Peace Keepers!

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” Romans 14:19 NIV.  

Paul was addressing Christians who were debating dietary restrictions. Paul saw their argument as insignificant, teaching them instead that God’s kingdom is more than food or drink and is of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

We often allow ourselves to become bogged down in petty disputes. Trivial disagreements can often blow up to gargantuan proportions. Sometimes we are so determined to be right that we fail to realize when an argument is no longer relevant in the greater scheme of things.

Paul instructs us to make every effort to be peaceful and do what leads to “mutual edification.” We are implored to build one another up, not tear each other down.

When we go to extremes to prove our point or have the last word is that really satisfying? We can either draw people nearer to God with our actions or push them away. Do you have what it takes to listen to others, let alone respect their right to a differing opinion?

We won’t always agree with everyone but we should at least be able to communicate in a civilized manner. It isn’t necessary that we jump on every opportunity to prove others wrong.

We would all do well to evaluate the words we choose. Are our words helpful? Can they change a situation for the better? Or do we choose to expose the faults of others only to feel better about ourselves?

solitary white rose side 2014  Sometimes silence is the best solution. What we choose not to say is just as significant as the words we utter. When we choose not to condemn, criticize or gossip we perpetuate peace, not chaos.

“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body, It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell,” James 3:5-6 NIV.

Every situation does not require our commentary. How often can we mirror God’s love by keeping quiet? Instead of commenting on what other people do, what if we prayed for them? What if we focused on correcting our flaws instead of exposing those of others?

God commands us to love Him and our brothers and sisters.

It is easy to love God. Loving our brothers and sisters is often much harder.

“My command is this; Love each other as I have loved you,” John 15:12 NIV.

“As I have loved you.”

Jesus showed compassion. Jesus forgave the very people crucifying Him. He even prayed for them! Jesus didn’t cast stones. Jesus met people right where they were, imperfections and all.

It isn’t always easy to love like Jesus, but shouldn’t we at least try?

“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God,” Matthew 5:9 KJV

A is for Anger Management

“Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm,” Psalms 37:8 NKJV

Anger management is an important tool for living. The Bible is very clear about anger’s destructive potential.

Anger spreads quickly like a spark igniting dry brush in the wild. Like fire, it spreads far quicker that it can be extinguished. It is the emotion that leads people to make hasty decisions, regrettable mistakes, and to speak words that can never be taken back.

Anger is easily fueled, grows exponentially, and wreaks havoc in people’s lives. Instead of giving in to feelings of wrath, don’t speak or act in haste. Be silent and be still. Allow God’s Word to dictate your behavior.

Anger management isn’t always easy. In fact, it is rarely so. You may have every right to be angry. Disappointment, betrayal, and a host of injustices can evoke this primal reaction in almost everyone. However, feelings are often deceptive but the Word of God is true.

If you are serious in pursuit of the best life possible, get a grip on your anger by giving it to God. Allow Him to extinguish your wrath and propel you above your emotions. If you have anger management “issues”, pray on it. Don’t stay on it.

Learn to manage your anger before it manages you.

“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city,” Proverbs 16:32 NKJV

”The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression,” Proverbs 19:11 NKJV

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV

Peace and Joy

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27 NKJV

Jesus came so that we may have peace while here on this earth. It is amazing how quickly we are willing to give it up!

Circumstances, people and our day-to-day lives will rob us of both peace and joy if we allow it. Peace and joy are two of the most valuable things we can posses, yet so carelessly we often allow people, obligations and our own shortcomings to overshadow what Christ has already done for us.

The key to keeping peace and joy (longer than the fifteen minutes after church service) lies in the ability to tune out distractions. Our society is so plugged in that there is little quiet time allocated to be still and reflect. You have to fight for the time to spend with yourself and with God that allows you to truly have “a peace that passes understanding.” (ref. Philippians 4:7)

We spend so much time working to obtain things that don’t really matter in the long haul that if only we put those efforts into keeping what has already been freely given to us, we could truly enjoy the fullness of God’s love for us.

Happiness is based on circumstances and our reaction to the environment or other people. We often work, configure and cajole others into doing those things that make us happy and feel good. Happiness requires that whatever is going on around us is pleasing. Happiness is transient and dependent on other people who have the same failings and weaknesses as ourselves.

Joy comes from God and flows out from within. Joy allows for true contentment no matter what is going on around us. Joy is not dictated by other people. As such, other people can’t rob us of joy. We may sadly give it away, but they can’t take it!

Happiness is fleeting. True joy is not as easily shaken!

Allow your spirit to rejoice in the Lord, overriding what you see and feel because you are, instead, moved by what you know…. God is good and He loves you, everything else is secondary!

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning, Psalm 30:5. No matter what you may be facing, it is possible to receive God’s joy. Christ was able to endure the crucifixion for the joy that lay beyond the experience. God does no less for us!

Peace and joy are available if we receive them.

As with any gift, they must be accepted to be enjoyed. The price has already been paid. There is nothing you could ever purchase or acquire that can bring such contentment. All you have to do is believe and receive the enduring love, peace, and joy God makes available to you!

We readily believe in the power of our God to save us, yet often don’t place ourselves in the correct state mentally, spiritually and even physically to receive the fullness of His love daily.

God’s love and the peace and joy that flows from Him fuels us and allows us to share our true selves with others. In doing this, we not only multiply the love we receive, we also magnify our Father and offer ourselves as vessels through which He can work. Now, how cool is that?

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” Psalm 16:11 NKJV

“If  you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:10-11 NKJV

Abide in The Light

“Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  1 John 2: 8-11 NKJV

Perpetuate Peace!

 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” Romans 14:19 NIV.  

In this verse, Paul was speaking to Christians who were debating dietary restrictions. Paul saw their argument as insignificant, teaching them instead that God’s kingdom is more than food or drink and is of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

How many times do we get bogged down in nonsense? Sometimes we are so determined to be right that we fail to realize when an argument is irrelevant to what’s really going on!

We often get caught up in details (or distractions) and fail to see the bigger picture. Paul teaches that we should make every effort to be peaceful and do what leads to “mutual edification.” We are implored to build one another up, not tear each other down.

We can surely go to extremes to prove a point or have the last word but is that really satisfying?

Are you drawing people near to God with a peaceful demeanor, loving actions and kind words? Or do you drive people away with a compulsion to prove them wrong? Are you reluctant to even listen to what others have to say, let alone respect their opinion?

Master the art of silence. We don’t always agree with everyone but should we really jump on every opportunity to voice our disagreement? Are our words helpful? Can they change the situation? Do we choose to exploit the faults of others so we can feel better about ourselves?

Sometimes what we don’t say is more significant than what we do say. When we choose not to condemn, criticize or gossip we perpetuate peace, not chaos.

“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body, It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell,” James 3:5-6 NIV.

Every situation does not need our commentary. How often can we reflect God’s love by keeping quiet? Instead of commenting on what other people do, what if we pray for them? How about we focus on our flaws instead of magnifying those of others?

Can you find common ground with people and build upon it? Can you choose relationships over “religion?” God commands us to love Him and our brothers and sisters.

It is easy to love God. Loving some of my brothers and sisters is indeed much harder. “My command is this; Love each other as I have loved you,” John 15:12 NIV.

“As I have loved you.” Jesus showed compassion for people. Jesus forgave the very people crucifying Him and prayed for them. Jesus didn’t cast stones. Jesus met people right where they were, imperfections and all.  It isn’t always easy to love like Jesus.

But, shouldn’t we at least try?

“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God,” Matthew 5:9 KJV

 ***And if you thought I forgot, here are my nominees for the Inner Peace Award. These blogs provoke inner peace when I read them or the author exudes inner peace on the site.

Good Stewardship

Light and Salt

Chronic Conditions and Life Lessons

Osborne2029 (just found this one!)

Just Me Being Curious

Simply Blessed

I Give God All the Glory

I am very aware that not everyone has the same opinions when it comes to these awards. If you don’t participate, I’m not offended. I often nominate sites I suspect won’t “accept” but feel many of my readers will connect with. So to those nominated, no pressure!

I have found some of my favorite blogs in this manner and I’m very grateful for readers who have found my site and enjoy as well.

Have a great week and B Blessed! 🙂

Inner Peace

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

 If you check out my sidebar, you’ll see I’ve been nominated for a few awards in the last several weeks. I’m going to accept these a bit differently than most so bear with me. You have been forewarned, there are acceptance speeches forthcoming!

Eric who blogs at Hunt for Truth nominated me for the Award for Love and Kindness this week. He also nominated me a while back for the Inner Peace Award. I’m not going to admit when, you’ll have to check out his site to find out. Let’s just say that one kind of slipped by me.

It is ironic that I was nominated for the Inner Peace Award because I hadn’t really felt inner peace for a long time until I began a number of writing projects last year including this blog. I was inspired to develop this site as a way to encourage others and in doing so I surprisingly encouraged myself.

I’ve always loved to write. Yet due to life, I wasn’t really in a position to pursue this passion. Last year, I decided to stop trying to control my life and surrender it instead. I made a conscious decision to be at peace with my present and not drive myself crazy trying to orchestrate my future.

Guess what? I’m much better for it. I’m not nearly as anxious, frustrated or disappointed.

Previously, I hadn’t met some personal goals due to other obligations. That left me dissatisfied, angry and bitter. Sad, I know. I was confident about my salvation but I needed to get a few things straight here on earth!

When I began to write again, I allowed God to take it over and me over. I began this blog as an act of faith. I knew zero about blogging.

This blog began slowly. Very…very… slowly. I’m an introvert. The very idea of commenting on someone’s site terrified me. Technology and I are not friends. WordPress widgets still drive me bonkers!

However, the bloggers I’ve met and responses received about faith and  other experiences have been such a blessing to me. Blogging and sharing with others actually helped me derive a sense of purpose I was missing. I definitely serve a purpose in other aspects of my life but this one is satisfying to me.

I think we are all restless until we discover the purpose God has planted in our hearts. Unless we explore the talents we have been given, I don’t think we can be at peace. I believe so many people are frustrated and miserable because they are not doing the things they were created to do!

If you feel like you’re missing something, why not search it out? My dream was deferred twenty years. Yet now, I know God is allowing me walk out my purpose in His timing.

I have inner peace first and foremost because I have God. Knowing Him means I don’t have to be anxious for anything. I have finally realized that I don’t have to control my life because… I can’t control it!

I can respond appropriately to the events in my life. I can pray for guidance and discernment in decisions I make. I can hear and obey to save myself a lot of headache.

I am not alone in anything I am forced to face in this life. God is with me. And with God, anything is possible.

And I find peace in that.


**And if you think I forgot, my nominees for the Inner Peace Award will appear in the next post!

It’s a New Year…so get over it!

It’s a New Year…so get over it!

This isn’t at all what I had planned to write about. My intention was to end the year in 2013 thanking the many people who have supported me and this blog especially so in the latter part of the year. You are hardly forgotten! Alas, my plans were for naught. Christmas was wonderful!

Ringing in the New Year…not so much.

I slept through the beginning of 2014 as best I could huddled down in my covers and fighting off a very nasty bug. I thought I had been oh so careful, washing my hands at least twenty times a day (I am not exaggerating), Lysol, Sani-wipes, trying not to inhale other people’s germs, taking vitamins and getting plenty of rest. Yet, it came down to taking my own advice. “You aren’t going to do much of anything until you get over it.”  I have said these very words to patients at least a hundred times.

Yes, I took all the proper OTC remedies, was seen by a nurse practitioner and given a good antibiotic to knock out my trifecta of bronchitis, sinusitis and possibly strep. Even with all of that, the body said NO! Not moving, doing or going a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e!

I had “plans” to hit the New Year’s Day sale of my favorite department store. Didn’t happen. So, as I lay in bed reminding myself that I was NOT dying, it only felt like it; I was praying and thinking how everything happens for my good. Maybe I spent enough money this holiday season and I didn’t need to go to the mall. Okay God, I’m stuck at home for my own good. I get it.

The next day, I’m still sick, actually sicker. I’m thinking to myself I’m doing everything I can to get better. I know what to do! “You are going to have to get over it before you do anything,” I hear God in my spirit.

But HE is not talking about my illness. God does work out all things for our good and He most definitely can use anything to get our attention.

You see, on Sunday the television preacher was preaching “get over it.” I listened to that sermon and thought it was good and very relevant.  Only days prior to that, I was speaking with my oldest son about making good choices and telling him not to make the same mistakes I had. In his teenage wisdom, this kid told me to “get over it.”

First of all, if one of my kids tells me to “get over it,” there is a huge problem. My first instinct was to look behind me and see exactly who he was talking to!

Cam said it so quickly and distinctly and then resumed his normal conversation I was left speechless. I knew it was God talking to me through my child. It was hardly the first time God has done that.

I heard the same exact words in less than a week and knew them to be true yet still a little something in me hesitated. I had no problem “getting over it,” but there have been times when I have circled back and found my “it.” Or, I worse, I allowed “it” to find me.

It may be a reference to something else, a subtle reminder or just being tired and annoyed as we all can be that allows my “it” to rear its ugly head. I have gotten over many more significant things in my life, matters of life and death but this one thing, somehow finds a way to grab my attention and my thoughts.

Unfortunately my thoughts can then morph into regret which then can become resentment and consequently eat away into the forgiveness I thought I had given.

I did pray for revelation while I was sick. And boy did I get it!

I post this because God basically told me the things I want to do, places I want to go and dreams I want to see realized ain’t happening (and yes I do mean ain’t) until I get over “it” for good!

I suspect that most of us have some “it” that may be holding us back from God’s very best in our lives.

When Abraham’s nephew Lot took the best of the land that was divided between them Abraham got over it. Abraham knew that whatever he had with God was so much more than anything Lot could ever take from him.

We would all do well to remember this same thing as we begin 2014. Whatever we may have lost, whatever regrets we have, or mistakes we have made are insignificant compared to the power of our God. In our weakness, He is strong.

Leave your past exactly where it belongs and concentrate on what God can do now. God has plans for all of us if only we would trust Him and truly “get over” the things, thoughts, regrets and mistakes that can hold us hostage and keep us from achieving our very best this year.

Have a Very Blessed 2014!

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but 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.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.” Philippians 3:13-15 NKJV

A is for Abundance

“Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance,” Isaiah 55:2 NKJV

Most of us are always in the pursuit of abundance. We are often looking for ways to have an abundance of something or another. For many people it is money or opportunities to earn money. Some people may be in pursuit of peace. And for others it may be joy. It may even be a combination of things, yet most of us at some point have pursued abundance in every way but God’s way.

The preceding verse reflects our society as it stands today. Apparently, not that much has changed since Biblical times. They were spending money on things that failed to satisfy them as well.

Our society spends billions of dollars yearly seeking “abundance” yet still those dollars don’t satisfy. A new toy or gadget may be entertaining for the short-term, but it only takes the next electronic device or innovation to leave many longing for a “feeling” that quickly fades. Unfortunately, many are unaware what they truly crave can’t be purchased.

Many of the most affluent nations also suffer from the highest rates of depression. People are working themselves to death. Many have an abundance of “stuff” but fail to delight themselves in Who really provides peace, joy, and contentment. There is often a continual search for some “thing”, experience, feeling, or promise that guarantees joy, happiness, success, or status. When one “thing” fails to provide the “high” people are looking for they are on to the next, placing more faith in false advertisements and sales pitches than in the very Words that offer an abundant life.

A lot of us have not enjoyed God’s abundance as we could because we failed to listen to God. We believe we have it figured out, know what is best for ourselves and want to control our own destiny. That approach has left most people still searching, hungry and frustrated by their own failed efforts.

When we listen to God as instructed above, we can eat that which is good and delight ourselves in God’s promises. To listen requires that we hear and obey.

Some of us are struggling in distinct areas in our lives due to our own disobedience. We even know what God says about certain strongholds or areas yet we continue to suffer or lack because we refuse to yield those areas over to Him. We often know what to do but fail to do it for an array of reasons. Pride, fear, and the opinions of others are just a few reasons that leave people still searching for what only God can offer.

“Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart,” Psalms 37:4. NKJV

We are instructed to delight ourselves in the Lord, not the latest gadget, fashion, music, career opportunity or whatever else people are often hustling to obtain. The things people delight themselves in often fail to satisfy for any real length of time. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He then gives us what we really want.

Sadly, many people don’t even know what they want. The concepts of peace, joy, and true love are foreign concepts to many. Money can’t buy happiness but millions continue to try time and time again.

“But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace,” Psalms 37:11. NKJV

That restless feeling many people suffer from is actually due to a lack of peace. People pursue money trying to buy the “things” they think will provide peace and joy. A lot of people go into debt trying to buy happiness and love and are instead left restless and distraught in their attempts to buy “a good life.” Their costly pursuits often have devastating consequences that people spend years trying to dig themselves out from under.

The “good life,” is actually free for all of us. Jesus paid the price so that we could have a good life, one that involves a relationship with Him!

“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have [it] more abundantly,” John 10:10. NKJV

Jesus did not die for us that we may accumulate more “stuff.” That was hardly the abundance He had in mind. Jesus Christ died that we would have peace, joy, and a relationship with Him to fill our voids and satisfy our thirst. That is what we truly desire whether we realize it or not.

Have you been looking for love, hope, truth, grace or whatever you are yearning for…in all the wrong places?

“For You, Lord [are] good and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You,” Psalms 86:5 NKJV

“But You, O Lord, [are] a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth,” Psalms 86:15 NKJV

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3

Clean cuts

“And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell,” Matthew 5:30 NKJV

I know a gentleman who suffered over a year with an infection in his lower leg. He was on all kinds of oral medications, IV medications and various wound treatments in an effort to get well. During this treatment, side effects from his medications made him ill. He never felt well and complained often about how his entire body and not just his leg suffered. His blood was monitored often to make sure the medications that were used to treat the infection did not harm his vital organs. His doctors were constantly on alert to make sure his infection had not spread. The entire ordeal left him weak and miserable daily.

Finally, his doctors decided the treatment he was receiving was not enough to kill the infection or keep it from spreading. In fact, his medical team was forced to amputate his lower leg. If his infected leg remained, the bacteria would spread throughout his body and kill him.

About a month after his surgery, I asked him how he was feeling. He declared, “I haven’t felt this good in years.” He was no longer relegated to taking an arsenal of medications that left him feeling poorly. His infected lower leg had been removed but he was now very mobile with his new prosthesis.  He was actually moving around better than he had before the amputation.

He now felt healthy, was happy and had a positive outlook on life.

Likewise, it is necessary that we make certain “cuts” in our own lives that would leave us better. Instead of making a clean break from anger, guilt, regret, disappointment and un-forgiveness we sometimes “nurse” these things instead. We often try to repair our feelings and emotions instead of cutting them off all together. Some people are haunted years later by mistakes God has forgiven decades earlier.  They allow guilt or bitterness to remain, infecting them and robbing them of a better quality of life. There is no freedom in “forgiveness” when you insist on making your offender acknowledge the offense time and time again. An unforgiving spirit does very little to the offending person in comparison to the damage it wrecks on the person who refuses to forgive.

Forgiveness is often hard. However living with unforgiveness is much harder.

Anger, bitterness, guilt, and spite can be deadly. They often cause both mental anguish and physical decay. Worse of all is those suffering under these afflictions don’t recognize the toil these toxic characteristics take on themselves and the people around them!

Bitterness drains. Peace sustains.

Is there anything you need to cut away today?