Especially during times of stress, we in the body of Christ should serve as a model for gracious service. Jesus said He came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for our sins. He commissioned us to consider the needs of others before our own. We can accomplish this by staying in the power of the Holy Spirit, which is renewed within us by prayer.

Especially during times of stress, we in the body of Christ should serve as a model for gracious service. Jesus said He came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for our sins. He commissioned us to consider the needs of others before our own. We can accomplish this by staying in the power of the Holy Spirit, which is renewed within us by prayer.

Hebrews 12:15 (NLT) Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.

Hebrews 12:25 (NCV) So be careful and do not refuse to listen when God speaks.

Hebrews 3:15 (CSB) Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.

50. Open_Bible
God’s Holy Word speaks into our hearts … if we allow Him in.

THE WRITER OF HEBREWS gives two instructions: one to those who have received God’s redeeming grace and one to those who remain outside His grace.

To believers, he says we should care for one another so that no one will fail to receive “the grace of God.” To unbelievers, he admonishes them not to harden their hearts when they “hear his voice.”


HOW DO WE, as believers, work to ensure that both instructions are followed?

Through prayer and only through prayer. We pray for our continued fellowship and obedience, and we pray for the opportunity to share the Gospel in word and deed with others.

Jesus reminded us (John 15) that we are to “abide” in Him and promised He would abide in us; that He is the vine, we are the branches, and that, without Him, we can do nothing.


SO, WE CANNOT guarantee or ensure that unbelievers will listen to the Good News when presented, but we can pray in advance that God will give us the words to say, the opportunity to say them, and receiving hearts to hear them.

The rest is up to God’s Holy Spirit and the unbeliever.




O LORD, help us to be faithful to Your command for our lives. Give us the people You want us to reach, the opportunity to reach them, the right words to say, and the right tone to say them, and give them open ears and willing hearts to listen and believe. We lift this prayer in the redeeming and sanctifying name of Jesus Christ, AMEN

Honoring Jesus–Surprise Blogger Award

A surprise opportunity – via the Sunshine Blogger Award – to nominate fellow Bible-based bloggers whose work deserves recognition.

This is a different blog post than what normally appears here — and might never again! — but I’ve been given an unsought, but wonderful, God-blessed opportunity to learn more about some of the worthy — and sometimes under appreciated — Christian bloggers who pour their effort, thoughts, and prayers into a meditation and then share it (potentially) with the entire world for an unknown number of years. It also is an opportunity to share with my readers some blogs I am starting to read regularly. (This might look like a long post, but it’s written in a way to facilitate scanning. Please enjoy this!)

“For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think.” Romans 12:3a (NET)

“So let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:17 (CSB)

Official Seal

A FEW DAYS AGO, a fellow blogger — Ryan Callahan — surprised me and honored me with a nomination for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

LoveAndGrace was mentioned alongside other worthy blog sites.

As a result of the nomination, I was tasked with identifying 11 other sites that I could nominate!

The real pleasure with the nomination, which is not an award itself — just a nod — is to acknowledge the work of some fellow bloggers whose work I enjoy and to bring them to your attention.

One of those sites is Ryan’s. Since he nominated me, I can’t nominate him back, but I’ll get around that by introducing him to my readers, anyway. His blog site is at He is an energetic blogger, who not only writes insightfully and with great praise for the Savior’s glory but is a consummate encourager. I am indebted to his positive feedback, as I imagine quite a host of bloggers are.

The Rules: 

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to him or her.
  • Answer the 11 questions provided by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions of your own.
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post.


HERE ARE MY NOMINATIONS, in no particular order. All are worthy:

  1. Heather Quiroz — who writes To Declare His Glory. ( Heather spins an amazingly insightful meditation out of a verse fragment rather than an entire verse or passage. Here’s just one example: “…And we boast in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). That is the text source for her post. She ends all of her blogs with a prayer from a place of humility. I feel a kinship with her spirit and have suggested her blog to some of my readers. It gives me pleasure to introduce her to a wider audience.
  2. Karl D. Rhoads — who writes Focused and Free. You can find him at Karl humbly confesses his gratitude to the Lord for helping clear him of substance abuse. I, too, was freed from alcohol abuse by the Savior’s love and power, so I can relate to my brother. Karl’s blog pieces reflect considerable thought. When you read him, you know he spent meaningful time in prayer composing his meditation.
  3. Karina Lam — who writes Karina’s Thought. You can find her at She is a young woman (I believe of Chinese ancestry) with a husband and son. She lives in Australia. She has attracted a devoted following (392 comments on her About me page!) A recent post, Sept. 22, Always Pray, and Never Give Up, received “likes” from nearly 160 bloggers, in addition to non-blogger readers. Don’t let her English proficiency detract you — she offers deep insight that comes from a heart committed to the Lord.
  4. Sealed in Christ — That’s the group name for this blog, found at I’ve corresponded with Dee (I know her only as DEE@SSM) and found to be a delightfully modest individual, considering the amazing blog site she has composed. I’m reading a five-part series now on “The Day of the Lord,” and I recommend it highly to any of my readers. (Ryan already nominated this site, so I’m “cheating” by double-dipping. I might also be nominating other sites previously nominated, but I don’t have a complete list.)
  5. John Eli-Garay — You can find him at John is a pastor, who travels between Mexico and the United States. He writes storyline vignettes that take you right into the car with him as he drives, into his mind as he ponders his next steps, and into his heart as he surrenders his will to Jesus. When you arrive at the final sentence and his post his over, you take a deep breath and thank the Lord for servants like him. Well worth reading. Please check out his latest post, “Racism, the Gospel, and I”.
  6. This is a new one for me, but I’m enjoying it already. It’s called Jess Kidding17, found at I really liked her whimsical piece, “Why I Choose Not to Post Consistently”. Many bloggers fire up 3-4 posts a day, but she paces herself nicely. Since I also miss self-imposed publication times, I enjoyed reading her matter-of-fact story. She promises readers reader-friendly posts on everything from God’s grace to messy hair days to surviving momhood. Sounds like someone you’d like to have lunch with and lose track of the time.
  7. Rip-Roar Get High on Life — You can find him at This author of this site refers to himself humbly as ChristDisciple. He is a father of five who strives to be active and involved in their lives. His blog intermingles insightful meditations based on a biblical text source with anecdotes or stories from his personal life, which make him seem like just the person you’d like to share coffee with. One of his recent posts, “Get Your Own Dirt”, is one I have quoted to friends since I read it. You need to see it!
  8. Here’s a website I just learned about. It’s Bible Exposition from David Istre and is found at This site is an extremely well-organized landing spot to learn more about the Bible. It also boasts a conversation thread, called Disqus, which cultivates community. There is a rich amount of content here, emphasizing the history and significance of biblical concepts. It’s a great blog site for those who want to delve deeper into their knowledge of Christ’s eternal message.
  9. Jesus Our Deliverer, by Ian Michael. This very interesting blog, found here is hosted by Ian, a 13-year-old boy, whose writing is spiritually mature. In his words, “I made this blog to encourage others in their walk with God and to share about my own experiences.” Here’s a recent post to check out: “God promises to be with you”.
  10. Through Ian’s blog, I just discovered another very good entry that I would like to introduce to my readers, Elle’s Everyday, which is found here: It’s written by Elle Lovett, a 13-year-old girl, who, like Ian, writes with a spiritual maturity beyond her years. In one essay, “The Role of a Christian Female,” she tackles the thorny issue of God’s intended roles for men and women in ministry and does so in a crisp, convincing, and non-judgmental manner.
  11. Adventures in Grace — This is another interesting blog I discovered from Ryan while investigating Christian-based blog sites. It’s written by Liz, a mother to three grown daughters, who humbly proclaims her own life journey with the Savior has been challenging at times, but always covered by His love and mercy. You can find it here: Check out her post, “Grace and the Pedestrian” and see for yourself. Very powerful.


Okay, that completes my required 11 nominations (12, really, because I included Ryan’s blog). There are four other sites I want to bring to my readers’ attention. They do not need me to “nominate” them, but they deserve reference for any of my readers who have not encountered them:

      1. Godly Chic Diaries – You can find her at She describes herself as a 21-year-old law student with more than 16,000 followers. While I don’t know her country, her spelling of “favourite” things places her within the British Empire. She is unpretentious and dearly loved by her army of adoring fans. With those numbers, she doesn’t need my endorsement, but this is a website you should check out.
      2. Beauty Beyond Bones —You can find her at This is a delightful website that is more commercial than most, but the blogger — Name — writes from a place of insight and deep Christian faith. One recent post announced her 40,000th follower: 40,000 and Me! This young woman also posts videos of her short meditations. Among her most delightful postings are heartfelt discussions of her nascent dating life, her faithful desire to remain pure in body and spirit, and the struggles she went through during a bout with anorexia that landed her in the hospital. Often, she posts enticing recipes, with mouth-watering photos.
      3. David Fischer — His blog can be found at David often posts throughout the day, offering visual encouragement — Bible verses or inspirational quotes placed against an arresting backdrop. He builds community through his personal touches, from family vacations to unfortunate illnesses so that he comes alive as a real person, working for the Lord in an intimate way.
      4. Inmate Blogger — I am not making this up. There is an amazing blog site  at that takes you right into the prison cells of men and women, some of whom are doing extremely long stretches of time, separated from their children, spouses, and everyone else of importance in their lives. They write about what that’s like. The site allows them to share their individual stories, opinions, talents, and thoughts. Some of the writing is amazingly erudite, some of it is poorly constructed, but all of it impacts your heart.


ANOTHER CATEGORY UNDER “I am not making this up” is a question-and-answer section, comprised of 11 questions. Recipients are to answer the 11 questions sent to them and then send 11 questions on to their nominees. 


  1. Favorite holiday and why?  Pentecost.  I know we don’t celebrate it as such, but it’s when the Holy Spirit was given to Christ’s followers.  It’s when Christmas and Easter gained their meaning.  It’s when Christ’s work, through us, began.
  2. Favorite animal and why you chose it?  May I pass on this one?  I have an aversion to household pets, except I’m fascinated by aquariums.
  3. Favorite quote?  I like this one from Paul David Tripp, referencing the life change Jesus brings: “As he changes us, he allows us to be part of what he is doing in the lives of others.”
  4. Words of wisdom for someone?  “Friend, you owe me no explanations. I didn’t walk on water, I never healed anyone, and I didn’t die on the Cross for you. Someone else did. You need to decide what that means for your life.”
  5. A gift that was your favorite and why?  A Keurig one-cup travel coffeemaker. My wife bought it for me as a surprise anniversary gift. (I almost bought it for myself a week earlier. So glad I waited!)
  6. Favorite movie? God Is Alive.” David A.R. White does a great job of bringing Christian themes to life. This one traces a young college student’s faith walk when challenged by a philosophy professor.
  7. Favorite Song?  “Prince of Peace” by Hillsong United (Close second: “Praise You in the Storm” by Casting Crowns)
  8. Favorite lyrics in a song and explain why. “Oh, be still my heart/And my soul will ever know that You are God/And You heard my prayer.” From “Prince of Peace.” Such comforting words, that He is our God and He loves us.
  9. Someone you look up to? Max Lucado. He writes like a charm, both clearly and with spiritual depth. Very accessible. Also, he is dedicated to the craft of writing as a tool to reach people for the Lord. Surely, if I had been a Christian early in life, I would have liked a career path like his; God willing, of course.
  10. Share with us a picture and tell us what it is. Sunrise off Tybee Island, Ga., in March 2017, with my lovely wife silhouetted from the back taking a picture of the sunrise.

    Tybee Island, Ga. (March 2017)

11. Share somethingI was a “seeker” after the Lord for four years (11/01/06-11/10/10). I don’t know if there’s a dubious record for the longest time of approach-and-resist, but, in the end, Jesus showed me that He is stronger than the Enemy, and for that, I am eternally grateful.


Okay, now I have to send 11 questions to each of the bloggers I have nominated. My list does not include the question about pets!


O glorious and merciful Father, we praise Your holy name. We give You all the glory. We are so grateful for Your love and patience with us. Most of all, O Lord, we are thankful for the saving work of the Holy Spirit and the sacrifice of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who redeemed us for eternal life. Lord, hear our prayer, heal our hearts, and lead us to live out the Gospel for Your glory. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. AMEN





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