 2022.

So let me start by explaining about the Year of Jubilee in the Old Testament. On the day when the awaited Jubilee year begins ( kind of like our New Year’s Eve) a single long victorious blast (after 10 days of fasting, prayer and repentance) rang out announcing freedom and joyfully proclaiming that all family land is to be returned to the original owner. ( Lev. 25:13) All debts were to be forgiven and forgotten, and any family members who were slaves (for working off debt) would be set free. Can you imagine the joy and celebrating on this awaited, victorious year of all years? Imagine……your husband or son set free from slavery. Restored family land and relationships. A fresh new beginning for God’s chosen people.

In order to relate and understand this ancient Israel Joyous celebration to our modern culture, please imagine this scenario with me: 

A wealthy older relative entrusts you with an exquisite, dazzling diamond ring and instructs you to pass the ring down to your children and grandchildren. The large, pure, brilliant diamond is a priceless masterpiece and your most valued possession.

Every time you look at this great gift, you are reminded of the great love of the one who bestowed it to you. However, as the years go by you make some poor choices that put your family into debt. In order to buy food for your family, you are left with the agonizing decision to exchange your ring for money at a local pawn shop.  For years you diligently work in an effort to buy the ring back but to no avail.

You grief for your own loss is multiplied as you also grieve for future generations who have lost out on this gift as well because of your past poor choices. Sometimes you visit the pawn shop to just admire the beautiful ring. Though the ring has now become dirty and dull from neglect. But you still yearn to have it back and regret your past mistakes. and worse of all, you know deep down in your heart that you are lost and dirty just like the family Jewel.

One day (decades after you sold the ring), you stop by the pawn shop and the owner tells you that your ring has been paid for in full and will be yours again,  You fall to your knees in grateful relief as tears stream down your joyful face. You ask the pawn shop owner  “Who did this?” 

A wealthy Prince steps out from behind the curtain and kneels down to wipe your tears and then lifts you up. “I’ve come to pay off all your family debt, and to restore all that you have lost. I am the Jubilee. I am your redeemer who has come to set you free” He presents the diamond and right away you notice that it has been cleaned and now brightly dazzles. and you know in your soul that if you ask for help, your heart will be cleaned and restored as well.

Who is this Prince who left His perfect Kingdom to rescue us and provide a way for restoration with His Father, the King of Kings ? His name is Jesus.

 Jesus is our Jubilee

In fact, when Jesus walked this broken earth he declared that He had come to be our Jubilee. He went to his own local town (Nazareth) and read out loud from the prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 61 1-2) in the synagogue about himself.

Jesus stood up and read:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. ” Luke 4: 18-19

And he rolled up the scroll and give it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all the synagogue were fixed on him. And He began to say to them,

“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus used the word Today.

Today, starts the Year of the Lord’s favor. Today, my friend.

He promises liberty for Today because of Easter Day.

Can you hear the brass trumpets on Easter Day that echo the sound of Liberty of the shofar horn?

And on The Final Day when we will be liberated from these waning, perishable bodies, the angels will play a final trumpet victory blast. (Math. 24 :31-32, 1 Corinth. 15:51-52)

Do you (like me) feel like the dirty diamond who has lost its shine? Perhaps the eyes of your blind heart need to be opened? Do you want to have your debts (sins) forgiven by the great Redeemer? Would you like your relationship to be restored with your friend and Lord Jesus? Remember that the Shofar blasted after a time of prayer, fasting and repentance.

He is waiting. Stop trying to clean yourself up. He just needs you to admit that you need help. Fall to your knees in humble worship and allow Him to forgive, set-free, clean, restore and lift you up.

The Secret to having a Jubilee year in 2022 is to let ourselves be cleaned first. Then, you and I will sparkle like freshly-cleaned, dazzling diamonds in this dark and needy world.

Jesus came to set us free! Jesus is our Jubilee!


	

The Gift of Grace guest post By Lynn Moratis

Who doesn’t love gifts? There’s always excitement when you find a present with pretty paper and a bow waiting for you. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Most of the time when receiving a gift, you don’t know what’s inside – it’s a surprise. So all the more anticipation, until it’s opened. Sometimes it’s not what we expected, sometimes it’s more than we expected and sometimes it may not fit correctly. I hope you’ll join me in reading about a gift that will always fit and won’t disappoint. We just need to accept the gift and believe in it with our hearts and profess it with our mouths.

Romans 10:9 – “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.

The Sweet Sister’s were recently together for a Monday night study and the topic I shared was the Gift of Grace.

You may ask what is Grace really? Grace is a free gift, providing us with something we didn’t deserve, it’s favor bestowed upon us as a gift. A life changing gift, a guarantee of eternity, and a friend to walk through life with you that knows your every need. To me grace is forgiveness and love all wrapped up in one, and it cost Jesus his life, for me it was free. Wow – what a gift the Father gave us. The least we can do is share it with others.

In Ephesians 2:8 the Bible tells us that “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”.

The best news is you don’t have to wait for your birthday or a special occasion to receive this gift. It’s available right now today. Imagine if you found it through a real life encounter with Jesus – in person. In John 4 Jesus meets a woman at the well, drawing water. They have a conversation, he even shares her cup of water, which was not common in this time. As he talks, he offers her living water so that she may never thirst again:

John 4: 13 – 14 “Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whosoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.

We know from context that this woman had some sin in her life, but Jesus shared the gift of time with her. What an interesting conversation they had. Once she realizes the gift he’s bestowing and who he is – she runs to share it with others. She is bubbling the good news, like a spring of living water.

John 4:39 tells us that “Many of the Samaritans from the town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, he told me everything I ever did.”

She needed the gift of grace. Jesus was seeking her that day, just like he seeks us. He wants us to take the gift of Grace and he wants us to share Grace with others. Our opportunity is two fold, to take the grace so freely given and accept Jesus and then to bestow grace to others. Who do you know today who could benefit from some grace?

I’m so glad I found Grace when I was young. However, it’s taken me years of living this life to really come to fully understand the full impact of the Gift of Grace. It’s the only gift I ever received that will last forever and at the same time a dependable gift for any circumstance. I have countless examples of when I’ve needed Grace, challenges in school as a young adult, insecurities with my self image and fears, marital difficulties, a divorce, immaturity, selfishness, and most of all trying to live my life my way versus his way – Grace always brought me back. My life would have been more peaceful if I had embraced Grace and understand it fully, but that was my path. What path are you on today?

I challenge you to think about your opportunities to share Grace with others and to lean in on this awesome “Gift” in your own world. Continue to drink from the well of living water so that the Spirit bubbles up for all to see and guides your path. The book of Galatians tells us how –


Galatians 5: 22 – 25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Remember the commercials back in 2007 – “Got Milk”? We’ve got something better we “Got Grace”.

XoXo – Lynn

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Unauthorized interception of this communication could be a violation of Federal and State Law. This communication and any files transmitted with it are confidential and may contain protected health information. This communication is solely for the use of the person or entity to whom it was addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, distribution, printing or acting in reliance on the contents of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and destroy any and all copies. Thank you. ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 855-258-6518 注意:如果您使用繁體中文,您可以免費獲得語言援助服務。請致電 855-258-6518 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc. and all of their corporate affiliates comply with applicable federal civil rights laws and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.

Who doesn’t love gifts? There’s always excitement when you find a present with pretty paper and a bow waiting for you. Gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Most of the time when receiving a gift, you don’t know what’s inside – it’s a surprise. So all the more anticipation, until it’s opened. Sometimes it’s not what we expected, sometimes it’s more than we expected and sometimes it may not fit correctly. I hope you’ll join me in reading about a gift that will always fit and won’t disappoint. We just need to accept the gift and believe in it with our hearts and profess it with our mouths.

Romans 10:9 – “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved”.

The Sweet Sister’s were recently together for a Monday night study and the topic I shared was “the Gift of Grace.”

You may ask what is Grace really? Grace is a free gift, providing us with something we didn’t deserve; it’s favor bestowed upon us as a gift. A life changing gift, a guarantee of eternity, and a friend to walk through life with you that knows your every need. To me grace is forgiveness and love all wrapped up in one, and it cost Jesus his life, for me it was free. Wow – what a gift the Father gave us. The least we can do is share it with others.

In Ephesians 2:8 the Bible tells us that “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”.

The best news is you don’t have to wait for your birthday or a special occasion to receive this gift. It’s available right now- today. Imagine if you found it through a real life encounter with Jesus – in person. In John 4 Jesus meets a woman at the well, drawing water. They have a conversation, he even shares her cup of water, which was not common in this time. As he talks, he offers her living water so that she may never thirst again:

John 4: 13 – 14 “Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whosoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”.

We know from context that this woman had some sin in her life, but Jesus shared the gift of time with her. What an interesting conversation they had. Once she realizes the gift he’s bestowing and who he is – she runs to share it with others. She is bubbling the good news, like a spring of living water.

John 4:39 tells us that “Many of the Samaritans from the town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, he told me everything I ever did.”

She needed the gift of grace. Jesus was seeking her that day, just like he seeks us. He wants us to take the gift of Grace and he wants us to share Grace with others. Our opportunity is two fold, to take the grace so freely given and accept Jesus and then to bestow grace to others. Who do you know today who could benefit from some grace?

I’m so glad I found Grace when I was young. However, it’s taken me years of living this life to really come to fully understand the full impact of the Gift of Grace. It’s the only gift I ever received that will last forever and at the same time a dependable gift for any circumstance. I have countless examples of when I’ve needed Grace, challenges in school as a young adult, insecurities with my self image and fears, marital difficulties, a divorce, immaturity, selfishness, and most of all trying to live my life my way versus his way – Grace always brought me back. My life would have been more peaceful if I had embraced Grace and understand it fully, but that was my path. What path are you on today?

I challenge you to think about your opportunities to share Grace with others and to lean in on this awesome “Gift” in your own world. Continue to drink from the well of living water so that the Spirit bubbles up for all to see and guides your path. The book of Galatians tells us how –

Galatians 5: 22 – 25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Remember the commercials back in 2007 – “Got Milk”? We’ve got something better we “Got Grace”.

XoXo – Lynn

*******************************************************************************
Unauthorized interception of this communication could be a violation of Federal and State Law. This communication and any files transmitted with it are confidential and may contain protected health information. This communication is solely for the use of the person or entity to whom it was addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, any use, distribution, printing or acting in reliance on the contents of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and destroy any and all copies. Thank you. ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 855-258-6518 注意:如果您使用繁體中文,您可以免費獲得語言援助服務。請致電 855-258-6518 CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc. and all of their corporate affiliates comply with applicable federal civil rights laws and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.