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.
20294526_10159393211920508_2869368746900254157_n
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

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

Love is: KIND

1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is: KIND.
Love is patient… love is KIND.

The world could use a little more kindness don’t you think? When I look around, or watch the news especially – man, I see a lot of Unkindness.

I’ve always believed there’s a difference between being ‘nice’ and being ‘kind.’ There are a lot of nice people in this world. They are polite, they say or do ‘nice things’ for people, and are generally agreeable people.

Kindness I believe comes from within your heart. I believe that kindness is a person’s nature, some are just are born that way. Not that you can’t be kind if you weren’t born that way – it may just take a bit more work.  

A nice person may ask someone “are you cold?” Whereas, a kind person would give that person their coat.

I know that many people use the 2 words interchangeably, but I always pause to think about it when I use the word “kind.” I’ve reserved it for a person, or an act of kindness that goes over and above just being nice.

To truly understand kindness, we need to look at God’s kindness to us. Think of how He has shown His kindness to us throughout history, and throughout our lives.

First and foremost; His kindness was shown by sending His Son Jesus to be the Savior of all time. He showed all of mankind mercy when we deserved none of it. He went over and above.

I did a little bit of research on the Greek (original) word for kind. This is what I found.

“The word “kind” is the Greek word chresteuomai, which means to be adaptable or compliant to the needs of others. The word “kind” portrays a willingness to serve and to change in order to meet the needs of others. This is completely opposite of selfishness and self-centeredness.”

Therefore:

“…Love doesn’t demand others to be like itself; rather, it is so focused on the needs of others that it bends over backwards to become what others need it to be.…”

If this is what Paul means when he says that love is kind, we must look into the mirror and ask ourselves: Do I become what others need me to be, or do I demand that others be like me? Kindness is always reaching out, thinking and focusing primarily on the needs of others. The person walking in agape love adapts to those around him in order to touch them, help them, and impact them in a meaningful way.”

What does kindness DO?


Romans 2:4 says – “…the kindness of God leads you to repentence.” I can completely relate to this verse. Because of God’s unwavering kindness to me when I was doing nothing but pushing Him away, I was led back to Him. His kindness is hard to resist! Believe me, I tried. It’s exhausting. He pursues us with kindness.

Of my 3 children, I have one in particular who is kind. She is my youngest, Jenna. She is gentle, soft spoken, and truly kind. It comes from within. She doesn’t have to think about it – it is just WHO she is. She doesn’t require attention for her kindness, she just does it. She is a wonderful example to me of someone who is kind. {I wish I was more like her!}

The most difficult part of Godly kindness is being kind to our ‘enemies.’ It might be pretty easy to be kind to those we are close to, and love dearly. But kindness to people who are unkind to us is quite another story.

Being kind to those who are UNkind to us, is when our ‘kindness quotient’ becomes really clear!

Remember these verses:

~ Luke 6:35 – Because He is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin.

~Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

Blessings to you!

Daily His,

Allison 

Stuck in a Rut?

The following is a devotional I read by Lisa TerKeurst. What a great reminder of making sure we keep our time with Jesus fresh and real… I know I can easily get stuck in a rut. How about you? Be blessed as you read this, and may we all strive to find quality time with Him today and this week!
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

I’m taking a break from having a quiet time. Because sometimes I can get in a rut. Even with good things. And having a daily quiet time is a good thing. Until it becomes more about routine than actually connecting with God.

When God becomes routine rather than revival, it’s time to switch things up. Otherwise, I might start seeing this time as less important. It becomes the second or third thing I do. After other things. Seemingly more pressing things. Before I know it, it’s been days since I connected privately and personally with Truth.

And then my soul feels a bit off and sluggish. Like when my stomach has been denied food, a desperation starts creeping over other parts of my body. That happens with soul hunger too. Only the triggers for stomach hunger are much more apparent. My brain quickly reminds me, “You feel awful because you need to eat.”

Sometimes my brain isn’t as quick to pick up on soul hunger. So I just lumber forward but wonder, “What’s wrong?” I think of a list of reasons… I’m tired, I haven’t had enough fun, or my butt looks big in these jeans. And while some of those things may be true—it’s not why I feel off.

I need more time with God. Not more quiet time. More listening time. Like the writer in Psalm 63:1 needed. “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” (NIV)


This morning as I sat with God with nothing but willingness to listen, three things popped into my mind. I can’t say “God spoke to me,” but it felt right. I need to do some new things as I listen.

Study wisdom by reading a chapter in Proverbs everyday.

Ask God to reveal “my verse” for the day and think of ways to apply it. I listen.

Read something from someone I admire.

I need to study leadership in this season of my life. So, I pick up a book written on this topic by someone I admire and glean from their wisdom. I listen.

Read something from someone I trust.

There’s a book I’m reading right now that is whimsical and grounded all at the same time. It makes me feel like this writer gets me. They get my struggles and offer up advice I know I can trust. I listen.

Maybe you think all this still sounds like a quiet time, but to me it’s different. It’s a listening time. A time to shake things up a bit and get outside my normal routine. A time to listen to God speak. And He does speak … through His book of wisdom, through someone I admire, and through someone I trust.

And this morning? My soul felt that thrilling and comforting full feeling. Complete. Satisfied. Deeply nourished.

Dear Lord, I’m seeking to grow a stronger relationship with You today. Help me to break out of the routine so that I can connect with You and hear You speak. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:

What do you need to break up with so you can connect more closely and listen more intently to God?

Write a list of things that you are placing as priorities before your time with God. Consider how you can prioritize so that God comes first, and to make sure that your time with Him isn’t just another thing on your “to do” list.

Power Verses:

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)

2 Chronicles 7:14, “… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)