Category Archives: peace

Mama Bear Love

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“That brings out the mama bear in me,” a friend exclaimed!

Parental love is scary strong. Love hits a new parent like a tidal wave. It’s often said that becoming a parent is like having your heart walking around outside your body. Such fierce love struggles with children growing up in a world filled with danger, evil, and pain.

Parents decide to take control and guarantee their child’s safety. An impossible task. Knowing our children have free will to make bad choices adds to our fear. Even when our children are grown, we still want their safety, well-being, and happiness.

Once a parent, always a parent.

Our twenty-four year old son described a health issue he had but that he had no plans to see a doctor. I was sleepless as I imagined him headed to an early grave because of his choice to ignore the problem.

The next morning, reading about Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in Genesis 21,

I found hope.

God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, though past childbearing years. Sarah offered her servant, Hagar, to Abraham so he could have a son by her, planning to raise him as Abraham’s heir. Hagar had a son but a few years later, God fulfilled His promise and by a miracle, Sarah also had a son, the intended heir. When conflict arose between the two sons, Sarah insisted Abraham get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. So, Abraham (with God’s blessing) gave them water and bread and sent them into the wilderness.

Hagar went as far as she could, until the water ran out. “Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, ‘Let me not look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite of him, she lifted up her voice and wept.” Genesis 21:16

I feel her pain. She’s done all she can. She’s convinced her son will die. How does a mom watch her son die of thirst?

But… “And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’” Genesis 21:17-18

“Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” Genesis 21:19

Why did Abraham agree to send Hagar and their son into the wilderness? Unbeknownst to Hagar, God had already given Abraham a promise. “And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” Genesis 21:13

Before Hagar entered the wilderness, before she ran out of water, before she collapsed in pain and sorrow, expecting her son to die, God knew what would happen and had planned to make a nation from Ishmael. God had a plan Hagar didn’t know about. Then, He opened her eyes.

As a mom, I can think like Hagar: because of this obstacle, my son will die. But God is sovereign. He’s the one who knows what the future holds and He holds each of us in His hands.

I can trust Him.

I can pray.

God hears my prayers as He heard Ishmael (v. 17). I pray for our son and I give him advice when he wants it, but God already knows what will happen. He already has it covered. He had a plan for Ishmael from the beginning and He has a plan for our son.

I don’t have a guarantee bad things won’t happen to our son. Trusting God doesn’t mean everything will work out as I want or that our son will live to be a hundred years old. It means God already knows the future and He’s already there.

I can trust God no matter what.

Father, thank you that you knew the day you placed our son in our arms how his whole life would play out. You knew from the day he was born every obstacle he would face, each weakness, and each choice he would make. I know he belongs to you and you hold him in your hands. Thank you dear Father! I know I can trust him to you.

Already There      by Casting Crowns says it so well.

 

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Is there any hope?

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Life is hard.

Marriages broken.

Marriages full of pain.

Children in rebellion.

Children hurting themselves.

Senseless murders.

Fear in the streets.

Jobs lost.

Finances in ruin.

Loved ones lost to death.

Parents aging.

We are aging.

Chronic illness.

Chronic pain.

Terminal disease.

Dreams die.

Addictions abound.

Perversity reigns.

War threatens.

Is there no end?

Where is the safety?

Where is the “happily ever after”?

Will it ever come?

Not on this earth.

Here we groan in labor.

Here we are under the curse of sin.

Only in heaven will we know the happy ever after we long for.

God will make all things right.

In heaven, there will be no more pain for all eternity.

Jesus came to show us the way to that paradise.

We must believe in Him.

There is no other way.

We cannot make our own way to heaven.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus offers…

Grace for today.

Eternal security.

Treasure in heaven.

Forgiveness for sin.

Hope for tomorrow.

Comfort in sorrow.

Peace in pain.

Strength in weakness.

Perfect love.

Thanksgiving for worry.

Faith for fear.

Mansions above.

Victory below.

His presence always.

How?   

We believe in Him. 

Jesus is our hope.

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Excerpt from Amazing Hope: A 40-day Devotional by Susan Aken

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Who Will Lead Us?

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Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. . .. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God. — Psalm 146:3, 5 (NIV)

Injustice and violence fill the world. We hope that the next election, or leader will have the solution. My heart is gripped by fear and sadness when I see terrorism and oppression increasing. I want someone to rescue us and stop the evil. Yet, no matter which leaders are in power, evil grows. True, a wise leader is preferred over a foolish or evil one but we cannot place our hope in any mortal.

I find peace when I put my hope in Jesus. At a young age I trusted in Jesus Christ and believe He died and came to life again so that I can live with Him forever. We can find peace when we remember this world is temporary, as we talk to God, and meditate on truth:

Proverbs 19:21 “You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” (NLT)

Daniel 2:21 “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings…” (NLT)

We trust He is in control and that He will be with us no matter what happens.

Dear Father, thank you that you are sovereign over all. I place my trust in you alone. Our hope is in you! Amen

My hope is not in politicians but in the Lord God!

 

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Peace in a Troubled World

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God is so awesome! His Word is so powerful.

I love you Lord. Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for the birds I hear right now.

It brings such calm and peace just to hear their songs. To know they continually praise you. They just love being birds. I love sitting here on my screened in porch made with love by my dear husband. I love the cool breeze this morning.

I love watching the birds eat and seeing the flowers. It seems like the birds are especially happy this morning. Maybe because of a little rain and the coolness?

I love knowing that I belong to Jesus and I am His forever.

The world is a mess. There is more alarming news every day. Sometimes it seems like we are poised for disaster.

Yet, I know my redeemer lives! I know God is Sovereign! Nothing is a surprise for Him. He knows the days of this earth are numbered. He knows this life here is just a puff of smoke in all of eternity. His plan is for all His people to live with Him for eternity! Eternity without sin, pain, sorrow or trouble. Eternity as His pure and holy people. His beloved!

Even if the worst happens here, if it all falls away, if everything I know crumbles – He still reigns and His victory still stands. The enemy is already defeated! We know the end to the story…the devil will be cast into the pit forever. Jesus will reign and does reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Everything will be made right and God’s purposes will be fulfilled. What do we do? We trust. We have faith. Knowing faith is the evidence of things hoped for. Faith is believing even when we cannot see. I trust His love. I trust His Sovereign plan. I trust in His goodness and purity. God’s plans are always best. His power is unquestioned and unmatched. I will praise Him forever.

Oh, I long for the day when I will be free from the sinfulness of the flesh. When I will be all He created me to be. Please help me Lord. Help me to live closer each day to the person you created me to be. Please love through me. Please empower me to show your greatness to those around me. Oh, that my life would reflect your glory! Help me let go of all pride, self-seeking and live for your glory. I cannot do it in my strength. Oh, Holy Spirit please live through me. I rest in you. I love you.

“...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b

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Peace | Connecting Truth and Beauty

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via Peace | Connecting Truth and Beauty.

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How Do We Make Marriage Work?

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After recently celebrating 32 years together, I was thinking about what keeps our marriage going. These are the first things that came to mind:

Forgiveness is essential! Forgiveness is the cornerstone of our marriage. We’re both in need of forgiveness. Each of us remembering how much we need forgiveness helps us to forgive the other. We’re frail human beings who make selfish decisions and mistakes every day.

Grace. Grace is each of us letting the other be human. It is not our job to judge each other or hand out punishment. We both need grace! God gives us so many good things even though we don’t deserve them. How can we withhold good from each other?

Love. True love (as demonstrated by God) is thinking of the other person before self. True love is choosing to act in love toward another. Every day we choose to give love and build each other up or we choose to withhold it and tear each other down.

Feelings and affection. As we choose to show love in words and actions, our feelings grow stronger. The more we show affection, the more our desire for affection grows. Love doesn’t happen by accident, it is intentional.

Letting go of expectations and the fantasy marriage in our head. We all enter marriage with expectations and this “picture” of how our spouse will behave. There came a point in our marriage when I had to begin letting go of that picture. I have to let him be who he is and love him for who he is.

No comparing! We all will see someone else’s spouse doing something we wish ours would do. We don’t see what that other person does we wouldn’t want to live with. Comparing is futile and creates discontent.

It is not our job to change each other. Any change that happens in each other’s life is God’s work not ours. There’ve been times God worked in each of our hearts to bring about a desired change but it was not because of our efforts.

Prayer! Should be #1. The one most powerful and effective thing we can do for our spouse is pray for them.

Providing a safe haven. It’s a tough world out there. When we come together, we need to know we’ll be accepted (not criticized or nagged) and loved. We need to know we’ll be safe.

Words are powerful! Words of affirmation renew and strengthen while a critical word crushes the spirit. We have tried not to use words that tear each other down but when we do (even if it is non-verbal such as “silent treatment”) forgiveness is key.

Commitment. Knowing we are committed to our marriage and to each other carries us through a lot

Yielding instead of demanding. Choosing to yield instead of always demanding our own way brings harmony and peace. On the other hand, I have learned that expressing what I feel and desire is important. Balance is important. It’s give and take.

The Lord Jesus Christ! He’s most important. Without Him we’re selfish, demanding, judging and critical. He’s the strength of our lives and our marriage and as we spend time reading the Bible and praying we learn to love and give.

Do we do these things perfectly? Of course not! But these are priorities on this journey. We have to make these choices everyday.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14 (NIV)

The tongue has the power of life and death…” Proverbs 18:21a (NIV)

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

What are your thoughts about what makes marriage work?

Share with us here or at Living by Grace.

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Thoughts Out of Control

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Rein in the thoughts.

Out of control again.

Imagining rejection magnified.

Projecting out to the worst case.

Assuming motivations.

Judging motives.

Inviting self-pity.

Beating dead horses.

Learn and let go.

Believe the best of others.

Trust God.

Rest in redemption.

Give grace without question.

Cover it all, Jesus.

Cover it all with grace.

And you have.

All the brokenness.

All the selfish choices.

All the regrets.

The weakness I have right now.

At this moment, I don’t measure up

And that is covered by grace also.

Oh, the powerful blood of Jesus.

How can I realize all it has done for me?

The resurrection sealed my freedom.

Freedom from condemnation.

From having to answer for the stubborn wilfulness of my heart.

Jesus answered for me.

Perfect sacrifice.

Willingly given.

For one who was born thinking of self most.

My heart is yours.

Remake me.

Jesus, shine in spite of my weakness.

Shine more because of it.

My weakness allows your power

To be strong in me.

Shine Jesus.

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Photos courtesy of Pixabay

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

We all struggle with out of control thoughts and feeling broken and weak. Share your struggles here or at Living By Grace.

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