Rule in Your Hearts

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

—Colossians 3:15

 

 

It had rained earlier, with the sky a stormy and threatening gray.

Now, with the tempest past, the clouds were blending into a creamy glow as sunset approached.

The lake beside me had become a living mirror, rippling a constantly changing reflection of light and shadow.

Through the ages, I suspect that many people have found a place of contemplation and solitude beside such a scene.

There’s something about the endless sky meeting the rhythmic waves that beckons us to be at peace.

Jesus wants us to have peace in our hearts.

His peace should rule.

Rule over troubling thoughts.

Rule over fears.

Rule over guilt.

When the peace of Jesus comforts you from deep within, everything changes.

And when it does, we should be thankful.

 

 

rule in

Devote Yourselves

We need God in every area of our lives. 

He is at work whether we perceive it or not. 

As we come to God in prayer, we remember that He is with us, understanding whatever situation we are experiencing. 

If we are watchful, we will live in expectancy of God.  

If we are thankful, we will remain in an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for all that He has done. 

We need to come to God in prayer—

every day. 

 

My Household

Many years ago, as recorded in the Old Testament, the Israelites had to make a choice.

Who would they serve?

The true God?

The false gods of their ancestors?

Think back—

Do you remember your childhood home?

Do you remember your grandparents’ homes?

Maybe even your great-grandparents’ homes?

Did they serve the LORD?

What legacy will you leave your children?

As for you and your house, who will you serve?

 

 

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

—Joshua 24:14-15

 

 

 

serve

Accept One Another

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Have you ever changed your mind about something or someone?

I can laugh about it now, but many years ago I met someone that I thought I would not like at all, based upon the little knowledge I had of him.

It’s funny because he became one of my most trusted friends.

Laughing at myself and realizing my all-too-quick assessment of another person brings me to understand that I need to contemplate my opinions more slowly and with care.

Just because someone might dress differently, speak differently, eat different kinds of food, or attend a different church than I do, it doesn’t mean that I am somehow “better” than they are.

It also doesn’t mean that we couldn’t be friends.

All believers are on a personal faith journey with Jesus.

There are some who are traveling ahead of us and some who are traveling behind us.

Some are close to our side, while others are quite a distance away.

The most important thing is who we all are—redeemed sinners, children of God.

*

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

—Romans 15:7

 

 

 

 

 

*

Click image to enlarge.

accept

It is the Gift of God

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Gifts will be given this Christmas to show love to one another.

The greatest gift given in history is the gift of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a sacrifice for our salvation.

*

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

—Ephesians 2:4-8

*

 

Click image to enlarge.

saved

Whoever Believes

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

 

 

 

Recently, I watched a televised launch of a rocket delivering satellites to space.

This is a fairly common occurrence, at least to me and millions of other people around the world.

As I watched, however, the thought came to me that, even with all the fantastic technical knowledge that went into bringing that event into reality, there were still people on the planet who had never seen a car before…

As a relatively small amount of people in the world watched live camera feed from the side of a rocket that was placing satellites at strategic points in space while traveling at about 17 thousand miles per hour, there were no doubt people going about their lives in secluded forests or mountains, foraging for food, knowing only about their nearby surroundings and nothing else.

Yet, for both types of people—those that stare at numbers and share ideas, culminating with events like rocket launches and those that know very little beyond themselves and their families—God is there.

As He looks on us—the people of the world that He has made—He does so with love and yearning, I believe.

Yearning for all to know Him.

Jesus came to earth on that first Christmas as a baby, born to one day die on the cross.

To die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

No matter who we are in this world—highly educated or uneducated, rich or poor, old or young—God loves us all just the same.

*

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

—John 3:16

*
not perish

 

Prince of Peace

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

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

While visiting a large city, I saw a building with crosses on the rooftop.
With gold colored accents, the structure seems majestic.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we remember who He is and who we are.
He is our Savior.
He is our Prince of Peace.
We are His forgiven children…

 

*

Click image to enlarge.

everlasting

Bethlehem

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Imagine being sick.

Really sick.

You arrive at the hospital and soon you are admitted.

After tests have been run, the doctors identify what the illness is.

The bad news: this illness can be fatal without the proper medicine.

The good news: the medicine is available, but it has to be ordered and shipped into the hospital.

During the next few days, you become even more severely ill.

Time is running out.

When you begin to think you can’t make it any longer, a nurse comes into your room and announces that the medicine has arrived.

Because of it, you will live.

When Jesus was born, all that was needed for our spiritual healing had arrived.

The bad news: Without Him, our condition was fatal.

The good news: With Him, we may live.

Jesus would pay the penalty for our sins on the cross one day, offering us the gift of eternal life.

This Christmas, do you know Jesus as your Savior?

*

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem  and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

—Matthew 2:1-6

Click image to enlarge.

ruler

The Road That Leads to Life

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

There is a lakeside park that I enjoy visiting about an hour’s drive from my home.

Besides the scenic view over the water, the wild birds that frequent the area and the peaceful atmosphere, the stone street that runs through it is very inviting and nostalgic.

Flanked with vintage street lights and flags, the thoroughfare is inviting and spacious.

If given the choice, I would most definitely choose to walk down this lovely street than on a narrow footpath off to the side.

After all, who wouldn’t?

Jesus spoke about choosing the right road spiritually.

We can choose the road that most people take.

The faithless road apart from Him.

It’s big, wide and spacious.

It’s inviting and flanked with alluring temptations.

There’s one problem, though–

It leads to destruction….

 

The other road is narrow.

Only a few choose it.

It is a road of faith in Jesus, leading to life.

The wide road is appealing and enticing, for sure.

But choosing that one over the narrow road of faith in Jesus is just not worth it.

It’s not worth your own destruction.

Instead, choose life.

*
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

—Matthew 7:13-14

*

Click image to enlarge.

narrow gate

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wind Blows

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

Nicodemas was a Pharisee who was alive during Jesus’ time on the earth.

This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’  The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

—John 3:2-8

*

Click image to enlarge.

wind blows

Overcome Evil

bookmark3-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1_zps08a42f53

The barbed wire fence in my neighborhood is there to keep some things in–and some things out.

Either way, the sharp points on the twisted metal are harmful if contact is made with them.

I noticed that a vine had grown, making its way on the horizontal fence, gently moving past the painfully pointed ends.

The delicate and persistent vine had overcome the danger of the protruding barbs.

There are many “fences” encountered in life.

The Bible has this to say in Romans 12:21:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

*

Click image to enlarge.

with good