Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sweet Peace, the Gift of God's Love

"There comes to my heart one sweet strain,
a glad and a glorious 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."
Perhaps some of you have either heard that song of may even have sung it. It is one that I grew up with and have often sung throughout my days. The message is deep.

A dear friend of mine wished me a new portion of peace as my gift in the new year.
I thanked her very much for that wish and intend to present it to God for fulfillment.

Since many people celebrate my birthday every year I have come to a realization that receiving gifts may not be the best way - for me anyway - to 'remember' the gift of another year of life to me. Since I begin my new year of life at the same time the world celebrates 'Happy new Year', it is also a good time to consider what 'new' life can really be all about.

For those who are learning more about the Creator God of the Universe either a new year of life or a new calender year is a good time to review who God really is and what He is really like - which to me is what I call praising God. Some folks like to also make 'new years resolutions' making promise(s) to do or be different, hopefully in good ways, during the new year.

Even though our family was not really into making new years resolutions it was still a happy time for me with my birthday and new years day at the same time.

As time went on I began to find that if I could do something special for someone else I had even happier birthdays. I remember one year when we were in Africa I decided to make a hat for one of the farm workers whose clothes were - in our words anyway - rags. I still remember the happiness that brought to my heart as well as to our garden worker when we were able to share the hat with him. (Later we were also able to help him get some better clothes as well.)

Other years I have taken on other 'projects' with varying degrees of success.

This year, though, as I am sitting here writing this blog I am almost at a loss as to know how to continue my personal tradition of giving something special on my birthday to someone else.

Maybe a certain amount of 'human reality' has settled in. I would love to surprise my sister with an extra special portion of peace filled love. She has been so drained this year and when I spoke with her earlier today she sounded so weak and tired.

" Father in heaven, give my dear sister a special of Your Holy Spirit's loving, grace filled atmosphere - completely surrounding her with Yourself. You know that I cannot be with her in person, but You, Lord, can be both here and there. Also envelope her with You JOY to strengthen her for whatever lies ahead.

Then my mind wanders a little closer 'home'. As I look back over this past year I have many regrets as well as many times when I have had to apologize to others and to God for not being more like Him in my relations with others.

Just this week someone walked away from us seemingly with a spirit of 'good riddins, bad rubbish'. I had thought that we were helping, but evidently the feelings were not mutual.

Father in Heaven, you know the ache I feel when I think of that person. You know of the happier times when we prayed together, laughed together and worked in harmony. Forgive me where I may have failed. And Father, bless this person. You love them in ways that I have not yet attained too. Thank you for giving me the assurance, even in this experience, that You still love.

In the fall some folks asked us if we could find room to house a young man and his mother for a short time while they were dealing with some legal challenges. The legal challenge is still continuing on. The mother was gone for a while and just returned. This is one situation, from at least from a human standpoint, I suspect 'defeat'. I do believe I have learned some things about myself and even more about God during these days. But according to some others I have made more wrong decisions than otherwise. This evening in essence I said (perhaps more to myself that to others) "I'm wrong if I speak and wrong if I don't." If we try to be easy we are accused of being too much so. If we attempt to be 'firm' we are accused of . . . . . (fill in whatever you wish for the amount we have heard have been many).

Over the past seven or so years we thought we were being more like Jesus through endeavoring to help folks who we thought needed help by allowing or at times even inviting them to come to where we live in their time of need. But as I look back on our 'track record', I am having a difficult time finding any success story.

On the other hand, or so it appears at present, during the past few months instead of receiving additional aid - often from unexpected sources (as has happened for most of the seven or so years) - it has seemed our resources have dried up so that by December we were several thousand behind financially. Sad to say, when this situation became 'public' to those who were presently living here, the primary response seemed to be either 'what have you been doing with what we have been giving you' or 'if so and so didn't use so much of such and such we wouldn't have had this problem'. Sad to say, I have struggled in my heart with the temptation of discouragement now and then.

For the last couple of days or so I have also been struggling with appropriate ways of responding when the above situations arise or other accusations and 'mixed' messages come.

In my younger years we used to play a game of gossip. Someone would 'whisper' something to another person. That person would pass it on to another until the 'message' had gone through each person in the group. Then the message at the end was compared (or usually contrasted) with the 'first' message given. It could, at times anyway, turn out funny. But who needs 'soap operas' or even games of gossip? Reality can be much more intense than an hour a day of TV simulations or a round of the game of 'gossip'.

Enough of those kinds of lamentations. The thought keeps coming back to me that could it be a crisis had to happen in order to 'heal'? When everyone here was just rocking along, so to speak, even though they might not be happy, they were at ease. Could it be that the folks here had it pretty easy, so why should they want to leave and go elsewhere? Good question.

Especially during the past few months God has been pressing me to 'think bigger'. He has been challenging me to 'dream out of the box'. He has been urging me to thank Him for doing far more for us than I have thanked Him for in the past. When my husband and I began thanking God for supplying both financial and spiritual needs I think, looking back, that is when the 'crisis' surfaced, so to speak.

Can two walk together except they be agreed? No! God is in the business of revealing what is in people's hearts - ours included. How do people take it when challenged to change, maybe even to move? to do differently?

How do I respond when accused of a variety of motives that are not always pleasant? How do I respond when things are spoken about me that cannot be validated? Well, I wish I could say I have always acted like Jesus. On the other hand I do believe that when I have said I was sorry, God accepted and forgave whether people have or not.

The story goes on. But what does all of this have to do with Peace? Good question.

Do you notice God's kind of peace is a gift? Yes, it is.

Do you notice God's kind of peace is based on love? Yes, it is.

Do you notice God's kind of peace is sweet (precious)? Yes, it is.

Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the Light. Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home."
As this new year begins and a new year of my life begins, I am choosing to accept God's gift of His sweet peace into my heart, my life and pursue sharing God's peace with others.

That doesn't mean there won't be problems, or difficulties, or accusations thrown, or lies manufactured, or misunderstandings about our motives circulated. What it does mean to me is that God walks with me through each day and each event.

Even though I don't understand yet all that has happened, I am learning to know the One who does know. I am learning that I can cast my care on Him for He cares for me. I can also rejoice in His loving care for me as well as for others.

May I invite you, my friend, to accept the same gift of peace from God. It is as much for you as it is for me. Jesus loves you too!!

No matter who tells you otherwise, you are special in the heart of God. He loves you with an everlasting love and is drawing you to Himself even now.

One other thing about God's kind of peace. The more you share it with others the more capacity you will develop to receive more of God's peace in your own heart. That is awesome.

I am not planning to stay up til the world celebrates 'new year'. God's days begin in the evening so for me my birthday celebration has already begun.

And even though this may not be your birthday, please do me a special favor. Accept God's peace in your heart as a gift from me as well. That will make me happy to be able to pass God's peace on to you. Thanks a lot.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another Celebration of Peace on earth

A lot of people have just celebrated a holiday that, for many anyway, led them to look at Jesus. Praise the Lord!

Today is another celebration that was originally instituted by God to give the human family another special time to look at Jesus - God. I also praise the Lord.

I was born into a Christian family for which I truly thank God. I would be surprised if I was not in church the first Sabbath after I came home from the hospital. There had been a lot of celebrating when I was born, for I just 'happened' to 'win' the baby derby put on by Starke county where my family lived - the first baby born in the hew year - as one way the local folks had chosen to celebrate 100 years as a county. But as exciting as my birth most likely was at that time, my folks considered praising God and thanking Him for another child an appropriate activity as well and I believe I went to church with them.

A lot of my early memories center around that old church building in Knox, Indiana. Not only was it where we went to church each Sabbath but my first two years of elementary school were spent in the basement of that building where the dedicated folks of that church provided christian teachers to lead their children to Christ as well as instruction in 'reading, writing and arithmetic'.

As years passed, though, I sadly began to imbibe in some very legalistic thought processes. Instead of perceiving the joy and tremendous blessing of experiencing how special time with God was and particularly during the holy Sabbath hours, I came to see the Sabbath more through 'do' this or 'don't do that' perception.

But it so happens that the same God who came to this world as a baby had already come to this world as its Creator. For six days God had exhibited to the whole universe answers to charges which had been leveled against Him by a former 'friend' who had turned to be His enemy. Each day of creation was not only 'creating' some elements essential to the well being and joy for the new part of God's family He was soon to create, but each activity of God was also being used by Him to refute some accusation against Him by his enemy, Satan.

As the sixth day of Creation drew to a close and God declared that He had completed what He had come to accomplish in not only creating all that was necessary to sustain life but also in creating a new 'order of beings' - the human family - the whole universe broke into a celebration like nothing we can even imagine. There was singing, shouting and far more - maybe the hallelujah chorus gives us a faint idea.

As that first Sabbath drew to a close the Bible tells us that God set the seventh day apart as special - a time every week when the whole human family could repeat the same celebration of joy, peace and love that was experienced that first Sabbath of this world.

This Sabbath is going to be special at our church so I need to go for now.

May the same God who created this world, and who again came as a Baby, come to you this wonderful Sabbath day in a special way and give you His Peace.

Bringer of Peace

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Inner Peace

God has been answering more than one prayer. I praise Him.

More than once He has been cautioning me when to speak or when to be silent.

Another answer has been the difference in me when someone starts on a 'hot topic'.

Do I take what the other person says in such a way that I need to 'set them straight'? Or can it be a time of 'revealing' - maybe for both of us?

God didn't say there would be peace all around us. He definitely wants peace on earth, good will toward men for that was the message of the angels to the shepherds.

God's kind of peace, however, is from the inside out. And if there is no peace inside of me for sure that unrest will often spill out toward others.

God's kind of peace inside of me will affect the atmosphere around me. Thank God.

I have been asking God to enable me to see not only myself but others the way He sees them. That doesn't mean God always feels 'peaceful', but at the same time God doesn't change when others lose their cool.

As I listen to others with an attitude that they are revealing more about themselves rather than with a defensive attitude I have been learning a lot.

God is in the business of mentoring me to be like Him. He has also promised His peace in me so long as I am willing.

God's gift of peace is worth more than 'things' the world has to offer.

God has enough peace for you today too.

Bringer of Peace

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peace in Apparent Failure

Well, so much for another seeming failure in trying to help someone else. Jesus, however, seems to be more interested in mentoring me than in looking at what I am considering 'failure' - for which I am thankful.

At the request of some Christian folks, we 'made room' for a man and his mother to stay here at the Farm we manage until some problems could be taken care of that he was involved in. They seemed to be very nice people and it didn't appear at first that they would be here more than just a few weeks at the longest.

When a person is involved in a legal challenge you almost expect that there is going to be a little extra 'stress' involved. But, in my mind anyway, the stress level is getting to the point that we are not sure how much longer we can hang on.

Strangely, however, even though certain aspects of this 'failure scenario' are intense, at the same time I am getting very strong indicators that "this is a test". And what do I mean by 'a test'? Well, a few years ago we had found ourselves in a situation that had many of the same characteristics as the current one does. In the earlier situation we finally came to the place where we had to part company with the person who we at first thought we could 'help'. Looking back on that experience I am still learning as well as studying what 'went wrong' as well as what lessons God can teach me. There have been a few years gone by since then. I have been learning a lot about my wonderful Lord between tests. And now I feel I am taking another 'test'. It isn't only that I feel we have 'failed' to help someone. In fact, that doesn't seem near as important in my mind as it was before. What I think I have been focusing on more is what does it mean to 'act like myself' - the new myself Jesus is forming - in the midst of living. Another part of this test has to do with 'revealing'. One of the 'bottom line' meanings of 'judgment' has to do with revealing what may have been hidden. Jesus has been bringing out into the open traits of character. Attributes of character are being revealed in us as well as in others involved. Some of them are not 'good'. And when those that we no longer find attractive get out in the open I think I am learning that this is an ideal time for me to 'give' them to Jesus and no longer 'claim' ownership. The Bible calls that 'confess' and 'forsake'. When I agree with God that some act, attitude or otherwise is not fulfilling the law of love - love God most and love others as you love yourself - that is when Jesus can fulfill His part in removing it from me. Praise the Lord.

Today has been a very interesting day in this respect. (So was yesterday and the day before and . . . .) I went over to the other house and promptly became involved in a conversation on the 'hot topic' of the 'times'. I don't think it was more than five minutes and I got upset - and let it be known. Almost immediately I realized that I had not 'acted' as a daughter of a king. I did something I don't recall doing before. I dropped to my knees and began right there asking God to first forgive me for forgetting who I really am in Him and then asking God to 'disconnect' the 'button' - that which had caused me to become upset in the first place - and to 'clean me up'. I also asked forgiveness of the other person and I thanked God for His Holy Spirit to fill all of us involved with God's love.

After the prayer the conversation continued on - for a short time. Before it was over though, I had prayed 3 times. I don't think I was preaching in my prayer, but my intent was to 'get back on track' rather than 'blow it' and again 'fail'.

I question if the prayer made a deep impact on the person needing help (especially after hearing some comments which came back to me later) but I know it helped me to restore my proper perspective as well as helping another witness who was there during the above events (I am thinking that way by comments they made to me later).

Even though outwardly there are a lot of indicators of apparent failure as far as us being of help to this person, there has been in my heart not only a growing 'peace' the more I have been praying and claiming God's guidance in my life but it seems as though I have been 'catching' more 'guidance' indicators as well from my loving heavenly Father.

Adding the above mentioned situation to our praising God for answering prayers has been making our days often very eventful. Yet often when I feel stress 'rising' I have many times paused and just asked God what to do next. It has been amazing looking back and being able to point to time after time when God ruled and overruled in obvious ways.

If you have been reading any recent posts here I have mentioned some answers to a prayer list we specifically began thanking God for perhaps a month ago. Yesterday we found out the our son's car will only cost about $900 to get back on the road instead of an estimated $2,000 or so. Thank You, Lord. That will enable us to get it on the road sooner to help replace the Toyota that was recently 'totaled' in an accident.

It is getting late and I need some sleep. As you go may God's peace be in your heart.

Bringer of Peace

Covenant of Peace 2

Talk about power in the Word of God. Psalm 56 is overflowing with it. I am still attempting to take in even a part of the intensity of it. Listen to these 'tidbits'.
(To read my current paraphrase understanding click on the link to the right.)

3 - 4 But, when I am tempted to get terrified, I renew my determination to have confidence - feel safe - in You, God, by boasting in You (usuing Your own words) to boldly declare my security in You. I will not dread or even be afraid of what people try to deal out to me.

And consider this message from God's Word as well.

10 I will tell how wonderful the Creator God's Words are and how Awesome He is. 11 I have so much confidence in my Divine Judge that I will not be afraid what people can do to me.

God has much more encouragement for me but I just wanted to share these in particular.

May the God of Peace share His Peace with you just now.

Bringer of Peace

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Covenant of Peace

I have been 'unpacking' Psalm 55 for a little while and have been seeking to understand the meaning and application of this passage in relation to me personally. The Bible was written for me so I want to know what it is saying to me personally.

In order to really understand Psalm 55 I am coming to the conclusion that I need to better understand God's plan when it comes to covenant. Eastern cultures have much more information concerning true covenants than those of us more 'western' oriented.

There is one fact that I am discerning more about a genuine covenant and that is that only 'death' can 'break' a covenant. I have listened to stories which have occured even in this day and time where those coming from more eastern type cultures still believe that 'death' is the only appropriate 'covenant breaker'.

Psalm 55 speaks of someone who broke a covenant. The consequences of 'death' was expressed in verse 15. Even though, in some circumstances, physical death does not immediately 'take place' it becomes evident that there can also be other severe consequences when a real covenant is broken. Exile is one alternative, also mentioned in v 15.

The more I have pondered this Psalm the more I am also hearing a heart cry from Jesus coming through. Jesus experienced the breaking of covenant when the new family He had just created (Adam and Eve) chose to break their covenant with Him in exchange for a 'new' relationship with God's archenemy, Satan who is also a slavemaster tyrant.

What awesome love, though, has been revealed through Jesus who came and reestablished every human being's capacity to become a 'new creature' with a 'new' covenant relationship with the Creator God of the Universe.

Psalm 55 ends with a declaration of confidence in the Eternal, Loving God of the Universe - "As far as I am concerned, I choose to be confident in God's love plan for me."
(To read the whole Psalm as I currently 'see it' see link to right titled paraphrases.)

"Let God carry the burden of what He permits to happen - we can't handle it - but He cares for You completely." That also is an awesome covenant declaration I can live with.

And in closing, verses 18-19 of Psalm 55 brings great encouragement to my heart. I have written it this way: "He has already given me His peace in my heart from this conflict because many others have petitioned the True God for me." Just think of it. We can also strengthen one another's confidence in a covenant keeping God's ability to keep His part of His covenant with us. Praise the Lord.

I serve an awesome God. And by the way, He loves you too.

Bringer of Peace

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The God of Mighty Miracles 2

The Title of my blog comes from a song I learned several years ago. I intellectually agreed to the message when I learned that beautiful song. Recently, though, I am beginning to 'experience' what the song speaks about.

The God of Mighty Miracles is marching through this land,
Healing homes and healing hearts with His Almighty hand.

He's ready to create my home a happy family
Where love will ever flow through time and all eternity.

O, touch me now, O Holy Spirit, with Your mighty power.
Do Your miracles in me right at this very hour.

Glory! Glory! God Almighty. It's Your matchless power.
Praise God for His great miracles right at this very house.

The God of mighty miracles is calling me today
I hear His voice, I feel His touch, I come without delay.

He stands with open arms to give me JOY and PEACE and LOVE
And then I'll live forever - happy family above.

O, touch me now, O Holy Spirit, with Your mighty power.
Do Your miracles in me right at this very hour.

Glory! Glory! God Almighty. It's Your matchless power.
Praise God for His great miracles right at this very house.

What an awesome God that loves us so much that He is more than eager to fill us with His JOY and PEACE and LOVE. Outward circumstances may not appear to be 'joyful' or 'peaceful' or even have any amount of love. But God's love, joy and peace are not based on the outward parts of our lives. Rather, they come from God who instills His love, joy and peace inside - from which they then flow out to others.

I have shared a few things that God has been exhibiting and allowing to be revealed in answer to our praises to Him, but the ones I have mentioned thus far are only a few of the things He is doing.

This evening I got a super bonus. After our son, his girlfriend, my hubby and I had discussed some very important issues, our son, his girlfriend and I were in our little kitchen while they were getting supper. Our son looked at me and told me that both he and his girlfriend considered I was a 'cool' mom. I didn't really cry but the tears weren't far from the surface. Just today I have been impressed - even before this exchange - that I have the responsibility as well as the privilege of claiming both our son and his girl friend for God. What an awesome situation. And I am encouraged even more in that request because God has already said just about the same thing. "Thus said the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border." Jeremiah 31:16,17

God also, at times anyway, seems to have a bit of a sense of humor. I teach a small class of younger children each Sabbath. Two or three of the children can at times be a 'handful' during class time. Today started no different. I'm not sure what all transpired but something happened and the mother of one of the boys got up and took one of her boys out of class. After the class finished the mother and the boy came to me and the boy said he was sorry for the way he acted. I gave him a big hug and I also pray that the boy knows I love him as well as Jesus loves him too.

(Now is how God gave me a chuckle)
Due in part to stress I felt almost a need to 'take a rest' instead of 'going' to church. But since a lot of people are gone for the holiday there was no one else who could play the piano for the church service. I agreed to play for church - I play when no one else is around who can play the piano. As I was sitting in church listening to a very good sermon the thought crossed my mind that God has more than one way to keep me where He wants me to be. :) I may have wanted to 'rest', but God knew I needed to share in a blessing more than 'rest'. I do enjoy expressing God's love through music. It brought a smile to my face and a chuckle in my mind as I thought of how God was working in me and for me just then.

I may have the opportunity to share more miracles from God but for now it is getting late for me. Until next time we meet again may the God of Peace fill you with Himself.
Publish Post

Bringer of Peace

Friday, December 19, 2008

The God of Mighty Miracles

This week has been extremely interesting - to put it mildly.

A few weeks ago the Lord told us to make the list of what we needed and thank Him for it.

As time has been passing God has been making visible answer after answer to what was on our list - plus more.

As mentioned, our 'best vehicle' was totaled recently in an accident. I now call it our 'rolling savings account'. God is using funds supplied through that experience to pay off some key 'bills' that needed to be paid by the end of this year.

Today I received a call from a lady who told us of a bill that we did not even have on our 'list'. I briefly explained our 'earthly' financial situation. She listened and then 'cut' the bill a good 1/3. The funds for that bill will be available this coming week and she agreed to that arrangement.

God is not only resolving financial challenges but He is also opening our eyes to fantastically bigger plans to use us than what we have previously ever 'dreamed' of. Praise the Lord!

We were praising God recently for the list. I was thanking Him for certain items. Then my hubby spoke a 'sum' way far above what I had ever dreamed of. Those very words thrilled my heart and I joined him in thanking the Creator God for supplying it.

Almost immediately after that prayer time I was impressed I need to make plans far above what I have previously done. WOW! God's Word is opening up to show us, through the Bible, more clearly His will.

The past two or three days I have been focusing on Psalm 55 in my personal time with God.
(I just posted my paraphrase in the link to the right if you wish to see my present understanding of Psalm 55). God is speaking to me through these precious words.

Another 'answer' came last evening. Someone we have been praying for earnestly opened up and I was able to speak in harmony with that person for several hours. I am so grateful as I see how God is not only working in 'money' areas but in hearts as well. WONDERFUL!

We are learning also parts of our own characters that need to be 'given' to God and 'let go of' by ourselves so that our High Priest, Jesus can cleanse us to make us like Him. God is deeply desiring us to reflect more and more what He is really like in our own lives. I humbly also thank God for what He is showing me about me that is not like Him and how to become like Jesus.

God is in the business of working miracles - miracles of love so awesome that even angels stand in delight as they see God's Holy Spirit transforming hearts to become more and more like Jesus.

I thank God that He is in the business of saving souls. I praise His Name.

May you look at Jesus today with an ever deepening desire to become just like Him.

Yours in Christ,

Bringer of Peace.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cause of an epidemic

As I have mentioned earlier our 'best' vehicle just recently got totaled in an accident. This morning I was finally able to get the last of the 'paperwork' done for our insurance company. While I was waiting for the man to return from another part of the building with the check for 'our part' of the settlement, I picked up TIME for the week of Dec.22, 08. In it was a science article titled "The Happiness Effect". Some of you who know me have heard me share about JOY and some of its effects human minds. Just a few blogs ago I shared how that each living cell is surrounded with an 'atmosphere' - an attitude, if you please - and JOY is a 'good attitude.

In the article "The Happiness Effect" scientists reported some 'conclusions' of studies which had been conducted of effects of attitudes on 'others'. In short, when a person is 'happy' (or for an even more intense effect, when a person experiences real JOY) the effect of their happiness has a distinct, and even profound, effect on those around them. One statistic was that the effect a 'happy individual' has on a 'next door neighbor' can be +34% positive. The influence on a friend living in another area can still be +25%. And the positive influence of 'happiness' goes out several relationships distant as well. Yes, there is less effect on the second person and less on the 'third' person removed from the 'happy' one, but the effect goes on nontheless.

The impact of that information, combined with what I have already been learning previously has been changing my mind on the text "The Joy of the Lord is your strength." God is not asking us to 'hide' His JOY and real happiness. Rather, the more we experience God's JOY and share it with others, the more we receive. And the more JOY flowing out through our 'atmosphere' which always surrounds us, the more the Lord can be glorified - revealed for what He is REALLY LIKE.

It was intimated in the article that even as a 'cold' can be contagious, so happiness can be spread. I am smiling as I have been learning about these things and sharing them with you.
SMILE! God loves you! His JOY is YOUR STRENGTH! As you rejoice in Jesus, His JOY flows through you to others, causing an epidemic of Joy.

Real JOY is not based on outward circumstances. God's kind of joy is knowing - experiencing, accepting - that God loves us, we are special to Him, we are the 'apple of His eye', He loves to have us talk to Him and even just to come into His presence.

Human joy is a lot the same. As we experience God's love we can have a similar attitude of JOY towards those around - family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, casual contacts, even those who think they don't like us - and the strength coming from our connection with God will flow through us to others so that they too can experience real joy in their lives, if they will.

What an awesome privilege you and I have right now. We have the opportunity to become part of a 'good' epidemic of happiness, of real JOY.

Smile, God loves you.

Bringer of Peace

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peace in the Midst 8

This has been a very interesting week so far. We been told we are not to be elated by applause or 'deflated' by censure. Arriving at that high goal is truly possible when I abide - stay, continue, remain - in the presence of Jesus from day to day. In other words, in my life that is the real challenge. It is also a real blessing. Not being on that kind of a 'roller coaster' ride - highs of pride and self-sufficiency and lows of depression and worry - does away with a lot of trouble.

A friend asked me yesterday if I ever doubted God. I have always believed God loves me and I love Him. I have had no problem in that realm. But as I pondered her question it became evident that even in the midst of 'loving' God, I have often attempted to 'do' - live, make decisions, guide, direct what happens in relation to me - my way. That is where the grief has come in when it comes to my life.

I fully believe I am not a robot. God does not just 'pull strings' to make me 'do' His will. On the other hand He is in the process of 'growing me up' into a genuine woman after the original model.

Paul talked about his progress. He went through childhood - "when I was a child". But he 'grew up' and put away childish things and ways. There was a time when it was appropriate that I acted, thought and talked like a girl. Now that I am physically mature God wants me to also become spiritually and emotionally 'grown up'. That also means to 'put away' childish things - quit acting like a baby or even a child. God is teaching me how to 'think, talk and act' as a woman of God. (Wow! what a challenge as well as a privilege in Christ!)

A few months ago we agreed to let a man temporarily be housed at our place because he had been extradited back to Virginia on legal matters. The Lord knew this person needed a place to stay. I now believe God also 'knew' I needed to face at least certain areas in my life where additional maturity was really needed in order for me to act more like Jesus.

Some time last week this person and I were speaking together and it was almost like, through a 'flashback' I was in a former situation where I had miserably failed (at least according to my perception). It was like I was listening to the former person who, in my opinion anyway, had little or no respect for those who disagreed, especially if they happened to be 'female'. I believe that God may have given me that 'flashback' to help me see what 'not' to do as well as what a more mature person should 'do' in that situation.

I later told my husband that I had 'heard' (and I named the former person with whom we had had dealings). He asked me where and I told him that I had heard the former person talking through the person who is presently staying here now.

Yes, it has caused some pain. But on the other hand, as I have been talking to God about the situation, I keep getting the distinct message that God is giving me another opportunity to 'grow up', to learn how to act more mature in this kind of a situation, to become more like Jesus in both my words and my actions. I choose God's will and I am also praising the Lord for giving me another opportunity to 'grow up' in Christ.

We were trying to have some Bible studies for a few weeks with this person and I believe he was able to take in some of the information. On the other hand it also seemed to me that those very times and bits of information also began to be used 'against' us in more ways than one. One way it began to be used against me was that this person began using the same 'language' when speaking to us, but using it in such a way as to 'cast' 'blame' on us and, I believe anyway, to attempt to manipulate. I believe God is working with this person and attempting to guide them to make 'right' decisions, but I am also becoming convinced that I am not a primary 'mover' or 'shaker'. I have begun praying for God to send this person a 'male' 'mature' 'mentor' who can do what this person needs most to have done for them. It is no longer in our 'capacity' to really help, except for a few more days to give him a place to 'stay'.

Circumstances occurred which led me to finally ask my husband to tell this person to not come over to our little house. He still seems to respect what my husband told him but I am pretty much convinced that he has little or no idea of how some of his words and/or actions appear to women in particular. I understand he had a rough babyhood and childhood, but I am also convinced I am not the one who can help him or enable him to change. God still loves him, though, and is still working in his behalf.

I have been asking God to send him a 'mature', God loving, male who can 'show' him what it means to act like a man - and someone he will listen too. When he first came he kept saying 'I'm a man now so treat me like a man'. It is nice to be 'treated' like a man, but in order for that to do any good, a person must 'act like a man' in the first place. That is what I have perceived as missing. (In my view while he was saying those words he was acting more like a 'baby'.)

On the other side of the situation I have been taking some long, hard looks at myself. Am I myself acting as a 'mature' woman? Am I allowing any of my boundaries to be broken, especially like I did in the previous situation? In relation to the former person (referred to earlier) I definitely did not 'act' like a 'woman' at all times. And I had very little idea of what proper boundaries should be. This time I believe God is not only opening my eyes but enabling us to hold appropriate boundaries for us and for others.

God protected me from the former person mentioned and for that I priaise Him. He is still protecting me but He is also guiding me to 'act' and 'think' in His ideal pattern for a Christian woman. Rather than being constricting, as some people might think, it has been 'freeing' to me to learn more of His plan for His women and how to implement His plans in our lives.

Even though I have not fully arrived, I do believe God is working in and through me and for that progress I praise the Lord.

That particular man is not the only 'work in progress' at the moment here. At the end of last month we gave notice to other people who live here with us that we are planning to move. When we leave it means everyone else here will also need to leave. Each person's response to that information has been very revealing of character. I did 'hear' of a little bit of 'checking' for other places to live, but it didn't seem there was much going on at an obvious level.

Propety taxes were due December 5, this year and for the first time we were not able to fully pay that financial obligation on time. This default, in a sense, broke one of the conditions for our being able to 'live' here. As a result, representatives of the owner got in touch with us and made inquiries as to the current financial situation. To make a long story 'short', when all the information was presented, it only enhanced the previous request for folks to find another place to live.

I have talked to my heavenly Father quite a bit about this situation - both before and after the above events. One thing has become quite evident to me. The real character of each person involved is being revealed. We are being 'blamed' for a lot of things (What's new?) At the same time, however, I believe God is longing that each person, instead of blaming others, will come to God and ask God to reveal to each one what God's will for them individually is just now.

Another aspect of this whole situation, I believe, is that God is using these experiences to teach us what He is like and how we can learn to 'act like' Him. I have been asking Him to guide me in both areas.

A few weeks ago (even before the current 'crisis' became 'public') God impressed me to begin thanking Him for already supplying our needs (including financial) and to make a specific list of what those 'needs' were. Up until a few months ago God has over and over again supplied our lack (especially financial) through many ways, often out of the ordinary. But recently it seemed that had not 'happened' as before. At about the same time God began impressing me that He wanted to do something bigger, broader and more specific in my husband and my life than previously we have done. He has kept 'bringing' me to focus on a specific 'project'. I had 'dreamed' of something 'similar' for years but as I prayed about this 'dream' (if I recall this 'dream' has come more into focus again some time late spring or early summer of this year) it has seemed God was not only been impressing me to ask Him to bring the dream into reality but that I was 'dreaming' much too small. During the 'early summer' I began to put down in my journal and on my computer a few more specific details as they would come to my mind of what the 'dream' would include.

At the same time, however, the financial 'crisis', as mentioned earlier, was slowly 'accumulating' and 'deepening'. During the summer some other situations arose that seemed to take precedence and I more or less 'laid' the dream aside. I even wondered occasionally if maybe what God and I had been talking about and plannning earlier was only a dream. On the other hand I would still go back to that dream now and then and take another look at it, even adding to it occasionally as opportunity presented itself.

A few weeks ago when I felt impressed to make a list of 'needs' to thank the Lord for, the Lord wouldn't let me alone until I added specific requirements to make the 'dream' a reality to the 'thank you, God' list.

On December 2, 2008, Perhaps a couple of weeks or so after we started thanking the Lord for our needs being met, our 'best' car was totaled in an accident. I don't believe for a moment the Lord 'caused' the accident. God does promise, however, that ALL things work together FOR good to those who love the Lord. Each 'action' may not always be what we would call 'good', but God uses each one to 'bring' good to those who love God, who are called (and have accepted God's call in their hearts) according to His purpose.

I have now 'dubbed' our car a 'rolling savings account'. While we were making payments each month toward paying off the loan on the car, we have also had to have full coverage insurance. After the insurance pays the bank the amount due on the loan there will be some funds which will be returned to us. Since the car was totaled, we no longer have a monthly 'car' payment to make which lowers our monthly financial obligations. That was an answer to one item on our praise and thanksgiving to God list. I'm not happy about the accident but I do thank God for bringing relief on that 'bill'. (It is also lowering our insurance payments since we no longer have full coverage on a 'newer' car.)

Our son had 'parked' his car when he went to 'boot camp'. Boot camp was a very 'learning' experience for him. Eventually the army decided to discharge him, though, so now he is back home. Since 'our' car is no longer 'on the road' we decided to get his car 'up and running'. This, I believe, will be good in more than one way. Since this is 'his' car, it will be in 'his name', with 'his' insurance. Good. (Less insurance for us for which we also thank the Lord.)

With the funds 'left over' we plan to 'catch up' financially, as much as possible, Lord willing. Praise God!

Even though we can't see ahead, I believe God is 'setting us free' from a number of 'debts' so His plans, His dreams for us, may succeed.

The folks who have been living here at the farm are nice people. In our minds, however, there has been more of a 'housing' mentality rather than a 'unity' and a harmony. Each person presently here has their own agenda, their own ideas of how things 'must' be done in order to be right, and - in our opinion anyway - an unwillingness to accept any other authority (us) to tell what needs to be done here or what assist, financially or otherwise is needed. This last item has become really obvious when it was shown we had gotten behind financially. Each blamed others for the problems rather than wondering and seeking ways how each could help restore balance.

We believe God has better plans. We are also thanking the Lord for continuing to guide us. Yes, we have a dream. I am also beginning to believe that God's dream for us is actually far greater than what He has been able to reveal to us thus far. For that I thank God too.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for what You have already done, are doing and will continue to do to reveal to us what You are really like and in using us to show others what YOU are really like through our lives. We love You, Lord.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sign of Peace

Just think about it. The God of Peace set up a special sign to remind me that He wants to give me His peace. Instead of a certain style of clothes, or an offering of some sort, the sign God gave is a specific period of time - what is now called Sabbath.

On the seventh day of creation week God rested. He wasn't tired. I believe He was delighted. What a special time that must have been.

And what to me is even more special is that the same God who created this world is still keeping His promise to meet with me every seventh day Sabbath. WOW! What a privilege. And since He is the Prince of Peace He brings His peace with Him as a gift to fill me up with - HIS PEACE.

This Sabbath is particularly welcome by me. Some very intense happenings have taken place this week. I'm not sure I even want to know all of them, but I do crave these hours when I can lay aside everything that has been 'challenging' me during the week and take extra special time with my loving heavenly Father. This week it seems super special. And this evening our son and his girlfriend agreed to join us in a time of prayer together. That was very special to my mother's heart. So far we have also listened to a sermon challenging us to 'extreme purity' in Christ.

There is more to come on this special day of rest and gladness. Our God is an awesome God. And there is plenty of room for you to join me during this special celebration time as we remember the Sabbath (and the Lord of the Sabbath) to keep it holy.

May the God of peace give you a special blessing during these precious Sabbath hours.

Yours in Christ

Bringer of Peace

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Appropriate Counsel

It took me what seemed several weeks to 'unpack' Psalm 51. There is a whole lot in it that is very appropriate for me. Just this week I began looking at Psalm 52. It is shorter but it also has SO much for me just now. There are some very pertinent thoughts concerning 'words'. You can read my paraphrase if you wish in the 'Paraphrase' link to the right.

David began by asking a question. "Why are you making a fool of yourself and creating such a loud noise just because you think you are so strong?" What also caught my attention were some of the words used to describe the language of those who are 'against' good and God. "You imagine and calculatingly say hammered out, sharp words to mislead, deceive and spread lies. In verse 5 David describes God's 'response and in verse 6 he gives God's family's response. His family will watch and even laugh. . . Laughing is not always appropriate but sometimes it appears that even God has a sense of humor. I think I like 8-9 almost the best. In the spendor and brilliance of lighted oil in God's house I have conidence in the True God's mercy from now on. I agree with You forever, God, for You put things in order. I will expectantly, joyfully wait for You - along with the rest of Your family who love You.

We can wait on God. And what a blessing when that waiting is done as part of a 'family'.

Just remember, waiting on God is a very good way to stay close to Him.

Bringer of Peace

Peace in the Midst 7

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I began thanking the Lord for answering our needs, including financial ones. On December 2 our 'best' car was totaled in an accident. I do not believe God caused the accident, but I do thank God that there will be no more payments after the insurance settlement is completed. That is a blessing in 'my book'.

A few days ago the representative for the property where we live made an appointment to meet with us last night. (A few of you who know us are aware that at times, even though we are the 'managers' of the farm, it seems folks here pretty much do as they 'please' whatever we 'say'. )
We have gotten behind on the bills and four friends came from our church to see if they could help us work things out. That in itself we consider a God sent blessing. By the end of our time together we believe God led in not only the sharing but also in certain decisions that we were able to come to. We also feel good having more than us 'speaking'. There have already been 'sparks' in some respects but I believe God is in the business of saving not destroying. That confidence lends itself to peace in my heart.

At the end of last evening a letter was given to each one individually of decisions made relating to each person. As a group we tried to be as careful as possible in the wording so there would be no misunderstanding. By this morning, though, I found out that at least one person had totally misunderstood what the letter to them said. During the day more misunderstandings also became apparent. Yet through this whole experience I believe the Lord is leading. In my mind these happenings are also revealing what each person is really like - including us. I humbly thank God for these happenings even though they have been rough in some ways. On the other hand I have had a peace that God is using these very events to answer our prayer and praise.

One reason I believe God is in this is that instead of having to 'face' alone those who disagree with us, we now have a united 'group' that are all speaking the same thing. That has given peace - in my heart at least.

A man has to be here in Virginia on some legal matters for about three more weeks. As tension 'builds', partly due to the above mentioned decisions, this man's tension level has also been 'going up'. It is almost impossible for him to 'see' that he is 'stressed' out but the stress in him is there nonetheless. (One of his 'coping modalities is to almost always put blame on others as the cause of the stress.). I'm not totally sure how best to handle this kind of 'tension' but it sure appears to me like some of the squabbles seem very similar to a couple of little kids spatting. But when the 'feuding' and 'fussing' and 'fighting' is between physically 'grown' up people who mentally insist that they are 'mature', (of course it is the other person's fault), it gets to be sad, even disgusting (if not rather frustrating as well). I'm not sure how to see 'peace' in those events, but maybe when they are over and I can 'breathe a sigh of relief' there is an 'outward' peace. On the other hand, Jesus would not allow Himself to be drawn in to people's arguments but instead maintained the peace inside of Him that He gained daily from His heavenly Father. I do want to learn that lesson, and where better to 'learn' it other than right in the middle of it.

Interestingly enough, I wonder if I am also learning to not always 'speak'. Different people come to me and give me their 'sides'. The other night I think I listened for perhaps two hours. If I said more than a few sentences I was lucky. As I listened I was thinking that if I did say anything I would appear to be 'justifying' myself. Interestingly enough, for the most part anyway, I felt somewhat peaceful inside even though one of the people speaking was not in harmony with me (us). After a while the other person came to our 'defense' and I was almost surprised at some of the positive statements made. When we trust in God and choose His peace He has promised to keep us in His love and care and I believe He also comes to our defense.

There are times, though, when it is necessary to 'speak up'. I am claiming that God will grant me the discernment to know when to do which. Being in God's loving will brings peace - be it in silence or in speaking.

I need to get to get some rest tonight. Until next time may God's loving peace be with you and may God's peace be in your midst.

Bringer of Peace

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Giving Thanks

So much has been happening this week here. Keep in mind I am practicing 'in everything give thanks', (but not 'for' everything), so I am going to 'practice on you'. (Blue type includes praise and thanksgiving)

The Lord asked me to make a list to praise Him for of what we 'see' we need, and my husband, Duane, and I have been taking special time to thank God for His answers.

At the beginning of the week we asked two people to find other places to live by the beginning of next year (which is very hard for me to do). (Some folks might consider that a thanks)
Our son got hit on the passenger side of our Toyota. The car had total insurance coverage.
No one was seriously hurt but there have been insurance (medical and vehicle) to take care of, with several Dr. appointments thrown in for 'good measure'.
When I stopped to make an appointment at the chiropractor's office for the two 'passengers' I 'fell' on my way out to the car, but praise the Lord, other than my hand scratched some, I wasn't really hurt, (more than my pride, as another car pulled up as I picked myself up).
Duane and I thank God that at least one 'bill' will be paid when the insurance settlement comes - no more monthly car payments.
People have shared their 'take' as to why 'things' aren't going the way they think they should here at the farm - and I've wondered where some of the 'tales' come from.
Carl started a new job this week - part time but still a source of some income, praise the Lord
We got 'chewed out' for a missing roll of toilet paper. (Fortunately I think I kept my mouth shut, for a change.)
I have been practicing 'giving thanks' IN everything and sharing it with a few others I thought might be interested.
Friday the property and personal taxes were due ($3,500 approx).
A friend said they were going to 'pay' $1,000 towards the tax 'bill'.
We were able to come up with $1,000 towards the bill also for which we thank God.
I have been physically and emotionally tempted to 'depress' but I am choosing to 'praise' and 'give thanks' anyway.
The Lord has been showing me a bigger picture of Himself through Psalm 51. I just finished it today (and posted it on my paraphrase link, if you are interested.)
The children's class I teach was both a blessing and a challenge. Three children didn' t have winter coats and the church gave them some this morning - wonderful. It was a challenge to 'keep' them interested in the story of baby Jesus, and at times I wondered if that was only a dream that we were succeeding.

Enough of the past for now. This afternoon when I came to blog, I visited 'clay feet' (see link) and also 'on the road' (see link) and was greatly encouraged by both of them. God is still in control. I thank the Lord for another day of life. I praise the Lord for loving me just now.

Thank You, Father, for encouraging to turn my face upward to see who You really are and what You are really like.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, December 5, 2008

Practice increases Ability

I have been learning more about the 'attitude of gratitude'. The Bible, as you may recall, says "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you". I am so thankful God isn't telling me to give thanks FOR everything that happens, but rather no matter what happens, no matter what situation I may be IN, I can still have an attitude of gratitude, particularly to God.

Practice Time:

The evening of December 2 I got a call from our son. After I answered, there was an unusually long pause. When he finally spoke he told me he was sorry but he had been in an accident. He wasn't hurt but the his girl friend and another man were being checked out at our local hospital. To make a long story short, no one had any broken bones but they may be sore for a few more days.

I thank God there were no serious injuries even though the car has been totaled by the Ins. Co.

Practice Time:

Tax time. Today the property taxes are due and personal property taxes as well.

For the past quite a few days my husband and I have been practicing thanking God daily for the above need along with a number of other 'pressing' financial obligations. I'm not yet totally certain about the exact correlation, but last night I got a message on my phone from the insurance company of an offer of settlement relating to the accident. If I have it figured correctly those funds can 'cover' the taxes, pay off the car loan and help provide for some transportation.

I refuse to thank God FOR the accident. IN the situation, though, I can THANK God. If God chooses to use the situation in this way, Praise the Lord. "All things work together FOR good (they may not all 'be' good, but God can use them FOR good).

There are still other items on our 'thank you' list. God has promised He will supply all our needs, therefore we will continue to 'practice' giving thanks IN all things for this is God's will for us.

It is not God's will to MAKE me suffer. That is not what I am even hinting at. But God's will is for me to keep thanking Him no matter what appearances indicate. His will is for me to get to know Him so well that I can 'trust' Him in good times as well as in what appear to be 'bad' times. That kind of 'trust' - knowing that God not only loves me but will only permit what He sees best - is the foundation of God's kind of peace filling my heart and life

Learning that He ALWAYS wants what is best for me is what takes the 'life' out of 'worry' (in other words, 'kills' worry).

Thanking God IN every situation keeps my focus on Him, not on 'what' or 'where' or even 'why'.

I have some things to do this morning along with thanking God for His love and protection so I will close for now. Until we meet again may I encourage you to thank Him for life, for breath, for friends, for supplying our needs, for sunshine and most of all for His continuing love to all of us.

In a few hours the human family's special appointment with the Creator God of the Universe - Sabbath - will begin. I would be delighted to have you join me in a special thanksgiving and praise time during the holy hours of this Sabbath. Happy Sabbath to you all.

Bringer of Peace

Monday, December 1, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

Even though the actual 'day' we call Thanksgiving is officially past for this year it does not prevent us from continuing the attitude of gratitude which that day was meant to represent.

My sister sent me a link to a site where I read a very interesting article. Some of you may already be aware of some of this information but I found some new information that is still bouncing around in my mind in relation to the concept of an 'attitude of gratitude'. Let me share some of what I am learning.

To begin with, according to this article, every cell emits 'light'. Every cell also has an 'electrical' atmosphere with which it surrounds itself. Along with an atmosphere of 'light' and an 'energy field', the cell also is seriously affected by what I perceived as 'attitude'. Gratitude is an attitude. When I give thanks, when I rejoice, when I choose to accept the peace God always offers me, every cell in my body is positively, directly affected. Correct, positive attitudes healthfully affect hormones (one of the body's communication systems), enzyme activity (aiding nutritional movement into cells as needed) as well as overall proper use of energy.

The brain is also constantly emitting signals which other minds 'pick up' even though we may not be communicating verbally or visibly with each other. One of those 'signals' is what I call 'attitude'. When a person chooses to be grateful, joyful, peaceful - and the effect of such an attitude becomes even more powerful and intense when that mind has chosen to connect to the Creator God of the Universe - that attitude positively affects every mind with which it comes in contact.

I believe that 'attitude' not only functions when there is a 'close' physical proximity, but it also can be 'carried' by 'blogs', books, movies, TV and more. We are affected by that which we choose to come in contact with whether 'live' or through other modalities as just mentioned.

Perhaps over a week ago I took some problems to my wonderful Lord. In actions we took in what we had thought was helping others we have gotten into some financially tight places ourselves. I had been asking the Lord for His divine intervention concerning these matters.

About that time my brother shared with us a story about a 'world' missionary. God had led him to do some mighty things for our Lord. In process of time he had committed to a project that needed $1,500,000. Another 'project' he believed the Lord had led him to work with needed $100,000. He was claiming that the Lord would supply all these needs through the awesome power that only the Creator God has. He had also been sharing with others the needs for funds to continue the above mission projects. But the last day came and still no 'money'. Some folks had even 'suggested' that there was going to be a 'celebration' (of sorts) when the missionary 'failed'.

As the beginning of the due day for the million and a half dollars dawned, the missionary pleaded with God to reveal Himself in a mighty way. As he was praying the Lord asked what he needed. The man restated the $1.5m and $1,000,000. The Lord reminded him that He already knew what was needed. God then told him it was time to start thanking the Lord and praising Him for the answers.

The man immediately stopped asking God and started praising Him and thanking Him for answering prayer. From what I understood in the story, everyone there joined in the praise and thanksgiving service. About 10 a.m. a call came which took care of the $1.5m need. After that a couple (or family) came in and began to join in the praise and thanksgiving. The man who had just come in asked the missionary if there was any other 'needs', and the missionary mentioned the $100,000 for another project. The man took 3 envelopes out of his pocket and donated them to the missionary. When the total was counted up it came to the exact amount needed - $100,000.

I share that experience with you because it impressed me so much. We also have financial needs and the Lord impressed me to begin praising Him and thanking Him for His answers. At present the needs God has put on our hearts to pray for come to about $1,250,000. God's word does not return unto Him empty. He supplies our needs according to HIS RICHES in GLORY through Christ Jesus. AMEN! Wonderful, Awesome, Tremendous!!!

I am getting more and more excited in anticipation of God's answers this week. Property Taxes are due Friday ($3,017.00) as well as personal taxes (approx. $300). Our Mighty God already has arrangements. Sad to say there have been strong hints of a 'celebration' (of sorts) when God doesn't 'come through'. I am only saying that because I am in the mode of celebrating already with an attitude of gratitude to our wonderful Heavenly Father' s answer - and as usual His answers are above, over and beyond all we can ask or think.

A friend of mine has been through some pretty tough times over the past year or so. One challenge was that she had to move two times - which we were able to help her do. Needless to say that involved a certain amount of 'house hunting'. When a house would not become available I often said "Praise the Lord". Why? One reason I often gave was that if God didn't want that house we wouldn't want it either. Another thought I often shared with her was that "God is never late, seldom early and always on time".

Now I am choosing to believe the same concepts in our situation. I praise the Lord and am so thankful that He is not only 'able' but He already has the situation 'under control'. (By the way, not only did the Lord provide a house for my friend, but He is providing funds for the purchase of that place as well as another 'farm'. Praise the Lord!)

The information about the effects of 'gratitude' on the very 'cell' level is giving me a big opportunity to 'practice' what I am learning. Today I choose to praise the Lord for providing our needs through His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. And very soon I plan to fill you in on more details.

This very morning during our worship time in praise to the Lord this message was added for our encouragement. "In our work we meet with many discouragements. But we shall not gain a particle of strength by dwelling on the discouragements. By beholding we become changed. As we look in faith to Jesus, His image is engraven on the heart. We are transformed in character."
"As we discern the perfection of our Saviour's character, we shall desire to become wholly transformed, and renewed in the image of His purity. "
"By having a knowledge of Christ, -- His words, His habits, and His lessons of instructions, -- we borrow the virtues of the character we have so closely studied, and become inbued with the spirit we have so much admired. Jesus becomes to us "the chiefest among ten thousand." the One "altogether lovely".

Jesus kept the JOY of seeing us eternally saved ever before Him while He was a human being here on earth. And since the JOY of the Lord is our strength, we too can imbibe of that same attitude to enable us to 'copy' His pattern.

God is in the business of restoration. He has promised to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. We have been told to 'Ask', 'seek' and 'knock'. We are told to 'cast' all our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. I praise the Lord just now for His wonderful works to us, His 'children'. We have asked, and God is giving. We have been seeking and are finding God's promises true and faithful and He will 'do it' - yes, He is doing it and has done it.
We have petitioned God to supply our needs and He has already begun to open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing so big we don't have enough room to receive it all. Yippee! Why? That means we have more than enough so we can continue to share with others.

Thinking of having 'enough' to share with others more needy than ourselves may be why I was challenged last evening. Earlier this year we had shared financially to try to help another person in dire need. Last evening I overheard someone (who is here on the farm because they 'needed' help and we chose to let them stay here because they, at the time, seemingly had nowhere else to go) refer to that 'incident', almost in a derisive tone, with a comment that that money would have taken care of the 'taxes' if we hadn't of helped that person.

There may be a kernel of truth in what was said. On the other hand, the person who was speaking has also been helped financially numerous times by us in the past. Maybe that is why they made remarks about us helping someone else, (but not as much as we have tried to help them,) because they still feel guilty. Do they feel guilty for not 'returning' to us what was 'loaned' to them? I wonder. That person was speaking to someone else who was also helped financially by us, and who basically also 'owes' us some of what had been 'loaned' to them by us. (My thoughts were having trouble staying grateful, I must admit, about that time.) Both of the ones talking, though, seemed almost 'eager' to hear of 'failure' here on the farm financially.

Yes, I was challenged, to say the least, as I listened for a few minutes to the ongoing conversation between the two parties. And yes, I guess I was 'evesdropping' to the speakerphone conversation. Then, I realized that not only were there numerous inconsistencies and out and out inaccuracies in the conversation but my attitude was being VERY negatively affected and I recognized that I needed to LEAVE - run away quick.

I came back to our little house and realized that I must refocus. I stopped looking on perceived faults and failings of others and returned to "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith". Jesus focused on the JOY before Him and I chose to turn my mind eyes to gratitude and joy as well - especially to what He is doing in our lives right now.

My hubby and I chose to again praise the Lord for His goodness to us. We thanked Him for enabling us to continue to help others whether or not they are grateful. We are thankful God has already supplied our needs - so many in the past - and is continuing to do so even now. As we looked back over the past couple of years we were reminded that God has been the One who has supplied the funds for the taxes then. We were reminded that last year we didn't have enough money either, but God came through. The taxes are even higher this year - Praise the Lord - which means God's answers will be even 'bigger'. That also means we have even more reason for an attitude of gratitude. And from what I have just learned that attitude of gratitude is giving me another reason to experience better 'body health' as well as spiritual health. I Praise the Lord and choose to continue to thank Him for His wonderful love to us.

I must go for now, but until we meet again, may the God of hope fill you with all JOY and PEACE in believing, that You may abound hope through the Power of the Holy Ghost. And remember, an attitude of gratitude gives health to every cell in your body.

Bringer of Peace