Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts… and be thankful.
Today, I was blessed with a much needed, unexpected day off. I enjoyed laying in bed longer than usual, listening to the window fan blow its steady rhythm. This morning’s sunrise was gorgeous and having coffee with my husband was an added pleasure. I even accompanied my daughter as she picked up her son who flew back home from Utah. Being a part of seeing my 16 year old grandson light up the eyes of his baby sister was priceless. At 18 months old she had missed him terribly and it was obvious the feelings were mutual.
Family and family time is something designed by God for us. It is a good gift. The gifts of God are ours to enjoy. It’s extremely important to recognize each one of them and to be thankful.
A thankful heart really is a happy heart. Remembering God’s favor towards us brings peace and strength for another day. Today God has reminded of that.
This week as I read in the Bible, I decided to look at a version of scripture I don’t often use. The words of one verse jumped off the page and into my mind and heart. The questions they asked, the advice they gave, it was as if the words were spoken specifically to me. God’s word is powerfully comforting!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
How refreshing to read that Jesus doesn’t run from people who have troubles. Instead, He welcomes us. He encourages those who are tired and worn out to spend some time with Him.
Jesus wants us to learn to live the way He did. He knows that when we do, the heavy burdens of this life become easier to carry. He wants us to experience His supernatural freedom. This kind of freedom allows us to experience His rest and recover our life.
Do you ever get frustrated because you have so much planned for your day it’s impossible to get it all done? Well, I do. Last night some lovely ladies I meet with once a month reminded me of a simple truth. It’s wise to take each day one step at a time.
My days are extremely full. I have been finding it hard to be still. It seems lately it is not unusual for me to be thinking of the next thing before I’m even done with the task at hand.
Being quiet enough to truly listen and hear from God has been next to impossible. Even though I know that the time I spend in reading the Word can’t be hurried, still sometimes I rush through or (dare I admit) not read at all. When that happens, I miss the refreshment and encouragement God has designed specially for me, to fuel me for my day.
You can read about this same thing with Mary’s sister Martha in Luke 10. Martha was distracted by all her preparations. It left her frustrated and discontented, not encouraged and refreshed. Her sister Mary however, was seated at the feet of Jesus listening to His words. Jesus said that Mary had discovered the only thing worth being concerned over.
Martha and Mary’s story is a simple truth that I easily forget in the busyness of my day. Lord, help me to take time for what is most important. As I read Your word, open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.
The other day someone shared with me a disappointment they had recently experienced. They were pretty upset at the beginning of our conversation and my heart went out to them. So, I listened, we talked back and forth and we prayed.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25
We all go through times of discouragement, disappointments, and anxieties. If we can extend a good word, it can totally turn a person’s outlook around. They can go from being very upset to being glad.
Not long after our conversation, this person texted me, “Thank u for reminding me of God’s promises and talking me down when I needed it.” Their good word of encouragement gave me gladness too!
Not long ago I had an opportunity to talk about God to someone who is not a follower of Jesus. I had no preconceived ideas of how the conversation would flow or what this persons response might be.
I wasn’t worried about what to say or what not to say. Honestly I had not even intended to speak about the Lord. Our discussion just naturally headed to a place where I was able to speak a few simple truths about our Creator.
God merely took this moment in my day to allow my conversation to become a testimony of His glory and His greatness. I immediately sensed God’s presence.
I am amazed at how God can turn a quick conversation into an encounter designed by Him and for His glory. I am humbled that His Spirit reminded me what to speak so that the greatness of God was given one more opportunity to be heard in the life of another person. Please pray for them.
What did Simon Peter see that caused him to admit his utter sinfulness and total unworthiness to be in the presence of Jesus?
In the book of Luke, we read about a group of guys that had worked hard all night with nothing to show for their labor. No doubt these men were exhausted and discouraged. As they finished up their work for the day they heard Jesus speaking.
Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, Jesus asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. Luke 5:3
I imagine as the men washed their empty nets, the sound of Jesus voice off the water enabled all of them to hear the words that He spoke.
And when Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:4-5
All heard the words that Jesus spoke that morning. Even though the idea of going back out fishing probably seemed a bit ridiculous and they had “toiled all night” at the word of Jesus, it was Simon who decided to give it another try.
And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. Luke 5:6-7
All of the men had heard the words Jesus spoke. All had fished that night without a catch. Each of them had witnessed the same miracle when the two boats were filled and began to sink. Yet, only Simon fell down at the knees of Jesus overcome by his utter sinfulness.
Why? What was it that Simon Peter saw that each of the other men missed? What caused him to admit his utter sinfulness and total unworthiness to be in Jesus presence? He saw what only God could do. Simon Peter saw who Jesus is. He saw Jesus is God!
Ask people if they know they’re going to heaven when they die and the usual response is, “I hope so.” Most people think ”good people” go to heaven to be with God. Of course, almost everyone thinks that they are good.
Is being good actually what guarantees your entrance into heaven? Religious people think it is about following a list of good morals and rules. However, that is NOT what the Lord Jesus Christ taught.
The scribes and the Pharisees were experts at doing good. They were the best at being the best. Yet, Jesus basically told them the good they do is not good enough.
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
If that didn’t shake things up enough, Jesus also taught that “bad people” do enter His kingdom.
Here is what was said as Jesus hung on the cross between two criminals:
One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Jesus taught that it is not whether we are a “good person” or a “bad person”. What matters is that we recognize Jesus is God. What matters is we realize we are not good enough no matter how good we think are. What matters is that we ask Jesus for forgiveness and by faith receive His gift of eternal life. Jesus is the One that matters.