Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Forgiveness Brings Freedom

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You can be shackle-free! Start the path to forgiveness today. You will be glad you did!

I pray blessings and peace over you today as you embark on this new journey. Freedom in Him is here for the taking!

– Sarah

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Today’s devotional selection:

A Place of Forgiveness
By Suzie Eller

” … Keep your eyes open to this Temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My name will be honored there,’ and listen to the prayers that I pray at this place. Listen from your home in heaven and when you hear, forgive.” 1 Kings 8:28-30 (MSG)

Claire sat on the floor with a wad of tissues in her hand. Her husband had left her three days earlier for someone else.

Sitting there crying, in her brokenness she sensed God whisper, “Pray for him.”

Fists clinched, she shook them at the ceiling. “It’s too soon, God. If You love me, You won’t ask this of me. You are focusing on the wrong person. He’s the one who should be kneeling and asking for forgiveness.”

In 1 Kings 8, we find the story of God’s temple being built, a temple where God’s presence would dwell. It took seven years, a labor force of over 130,000 and King Solomon’s leadership to complete the temple. It was built with cypress, olive wood and cedar, and inside the doors were overlaid in gold. When the temple was completed, Solomon stood in awe as God’s presence filled it (verse 10), and he began to pray.

He could have asked God for many things. That the temple be a place of power where his kingdom would shine. That his enemies, and those of his father, King David, would be slain. That the sinful man would walk through the doors and be condemned for his sins.

Instead he asked that God’s Name be honored in the temple, and the magnificent structure would be a place of forgiveness.

Scripture declares that we are His temple. Three days after discovering her husband’s secrets Claire hadn’t eaten. She hadn’t slept. Her temple was crumbling.

By asking her to forgive so soon, God wasn’t showing a lack of compassion over her pain or her husband’s abandonment, but a sign that He knew her well. By asking her to forgive, God was asking for a place to move into the demolished areas of her life.

Forgiving would allow Him to fill her with His presence, putting His Name there forever, no matter what her situation.

Daily, Claire walked intentionally in her relationship with God, reading the Bible, talking honestly with Him, listening to worship music. This became her sanctuary as she went through the most challenging parts of an unwanted divorce. The more she nurtured her heart and His presence inside of her, the less room there was for sadness, grief, anger, and loss.

And then the day came. She knelt on the carpet and she told God, “I forgive him,” and she meant it.

A deeper meaning to the word forgive is “to abide” or “to set free.” Claire experienced both of these as she made room within her heart, mind and soul for God’s presence and forgiveness to dwell.

It’s been nearly a year. She is still beginning each day with God and inviting Him to fill her up with Himself. Moments of joy now surprise her just as grief once did.

Dear Lord, I knew instinctively that one day You would ask me to forgive, but today I understand why. You want to move in to the demolished areas of my life and let Your presence shine. Help me to begin to forgive with Your help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Reeeellllllaaaaaaaaxxxxxx already! (Note to Self)

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It’s time to stop, relax, and look up! He’s right there, ready to calm your soul in the midst of the storm. Trust in Him to do so. He won’t let you down! But, there’s a catch…you have to let go of the stress in order to receive His peace. Are you willing?

Have a great weekend!

Love and blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Relax!
by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions

Matthew 8:26-27 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Whew! What must the disciples have felt back then as they saw the waves crashing against their boat? They we’re being swayed from side to side in the deep dark sea. They were afraid for their lives! But our Lord was there all along. He just wanted them to trust.

So often we find ourselves in that same boat, don’t we? “Lord, are you there?! Don’t you see these waves about to consume me?!

But He does! He sees all, hears all, knows all. He is the same Lord that calmed that storm two thousand years ago and He can cause the winds and the seas, and the trials of our lives to become calm in an instant! Ahh, but it’s usually in the storms that He will display His awesome power!

Let’s renew our trust in the Lord today. God has great plans for those who will put their trust in Him.

Being Rocky Balboa in the Spiritual Realm

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Rocky has always been one of my most beloved film heroes. He just kept fighting. He persevered. I want to be like that in my spiritual life. I often say that Christians are like Weebles, we wobble but we don’t fall down! Lets fight the good fight. Like this devotional selection says, war gets tough. But take heart, we’ve already won the battle by choosing the right army to be part of!

Have a great day. 🙂

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Battle Wounds from the Good Fight
By Jennifer E. Jones

“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight? I don’t wanna die without any scars…” – Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club

I was thinking this morning about what it means to be in a fight. As a woman, it’s not quite the rite of passage as it is for a man. However, I fought enough with my brothers as a child that I’m aware of the mechanics of it.

Most people agree that a fight that’s one-sided isn’t really a fight. That’s just a beating. That’s a bully taking advantage of someone weaker than he or she is. A real fight is back and forth; you trade blows.

The keeping of one’s faith is similar. If you want to be a Christian or even remotely God-conscious, this life will fight you for it. It’s going to hit you, and as noted in the last Rocky movie, nobody hits harder than life. The world tries to take your joy and your peace with every unwanted circumstance, every unexpected tragedy, and every unforeseen pitfall.

So what do you do? You can curl up in the fetal position, block your face and just take it. Truthfully, there are times when that’s the only thing you can do. Some hardships are simply tests of endurance.

You can help the enemy by inflicting wounds on yourself. That’s when you just agree with every negative thought that comes in: “I’m not good enough, not smart enough, etc.” Your opponent doesn’t have to do anything then. You will beat yourself up.

Then there’s the third option: you can fight. You fight by remembering God’s promise that no weapon formed against you will succeed at taking you down (Isaiah 54:17). You hide His words in your heart and wear them out on your sleeve. You stand up against the lies that seek to sink your ship.

And it’s going to be rough. You’ll get wounded. You’ll get dazed. The enemy doesn’t fight fair, and he’s very aware of your weak points. Don’t think for a moment that he won’t sucker punch you right where it hurts.

It’s difficult to imagine emerging from any fight without scars. Even Jesus has scars. He showed them to the disciples after His resurrection (Luke 24:39). In fact, His scars were proof that He had died and came back to life. I think our scars bare the same resemblance. They are the evidence that we are overcomers. They qualify us to speak to those in pain and say, “I’ve been there.”

So, keep your head up. You’ll lose a few battles, but remember that you’ve already won the war.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. — I Timothy 6:12 [NIV]

Peace Like a River

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He gives peace like no person or “thing” can. I’m choosing to rest in that truth today, care to join me?

One of my favorite worship lyrics are, “When peace like a river flows through me, then I will be free.”

Blessings,

Sarah

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Today’s devo selection:

Peace in Him

Reading: Job 30-31; Acts 13:26-52

Today’s Thoughts: Peace in Him
Found on http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Most of us would agree that tribulations are very much a part of life. They come at different times for different reasons, but they no doubt come. Do you ever wonder just where the peace is that Jesus was speaking about? How about in your own personal life? Do you have peace in your daily routines? Jesus tells us that we will have tribulation in this world, a definite promise not just a possibility. But our only hope for peace is in Jesus. We must claim this verse as a direct promise from Him. He has overcome the world; therefore, we can overcome those things that try to take our peace by living for Him.

Yet the words sound easier to do than the reality of actually living our lives this way. For me, my life seemed to be much better when I was in control of my circumstances. If I could somehow control the factors that influenced my day, then I could produce the peace I desperately needed. For a long period of time, my day consisted of doing those things that either mattered most to me or to others who expected a level of performance from me. I believed that being in control led to greater stability and less turmoil, a win-win for everyone around me.

There were clues along the way that maybe this way of life was not so great for everyone else around me. One major clue came one night several years ago when my husband asked me if I was okay. Of course, I was okay. Our lives were good. Our marriage was fine, rarely a conflict or cross word. Our jobs were more than sufficient to meet our needs. We were young, owned our own home, had money, and enjoyed many of the world’s amenities. Why was he asking me what was wrong? He began to express his concerns to me about—me. I could not listen to him without becoming defensive. After some discussion, I confessed to him that I often felt like an android, a machine on the inside but normal looking on the outside. Still, I was not ready or willing to accept that maybe I needed to change, that I needed help.

Over time, the Lord has led me to make many, many changes in my life. I was deceived into thinking that I could make my own peace by controlling my circumstances and situations. The changes have come by surrendering my control to Jesus. There is no peace in this world without the Lord. I have known Jesus as my Savior most of my life, but only when I made Him Lord of my life did I begin to know His peace. He left us His peace. May we all let go of our need to be in control and trust Jesus to help us get through all things….both good and bad.

Dysfunction Junction, What’s Your Function?

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How was your Easter? If it was like most people’s, it was a day of family dysfunction! ..At least to some degree. Right? Let’s be honest, no one’s family is all peaches and cream all of the time. Why? Because humans are involved!

How is your relationship with our Father God? Well, like I said, you’re human – so it’s guaranteed there is some level of dysfunction in that relationship as well.

It’s been said that how people treat others is a mirror into their soul. If they are cruel to others, it’s because they are cruel to themselves. If they are loving, it’s because they are loving towards themselves, etc..

So maybe today we can all take a look inward, and take inventory of where we are spiritually. The more we work on ourselves, the more *good* function we will bring to our relationships. Yes, there will always be work to do in our relationships with others/ourselves, but we don’t have to accept the invitation to “Dysfunction Junction” anymore! We can all learn to become the light in any situation, with The Lord’s help.

Have a wonderful Monday, friends!

Blessings,

Sarah

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Spiritual Dysfunction
By Ivie Bozeman

Matthew 22:37-38 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (NIV)

I had a problem with my ice maker. The repairman responded quickly to my call. He performed the procedure that he thought necessary to get the water flowing. It did not work. He came again and decided my icemaker needed replacing. The next day came — still no ice. This went on for several days, until he found that a tiny valve connecting the water line was not functioning. Replacing this started the water flow. Back we went to the old ice maker, which is now functioning beautifully. This tiny little dysfunction had puzzled us all.

This prompted my thoughts toward “spiritual dysfunction”. Something is not going right in our spiritual lives, but we are at a loss to find the problem. We pray daily, read the Bible, go to church, and feel we are doing everything necessary to show our love for God and for our neighbour, but the spiritual flow is not as it should be.

Could it be that we have a “dysfunction” — just a tiny one, like a little valve — between our professed love for God and our love for our neighbours? Could we have failed to show compassion for someone who lost their job, or have we shown a lack of empathy for our friends going through a divorce? Do we claim to love the weak and vulnerable, but in no way reach out to help them?

Jesus told us that love for God and love for others is inseparable. Are we showing one face to the church and the friends with whom we worship, and another to those who think and act differently? The valve that controls the flow of our spirituality may not be working properly.

Yes, I think that we can become spiritually disconnected. Just as my ice maker had become dysfunctional because of the little valve that was not working, we can become dysfunctional too. Our problems may be harder to locate than the valve on the ice machine, but through prayerful seeking, the problem can be located.

Prayer: Father, help us to take inventory and seek out the problems in our spiritual lives and repair them. Give us a little nudge in the direction we should go. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Clearer Vision

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This devotional says it all.  I’d try to add something, but why?  Be blessed, and have a wonderful day!

– Sarah

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God is Doing a New Thing: Are You Looking?

By Chris Roberts

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)

Our Lord does not bind himself to the expectations of men or to the habits of time. Behold, he is doing a new thing! He is not held by the thickening mud of human tradition, he makes a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, peace among the wild beasts and sweet water to the people formed for his praise.

The prophet asks, almost incredulously, “Can’t you perceive this thing that he is doing?” Are you so blinded by your set ways that you cannot see the path God lays right before your eyes? Thus it was for the Pharisees, those blind guides who led people into darkness. So hard of heart, they refused to see salvation coming out of Zion, the Holy One of Israel, come to take away the sins of the world. They remained locked in patterns of works and self-righteousness while declaring their own praise. But the God who makes a way in the wilderness, a river in the desert, has brought something new: salvation through the suffering servant.

Do not be like the Pharisee, so consumed with his vision of himself that he was unable to perceive the mighty work of God. Be like the prophet himself, Isaiah, who saw the Lord seated on the throne and could only tremble as the angels cried out, “Holy, holy holy, is the Lord of hosts! The whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:1-6) God has done this great work so that the people would declare his praise (Isaiah 43:21). Christian, give praise to God!

Always on the Run!

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It’s been a crazy week, and it doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon. I’m sure many of you can relate! But even in the crazy times, we can take a moment to pause and refocus our eyes on Him. Because with and in Him all things are possible. We can do anything with Him by our side. So as I get ready to run around like a chicken with my head cut off today, I’m gonna do it with a smile, knowing that I’m not doing any of it by myself. I have my Savior with me! I encourage you to do the same. I think if you do, you’ll notice you don’t mind fulfilling those pesky obligations nearly as much. 🙂

Blessings,

Sarah

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Are You Too Busy For God?
By Emily Riley

Most people know the importance of spending time with God. But in the midst of life, sometimes it’s just hard to find the time. Schedules fill up quickly, work consumes our thoughts at night, family and friends vie for our attention, and then there’s this thing called sleep. How do you fit it all in? What do you let “drop”? What do you do when you simply need 36 hours in a day instead of 24?

There can be many reasons and causes for our busy lives. But, no matter the season, no matter the busy schedule we have, God demands our worship. The sisters, Mary and Martha are a good example of this. Its easy for me to relate to Martha… busy with serving… busy with something good, but missing what was most important.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are) anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

I want to grow in that faith that Mary had… faith to rest and not be anxious. The wisdom to see what is most important. Faith to trust in God to provide and to be able to simply rest there.

Prayer: Father, Help us to look to you, no matter how busy our lives may be. Be our number one priority and help us to in faith, trust you to provide the needed strength for the other events of our day. You are all powerful and you care for us. Help that truth to increase our faith and trust in you. Forgive us for where we are anxious. Thank you for the reminder that if you care for the needs of the birds of the air, you care for us.

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