Peace, Peace, Wonderful Peace


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I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

What picture does the word Peace paint in your mind?

For some it is a beautiful ocean scene with emerald blue water and rolling waves that softly glide onto white sandy beaches. Yet, for others it means a rustic log cabin set back in the piney woods with a creek gently flowing out front. Maybe for you it is a grand mountain range with deep, vast canyons and majestic mountains that seem to reach the sky.

No matter what picture comes to mind when you think of peace, it can never compare to that moment when God’s peace sweeps over your weary soul. The most beautiful landscape you could imagine could not compare to the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that only Jesus can bring.

Have you experienced that peace? I surely have many times.

Oftentimes when we think of peace, our minds tend to also picture a worry-free setting. We are quick to assume that peace means a lack of trouble. However, as I was reading in Acts 12 this morning, I came across a verse that caught my attention. In my mind it painted a rather unusual picture of peace. Acts 12:16 tells us, “And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.”  

In order to fully grasp this picture of peace, let us go back just a moment and examine what is going on in this passage. Prior to Peter being imprisoned, he has had to endure seeing his fellow disciple, James, put to death at the hand of Herod. Now Peter finds himself imprisoned,no doubt facing the same fate that he has just watched James meet.

Now, we can continue our discussion on peace. Does the word peace come to mind when you read this story? Understandably not. So, how is it possible that we find Peter sleeping in this passage? Peace, Friend. It is because of that peace that passes all understanding that Peter can find himself chained between two guards, seemingly facing death, yet he sleeps.

I dare not say that I would handle such a situation the same way. Recently I have been going through some trials much less than imprisonment and death, and still I find myself worrying. Complaining. Fretting over things of which I have no control. I forgot to choose peace. I chose to place my focus on my problems rather than giving them to God and resting in His Peace.

Friend, I am reminded this morning that peace is a choice. Peace should not rely on our circumstances. Peace can not and should not be measured by our surroundings. We, like Peter, should choose peace in the middle of even the most dire situations. Peace can only be found in Jesus. You see, when we take our focus off of our problems and put it on Jesus, then and only then can He give us the Peace that we see in Peter. We can rest, right in the middle of our trial, knowing that God is working for us.

Will you choose peace today? Will you choose to stop looking at all that is wrong around you and focus on the One who holds you in His hand? It is a choice. Today, I choose peace. I choose the peace that passes all understanding. I choose to rest in Jesus today. I pray you will do the same.

 

 

Your Past Does not Define You


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“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Isaiah 43:18-19

Do you ever reminisce? Do you like to sit with family or friends and talk about the way things used to be? Maybe you discuss experiences you have had or lessons you have learned?  Does your past ever trip you up? Maybe there are things that you would rather forget.

I would say I fall into both categories. I love to sit with family and listen to old stories being told. I enjoy the memories that go through my head as my brother and I reminisce about our younger years at home together. I laugh with my husband as we remember our dating years. Yet amid all the fun memories there are many I would rather not speak of. There are sections of my past which I am happy to leave right where they are. There are even some over which I still trip from time to time.

One of my favorite parts of a new year is the feeling of freshness that comes with it. For me it is like turning the page in a book and beginning a new chapter. Sure, you can go back and visit the previous pages if you would like, but oh the excitement that comes with the many blank pages that lie ahead, just waiting to be filled! The possibilities are endless.

Many times, however, the devil wants to steal that joy from us. Yes, he wants to hold us back, to bind us down. He reminds us of our mistakes. Often times he tortures us with our past. You see, satan has no hope. He was given a choice many, many years ago and he made it. His fate is sealed. Now he wants nothing more than to keep you down, to hold you back. Remember friend, the devil is the father of all lies. (John 8:44)

I want to encourage you today with these words. Your past does not define you. No matter what you have done, or what your past may hold, God loves you. He sent His Son in order that you may have a future. When you confess your sins and give it all to God, He makes all things new. He wipes your slate clean and gives you a fresh start. (Psalm 103:12) What better way to start a new year than with the realization that you are God’s child? The plans He has for you are amazing! (Jeremiah 29:11) Do not let your past failures hold you down any more. Do not allow the devil to fill your head with lies. Hold fast to Jesus and the promises that He has made you.

Will you commit with me right now to put the past behind? Can we lay down the weight of our past mistakes and boldly walk into the future that God has for us? My prayer for you today is that you will take hold of the hand of Jesus and allow Him to lead you to the things He has waiting for you in this new year. The possibilities are endless if we will let go and let God.

 

 

 

 

 

Sailing Uncharted Territory


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 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Today our family will embark on a new journey.

We are headed into uncharted territory.

We are officially the parents of a teenager!! Today our oldest son, Big D turns 13 years old.

As this day has quickly approached, I have found myself filled with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am extremely excited to see what the future holds for our family and for our son, yet on the other hand I feel a bit unsure and unprepared for what is to come.

This new time in our lives has brought me back to where it all started. 13 years ago, today, I was a 19 year old girl with no idea how my world was about to change. I was young and believed that I knew it all. (You see, teenagers think that for some reason.) I had not really considered the future to any extent and I surely had not thought far enough ahead to realize that one day I would be raising a teenager!

I was a newlywed. My head was still in the clouds.

Even as I sit here now and look back on that time, I shake my head and chuckle under my breath at the naivety. Praise God, He has carried us through all these years!

Today we celebrate this new trek of our adventure. We boldly (and prayerfully) march into an entirely new phase of life. As the shock wears off, I am more and more excited to begin this new journey. I have loved being a mom since that first day, 13 years ago, and I have enjoyed every stop of this adventure since then.

While I do understand that children do not come with an instruction booklet, I am confident in the assurance that God has given us all the instruction we will need in His word. As our children grow, I find myself holding onto God’s promises more and more. I would like to share some of these promises with you this morning.

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Proverbs 29:17 “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”

I hope that you have enjoyed listening to this overwhelmed Mom ramble on about a new phase in life. I also pray that it has somehow encouraged your heart. I truly believe that children are a gift straight from the Lord. As a parent you think that you are teaching your children life lessons every day, but I must say that I learn so many things from my children on a daily basis. I feel very honored to carry the title Mom to these three “not so little any more” blessings of ours, and I am thrilled to see what God has in store for our future.

Some Advice From a Fixer


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“As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.”
Ecclesiastes 11:5

Do you ever find yourself trying to figure it all out?

I will tell you something about myself that you may not know. I am a fixer, a problem solver.

When I was a little girl, I once took my bike apart because it was not working properly and I was determined to fix it. I had no problem getting the bike apart, however, putting it back together was a totally different story. After many failed attempts I had to ask my Dad to help fix my mess.

Even now as an adult, I find myself in situations where I feel the need to figure it all out. If there is something going on in life that I do not understand then I feel it is my job to figure it out. If there is a problem, I feel as if I should fix it.

There are times when this type of personality can be helpful, yet there are other times when I get so busy trying to figure life out that I forget to practice my faith.

More times than not, I end up making a bigger mess of things. I find myself in the same situation I was in when I was a little girl. I have to go to my Dad for help. This time, however, I am speaking of my Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe.

After all my failed attempts at fixing my own problems or figuring out a situation for myself, I take my tangled mess and lay it at the feet of Jesus. I humbly confess that I just can not do it on my own. Each time I do this I am met with forgiveness and compassion. Jesus takes my mess and does what I can never do on my own. He makes it beautiful in His time.

The verse I have shared today is from one of my morning devotions. As I read this Scripture I was reminded that I do no always have to understand everything and that I do not have to fix everything. Oh, what peace I felt in my heart when I read the words in Ecclesiastes 11:5: “So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.”

Friend, if you are a fixer like I am, let me encourage you today. Stop trying to figure it all out. Life is full of things we do not understand. Praise God, we were not put on this earth to wander and struggle through each day. We have a Heavenly Father that understands all, knows all, and sees all. If we will stop trying to fix it ourselves and hand it over to Him, He will make beauty out of even the most impossible situation.

What are you holding onto today? What problem have you been trying to fix yourself, only to find that it is an even bigger mess now? Give it to God. Lay it at His feet. Confess that you can not figure this out on your own, and allow God to take it. You will be amazed at the outcome.

Revell Book Review: A Mom’s Prayer for Her Son


*This post is a bit different from the content that I normally share with my readers. I do pray that you will enjoy it just the same. I have decided to review some books for Revell Reads. I will periodically be posting my reviews. I pray that each review will introduce my readers to encouraging, Godly books.*


 

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I have recently had the privilege of reading, ” A Mom’s Prayer for Her Son” by Rob and Joanna Teigen.

If you are a parent, then you should not be surprised when I tell you that raising kids is an adventure. If you are a parent to boys, then you also should not be surprised when I tell you that parenting boys is a completely different journey in itself. As parents we should be praying for our children every day. There are times, however, during which we are unsure of what to pray. Inside of this book I read words which encouraged my heart. I also found that I am not the only mom who feels the burden of raising Godly sons.

A Mom’s Prayer for Her Son is filled with prayers for every stage of your son’s life. I really appreciate the love and concern I hear in the words which this mother prays over her sons. Included in the pages of this book are Scriptures that go along with each prayer. There are words of encouragement and guidance from other moms as well.

One of the things I enjoy most about this book is the fact that it can be read as a whole, or it can also be used as a resource guide when you feel the need to pray specific prayers over your sons. Each chapter covers a different need and offers specific Scriptures and prayers for that need.

I would recommend this book for moms with sons of any age. It would also be a great gift for new moms or even moms-to-be. If you visit your local Christian bookstore and purchase a copy, consider picking up an extra one to share with a friend.

Reading A Mom’s Prayer for Her Son has been such a blessing to my heart. I have enjoyed the opportunity to review this book for you. I pray that you will take the time to read it as well and share in the blessings.