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Category: Christian Living

Peace With God

Ephesians 1:3-7

The word “peace” indicates a complete, whole or harmonious relationship. On a basic level there can be peace between individuals,  as well as within families, communities, and nations. However, in order for a person to experience peace in its truest form, one must be at peace or in a harmonious relationship with God.

Adam and Even enjoyed a perfect peaceful relationship with God. However, in Genesis 3 we find that they exchanged peace with God for Satan’s lie, which resulted in being separated from the Creator. So it is for each of us. The moment a person sins, there is separation from God; there is no longer a harmonious, peaceful relationship with Him (Isaiah 59:1-2).

Having foreknowledge of man’s fall, God had a marvelous plan, conceived “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). The Word would surrender the glory He possessed in heaven, take on flesh, and offer Himself as a sinless sacrifice (John 1:1, 14; 17:5; Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus made it possible to remove the barrier of sin between God and man so that peace with God could be enjoyed once again (Ephesians 2:16).

As Scripture points out, blessings are promised to those in Christ. All of these blessings have the common thread of being restored to a peaceful relationship with God. Understanding each of these blessings can bring greater appreciation for the peace God gives His children.

  • We have peace with God because we have been REDEEMED. Redemption typifies a slave being purchased in order to grant him his freedom. Christ paid the ransom price to free us from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:17-18; Ephesians 1:7; Titus 2:14).
  • We have peace with God because we have been FORGIVEN. In accounting, this term indicates a debt has been cancelled and marked “paid in full”. Thanks to Jesus’ blood, the sin on our account has been permanently erased (Colossians 2:13-14).
  • We have peace with God because we have been RECONCILED. Reconciliation suggests changed. As sinful beings, we are alienated from God. When we turn to God, He changes our relationship with Him from one of enmity to that of friendship (Colossians 1:19-20).
  • We have peace with God because we have been JUSTIFIED. A justified person has been charged with a crime but has been declared “not guilty.” Because Christ  agreed to carry the weight of our guilt upon His shoulders, we will be acquitted from our own guilt through faithful obedience (Romans 5:18).
  • We have peace with God because we have been SANCTIFIED. The world “sanctification” implies separation. In this case, we are not separated from God, but set apart for God. The child of God is set apart from the world and its evils and has been joined to God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 5:23).

God longs for us to be at peace. Peace and trusting in Him go hand in hand. The prophet Isaiah declared, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). Do you trust Him?

Questions

  1. What is required in order to have inner peace?
  2. What lie did Satan use to tempt Eve?
  3. How does Genesis 3:6 correlate to 1 John 2:16?
  4. What is spiritual death? Explain the concept of redemption.
  5. At what point in a person’s life are they separated from God?
  6. When does forgiveness take place?
  7. What does it mean to be reconciled to God?
  8. When did God plan for the Word to come to earth and ultimately become a sinless sacrifice?
  9. What does “sanctification” mean?
  10. God will keep us in perfect peace if we will do what?

Christian Woman Magazine, November/December 2016 – In Search of Truth: A Promise of Peace by Joy Jensen – Lesson 3 (pg 31)

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My morning quiet time

quiet time on porch

Early morning quiet time, and the cows didn’t want to cooperate. When they see a person they just can’t help but to “call” them to come feed. The birds were singing and it balanced everything out, it was a beautiful morning.

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Almost Four Months

Since beginning this low carb journey on June 15 I weighed myself that day, but have not since. I didn’t want to sabotage myself, like I always did based on a number on a scale. So I rely on my clothes, and pictures to let me know that I’m getting somewhere. This was the first time I saw a picture of myself in which I can really see a difference. So here I share it.

overallsAnd as a reward on the 15th of each month I buy a new piece of clothing. It’s been shirts for the past 3 months, but this month it’s something quite … er … different. I know it may not be “hip” and “cool” but I have ALWAYS loved overalls. I wore out the pair I had in high school I loved them so much. I’ve looked for every excuse to get another pair and now, I have it. The kids’ birthday party is a farm theme, and well, we live on a farm, and so I have decided everyone needs a pair of overalls on the farm. Right!? Right.

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The War on Women … Worth Thinking About

The War on Women

Yes. There’s a cultural war on women occurring in the United States today. Maybe even around the world. But it’s not perpetuated by the political right. It’s ideological in nature and it’s successfully stripping women of respect, purpose and integrity. In fact if I wanted to make sure that women were being sabotaged in this, the richest society in the world, here’s what I would do:

  1. First, I’d make her understand that she, along with her male counterparts, is just another rung on the evolutionary ladder; just another link in the Darwinian chain. No soul. No higher purpose. Just another animal. But the kicker for women, in this Darwinian scenario is that there is no explanation for her existence. No way to explain that she even is. Unlike the account she’s believed for millenniums about the fact that she completed and crowned God’s creation, I’d make her believe she was just a fluke somewhere in the billions of years of coincidences mixed with mistakes that made the universe and life what it is today. I’d do that first. Right off the bat I’d rip away that notion that she has spiritual or eternal significance.
  2. Next I think I would be sure I started young to make her “look” cheap. I think I’d put little outfits in all the stores that were composed of mini-skirts and halter tops and I’d start in size 2T. I’d make it difficult and expensive to dress a little girl like a little girl. I’d make the transition, in apparel, from little girl to worldly woman a very short leap.
  3. And I’d get her used to hearing demeaning terms for women and all kinds of sexual innuendos very early on. I would get her in front of the television as often as possible. I’d make her think that drinking and partying were the real “stuff” of happiness. I’d want her to play video games where the cartoon women are always scantily clad, provocative, tattoed, busty and brash. And then I’d play all this up in her real world the first chance I got. I’d want her to think wearing a tiny cheer uniform and moving her body provocatively was cool and, somehow (it’s beyond me) even respectable. I’d want her to have dance lessons, play volleyball in her panties or be on a running team or a swim team where the expected dress was almost nothing. I’d want her to start being comfortable letting people see her in a sports bra and I’d want her to have holes in her jeans in the places where cheap attention could be drawn to her body. This is an important part of what I’d do to make her forget the intrinsic value of her soul.
  4. Next, I’d target her heroines. I’d make the most important women in the country the rudest and the most immoral. I’d make the politically powerful women loud, dishonest and vulgar. I’d make the heroines of the entertainment world trashy. I’d make the top songs that women hear on the radio tout fornication, homosexual relationships and masturbation. I’d make women who are empty and unhappy be the role models. This would help me drain the very souls of  younger women of purpose and positive influence.
  5. Then, I’d make her believe she’s very dispensable by telling her that you don’t even need a woman anymore to have a marriage and a family. I’d do my best to get her to buy that lie.
  6. And based on that lie, I’d tell her that, in fact, womanhood is not even reserved for those who are born as girls. The female identity is easily taken by anyone who wants it.…It’s easy for Bruce to be Katelyn. All it takes is a change of wardrobe and a few hormones. Gender is not really a sacred assignment at all.  So quit spouting off about the virtues of womanhood, already.
  7. Next, I think I’d try to make her believe that a woman’s integrity is not all that important in a court of law. I’d tell her she’s too fragile to be able to withstand the pursuit of evidence. “If you cry ‘date rape,’ well they’ll just have to believe you, because your traumatized state is too weak and fragile to risk re-traumatization.  Your psyche might not be able to handle presentation of evidence, interrogation or cross-examination. You’re not strong enough to prove your own integrity.” (One story is here, but, be warned the triumphant victor in this courtroom is not discreet in her text messages. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/08/11/yes-means-yes-policy-coming-under-fire-from-judges/)
  8. But I wouldn’t stop there. I’d make her unashamed of the objectification of womanhood that happens to be the largest entertainment venue in America, today. In fact, I’d want her to go on and join the ranks of those who objectify people. I’d want her to watch “Fifty Shades of Gray.” Further, I’d want her to extol the literary virtues of the book, too. What better way to take away the dignity of women in our culture than to have them clamoring by the millions to the vile and cheap?
  9. Then I’d try to legalize the killing of life within her womb. I’d so mix up her sense of logic that I’d make her believe it is emancipating to let doctors come inside her womb and suction out the life that is dependent on her for survival. I’d take her sense of values to the very lowest possible point and convince her to be okay with selling the life that has her chromosomes, her hair color, her skin pigmentation and, yes, his or her own beating heart. I’d get her to have no conscience at all about the person who is being ripped apart and becoming merchandise. I’d somehow make her think she’s becoming more of a woman when she allows a violation of that magnitude to occur in her own womb.
  10. I’d make her believe her value lies in some numerical figure on a pay stub. I’d make her believe that true success can be counted in dollars and cents and that her intrinsic value is dependent on her ability to bring home the bacon (or wield power at the office or control accounts or successfully patronize important clients.) I’d do this in lots of ways, but I would not forget to build short maternity leave into job benefits and to build lots of day cares near, or in, her work sites. I’d try to make career pursuit in all situations seem normal and expected, and certainly guilt-free.  In fact, I might try and make women who were not career-minded seem lazy and worthless by comparison.
  11. Next, I’d try to downplay…no…remove from her psyche any maternal tugs. If she ever starts to cry when she has to leave that little six-week-old baby for the first day back at work, I’d make her think “Ah, this is just normal. All moms go through this healthy week of detaching from children. I need to get past this post-birth weepiness and be productive.” If her kids are getting sick a lot at daycare, I’d want her to, once again, justify her choices by thinking “Oh…this’ll be good for them in the long run…you know…build up their immunities.” In this step-by-step, day by day rationalization of dissonance in the plan, I’d slowly get her to stop feeling the tugs. I’d get her to incrementally forget that there is a reason for maternal pulls in her heart. Further, I’d get her to make investments and mortgages—I’d get her to buy things…lots of things.I’d get her in debt to the plan that’s silencing the maternal nature within. I’d do this until she couldn’t answer the cries even were she hearing them. I’d make those who are choosing riches for their kids over the raising of their kids defend this pursuit by always pointing out that “there are lots of women who have to work to put food on the table and we should not make those women feel guilty.”   I’d be happy about that argument if I were out to denigrate women, because, although that argument is irrelevant when the subject ischoosing, it (the argument about needy women) would rally the troops who have already, to a large extent, driven our economy  and moral conscience to a place where, in some communities, virtually all women work full-time outside the home as their children are coming up.
  12. And finally, I’d give her applause. I’d give her lots of this and for all the superficial things.  I’d give her pats on the back and I’d make good, but deceived, women go, with a vengeance, after those who would call women back to the heart of womanhood. I’d make the cheapening, the immodesty, the brashness, the override of the maternal impulses—I’d make all that VERY politically correct. I’d make any reference to scriptures about submission or keeping the home seem terribly antiquated and out of place in any real discussion of the role of women. In fact, I’d make the phrase, “role of women” sound very oppressive and shockingly  outdated.

Oh…and after I’d managed to maneuver in all the above ways, I’d be sure to keep a close eye on the veritable army of faithful twenty-something and thirty-something moms within the Lord’s church who are in the Word and in prayer and determined that the devil is not having their kids. These are the ones, after all, who are raising up the fighters of the next generation. It’s not the millennials who are primarily about saving the trees, the right to “choose”, the rainforests or the human habitats that are protective of women in our society. It’s those millennials who are, first, about saving souls, respecting the Father, protecting life, itself, and aspiring to everlasting habitations that just may be able to raise up a generation that can secure all that has traditionally been good and right and holy about womanhood. And they are using the tools, too. They are networking globally, attending spiritual conventions and workshops, producing books, seeking mentors and studying THE manual for human elevation.  They are the ones I’d target if I were waging a war on women; and they’d be ruthless in their defense of traditional marriage, distinctive genders, disciplined children, ordered homes and moms who are, first of all, keepers of those homes.

So this is how I’d wage a real war on women. I mean if I really wanted to strip women in our culture of  power, I’d take away the legacy that is the inheritance of faith. If I wanted to rob women of dignity, I’d make them set, as their standards, the cheap, the undressed, the immoral. If I wanted to debase them, I’d dirty their minds with pornography and their hands with deceit. I’d make them say “abortion” when they mean “murder”.  I’d make them say “tolerance” when they mean “approval.”  I’d make them say “love” when they mean “lust.” I’d mix them up with terminology and I’d tempt them into thinking that the primary purpose of life is self-fulfillment. I’d make them think that truth for their lives and homes is not objective but “lies within themselves”.   All in all, I’d go for their hearts. That’s just what the devil has done.

The current war on women is not from the political right or from the oppressive religions of the Middle East. The war on women today is from hell, itself, and the devil is gaining ground. He is taking the spoils—the real commodities of value—from women. He is giving us a mess of pottage that is temporarily filling in exchange for the faith and goodness that has characterized great women from the dawn of time. And so it will not be in some presidential debate or even in Congress or the Supreme Court chambers that the war is won or lost. It will be in the hearts of women and in the families of America. It will all depend on whether women are smart enough and strong enough to recognize and resist the cultural attack on the real power of women.

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Morning Bible Study & Reading

A snippet from my Bible study and reading this morning. I like to share those “aha” moments that happen while I read or study. Hopefully it can help you today as it has helped me.

This is from my Christian Woman magazine March/April 2015, The Christian Growth Chart by Casandra Martin.

Every day we have the opportunity to humble our hearts and surrender to the work of the Spirit in our lives. We often don’t see the importance of the small choices as we make our way through our days. They seem inconsequential in the moment. One small choice doesn’t seem to hold eternal weight, yet this is where most of our growth takes place – in the every day…
…Christians are not supposed to be just a little bit more loving than the rest of the world or a tad more kind than their neighbors. This is counter-nature, counter-cultural, counter-comfortable evidence of God’s grace. I am not supposed to have just a little bit of joy, but so much joy that others can see it and notice His presence and transformation within me. That is what we see in the New Testament. Generosity that defies explanation, peace that passes understanding, and faithfulness that withstands persecution. The Spirit’s presence in my life is supposed to be so evident and His effect so tangible that the world sits up and takes notice.
The fruit of the Spirit is not a checklist of good behavior. It is a growth chart for how the Holy Spirit is working in transforming our lives into the image of Jesus. The good news is that no matter where you measure up today, God is willing and able to help you grow. Celebrate the growth you see. Surrender where you see the need. Walk in the Spirit. Abide in Him. Let the world see His presence in you.

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I Don’t Want To Go On The Cart

So this tooth shaped hole in my jaw is healing and the pain has subsided greatly, I may just make it yet. For a little while I wasn’t so sure. But thankfully life will go on. I’m sorry to be neglecting the blog. I hope to be back to my normal self soon.



Great news, my sister is home and enjoying time with her kids and hubby. Thank you for all the prayers! I can’t wait to see her. I’m pretty sure she brought me back a monkey! 😜 

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South America or Bust

My little sister is on her way to Guyana, South America as I type. Please join me in prayer for the mission team as they work there to spread the Good News. As she says regarding the picture at the very top of this post,

This photo makes it look WAY more luxurious than it is. Just beyond those trees are burning trash and kids playing with a bees nest (their idea of entertainment). This was also my first experience with ice-cold-showers.

At some point in this trip they will be sleeping in tents and drawing water from a well. My sister tends to be um, how do I say this, accident-prone and adventurous, the two are a dangerous combination. I have faith that the Lord can take care of her wherever she is, he’s done it her whole life. Please join me in prayer for her (Terri) and her protector & minister (Bryant). I’m not sure of the others’ names but God knows.

Thanks for the prayers! She’ll be arriving around 10pm tonight (Lord willing) and coming home March 4. I’m so very proud of her!

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PEACE LOVE SHOES

I’ve never been a shoe person. High heels hurt my feet and make me walk funny. I do like a good pair of sandals but usually just one pair will do me. FOR .YEARS. I don’t feel the need to buy shoes when I’m upset. I know many people do. We all have our different “comforts”. I’m more likely to buy a pen and a new notebook than I am shoes. And yes, I could probably fill a library with those much like those who need a “shoe closet” for all their precious shoes. You may be one of those people. And that’s okay.

red chucksFor a long time I’ve wanted a pair of Converse. But wouldn’t buy any because 1) I wouldn’t pay that much for a pair of shoes I couldn’t wear every day, and 2) I couldn’t decide whether I wanted red or black. I’m usually a practical gal. I’ve been known to say, “If I could buy one pair of shoes to go with everything I would.” I tend to go with brown/tan/black shoes that I can wear with everything. Any time I get brave enough to even think about buying a funky color shoe I back out at the last minute. It’s kind of like my stand mixer. For years I wanted a Kitchen Aid Mixer, you know the kind that comes in all colors. I thought I wanted red, or light blue, or yellow… I could never decide {Yes, this is a recurring theme in my life – trouble with decisions}. So I got black.

Well one day I was overheard talking about wanting a pair of Converse shoes, but of course I would never spend the money on them, especially because I’d like red and red won’t go with everything. A generous benefactor gave me the money and a coupon to go and buy them. These are probably my favorite gift I’ve ever received. My red shoes make me happy. They can cheer me up and make me smile on the gloomiest of days. They are fun and quirky, all the things I like to think I am. And they remind me of both of my grandmothers for different reasons. They are special shoes.

Kind of like that new pair of tennis shoes you would get before school? The first time you lace them up felt so good. As you walk your eye can’t help but catch them in its view. Admiring them so much you may walk into a wall.

I found something that helps relate our shoes to our Christian walk, and may help us in the future to think of our shoes in a different way.

Shoes by Casandra Martin

I love new shoes. Trying on new shoes opens up new worlds of possibilities. You can see yourself differently as you slip into sandals, buckle up boots, or tie up new tennis shoes. You can feel glamorous in heels or search for comfort among the slippers. Each pair of shoes lets you frame yourself in a different picture and imagine, dream, or deal with the practical.

Did you know that God is in the shoe business? Every day, as you are getting dressed, He wants you to slip on a very special pair of shoes.“and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:15) When we wear these God-given shoes, we literally stand in peace. They help us be ready to face whatever comes our way through the day.

The most interesting feature of these peace-infused shoes is that they are designed as battle gear. They help us stand firm during the war that is being waged all around us. The wisdom writer wraps up his discussion on time by reminding us that there is “…a time for war, and a time for peace.”(Ecclesiastes 3:8b) The blessing is that we live in peace, even as we daily face the spiritual battle that rages in this world.

MY JESUS RESOLUTION today is to put on my shoes. My heart craves peace, and the best peace is found when I stand fully in Christ. Like any pair of shoes, putting on peace requires bending low and covering what is vulnerable and tender with something strong and durable. It is a daily habit, putting on these shoes of peace. They remind us of where we stand, who we stand with, and what it means to be a person moved by peace. War is inevitable. We are going to face its assaults daily. Whether we are able to stand up or are knocked flat really depends on whether we have taken the time to put on our shoes.

SO HOW DO WE APPLY THIS? Some questions to think about:

      What does it mean to you to “put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace”?
      What is the gospel of peace?
      How do YOU “put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace”?
      What’s the opposite of peace?
      Do you have to put it on or take it off?
      How do you train your mind to “put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace”?

colossians 3:15

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

john 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4:6-7

 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

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My New Tattoo

How often do we pick and choose our favorite parts of scripture to embroider on a pillow? For instance, the world says “Just follow your heart”. And yeah, that sounds good, I’ve heard that my whole life. But when we look for a verse to back that idea up, we are met with a whole lot of “Whaaaa?!”.

When I search an online Bible website one of the first verses that come up under that phrase is Ecclesiastes 11:9. When you read that verse it starts out seemingly reinforcing the concept of following your heart. One might even be tempted to start sketching out a new tattoo idea before you read the last sentence in that verse. Go ahead, look it up. Or keep reading I’ve copy and pasted it for you.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth.
Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes…
…But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.

Say what? God will JUDGE ME for FOLLOWING MY HEART?!? Surely not. Everyone always says “Follow your heart!”. Maybe I can find another verse that will rectify this obvious digression from mainstream thinking. Oh, I know, Proverbs! I bet there’ll be something great about it in Proverbs! After all Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived! Proverbs 28:26?

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.

[FYI: Some versions translate heart into mind, which is often considered the same thing]

No way! Not again! What say you Jeremiah? Chapter 17 verse 9 says:

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?

So what am I to take out of all of this? There’s a reason the entire Bible was written. TO BE READ. Not only the pieces and parts that “speak to us”, but the whole thing. I mean, we know when we read a silly CAUTION label that there’s that one person, or even more than one person who has tried it. Some where some body didn’t know not to use the hair dryer in the shower…

He gave us HIS WORD because he loves us. Take it all in, diligently study every word. Then you will know the heart of God, that you can look to him for guidance.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

See how I did that with the title. You thought I was going to get a tattoo didn’t you!? You were all, “No way! she’s getting a tattoo?” No, I am not a fan of pain. No tattoos for me. But if I were to get one, it just might be an iron skillet filled with piping hot cornbread of course. Or maybe this! Ha!iron skillet tattoo

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From My Bible Study

This morning this is what hit me from my Bible study…
{FYI I usually read the center section of Christian Woman Magazine called In Search of Truth as my morning Bible study and I don’t do them in any kind of order, just whatever I find interesting.}

EXCERPT FROM THE JAN/FEB 2014 CHRISTIAN WOMAN MAGAZINE
Search for Pure Speech – Lesson 5

God through Solomon taught His followers how He wanted them to speak. One way to have pure speech is to talk less. Solomon said in Ecc. 3:7, “[There is] a time to keep silence, and a time to speak,”and in 5:2, “Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God… Therefore let your words be few” (NKJV). In Ecclesiastes 10:14, he wrote, “A fool also multiplies words.”…

The New Testament continued the principles of pure speech that Solomon recorded. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37: “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.”

Did you catch that? LET YOUR WORDS BE FEW – Ecc. 5:2. Who struggles with that? Um, PICK ME!!

That leads me to think about another of my favorite verses, Proverbs 17:28 “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

And with that I will say no more.

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