Scriptures to Live by: Peace

In our world today, we often talk about wanting peace for all mankind, and we often search for things that can give us peace of mind. The scriptures are filled with the answers to finding true peace through Jesus Christ.

John 14:27 says, “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.”

Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Numbers 6:24-26 says, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

May the God of peace be with you today and always.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

An Element of Surprise: Gifts From God

Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Recently, my husband and I watched an unusual movie entitled, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, in which Walter is depicted as a man who lacks self-confidence in himself and fantasizes that he is stronger in another life. The photographer who he works for gives Walter an anniversary gift for his past 16 years of faithful, loyal service. It was a wallet with a beautiful inscription in the center; however, the wallet was empty–so he thought.

Walter wondered why he would be given an empty wallet, and then he sets out on a quest to find Sean, the photographer, in order to get the final cover photo he needs for the magazine they worked for. They eventually meet in a most unlikely place. When Walter asks about the photo, Sean asks whether he looked inside the wallet. Walter tells him that it was empty so he threw it away. The photographer smiles, then says, “I gave you a special gift and you did not go deeper in the wallet to find it!”

It turns out that what Walter was searching for all along was inside the wallet. He just didn’t look deep enough. He returns home and is able to locate the wallet and finds the final cover photo, which he gives to his publisher. To Walter’s surprise, the photo depicts himself on the front cover. The photographer credits Walter and other employees for his apparent success because without them he would not have succeeded.

When God gives us a free gift, sometimes we are like Walter–we forget to look further or deeper to understand the gift He has given us. The scriptures are filled with God’s promises–free gifts–for all of us to accept and to use them in serving others.

Good and perfect gift: James 1:17-18: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”

Spiritual Gifts: I Corinthians 12:4-6: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”

Eternal Life: Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Serving Others: I Peter 4:10: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”

There is a song that depicts going “deeper” in our faith and in the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. “Deeper, Deeper” was written in the 1800’s by Charles Price Jones, a pastor of the Mt. Helm Baptist Church in Jackson, MS. The words of this great hymn are still sung in our churches today:

Deeper, deeper in the love of Jesus, Daily let me go.
Higher, higher in the school of wisdom, More of grace to know.
O deeper yet, I pray. And higher every day. And wiser, blessed Lord.
In Thy precious Holy Word.”

May the Lord bless you as you go deeper in His Love.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

Scriptures to Live by: Joy

When I think of joy, I am reminded of a song that I used to sing years ago in a church that I attended. It goes something like this:

The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

He gives me living water and I thirst no more. He gives me living water and I thirst no more. He gives me living water and I thirst no more. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

The Word of God is filled with scriptures about joy, and below are some that I have chosen to share with you. All of them are taken from the NIV translation.

James 1:2-3: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Psalm 47:1: “Clap your hands all you nations, shout to God with cries of joy.”

Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Psalm 30:5: “For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Hebrews 12:2: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Isaiah 35:10: “…and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and singing will flee away.”

We have so many blessings in our lives. Let us remember to be joyful even when we face trials because it is during that time that “the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

Are You Living Your Life “On Demand?”

As mothers and wives, we have a number of demands and responsibilities that dictate our daily lives. Sometimes they can become overwhelming and there is very little time for yourself, let alone setting aside time for reading your Bible and prayer.

In our home, we subscribe to a local cable company, and one of the features that we selected included watching TV shows On Demand. If we couldn’t watch a show when it was scheduled, we could watch it at a later time. Since there were several programs that I often missed, I compiled a “watch later program” list. However, the list kept getting bigger, and I actually felt overwhelmed by all of the TV shows I tried to keep up with. I decided to pray about it, and the Lord answered me immediately because my black lab chewed up the list. How is that for a quick answer to prayer? I was actually relieved about it, laughed out loud, and thanked the Lord for the answer. I have not compiled a list since that time.

Sometimes this is what happens in our lives. We can become sidetracked by the things of this world and forget to keep our eyes fixed on the things of God. I still enjoy watching TV shows, but the list I previously created no longer exists or controls me.

According to the Word of God, we are to put God first in our lives and not be controlled by the things of this world. All of the scriptures are from the NIV translation.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

John 3:30 says, “He must become greater; I must become less.”

Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

Only God can speak to our hearts and let us know if there are things that he wants us to change. All we need to do is seek Him and ask.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

Reading in May: “The Heart of a Woman Who Prays” by Elizabeth George.

Scriptures to Live By: Love

We have all heard the saying, “Love makes the world go round”, and yet in our society it seems that people are searching for love and can’t seem to find it. Or, they appear to be looking in all the wrong places.

There are several scriptures in the Word of God that teach us about the meaning of love and how to show more love to others in our daily walk with God. Here are just a few for you to ponder (all scriptures are from the NIV translation):

John 3:16: “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.”

Matthew 5:43-45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

I Corinthians 13:4-9: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast; it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps on record of wrongs. Loves does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Mark 12-30-31: “Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

May the Lord bless you as you continue to read His Word and allow it to bless your life.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

A Forgiving Heart Heals the Soul: Forgiveness for One Another

Matthew 18:15: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”

As a young girl growing up in my family, we were (without a doubt) considered dysfunctional in so many ways. My father was an alcoholic (although he denied it), and all of my brothers and sisters and I endured many years of verbal and physical abuse because of it. Some of us learned to forgive him while others held an unforgiving heart towards him up until his death at the age of 72.

As a Christian, I believe that forgiveness and acceptance go hand-in-hand. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, and it took me a number of years before I finally came to terms with my dad’s “faults.” I had to learn to love, accept, and forgive him for the way he was and allow God to work in his heart and life.

Sometimes we ask the Lord to “change someone else”, when in reality we need to ask the Lord to “change us.” With a new attitude and change of heart, I began to heal and had a greater understanding and peace of mind as I relied on God to change my relationship with my dad.

Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there be any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

It took my mother’s death (died of lung cancer at the age of 69) to change my dad’s attitude and heart toward God. The night before he passed away, he asked God for forgiveness for his sins and accepted Him into his life. In the Emergency Room the following evening, as my husband and I stood by his bedside, he went to be with the Lord.

How many times should we forgive one another if someone offends us?

Matthew 18-21-13 says, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy seven times.”

Forgiveness does many things for us:

It gives us peace of mind (mentally). In Philippians 4:6-7, it says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

It heals us (physically). In James 5:16, it says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

It frees us (spiritually). In Ephesians 4:25-28, it says, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

When we hold anger and bitterness towards one another, we lose compassion for one another. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”

Unless we are willing to forgive one another, God will not forgive us. Matthew 6:14-15 further says, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

When we love and forgive one another, we are following His commands so that we can grow and mature into the person He desires us to be.

May the Lord help each of us to forgive and love one another so that we can grow mentally, physically, and spiritually whole.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne

Scriptures to Live By: Hope

As a pastor’s wife, I have had numerous opportunities to have conversations with individuals who are hurting and who are going through difficulties in their lives–the loss of a loved one, a separation or divorce, children who have lost their way, the loss of a job (or looking for a job), to name a few.

Hope almost invariably becomes the topic of conversation because they are all seeking strength from the Lord and oftentimes have lost all “hope” because of their situation.

The following are just a few scriptures that tell us about “the reason for our hope” and that it is in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith. All of the scriptures are from the NIV translation, but I would encourage you if you have access to other translations to examine what they say on hope as well.

Psalm 31:24: Be strong and take heart; all you who hope in the Lord.

Romans 5:1-5: Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Romans 8:24-25: We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 12:12: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

May the Lord richly bless you as you seek His face for continued hope in your life’s journey.

Blessings on you,
Yvonne