Peace!

Peace!

Christmas is a time when you hear greetings of peace.  But do most people really experience true peace.  There, of course, is world peace where we find the absence of war throughout the world.  And world peace would be a wonderful thing.  But there is an even more wonderful kind of peace to be experienced.  And that is an inner peace that one experiences within his/her own life.  It’s a calmness a person can experience even through turmoil and upheaval all around.  Outside circumstances have no affect on this kind of peace.  This peace has only one origin – Jesus.  Jesus tells us that His peace is clearly different from the peace in the world.  And the peace from Jesus is able to guard our hearts and our minds. Philippians 4:7 (NLT) tells us – “7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ Jesus.”   Our hearts and minds can easily be wounded.  So protection of them is vital.  But the verse promising us this incomprehensible peace begins with “then”.  So there must be some context we need to see.  And the context is found in the previous verse –6Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” When adverse situations come our way, we just give them to God in prayer and thank Him for everything He has done for us. Through a relationship of complete trust in and thanksgiving to God, we can experience a peace beyond our understanding. We pray you experience this peace, not just through the upcoming Christmas season, but always!

 27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27 (NLT)

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Just Believe!

Just Believe!

We are entering into a wonderful season.  The upcoming holidays are all about giving – most importantly God giving us His Son!  But when it comes to receiving gifts, especially from God Himself, people often feel unworthy.  They feel they don’t deserve anything from God.  But guess what?  No one deserves anything from God.  even the absolute biggest saint you can think of.  So don’t burden yourself with guilt and condemnation thinking you are not deserving of all the wonderful things God has for you.  God’s love and good gifts are not earned or deserved.  They are made possible to us by what Jesus did, not what you’ve done or could ever do. God made it easy for us.  We just have to believe and receive!


32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Romans 8:32 (NIV)

9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9-10 (NIV)

11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

Unplugged? Then Reset!

Unplugged? Then Reset!

Many of us, when getting ready in the mornings, have similar routines.  Part of that routine might involve drying our hair.  Most of us don’t give much thought each time we reach for the hair dryer.  We just plug it in, turn it on, and expect it to work.  And most of us are very happy using our hair dryers without the need to know how they work.  We don’t need or desire to possess the knowledge of the mechanics of the hair dryer or the principles of electricity which run it.  We just need to know how to use it.  Actually, if we turned it on and it didn’t work, we would be disappointed.  The first thing we would probably do is to make sure it is plugged in all the way.  Most of us at the very least know that if the plug is not connected properly, it can’t work.  If that doesn’t do the trick, then we might know to push that little red reset button on the outlet because somehow the flow of power may have been interrupted and the switch was tripped.  Beyond that, we’d either pull out a spare hair dryer, or leave the house with a wet head.  The utilization of our faith is very similar to the hair dryer.  How?  Glad you asked!  The hair dryer represents us, or better put, it represents our needs or what we are believing for.  The electrical outlet is the source of power, or God.  The cord is our connector to the source, our faith.  As long as the cord (our faith) remains securely connected to the source (God), we have a steady flow of power to supply our every need.  But life has a way of pulling the cord loose and interrupts  our faith from connecting to God our source.  Sometimes we allow our reason to override our faith.  In other words, if we can’t figure it out or see how it can possibly work, we can’t believe for it.  This trips or interrupts the flow of power from our source to our need.  If you get tripped up by over thinking things or trying to reason it out, then reset!  If you can reason out a thing, it doesn’t require faith.  Faith is for those things that are beyond reason, for that which can’t be figured out.  Faith doesn’t need to know how it works – it just needs to know that it does!   

9 Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations…. Deuteronomy 7:9 (NLT)

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Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things and for Whom we [have life], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through and by Whom are all things and through and by Whom we [ourselves exist]. 1 Corinthians 8:6 (AMP)

19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth! Psalm 121:2 (NLT)

Love is Never Corny!

Love is Never Corny!

We are at the first Sunday of November already.  Where did the year go?  This means that the holidays are right around the corner. We know this because we’ve already had our first snowfall of the season and the Lifetime and Hallmark Holiday movies are on TV, much to my husband’s dismay.  He says if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.  And he has a good point.  The plots of these corny but delightful movies are often similar — girl returns to her quaint hometown after several years of establishing a busy and successful career in the big city to unexpectedly bump into an old sweetheart who then makes her realize that everything she ever needed was right there all along —  or a scrooge of a man gets stranded by a snowstorm in this backwoods town with a Christmas themed name that celebrates Christmas to the hilt and even has a resident that looks uncannily like Santa and while he is stuck in this town the humble residents teach him the true mean of Christmas —  or of course, the young hard-working girl meets and falls in love with a prince of a guy, but oh wait, he really is a prince!  Though the storylines never usually center around the birth of Jesus, they usually always end up in a good place – love and appreciate the people in your life.  As we gear up for this holiday season, let’s take a hint from these corny little movies – take a breather every once in a while and let your people know how thankful you are to have them in your life and how much you love them. 

4 I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT)

2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. 1 Thessalonians 1:2 (NLT)

Mercy Mercy!

Mercy Mercy!

Have you ever awaited punishment for something and it never came?  You knew you did something wrong and punishment was rightfully deserved, but for some reason it was withheld.  An example of this is found in I Timothy 1:16.  Here, Paul was recalling things in his past deserving of punishment but instead he was shown mercy.  Mercy here is not getting what you truly deserve, very similar to forgiveness.  As well, mercy can be shown in another way closely resembling compassion.  Matthew 15:22 is an example of this form of mercy. These men didn’t do anything wrong, yet, because Jesus could help them, he did. Mercy can be extended to the guilty or to the suffering, but in either case, it is life changing.  Sometimes we might feel like we stretch God to his wits end.  But mercifully God’s endurance level is pretty high.  Thank God tomorrow is a new day jam packed with new mercies!

13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. 14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. 15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:13-16 (NLT)

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And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” 31 Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” 32 So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” 34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him. Matthew 20:30-34 (NKJV)

22 Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24 (NKJV)

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Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:1 (NKJV)

Divine Design!

Divine Design!

 At a recent craft show, there was a booth full of items made from clay. And at the potter’s wheel was the woman who made each one.  It is amazing what beautiful things can come from a lump of clay.  As the wheel would spin the clay, she would use her fingers to mold the clay precisely as she wanted it to form the perfect piece that would eventually serve a specific purpose.  Many items were very, very similar, yet each one unique – a masterpiece you might say.  This is also much like our children.  Anyone who has children knows that each one of them develops their own unique personality.  And in many instances, some children are as different from each other as night and day.  You may wonder sometimes how they could be so different when they were raised in the same home by the same parents under the same rules. But to a parent, each one is a masterpiece. And we would be tempted to take the credit as the skillful potter.  But in truth, that credit belongs to God.  For we are all His workmanship – wonderfully made!  And God even had a specific purpose in mind for each one of us before we were even conceived and that is why we are not quite like any other person on the planet.  The next time you get tempted to compare yourself to someone else or wonder why you didn’t get this  trait or that characteristic, remember you are the Potter’s masterpiece, formed by His skillful hands, unique in every way by divine design! 

8 And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:8 (NLT)

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

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You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. Psalm 139:13-14 (NLT)

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

Ah Ha!

Ah Ha!

Have you ever watched the videos on YouTube where people who are color blind receive a gift of special glasses that helps them to see colors properly?  Their reactions are heartwarming and often tear jerking.  Many of them are experiencing for the very first time just how beautiful and vibrant colors truly are.  All their lives, they have viewed colors incorrectly and in very rare cases they’ve only seen  the world  in black and white.  And in an instant, the world of colors is revealed to them! The Lord dropped into my spirit that this is how revelation comes. We may have viewed the Word of God over and over for years – sometimes reading the same scriptures many times over.  But, all of a sudden, one day, in reading a verse you’ve read  dozens of times before, God reveals to you something that you’ve never seen before. This often happens during times of prayer as well.  God opens up your understanding to see properly – He makes known to you a previously unknown thing.  The next time you pray or read the Word of God, ask God to make known to you what He wants you to see.  Ask Him to open the eyes of your understanding to His Word.  When you see something from His Word for the first time, it leaves you wondering just how much you may have been missing out on!   

18 Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions. Psalm 119:18 (NLT)

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. Luke 24:45 (NLT)

18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18 (NLT)

18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’ Acts 26:18 (NLT)

Stay or Stray

Stay or Stray

In the animal kingdom, there is nothing more fierce than a mother protecting her young.  She will place herself between a predator and her young and defend them with her life.   And the young ones usually do not stray too far from momma.  Momma can best protect them if they stay close.  But her span of protection is limited, so if baby strays too far away, putting too much distance between himself and his protector, then he is opening himself up to predators.  Most predators lie in wait, scoping out their potential prey, waiting for that one lone youngster who wanders off unprotected. We’ve all cringed at that National Geographic show where the young gazelle wanders off too far and hidden in the tall grasses is a lioness just waiting to pounce.  This life we live is not too different.  There is a predator out there called the devil who is seeking whom he may devour.  Scripture tells us that our refuge, our safe place, is in the shadow of the Almighty.  Shadows extend only so far.  To remain under a shadow, you must stay close.   But if you wander out from under the shadow, you become exposed. The biggest mistake most people make is straying too far from under God’s protection thus opening themselves up to an attack. That scripture goes on to say God will shelter you with his wings of protection.  But again, in order for that to happen, you must stay close.  So the question is “stay or stray?”  The choice is ours!                 

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:1-4 (NLT) 4

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Psalm 91:4 (NLT)

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. Matthew 23:37 (NLT)

Not Just A Fish Story!

Not Just A Fish Story!

The story of Jonah is one of the more well known stories from the Bible and it is often retold as a children’s story because it has all the elements of an adventurous fairy tale.  You have a man who was given a mission but chose not to accept it.  So, he flees from his mission in a ship where he is fiercely targeting by a raging tempest at sea. The only way to save the ship is to toss him overboard where, upon doing so, the raging storm magically ceases.  The man plunges into the depths of the blue and is swallowed by a large sea creature where he remains for three days and nights to ponder his life after which he is abruptly vomited to the shore. Neither Walt Disney nor Steven Spielberg could match this plot. But there are two important things to remember:  First, it’s not a fairy tale.  This story is 100% true and second, it’s not just a story for kids. Because of the imaginative nature of the story, the main truths are often lost – the greatest truth being that no matter how bad or evil you have been in your life, God is always desiring to restore and forgive. Jonah’s mission was to go to the people of Nineveh and tell them that God was aware of their wickedness and He would soon tolerate it no longer unless they repented.  Jonah thought they deserved every bit of God’s judgment and wrath but he also knew that God would relent if they repented.  So Jonah ran.  He ran as far away as he could.  But here, we find another truth. There is no place you can go where God can’t find you. God will order the wind, the sea, the fish, the plants and even little worms to get your attention, especially if someone’s life is in the balance. And a third important truth – repentance is God’s gift to us to restore us back into His good graces.  It can even cause God to change His mind!

10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 3:10 (NLT)

2 So he complained to the LORD about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Jonah 4:2 (NLT)

Go Ahead – Make Someone’s Day!

Go Ahead – Make Someone’s Day!

How many of you remember your mother telling you this – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?  You’ve most certainly heard it from someone.  And, in theory, it is good advice.  Actually, it is pretty scriptural.  Ephesians puts it this way “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so your words will be an encouragement..”.  But for some reason, sometimes we feel compelled to give our two cents even if it isn’t nice and encouraging. Now we are not talking about situations that need to be addressed or corrected.  But situations like this – “I wonder if she looked in the mirror before she left the house this morning”. Thoughts like this unfortunately make their way out of our mouths.  These situations call for something the Bible refers to as “taming the tongue”.  In fact, in James we read that no one can do it completely.  It is something that we have to be deliberate in doing – holding back our every thought from becoming words. We can make someone’s day with just a few encouraging words, or adversely, we can  ruin it. The Bible refers to this as bringing life or death.  Be deliberate in your words. Your words reflect what is in your heart and once they come out of your mouth, they are there for the world to see and hear.  You be that one today who will make someone’s day!  

8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8 (NLT)

29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)

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There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. Proverbs 29:20 (NLT)

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The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)

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If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. James 1:26 (NLT)

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You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. Matthew 12:34 (NLT)