An Offering from Donnie: Peace I leave you

Peace I leave you; My Peace I give to you. John 14:27

The gift of Peace was given to us by Jesus as He was preparing His followers to face life on earth without His physical body being present.  It was a gift given to all of us who are His followers.

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(c) Bonnie Oden

Peace in the scriptural sense is an English word translated from the Hebrew word Shalom.  Shalom was a common greeting during Jesus’ time.

Christ entered the world as the Prince of Peace.  During Advent, as I strive to become the person God intended me to be, Peace is one of the avenues I will follow.  I will endeavor to share the gift of Peace with all whom I encounter.  Shalom!

As I journey down this Advent road,

grant me the courage to make Peace.

Peace in my heart.

Peace in my home.

Peace in my community.

 

Donnie Hawley

An Offering from Nancy J: In gratitude, we find peace.

. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Any the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 4:6-7)

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(c) Bonnie Oden

Everyone in our bustling modern world seems to be looking for peace.  Perhaps the idea of “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phil 4:7) appeals to many because they can’t even imagine a feeling of peace, much less the reality of a true peace.  We long for a peace that our fallen world can’t even comprehend.

An unattributed quote made popular on the internet suggests that “peace is seeing a sunset and knowing who to thank.”  That quote may have broad appeal because it implicitly addresses human longings which are so fundamental.  God is knowable.  God gives us good gifts.  God is approachable enough that we can thank him for showing us his love.

This is a good time of year to remind ourselves that God made himself known to us… so we know who to thank.  In that gratitude, we find peace.

An Offering from Bonni: Peace be with you

Peace be with you.
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How many times have we shared these calming words with those around us in our faith communities each week?
I know that Mary is struggling with a health matter to be resolved, John recently was laid off from his long time job, Doris lost her husband this year, and Michael is caring for his ailing mother. Jennifer is worried that her daughter isn’t going to be accepted at her desired university.  Jack is concerned that he won’t be able to be at his son’s Christmas program due to work restraints.
What a gift we might give each other by reaching out in real time to offer our presence to listen, really listen to just one person not normally in our inner circle of family and friends. A gift of our time can be the most treasured gift of all.  And it can help to bring a peace within us as well.
May the Peace of our Lord be with us in this Advent season and stay in our hearts and minds.
Amen.
Bonni Brophy King

An Offering from Regina: He shall be the one of peace

Micah 5: 2-5a   “…and he shall be the one of peace.

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The year 2016 has been one of turmoil with the feeling of peace elusive to many around the world.  These words from Micah remind us that with all the uncertainty in the world we are secure in the arms of God and the one sent to us in peace so many years ago.  St. Francis prayed “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace…” That peace is available to us by taking time away from the busyness of preparation to open ourselves to quiet moments, stopping to breathe in peace and then breathe out love, hope and joy to those we meet each day. It can be that simple and it can be contagious.  May peace fill your days this season and evermore.  Amen.

Regina Hunt

An Offering from Kathy: Peace

Throughout the night, I was disturbed by one person’s question spoken angrily earlier that day, “What I want to know is if there is a God, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world!?”  I’d certainly heard that question many times at patient’s bedsides.  Nothing I read or heard brought me closer to living peacefully with it.

 

The next morning, in the silence of prayer, I heard these words which brought me the peace I sought:

“My Children,

There is no answer to this question that will satisfy your souls and, as My followers, the closer you become to Me, the more the evils of the world will grieve you and cause you pain because you begin to see things even more through My eyes.

I did not create the world to be filled with the evils you see and experience.  It was not My will. However, because of the nature of sin in a fallen world, pain and sickness and evil will exist.

A shift in focus is needed if you are to live in peace with this question.  Shift your focus to being a source of light and beauty to the world and know that any evil or sin committed against you, no matter how small or how great, can be brought to Me to be healed.  There is no hurt so deep that cannot be healed by Me.  There is no slight so little that does not deserve My attention.

Yes, there is sin and suffering and evil in the world.  The Good News is that I am greater than the world and I can conquer all of this in each of your lives if you let Me.

I love you all and I want each of you to live in peace, entrusted to My care.  Go forth in the light of My love to be lights to the world.”

An Offering from PJ: God’s Battle Plans

Ukraine Jets Strike Rebels,” “Gaza Fired Approximately 690 Rockets and Mortars into Israel,” and “Israeli Air Strikes Pounded More Targets in Gaza” offer three recent headlines.  Present day battles abound, and we shudder at the horror as chaos and calamity claim more lives.

But humans have always dealt with tragedy and terror, and every day we face our own.  We’re weary, confused and wonder, “What’s happening to me?”  “How can I get through this?”  “Will I ever be whole again?”  Remember, dear Christian, God is not in the ‘abandonment business,’ but in the ‘abiding business.’  He stays with you …

Matthew 1:23, “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”

… forever.  Matthew 28:20b, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

He’s with you in every battle … 2 Chronicles 32:7-8a, “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed … for the one with us is greater than the one with him.  With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

… so give all struggles to God.  2 Chronicles 20:15, “and he said, “Listen … thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”

After all, what power do others really possess over you?  Psalm 56:4, “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”

Remember, your battle just may be a spiritual one.

Ephesians 6:10-12, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Trusting All of God’s Battle Plans for My Life, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2014 PJ Gover

www.PJGover.com

http://4homestore.com/devotionalbook.html (PJ’s devotional book)

 

An Offering from PJ: The Matter of Suffering

My friend lost her finger in an accident this week, and her career requires heavy hand usage. My heart aches and my soul grieves and I imagine she wishes for those moments back. I do. I know she trusts God, but it’s hard to understand His whys and what now’s. After all, sorrow and suffering heaped on a faithful servant don’t seem fair. Multiple Bible scholars and theologians (I am neither) have written mountains of material over centuries addressing this, but just a few of my thoughts…

God assures believers of His presence and provides tools of comfort:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me…” Psalm 23:4. “When His lamp shone over my head, And by His light I walked through darkness;” Job 29:33.

I can be His fearless valley-walker.

Believers get to share in Christ’s sufferings:

“For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ,” 2 Corinthians 1:5.

His comfort surpasses my sufferings.

Whatever believers endure can expand their sphere of influence and ministry:

“Five times I (the Apostle Paul) received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned (with real rocks!) three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren,” 2 Corinthians 11:24-26.

Wow, but bring it on!

When believers know darkness His light shines brighter:

“In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”John 1:4-5.

The more dreary the day, the greater my appreciation for the sun.

Believers can serve as examples of God’s mercy and patience:

“Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life,” 1 Timothy 1:16.

Just more opportunities to share!

Believers are promised a future with God:

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2.

Jesus is the perfect architect and designer.

“But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13.

With a new body and mind!

Where do your sufferings take you? How will you share in the suffering of Christ?

Tipping All Scales to God’s Way of Thinking,

PJ   COPYRIGHT ©2014 PJ Gover