Jesus, peace, trust

Day Four: The Gift of His Peace

The Gift of His Peace

John 14:27 NKJV: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”

The gift I unwrapped this morning is the gift of peace. What a wonderful gift! Who among us can’t use more peace in these days of uncertainty?

The type of peace Jesus is speaking of in John 14:27 is not a “surface” peace where everything looks great on the outside but on the inside we are a complete wreck. No, this peace takes root in our heart and flows to every aspect of our life—emotional, spiritual, mental and physical.  No matter what happens, God’s peace never leaves you.  It is a peace the natural mind cannot comprehend. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NKJV)

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) How do we obtain His peace? We have to get to know Him, personally and intimately. Trust must be built and you can’t build trust if you don’t spend time with God. Then we can trust Him with all of our life, realizing He knows what is best for us. Let go of that situation(s) that worries you and trust God to deal with it. He knows far better than we do what is best for each individual situation. “Let go and let God” means give Him those situations and allow Him to deal with them. His peace will immediately flood your heart, mind and soul.

When we are walking in God’s peace, what do we display to those we meet? When our family, friends and even strangers see us, there is peace and contentment on our faces. More often than not, unless they already know Jesus, the people we see will notice something “different” about us. They may not know what it is, but they will see it and they will want it.

One of my favorite hymns is ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus.” Read the words and meditate on how trusting Him give you perfect peace.

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus 

 ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Refrain:
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Refrain

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

 Refrain

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end. *

Refrain

*Words: Louisa Stead, 1882
   Music: William Kirkpatrick, 1882

Abba Father, Help us to trust You with all of our life. We give you those situations that concern us this morning and we ask that You give us peace. Thank You that You stand ready to help when we ask and You are faithful to complete those things that concern us. We love you Father. Amen.

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"Untangling Christmas"

Does the very thought of Christmas invoke a severe case of the “Yuletide Yikes!”? Do you long for a cozy, reflective time centered on Christ, instead of a frenzied blur of holiday activities? Armed with strategies to simplify and de-stress, as well as tons of doable ideas and delicious recipes, Karen and LeAnn have put together a wonderful resource to help you feel blessed, not stressed!
This practical go-to guide will empower you to:

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  • Acquire fast and frugal decorating tips and creative, but simple, gift-giving ideas.
  • Whip up delicious holiday foods – both the “from scratch” sort dear Grandma would have made and other simple, short-cut recipes for when time is tight

You can find “Untangling Christmas” by Karen Ehman and LeAnn Rice at major bookstores or order online through www.untanglingchristmas.org. But it for yourself as a Christmas gift from you to you.

plans, purpose

Day Three: The Gift of Purpose

The Gift of Purpose
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you…plans to give you hope and a future.”

You have a purpose in life. God did not plop you down on earth and forget about you. He knew you when you were still “in your mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13) and He had a purpose for your life even then.

       Your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
(Ps. 139:16 NIV)

It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, God has a purpose for you.

I remember attending a ladies’ Sunday school class many years ago when “Miss” Dottie, an elderly woman spoke up and confessed that she felt God was through with her on the earth. She believed she had completed her purpose, which she believed was to be faithful to her husband, to raise her children in a Godly home and see them succeed in life, was finished. The Senior Pastor’s wife was teaching this class and her answer applied to every woman in that room. “Your purpose in life is finished when you stand before God in heaven, and not a minute before. Just because you are of an older generation than most of us in this room does not mean your purpose is finished. Don’t put God in a box. He is not finished with you.” “Miss” Dottie lived to her mid-nineties and she became a mentor to other women – young and old. God’s purpose for her changed in her later life, but it was still His purpose and He used her to influence many women.

Mordecai told Esther in Esther 4:14 that she had been “brought to the kingdom for such a time as this.” I daresay the same statement applies to each one of us. You have been placed here for “such a time as this.”

If you know the purpose God has for you, listen to Him. He will tell you when it’s time to implement that idea. He will give you step-by-step instructions and everything you need to walk in His calling.

For many people, God has more than one purpose planned for them. Listen to Him as He shares His intentions for you.

If you don’t know the purpose(s) God has for you, ask Him and listen. At the right time, He will reveal His plans for you and it will be immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Dear Father, Thank you for having a plan for each of us. Thank you for leading and guiding us to fulfill that purpose. I pray for those who are reading this today who may not know Your will for them. I ask You to show them the plans and purposes you have for them.  In Jesus’ matchless name, Amen.

God, plans, vision

Day Two: The Gift of Vision

The Gift of Vision

 “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets; that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)

Another translation of this verse says it this way: “Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others.”(The Message)

This verse makes it very plain that God has a vision, not just for the Body of Christ, but also for you and me.  If this verse is not proof enough to persuade you, here’s another one that is more specific in meaning: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11) If there has ever been any doubt in your mind as to whether or not God has a plan for your life, you can banish that doubt now.

God gave Mary a vision – she was to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Put yourself in her place. Just imagine how she felt. Awestruck? Afraid? Nervous?  Can you see this young teenager in your mind? What would you do if an angel of the Lord appeared before you to give you God’s vision and plans for you? Would you agree? Or would you look around the room to see who the angel was speaking to because, surely, it’s not you. But it is you. You are the only one in the room. He loves you enough to want only the best for you.

 When Mary questioned the angel who brought the news, she was not doubting—just curious. “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” (Luke 1:34). The angel explained to Mary that it would be by the Holy Spirit and went on to say, “For with God, nothing is impossible.” (vs. 37). Mary accepted God’s vision for herself: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (vs. 38) She never doubted, never questioned whether or not the angel had visited the right person. She believed and moved forward in the vision.

God gave Jesus a vision. He was to be the Savior of the world. He was to live on earth as God-made-man for 33 years, die on a cross for the sins of the world and rise again in three days. Jesus didn’t balk, protest or do anything that would have indicated a lack of obedience. He went willingly into cities and countries preaching the gospel of Christ. He went willingly to Gethsemane. He went willingly to Golgotha and He went willingly to the grave. But God’s vision for Jesus did not end at the grave. Three days later, the vision continued as Jesus rose from the grave, triumphing over death, and the vision was completed as Jesus ascended into heaven.

God has a vision for YOU.  If He has shown you that vision, be obedient and walk in it. If He has not shown you the plans He has for you, ask Him to share it with you. In His time, He will show you His vision and it will be better than anything you could ever ask for or think.

Abba Father, thank You for the vision – the plan – that You had for Mary and for Jesus. Thank You for the vision You have for each one of us. I pray that You will give us courage and help us to walk boldly in that vision with confidence in You and Your plan for our lives. Amen!

Advent, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus, waiting

Day One: The Gift of Waiting

The Gift of Waiting

 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Is. 40:31

The above verse is one of my favorites. I use it frequently in my blogs, in counseling and in encouraging myself. I will mention how some Biblical translations use the word “hope” instead of “wait” and that hope can be used as an acronym for Heart Of Peace and Expectation.

More often than not, when we are waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers—to give us wisdom and guidance about a situation we face, to see His healing manifested in our own body, or that of a loved one—there are lessons that God wants us to learn. Perhaps He desires for us to grow in grace and mercy. Maybe He wants us to learn to be more patient. Or He wants our relationship with Him to grow deeper. It could be that the timing is not right for His answer to be known. Regardless of why the answer has not come, there is a reason we are waiting.

Advent is a season of busyness. We go to this party and that gathering, we sing Christmas carols, shop till we drop, bake and cook. I think we have lost the fact that Advent is a season of waiting. We are so busy running from one store to another, one party to another, we have forgotten that Advent heralds the coming of Christ. Just as an expectant mother anticipates, prepares and waits for nine months the arrival of her newborn, Advent is a period of anticipating, preparing and waiting for the birth of our Savior.
 It is my prayer that in some small way, these remaining devotions that you will read during Advent will help you to slow down for a few minutes each day and remember the Reason for the Season. As we look forward to the remainder of the Advent season, may the birth of our Savior renew in you a Heart Of Peace and Expectation.


Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
 

        Come, thou long expected Jesus,

               born to set thy people free;
               from our fears and sins release us,
               let us find our rest in thee. 

               Israel’s strength and consolation,

               hope of all the earth thou art;
               dear desire of every nation,
               joy of every longing heart.

               Born thy people to deliver,

               born a child and yet a King,
               born to reign in us forever,
               now thy gracious kingdom bring.

               By thine own eternal spirit

               rule in all our hearts alone;
               by thine all sufficient merit,
               raise us to thy glorious throne.

             Text: Charles Wellsley 1707 – 1788 

             Music: Rowland H. Pritchard

 Father, as we wait during this Advent Season, help us to take a few minutes each day to think about the Reason for the Season. May we wait with a heart of peace and expectation. And when You speak to us, may we hear with open ears, and a heart ready to receive. In Jesus’ most precious name we pray, AMEN.
reason for season, shopping

It is Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The busiest shopping day of the year, as Christmas shopping “officially” begins. I guess it’s still recognized as the official beginning of Christmas shopping. Every year Christmas decorations appear in the stores earlier than the previous year. I saw my first Christmas ad on TV the week BEFORE Halloween. Next year, merchants will start advertising in September, immediately after Labor Day, and before we know it, we will see Christmas decorations in the stores year-round. Hmmm . . . maybe I’m onto something here . . .

Not that I want to see Christmas decorations and gifts in the stores year-round. This sacred holiday has been stripped of its true meaning far too long as it is.

No, I’m talking about honoring the reason and spirit of the season all year long. Begin with the attitude of gratitude you committed to earlier this week. (If you missed that blog, at the bottom of the main blog page, click on “Older Posts.”)

Once your grateful attitude is firmly in place, then it’s easy to honor our God. After all, everything we have for which we should be grateful, He has given those things to us.

This Sunday, November 27 is the First Sunday in Advent. I plan to post my Advent devotions again this year. Why don’t you join me as we open a gift from God each day of Advent?

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Help a Young Mother of Four Beat Stage 4 Lymphoma!!

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