Cry Out…

“Be still…” These were the words I heard as everything became too much.

I woke that morning and all I could do was cry. The kind of tears that just come and can’t be stopped. I was basically helpless.

Had the new job become too much?

Or was it the vaccine side effects?

Or emotional side effects of wondering if I should or shouldn’t have taken it?

Was it seeing stories of the tragedies going on around the world?

Or hearing just that one more person has Covid? It’s close, you know. Will I get “it” again or will I not? Is this stuffy head “it” or is it the same summer cold I get every year?

Is this an attack from the enemy? I’m drawing near to my Lord and He’s changing me and moving in my life. The prayer time is great and the word is speaking so clearly. And now this…

Why can’t I get myself together and get ready for work? The tears won’t stop so I can put on my “face” for the day.

As I come to the end of this journal page I see this verse – only my Lord‘s timing! “Dena, for God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control – strong mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

And so I sat still and I listened. And He lovingly calmed my spirit. And I asked Him to take every thought captive. And He did. And I got myself together (or I suppose He got me together).

I sent off a prayer text to several that I knew would carry me to the Father that day. And they did. I just know it. I confessed my struggle to them. (James 5:16) 

It’s a supernatural thing, just confessing to others so you can be healed. Their prayers for me have a great power to prevail. And they did prevail and I am healed.

Don’t let the cares of this world overwhelm you, and if the burden is too much, practice James 5:16. 

The enemy wants to isolate and make you feel alone. And tell you that you aren’t strong. Don’t stay in that place of vulnerability that our emotions can take us to. Cry out to the Father and to those who are with you on the journey.“

Our Spotless Lamb

Choosing a lamb for Passover should have been a matter of the heart. True worshippers with a strong faith wouldn’t settle for less as they chose a lamb without spot or blemish. Their lamb, chosen to be slain, the blood a reminder how God saved them and brought them out of bondage. A reminder to the Israelites of their struggle against slavery and their deliverance out of Egypt. The Jews were to keep the passover as a perpetual feast.

And then came Jesus. The Lamb of God without spot or blemish. (I Peter 1:16) The one that God sent to ransom and redeem us from our bondage with His own precious blood. The Jews had to go and choose a lamb. Our Lamb, Jesus, came to seek us. (Luke 19:10). John saw him and proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” Jesus Christ became our Passover Lamb and was sacrificed. (I Cor. 5:7)

Let us be reminded of the high price that our precious Savior paid to rescue us from the slavery to sin. Let us rejoice and praise our Lamb! He is worthy!

Revelation 5 – Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.”


11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”


13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, 

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.


Choose Joy!


I Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”

Today I’m choosing joy. Again… Because it’s another hard day. Just like he did that day two weeks ago, the Holy Spirit reminded me to choose joy.

Mom was in the hospital and not herself at all. It had been a very long and lonely several days with me as her primary caregiver outside of hospital staff. I was exhausted, concerned, and ready to go home to my bed. Mom looked at me in her semi-aware state and told me I just looked mad. I guess that’s the message my countenance was showing. I wasn’t mad at all and told her I was just really tired. But the fact that she thought she saw that on my face really bothered me and I began to ponder and pray.

The next morning as I was getting ready for the day, the Lord spoke directly to my heart and said, “Choose joy.” Well, that snapped me right out of the stupor I was in! When the Spirit speaks like that, you listen.

cheerful-close-up-coffee-208165He reminded me of the devotional I was reading, “One Thousand Gifts” and of the list of thanksgiving that I had begun to write. Remember the song? “Count your many blessings, name them one by one…”

He reminded me of the prayers of many being lifted for the hard time we were going through. Oh, how they sustained me!

He reminded me that the missing family who were usually there to help were on mission trips in various places around the world serving Him. I was not alone. This didn’t catch him by surprise.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33          He reminded me that in this world I would have troubles.  Do you know that in John 15:11, just one chapter prior, that the word talks about our joy being full and in John 16:24 it is mentioned again? Full joy in the midst or in spite of tribulation and suffering! In those chapters, we are told to abide in Christ and that the Helper is with us. (John 16:20)

I chose joy that day as I laughed at funny videos and photos of my grandson with Mom. I chose joy as I watched her smile and talk to him on Facetime. At times he was the only one that she recognized and he brought her such happiness in those moments.

I chose joy that day when the Lord reminded me of Revelation 21:5. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He also says, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” I do trust Him! My mom’s body that is often full of pain will be made new. And she will rejoice with the one who will make her whole again. The one she calls to over and over to help her. The one she has trusted and believed for so long. The one who sustains her in the darkest moments.

Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Joy…My faith rests in Jesus alone and in the Helper’s abiding presence in my life. I’m clinging to the fact that one day we will finally be in God’s presence and all things will be made new. I’m trusting those trustworthy and true words.

I’ll need to be reminded again, I’m sure. For today I’m good and my joy is full.


The Power of Words

Proverbs 25:11 – A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

How are your words lately?

Kind, loving, true, hopeful, healing, affirming? Intentional, inspiring, uplifting?

Hateful, hurtful, spiteful, careless, mean? Stinging, abusive, discouraging, destroying, judgemental?

close-up-colors-face-925350.jpgWords are so important. There are gentle and encouraging words. Life-giving words. And there are crushing and unpleasant words that tear down and even alter the course of a person’s life. Proverbs 18:21 says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Another verse in Proverbs says that a soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. Wow! What power there is in the words that we speak to others.

  • Words impact our children

I read once that if you tell a child they are mean or rebellious, they will set out to prove it is true. Make sure that you are speaking words of truth and life into them so that they will want to prove the positive rather than the negative. I used to tell my kids that they were driving me crazy. That phrase was mostly said in jest, but one particularly rough day, my little girl apologized for driving me crazy when I didn’t even say it.  I didn’t want my kids to believe those words, just to stop whatever it was they were doing. Words of correction and direction need to be loving no matter what the situation.

  • Words impact our spouses

model-2748342_1280Oh, how our husbands need our affirmation and encouragement. Even if they aren’t the best at something, or if they may not be what you thought they were when you married them, don’t let them hear you tear them down or compare them to others. Maybe the kind and affirming word you speak to them will dispel the negative things they have believed about themselves from someone else’s ugly words. Marriages are torn apart by careless words. Good marriages are strengthened by words of respect and love and forgiveness.

  • Words impact everyone around us

There are people all around us, every single day, who never get a word of affirmation or love or affection. They never hear that they are cared for or loved or that they are important. Or that they are beautiful and that they matter. Be intentional in what you say to people you encounter as you move about your daily life.  It only takes a few seconds to smile and speak to someone. Don’t you just feel so good when someone else just smiles at you and tells you to have a blessed day?

We should be careful with our words because Jesus takes our words very seriously. In Matthew 12:36, he said that on the day of judgement, we will give an account of every careless word. That tells us that we need to pay attention to every word. Speak words of truth to people from God’s word. What better words are there than the kind and loving words that our gentle Savior speaks to us through HIS WORD? Even when we disagree with someone, our words need not be harsh and hateful. I’m so thankful for our sweet Savior’s love and mercy and forgiveness when I think about the times my words have wounded another.

bow-box-candles-238467.jpgMany years ago I heard Florence Littauer share about the impact of the words that we speak. She said that our words should be “like a little silver box with a bow on top”. That’s how I want my words to be. Encouraging and true. A gift.  I don’t want my words to cause pain for others. Once the words are spoken, they can’t be taken back.  Florence’s words had an impact on me all those years ago and I still tear up to this day when I hear her message. You can hear her powerful “Silver Box” message here.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 


Who Is This Jesus?

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:23

To Mary, he was an unexpected baby and the son of the Most High.  Jesus was also her sweet firstborn baby who she loved and nurtured.

To Joseph, he was a son that he didn’t father, but received in obedience through faith because of a dream that was to be played out before his very eyes.

To the shepherds, he was Good News in a manger that they were told to go and see. They were the first to get to see him and then they went and told!

Elizabeth called Jesus “my Lord” when Mary walked into the room.

The wise men from the east who followed the star, came looking for a king to worship. He was worth a visit from a far land.

Herod perceived the newborn king as a threat and sought to kill him.

Ponder in your own life who Jesus is to you TODAY. We come up with great sounding, quick answers of who we know Jesus to be – what we’ve heard from others and what we’ve read. But think for a minute on who Jesus is to you right now, deep in your heart.

Is he a close friend and confidant that you talk to every day?

Does your heart overflow with gratitude for provisions from your Jehovah Jireh?

Is he your source of strength?


Is he a distant acquaintance that you will get back to when there is a little more time? (we’ve all been there a few times)

One blogger often refers to him as KING. You can hear how she admires him with the words she writes.

A young lady struggling with self-image is learning that he is her peace and He shines brightly on her face.

A not-so-old widow says he is an awesome friend and confidant, one she can trust and a whole lot more.

The quiet one says he is her comforter.

“The strength holding me together” said a wife and mom who juggles a family and a job and aging parents and a lot more.

The brand new mom says he is an innocent, sinless baby. Perfect.

He is faithful to one who has never had a person be faithful to her.

Jesus is hope to the mom and peace to the little girl in the family that is struggling to hold it together some days.

He is our savior and our Lord. Our strength, wisdom, redeemer. The one who is closer than a brother. Revelation 1:5 says he loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly. He is GOD WITH US. That thought… It’s almost more than a mind can grasp and such a comfort and cause for peace even in the most difficult of circumstances. We may have a daily change in our view of the Lord, and see him differently depending on our circumstances in life. In Hebrews 13:8, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. How awe-inspiring is it that Jesus never changes and yet as our needs change each day, He already is sufficient to meet that need in our lives.

Remind yourself of who Immanuel is to you in this season of celebration. He is truly the reason and we do have cause to celebrate.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 




Caught By Surprise

Do you ever slow down and just drink in the beauty of what is around you?  Do you stop to breathe in the fresh air and admire the majestic trees and the gorgeous flowers? What about the birds and the happy songs they sing? Have you ever walked in the woods and the only sound is the rustling of the leaves and some small creature scurrying through the underbrush?

As we feel the nip in the air as summer fades to fall, we once again get to see the leaves on our majestic trees begin to turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. A favorite pastor used to say that God takes out his mighty paintbrush and paints a beautiful portrait for us to enjoy.  As the seasons change, I am reminded of the majesty and splendor of God that we see in His beautiful creation.

Andrew Peterson has a wonderful ballad, Nothing to Say that describes how driving through Arizona caught him by surprise.

“And the mountains sing your glory Hallelujah, The canyons echo sweet amazing grace.”

monument-valley-392749_1280My husband and I were able to experience the beauty a few years ago as friends drove us from the flat, cactus covered desert of Phoenix up through the mesas to the beautiful painted deserts of Sedona. As if it couldn’t get any better, we continued north and began to drive through breath-taking mountain ranges and beautiful canyons all the way into Flagstaff where there was snow on the ground. All in one day! Our creator definitely caught us by surprise that day and I couldn’t help but shed a few tears and worship my wonderful Creator as we listened to the song that day.

flower-2659902_1280We can see the greatness of our creator even in the smallest of things. I remember tiny purple flowers, no bigger than a pencil eraser that I used to pick as a little girl.  I love to watch the beautifully painted butterflies landing here and there in the yard on flowers. And honey bees gathering the nectar and pollen so that we can have honey.  Sweet baby calves as they play about with one another in the pasture by my house.

milky-way-1801996_1280.jpgOne of my favorite memories with my older children is when we lay on blankets in the back yard on a cold winter night and watched the heavens declare the glory of the Lord and the sky proclaim his handiwork (Psalm 19:1). We watched meteor after meteor shoot across the star filled sky that night. My heart still rejoices in those moments of worshipping our creator as we watched that show and the verse resonated in my mind.

God of Wonders by Third Day is a powerful song that calls us to worship this Holy, Lord of heaven and earth. Our wonderfully creative creator who put together every detail. This creator who spoke the whole world into existence. He gives us glimpses of himself in this creation.

Romans 1:20 – For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

God has made himself evident to us in his creation. We see Him. In this crazy busy life you live, take a moment and see where God is showing himself to you. Remind yourself of the beautiful places that he has allowed you to see in this world. All around He is showing Himself to us and, in our beautiful state of Alabama, you don’t have to go very far to see Him.

A New Arrival


Ephesians 3:14-18  “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,  and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

The sweetest gift arrived for our family a few weeks ago in the form of a sweet baby boy.  My first grandchild. Firstborn of my firstborn.  What a joy, and how excited our family is to welcome him. He is loved more than he will ever comprehend.

I heard his paternal grandmother say that day that there is “so much love” for our grandson. He is so dearly loved by his mommy and daddy and all the rest, but nothing can compare to the love that our heavenly father has for him. “For God so loved the world… .” Enough to send his only son to die for us and to sacrifice his blood as the atonement for our sins. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are.” (I John 3:1)

I am reminded afresh and anew of how much my heavenly father loves me and delights in me, His child.

  • He sings over me (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • He cares for me (Matthew 10:30-31)
  • He protects me (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
  • He is concerned for me (1 Peter 5:7)
  • I am written on his palm (Isaiah 49:16)

IMG_0282 (1)How God must delight in weaving his little masterpieces together in the womb. He says he knows us before we are formed. In all of his wonderful creativity, he knits together the most precious gifts to give to us as newborn babies. Master craftsman, if you will, when you think of all the splendor of creation.

I wanted to jump up and down with excitement when we knew our little one had arrived and I must confess (with video to prove) that it was too much when I found out that his hair was red. I jumped!

It is amazing to think about how blue eyes and red hair can be formed on one child and because of DNA and lots of other scientific things that I don’t understand, another can have brown eyes and black hair. Or blonde and blue or whatever that precious masterpiece happens to have. And that soft, velvety skin of different shades that the creator adds to the mix. Tiny fingers and toes and legs and arms and button noses. All the little internal organs that work together. Oh my!

What a mighty God he is! My momma has questioned many times how someone could look at a little innocent baby and doubt our God.  I guess many do who don’t know him. But God does allow us to see himself in his creation. (Romans 1:20) Nothing is more tangible than holding our little bundle of God’s creation in my arms and kissing his sweet cheeks and nuzzling his little neck and snuggling him close.

maxresdefaultGod sent the sweetness of Heaven in the form of a baby, His Son, to ultimately be our savior. “God incarnate in the form of helpless babe.” He sends the sweetness of heaven in the form of babies – our own children, our grandbabies, and nieces and nephews. Sweet little babies.

How it pleases our heavenly father when we are birthed back into his kingdom! There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:10) We rejoiced over our precious grandson’s birth just a few days ago, but we are already praying and anticipating the day that he will be born again. We will rejoice with our heavenly father over another who has repented. Oh what a day that will be!

We laughed and shed tears of joy and hugged and grinned and oohed and aahed. And talked about who he looked like that day of his birth.  We most want our grandson to resemble his savior one day. But right now his is a perfect mix of both mama and daddy. And we just love him.





Stay In It!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2

We have heard it said so many times that, as believers, we are in a race. It’s a race that has many twists and turns. The terrain is sometimes rough and the road is long. We all face challenges as we are going through life. There are losses and there are gains. Jesus endured these same things to be the example for us as we are on this race that is set before us. We must look to Him, the founder and perfecter of our faith to get through the race. One version says that He is the author and finisher of our faith. If He is the author and finisher, that means He is writing the story. He is aware of where we are in the race at all times.

We have runners in our family. They love to run. My husband ran a marathon a few years ago. My daughter ran cross-country in high school. They have done sprint triathlons and 5k races. There are also others in our extended family who participate in these different types of races. They run for exercise. They love it. Depending on the type of race that they are preparing for determines the type of training that they participate in.  Intense, daily, endurance-type cross-training such as swimming or biking for the longer races. For the shorter races, running and conditioning several times a week. Regardless of the race, they have to stay in focus and keep their eyes on the finish that they want to accomplish.

running-runner-long-distance-fitness-40751The race that is set before you right now may be parenting a house full of children, or caring for an aging parent. It may be a major illness or the grieving process in losing a loved one. A wayward child. An unfaithful spouse.

Many factors can determine the outcome of a physical race and whether you complete it or not: being prepared, proper shoes, stretching, lightweight clothing, proper hydration and food.

We need to condition ourselves in our journey as believers:

  • Study God’s word. He says that we show ourselves approved by studying. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15
  • Pray earnestly, without ceasing. (I Thess. 5:17)
  • Don’t give up. Build endurance (Heb 12:1)
  • Be intentional in your spiritual life. Every. Day.
  • Trust God. Exercising your faith. It will strengthen you.
  • Look to Jesus. He is our kind and loving savior who is with us every single step of the way. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deut 31:6

I love that before mentioning the race that is set before us, scripture refers to the great cloud of witnesses that are surrounding us as we are on this journey through life. It reminds us that we are not alone in this race. Many have gone before us and have just finished before us. Real people, with human strengths and weaknesses just like us that have left their examples to the value and blessing of living by faith. Read about these inspiring saints in Hebrews 11.

Honest confession. I don’t like to run. Period. My feelings are that the only good thing about running is that it is faster than walking.  I did do a 5k several years ago, but nothing else. I have stood on the sidelines and cheered them all on for years and wanted to participate, but I’ve never managed to stay in training long enough to do it again.  I’ve made excuses and let other things hinder me from participating in a race.

pexels-photoBut…I’m done with being a spectator. In a few weeks, I will be a participator in the race.  I am scared and intimidated and frankly, I want to go the opposite direction from where everyone else is going. But guess what! My family will be cheering me on at the finish line. They have encouraged me and have run with me and even pushed me at times when I thought about giving up. I have trained, probably not enough, but I am getting into that race with these guys. I’m getting stronger and more sure of myself. It has not and will not be easy, but I’m going to do it. My goal is to cross the finish line!

Keep on even in your race of faith, even if you don’t feel like it. There is a place where you get your second wind and push past the pain or the heat or the hard to breathe time. My husband says it’s there, but I haven’t gotten there yet in running. Some days life is very hard. Some days it’s easy and you wish it wouldn’t end. The struggle is real. But the reward of crossing that finish line and entering our eternal reward is real. I believe that those who have already completed the race that was before them are watching from heaven and cheering us on in our own race that is set before us. They will be meeting us at the finish line. As Rick and Bubba so famously say, “Stay in it!”



The Recipe for Peace

by Dena Green

Philippians 4:4-9  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of PEACE will be with you.

Recipe books by our favorite television chef or cute little recipe cards neatly stacked in a dainty box on our kitchen counter somewhere are nice to have.  The ingredients on those recipes are listed there, but unless we make an effort and take the time to purchase the ingredients and actually prepare a meal, they are pretty much just sitting there gathering dust and are of little use to us.

God shows us clearly in his word a “recipe” and the “ingredients” that we can apply to our lives to have that supernatural peace that He provides. In our world that seems to be spinning completely out of control, we can experience the peace of God in our lives. He even says that it surpasses all imagination, this peace that He will provide. I don’t know of a single person that doesn’t desire peace in their life, but I can think of many who don’t have peace. Are you searching for peace? Read through the verses for yourself and see what ingredients are present in your life.

  • peace-recipe.jpgRejoice and rejoice some more! Always. Not in our circumstances, but in the Lord.
  • Be reasonable and get along with others. Broken relationships disrupt our peace.
  • Do not be anxious…Oh, how I struggle with this one sometimes. One of my wise teacher friends says that we have to command our soul to trust God just as David did in the midst of trouble. (Psalm 62 1-2) God commands us to be still and know that he is God. (Psalm 46:10)
  • Pray for yourself and for others. Let your requests be known to Him. He cares so much. I Peter 5:7 Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
  • Think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Dwelling on these will lift your spirit.

Are you missing some ingredients?

I love to cook. Sometimes, if I am missing an ingredient, I will use a substitute. For some dishes that I prepare, that is fine. But for others, a substitution can be disaster. It is clear in Philippians 4:4-9 how to have peace. God laid out the plan. We need to follow it. We can’t substitute what we think will work – people, possessions, having things our way, or any other thing you may be seeking. They don’t work in God’s recipe. In order for a recipe to turn out as you desire, you must follow the instructions and add the ingredients that are called for.  Notice that God’s word says you WILL have peace.  Follow His plan. You must be deliberate.  He says to practice these things. “Practice makes perfect” we’ve all heard, and in this case, it makes perfect peace.

Notice that these ingredients turn our eyes away from ourselves and our situation and turn our thoughts outward to God and others. Our circumstances may not change, but HIS peace that passes all understanding is deep-seated in our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ even in the saddest and darkest moments that we experience in this life.

One of my favorite parts of this whole passage in Philippians is the part that I have overlooked until just recently. “The Lord is at hand.” All of the other things that we notice in the scripture instruct us on what we should or should not do in order to have peace.  But the writer reminds us who is close by just waiting on us to realize He is there!  How wonderful is this reminder that our creator, the one true and living God is near us. His presence is close and what comfort and peace we can experience in knowing and believing.

What ingredients for peace do you need to add to your life?

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.



Carried Away

by Dena Green

Galatians 5:16-17 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

pexels-photo-51022The water was enticing as we walked along the edge of the rain-swelled river and my dog, Scout, wanted to dive right in. She is a Golden Retriever and it is the nature of her breed to want to get in the water and play. Every chance Scout gets, she runs to our neighbor’s pond and takes a harmless dip. This day was different; if I hadn’t kept a tight hold on her leash, she would have been carried away by the rushing waters. She had no sense of the danger of going too far into the water or being swept away, but I was there to protect her and pull her back to safety.

Isn’t that the way with us sometimes? Our “sin” nature draws us into situations and, if we are not careful, the desires of the flesh can swallow us up before we even realize it. We have entered dangerous waters.  One lingering look or conversation with the opposite sex that leads to a broken vow; a drink with friends that leaves an insatiable appetite for alcohol; holding onto anger that turns to bitterness and more anger; gossip; an unequally yoked relationship;  any compromise of God’s principles.  The list is different for each of us. Fill in your blank- __________. But whatever your “blank” says, remember, you are not left alone to flounder in it! A careful study of Galatians 5 gives great insight into the desires of the flesh vesus the desires of the spirit.

As believers, we must be mindful of the Holy Spirit’s promptings.  He lives in each of us if we are believers and lovingly reminds us and calls us back when we are entering pexels-photo-24871dangerous waters. He is an abiding presence.  Unlike Scout, who had a leash around her neck and could be physically pulled back to safety because I was holding on tight, we are given free will. His gentle promptings remind us.  We must keep our spiritual ears attuned to him through prayer and reading the word.  We must maintain our relationship with the Lord, walking and abiding in Christ so that we may discern the promptings and hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts.  We must OBEY his prompting in order to stay in the place of safety in our spiritual lives.

pexels-photo-374391Maybe you have jumped into the rough water and the currents of sin are carrying you further and further from the place you need to be in your relationship with the Lord. One compromise has led to another. REACH OUT! We have an anchor for our soul. A lifeline that is always waiting to rescue us and restore our relationship when we call out for help. Jesus, our blessed Savior and the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. Our companion and help; the very presence of God who is always with us waiting to draw us back into the safety of an unbroken relationship with our savior.

John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.