Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fighting for Us

Every year our country takes a day out of its busy schedule to remember the brave men and women who sacrificed life for us.  I think we can all agree that this moment should happen EVERY day, not once a year.  The men and women who gave their lives to our country are incredible and wonderful people.  They bravely endured battles, wars, and enemies for the sake of our freedom.  They gave up their own liberties so that we could have liberties.  These soldiers gave so much of themselves - their very lives - so that we could freely live our lives each day.
Understanding that this is a day of remembrance for those gone by, let us also not forget those that are still with us today who have served, as well as those that serve our country now.  Those who have gone to far away lands, and those that are on our own soil.  Those that are on the front lines and those that serve the front lines in many different capacities.  These brave service men and women give up their own freedom of spending time with their families, of a different path of service, so that they can ensure our freedoms.  I am sure we all know of at least one service person and I am sure you are as amazed as I am as to what drives these men/women to serve our country; to be ready to give up their lives for another.
We have someone else that we are close to who did the same for us.  Jesus chose to fight for us so that we might be free.  Jesus chose to give up his life so that we wouldn't be a slave to the devil and sin anymore.  Jesus endured battles and the enemy, the devil, so that we could live freely each day.  He truly was on the front line for us - and still is today.  As the Holy Spirit lives in each of us, Jesus lives in each of us as well.  He gave everything for us, people who truly did not deserve it.  He gave His all for our all.  The amazement and wonder of it all still mystifies me.  That we might know such love is an incredible feeling.  Jesus fought the fight for us. 
During this weekend, may we remember all who have fought for us.  Jesus led the way and made the ultimate sacrifice - to walk into hell for our sins.  He rejoices at God's right hand that we might have a place in paradise.  As well, our fallen soldiers who have known our Lord are in paradise with him today.  Remember!  On Monday, may we all take time to remember our soldiers, those who fight now and those who have fought the fight.  Give thanks to them!  May we also remember our Lord Jesus who also fought the fight.  We have so much to be grateful for.  Blessings to all on this Memorial Day Weekend.
"The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name."  (NIV)  Exodus 15:3

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Promise-filled Peace


There is something about the word "peace" that touches my soul.  When I think of the word, read about it, or actually speak the word, a tremendous stillness rushes over me.  It's a wonderful feeling - usually too difficult to express.  I do know that when I don't experience moments of peace for a period of time, my heart and head are unsettled.  

We all have times in our life when the troubles of today overcome us.  Maybe it is troubles with work, troubles with children, troubles with relationships.  Maybe it is troubles with just getting through the day - little things going wrong like spilled coffee or running late or "waking up on the wrong side of the bed". Trouble seems to be at every corner.  Have you had one of those days lately?  Are you in the middle of troublesome times now?  When I have times like this, it seems as if the weight of the world is on my shoulders.  Just recently, I experienced one of those times.  The day was going wrong.  I looked at the parts of my days as a burden:  making breakfast, making lunches, ensuring everyone at work was on a good note - having a good day, worrying about the kids and their papers, their finals.  Why wasn't anyone helping, why do "I" have to do these things.  These are typically not burdens for me - they are usually things I enjoy, getting involved with my family, starting the day in the right dirction. Yet, on this day, the burden was heavy and the weight was bearing down.

As the day passed on, I tried to see why "today" was different than any other day.  Then it hit me - like the ton of bricks God's shares with us sometimes.  I had not begun my day with peace.  I never realized how important that peace was for me - that time where I treasure what God is saying to me to start my day.  Many years back, I tried to find a way for me to build more peace into my life.  My days seemed full of turmoil, and I wanted the feeling when I have a "peace-filled moment" to permiate throughout my day. That's when I decided I didn't have enough God-filled moments.  I needed to build in time for God from the time I wake up and throughout my day.  So I changed my direction, my focus, and the world changed around me - in me, and through me.

We have a world of technology at our finger tips now.  I will be honest, there are many times I have shared that technology is not my friend.  Yet, for this purpose, it works - really works.  I start my morning by getting on my Bible app and reading the verse of the day.  It helps to start my day off right.  I don't read my emails or facebook or anything else - just the verse of the day.  It's nice to say "Good Morning" to God that way.  I notice that my "chores" after that seem to be put in perspective.  I then do some of the morning activities and move to devotion time with my husband before we both leave for work.  Reading the morning devotion, a short Bible verse, and even take some time to pray if there is something on our hearts for work that day, gets both of us off on the right track.

After that, I'm off to the car to listen to Christian radio.  Yes, my choice could be CDs or radio station, but I find the messages that are offered first thing in the morning truly energize me.  After that, it is time for prayer.  By the time I get to work, I feel as if Christ has prepared me for the day to come - and His grace is with me.  Before my day gets rolling at work, I read another devotional, the daily Proverbs 31 devotional, which is a great way to start my morning.  The rest of the day finds me looking at my Bible verses in a difficult moment or when I just need to feel "peace".  If I don't do those things throughout my day, the peace I enjoy seems to avert me.

Peace can come in different forms.  The peace of a moment, of seeing something that gives you peace (like the picture above out of my kitchen window).  Peace can even come in the middle of hustle and bustle.  Peace can come anywhere because God is everywhere.  With Him, with Simple Faith, peace can cloak us and move us to a better place.  Try it - try building God into a part of your day and experience the peace that will surround you.  Maybe it is in the beginning of your day, or a simple prayer when life seems overwhelming.  That sense of peace, of giving yourself at that moment to God, will bring you the peace that you can't describe - the peace that passes all understanding.  May you enjoy a peace-filled moment soon, may you have the faith that God will bring that moment to you.

"And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  (NIV)  Philippians 4:7

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Greatest Gift

Yes, today is Mother's Day.  I have always loved this day. It is truly a day of celebration.  Whether you get the privilege of spending this day with your mother (as I have had the privilege), whether your Mom is far away, or perhaps your Mom is in paradise with our Dear Heavenly Father; it truly is a day to celebrate.  The happiness that children give their mothers is immeasurable.  Maybe it is an unexpected hug, a gift, a smile, a card, a phone call, etc.  No matter the gift, big or small, ensuring that your mother is remembered on this special day is important.

I started thinking about mothers all over the world.  There are so many shapes and sizes, so many different relationships, so many definitions of "mom".  We have different personalities, different goals, different ways of showing our love.  Yet, we all have it - the love for our children that is hard to put a measuring stick to, hard to show on a chart or graph.  Our children come in may shape and sizes, many different relationships, many definitions of children.  Whether children are born of us or not, all children are given to their Mother by God, who loves all of us.  We are blessed, as mothers, to care for all the children we have in our homes.

I couldn't help but think of my own Mom, Phyllis, as I was writing the blog today.  She is an epitome of a wonderful, loving, and caring Mom.  Her thoughts, her actions, her heart are all larger than life.  Growing up, we were structured very strongly by Mom and Dad.  When I was a teenager, I thought that they were being unreasonable (yes, just like every other teenager).  Yet, as I grew older, I realized the benefit of that structure, the benefit of strong boundaries.  Those boundaries, I found out, were a testimony to her love - providing for me, holding me close, showing me a path.  

Not only was there structure, there was teaching.  Yes, my mom may be a teacher by profession, but she never stopped teaching even though she was out of school.  She taught 24/7.  I learned through cooking, I learned through showing, I learned through conversations.  Most of all, I learned how to be a Christian woman, a woman filled with faith, strength, love and commitment to Jesus.  If there was just one lesson my Mom taught me, it was the lesson that was truly the most needed (and the most appreciated), the love of Christ.  

Yes, there was structure, there was teaching, but mosty of all - there was love.  My mom was always there for me.  Certainly, she was there as I grew up and went off to college, but probably more important than that, she is here, now, as grow older, for support, for advice, for counsel.  She is here - she never shyed away, she never turned her back on me - NEVER.  Her love is never be forgotten.  No matter how many cards, flowers, thank you's I may offer her, I know I will never be able to show her or tell her how much I love her.

As I have my own children now, I can only pray that I am half the mother mine has been to me.  I can only pray that the support and love she has shown me through the years has also been shown, by me, to my children.  I can only pray that I have offered her the happiness that she has to me.

So, to my mom, I say, "I love you".  May this day reflect all that you have given me and so much more.  To each of us, please take the time - one way or the other - to say, "I love you" to your mom.  Maybe it is in a phone call.  Maybe a card.  Maybe a virtual picture you can send to her.  Maybe a prayer towards heaven.  Whatever the method may be, know that she will be on the receiving end, cherishing every moment.  Know that each and every day, feel free to remember your mom.  She will gladly receive your words, and know in her heart, that she is with you.

I love you Mom.  May God richly bless you as you have me.  Here's to your joy!!

"May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful."  (NIV) Proverbs 23:25

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Freedom For All

Today I am in lovely Washington, DC.  This city absolutely amazes me with all of its beauty, charm, and history. I was also blessed with wonderful weather, which was truly the icing on the cake.  Although here for business, I took this morning to re-explore some of my favorite spots.  One of them is the walk from the Smithsonian museums to the Lincoln Memorial.  As I was walking, a trumpet was playing - of all songs - Beautiful Savior.  I couldn't help but smile and thank God for the day that He had given me.
Along the way is the World War II Memorial.  I was here once when this memorial was being built.  It was difficult to imagine at the time what that memorial was actually going to look like, but through the work of many people, it is a beautiful spot to pay tribute to all those who served in this historic war.
Part of the memorial is the following saying, etched in stone:
                                                       Here We Mark the Price of Freedom
As I read those words over and over again, it was hard not to imagine all the soldiers that fought, all the military personnel who helped this effort, and certainly all of the families that were effected by this war.  Along with great triumph, there was a great price.  Many lives were lost or changed forever.  Such a huge price to pay for the freedoms we have.  Thank you just doesn't seem to say enough for all that our military does for US citizens.  As US citizens, we in turn have a responsibility to our country - to be good citizens to each other.
I couldn't help but think of another who paid the price for us, for me.  Our Lord Jesus, who fought an historic fight as well - one that came with a great price.  He exchanged His life for our freedom; our freedom from a life of sin, our freedom from hell, our freedom to join Him in Paradise.  Through his death on the cross, our lives are now free.  Once again, thank you just doesn't seem to say enough for all that Jesus did for us.  We also have a responsibility to Jesus - to love Him, to worship Him, to share the good news that He died for each of us. 
Freedom comes in many different shapes and sizes.  Through the incredible efforts of our military, we are afforded freedom in the United States - freedom that other countries will never experience.  Through the incredible effort of our Savior Jesus, we are afforded freedom in our souls - and a promise to live with Him in Paradise.  So, as we put our heads on the pillow tonight, I encourage all of us to give thanks and pray for those who serve our country.  Yes, maybe I should have saved these thoughts for Memorial Day - but we should be grateful every day for those who serve.  As well, as you put your head on the pillow tonight, let us not forget to thank our Savior for the freedom he provides to us from sin.  The price He paid was high, just like our soldiers.  Yet, our freedom is immeasurable. 
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves  be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."  (NIV) Galatians 5:1

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Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope we can share how God's grace has been life changing and that SIMPLE FAITH, getting back to a life that is rooted in the basics, can truly set us free to achieve so much in our lives.