His Covenant of Peace

I’ve quit watching the news. I don’t miss it, frankly. My husband and I used to watch the 6am news together in the morning’s while drinking our coffee and waking up to the day. But, it’s been several months now that we decided to just shut it off. It probably coincides with election season. Enough said.
 
Although it’s important to be informed, and aware of what’s going on around us, I found that being filled with the news first thing in the morningt robbed me of peace. The news is so often unsettling, negative, and disturbing. I do believe it is vitally important to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and to use that knowledge to PRAY.
So I do get my news, I just don’t start my day with it.
 
But, having said that, we have made the choice to start our day more peacefully. Have you noticed it doesn’t take much to drain our souls of peace? Some of us start our day off running the moment our feet hit the floor. And some, like me prefer to start out slowly with a half pot of coffee, and quiet music.
 
Once we move on with our day and go about our work at home, or away from home – little by little we deplete ourselves. We give to our kids and spouses, we give to our jobs, we give to our co-workers and friends.
 
Giving is all good. But if we give without taking the time to receive – we will find ourselves depleted and empty. Running on ‘fumes.’
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t function well (at all) feeling depleted. When my reserves run low, everything, and everyone suffers for it.
 
But here’s a beautiful promise from the book of Isaiah 54:10 –
Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of PEACE be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
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Ahhh… take a moment… breathe in the promises of that verse. Let it soak in. Memorize it. Write it down on a sticky note. Highlight it. Circle the words that stand out to you. ❤
 
Though our lives or our world around us be shaken, His unfailing love CANNOT be. His promise of peace CANNOT be removed from us. When we put our full faith and trust -confidence and hope in the person of Jesus, we are unable to be robbed of the peace that only comes from Him. The world around us may offer a temporary peace or sense of well being – but it is so often fleeting and completely dependent on circumstances. But the peace of God that transcends all human understanding is eternal. It lasts and cannot be removed.
 
Claim it today. Own it. Trust in it. CLING to it. I know I have had to tighten my grip on MANY occasions in my life and struggles. But even in the darkest of days, I never doubted His love. I may have held Him at arms length at times, but I always knew to the deepest of my core that He loved me.
 
Do you ever feel robbed or depleted of peace? By looking honestly at where or from whom we seek peace, we may find that we are seeking in the wrong places. It’s ok – we can change course so easily. I have had to switch course many times… Our God is so very patient with us, isn’t He?
 
Today, I am wishing each one of us peace and the assurance that He loves us with an everlasting, unfailing love that will not, and cannot be shaken.
 
Blessing’s on your day, friends!
 
Allison

Roots

Good morning!

True confession time folks: I indulged in something last night. I watched not only 1 but 2 episodes of a reality show on TLC. Have you ever heard of “My 600 lb. Life”? You guys. I got sucked in. Like big time sucked in. Even with my husband’s eye rolls, and side comments, I couldn’t stop watching it.

I can’t tell you how sad that show made me. Every person on the 2 episodes I watched was in pain, had horrible trauma as a child, and was so very, deeply unhappy.

As I went to bed pretty heart broken for these people, yet; embarassed that I watched the show… A few thoughts kept whirling around in my head.

Every person on the show had deep roots of pain in their lives which, probably combined with some genetics, led to their massive weight gain.

Roots. I have watched my husband cut down countless trees at our cabin, and our home. Chain saw in hand, buzzing down those big trees. But when that part is done – the roots remain. And those of you who have cut down trees will attest to the fact that the trunk and roots are a HUGE pain to get rid of. There’s no easy way…

As I thought about the roots of pain in my life, and how those roots manifested themselves in disappointments and choices. God just flooded my thoughts with words of hope and encouragement.

The hope we have in Christ creates new roots in our lives. Roots that grow deep and spread wide. They are firm, and hold strong. Through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, we have spiritual roots. Roots that will withstand even the strongest storms.

Think of Jesus as that strong ax or chain saw cutting through the painful roots to give space for new roots in Him, When we cut away the roots of our past pain we create a big hole that can be filled with new, healthy roots of faith. The Holy Spirit of God fertilizes and enriches the soil around those roots, and the growth is beautiful and unlimited. We are ALIVE.

Colossians 2:6-10 – Alive in Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

May we allow Him to cut through those rotted and pained roots in our lives. May we be mindful of new growth enriched by the Spirit of our Living God. May we dig deeper, and grow wider in our knowledge and faith in He who brings life abundantly. May we be kind and non-judgemental. May we see through Spiritual eyes and not worldly ones. May we lend encouragement and hope to those we meet. May we be bold in sharing the life changing faith we have in Jesus. May we pray for those who are hurting. May we find the peace that surpasses all human understanding through Christ alone.

Be so very blessed today. 

Allison 🙂

Baggage Check

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 – Love keeps no record of wrongs.


“Today’s thoughts are tomorrow’s actions.

Today’s jealousy is tomorrow’s temper tantrum.

Today’s bigotry is tomorrow’s hate crime.

Today’s anger is tomorrow’s abuse.

Today’s lust is tomorrow’s adultery.

Today’s greed is tomorrow’s embezzlement.

Today’s guilt is tomorrow’s fear.”

~ Max Lucado


Baggage. We’ve all got it. Some more than others, but we all lug around excess baggage from relationships, experiences, traumas, and memories. They can become quite a heavy load can’t they?

Baggage comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, big and small. Some have steamer trunks, and others have tiny carry ons. But the fact is – we’ve all got some. My baggage is different from yours, but one thing we have in common is that any sort of baggage can end up weighing us down.

We all have baggage.The question is- What will we do with it-.png

Paul, in this verse says that “Love… keeps no record of wrongs.” No checklist of all the things we’ve done wrong, or what others have done wrong to us. No grudges held.

When I think back on my own life, I’ve worked hard at forgiving and letting go of wrongs toward me. Forgiving others and moving on has not been that difficult for me.

The toughest part for me has been to let go of the laundry list of things I have done wrong.

Yep, I know we love and serve an all-forgiving, merciful Savior. But the reality for me is that man, oh man, is it hard to let go of the baggage of my past! I tend to hold onto it like a ‘security blanket’. But unlike an actual security blanket that provides comfort and peace, the baggage I hold on tightly to brings guilt and shame.

Common sense would tell us that letting go of the baggage would be a much better option. But the struggle to loosen our grip on the past is something that is not easy – but NOT impossible either!

From outward appearances, it’s easy for us {me} to put on a happy face, and go about our lives appearing to be carefree and at peace. But for many of us, what goes on within our hearts and minds may oftentimes be a whole different scenerio. It may be filled with scenes of past mistakes, failures, pain we caused others, and so much more.

Be careful where you allow your thoughts to go. Our thought lives are very powerful. Solomon in his wisdom puts it this way:

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23

Do you want your thoughts to run your life? Or do you want the Holy Spirit to?

Guess what?  We are NOT our thoughts! Through Him, we are SO much more than that! We have a voice that can overcome the self-defeating thoughts and memories that run rampant within us causing chaos and pain. When thoughts come and cloud our identity in Christ, we have the power to say, “Nope, you’re outta here! I’m done with these thoughts, and I’m moving on in the hope and promises of Christ!”

We are not our

Instead; by meditating on, and memorizing scripture we can fill our minds and hearts with WHO we are in Him! Crowd out the negative self talk and baggage with the Word of God!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

When we fill our hearts and minds with the Words of God instead of the lies from the pit of hell, we change and transform into the person God has so beautifully created us to be. People of freedom! Satan does not get the last word. Ever. God does!

By letting go of the baggage in our lives, we make room for all the GOOD He has for us! By focusing on the blessings of God, instead of the hurt and pain of our past, we allow God to dwell within us, and the weight of our baggage is lifted.

Can you feel it?

The weightlessness?

The freedom?

a-balloons-floating

Ahhh… Nothing better.

Blessing’s to YOU all!

Daily His,

Allison

 

 

Count to 10

1 Corinthians 13:5… love is not become easily angered

As a child I bet we all learned to “count to 10” before we respond to something or someone who wronged us. Back then, I probably rolled my eyes a few times when being reminded to count to 10. But oh how wise is the wisdom of that skill! It’s just enough time to catch your breath, think twice, and make a better choice… If only we always chose well!

In the last couple weeks, we’ve delved into the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians. Breaking down these verses of scripture has opened my eyes to so many areas of my heart that I need to surrender to God.

Love isn’t easily angered. In other versions of this verse it says love is not: “touchy, irritable, quick-tempered, quick to take offence, doesn’t fly off the handle.”

In other words: Love counts to 10.

So much easier said than done, right?

Anger in and of itself isn’t sinful. The issue with anger is that it so often leads to sin. God allows us to feel and express emotions. The emotion of anger can lead us down the long, dark road of regret. Have you traveled that road? I know I have.

anger can lead us down the road of regret.Add heading

My husband is so very good at the skill of counting to 10. He’s cool, calm, and collected. I just love how God pairs us with our exact opposites! Where I am up and down, he is steady and focused. There have been times where he has literally taken my phone away so I don’t respond to someone in a moment of high emotion. He is self-controlled, and wise. I love that about him. ❤

As I reflect on moments of anger in my past, I see things that accompany almost every encounter with anger. For me, they are: hurt and rejection. Anger has been a defense mechanism that God has been steadily chipping away at my heart for some time. Our God is the Great Healer of all our hurts and whatever ills us –  He is able to soften us, and change us from the inside out!

Jehovah Rapha

I’ve learned that my feelings of rejection have probably come due to my being adopted. The pattern of hurt and anger in my life has been partially due to my fear of rejection from people in my life. Being ultra sensitive to rejection has led me to make some very poor choices that I’ve regretted greatly.

My “Fight or Flight” response is very sstrong. I’ve had times in my life when I have felt rejected, or feared that rejection was coming. I could feel it in the air. My reaction many times was to sabotage the relationship or friendship and  be the one to leave (flight response) first.

I used anger as a way to flee rejection in so many relationships.

Responding this way led to loneliness, despair, guilt, and so much more.

If you fear rejection,  instead of running away – run TO Him. He will never reject you!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. ~Proverbs 18:10

Maybe you respond with anger for different reasons as me. But regardless of how we get to the point of anger, God does not want us to dwell there. When life doesn’t go our way, or we feel rejected or hurt, He begs us to respond in LOVE.  Anger divides, but love unites.

As much as I’d love to control what others do, and how they treat me, I can’t. None of us can. But, what we can control is how we respond. By allowing God to take control of our attitude, our emotions, and our reactions to whatever life throws at us.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ~ Galations 5:25

We allow God to move in our lives by:

  • Grounding ourselves in His Word
  • Living a lifestyle of prayer
  • By surrounding ourselves with Godly people who will hold us accountable, and encouraging us to dwell with Him.

His Holy Spirit is ever present and powerful IF we allow it to be. When His Spirit moves within us, there’s no denying it. When His Spirit moves and stirs us to love – when we may not feel like it – we need to then take a big step of obedience, and act upon His leading.

With God’s help, we can overcome anger with love. Jesus calls us to bring our anger, our hurts, and our fears to the cross.

Climb that hill, kneel before the cross of Christ, and lay your burden down.

When you feel rejected, know that He accepts you. Just as you are. But, He doesn’t want you to stay that way! He longs to change each one of us from the inside out.

-To The Cross-Where can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there my shameYou have washed awayWhere can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there You gaveUp Your life for meYou gave Yo

In Him we have no fear of rejection.

Run, don’t walk to Him. His love is enough. Through Him we have the opportunity to live in freedom, and joy, wihtout regret.

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17

God bless you!

Daily His,

Allison

Knock Before Entering

1 Corinthians 13:5 – Love is not rude.

In his book “A Love Worth Giving” Max Lucado writes,

“Jesus always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But He doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” {Revelations 3:20}. And when you answer, He awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.”

Behold I stand at the door and knock.

Let’s just sit on that for a bit… Our Savior Jesus, is no steam roller! He certainly could come rushing in, but he doesn’t. He quietly, gently knocks and awaits our answer. He knows that we are much more willing to answer the door when it’s a gentle tap, rather than a loud and forceful pound.

The Greek word for rude means: shameful or disgraceful behavior. I don’t know about you, but those two words are not words I’d like to be referred to as. Shameful. Disgraceful. They are powerfully descriptive words aren’t they? Sometime throughout our lifetime, I bet we’ve all used either of those 2 words. What memories are conjured up when you read them? Probably not very pleasant ones.

Years ago, when I was preparing for an over-seas mission trip, part of my training involved cultural sensitivity training. As visitors to a foreign country, we were essentially going to be ambassadors for the United States, and as missionaries, we were also ambassadors and representatives of Jesus Christ. The lessons I learned in that training have stayed with me throughout my life, and have helped me in many ways. Having cultural sensitivity is an asset when traveling in a foreign country, but it also applies right here in my every day life.

Recently, I was having major technology and computer software issues at my business. I was beyond frustrated, and frazzled. I had spent hours and hours on the phone with tech support, on hold, and being transferred multiple times from tech to tech, and department to department. To say I was at my wits end was an understatement.

Only by the grace of God was I able to stay calm. But, let me tell you, when I made a conscious effort to be kind, patient, and friendly, the level of customer service went up, and up, and UP. Being kind is so worth it! I not only got help with my computer problems, but I was even able to share my faith with a tech support woman in the Philippines!

God opens doors when we are open and willing.  Because I was kind, and respectful, this gal who was patiently helping me was willing to listen to me share my faith in Jesus. It was brief, but she was open.

My kindness in that instance didn’t mean that I wasn’t frustrated with my situation. I was definitely frustrated. But by not allowing myself to take out that frustration on someone else, it provided me with an opportunity to allow the light of Jesus to shine, and encourage her that day. Only God will ever know how that brief conversation impacted her life. But I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity. It taught me a very important lesson on how to treat people. Even strangers I will never meet in person, or see.

Being kind is so much better than being rude. Rudeness is not how we should represent ourselves, or our faith in a loving God.

We are ambassadorsfor Christ!

As Christians, we have the added responsibility and privilege of representing Jesus to others, rudeness cuts off any form of witness we could possibly hope to have. If we treat someone rudely and then expect them to be open to what we have to share about Jesus with them, the only thing that person will absorb is the fact that we are a hypocrite. I don’t know about you – but that word is not something I want attached to my name.

God calls us to a much higher standard than that.

Colossians 4:5-6 says: Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.”

When we are kind, walls and barriers are torn down, and hearts are softened.  Kindness puts the other person as a priority over ourselves. Isn’t that just what God asks us to do? To humble ourselves before Him, and others, so that we can serve with pure motives and a joyful heart?

There aren’t many things in this life that we can control. But one thing we can is our attitude. Maybe we’re not perfect at it all of the time. But overall; we have control over how we treat others in our lives. Strangers or friends alike.

Romans 12:8 says: Do your best to live in peace with everyone.

Let’s just commit to doing our very best. Let’s be willing to allow God’s BEST to flow in and through our lives. He’s standing at the door of our hearts gently knocking.

What will your answer be?

Daily His,

Allison

 

 Tempted to Boast?

1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not arrogant.

In my last post I wrote about envy and jealousy. Boasting and arrogance are the flip side of envy. 

Jealousy is all about wanting what the other person has. 

Whereas boasting and arrogance seeks to make the other person want what we have.

Neither have a place in the Christian’s heart. And neither are what love is.

When I read through the chapters preceding chapter 13 in Corinthians, I saw a church filled with behaviors which, shall we say – needed a bit of tweaking…

The Christians in Corinth were boasting about many things, and causing great division in the church. They were critical of Paul, they boasted of their tolerance for immorality witin the church, they were busy suing each other in court, and so on. Paul had to step in and write about what love IS. Something about all of these things sound vaguely familiar in modern day society and church as well… yah?

Arrogance does not show love. It shows just the opposite. 

Arrogance and boastfulness place the attention on ourselves. Whereas love places the focus on others

Another translation of this verse uses the phrase “puffed up spirit” when referring to arrogance or boastfulness. I think that’s a great visual of artificially inflating oneself. When we boast, we inflate our own egos, while ignoring those around us. 

Boasting  doesn’t have to be confined only to material things either. It can even dwell in the spiritual realm! 

There may be times where are tempted to tell others all of the wonderful things God is doing in our lives to place attention on how ‘spiritually in tune’ we are. 

Please know that it’s absolutely great to share what God is doing in our lives! It is encouraging! The problem lies in the MOTIVATION behind the sharing. 

Is it to glorify Him, or ourselves?

Once again, Satan has a sneaky way of twisting even GOOD things around to his benefit. We must always be on guard and avoid the temptation.

When we love as God loves, we build each other UP. Look at how God builds us up throughout His Word! Every single page of the Bible reveals how God feels about us. His passion and love for us cannot be matched!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

When we turn our life perspective outward instead of inward, we are free to focus on others’ needs before our own, and offer help or encouragement without thought of repayment or recognition. 

THAT is the type of love we are called to.

The apostle Paul was such an example to us! He had reason to boast or be arrogant about his ministry, but he knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was NOT about him. It was all about Jesus. If attention ever turned toward him, he redirected the focus on Jesus! Our goal should be to do the same!

1 Corinthians 9:16 – For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

He knew his mission. He knew his place. He knew His calling. As should we.

He knew his mission. He knew his calling. As should we.

Paul’s ministry was all about the grace of Jesus, and our salvation through grace. Even in this, we are not to boast. Why? Because grace and faith are God’s gifts to us, we have done nothing to earn or deserve it

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

So what can we boast about? Guess what?! I found one thing we are allowed to boast about!

1 Corinthians 1:31 – Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Boasting in the Lord! What does that mean?

Jeremiah 9:23–24 – Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Boasting in the Lord and lifting Him HIGH is so much better than lifting ourselves up! When we lift Him up He is put in His rightful place. We honor Him by building up those around us. 

That – is loving well. 

So, before we speak, let us ask ourselves these 2 questions:

“Will what I am about to say draw people closer to Jesus, or further away? Am I glorifying Him, or am I glorifying myself?”

Jealousy is all about wanting what the other person has. Whereas boasting and arrogance seeks to make the other person want what WE have..png

Daily His,

Allison

 

No Envy Here… or Wait… is There?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 –  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy
Love Does Not Envy
1 Corinthians 13:4

Envy is “a feeling of discontent or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.”

God takes envy very seriously, and so should we. I have a pretty strong suspicion that I’m not the only one who has struggled with envy in their life. As we’ve been focusing in on these verses in 1 Corinthians about love, we are learning what Godly love looks like. Love is patient. It is kind. And today, we’re focusing in on what love is NOT.

Love is not ENVIOUS. Love does not envy. 

I’ve not been immune to envy, and frankly, I am not happy about that. Envy has crept into the crevices of my life and has sat there – unmoving – sometimes for years. I’ve been envious of other people’s lives, positions in society, jobs, homes, clothes, looks… you name it.

Envy is corrosive. It’s heavy. If it’s not dealt with honestly, and properly it spreads like a opportunistic weed. The rust and decay creep into other areas of your life that causes rifts in relationships, low self-esteem, feelings of disappoint and a longing for something ‘else.’

Envy is

Envy is a burden which may lead us to make poor decisions, robs us of authentic relationships and friendships, and destroys the life God has called us to live. A life of joy, peace, and love.

The harsh reality is that envy creates within us a dark and ugly sense of satisfaction when something not so good happens to someone. When their plans fall through, or they’re overlooked for the promotion they thought they would get, or when their “over-achieving kid” makes a mistake. {Ouch. OUCH!} That hurts! And guess what? IT SHOULD HURT. It’s ugly!

But, think about it for a moment. {Honestly} Breathe in. Breathe out.

Is there just a little bit of truth to that statement?

{Aww Man! I think there is.}

Romans 12:15 says – “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

Oh how I desire to truly REJOICE with my loved ones when they are blessed!! I’ve come a long way… but still need to be reminded of this, and focus on God’s calling to rejoice WITH others! Rejoicing with our brothers and sisters in Christ brings true joy and satisfaction – the opposite of envy – to our lives!

THIS is what we should fervently pursue in our lives!

If we allow ourselves to be caught up in the cycle of self-seeking envy, we open our hearts and minds up to such brokenness and disappointment. Is it worth it? When we focus on what others have, we take our eyes off of Jesus. It’s never worth it. And the view is not beautiful. It is broken, and shattered.

“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there” James 3:14-16

Instead, let us:

Philippians 2:4

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

So rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Being content in our blessing’s says that HE IS ENOUGH for us.

Love does not envy. Love rejoices. Thank you, Jesus, for your Word that teaches and encourages us.

God bless you!

Daily His,

Allison