Unexpected Blessings Quotes

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The past was always there, lived inside of you, and it helped to make you who you were. But it had to be placed in perspective. The past could not dominate the future.
Barbara Taylor Bradford (Unexpected Blessings (Emma Harte Saga #5))
When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.
C.S. Lewis
Screwing up is hardly a major mistake. Sometimes your wrong choices bring you to the right places.
Shannon L. Alder
Be a light unto the world, and hurt it not. Seek to build not destroy. Bring My people home. How? By your shining example. Seek only Godliness. Speak only in truthfulness. Act only in love. Live the Law of Love now and forever more. Give everything require nothing. Avoid the mundane. Do not accept the unacceptable. Teach all who seek to learn of Me. Make every moment of your life an outpouring of love. Use every moment to think the highest thought, say the highest word, do the highest deed. In this, glorify your Holy Self, and thus too, glorify Me. Bring peace to the Earth by bringing peace to all those whose lives you touch. Be peace. Feel and express in every moment your Divine Connection with the All, and with every person, place, and thing. Embrace every circumstance, own every fault, share every joy, contemplate every mystery, walk in every man’s shoes, forgive every offense (including your own), heal every heart, honor every person’s truth, adore every person’s God, protect every person’s rights, preserve every person’s dignity, promote every person’s interests, provide every person’s needs, presume every person’s holiness, present every person’s greatest gifts, produce every person’s blessing, pronounce every person’s future secure in the assured love of God. Be a living, breathing example of the Highest Truth that resides within you. Speak humbly of yourself, lest someone mistake your Highest Truth for boast. Speak softly, lest someone think you are merely calling for attention. Speak gently, that all might know of Love. Speak openly, lest someone think you have something to hide. Speak candidly, so you cannot be mistaken. Speak often, so that your word may truly go forth. Speak respectfully, that no one be dishonored. Speak lovingly, that every syllable may heal. Speak of Me with every utterance. Make of your life a gift. Remember always, you are the gift! Be a gift to everyone who enters your life, and to everyone whose life you enter. Be careful not to enter another’s life if you cannot be a gift. (You can always be a gift, because you always are the gift—yet sometimes you don’t let yourself know that.) When someone enters your life unexpectedly, look for the gift that person has come to receive from you…I HAVE SENT YOU NOTHING BUT ANGELS.
Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God: An Uncommon Dialogue, Book 2)
Life was life. It happened. You never knew what was going to come at you. Or how you could defend yourself.
Barbara Taylor Bradford (Unexpected Blessings (Emma Harte Saga #5))
We all go through hard times in life. It’s a part of being alive and it's the reality we all have to deal with. There are times we forget our value as a person because we are so blinded with these thoughts of loneliness, emptiness and ego. Somewhere along the road we become numbed with all the frustrations and dissatisfaction. But life itself isn't always about darkness and sadness, Life is also filled with colors and that makes it beautiful. Along this path of darkness there's always light waiting to be seen by our daunted hearts. Our heart is gifted to see this light. It may be hiding behind those circumstances that we encounter; in a stranger we just met at an unexpected place; a family who has been always there but you just ignored because of your imperfect relationship with them; it might be a long time friend you have or a friend you just met. Open your heart and you will see how blessed you are to have them all in your life. Sometimes they are the light that shines your path in some dark phases of life. Don't lose hope
Chanda Kaushik
When you are convinced that what you offer is yours, whether it be mediocre or of standard quality, your originality will make people love you in a way you did not expect.
Michael Bassey Johnson
What I have learned from the year past is something about miracles--miracles of healing and answered prayer and unexpected happy endings. Each came quietly and simply, on tiptoe, so that I hardly knew it had occurred. All this makes me realize that miracles are everyday things. Not only the sudden, great good fortune, wafting in on a new wind from the sky. They are almost routine, yet miracles just the same. Every time something hard becomes easier; every time you adjust to a situation which, last week, you didn't know existed; every time a kindness falls as softly as the dew; or someone you love who was ill grows better; every time a blessing comes, not with trumpet and fanfare, but silently as night, you have witnessed a miracle.
Faith Baldwin (Many Windows, Seasons of the Heart)
Sometimes what we think we need isn't what we need at all, and what gets thrown in for good measure is that which fills our hearts.
Philip Gulley (Home to Harmony (Harmony, #1))
I believe and declare that a turning point is near and unexpected blessings are on the way.
Germany Kent
Fortunately nothing is unexpected with God, and so if I am not with you, know I am with Him and I will see you again one day. Be blessed, my dear Bailey. Be loved. Be open to all God has in store for you. And don’t be afraid to enjoy His gifts.
Dani Pettrey (Submerged (Alaskan Courage, #1))
Maybe we should stop looking at why God doesn’t answer every prayer the way we think He should. But instead we should count it a blessing that He hears our prayers at all.
Jody Hedlund (Love Unexpected (Beacons of Hope, #1))
Each moment of loss, she has come to believe, contains within it the possibility of a new life. When the unimaginable happens, and your life changes irrevocably, you may find along with the pain a kind of grace. And in the place of certainty and fear—the fear of losing what you had—you are left with something startling: a depth of empathy, a quivering sensitivity to the world around you, and the unexpected blessing of gratitude for what remains.
Christina Baker Kline (Bird in Hand)
God was in the business of bringing blessings out of unexpected circumstances, but Lucy didn’t want this twist to her life. … but didn’t God ask the seemingly impossible at times?
Colleen Coble (Blue Moon Promise (Under Texas Stars, #1))
Sounds to me you just haven’t found the right man, is all,” Sage proposed. “When the time comes, it will be when you least expect it. My late husband died three years ago, and Nick and Niki came into my life unexpectedly. My husband ran a background check on me before we met, which was understandable. He had been through a messy divorce. He tried to stay away from me but couldn’t. I’m blessed to have them, including this bundle of joy,” she shone with pleasure.
Sharon Carter (Love Auction II: Love Designs)
Mrs. Mudkin closed her eyes. "We should pray." "I ain't praying," Crazy Cora said. Mrs. Mudkin said, "Lord, please bless---" "I ain't praying." "--this land and the people who--" "I ain't praying." "--have toiled on this earth--" "Stop that praying." "I can pray if I want to." "Then be quiet about it.
Sharon Creech (The Great Unexpected)
There’s never a moment in all our lives, from the day we trusted Christ till the day we see Him, when God is not longing to bless us. At every moment, in every circumstance, God is doing us good. He never stops. It gives Him too much pleasure. God is not waiting to bless us after our troubles end. He is blessing us right now, in and through those troubles. At this exact moment, He is giving us what He thinks is good.
Larry Crabb (Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy)
…growing pale and sober with the thought that her fate was soon to be decided; for, like all young people, she was sure that her whole life could be settled by one human creature, quite forgetting how wonderfully Providence trains us by disappointment, surprises us with unexpected success, and turns our seeming trials into blessing.
Louisa May Alcott (Jo's Boys)
That day has come. God is now dealing with us in a new way. Our badness is no longer the obstacle to blessing. Nor is our goodness the condition for blessing.
Larry Crabb (Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Path to Joy)
Know what you want and pray God that you recognize it when you see it....
Unoma Nwankwor (An Unexpected Blessing)
There are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.
Jeffrey R. Holland
...[M]ortals are strange when people die. The more we hated or loved someone, the more we want to remember them. .... When people die, especially in a shocking, violent, or unexpected way, they tend to forgive, or at least forget, what angered them. It’s a blessing of Persephone. She doesn’t like it when people talk ill of the dead, being Queen of the Underworld and everything. It is also why we bring flowers for the dead.
Mandy Oviatt (My Lady Olives (Olisbeth Mason Chronicles, #1))
You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun - and also one moment when we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven't perceived that moment, that it doesn't exist - that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists - a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles. Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest. Our magic moment helps us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to suffer, we will have difficult times, and we will experience many disappointments - but all of these are transitory; it leaves no permanent mark. And one day we will look back with pride and faith at the journey we have taken. Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps, this person would never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won't suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when the person looks back - she will never hear her heart saying 'What have you done with the miracles that God planted in your days? What have you done with the talents God has bestowed upon you? You buried yourself in a cave because you were fearful of losing those talents. So this is your heritage, the certainty that you wasted your life.' Pitiful are the people who must realize this. Because when they are finally able to believe in miracles, their life's magic moments will have already passed them by.
Paulo Coelho (By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept)
Providence trains us by disappointment, surprises us with unexpected success, and turns our seeming trials into blessings.
Louisa May Alcott (Jo's Boys)
C.S. Lewis once said that ‘When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.
C.P. Smith (Luke: A Scrooged Christmas)
Love of God and people will pave roads where there once were none.
Shannon L. Alder
This is the essence of faith, isn’t it? To keep hold of the knowledge that this isn’t the end, that there is a promise of heaven, that God can redeem even the most difficult circumstances.
Roma Downey (Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us)
Here we are, all these years later, standing back and watching our grown children have their lives - through ordinary times, through heartbreak and anguish. But even after horrible events, we are sometimes blessed with a moment of unexpected joy. We learn to grasp, to hold tightly to these moments for the short time they exist.
Frances Itani
But old Christmas smiled as he laid this cruel-seeming spell on the out-door world, for he meant to light up the home with new brightness, to deepen all the richness of in-door colour, and give a keener edge of delight to the warm fragrance of food: he meant to prepare a sweet imprisonment that would strengthen the primitive fellowship of kindred,and make the sunshine of familiar human faces as welcome as the hidden day-star. His kindness fell but hardly on the homeless--fell but hardly on the homes where the hearth was not very warm, and where the food had little fragrance, where the human faces had no sunshine in them,but rather the leaden, blank-eyed gaze of unexpectant want. But the fine old season meant well; and if he has not learnt the secret how to bless men impartially, it is because his father Time, with unrelenting purpose, still hides that secret in his own mighty, slow-beating heart.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
I’ve found that it is in those very moments of darkness that God can come in. In the dark is when His light can shine the brightest. For when we are struggling, unable to hold it all together, is when we surrender. And that is when He can finally pick us up and carry us.
Roma Downey (Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us)
I’ve learned that life twists and turns on you, that unexpected shit falls in your lap, and sometimes it’s a blessing and other times it’s your worst nightmare. Through all of that, I’ve learned that wasting time missing out on the things that really matter is just that—a waste of time.
Ginger Scott (The Girl I Was Before (Falling, #3))
Many, like Henry Knox, saw at once that with the enemy massing for battle so close at hand and independence at last declared by Congress, the war had entered an entirely new stage. The lines were drawn now as never before, the stakes far higher. “The eyes of all America are upon us,” Knox wrote. “As we play our part posterity will bless or curse us.” By renouncing their allegiance to the King, the delegates at Philadelphia had committed treason and embarked on a course from which there could be no turning back. “We are in the very midst of a revolution,” wrote John Adams, “the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of nations.
David McCullough (1776)
Be gracious in your giving for as long as you're living. The blessings will come back on an unexpected day, and present themselves in an unexpected way.
Joan Marques
Beautiful blessings come at the most unexpected hour.
Allene vanOirschot (Daddy's Little Girl)
Weather the storm, because sometimes blessings come in unexpected packages.
Angela Howell (Finding the Gift: Daily Meditations for Mindfulness)
when you are chosen for suffering, you are chosen for the blessing of displaying the works of God
Lysa TerKeurst (It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered)
There is a holiness about your tears. Each one is a prayer that only God can understand. KATHE WUNNENBURG
Roma Downey (Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us)
The redemption of our losses doesn’t make the pain go away; it doesn’t mean the loss didn’t happen. But it does mean that, in even the darkest moment, there can be light again.
Roma Downey (Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us)
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. JOSEPH CAMPBELL
Roma Downey (Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us)
The Beatles were right. All you need is love. Love makes a family, not DNA or background. Love. Just love. Simply love.
Roma Downey (Box of Butterflies: Discovering the Unexpected Blessings All Around Us)
Those years in the back diningroom, like some dark tunnel through which one emerges into sunshine, had ended for her in glory. All the time she had been so miserable, she had really been heading straight for this. She was awestruck. Such great and unexpected blessings should bring forth fruit, she vowed, and she would show her gratitude by seeing to it that they did.
Elizabeth von Arnim (Father)
There are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt - And certainly not to feel envious - when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the many universal of those... coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So behind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to love.
Jeffrey R. Holland
...she refused to dwell on or even to lament adversities, as she remained determined instead to receive them as though they were disguised blessings from which unexpected benefits would arise in time.
Dean Koontz (One Door Away from Heaven)
When life is forgiving enough to bless you with a minute, a second, of happiness, there's nothing to do but savor the moment, however odd or unexpected or foolish the source might be. Because who knows when those moments will grace us again.
Rebecca Harris
God still speaks to us. He speaks not from a life of ease, far removed from our suffering. He speaks from the cross, the same place of agony where we live. He speaks as one who joins our suffering wherever we are. He blesses us as he says, “I am with you now in your suffering. Take courage. Soon you will be with me in Paradise.” So we realize that from the cross Jesus enacts the words of Aaron’s benediction. Lifted on the rough beams, Jesus is yet God shining on us in favor. Even when we killed him, Jesus was gracious to us. Lined with pain, cut and bleeding, his countenance yet radiated love. The most shameful thing human beings have ever done, putting the incarnate Son of God to death, has become the greatest sign of his blessing grace.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
The highest dream we could ever dream, the wish that if granted would make us happier than any other blessing, is to know God, to actually experience Him. The problem is that we don’t believe this idea is true. We assent to it in our heads. But we don’t feel it in our hearts.
Larry Crabb (Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Pathway to Joy)
When you suddenly command some unusual, unexpected course of action, then even if it is something you have hitherto forbidden, even if for the time being you conceal the reason for your behest, and even if it contravenes the accepted norms of a human society, can we doubt that it is right to obey, seeing that a human society is just precisely insofar as it serves you? Blessed are they who know that you have commanded them. Everything that is done by your servants is done either to make plain what needs to be revealed at present, or to foreshadow the future.
Augustine of Hippo (Confessions)
No, he thought. I didn't die. Not yet. He realized, with surprise, that he was happy. Happiness wasn't what he had thought it was: it was like the dragonfly, a fragile winged thing that arrived, unsought and unexpected, and graced the work of living. You couldn't hunt it down; you couldn't hold it. But sometimes, in a blessed moment, it was there. It was good to be alive.
Alison Croggon (The Bone Queen)
There’s never a moment in all our lives, from the day we trusted Christ till the day we see Him, when God is not longing to bless us. At every moment, in every circumstance, God is doing us good. He never stops. It gives Him too much pleasure. God is not waiting to bless us after our troubles end. He is blessing us right now, in and through those troubles. At this exact moment, He is giving us what He thinks is good. There, of course, is the rub. He gives us what He thinks is good, what He knows is good. We don’t always agree. We have our own ideas about what a good God should do in the middle of our circumstances… Not only do we want what immediately feels good and often dislike what in fact is good for us, but we’re also out of touch with what would bring us the most pleasure if it were given to us.
Larry Crabb (Shattered Dreams: God's Unexpected Pathway to Joy)
When we were lying helpless on the floor, he saw us. When we were crying from breathing the toxic air of this world, he took pity on us. When we were helplessly wallowing about in the blood and water of our birth, crying out for food, for care, he saw us, nodded and reached toward us. When we could have been left to die, when we could have been sold as slaves, the Father said, “Mine!” He took us in his arms and claimed us.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Freedom is an often paradoxical and unexpected path that is found through kindness and curiosity. What would it mean for you to bless instead of curse your body for experiencing what it felt? Will you cry out with agony for how your desire was misused instead of remaining silent in your shame? Honesty and kindness change the human heart. Contempt for arousal and silence in our shame lead to continual pursuit of unwanted sexual behavior.
Jay Stringer (Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing)
We do not have the right to dictate to God how love will be revealed in our lives. We are open to all the varied and unexpected ways Love can choose to bless and use us. That is all we need to ensure our happiness. One who knows their connection with divine Love can never feel the isolation of loneliness or the fear of being rejected or deserted. One cannot be separated from or turned away from a love that knows no parting and is present and available under all circumstances.
Donna Goddard (The Love of Being Loving (Love and Devotion, #1))
Love is many things. It is silence within the whisper between softened lips. It is the bond that connects through unspoken words of hands holding on to each other. It is the 'I love you, see you soon' that brings upon the lush of warming hearts that tie together. Love is confusion mixed in with mysterious delight. Love is the path that can go many directions in your journey. You will reach so many unexpected turns but then it is the path you find that brings you to the top of the hill, with that rising sun and glow that connects your souls with the greatest of love and all the deepest pleasures that make your heart beat a little faster, smile more easy and reading each others soul through the look of bliss-filled eyes. Love can take your heart to many places, especially unexpected craziness. But all in all, love has one thing in common - it binds the true hearts that belong together and does work in mysterious, but delightful ways." Copyright © 2013 Amy Masella --- Illinois
Kittie Blessed
Accidentals Something out of place, seen where it doesn’t belong. A surprise on the water like Tundra Swans unexpected and flung far from the Arctic onto a Vermont pond. Me, driving home, seeing all that white with sinewy S-shaped necks out of the corner of my eye. Blessed is an ordinary Wednesday, now etched forever in memory as that Wednesday I went home another way and found myself far flung from work, from home, from whoever I was before black beaks beckoned me while four pairs of wings unfolded.
Lynn Martin
It is the privilege of wisdom to listen,” Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote. If I try as hard as I can to cultivate the art of listening—uncritically and without making premature judgments—chances are great that I’ll progress more rapidly in my recovery. If I try as hard as I can to listen to the feelings and thoughts expressed—rather than to the “speaker”—I may be blessed with an unexpectedly helpful idea. The essential quality of good listening is humility, which reflects the fact that God’s voice speaks to us even through the least and most inarticulate of His children.
Anonymous (A Day at a Time: Daily Reflections for Recovering People (Hazelden Meditations))
In the last month, I've realized in a way I never had before that this is and will be my life -- this day-to-day work on and for and with Benj. He will improve and develop and there will be many rewarding moments. But he has a lifelong disability and he will always need loads of effort on his behalf, both in every single interaction with him and with his teachers and therapists. It can be extremely exhausting and overwhelming... But the blessings of being his mother far outweigh the worry and stress and fatigue. Truly he has made me an infinitely stronger, more patient and compassionate person. I can do this.
Priscilla Gilman (The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy)
Unlike in our society, where we hide it, death surrounded medieval people. They had few hospitals, and so churches, poorhouses, and homes handled the dying and dead. Death was not a distant prospect at the end of a long, healthy life. It was integrated into ordinary experience. Medieval life was transitory, a journey through this world that often ended too soon and too abruptly. Death was often violent and unexpected. Extended death, through illness and in one’s own bed, was actually a blessing. Death was part of everyday life; medieval people considered their deaths regularly. Indeed, as one medieval historian puts it, “One of the chief obsessions of medieval Christians was the need to make a ‘good death.’”38
Diana Butler Bass (A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story)
If we have never sought, we seek Thee now; Thine eyes burn through the dark, our only stars; We must have sight of thorn-pricks on Thy brow, We must have Thee, O Jesus of the Scars. The heavens frighten us; they are too calm; In all the universe we have no place. Our wounds are hurting us; where is the balm? Lord Jesus, by Thy Scars, we claim Thy grace. If, when the doors are shut, Thou drawest near, Only reveal those hands, that side of Thine; We know to-day what wounds are, have no fear, Show us Thy Scars, we know the countersign. The other gods were strong; but Thou wast weak; They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne; But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak, And not a god has wounds, but Thou alone.[1]
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
She blessed and thanked and praised those bright reflections shimmering down in the pool, and bade them tell her thanks and her praise to Orion, to whom she might not pray. It was thus that Alveric found her, kneeling, bent down in the dark, and reproached her bitterly. She was worshipping the stars, he said, which were there for no such purpose. And she said she was only supplicating their images. We may understand his feelings easily: the strangeness of her, her unexpected acts, her contrariness to all established things, her scorn for custom, her wayward ignorance, jarred on some treasured tradition every day. The more romantic she had been far away over the frontier, as told of by legend and song, the more difficult it was for her to fill any place once held by the ladies of that castle who were versed in all the lore of the fields we know. And Alveric looked for her to fulfil duties and follow customs which were all as new to her as the twinkling stars. But Lirazel felt only that the stars had not their due, and that custom or reason or whatever men set store by should demand that thanks be given them for their beauty; and she had not thanked them even, but had supplicated only their images in the pool. That night she thought of Elfland, where all things were matched with her beauty, where nothing changed and there were no strange customs, and no strange magnificences like these stars of ours to whom none gave their due.
Lord Dunsany (The King of Elfland's Daughter)
But old Christmas smiled as he laid this cruel-seeming spell on the outdoor world, for he meant to light up home with new brightness, to deepen all the richness of indoor color, and give a keener edge of delight to the warm fragrance of food; he meant to prepare a sweet imprisonment that would strengthen the primitive fellowship of kindred, and make the sunshine of familiar human faces as welcome as the hidden day-star. His kindness fell but hardly on the homeless,–fell but hardly on the homes where the hearth was not very warm, and where the food had little fragrance; where the human faces had had no sunshine in them, but rather the leaden, blank-eyed gaze of unexpectant want. But the fine old season meant well; and if he has not learned the secret how to bless men impartially, it is because his father Time, with ever-unrelenting unrelenting purpose, still hides that secret in his own mighty, slow-beating heart.
George Eliot (Complete Works of George Eliot)
You're young, though; you'll make a go of it. Just look at her across the road." It was true, Vivien's life had come up roses in the end, but there were a few marked differences between them. "She had a wealthy uncle who took her in," said Dolly quietly. "She's an heiress, married to a famous writer. And I'm..." She bit her bottom lip, anxious not to start crying again. "I'm..." "Well, you're not entirely alone, are you, silly girl?" Lady Gwendolyn had held out her bag of sweets then and for the first time ever offered one to Dolly. It had taken a moment to realize what the old woman was suggesting, but when she did, Dolly had reached tentatively inside the bag to withdraw a red and green gobstopper. She'd held it in her hand, fingers closed around it, aware that it was melting against her warm palm. Dolly had answered solemnly: "I have you." Lady Gwendolyn had sniffed and looked away. "We have each other, I suppose," she'd said, in a voice made fluty by unexpected emotion.
Kate Morton (The Secret Keeper)
At the beginning of history there was also a garden and a command. God put Adam and Eve in that garden, and they were told not to eat of the Tree. The direction was: “Obey me about the Tree, and you will live”—obey me and I’ll bless you. But they disobeyed. Now there is another garden, and a Second Adam, and another command. Jesus Christ has been sent by the Father to go to the cross, which is also a tree. To the first Adam he said, “Obey me about the Tree and I will bless you”—and Adam didn’t do it. But to the second Adam he says, “Obey me about the Tree and I will crush you”—and Jesus does. Jesus is the first and last person in history to be told that obedience would bring a curse. The Father is saying, essentially, “If you obey me, if you are faithful to me, I will forsake you, cast you off and send your soul into hell.” And yet Jesus obeyed. Even as he was dying, abandoned by his Father, he called him “My God”—words that in the Bible were covenant language, conveying intimacy. Even though he was being forsaken, Jesus was still obeying.
Timothy J. Keller (Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected Answers to Life's Biggest Questions)
He pulled a battered red photo album from his truck’s glove compartment and showed me pictures of green Azorean fields divided by hedges of lilac-colored hydrangeas. He showed me waves crashing against black volcanic rock and his ancient stone house next to the sea, the home where he returned every summer. “Over there the air is so clean, so nice. The ocean is right there. The fish are fresh, you catch and eat them, and the potatoes are so good, you won’t believe it. “We make wine. Put on shorts and get in there and smash grapes, and when you drink right away is sweet like juice. Every year when we get back from there, we’re fat,” Morais said. He loved his island house in the Azores so much that at the end of each summer, when he left, he had to have someone else close the door for him. “I’m a guy that came from the old country. I never go to school five minutes in this country, and still I work and I do good. I love my money. God bless this country,” he said. “But when I leave to close my door over there, I cry like a baby. I try so hard not to, but I cry.
Diana Marcum (The Tenth Island: Finding Joy, Beauty, and Unexpected Love in the Azores)
The absurd chatter of the half-caste had given more reality to the miserable dangers of his path than Stein’s careful statements. On that occasion the sort of formality that had been always present in our intercourse vanished from our speech; I believe I called him “dear boy,” and he tacked on the words “old man” to some half-uttered expression of gratitude, as though his risk set off against my years had made us more equal in age and in feeling. There was a moment of real and profound intimacy, unexpected and short-lived like a glimpse of some everlasting, of some saving truth. He exerted himself to soothe me as though he had been the more mature of the two. “All right, all right,” he said rapidly and with feeling. “I promise to take care of myself. Yes; I won’t take any risks. Not a single blessed risk. Of course not. I mean to hang out. Don’t you worry. Jove! I feel as if nothing could touch me. Why! this is luck from the word Go. I wouldn’t spoil such a magnificent chance!”... A magnificent chance! Well, it was magnificent, but chances are what men make them, and how was I to know? As he had said, even I — even I remembered — his — his misfortune against him. It was true. And the best thing for him was to go.
Joseph Conrad (Joseph Conrad: The Complete Novels)
Therefore Flora said, though still not without a certain boastfulness and triumph in her legacy, that Mr F.'s Aunt was 'very lively to-day, and she thought they had better go.' But Mr F.'s Aunt proved so lively as to take the suggestion in unexpected dudgeon and declare that she would not go; adding, with several injurious expressions, that if 'He'--too evidently meaning Clennam--wanted to get rid of her, 'let him chuck her out of winder;' and urgently expressing her desire to see 'Him' perform that ceremony. In this dilemma, Mr Pancks, whose resources appeared equal to any emergency in the Patriarchal waters, slipped on his hat, slipped out at the counting-house door, and slipped in again a moment afterwards with an artificial freshness upon him, as if he had been in the country for some weeks. 'Why, bless my heart, ma'am!' said Mr Pancks, rubbing up his hair in great astonishment, 'is that you? How do you do, ma'am? You are looking charming to-day! I am delighted to see you. Favour me with your arm, ma'am; we'll have a little walk together, you and me, if you'll honour me with your company.' And so escorted Mr F.'s Aunt down the private staircase of the counting-house with great gallantry and success. — Little Dorrit, Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens (Little Dorrit: Volume 1)
Pride in my father, thankfulness that he had been my father, and an ultimately grateful feeling of respect (grudging at first, it took a while to come) for the aching if imperfect love he never ceased to feel for Mom—these are the things I wanted to hold on to. It will soon be seven years since the night I bent down by his bed to press my ear against his chest and listen to his breathing as his life came to its end. But even now, and even after rounding out the story of his sometimes turbulent complexity, as I’ve felt obliged to do in order to keep faith with the reality of who he was, it is the reaffirming memories that crowd out all the rest. The sense that I was on a journey with my father—seventy-two years is a good big piece of anybody’s life—did not end abruptly on the day I buried him. On cold November nights when I’m in a thoughtful mood or worried about problems with my work, or personal missteps I may have made, and go out walking by myself along the country roads around my house, I like to imagine that he’s there beside me still, tapping that old cane of his, making his amusing comments on the unpredictable events and unexpected twists and turns in other people’s lives. Perhaps, over the next few years, that sense of his continuing companionship will fade. It probably will. But some part of the legacy my father and good mother gave me will, I know, remain with me even when their voices and their words and the expressions on their faces and the vivid details of their life’s adventure become attenuated in the course of time. Some of the blessings that our parents give us, I need to believe, outlive the death of memory.
Jonathan Kozol (The Theft of Memory: Losing My Father, One Day at a Time)
She walked on in this way for several more minutes and at last came to a place in the labyrinth close to the circumference of the circle where the path unexpectedly turns sharply to the right. As you turn, you discover that you have reached the end of the path and a few more steps will take you to the center of the circle. Turning to the right, Glory suddenly felt the pinecone in her hands move as if it had become her own living heart. Deeply shaken, she looked up for the first time and found an unmistakable Presence in the center of the labyrinth, waiting for her. For just the briefest moment she could see Him quite clearly. His heart was open, a place of refuge for all who suffer. It had been broken open by the suffering in the world in the same way hers had been. Suddenly she understood why others had come to her for refuge since her childhood. The suffering she was able to feel had made her trustworthy. She stumbled the last few steps into the center of the labyrinth, knelt down, and for the first time since she was a child, she wept. In a talk about compassion, a former teacher of mine once said that practice prepares the mind, but suffering prepares the heart. Perhaps the final step in the healing of all wounds is the discovery of the capacity for compassion, an intuitive knowing that no one is singled out in their suffering, that all living beings are vulnerable to loss, attachment, and limitation. It is only in the presence of compassion that we can show our wounds without diminishing our wholeness. The Dalai Lama has said that “compassion occurs only between equals.” For those who have compassion, woundedness is not a place of judgment but a place of genuine meeting.
Rachel Naomi Remen (My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging)
Jesus goes while blessing, and he remains in that gesture of blessing. His hands remained stretched out over this world. The blessing hands of Christ are like a roof that protects us. . . . In faith we know that Jesus holds his hands stretched out in blessing over us. That is the lasting motive of Christian joy.[3] The blessing hands of Christ are over us. Whenever we look up at the sky, we can imagine the ascending Christ with his arms outstretched. Wherever we go, we go under the sky above us, so wherever we go, we go under the blessing protection and the blessing mission of the Lord Jesus. As Benedict wrote elsewhere of the disciples, “They knew that they were forever blessed and stood under blessing hands wherever they went.”[4] The implications for daily life are stirring. How hard are circumstances pressing you? Can you yet look up and see sky? That sky represents the blessing hands of Jesus keeping you even through these days. Have your powers been curtailed by illness or age? Can you at least still imagine sky? Let it remind you of the one who claims you and loves you. He went up to heaven still in the body. He is still wedded to our humanity. He has promised that he will transform our lowly bodies to be like his glorious body (Philippians 3:21)—we too will live in rippling, embodied resurrection life. How hopeless does the future of the world seem? How far does the arm of evil reach? Look at the sky and remember Jesus’ blessing hands. Evil cannot ever go where Christ is and pull him down into our mire. Nor can it ever prevent his return to set all things right. He is still over us like the sky, his blessing hands like a great shell of protection all of our days on this earth.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
In Romans 12:4-8, Paul writes about gifts: “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” Recognize that the gifts inside you are not only for you; just as the gifts inside other people around you are not only for them. We are meant to help each other. God designed us this way on purpose! All being members of one body, our successes are shared — there is no need to be threatened by another person’s gift. Use your gifts, and encourage the people in your life to use their gifts as well. You will be blessed as a result! Unfortunately, one thing that keeps us from asking for help or taking advantage of the talents in people around us is pride. Never allow pride to keep you from asking for counsel when it is needed! 1 Corinthians 12:20 is another passage about gifts: “now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ ” We need each other, and joining our gifts together will result in a much stronger body. If you have time, read 1 Corinthians 12:4-20. Reflect on how there can be unity in the diversity of gifts if we use our different gifts properly. Determine that you will not be threatened by anyone else’s gifts! Esther was not afraid of the gifts in the people around her. Let’s see how she responds to the wisdom of others today. And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her. Esther 2:11 Every day, Mordecai goes to the palace gates to inquire after Esther and learn of what was happening to her. He goes to the palace gates with purpose. He paces in front of the women’s court until he has learns the day’s news about Esther. Even though she is no longer under his roof, he stills feels a strong responsibility toward her, and acts accordingly. He is a faithful man, and has set a great example before Esther. The news that he hears concerning Esther daily must be good: her inward beauty and submission to authority are two of the many wonderful traits that God placed in her so that she will be effective in Persia. Even though Esther is in an unfamiliar place and experiencing “firsts” every day in the palace, God is making sure she has what she needs. Esther did not need to feel nervous! She needed wise counsel; it has been provided for her in Mordecai and Hegai. She needs a pleasant and patient personality; that has been being developed in her by the Lord for many years. In your own life, you are constantly undergoing change and growth as you are submitting to the Lord. Whether or not you can see it, God is continually preparing you for what lies ahead so that you will have what you need when you need it. The God who loves you so much knows your future, and He is preparing you today for what you will experience tomorrow. Esther is receiving what she needs as well. She is in the palace undergoing her beauty preparations — a twelve month process! Even through this extended period of time, Mordecai is still at the palace gates every day (the Bible does not say that he stopped his concern for her at any point). It is an entire
Jennifer Spivey (Esther: Reflections From An Unexpected Life)
The night before his crucifixion, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31-32). We get shredded. We get eaten up. We get disgraced. We get left. We think we are going to die. But then something amazing happens. We cry out to Jesus and then realize he has already been praying for us! His faithfulness upholds us.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Why does it seem like there’s something the matter with everything? Because there is something wrong with everything!”[2]
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
May the Lord God bless you and keep you from the torment of fear and anxiety. May He cause His face to shine upon you with power, love and a sound mind and give you grace to cast out fear through perfect love. May He lift up His countenance upon you with freedom as you tell Him every detail of your need in earnest, thankful prayer, and give you the peace that surpasses all understanding, as He keeps your heart and mind safe through Jesus Christ.[4]
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
This is the spiritual truth contained in the phrase from the Apostles’ Creed: “He descended into hell.” He has come to get us out of prison and out of the tombs. There is no place he would not go to retrieve us. David prayed, “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there” (Psalm 139:8). Indeed, even when we are hell-bent on running from God and create all manner of hell for ourselves and our loved ones, Jesus goes to the depths with us. He can get us out and bring us home. Even when others open up a can of living hell all over us, when they release the hounds of their madness into our lives, when they empty their evil onto us, Jesus is not daunted nor defeated. He has been to hell and he reigns even there.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
The gospel news is of an all-or-nothing venture undertaken by our blessing God. He pursued us all the way into the far country of our lost and forsaken condition. He ran his game plan until it killed him. The final report is simple and all encompassing: Jesus is risen. Therefore life wins. Death loses. God wins. Satan loses. Grace wins. Sin loses. Jesus is risen and he comes to us even now within locked doors saying, “Peace be with you.” Let’s consider how the news of this story rallies us to bless the triune God even today. We, too, may well have locked the doors against the world. Hurt in love, many of us have locked the doors of our heart, hoping never to be vulnerable again. Betrayed, we have locked the doors of hope and put on a mask of clever cynicism. We don’t ever again want to be surprised and embarrassed for trusting. We will be negative first; we will expect the worst and mock anyone trying to love in good faith. Struck down by failures, we have locked the doors against the world, hiding away the passion that used to urge us to dare more, try more. We will not venture out again. We will not show what matters most to us to anyone. But the risen Jesus trampled the gates of death and hell. He is not kept out by any paltry locked doors. They don’t stop him. He comes to us with a blessing hand upraised. “Peace be with you.” He shows us his wounds. “Look, I understand. I bear the same wounds you have. I was pierced for my faithfulness, mocked for my trust, cursed for living out my passion to bless. I died at the hands of those I came to save. But I live again. I have overcome the world. See my wounds. See how I have been where you have been. See me alive again. You too will live again. Not only in the next life but in this life! Be of good cheer.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
How often I take for granted the astounding news that God loves me with a callous, “Yeah, yeah, he loves me, now what about God giving me what I want for myself right now?” I can fly right over the stunning surprise of this news. God created me and God loves me. Personally, individually, deeply, eternally, passionately.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Christ came to redeem us from under the laws of frail, fickle human love on which no one can depend,
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Now the LORD I AM, Yahweh, The one true God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make his face to shine upon you, And be gracious unto you. The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, And give you peace, now and always. I conclude with an invitation: “And let God’s people reply . . . ” Then they answer heartily, “Blessed be the LORD I AM, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Barbara Taylor Bradford (Unexpected Blessings (Emma Harte Saga #5))
If you’re reading this you’re already blessed, not that you’re receiving something special, it’s more that you have the existence of sight aiding you. Take a moment to be thankful for what you’ve received, and I’m not speaking in the materialistic vain, but rather for what we undervalue. Be grateful for your ability to take that first breath every morning, to place both feet on the ground and stand, be thankful… Be thankful for the people in your life right this very moment, and those that communicate with you via the internet. Be thankful for the time already spent on this planet, and for what’s to come. I’d like you to stop whatever it is you’re doing this very second, and take a moment for self reflection. That unexpected jolt of reality that life hit’s us with during a crisis or when accolades are given is powerful. None of that is happening right now, so this is the time to show gratitude, and share a moment with no one else but you. Just take a moment and be thankful. What am I most thankful for?... I’m most thankful for doing the best I can with what I’ve got, because I’m cradled in blessings.
Fayton Hollington (Conception of a Dialysis Patient (the Untold Truths))
Just a crumb, I thought. If I could just have a crumb from the table of God, it would be enough. A tiny crumb, a stale crumb, a moldy crumb, just a speck, just a scrap. Oh give me but the smallest morsel and I will be satisfied! Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. Just a crumb. But as the wafer was placed in my hands, with the words, “the body of Christ,” the truth of it came crashing through me. I tremble to plead for a crumb. Jesus replies by giving me his entire ascended, glorified body. I do not deserve a speck, but God gives me himself, all of himself. Then the chalice was put to my lips. What, the cup too? For me the beggar? “The blood of Christ poured out for you.” This seemed beyond hope. God invited me to drink from the festive cup the wine of the new covenant. To the abject beggar in his rags is offered the chalice of God.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Kelly Kapic has argued powerfully for the possibility that Jesus’ final blessing was that of the high priest giving Aaron’s benediction to the people after atonement for sin had been made. The branding blessing from Numbers 6 takes on even more significance if we consider it coming from mouth of the incarnate Lord himself. Kapic’s conclusion thrills me every time I read it: Whereas Aaron could lift his arms and pray for God’s face to shine on the people, in seeing Jesus ascending into the heavens these believers saw the actual face of God shining. While they had heard of God’s graciousness, now they had seen him who is Gracious. While they had held out for God’s lifted countenance, they now saw it actualized. While they had longed for the peace promised in the benediction, they now knew him who was Peace. The great High Priest came and not only pronounced the benediction, but he became the benediction. Here the medium is the Mediator, and thus he is not to be looked beyond, but rather looked to. Those who saw the ascension witnessed the personification of Aaron’s benediction in Jesus Christ![6]
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup” (Psalm 16:5). What do you get when you come to the Supper, you compromised, double-hearted, double-minded, befouled cur? The triune God of grace himself is your portion. One drop would be beyond an eternity of deserving, but he pours in the unending wine of his presence. The cup overflows. The cup of salvation. Christ drank down the dregs of my sin and passed back the chalice filled with his precious blood, the wine of everlasting life.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Linnet’s girlfriends might strike my fancy.” Evan and Gideon laughed, and Evan
Barbara Taylor Bradford (Unexpected Blessings (Emma Harte Saga #5))
Be thoughtful and strategic, but also be open to blessings arriving in unexpected forms.
Stacy Hawkins Adams
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). The people stood by cursing him. Jesus blessed them from the cross. The people had demanded his condemnation. From the cross he prayed mercy for them. We judged him for death; he prayed for clemency for us. His arms were outstretched in agony. His hands were pierced with nails and pulsing with searing pain. Yet by his words of grace, he turned the pose of execution into the pose of everlasting blessing. Father, forgive them.
Gerrit Scott Dawson (The Blessing Life: A Journey to Unexpected Joy)
Are you desiring some spiritual blessing? Then dig the ditches and God will fill them. But He will do this in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways. May the Lord grant us the kind of faith that acts “by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), and may we expect Him to work although we see no wind or rain. A. B. Simpson
Lettie B. Cowman (Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings)
Today was a day to face that very temptation. A family who had become dear friends had left the church with no warning or explanation. Not even good bye. When they were missing on that first Sunday, we didn’t realize that they had removed themselves from our church. We thought maybe someone was sick or an alarm clock didn’t go off or something simple. If it had been something serious, they would have called us, of course. We had done so much for them and with them. We rejoiced when they rejoiced, we cried when they cried, we prayed with them, we prayed for them, we loved them and felt as if they loved us in return. Of course, one Sunday turned to two, and then three. I mentioned to Michael that I had called and left a message. He told me that he had the same thought as well. He had left a message and sent a card. We felt sad as the realization sank in: they had left the church. People don’t know how to leave a church, and many pastors don’t take such a loss graciously. In all our determinations about pastoring, we had considered the possibility of losing members, but this family was the first. It was time for a lesson for all of us, and I felt the Lord tugging at my spirit. I was to take the first step. Sunday afternoon, Michael taking a nap, kids playing games in their room... Now was as good a time as any. I got into my car and headed toward their house. Suddenly nervous, I sat in the driveway for a minute at first. What was I doing here again? Pastor’s wives don’t do this. I had been around pastor’s wives all my life. Since sensing my call to full time ministry at eighteen, I had been paying close attention to them, and I had never seen one of them do this. I got my words together. I needed an eloquent prayer for such a moment as this one: “Lord, help” (okay, so it wasn’t eloquent). I remembered a verse in Jeremiah: “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings” (17:10). The Lord knew my heart, and He understood. In this situation, I knew that I had opened myself up to Him. In this situation, I knew that my heart was pure before Him. All of a sudden, my courage returned. I opened the car door and willed myself toward the front porch. As I walked up the driveway, I also thought about Paul’s warning which I had read earlier that morning: “they failed to reach their goal... because their minds were fixed on what they achieved instead of what they believed” (Romans 9:31-32). This family was not my achievement; they were the Lord’s creation. What I believed was that I had been right in opening my heart to them. What I believed was that Michael and I had been faithful to the Lord and that we had helped this family while they were in our flock. I had not failed to reach my goal thus far, and I felt determined not to fail now. This front porch was not unfamiliar to me. I had been here before on many occasions, with my husband and children. Happy times: dinners, cook-outs, birthdays, engagement announcements, births.... Sad times as well: teenaged child rebelling, financial struggles, hospital stays or even death .... We had been invited to share heartache and joy alike. No, “invited” is the wrong word. We were needed. We were family, and family comes together at such times. This afternoon, however, was different. I was standing on this familiar front porch for a reason that had never brought me here before: I came to say good bye. On this front porch, I knocked on the door. This family had been with us for years, and we had been with them. Remembering how this family had helped and blessed our congregation, I quietly smiled. Remembering how they had enriched our personal lives with their friendship and encouragement, I could feel the tears burning behind my eyes. We would miss them. Remembering all that we had done for them, I wondered how they could leave with no word or even warning. Just stopped coming. Just
Jennifer Spivey (Esther: Reflections From An Unexpected Life)
Acceptance Today One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV Manmade plans are fallible; God’s plans are not. Yet whenever life takes an unexpected turn, we are tempted to fall into the spiritual traps of worry, self-pity, or bitterness. God intends that we do otherwise. The old saying is familiar: “Forgive and forget.” But when we have been hurt badly, forgiveness is often difficult and forgetting is downright impossible. Since we can’t forget yesterday’s troubles, we should learn from them. Yesterday has much to teach us about tomorrow. We may learn from the past, but we should never live in the past. So if you’re trying to forget the past, don’t waste your time. Instead, try a different approach: learn to accept the past and live in the present. Then, you can focus your thoughts and your energies, not on the struggles of yesterday, but instead on the profound opportunities that God has placed before you today. Surrender to the Lord is not a tremendous sacrifice, not an agonizing performance. It is the most sensible thing you can do. Corrie ten Boom He does not need to transplant us into a different field. He transforms the very things that were before our greatest hindrances, into the chief and most blessed means of our growth. No difficulties in your case can baffle Him. Put yourself absolutely into His hands, and let Him have His own way with you. Elisabeth Elliot It is always possible to do the will of God. In every place and time it is within our power to acquiesce in the will of God. Elisabeth Elliot I pray hard, work hard, and leave the rest to God. Florence Griffith Joyner Contentment has a way of quieting insatiable desires. Mary Hunt Mature people are not emotionally and spiritually devastated by every mistake they make. They are able to maintain some kind of balance in their lives. Joyce Meyer Ultimately things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.
Freeman Smith (Fifty Shades of Grace: Devotions Celebrating God's Unlimited Gift)
not in any of their plans. What a crushing heartbreak it must have been. Is the word providence still in the back of your mind? God is about to “shake things up” even more! When Esther’s year of preparations is complete, she is told that it is at last her turn to see the king — rather, for the king to see her. Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. Esther 2:15 In addition to beauty preparations and diet, surely Esther has received instruction concerning protocol as well. She is aware of the fact that she will be allowed to carry one small item with her when she is received by the king. Remember, Esther has continued throughout this year to be faithful to Mordecai’s instructions and careful upbringing as well as submitting herself to Hegai’s authority. Esther is a young woman who is accustomed to being under authority; she recognizes the importance of sound advice. Esther receives counsel from Hegai, and takes with her only what he suggests to her. Who would be better than Hegai to advise her in how to make a pleasing first impression with King Ahasuerus? Hegai was in charge in preparing these women; he must have had a good idea of Ahasuerus’ likes and dislikes. During this year of preparation, Esther has most likely recognized Hegai’s important role. She goes to him for advice as to what to take with her, and it serves her well. It is not recorded that any other woman sought Hegai’s advice — perhaps it was mentioned because it was peculiar only to Esther. This shows us one more aspect of Esther’s personality: she is not threatened by the gifts in other people. Esther has submitted herself to God’s will, and recognizes that God is placing people around her who are potentially a help to her, if she is humble enough to recognize and receive advice from someone else. She recognizes that Hegai’s knowledge can help her. One more thought for today: do not over look the important difference between Esther’s asking for advice, and King Ahasuerus’ asking for advice. Remember in chapter one, when Ahasuerus sought after advice, he went to people in a very similar situation or even beneath him. Remember Memucan and the other princes? How could men who did not even live with the queen or know her well have any idea how to handle her? In Esther 2:15, we have an example of Esther being able to discern wisely her situation — there were times to keep to herself, and also times to ask for help. When Esther sought advice, she sought it from a good source. Just as it made all the difference in the world for Esther, it will make all the difference in the world for you.   Take a moment to thank God for the people in your life whose advice and character are an encouragement and help to you. Pray that He will cause you to be someone whose encouragement will be a blessing to others this week!
Jennifer Spivey (Esther: Reflections From An Unexpected Life)
Humility and gratitude leave your heart and mind open to receive unexpected blessings, even on the heels of disappointment.
Rick Pitino (The One-Day Contract: How to Add Value to Every Minute of Your Life)
The next morning, while everyone else sat in the waiting area, Mia and I met with the doctor. “Well, I have good news and bad news,” Dr. Genecov said. “The bad news is that she needs this surgery, and we need to get it on the books right now. The good news is that I’ve worked with a company to invent a new device. Instead of using the halo, I can now do everything internally.” What? Did I just hear what I think I heard? He continued talking, but I honestly didn’t hear anything for the next few seconds while I tried to process this new information. Seriously? I can’t believe this! I thought. Where did this come from? I knew he was working on a better bone graft procedure before we needed it, but this just came out of nowhere! I tried my best to hold myself together. All I wanted to do was call Jase and tell him this news. Actually, I wanted to climb the nearest mountain (if there were mountains in Dallas) and shout it from the top of my lungs! After thanking him profusely, Mia and I walked down the hall for our appointment with Dr. Sperry. “Do you know what you just avoided?” Dr. Sperry asked, grinning from ear to ear. “A shaved head, the intensive care unit for a week, and a much longer recovery period.” That was it. I couldn’t hold back any longer and let my tears flow. Mia looked at me in surprise. If I was embarrassing her, I didn’t care. It was for a good reason. “Dr. Genecov has been working hard to perfect this procedure, and he has done it one time so far.” She looked right at Mia and said, “And I’m convinced he did that one to get ready for you.” Mia smiled and said, “Cool.” Mia had enjoyed her honeymoon period. She felt no stress or anxiety about the future, which was a great blessing. I was thankful that I had not told her about the distraction surgery and glad that my eleven-year-old daughter didn’t understand all that she had been spared because of this development. When I filled in my mom, Bonny, and Tori on this unexpected and exhilarating news, they all gasped, then shouted and hugged me. All I could think of was how grateful I was to my Father in heaven. He had done this. Why? I don’t know. But I knew He had chosen this moment for Dr. Genecov to perfect a new invention that would spare my daughter, at this exact time in her life, the ordeal of a device that would have been surgically screwed into her skull. After getting to the parking lot, I immediately called Jase with this incredible news. Like me, he was having a hard time wrapping his head around it. “How many of these has he done?” I hesitated, then said, “One.” “One? He’s done one? I don’t know about this, Missy.” I quickly reminded him of Dr. Genecov’s success in the new bone graft surgery and said, “Babe, I think it’s worth the risk. He’s proven to us just how good he is.” Jase is not one to make a quick decision about anything, but before our phone call ended, he agreed that we should move forward with the surgery.
Missy Robertson (Blessed, Blessed ... Blessed: The Untold Story of Our Family's Fight to Love Hard, Stay Strong, and Keep the Faith When Life Can't Be Fixed)
O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in one righteous man, while the righteousness of one should justify many sinners!
Thomas R. Schreiner (Faith Alone---The Doctrine of Justification: What the Reformers Taught...and Why It Still Matters (The Five Solas Series))
Perhaps there’s something inside her we haven’t seen yet.” The delicate comb clinked on the stone, and she started to pull Evie’s hair into loose strands. “That’s the way it is with people, you know. When I was a girl, my mother died quite unexpectedly. She meant the world to me. To my father as well. But in his grief, he consented to marry another. She was a dreadful woman, and her dreadful daughters became my stepsisters. They lived to torment me. Each morning I’d wake and wonder what I’d done to make them hate me so. Eventually I came to see that I hadn’t done anything at all. Something somewhere in their lives had hurt them—I could see that even if they couldn’t—and I made up my mind to treat them decently, as others so clearly hadn’t.” Evie studied her in the mirror. She could live to be a thousand years old and she’d never be as kind as Hazelbranch. It seemed to come naturally, as though it was a part of her, like hair or skin. “Each of us is blessed with the ability to control our own decisions,” she continued, “but cursed with the inability to control the decisions of others. I couldn’t do a thing about the way they treated me, but I got to choose the way I treated them. And do you know what happened? As we grew into adulthood, one of those wicked stepsisters became the best friend I’ve ever had.” Evie scowled and looked to the floor. She had no interest in being the bigger person. She despised Malora, and was comfortable in her anger. “It isn’t fair. Of all the people here . . .” “Life isn’t fair, Evie. It never has been and it never will be. You can sit back and moan about its unfairness while the witches roll across the countryside, or you can pick yourself up and get on with it.
M.A. Larson (Pennyroyal Academy (Pennyroyal Academy, #1))
The ‘girls’ were the two college students Andi had hired at the beginning of November. They’d been a blessing
Elena Aitken (Unexpected Gifts (Castle Mountain Lodge, #1))
He leaned against the wall and folded his hands, quietly rejoicing in unexpected blessings—the company of a friend, a new purpose, pure water. Even knowing the date of his death was a blessing, for it would bring an end to his pain. To everything, there was a season . . .
Angela Elwell Hunt (Paul, Apostle of Christ: The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture)
Even in the moments of your greatest anguish, you often find unexpected blessings alongside and commingled with your losses.
T.D. Jakes (Crushing: God Turns Pressure into Power)
To read, truly read, a text, is not a cozy fireside chat between well-brought up people, in which one shares information, recalls memories, has a good time. Reading a text is a confrontation, a row, hand-to-hand fighting, which one can only leave marked and changed. It is Jacob wrestling with the angel (Gen 32:23-33), a bloody fight, which went through the night «until daybreak»; an obstinate battle which refused to give up until it had obtained what it wanted: «I will not let you go until you bless me»; a fight which left its mark, as it did on the patriarch’s hip; a fight, at the end of which, while the reader is not allowed to know the angel’s name, Jacob still receives an unexpected revelation, in addition to the blessing, a new name which marks a change of identity:
Roland Meynet (A New Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels (Rhetorica Semitica))
It was the entirely unexpected and sorely welcomed song of a single robin in the waking hours of a new morning that reminded me that this day will not be what I make it. Rather, it will be what I permit God to bring into it. And so my prayer is that my days will always be filled with robins.
Craig D. Lounsbrough
Holy is the dish and drain The soap and sink, and the cup and plate And the warm wool socks, and cold white tile Showerheads and good dry towels And frying eggs sound like psalms With a bit of salt measured in my palm It’s all a part of a sacrament As holy as a day is spent Holy is the busy street And cars that boom with passion’s beat And the check out girl, counting change And the hands that shook my hands today And hymns of geese fly overhead And stretch their wings like their parents did Blessed be the dog, that runs in her sleep To catch that wild and elusive thing Holy is the familiar room And the quiet moments in the afternoon And folding sheets like folding hands To pray as only laundry can I’m letting go of all I fear Like autumn leaves of earth and air For summer came and summer went As holy as a day is spent Holy is the place I stand To give whatever small good I can And the empty page, and the open book Redemption everywhere I look Unknowingly we slow our pace In the shade of unexpected grace And with grateful smiles and sad lament As holy as a day is spent And morning light sings “Providence” As holy as a day is spent
J. Brent Bill (Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality)
When we walk in obedience, God’s blessings won’t just surprise us. They will overtake us. Out of nowhere. Overwhelming. Unexpected. In undeserved measure. Let’s do our part.
Joshua DuBois (The President's Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama)