Saturday, December 29, 2007

Life lessons from David

I have been studying Psalm 38 the past few days. There have been some very interesting thoughts I have been getting while 'unpacking' this portion of Scripture.

This particular Psalm seems to come from David's pen during a time in his life when he had become painfully aware of some mistakes he had made in his past.

But while he was struggling with stress and depression he again ended this poem/song with a confirmation of the Creator God, his Saviour.

If anyone is interested in reading my 'take' on Psalm 38 just click on the 'paraphrases' link to the right.

And as this year draws to a close I wish God's peace in your heart as well as mine.

Bringer of Peace

Peace on earth, good will toward men

Christmas is gone for this year. This is one time of year when many people take at least a passing glimpse at what the Bible calls 'The prince of Peace'. A passing thought might make one think peace is more possible when more of the world is looking at the Prince of Peace. It is a nice idea. However, on the other hand, when I realize that the arch enemy of the Prince of Peace is as busy during this time of year as is Jesus might it be possible that there may be 'less' peace rather than more - externally anyway.

The kind of peace Jesus offers begins in the heart. The kind of peace being pushed by others has to do more with a lack of 'war'. Peace with neighbors, peace from battle, peace to fulfill one's dreams are not the primary goals of what Jesus brings when it was stated "Peace on earth, good will toward men."

The kind of Peace Jesus offers is a connection with God as He originally intended for the human family. In God is life. That kind of life is what brings true peace of heart.

That kind of peace is what I encourage you to seek for during this coming new year.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, December 21, 2007

Looking forward to Peace

I have been experiencing Psalm 37 even more. That is one awesome passage of scripture.

It is excellent in the King James Version but after looking up words in Hebrew it has become even more meaningful.
One text in particular I found extremely interesting in regards to Peace was 11. The following is my paraphrase of that text. (My take of the whole chapter is posted at paraphrases link at the right if anyone wishes to peruse.)

"Those who gently and willingly agree with the Creator will live in the earth and delight in the abundant peace provided through God's love covenant with them."

The next two verses give a bit of a contrast which is also very interesting to me.

12. Some people plot to disturb the peace of those who are right. They work hard (especially with sharp words) to make them as miserable as possible.
13. But my Sovereign Lord laughs at them for He knows their future.

I think God is trying to tell me something here about how I - especially when I am united to Him by accepting His will - may better 'handle' those who attempt to break my peace. Seeing the bigger picture helps to keep God's perspective in mind.

This Psalm does deal with some contrasts but I am also seeing it more as God's perspective for those who choose to accept His will.

The last few verses as I have written them I share now as a benediction of peace.

37 - 40. Watch those who have accepted God's will and you will see peace in action, but those who break away from God's covenant with them will end in nothing. Those who covenant with the Creator God receive His strength, even in trouble. The Self-Existent One surrounds His family. He will slip them away from their abusers, set them free and keep them safe because they flee to Him for protection.

Bringer of Peace

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Progress Notes

Well, my sister has come and gone already. She was a real blessing while she was here. One of the first things we did was get the room where she was going to stay in order. Another friend had given us some rugs. We had already put one in a bedroom and another one in the family room. We laid one in what is now the guest bedroom (where my sister stayed), another one in the living room of the big house and the last rug we put in our living room in a smaller house.

Another project we worked on was getting some plastic on the windows. Since winter is upon us I hope that will help save on our gas and electric bills this year as well as making the house more comfortable.

Besides getting rugs down we worked at getting each room in 'order'. The new guest room had been an office/storage room. We rearranged furniture - removing those pieces that we couldn't find places for - and when it was all said and done it looks very nice, even if I do say so myself.

After getting the new guest room and the living room in order my sister and I worked on the upstairs. I have one room as library/craft room and another one is being set up for an office. During the past few months there have been a number of changes in other rooms and most of the 'extras' had been 'stored' in those two rooms. It took a bit longer but the library/craft room is pretty much cleaned and ready for use. The office still has some things that need to be sorted and either stored or removed but overall it is in pretty good shape, especially considering what it looked like before we started.

The last day my sister was here we started work in earnest on our living room. We did get the rug put down on the floor - that is especially nice now that it is cold outside. Our son wanted some say on how the furniture would be arranged so we didn't quite get everything 'done' but we are progressing.

This past Sunday my hubby and I spent some time under the house working on installing a drain line for a new sit down shower in the main floor bathroom. When we came to attaching it to the existing 'line' we ran into some additional challenges so had to postpone finishing that job until later.

Between the effects of crawling around in the dust and putting as much effort as possible to get as much done as we could while my sister was here I ended up with laryngitis. It does seem better but when my younger brother called me yesterday he didn't recognize me by my voice.

Along with the 'physical' help my sister gave me, she also shared some observations I have appreciated very much.

My sister had a 600 mile drive ahead of her after leaving here so she left here Tuesday evening and drove for perhaps 100 miles before getting a motel for the night. She wanted to be in Brunswick, Ga. by Wednesday evening and in Florida by Thursday evening.

I do believe that her helping here has helped bring more peace with the increasing 'order' and for that I am grateful. We still have a lot to do but every little bit helps.

I was a bit under the 'weather' yesterday and didn't get a whole lot done. But today I am feeling better and there is much to do so I will close for now.

May God's peace be experienced in your heart today.

Bringer of Peace

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Feeding on Psalm 37

Psalm 37 begins by telling me not to fret. What does the word 'fret' mean?
Here is what I gleaned from Strong's Hebrew definition.

Fret - glow, blaze up, melt down, show or incite passion,

We are told not to fret about evildoers.

Evildoers - to spoil, breaking in pieces, make good for nothing.

Verse 2 tells us why. 2, For they shall soon (hurry, promptly, be liquid, flow easily,) be cut down

I found it interesting that God is telling me not to 'blaze up' or 'melt down' and the reason why I don't need to do that is because then, or at least it sounds like one of the reasons why is that the evildoers are doing that very thing to themselves and God doesn't want me 'joining them'.

There are many more interesting concepts that are also unfolding in my 'unpacking' of Psalm 37. I'll put it on my paraphrase link when I get a better handle on the whole chapter.

Until then,
Have a peaceful time of the year.

Bringer of peace.


My sister arrived safe and sound from Michigan. For anyone who has been by our place, you will have an idea of how much we have been able to accomplish. The living room is 'full' but comfortable with one of the rugs on the floor. The former 'office' is now a comfortable guest room/study with another of the rugs on the floor for comfort and warmth. Another one of the rugs was put in the family room. We have put plastic on most of the windows of the farmhouse. Upstairs we have been making a goodly amount of progress as well. There was a former bedroom I had been working to make it a library/craft/sewing room. The former living room in the upstairs apartment is taking shape as an office/project/video room. We have been slowly finding 'homes' for excess pieces of furniture which had been put in the upstairs rooms when cleaning out two other rooms for a couple of ladies to have as their rooms.

It has been such a blessing to have my sister helping me. She has a 'fresh' view and can see ways of organizing that has been a big blessing. But without some decisions that were made just a couple of weeks ago most of what we have been able to do would not have been possible. My sister had been thinking of coming since July. but circumstances seemed against her coming. A couple of weeks ago the man who had had his office in the front of the main house told us he was 'letting go' of that room as an office (the one now a guest bedroom/study). Then just a few days later my sister called and said she could help us for a few days. Not long before the man's decision to move his office, we had just finished moving the two ladies who have been here for some time into more permanent living areas.

Looking back I can see God working in His time and way to enable us to make progress in creating a more peace conducive area here on our farm. We may not be done but a lot has been accomplished this past week for which I am very grateful. (By the way my hubby got the load of metal taken in to the recycling place - one less load of stuff to get rid of. Whoopee!)

To me the above 'progress' is helpful in coming into one kind of peace. I do take a lot of responsibility for what has happened here but I also realize that a lot of people have come through this farm in the past few years and 'too much' has been left behind. I am determined to get rid of some of this 'left behind' stuff - both by others and by us.

Duane was requested to take some extra time off before the end of the year. That may also be a real blessing to help us reach a 'cleanup' = 'peacemaking' goal here.

Whatever happens in the future I am thankful for the progress thus far.

I just read at my friend, Linda's site, how she has chosen to be thankful for her blessings even with problems. That is one great example of God's kind of peace - I think so anyway.

May God give you His peace this season.

Bringer of Peace

Monday, December 10, 2007

Peace Like a River - 6

God wants my peace from Him to keep flowing in and through and from me. But just as some rivers have certain conditions that cause turbulance so I seem to still find the same in my life.
Today I was asked to help someone. In my mind there were a few things that needed to be done before the requested task could be properly completed so I started on those first. We got one job done and it looked real nice. (Someone had given us several rugs and we had put them in a 'front' room until we had time to 'spread them out'. We had put one of the rugs in a bedroom to help keep the floor more comfortable during the cooler weather. Today we got the second rug laid out in the family room - for those of you who have been here.) The suggestion was made to straighten up the living room so we could put one of the rugs there so I started on that job next. About that time I got the distinct impression that the lady who had asked me to help her and I were no longer on the same 'work list'. She had told me she was going to take care of some boxes on the front porch (she had asked me to put them there earlier for her to use for her animals) but rather she moved some furniture into the living room where I thought we were trying to 'empty' to put down the rug. At first I was tempted to just put them back on the porch -- but then I realized that was just a bit of 'spite' mixed in. About this time when I began to feel 'angry' I asked God to show me why I was feeling the way I was instead of 'putting' all the blame on another. I'm not sure I have all the answers yet but I did feel that God was working with my mind. Some of my reactions, I believe anyway, were ok, but some weren't - yet.
I was able to move a number of other items out of the living room and pretty soon the other lady came back in and wondered why I wasn't 'done' (or so it seemed to me) and ready for the rugs.
Well, about that time I got a call and had to leave for a work assignment away from here. (Maybe that was good timing afterall.) Anyway, I do hope to get the living room back into shape as soon as possible, whether or not I get any help. Sometimes I have a pitty party and think that I do most if not all the work of cleaning up. But then, I realize I did have some help this morning which puts an end to the party - for now. My allowing God to show me what is in my heart causing 'friction' also helps to reduce the 'rapids' caused by underlying sources in the river of peace that God is still pouring into my heart.

After picking up some mail in a nearby town for the other friend I was helping I ended up sharing about what Jesus has been doing in my life with a lady in a store where I stopped to get some information. That kind of activity sure does help to restore the proper flow in the river of peace in my heart.

My hubby was supposed to take a day off before the new year. He may take some extra time off that we weren't planning. He came home this evening with a coat on, built a wood fire and was sitting here feeling as though he were freezing when I got home. He finally went to bed. I hope he is feeling better by morning. I have been so very thankful for the many years that the Lord has blest me with him. In November we celebrated 33 years together for which we are grateful.

Hopefully my oldest sister will be able to spend a few days with us here. She and her husband take bees to Florida during the winter. She is taking a detour to help me for a few days. I'm grateful for whatever help I receive from her in getting our farm back into a good shape.

This past weekend we were able, with the help of a couple of friends, get some of the outside areas picked up. Duane and I took a load of trash to the dump. We started loading some metal 'trash' to take to the recycling place - hopefully this week also (if hubby gets to feeling better, that is). I had been collecting some cardboard also that I hope to be able to dispose of as well.

Until next time I write may I encourage anyone who might read this to look to the source of the river of peace (Jesus) and stay in it's current.

Bringer of Peace

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Peace by connection

I have recently been opening up Psalm 35. (I have posted my present understanding of it on the 'paraphrase' link to the right if anyone wishes to peruse.) It has been a fascinating study. Somehow my picture of the Creator God has taken on some new 'color'. I have known that God doesn't mind when I get frustrated and tell Him how I feel. But sometimes I don't even know how to 'do' that. This Psalm has been sharing some thoughts along that line to mentor me.
It isn't exactly a conversation between David and God, but almost. I don't know if we are informed about who was bothering David when he wrote this Psalm but it doesn't really matter for it was a 'sample' for me to follow. When I get uptight with folks who seem to be bent on only ruining peace it gives me some kind of a plan to follow.

It is appropriate to 'vent', evidently, especially to our heavenly Father. And yet, again and again David expresses the positives God will do, is doing and has done.

I am in an experience at present where that seems to be what I should do. Instead of only saying, "Lord, please help!!!" (and that is not wrong to do, just don't stop there) I have been learning to continue on and include something like "Thank you, my God. I praise You for taking care of this situation in your time and way" Thank you also for working with me, which thus enables you to save another. Something happens inside of me as I end in that kind of 'praise'. I am also becoming more and more convinced that it has a lot to do with my own attitude. How can God help the other person(s) if I am an old sour myself. That is definitely not revealing the true character of God to them through me.

This morning I listened as my hubby read the following to me. The first one suggests one of the enemy's tactics. " He (Satan) will present before them (those being tempted by him) entrancing views of the kingdom of God, and he claims that these are views of His kingdom. But are they? NO;no."
The second one gave me the answer to how to be able to 'act' like Jesus. "We need the presence of the Holy Spirit of God with us, that our hearts may be softened and that we may not bring a harsh spirit into the work."

Someone described that kind of experience with God as Him hugging me so lovingly tight that I can't tell where He begins and I end, or where I begin for that matter. Sounds good to me.
I also think that is what enables His peace to flow through me to others - whether they choose to receive it or not - by me being to close to God.

When I got up this morning I found a note in the kitchen from our son (taped on a tin of cookies he had made at a friend's house) thanking us for our patience with him. That is another big, big reason I am wanting God's peace in me. In the past our son has seen the 'sour'. I am choosing now to be a channel of God's love to reveal not only the peace of God but His joy filled love as well - both to folks more distant and even more importantly to our son right here at home. I know I have gone far from that peace and joy but I also know my God came after me a long ways. Praise God, He is in the business of bringing us all back into His 'close embrace' of love.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, December 7, 2007

Flowing Peace

This morning I read the following statement that really impacted me - particularly in relation to peace both for me and for others.

Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. He wants our minds to be clear, our tempers sweet, our love unbounding. Then the peace that passeth knowledge will flow from us to bless all with whom we come in contact. The atmosphere surrounding our souls will be refreshing. (Quoted from a book called Sons and Daughters of God page. 348)

I can be privileged to receive God's peace and then allow it to flow out from me to others in blessing - revealing what God is really like and what He has done. Isn't that wonderful!

Bringer of Peace

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The way to Peace

As I sit at my computer this morning I can see a light snow falling outside. I have been attempting to get my woodstove to cooperate with me in getting our place a little warmer.
There seem to be some lessons emerging from this experience. Putting big 'bites' of wood into the stove does little good in getting a fire started in the beginning. As most folks, who have experienced the 'wonders' of 'wood' heat, know, it really helps a lot to start with some small pieces of wood. Another factor is how much moisture is in the wood. Wet wood will eventually burn but it needs a whole lot more help than does dry wood. I went out and got some smaller wood - kindling -and it looks as though the fire just might burn. Since we live in a relatively small house the one stove does quite well in providing warmth when there is a wood fire inside of it.

There was a man we had gotten to know some time back who worked in landscaping and tree pruning. When he found out that we burned wood he offered to - and brought us, - several loads of cut wood before he was killed when he fell out of a tree in a sad accident. Also, another man, to whom we had sold our trailer, has brought several loads of wood. We have been very grateful for these 'gifts of love'. Up until this past Sunday, though, most of the cut wood has been in a big pile waiting to be split. We have a splitter but it wasn't starting properly so I couldn't just go out and split some wood when I had time. Duane was finally able to spend the time needed and got the splitter working again and even got a small amount of wood split. We are still finishing up the 'older wood' from last winter's supply but it will soon be gone.

One advantage to heating with a wood fire is that it is often less expensive then other forms of heating - unless you have to buy all the wood already precut and presplit. But when a person burns wood for heating their dwelling they soon learn that there are several elements very helpful when working with this kind of a heating system. I see some practical life lessons here.

1. One thing that is extremely helpful in getting a fire started is to have some smaller pieces of wood to begin with. We usually crumple up some paper as a starter also. You can use a starter fluid or some type of combustable fluid but that has its drawbacks and often safety concerns.
A. There are some similarities in developing a 'warm relationship' with another mind. It is really helpful to start with 'small' things. Some of us see the goal set before us and instead of beginning with 'paper' sized elements we try to put the big log on. Jesus referred to something similar when he talked about getting the mote out of your own eye before attempting to take a 'log' out of another person's eye. Starting with small things is often the best way to get a bigger job accomplished to satisfaction.

2. Another common 'challenge' is 'time. It takes time to build a fire that will be productive of heat, i.e. warm the house. Not only does it take time to prepare the wood before it is lit, but a fire takes time to really begin to release wamth even after it is burning.
B. We may have become part of God's family but it may take some time for us to 'warm up' in such a way as to allow the warmth of the love and peace of God to warm our hearts, thus preparing us to warm those around us with that same love - the fulfilling of the law.

3. I had tried a little earlier to get a fire started but my first efforts were almost useless. I didn't have enough kindling (small pieces of wood that could burn easily) to begin with and after the paper burned up the fire almost went out. I paused in my writing, went out, got some small kindling and placed it on the fire and now it looks as though the fire is going good.
C. In a recent experience with another mind I had attempted to put in to it too big of hunks (mainly of informational stuff) and I almost put out the relationship altogether. I am presently attempting to find the right kind of kindling that works in re'firing' that relationship that almost got overwhelmed by too big of pieces of 'would' comments which almost put the 'fire' out.

4. Besides wood it is essential to have air in order for a fire to burn. You have probably seen what happens to a candle when you put it under an upsidedown glass - it very shortly goes out. Fire must have air - oxygen - in order to burn.
D. The 'air' of the Holy Spirit is needed to invigorate and 'fire up' any relationship such as when I deal with other minds as well as when I am communing with the Creator God of the universe.

4. A wood stove fire needs tending. In this way it is different than most home heating systems. You can turn a gas stove on - just set the thermistat at a desired temperature - and 'forget it'. A wood stove has to be 'fed' wood or it will go out.
E. Our relationships with other minds must also be 'fed'. It takes time to develop a relationship and it takes time to keep it going as well with the right kind of fuel.

Might the same be true in our relationship with out heavenly Father? It is not a 'set it and forget it' proposition. God is asking me to come to Him all the time. He wants me to be filled with His love to the point that I will burn in love not only for Him but for others as well.

I'm also wondering if that might be the way to peace as well. True Peace is from God. And as we experience peace because we are learning who God really is and what He is really like we will be better able to 'build' peace based relations with others.

It is not wise to put just anything into a wood stove. So there are some things that may not be wise to bring to relationships with God or others. Concrete doesn't burn well. Neither is it wise to burn plastic. It will burn but in the process it also gives off some substances that may not bee too healthy. So it is true with our relationships with others. There are some areas it is best not to delve into. Each relationship is also very different. I can talk to one brother about certain topics that I don't feel I can even get near with another brother. The same is true with other people as well. Everything in a relationship that is filtered through the love of Christ will be a blessing to me - even if the other mind did not receive it as such.

For anyone interested I believe some comments my brother has made may also be of interest. (use the link to the right.)

I need to go for now. The snow has slowed down, the room is warmer, and I have much to do today. I may go into town later but my hubby called and said there are several accidents due in part to the snow and to be real careful if I do venture out.

For those of you in warmer locations, you may be thankful you don't have a fire that needs building. To those in colder places you can thank the Lord for warmth.

Bringer of Peace