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thPeace is sought everywhere.  No matter the continent or country, people are looking for peace.  Of course, there are those that destroy peace, but most want to find some sort of common ground and get along.  According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

peace  noun \ˈpēs\ (1) a state in which there is no war or fighting  (2) an agreement to end a war (3) a period of time when there is no war or fighting
The Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology  says:

The Meaning of Peace. In English, the word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife.

Some want peace in their personal lives, between family members like siblings, etc.  Others want peace at their school, or job.  Maybe peace is needed in a church or neighborhood.  No matter what kind of peace, it all starts with you.

First, and most importantly, you must have the Prince of Peace in your life, or all your efforts will be futile.

Secondly, you have to daily seek peace.  Sometimes it may even be a moment by moment, standing on His promises to get you through the situation.

Finally, you need to understand there’s a reason we say “Peace like a River”.  Not a lake, or the ocean … a river. That thought struck me this past week.  I did a little research on what the Bible says.

Isaiah 66:12a NASB “For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;”…

Isaiah 48:14 NASB “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

A lake is a body of water, mostly still.  The ocean goes in and out against the shore.  But, a river, a river takes a journey.  Life is a journey, peace is a journey.  Daily going forward, putting the day before behind you.  God always says it just right doesn’t He?

He will be with you on your journey, and His peace is there for you.  There are many verses in the Bible about peace.

John 14:1 NASB  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14:27  NASB  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

THIS ONE SHOULD GET YOU UP SHOUTING PTL AND PTA: (That’s Southernese for “Praise the Lord” and “Pass the Ammunition”.  ‘Cause we know when you win one battle, another is just around the corner and you need to reload the ammunition.  But, we also know, HE HAS ALREADY WON THE WAR at Calvary!)

John 16:33 NASB  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 20:19  NASB “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the  doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

John 20:21 NASB “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

John 20:26  NASB “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Philippians 4:7  NASB “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:15  NASB “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

May your life this year be peace like a river; a journey moving you forward.

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In 1937 Thomas Dorsey wrote “Peace in The Valley” for Mahalia Jackson.  It has been recorded by everyone imaginable.  The lyrics are hopeful, a FINAL day of peace.  It talks about peace in the valley in the future.  Well, my future in Heaven will not be a valley.  And truthfully, the valleys seem to all be in the here and now.  Yet, I can have PEACE in the VALLEY now according to scripture.  God’s word says, th

Psalm 23:4 (NASB)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

It seems with every year I have found myself saying on December 31st, “next year will be better.”  I look over what has been and think it cannot get worse, then it does.  The year my parents both had open heart surgery and my oldest brother was in the horrible car wreck that ruined his life, also brought a loss job for my husband, an unfavorable medical diagnosis for myself and several other calamities.  Since then I’ve had a brother killed in a plane crash, more job loses, both parents and a parent in law went on to be with the Lord.  We’ve had a daughter almost killed in a collapsed building during a tornado, a granddaughter needing a stomach pumped, more car wrecks, more illnesses, foreclosure and losing my dream house … heart-break after heart-break.  Sometimes it just seems to keep coming and you think, when will the feasting years come.  In the Bible Joseph had bad years followed by good years.  King Solomon had great years.  So then why can’t we?   We do, we just don’t see it that way because we’re looking at the circumstances.  So many times we look at our lives when we need to look around us, or across the world, to see just how good we do have it in our life.

No matter what you are going through, God doesn’t make mistakes.  With the bad comes His presence.  If you focus on the bad of the circumstance you stumble.  When you look back and see all He’s brought you through you know He can carry you through it all. Remind yourself daily all God HAS brought you through, all HE has done for you.  Don’t let people tell you He won’t give you more than you can handle.  That’s not what that scripture means anyway.  He’ll never allow more to touch you that will cause you to lose your faith and give up.  You might feel like you’re going to, but, He’ll be there and He’ll remind you who He is and what He’s done.  We truthfully have no idea how much we can handle anyway.  I just need to remember that all goes through His hand’s before it ever touches me.

So with this new  year I’ll not worry about if it’s all going to turn around and be great.  Neither will I “borrow trouble” as  mom liked to say.  I’ll take each day as He gives it, thanking Him for all the blessings that satan* tries to make me forget by enticing me to look at the circumstances in life.  This year, 2015, will bring what He allows.  Good or bad does not matter as I can rejoice in Him regardless.  I will soon welcome my fifth grandchild.  Grandchildren are wonderful blessings.  My two daughters are blessings.  We are about to celebrate 38 years of marriage.  I’m looking at a cold and clear blue sky with white puff clouds.  I see a variety of large wading birds out back.  The heat is on and I am toasty, the cat is purring.  Hubby’s casting for that big one.  I may see the bobcat walk by, or the flock of wild turkeys.  God’s creation is beautiful, He cares about every detail.  He cares about me and all my details.  He’s not ignoring them, He’s allowing them. I can take comfort in knowing they will work to my good regardless of whether they or good things or bad.  Blessings are everywhere.

Romans 8:28 NASB

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I’m looking forward to 2015 Lord.  Help me to trust You each day, keeping my focus on You and not whatever the day brings.  Teach me.

*satan is always lower case in my writings, because he is one.

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What kind of books do you like?  How about movies? Like music genres, people like different types of entertainment in their books and movies.  But, one thing most people like is a good ending. Let’s face it, we want good to win, the good guy to win the girl, all the problems solved. You know how you hate it when something is left undone, unsaid, loose ends? All the questions have to be answered, the problems solved. the-rest-of-the-story

Many of my readers may not remember a radio classic and evening news commentator, Paul Harvey (click his name to hear his 1965 Rest of the Story on America).  He was famous for “The Rest Of The Story”.   So many times we get ‘blurbs’ of everyday events unaware of what “The Rest Of The Story” was.  He told the details with such detail and interest that he kept you hanging on until the end.

Sometimes our lives get going so fast that we are constant “blurbs” and nowadays, “bytes”.  The rest of the story is lost on those around us.  No one knows what our story is and sadly many do not care.  Sometimes you feel you’re in a romance novel, sometimes a travel adventure.  Often you’re in a mystery and sadly sometimes a tragic melodrama.  Our books are written day by  day, the story line going who knows where.  Characters come and go, tension mounts, tragedy enters or high adventure.  Your heart rates goes up and down and you wonder if the roller coaster will ever end.  You want the story to end happily ever after like your story books of your childhood.  You would be okay with everything no matter what if you could just get a peek at the end, to know that everything turns out all right.

Well, you know that if you’re a Christian.  You do not have to get impatient with the twist and turns.  You may not know the ending but, you know that it ends all right. You KNOW the Author.  He’s the Author and the finisher of your faith.  Sit back and trust in the end and don’t miss a second of the story worrying about how things are going to turn out or what is going to happen next.

Jeremiah 29:11(NASB)For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

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Daydreaming ….


Everyone has a favorite daydream.  Some of us have several.  One of my favorites is I have all the money I need to fly some very special friends to my favorite spot.   I call them and tell them to drop everything, grab their purse and ID and head for the airport where a ticket will be waiting for them.  A limo will meet them at the airport and bring them to the beach house that has all the amenities they could want.  They will not need bags, they will shop for everything they need.  I take them to all the best places to eat.  There is room service to clean for them daily.  We will laugh and enjoy all kinds of fun together.  I have planned a whole week to be stress free.   I hired people to stay at their home and take care of the love one they are the caregiver for, so they have no concerns while they are gone.daydream-2

Sigh.  If only right?  I had a teacher (and I am sure my mom and others as well) that always said, “if wishes were horses, beggars could ride.”  It is a wonderful daydream.  But, you know one day that is exactly what is going to happen with these ladies.  And it will not be for just one week, it will be for eternity.  One day, they will get that call.  They will take no bags, they will have no worries and leave no concerns.  They are all Christians.  In Heaven, they will have all they need.  You cannot take anything from here so no bags are needed.  There will be joy and laughter, and every need will be met.

We may never get that get together here on earth, but, one day … oh what a party in Heaven we are going to have and it won’t be a dream.

Revelations 21:4 HCSB “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. “

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Fall and football … the games, the cheerleaders, the bands.  I grew up with them, I participated in them and I raised children in them.  Now I live in fantasy … Fantasy Football that is.  Yes, you read that right.  I am in a fantasy football league with my daughters, SIL’s and one of their parents.   I have scored the most points so why am I NOT leading the league?  Because I have also had the most points scored against me.  In other words, on any given game, my opponent has an all time high game.  Actually, I have won the last two weeks … so I am no longer on the bottom rung … I’m climbing.Goal

Life can be like that … on any given day you have everything go wrong.  Everyone around you is having a great day.  However, you may have the garage door break, your AC or heater breaks, the car  breaks down, the stove starts acting up, the house needs paint, or you are running low on food, gas, sanity.  I have friends in all those game plays.  As a Christian you cannot sit on the bench with your head in your hands (unless you’re praying :-D) or run to the locker room.  You have to stay in the game.

Likewise, you are not going to win simply because you stand under the goalpost and wait for the game winning ball.  You have to go to the bench between innings for words from the Coach.  Often you will have to go between every play if you haven’t listened to the Coach and know what to do.  Going to the bench for instructions is always for the best.  “Take a knee” and listen.

Also, while you are in the game, you have to huddle with your fellow players.  You need their support.  (Go to church and Sunday School, Bible Studies, and Life Groups).  You should not play the game by yourself.  The crowd will overwhelm you with their shouts and confuse you.  Tune them out.  Listen only to your coach and team mates.

Stay in the game.  Keep tuned in to the “Coach”, the “Play Maker”.   At the end of the game of life … regardless of penalties, injuries and bad calls, you have won the prize, you have won the game.

Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  29 He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. 30 Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, 31 Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

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As toddlers our girls were spoiled rotten (yeah, I know, they still are).   But, we would tell them they were rotten to the core; stinking and rotting.   Now, when they would tell it back to us it sounded more like … stinkin-in and rottin-in.   Their dad still tells them they are rotten in the toddler terms.

Truthfully, things that are rotting are usually stinking and it is anything but cute.   stinkWhen something stinks, it usually has sat around awhile, soured and rotted.  Unfortunately, many Christians become rotten from sitting around and souring.  They get upset, get discouraged and get down.  Instead of going to their knees, seeking fellowship and prayer partners, they just sit and stew … and stew … and then they sour and after a while they just SMELL.  You would think they would get the message when people start avoiding them.  You can not stand to be around them.  They are sour on the world.  Nothing is going right for them; nothing is going their way.  As the saying goes, “misery loves company” and they want you to be miserable with them.  You just want them to get “washed in the blood” all over again.  All you can do is bathe them in prayer.

2 Corinthians 2:14-15(HCSB) 14 But thanks be to God, who always puts us on displayin Christ and through us spreads the aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.15 For to God we are the fragranceof Christ among those who are being saved  and among those who are perishing.”

Hopefully, you are not the one stinkin’.  Each day you make a choice.  You get up and you choose your attitude.    In Matthew 5:3-11 you will find the Beatitudes:

BEatitudes = Attitudes To Be (a previous blog)

 

If you are going to “smell” … smell sweet!

 

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Over the summer when I went to pick up my hubby at the airport, I arranged to meet him in baggage claim.   I love to watch people and baggage claim can be quite entertaining.  Baggage claim … oh the stories I could tell.  This trip got me thinking and taking notes for a future blog.

There are SO many bags: baggage claim

  All shapes

  All sizes

  All weights

Some are:

    Worn

    Ugly

    Damaged

    Lost

So I took my notes and tucked them away.  Then, recently,  when our son-in-law returned overseas, one of the bags he was carrying was lost.   According to the airlines, it  never left the airport here.  Weeks have gone by and still they have not found the bag.  The theory is, the tag got torn off on the belt going down from the ticketing area to the sorting area for planes.   Wouldn’t it have been thoughtful for the airport employee to have marked that bag with date, time and belt?  Might have helped … maybe not.  It is still missing weeks later.

So, when our daughter and granddaughters followed weeks later with their baggage, I decided to treat them like I do packages here in the states.  I typed up a LARGE piece of paper stating:  “LUGGAGE DESTINATION” and we laid it on top before closing each bag.  We don’t know if that worked because none got lost.   But, it would be nice to think it would.

Unlike our traveling baggage, we often want to carry our ‘life’s baggage” around daily.    Piling it on day after day until somehow we cannot function at all.    All the regrets, the what ifs, and only ifs … they load us down.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the “baggage tag” were just torn off and lost?   That just doesn’t happen in real life.  It seems to be indelibly marked with our name.  Sometimes we set the “baggage down” but, hold on to the tickets and go back and pick them up later.   We never learn.  The only tag on our baggage, inside and out, should read:  “Return to Jesus”.

Give HIM your tickets and let HIM carry your baggage.

Psalm 55:22 ( NASB) Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Matthew 11:28 (NLT) “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

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