[bl]A[/bl]n environment of grace ought to be refreshing. Places and people that ooze with grace, leave you saying aaahhh. Like a glass of cool water. Or iced tea with a slice of lemon. Or a cold fizzy coke on a hot day. People giving grace are the people we want to be around when we’re tired, hurting, homesick — or let’s be honest – they’re the people we always want to be around. And the homes they infect with their gracious spirit are the homes we keep returning to.
If what we always offer is a glass full of critique, it won’t matter how much sugar we add to it, people won’t want we’re offering. And if our home is painted with judgment and bickering, it doesn’t matter how cute we decorate it, people won’t want to come.
Because broken people need restoring. And aren’t we all broken? We need hope to drive out discouragement. Words of truth to replace the lies we hear from the world. We need nourishment to feed our hungry souls. Affirmation to remind us who we are and how God has gifted us.
So how do we shape the environment of our spirit and the places we live to be givers of these gifts of grace?
Here’s a few ways to start:
Read the Word of God that his truth may be on our lips, ready to speak it to others.
Replace our negative, complaining thoughts with intentional praise and thankfulness. Thanks to Ann Voskamp who is leading the way in this.
Fill our homes with refreshing music, food and conversation that infuse our homes with a life giving spirit.
Practice giving gifts of grace to those we live with. For remember, the spirit in which you live and relate within your home, with those you live with, is the same spirit that others will see and know whether your home is a safe place to be.
Find the quiet, may our knees fall to the floor to call upon the Father who teaches his children in ways of grace.
Listen to people. It’s so refreshing to be heard. Really heard.
Notice the good in people. Reject our human tendency to see the negative, ugly and embarrassing before the positive, beautiful and praise worthy. And then let us not hesitate to affirm and encourage others with what we see in them, letting our positive words cover and restore.
Spend time with people of grace so we might learn from them.
Spend time in places of grace that we ourselves might be refreshed and ready to give to others.
There is much in this world that brings us down, that makes us weary. Let us be a people who refresh others with the goodness of Christ. Let us pour on people his love and grace that they may come back for more. And we have countless opportunities to tell and live God’s story of redemption.
Today I share with you a wonderfully refreshing Summer Tea Punch, a recipe of my sister Julie. It’s a great summertime drink for afternoon sipping, or evening entertaining. It’s easy to make in bulk for large groups, and it’s always a favorite. Enjoy!
Summer Tea Punch
2 Cups strong tea
2 cups pineapple juice
4 cups ginger ale
4 cups orange juice
1 cup water
1 cup sugar (you can reduce this amount depending on how sweet you like it)
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 6 tea bags to seep. After the tea bags have soaked for 10-15 minutes dissolve 1 cup of sugar. Pour into a gallon jug and add remaining liquids. You can alter this recipe to your liking. For a stronger tea taste, and less punch, increase the amount of tea (3 or 4 cups of strong tea instead of 2).
Garnish with fresh lime and mint leaves