1 Corinthians 7:15 God has called us to live in peace.
The biblical word for peace is shalom. Theologian Tim Keller explains, “Shalom experienced is a multidimensional, complete well-being – physical, psychological, social, and spiritual; it flows from all of one’s relationships being put right – with God, within oneself, and with others.” The Bible begins with Adam and Eve in the garden, a place of complete peace. It ends in heaven, another place of peace and wholeness. It’s the messy stuff in between that makes it hard to find peace some days.
We celebrate Thanksgiving this week. You may not experience shalom around the table with family and friends. God can make peace out of our pieces. I pray this year may bring peace to your home.
Peace is not the absence of something. Peace is the presence of Someone – a God who loves you and cares for you. A God who is peace.
Luke 22:39-44 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
This is football at its finest! Following Augustana University’s win to advance them to the playoffs the entire team took time to pray together. These young men were celebrating their narrow one point win over Winona State with their fans and families, but when coach called, they all met in the end-zone, took a knee and prayed.
Jesus knew the importance of prayer. He gave us wonderful examples of what prayer life should look like. Jesus’ prayer life was not a passive act of praying in the pews. Instead, Jesus prayed to the point of sweat droplets hitting the ground.
In today’s world, instead of taking punches at teammates or politicians, let’s use our energy to pray. Take a knee this week as you spend time talking to Jesus. Thank him for his wonderful examples of prayer.
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
November is a great time to reflect on life’s blessings with an attitude of gratitude in preparation for advent. Below are a list of verses to walk you through the month. Just one verse to begin or end your day with an attitude of gratitude.
Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
Last night we fell back into daylight savings time. We gain an extra hour in our day today! How will you spend the hour you have been given?
I want to live a life where people can tell I’ve spent time with Jesus.
Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Visiting an apple orchard is one of my favorite fall outings. Last week we strolled through acres of apple trees sampling as we walked. Here was an orchard loaded with rows of apples trees, each with their own unique tastes. I bit into sweet apples, tart apples, firm apples, soft apples and everything in between.
We serve one God… our Lord Jesus Christ. We are his followers, yet we are all unique. The fruits of the Spirit we share with the world are done so in our own unique ways. I share love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control differently than anyone else. I have been created uniquely for a special purpose. You have been created uniquely with a special flavor to be shared with the world.
After walking the entire orchard and tasting enough apples to leave with a belly ache, I went into the apple hut to ask the ladies to put together a bushel of apples for applesauce. They knew just the right apple variety mix to make the perfect applesauce. You and I are the perfect mix for sharing our fruits with others as we respect the uniqueness of the fruits we share!
Deuteronomy 2:1-3 Then we turned back and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea, as the Lord had directed me. For a long time we made our way around the hill country of Seir. Then the Lord said to me, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.”
The Israelites wandered through the hill country for 40 years, just outside the promised land. Instead of turning to God, they made poor decisions based on their personal wants and desires. During those 40 years, the Israelites faith was strengthened. Moses encourages them to remember where they have been as they continue to move forward into the promised land.
When I look back on my life, I am ashamed at how much time was wasted on the pursuit of my personal wants and desires. When I turn north, God leads me and fulfills my every desire.
When we remember where we’ve been and learn from those mistakes and failures, we are ready to move ahead with humility and wisdom as companions to our faith. Spend your week turning to the north!
Ephesians 5:19-20 Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
There is something magical about music that soothes the soul. I am in awe of musicians who write their own lyrics to share with the world. Music alters the mood in the room. Keep the beat as you sing praises to the Lord. The world needs to hear your song.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
South Texas is where we traveled last week to buy antiques, relax and explore. My favorite part of our trip were the people. Every shop we visited and every person we met left us with the same saying… “you all have a blessed day”.
We were able to accomplish all the items on our trip itinerary even with a heat index of over 100 degrees every day we were there. I usually melt in the extreme heat, but in Texas the people thrive. We met such amazing friendly people who were not afraid to share their faith.
We now have new friends who are planning trips to visit us in Minnesota and we will return to our new friends in Texas. You all have a blessed day!
Psalm 8:1-4 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man, that you care for him?
God’s handiwork is incredible. We took a road trip this weekend from Minnesota to Texas – 17 hours in the truck. I was in awe of the beauty of our land. We passed fields of cotton, red rivers and magnificent trees. But the skylines were breathtaking. The creator shares a piece of heaven in the landscapes of our world if we only slow down enough to notice.
Romans 1:11-12 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong – that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
How do you encourage the faith in others?
The Minnesota Writer’s Guild has begun their 2019-2020 year. We meet once a month in Hopkins, which is over an hour drive from my house. It would be easy to stay home instead of making the effort every month to attend the meeting. But, every time I go, I am blessed to be surrounded by other Christian writers. Their text messages, emails and phone calls mean so much to me. My faith has increased because of the the love I receive from these writers encouragement. And the beautiful thing is that when I show up, God is always there to meet me in that place!
May God Bless you and may you find a group where you feel welcome to encourage each other’s faith.