Monday, July 30, 2007

Pray for Peace

This week and next week look busy already. Next week our church is having Vacation Bible School. I am on the human part of the team working to 'make it happen' . Beginning last night a group of the church, including children, gathered to pray. Our primary focus is that the Spirit of the Lord will so fill us with Himself that others will see Jesus.
Our theme - "A Time Walk to Liberty" shares both stories from God's Word, history and today on how the Creator God is setting people 'free'.
So what does that have to do with 'Peace'? For one thing, peace is brought about through an appropriate relationship with another mind. God gives us peace as we choose to not only agree with Him but accept Him into our hearts and lives in full control, knowing that He will only allow that which he sees best for us. This leads us to real peace.
May I invite those of you who read this to join in praying that God's peace will be so filling our hearts that it will spill out to all with whom we come in contact.

Thank you so much.

Bringer of Peace

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Disturbers of Peace

Sometimes it does help to be forewarned on how to avoid having one's 'peace' disturbed. I fell flat on my face anyway. I have been in e-mail connection with someone who believes that they are highly intellectual in spiritual matters. I grant you they do know a lot of facts. They have had a lot of experience also. If you want my honest opinion = which no one has asked for but I'll give it anyway - this person is hurting in some way. Anyway, I read my brother's blog recently on Exulting in Hope and decided to share it with the other person. (Here is where I fell flat) Instead of doing as the article suggested I got several responses many pages long explaining.
I read what was written. I also thanked the person for their thoughts on the subject. But sad to say, what was written in confrontational style did nothing to add to my peace. Also sad to say I answered some of the challenges.
So, why was that wrong for me to do. I can truthfully say that I am not more at peace after my responses even though the Bible promise is: 'Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them'. Arguing and/or winning a spiritual argument does not lend itself to peace. Peace is not strictly intellectual. Peace has a lot to do with accepting that because someone loves for you to be with them you can confidently be in peace and rest in their presence. Therefore 'winning' indicates someone else 'lost' unless you are in one of those 'win-win' situations.
I for one am back to looking for ways to reach this person and let them know God's love through me instead of just trying to 'prove a point'.
For now May your eyes be on the God of Peace Who will unite you with Him as you give Him permission in your life.

Maiden, Bringer of peace

Monday, July 23, 2007

Illustrations of Peace

The Creator God of the Universe made this world. When He finished, the Bible records that He said it was 'very good'. Since then a lot of things have gotten 'messed up' and are no longer 'good' in any sense of the word. On the other hand there are still many 'good' things in God's creation. Not far from my front door are some beautiful 'stargazer' lilies in full bloom right now. As I walk by them I often pause and say something like 'Thank you, Father in heaven, for this love note from You'. Every opening bud, every flower, is like an 'I love you' note from Jesus. There are also some beautiful gladiolus along the walk to my door. They don't have quite the fragrance of the stargazer lilies but they sure are beautiful. The Dahlias are also beginning to produce their summer blooms. And as though that were not enough I have a dishpan full of fresh ripe tomatoes from the garden waiting to be eaten, along with some cucumbers. Not yet picked are yellow beans, swiss chard and potatoes still in the garden. Not long ago I did some study on the meaning of Psalm 19. I posted my paraphrase this morning, if anyone is interested (see paraphrase blogsight address on side bar). In this Psalm David was looking around at God's created works and getting a better, bigger picture of the God of Peace. That kind of activity is very helpful and strengthening not only for David but my mind also. God speaks to me through His written word, which I call the Bible. He also 'speaks', as referred to in Psalm 19, through what some folks label the 'book of nature'. I invite anyone who is taking the time to read this to listen, see and maybe even touch some of God's illustrations of love and peace as found in nature. Isn't it nice to get a love letter from Someone who considers YOU VERY SPECIAL, and Who is the Author of real Peace as well. Bringer of Peace

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sharing Peace

The past few days have again been very busy. I agreed to work with a team at church to present a 'Vacation Bible School' for children in August. The Lord has been working miracles of love not only in my heart but in others as well.
In the past I have tended to be a 'lone ranger'. I have averaged leading out (0r occasionally assisting) in 2 Vacation Bible Schools each summer for the last 10-12 years. I know the Lord blessed and I thank Him for the many experiences He has enabled me to walk with Him through. But in the past few months as I have been learning more about God's plan for 'community' I realized the need for me to be 'part' of a team. God has led in putting together a team effort.
Our 'theme' this year for the Vacation Bible School is 'A walk in time to Liberty. We will begin by learning about deliverance in the life of Daniel, then Esther and most importantly Jesus. Then we will learn more about religious liberty in early American history, current liberty events and conclude with the greatest deliverance of all - when Jesus comes again.
So what does this have to do with peace! For one thing God is showing me that His peace does not come to me because of how much I do. God's peace is not dependent on my performance. God's peace is poured out because Jesus loves me. And when I truly accept that kind of peace, then true peace can flow out of my heart to others. Thank you Father in Heaven.

Bringer of Peace

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Receiving Peace by sharing it

Today did not go as planned (When does it?) On the contrary I found myself speaking with a number of individuals who seemed to be looking for peace in one way or another. One friend shared with me that after asking another friend questions they would allow their friend to answer but would not 'add comments'. They said they were learning this tended to bring peace more than when arguing. (I silently agreed, that time.) Then I got a call from another person. They began sharing with me how the Lord has been speaking to them concerning another relationship. Actually it was their marriage. The more they shared the more I praised the Lord, for I could see the Lord working to 'save' a marriage. All of these experiences, though, were 'keeping' me from doing what I planned to do. By the time I was ready to go help another friend my husband was on his way home from work. I decided to wait for him before leaving for my friend's house. To make a long story short both my hubby and I went to help our friend. After installing an air conditioner in her office (she has really been suffering from the heat this summer) and getting her something to eat - her foot had been bothering her also - I asked my beloved if we could spend a little time singing with our friend. He agreed and we spent perhaps a half hour or more singing hymns. Our friend received a blessing, I believe, but I KNOW we did. There was a sweet spirit of peace that seemed to pervade our friend's place when we left. I didn't get to do everything I had planned but I did receive peace by sharing it.

May God find a channel through you to be able to spread His peace to others around you. In being a channel through which God's peace flows let me assure you that you will experience His peace in your own life as well as sharing it with others.

Bringer of Peace

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Gift of Peace

So much has been happening. So many experiences have become part of my life 'history' in just the past few days. I've often thought of things that might be good to write. But it seems I have been experiencing so much that the time to write about it has been lacking.
Then this evening came. I had felt that I had been making progress in a number of relationships that have at times seemed rather 'rocky'. I hope I am correct. Today I spent quite a bit of time with some ladies in planning on our upcoming Vacation Bible School to be held at our church entitled 'Time for Freedom'. Plans are that the first evening we will explore some of the experiences in Daniel's life in relation to 'real' freedom. The next evening we plan to explore more aspects of freedom as pictured in the life of Esther in the Bible. The third evening we will look at God's supreme example of freedom - Jesus. The next two nights we are going to 'fast forward' to 'Religious Freedom' as exhibited in some early American history, particularly relating to John Leland and others around the time of the revolutionary war in what is now the U.S. The last evening we will look at the ultimate experience in freedom when Jesus comes to this earth again to set His people free from both sin and death.
Sounds exciting just writing about it. (We aren't completed with our plans but that gives a bird's eye view.) We have about three weeks to pull this all together.
Then, this evening 'came to an end' and I 'went to bed'. I could give all kinds of reasons, I suppose, but for some reason sleep didn't come. I wasn't worrying, I wasn't busy planning, but somehow, someway, my mind wandered into a forbidden 'path' where God has distinctly said not to go. By the time I 'mentally' realized, it seemed overpowering. Finally I got up to bring my mind back into God's will. I asked forgiveness of God and He has forgiven me. I am not sharing this because I am proud of what just happened. I am sharing this because, through it all, I am realizing that God's peace is not something I 'earn', not something I 'deserve', not something I inherently have. God's peace is a gift He gives me for (in place of) my sin. When I agreed with God that my will was not His will for me and I relenquished 'ownership' of that 'other will' (sin), then I received God's forgiveness - He gave me His will for my other will - and cleansed me from ALL unrighteousness - including the wrong thoughts.
There is a song that came to my mind called 'Sweet Peace, the Gift of God's Love' .
There comes to my heart one sweet strain, a glad and a joyous refrain
I sing it again and again; Sweet peace, the gift of God's love.
Peace, peace, God's peace; wonderful gift from above.
Oh wonderful, wonderful peace - sweet peace the gift of God's love.

Adam and Eve were created in God's peace. When they accepted Satan's will for them they lost God's peace. The only way I experience God's peace is by accepting God's will again. One gift Jesus gave to every human being was the ability to choose whom they would serve. Satan's government is not based on free choice. Once he gets a person to choose his will then his plan is to draw or drag them as far away from God's will as he can. Satan, formerly called Lucifer, used to live in heaven and he knows by experience God's peace. But now that he has chosen to be God's enemy he tries to get as many as possible to 'join him' in rebellion against the Creator.
But praise God, because Jesus has given me back the power to choose to belong to Him - the Creator of the Universe - again. By choosing to belong to Jesus and accept His life in me, I also receive the gift of God's peace. What love!
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Peace in Time

As this seventh day of this week began we were singing praise to God with some friends. Oh what a release and even joy to have the privilege of laying aside the multitude of the
everyday cares of my life for a twenty four hour period of time and in exchange receive the blessing of spending that special time, focused time with the God of Peace. Wow! How Awesome!
So where do I get the idea I have the 'right' to or should even think of doing such a thing? Don't I have 'so much to do'? YES! And the God who created me knows even better than I do the need of peace in my life in order for me to 'really live'.

When Jesus lived here on this earth as a man He said the 'Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath'. So where did this Sabbath idea come from in the first place? From the God of Peace Himself. At the end of the week in which God created this world in the first place, God gave His example concerning the 'Sabbath'. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made." Genesis 2: 2,3.
Then, a little later in speaking again about the 'seventh day', God said: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, . . . For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11
I haven't yet got to the place where I have learned how to get all my 'work' 'done', but I am learning the Peace that comes in laying aside 'my work' on the day God blessed and experiencing Him and the Peace He only is able to bestow into my life.
Somehow this seventh day 'peace in time' called Sabbath empowers me to face ever increasing challenges of life that will again face me after this Sabbath is over. I felt that 'release' and PEACE in particular last evening. Even though 'cares' tried to press in on the 'singing' I felt the 'right' to 'lay them aside' also. We often take our music keyboard with us but when we hooked it up it wouldn't turn on. That can be checked into later but for this Sabbath we sang hymns without the keyboard.
After the praise time was over and some folks had already gone, one of my friends asked what was appropriate to 'do' on the Sabbath. She was concerned that she might ask us to 'do' something that was against our 'sabbath rules'.
Even as recently as a year or so ago I might have referred her to some 'list' of 'do and don't' that someone had 'made' for 'proper sabbath observance'.
Praise the Lord, that is not God's idea of how to enable me to experience "Peace in Time" especially relating to His Holy Sabbath.
More recently I have been learning that the criteria for proper 'Sabbath activities' is simply: what will enable me to most efficiently experience God's 'PEACE' and to share that same experience with others in His way. I may still take time to eat for physical strength on Sabbath, but that is not my primary focus, therefore anything I can do to prepare food ahead of time means I have more time to spend with God during the special 'Sabbath' appointment He has with me. I still get dressed on Sabbath, but anything I can do ahead of time to have my special clothes ready to meet with the God of peace leaves more quality time to spend with Him. And perhaps the greatest block of time that can be cleared for this special Sabbath appointment is that which I would normally spend in work for myself and/or others. As noted above, God instructed me to get 'my work' done during the first six days of each week. On the seventh day of the week, also called Sabbath in the Bible, my 'work' is laid aside so that I can experience God's Peace by spending (what would have been spent any other day doing 'my work') the entire seventh day with Him.
How wonderful is my Creator God to give me this time, every week, to spend specially with Him. By the way, the same is true of 'mental work'. In the past I have often 'stopped' my physical work on the Sabbath but not the everyday 'thoughts' that were going on in my mind - but didn't give me much quality time with God on those Sabbaths.
Well, having done the above to 'clear' the seventh day 'time' of everyday activities, what might I 'do' during this 'Peace in Time'? Here are a few ideas I have been learning to enhance this "Peace in Time" .
"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10
"A Psalm [or] Song for the sabbath day. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, LORD, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep." Psalm 92:1-5
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: 58:14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it]." Isaiah 58:13

There are many more appropriate ways to experience God's love and peace in a special way on 'His holy day' the seventh day Sabbath, but for now I am going to focus on this Sabbath's blessing more fully.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, July 6, 2007

Peace in Knowing

So much has happened in the past few days that I feel I am having a hard time keeping up with life. Yet, speed of events is not what gives real peace, so that in itself is not a real issue. Add to the above that I had three jobs that needed to be done THIS WEEK with one of them needing to be done by Tuesday. That job involved papers that had to be to a lawyer by Tuesday, adding another element of interest. The other two pressing jobs had to done no later than today. I have one of them done - helping a lady prepare pictures on the computer for a class that begins this weekend. The last job is that I will be teaching a young children's class beginning this weekend in our church. When I teach young children I believe in visual aids. We have some of them done but not all of them yet and today is the last day for me to get ready. (So why am I writing this? One reason was that I just finished unpacking Psalm 17 and decided I wanted to share it. It actually had a lot to say to me about all of the above in principle. Following is my current 'paraphrase' of Psalm 17, after doing a word study. I don't really care for the numbers but have left them in for reference sake.)

Psalm 17
1. A hymn written by David.
O Creator, listen to what I am really trying to say even if it only sounds like strange noises. Honestly, what I am saying is not to betray or ridicule You.
2. Let Your decisions about me be based on Your balanced, perfect (love based) view of me.
3. You know what is inside of me - even my deepest secrets. You have been maturing me (growing me up) and I am determined that I will vindicate You.
4. Compared to other people's habits, I've been guarded from becoming destructive by using Your Words.
5. Sustain me in Your way so I don't 'miss a beat'.
6. I address You by Name for You pay attention to what I say, Almighty God.
7. Reveal your distinguished, kind courtesy to those You rescue by Your power - who confide in You, particularly when others argue and contend.
8. Protect me - as a person protects their eyes; hide me, by hovering over me,
9. from those who abuse me by acting like they are so 'great' but really aren't, yet strike out at me in hostility.
10. They are surrounded by the choicest things, they arrange everything to make themselves look the very best.
11. They advance to surround those of us who are going straight: they appear 'humble' -
12. like a preying lion about to pull down his prey or an ambush quietly waiting in hiding.
13. Do something first, O Creator, so they fall: rescue me from the violators who are parched without You.
14. Powerful people living right now, O Creator, are rich and leave a big inheritance to their families.
15. As for me, I will contemplate You with joy; I will be filled with peace when I awake just like You.

David had many of the same 'inner' challenges that face me even now. I am so thankful to he Creator God that He was relating to hasn't changed from then until now.
The last verse to me is a special promise: As I keep my mind focused on Jesus, I will have His peace in me. Praise the Lord.

As stated above I have much to do so must go for this time

Keep thinking about Jesus today,

Bringer of Peace