Tag Archives: peace

Preparing for the Holidays, Part 7 – The Day My “Joy” Broke

Last Christmas was one of the most difficult I can remember. The best way to describe it is with one word . . . LACK. There were a few things that were lacking, but the thing that affected me the most was a lack of joy. Thankfully, I had peace, but not joy. I cried a lot and had a hard time handling things as well as I normally do. It was very frustrating and disconcerting for me.

A week before Christmas, I decided enough was enough. I needed to spend some extended time with the Lord in an effort to get my joy back. On my dining room table I had 5 special candles – peace, joy, hope, love & cherish.  I took my “peace” and “joy” candles from the table into my office with me and lit them, hoping that joy would find its way into my heart.

Dining Room Table

Peace

During this quiet time, I prayed, I read the Bible, I poured my heart out to the Lord in the pages of my journal.  After I finished, I was feeling much better.  As I was carrying my candles back to the table the “joy” candle slipped from my hands and smashed to pieces on the floor. That was the perfect illustration of how I felt – like the tiny piece of joy I had just received was smashed to pieces, never to be recovered. I cleaned it up with tears in my eyes and threw it in the trash. Was anything going to turn around and bring joy?

Little did I know that joy was already working its way into my heart. The extended time in God’s presence was filling me with joy, even though outward circumstances seemed to say otherwise.

Yet NOTHING can come against the promises of God’s Word!

Psalm 16:11 tells us “You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” The time I spent with Jesus was restoring my joy, yet the enemy of my soul was trying to tell me my joy was broken and I would never get it back. I had a choice of who I was going to listen to – the truth of God or the lies of the enemy.

That moment was a turning point for me. God was so faithful. He began to restore my joy the very next day. One of our family traditions is to have a Christmas caroling party each year. That morning it began to snow and by the time of the party, we had 3-4 inches. It finally felt like Christmas. Our friends arrived and we walked around the neighborhood, making it a point to go sing to those we knew needed some joy: a woman with an extended illness, a family with a premature baby who were homebound during flu season (they went and got their baby out of bed so that she could hear us singing to her), an old man who lost his wife that year, he had tears in his eyes as he listened to us sing. It was truly a wonderful evening. At one point as we were walking down the road, I looked back and saw groups of 3-4 people walking with their candles glowing; it was such a picturesque sight, like something you would see in a movie.

I found what brings me joy is bringing joy to others. Joy began to overflow rather than be lacking.

Are you lacking joy this season? You can turn that around by:

  1. Spending time in God’s presence, through prayer, reading the Bible, worshipping God through song, etc…  Don’t rush this time, spend as long as it takes to get filled up.
  2. Doing something to bring joy to someone else. No matter how bad things are for you, there is always someone who is worse off. How can you bring a bit of joy to someone else’s pain?

The promise of Psalm 16:11 is that God fills us with joy in His presence. To be filled means – to make full; put as much as can be held into: to occupy to the full capacity: to supply to an extreme degree or plentifully. As you spend time with Him, He will fill you with joy so that joy can brim over to fill someone else who needs it.  Your joy may be broken, but it can be restored.

May God’s joy fill you to overflowing today!

Your Friend in Ministry,

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Preparing for the Holidays, Part 6 – The Twin Virtues of Grace & Peace

Hi friends! Have you been lighting your candle of peace? Let me encourage you. Often times, when you try to excel in the virtues of God, such as peace, circumstances come your way to test and try you. This happened to me yesterday. Shortly after my son lit the candle of peace, things became very stressful in our home. I wanted to give up and just go back to bed (and almost did!). However, I knew God was calling me to be a peacemaker. It was difficult, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, we were able to turn things around in our home. When things are anything but peaceful, don’t give up! Press through and be the conduit of God’s peace.

This morning, as I was reading the Bible, I came across the twin virtues of grace and peace. In the first couple verses of many of the Epistles, we see grace and peace coupled together:

  • To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7
  • Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:3
  • To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father. Colossians 1:2
  • To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Titus 1:4

We have already talked about peace. So, let’s look at grace for a moment. What is grace? One common definition of grace is – “getting what you don’t deserve”. This is true. You can see this definition of grace through the act of God sending Jesus, His Son, to pay your penalty so that you get what you don’t deserve, freedom and the gift of a full and abundant life that will last for all eternity. That’s grace! However, not only did God show us grace. God Himself is Grace. I love how God describes Himself in the Old Testament as He is meeting with Moses, “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.’” Exodus 34:6

We serve a gracious God. He is a God of grace. The amazing thing to me is, not only is He a God of grace, He allows His grace to rest upon us. Stop and consider the weightiness of that statement. God’s grace is upon you. His loving-kindness, His blessing, His favor covers you like a warm, comforting blanket.

Why does God allow His grace to descend upon you and take up residence in your life? I believe the answer is two-fold:

First of all, because He loves you! When you love someone, you want to show them your love. God shows you His love through His grace.

Secondly, however, God’s grace rests upon you so that His grace can flow through you. The goal of grace is to pass it on.

  • Because you’ve been loved, you love.
  • Because you’ve been forgiven, you forgive.
  • Because you’ve been blessed, you bless.
  • Because you’ve been given what you don’t deserve, you treat others better than they deserve.
  • Because you’ve been shown great kindness, you are kinder than most people would be.
  • Because you’ve been given the benefit of the doubt, you give the benefit of the doubt as well.
  • Because God has spoken graciously to you, through His Word, you speak gracious words to others (or you keep your mouth shut, which can definitely be an act of grace! *smile*)

Grace is God’s gift to you and it is meant to be a gift that keeps on giving. Who will you give grace to today? A family member? A stranger? Someone who drives you crazy? Yourself?

May God’s grace rest upon you today, and as it does, may it be followed by its twin virtue, peace!

Phil 1  2

Join me next time, as I continue this theme of preparing your heart for this holiday season.  I will be sharing about the time my joy broke.  Until then, may God’s grace be yours in abundance!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

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Preparing for the Holidays, Part 5 – The Candle of Peace

Happy first day of December! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was very full as we celebrated both Thanksgiving and our daughter’s 16th birthday. There was a lot of celebrating, counting our blessings, shopping, eating and decorating going on around our house this past weekend.

I am grateful for a still and quiet morning as I sit by my Christmas tree and write this blog post.

Quiet morningWe have been in a series about “Preparing for the Holidays”. I began with how you can practically prepare by getting organized and doing one thing per day. The focus now, is preparing your heart. Heart work is done in secret, but its fruit (or lack thereof) is evident to everyone you come in contact with from your husband to the grocery clerk.

In part 4  of this series, I wrote about some of the most common stressors this time of year and how we can combat those stressors by doing one thing well, pleasing the Lord. The end-result of pleasing God is peace.

Peace is something I long for, how about you? I believe most women function better when they have a sense of peace in their soul. In fact, Proverbs 14:30a puts it this way, “a heart at peace brings life to the body”. When your heart is at peace, your mind, spirit and even your physical body are at rest.

So, how do you get your heart to be “at peace”? Let me share a simple ritual I began using during the holidays the past couple of years, “The Candle of Peace”.

  • Purchase a large candle. I love sparkling cinnamon from Yankee Candle. They are expensive, but sure fill the house with delightful scents!
  • Place it in a central location of your home. Mine is on the wall in our kitchen area.

Candle of Peace

  • Light it each morning and as you do, pray for “peace in each heart, peace in each relationship and peace in your home.”

lighting candle

  • As you catch the candle light flickering around you, and smell its wonderful scent, continue to pray for peace to pervade both your heart and your home.

Candle burning

  • Leave it burning for as long as you desire, (just be sure to blow it out when you leave that area of your home!).
  • Relight it as often as necessary during the day. I have been known to have my children light it when they are arguing with each other. I would simply say, “This is a peaceful house, and you are disrupting that, go light The Candle of Peace”. It sounds a bit corny (and make no mistake, my kids have teased me about “The Candle of Peace”) but the simple act of lighting a candle, does something to extinguish bickering/arguing and to light a spirit of unity and peace in its place. Now if, by chance, I forget to light the candle in the morning, they will take it upon themselves to do it for me.  Or, if there is tension or stress in our home, they will light it as well.  This candle has become an unspoken reminder to allow God’s peace to dwell in our home.

Jesus is our Prince of Peace. His birth was to bring peace to a messed up world. The amazing thing about Jesus’ peace is that it is not based on circumstances. It is constant, even when your world may be falling apart.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. Isaiah 9:6-7a

I encourage you to go get a candle and make it your “Candle of Peace”. Then, as you light it, begin praying for God’s peace in your heart, your relationships and your home. Watch and be amazed at how the peace of Christ can permeate your soul this holiday season. I am praying God’s peace over you right now too!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3