Tag Archives: peace

To Be Alive.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.~Ephesians 2:10

I celebrated my birthday recently. I’m not going to tell you how old I am…Most people are shocked at my age anyway, since youthful genes run in my family. Additionally, I’m quite petite. Put simply, the number doesn’t matter. These days, I’m pondering life and the lessons I’ve gained more than before.

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

I no longer put societal expectations about age and the timeline for God’s plan for my life together. God has given us each a different story to write. It’s refreshing that none of us is exactly the same. We can always learn from one another and the different ways that God works in each our lives. It can be difficult to understand why the Father gifts one person in a certain way and not another person, but He is sovereign. Only He knows why, as tough as that can be for us to swallow.

In the past year, I had many opportunities to actually “walk in faith.” By the world’s standards, I went about a lot of things in a way that isn’t normally recommended. I think some people think I’m crazy for the peace I’ve gained from Christ about certain areas of my life. But you know what? We serve a faithful, all-powerful God. He has never let me down, and I know that same faithfulness will continue this year and forever.

I am astounded when I think upon the gift of life. Earthly life is definitely not perfect and there are always struggles of various types. Yet when I ponder that this life is a gift, and I could have never existed at all, or even not been given the chance to live…It puts it into a whole new perspective! What a tremendous gift, to live, learn, and love.

I was an idea of the God of the universe! So were you, and every other person in existence at any time. I don’t think our minds can fully comprehend it. What is also profound is that each of us were created for a specific & unique purpose!

I can’t wait to grow closer to Jesus Christ during this next year of my life and to see how He leads me further into the purpose I was created for…

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Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash
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Choosing the Better Part.

Lately I’ve been learning the lesson that Jesus taught Martha about choosing the better part. And it’s a lesson that I will need to continually learn as my life evolves.

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman

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found on pinterest

named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”~Luke 10:38-42

Before I’ve written about how difficult it is to balance my job, school, and all the other aspects of my life at this point. I’ve learned without prayer, it all falls apart. Without Jesus as my Pilot, I crash. Sitting at the feet of Jesus fills me up. The Living Water fills me up to pour out to others and into my callings in life at this time.  It is all about relationship. When I neglect my other relationships, too, things do not go well. Community brings a sense of peace and focus to me that I lack on my own. I need time with Jesus, and I need time with others who love me and encourage me (while I do the same for them). 

Choosing the better part means choosing relationship over the tasks that “need” to be done.

I’m learning what it means to choose the better part. I want to set aside my “important” tasks and sit at the feet of Jesus. It is there where I gain all I need. It is the better part, and it cannot be taken from us, as Jesus Himself tells us.

Single Sundays [Bonus Valentine’s Day Post]–The Life You Expected.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”~Romans 8:38-39

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear readers! This day and every day, at every moment, you are totally and completely loved by God.

 

Have you ever examined your current life and found it is just not what you expected or wanted? At my current age, I thought I would be married with two children, living in a house

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purchased by my husband and I. Obviously none of that has come to pass. For so many years I lived under certain assumptions about how life would go, that the milestones expected by society (and dare I say by some members of the Body of Christ?) would just fall into place. My life has turned out very different than the milestones expected by society. I have come to a place of joy and contentment. This did not come overnight. There are a few steps I’ve realized that those of us who are very single (& expected to be living life married by now) can benefit from:

  • Accept the disappointment. Ignoring it won’t make it go away, but will make it worse. Pour it out to God! Be honest with God. Talk to trusted people, other single friends, maybe even a counselor. Figure out what it is exactly that you are grieving. Put a name to it, realize your disappointment, but don’t let yourself stay there.
  • Accept the reality of your current situation. Most of all, find the blessings in it! Find the wisdom. For many of us, marrying at a young age may have been detrimental. In your current season of life, there are many blessings. In fact, single people are doing amazing things! We have more “free time” than married couples/parents. We have more time to focus solely on the Lord, not distracted by human love (1 Corinthians 7:34). Though it can be painful, there is much freedom found in singleness.
  • Pray to see the bigger vision. I’ve written before about this. At least for myself, I had a limited vision for my life. My Heavenly Father continues to expand my vision and show me new aspects of my self and the purpose for my life. There is so much more than marriage or children. He will surely do the same for you. When you are living within the bigger vision and understand it, you will find great peace and contentment. You can also ask loved ones or spiritual mentors how they see the Lord working through your life in order to gain more insight. The Lord has the full vision for our lives-we see but a glimpse.
  • Love others. We were created by Love, for love. You have the time, and you have love to give. For now, it’s not a spouse or children. However, there are so many others in need. Perhaps they even live within your home or right next door. Service is so important. Don’t dwell on your own single state. Build community.
  • Love yourself. I’m not talking narcissism. I’m talking about taking good care of yourself, a unique human being created in the image of God. You are a temple of God! Realize your own needs and the way God made you. Treat yourself with kindness and make sure you are not ignoring any part of yourself.
  • Cultivate a strong relationship with God. God made Eve for Adam. He didn’t allow Adam to be alone for long. We have the ability to create community with other people around us. Yet I don’t believe that living out an extended period of singleness is natural. It’s not. Celibacy is not a call given to many for a lifetime. It is a difficult call to walk out, as long as anyone is asked to walk it out.  Only by leaning on the love of God can we do this. We must find our identity in Him and in living within His great love and abundance. Only by living in relationship with our Creator can we make sense of our lives.

On this day when society (at least American society) might make you feel  sad due to the focus on couples, delight in the perfect love of God. Delight in the love of the people around you. Reach out and spread some love to those feeling hopeless or unloved. This life might not be what you expected or wanted. Yet it is your earthly life, and in it there is abundant purpose and blessing. No matter whether you are courting, married, or completely single for the Lord. Let’s live in the joy and freedom!

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Live Courageously.

The United States of America is entering a new chapter. For actually a few years, I have had the sense that the United States was going to enter a time of difficulty. I believe that the time of difficulty has now begun. Recent events have thrown my workplace into upheaval. Really, the entire country and, to some extent, the world, are in a place of uncertainty. There is a culture of animosity right now in the United States. At certain points, all of these events have been a lot to take in emotionally. I’ve been surrounded by them from morning to evening. I felt so weak and drained. Then, I felt the Lord telling me to live courageously. He confirmed this as every song that came on the radio seemed to echo the theme of courage and bravery! No matter where you are, YOU are being called to live courageously.

What does it mean to live courageously?

Living courageously means keeping your center on JESUS even when the world has gone crazy.

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(photo courtesy of unsplash.com)

 

Living courageously means being PEACE in a world where anger and negativity is rampant.

Living courageously means walking HUMBLY with God even when you are surrounded by darkness and ego on every side.

Living courageously means casting out fear and replacing it with LOVE.

Living courageously means speaking up for JUSTICE for those who are voiceless.

Living courageously means RELIANCE on Jehovah-Jireh (God the Provider) when you don’t have a paycheck and wonder how you will pay the bills, or when you don’t know if you will soon have a paycheck.

Living courageously means being a sign of HOPE to others even when you feel weighed down by the burdens of your life and the world.

Living courageously means being a person of PRAISE as the storm rages all around you.

Living courageously means TRUSTING in God when all stability is pulled out from under you.

Living courageously means picking up your shield of FAITH and the sword of the Spirit, the WORD OF GOD and knowing they are your weapons.

Living courageously means staying in a place of PRAYER in a world that distracts and fills us with noise.

Living courageously means knowing that God’s POWER is made perfect in your WEAKNESS. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Are you ready to live courageously? It will not be easy, friends. Thankfully we have our perfect Heavenly Father to fight for us, His Son who endured every temptation that we do (without giving in), and the Holy Spirit who permeates every darkness and every fiber of our being. Let’s go!

It’s time to live courageously.

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Peace & The Prayer of St. Francis

The state of the world right now is saddening. Sometimes I stare at the headlines and even billboards posted around my city and wonder if this is reality. Are these things truly happening? Terrorism, racism, systemic violence, flaunting of sin, any possible evil one could conceive of. It would be so easy to fall into despair. That can be the temptation. But see, that is how evil continues–when the just sit back and despair.

So, how do we not despair, so that we may bring peace? By remembering that we carry the hope of Christ.  That hope is everything. Each of us is meant to be an ambassador of Christ, an ambassador of hope, wherever we are. Peace begins in our hearts. From there, it spreads. I was reminded of the prayer of St. Francis (also a hymn). Will you pray, too? May our lowly lives bring peace to our corners of this very broken world–peace that will spread in ways that only our God knows.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(Found at http://www.prayerguide.org.uk/stfrancis.htm)

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Taken from sacredart.co.nz (beautifully painted icons!)

Ask Before You Leap

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.”~Proverbs 16:3

Do you remember the old adage “look before you leap?” I have another take. Ask before you leap. Talk to your Creator, the One who fashioned you and knows you completely and fully.  Then, if you have true peace and by all accounts the answer seems to be a “yes,” then go ahead and leap!

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courtesy of unsplash.com

Once again, I’m at a period of my life where I feel overwhelmed. Anyone else feeling the same? There are many projects I could undertake or continue. Before starting or continuing any of the projects, I must consult my Father. He is the One who created me with my specific talents and gifts. He knows the timing of the events in my life, how circumstances will change, and if some endeavors are not yet to come to fruition. If I jump in without consulting God, that does not bring glory to Him. Without God, they will not succeed. If there is any success in the project, it will not glorify Him or bring about the fullest success if we had asked His leading and help throughout the process. Sometimes the answer won’t be a  “no,” but a “later.” We can’t accomplish each of our callings at once! Not to mention, it will save us so much energy and time if we simply focus on the works God has put before us, without trying to do everything. (I get the image of someone in an office with bookshelves all along the wall, filled to the brim. The office door is shut to the outside world and the person sits at the desk piled overwhelming with papers and binders. The worker is frazzled and can’t do any of the projects well. The door is shut because that person didn’t ask for advice before beginning any of the projects, nor do they want help or to hear about how maybe some of the works weren’t meant for this time!)

Don’t just leap. Ask first, like a child asks their parents for something they want. If you get the go ahead, then go ahead! Keep asking for direction throughout the whole process. By following the leading of God in each of your undertakings, you will glorify Him. You will be shaped more and more into the creation that your Father always envisioned!

Asking will save you time, energy, finances, and possibly heartache. Ask before you leap.

Sacred Silence.

My dear readers,

I will be entering into “sacred silence” during this Holy Week. Instead of stressing aboutcave what to write this week, I want to focus on my Savior. Look for some new posts next week, about a limitless life in Christ and about the temples we are walking around in (aka our bodies!). Maybe a book review about an amazing book will even find its way onto here!

Be assured of my prayers for you all. May you get to know His great and unending love for you and His willingness to lay down His very life so that you may live! May you know the truth of the Resurrection and that He is our Redeemer! I pray these truth sinks deep down into your heart and takes root! Be blessed.

SHALOM,

~Lianna