Shine

 

 

“‘“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make His face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn His face toward you
    and give you peace.”’

—-Numbers 6:24-26

 

The grass behind my house was glowing in the sun shortly before nightfall.

Walking peacefully around the neighborhood, I was taking in the beauty all around me.

God makes the sun to shine upon the grass.

God shines on us, giving us peace and love for eternity.

 

 

 

 

 

shine

With a Gift

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

—John 14:27

This afternoon at work, someone noticed a cloud with a “rainbow” inside it. 

Since I happened to have my phone with me, I took a quick picture of the colourful beauty displayed in the sky. What I witnessed today is commonly called a fire rainbow. 

The rainbow, of course, reminds us of God’s promise to us after the great flood. 

Rainbows also remind me of all God’s promises—that they are true. 

Jesus has given us a gift–the gift of peace of mind and heart. 

We are not to be troubled and afraid. 

Plant Seeds of Peace

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

—James 3:18

 

 

I really liked the flowers I had purchased.

Placing them at the end of my front walkway in a nice little pot, they were there to greet me each day as I left for work and returned.

When this winter is over, I am hopeful that the flowers with return, as they produced many seeds during their tenure in the warmer months.

I am quite ready to see the new beautiful blooms that emerge from the tender plants that push up through the soil.

We can be like those flowers, too.

What would it be like if we lived our days as peacemakers, planting seeds of peace wherever we happened to be?

 

harvest

Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

—Galatians 5:22-23

If I could look inside your heart, would I find?

Would there be love?

Would there be joy?

Would I find peace there?

Would patience and kindness be evident?

Would I see goodness?

Would there be faithfulness?

Would I find gentleness?

Would self-control be there?

These are the fruits—the things that grow out of—the Spirit within us.

If I looked into my own heart, what would I see?

 

 

 

fruit

The Peace of Christ

It was a different kind of day at work.

That’s because I really wasn’t at work, exactly.

I spent the day at a community center, taking part in a special training.

Walking into the room, I recognized only two people in the crowd.

Throughout the training seminar, there were times when I was deep in thought, processing all of the new material through my mind.

When the last session was over, people began to exit the building, walking to their cars.

I did that, as well, but looking out in front of the parking lot, there was a railroad track with a large lake beyond it.

It had been a cloudy and overcast day and the misty lake scene drew my interest.

Placing my things into the car, I took my cell phone with me as I walked to the railroad track and beyond.

Standing toward the edge of the lake, I photographed a visual representation of serenity.

Things were tranquil.

Calm.

I probably needed that.

I’m not exactly sure what emotions compelled me to walk toward the water.

Perhaps I needed to pause for a moment and just take in the peaceful, gray surroundings.

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

rule

Let the Peace

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

Walking along the deck at a park I had not visited before, I saw some flowers growing from the watery edge.

The blooms were a beautiful lavender color with marks of yellow and blue.

Surrounded by green leaves, the flower commanded attention as its beauty stood out from the surroundings.

I need to remember to let the peace that Jesus gives rule in my heart, commanding the attention of my mind.

The beauty of His peace will always stand out from the anxiety and confusion in the world.

 

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Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

—John 14:27

A troubled heart can be calmed.

A restless mind can be quieted.

A sleepless night can be changed to one of healing rest.

A broken life can be made whole again.

Jesus gives us peace….

peace

Fixed

Would you like to be at perfect peace?

Not worried?

No anxious thoughts?

Today, I heard someone say a little phrase that caught my attention immediately.

It was something like, “Think of Him, not them.”

When situations come up that are troubling and crushing to our hearts concerning others that we love, we can direct our thoughts and prayers to God.

Being human, our tendency is to focus on the problem—

all day, all night.

At work.

At home.

Focus, focus, worry, worry.

There are things in this world that we cannot “fix.”

When we look to God in praise and with intercession, we “fix” our eyes on Him.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”

—Isaiah 26:3

 

 

fixed

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

Well-Watered Garden

The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

–Isaiah 58:11

 

There is a neighborhood that I have passed on the way to a large city that always catches my eye.

I don’t think I could ever just drive by without looking at the entrance, admiring the peaceful calm of the water and the fountain surrounded by beautiful plants.

There’s something about a vibrant garden scene that draws me into it.

A garden must have water to grow and flourish.

Without it, the lush emerald leaves would wither and die.

No colorful blooms would grace a carpet of green grass.

God gives us guidance, strength and hope.

Those who trust in Him are like a well-watered garden.

Others are drawn to them and the peace they exhibit from their hearts.

How would you describe your life today?

Is it a well-watered garden—peaceful, calm and beautiful?

 

 

watered garden

 

In Every Situation

 

 

 

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.

—2 Thessalonians 3:16

 

What can we do when bad news arrives?

Last week, we found out that the young son of someone we know has leukemia.

About the same time, some new friends of ours had a baby very prematurely and the baby died.

What could be said at times like these?

I am not a doctor, so I would not have been able to advise either couple on medical issues, even though I really do care.

Nor am I able to heal a broken heart, even though I hope for that healing.

Jesus is the Lord of peace, however, and He can carry any of us through any and every situation—even illness and death.

How does He do that?

I don’t know.

I just know that He knows all things and He is able to do all things.

Even when it seems impossible, He can comfort and heal.

His peace

 

Control Your Mind

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.  So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.  For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.  That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

—Romans 8:5-8

What do I want to be controlled by?

Dominated by?

Do I want death or do I want life and peace?

Each of us must make that choice.

 

 

 

sinful

Worries

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.

—1 Peter 5:7

 

Worry is a powerful force.

Worry can occupy your mind, stealing the space of wisdom and productive thought.

Worry can drive you to the corner and sit you there, removing you from meaningful activities.

Worry can stress your body, slowly robbing you of good health and fitness.

Worry can influence your attitude, coloring your choices with counterfeit hues.

Worry, in short, can take over your life–

if your let it.

What can battle such a controlling influence?

Not us.

Only God.

The difficult circumstances that worry hopes to feed upon must be brought to Him.

God cares for us and He is willing to give us His peace, exchanging worry for calm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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worries

With Peace

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As I walked along, I saw a beautiful Christmas tree delicately decorated with ornaments.

Looking more closely, I realized there were many ornaments of birds.

There’s something about a small bird sitting quietly and safely in a tree branch that gives a feeling of serenity.

If you think about it, when danger seems to be near, birds will flee.

Their calm presence makes a subtle statement of peace.

Psalm 29:11 reads:

The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace.

It is fitting to have joyful, peaceful bird ornaments at Christmas.

What a perfect time to remember that Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

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with peace

My Peace I Give to You

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While visiting a nearby city to make a hospital visit, my husband and I decided to go to a park we had never been to.

Having searched online for parks in the area, we found one that looked interesting.

Finding a place to leave our car, we walked along the water’s edge.

Many people were enjoying the surroundings, as well, and we were blessed to see families out with baby strollers and toddlers and couples sitting together in the late afternoon sun.

The air was cool and the atmosphere was calm.

Unhurried.

At one point, we noticed a grandfather as he held a very small child up to the rod iron fence and let the boy experience the wonderment of throwing a stick down into the water.

A woman on a bench was accompanied by a white curly-haired dog.

A group of ducks swam together on the gently rippled water.

It was peaceful.

Jesus gave us words about peace:

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

—-John 14:27

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Peace I leave

Do Not Be Anxious

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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.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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peace

Perfect Peace

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While visiting the ocean recently, I photographed two pelicans.

Often seen silently gliding in the air above in group formation, they are sometimes seen just sitting in the water, floating.

As I watched them, large waves would come up.

At times, they were completely hidden from my view because of the raging water and its foam.

Seconds later, they would appear in view again, still calmly riding the waves as though nothing had happened.

I know, of course, that at any moment they could’ve decided to just take off and fly away.

For a very long time, though, they chose not to.

They remained anchored in the water, moving as it moved, back and forth, high and low.

I can imagine them saying, “Let’s just sit here in the water for awhile and rest.”

Rest?

Rest in the constant surge of water beneath them?

Rest in the ocean’s white foam?

Evidently so.

They seemed at peace as they trusted their Maker.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 26:3-4 that God can give perfect peace to those who trust Him:

You, Lord, give perfect peace
    to those who keep their purpose firm
    and put their trust in You.
 Trust in the Lord forever;
    He will always protect us.

The waves in our lives can we great, yet God can give us peace…

even in their midst.

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purpose

Quiet and at Rest

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What is there to worry about?

Plenty of things.

Yet, worrying won’t change them.

It won’t help at all.

Sometimes, it’s just good for me to walk around outside–even if it is just in my own yard–and look at the fascinating creations of God that are right there.

Flowers, butterflies, tiny blooms on weeds.

Birds flying overhead, lizards scurrying about, dragonflies that come to hover near me.

There, I find a calm and a respite from responsibilities, if only for a short while.

I have been praying lately about many things, wanting to trust God with people and situations, instead of worrying.

God is in control.

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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hearts quiet

I Leave With You

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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

–John 14:27

Jesus comforted His disciples by saying these words.

I think He wants me to be comforted by them, as well.

When so much is going on around me that constantly invites worry, I can have peace.

Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”

Jesus says, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”

Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.”

Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”

In my human mind, I can respond with, “But what if…..”

With my surrendered heart, I can respond with, “Jesus, I accept Your peace.”

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peace

I Have Overcome

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16.33

What trouble do you have today?

Has this trouble stolen your peace?

Has worry replaced calm?

Jesus has overcome.

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overcome

He Will Keep

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Walking along the water’s edge, I came upon a sailboat.

Lodged securely in the sand, it gave a silent testimony to trips gone by.

To gentle winds that had given it flight across the lake.

To moments of solitude.

To a calmness that comes from leaving the shore behind…

There is a peace that can come only from God.

A perfect peace.

A peace born in fellowship with Him.

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord!

—Isaiah 26:3

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perfect peace

All Understanding

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Rejoice in the Lord always.

Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men.

The Lord is at hand.

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.

—Philippians 4:4-7

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peace frame

Seek Peace

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The wasp was quietly exploring the blossoms of the Queen Anne’s Lace plant.

How delicate they are, like fine needlework!

The wasp could have been coming after me, deciding to sting.

He didn’t.

He remained calm and quiet, at peace with me.

We can make decisions like that, as well.

We don’t have to cause pain.

Sometimes—–we can just keep smelling the flowers, choosing peace.

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Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

—Psalm 34:14

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turn

My Peace

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Peace.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines peace in one form as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”

Jesus said, Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” —John 14:27

Jesus can certainly give us freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.

Simply put, we can have freedom from worry, anxiety and fear.

It’s more than that, however.

Jesus’ peace is His peace.

A divine peace that cannot be fully described.

What is worrying you today?

What is causing anxiety to well up inside you?

What is inviting fear into your heart?

Ask Jesus to give you His peace.

Talk to Him about the things that are troubling you.

Jesus is with right there.

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peace frame

With Peace

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As the sun was setting, the birds began their chorus.

Heralding the approach of the night, you could hear the different calls from various trees in the neighborhood. Hoping to get some photographs while there was still enough light to see them, I took my camera outside.

A male cardinal came to rest on my fence.

A velvety crimson color, he stood out against the white panels of the fence and the green of the trees in the background.

I walked around my home, over to the orange grove across the street and into the field behind my house.

All was calm and quiet with gentle chirps and songs around me.

Peace.

What a blessing from God….

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The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace.

 —Psalm 29:11

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