Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Big "IF"

It's interesting how I can read things into scripture that aren't really there. Actually, "interesting" is the wrong word. It's actually scary how I can read things into scripture that aren't there. I wonder how often I do it and pray that God would point it out and correct me when I am reading what I THINK the Bible says instead of what the Word really says. 

This is the verse I've had on my kitchen sink windowsill this week (as evidenced by the water spots!) but it wasn't until this morning that I realized I was reading it wrong. 
2 Corinthians 13:11 (NET) "Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, set things right, be encouraged, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you."
It's all good stuff. I think I'm going to have my kids memorize it this next week. :) Now that Summer vacation is over and we've started homeschooling again, we all need to be reminded to agree with one another and live in peace. We need to remember to REJOICE! (Which by the way, I learned last year doesn't have to mean being noisy and exhuberant. Because let's be honest. I'm not always feeling that way. To "rejoice" can also simply mean to "be glad".  And that makes me glad!) And we need to live encouraged especially when we're in new places doing new things.

But the last part is where I was getting off track. See what it says there? "and the God of love and peace will be with you." I kept thinking that somehow that last part was conditional on the first part, event though it didn't really made sense. (And how could it?) I was thinking that IF we rejoiced enough, and IF we set things right and were encouraged, and IF we agreed with one another and lived in peace that THEN the God of love and peace promised to be with us. "But doesn't it already say He is with us always?" I wondered. So I set out to figure out what it really meant for Him to be with us. Maybe it meant He would be with us in a different, special way. But the more I looked at it, the more I realized that it didn't actually say "IF" in there at all. It's a simple declarative statement. "AND THE GOD OF LOVE AND PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU." It's not true only IF I get it all right. It's true even and especially when I don't. It's actually WHY I can set things right (because the God of love and peace is with me!), why I can be encouraged (the God of love and peace is with me!), why I can agree with my husband and 13 year old daughter and my boys (the God of love and peace is with me!) and why I can LIVE IN PEACE. (You know what I'm going to say... The God of love and peace is with me!)

There ARE plenty of "If, then" statements in the Word of God. I just want to be more careful not to be mistaken about which promises are conditional and which promises aren't. And I trust God will help me... Because the God of love and peace is with me.  And He is with you, too.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Just some verses I found...

Scratched on a piece of paper, folded and refolded... probably in a pocket for a day or two earlier this year. In the process of moving out of our house I found this and thought I'd share with you these verses that are possibly songs but are certainly prayers, written a while ago but echoed in my heart today.

More of You

More of You, Jesus, and less of me.
More of your strength, and less of my striving stress.
More of your patience, and less of my snapping restlessness.
More of your endurance, outrunning my weakness and worry.
More of your faith, putting to flight my fears.
More of your love, sweet love, all over me.
More of You, Jesus, filling all of me.
More of You, Jesus.
More of You.

(John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease.)


Jesus, You're my shelter
You're my refuge in the storms of life
Jesus, You're my Peace
I am safe when I'm by your side

Don't let me wander, don't let me stray
Without You I can't find my way
Keep me close, holding fast to You
By faith I know You'll bring us through

It's not for me to figure out
It's not for me to understand
My job is to follow You
As You lead me hand in hand

Jesus, You're my Light
In the dark to You I'll lift my eyes
Jesus, You're my Savior
Because I have You all I need is supplied

You are more
So much more than enough
I love You

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Peace Pics

I wrote this post when we were still in Peru and just noticed I never published it! So here it is. :)

I've been having fun this year with an iPad app my daughter found a while ago. (It's called Rhonna Designs, in case you're wondering.) Learning how to use it has been a relaxing distraction and sometimes a way to meditate and memorize scripture for me. If I have something to remember or memorize I'm making it pretty and turning it into my homepage or background. It's fun and helps me remember what I want to remember! And I'm sharing some of them on instagram too, because who can't use a reminder to live in PEACE?

Blessings! (Of grace and peace...)


Thursday, January 09, 2014

2014. Grace and Peace to you.

PEACE. It's there at the beginning of NINETEEN of the books of the New Testament. Almost always alongside it's best friend Grace. Over and over and over again it's declared: Grace and peace to you!

Peace. If I've ever had a "holy grail", it's PEACE. I have longed for it, searched for it, dreamt about it, schemed about contriving it, cried over not having it... but it has eluded me in many ways for many, many years. You have to know, though, that I'm not talking about peace in my relationships with people. Sure, I like it when my kids are all happy and when my hubby and I are laughing together. (Who wouldn't?) But being the good middle-child that I am, I've always been pretty good at making people happy and keeping the peace. Everywhere, that is, except inside my own heart and mind.

That's why when I started to sense that 2014 was supposed to be about peace I hesitated to embrace it. Why, you might ask, if that's all I've ever wanted? Well. For nineteen years now (yes, I'm also noticing this is the second reference to "19" I've made in this post.) I've been choosing a new word for my new year. I don't even know how it started, I just remember back in 1995 wanting to learn more about grace. I didn't really understand it and wanted to. So my New Year's tradition of picking a new word to study for the year was born. Since 1995, I have picked a variety of words (some that I loved, some that I was scared of, some I've forgotten, some I've remembered) and often they became my wrestling partner for the year. This last year my word was "Alegría" (Spanish for joy, happiness, and/or gladness) and as happened often in years past I found myself in December saying "OK, Lord. Our time is almost up. Am I ever going to get this or not???" The quick end of that story is that YES, God indeed tied 2013 up with a bow of alegría - but my point is that it took much of the year to learn the lessons.

So when considering choosing (or accepting?) PEACE as my word for 2014, there was some fear that it would mean wrestling with peace all year - or practically declaring it would be a year of struggling with peace. And I don't want that. I mean, I've had enough of that already and sometimes it seems safer to leave well (or not well) enough alone rather than actually intentionally wrestling with it. Or wrestling with myself. 

But there was no other word. Peace beckoned. Peace wooed. Peace won. And I believe my Prince of Peace has whispered to my heart that this year will be different. He is offering peace and it is mine for the taking and I don't have to wrestle with it for a year first. (And really, I already KNOW I'm going to need it this year in extra measure.) So I have accepted the offer. And I think instead of a wrestling match, this year is going to be more of a dance. I might not be much of a dancer and will probably trip and step on God's toes a lot as we do this, but we're doing it anyway.

19 years.
19 words.
Starting with Grace and finally coming around to Peace. 
Sounds perfect to me.

"Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace) and be thankful." ~Colossians 3:15 NET

I make no promises, but do hope to be back here more often this year to share what I'm finding. : ) Do you have a word for 2014? I'd love to hear what it is!

Grace and peace to you, friends.

(Oh and by the way. Photo credit for that awesome flower picture goes to my brilliant daughter. Isn't she amazing?)

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