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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blessed are the Peacemakers

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This past Sunday was GREAT (and not just because the Cowboys finally got their act together and won.)!! You know the kind of Sunday where you could go home after the opening worship because it ministers so deeply to your heart! But it didn't stop with the worship. The message was equally as powerful. I had planned to bring my red, sprial companion with me (as she goes everywhere now and I usually get some great blogging material from our sermons). Unfortunally, she got left behind and I had to resort to the back of the offering envelope. Well, let me tell you, I write pretty small and the back of that envelope is covered with great stuff from Eph 4 (which I will dive into in an upcoming post).

One of the main points was that as Christians, we are called (and by called I mean "invited") to live a life of unity.  I have been seeing Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers," scroll across my screen several times in the past couple of days. So the theme has been on my mind lately but I wasn't sure why. Until I went online...

As I checked my emails, I noticed one from a family member. She had written it on my Facebook wall (so everyone could read it). This wasn't the first message I'd received from her that was unkind. She had been leaving them for over a week. I had not responded because like Thumper's momma always says,"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Not exactly words of scripture, but good advise none the less.  As I read the lastest one, my temper began to rise. Enough was enough!! I couldn't hold my tounge another minute! She had attacked my family loyality, my character and even my testimony as a Christian, which in all honesty was in danger at this point! She is not a believer and has a tendency to speak first and think later. And because my testimony is so very important to me (especially to my unsaved family members), I normally hold my tounge. But this time she'd gone too far.

As I went about my morning, stewing over the situation and carefully choosing the words I was going to use in my reply, Matthew 5:9 kept repeating itself over and over in my mind. "Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are the peacemakers." "But God you don't understand. This isn't right! She can't keep saying hurtful things and get away with it. I have to say something!" "Blessed are the peacemakers." "Seriously???!! You have to be kidding!  She's not even talking to me privately about this. She's posting it on my Facebook wall so EVERYONE can read it!!" "Blessed are the peacemakers." Even as I was having this inner argument, my heart knew what I had to do. All the "Buts..." didn't matter. My feelings, honestly, didn't matter. God was calling me to unity. He was calling me to be the peacemaker, whether I wanted to do it or not.

I opened my email and sent a simple, two-sentence reply. All I did was answer the question she had initially asked and just let the rest go. I didn't respond the way I wanted to. But it wasn't about me (although it sure felt like it.) It was about answering the call to a life of peaceful obedience, regardless of my own personal feelings. I clicked "send" and let God take care of the rest, which He did. The next day, another message was waiting for me, an apology for the harsh way she had spoken to me. In all our years, I've never received an apology from her. I knew in that moment that God had indeed taken care of the situation and honored my obedience. Had I responded the way I wanted to feelings would have been hurt, a relationship would have been damaged and worst of all, my testimony would have been tarnished~possibily leaving a lasting impression of what a "Christian" is really like.

God is a God of justice. It is up to Him to right wrongs, in His own way, in His own time.

With Thanksgiving only a week away, you may have to spend time with people that have offended you, hurt you. This holiday, don't allow the enemy to ruin a beautiful time with loved ones. Let this holiday be a new beginning. Be the peacemaker you have been called to be!

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now...

The house is quiet, minus the tick-tock of the clock. Tea is in hand, laptop is opened, pen and notebook are ready. I’ve been looking forward to this time all day - my time to sit, reflect on God's direction, organize my thoughts, and write.  I open my red, spiral companion and allow her to remind me of all the ideas that have dashed through my mind. So many ideas: layout designs, new topics, potential series, upcoming holiday posts, music, quotes, blogs to visits, scriptures - the list is ever growing.

I log online, open a new post and set my fingers in place. Suddenly, my mind goes blank! I look to my constant companion for help… nothing. I read over her entries, wondering which one God wants me to pursue. Still…nothing. They all seem like a jumbled mess. I try to write again, but end up staring at a white screen. Frustration takes hold. These precious moments are slipping away. I stop, try to collect my thoughts. In the busyness of the day, my mind and soul are full to overflowing, filling up pages. Now, in the stillness, clarity eludes me. Then it hits me: this is another spiritual attack!

Of course! It makes perfect sense now! I can't believe I didn't see it before!!

My mind reflects on a recent post,
God at Work, where I shared how God had been working in my heart, but fears and insecurities were polluting my mind, soul and sleep. Since the post, I have been engaged in a battle. With my sword of the Spirit in hand, I have been throwing scriptural punches like Holyfield defending his heavy-weight title. Every time a thought creeps in, I swing with another jab of truth. I have felt my opponent getting weaker (or so I thought). Now I realize he has only changed his strategy. Instead of using my fears and insecurities, he has been clouding my mind just at the time when I am most productive. In his true, sneaky style, he has used the thoughts God intends for ministry, twisting them into a fog of confusion. He has robbed me of valuable quiet time, time when I am able to give God my undivided attention. Well, NO MORE!! I'm wise to his new trick. I cry out for clarity, confident in the promise that greater is HE that is in me, then he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)!

The battle rages on, as it always will. Our enemy will never stop trying to destroy the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the growth of the church and the work of the saints. Am I still fearful, insecure...blank? NO WAY! I am excited!! I can see clearly again!! And my guard it up, watching for his next strategy change. I believe that if the enemy is threatened enough to attack, then that is God's confirmation that I'm right where He wants me!

What about you? Do you feel spiritually attacked, beaten down, overwhelmed by the task set before you? Or Have you walked through the valley and found His promises to be true - we are more than conquerors? I'd love to hear from you.

 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11 (NIV) 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Cook Once & Eat Twice

With my mom having surgery on Tuesday, dinner is that last thing I want to worry about this week. But, I don't want my family dinning on a steady diet of fast food either. So I decided to minimize the cooking and maximize the meals.

This week's menu is all about cooking one meal and reusing the leftovers in something totally different. For example, on Monday make BBQ country style ribs. Before putting the leftovers away, take a fork and pull the meat apart. Voila! Your sandwiches are ready for Tuesday night's dinner. I purposely made the sides quick and easy too this week. Most of them can either be made up ahead of time (baked beans, coleslaw, au gartin potatoes) or they take less than 5 minutes to prepare (buttered peas and onions, steamed broccoli, salads).

So don't let a busy week be an excuse to take the easy way out. You're tummy, wallet and family will thank you!

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