Finding the Peace in Christmas

“I’ve made the same mistake before

Too many malls, too many stores

December traffic, Christmas rush

It breaks me till I push and shove

Children are crying while mothers are trying

To photograph Santa and sleigh

The shopping and buying and standing forever in line

What can I say?

I need a silent night, a holy night

To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise

I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here

To end this crazy day with a silent night.”

These are lyrics from the song “I Need A Silent Night” by Amy Grant.

Do you feel this way? Do you lose your Christmas joy because you’re running around in a chaotic frenzy trying to do everything to make everyone else happy?

Maybe this is the year to make a new plan.

What do you want to focus on this Christmas season?

Is it about all the parties?

Is it about the presents and gifts? The hunting and the searching for the perfect thing for each person?

Or is it about remembering the abundant love of God? The love that caused Him to send us his son in the form of a baby. To teach us how to live and how to love others, and then die for us that we might be reunited with God the Father in heaven for eternity?

That’s the Christmas I want to celebrate this year.

I want to spend time remembering how God speaks to us, his people.

He speaks through the Old Testament prophets who foretold of Jesus’s birth.

He spoke through an angel who told Mary she would be with child.

He spoke through the unborn child of Elizabeth who leaped inside her when Mary, carrying the Messiah, came near to her.

He spoke through an angel in a dream who told Joseph to wed Mary, even though she was already pregnant.

He spoke to the shepherds through a host of heavenly angels proclaiming the baby’s birth.

And he spoke through a star to the wise men who traveled from the east to honor the newborn King.

I want to remember the mysterious way God spoke back then, and still speaks today.

I want to quiet my heart to hear him say, “Encourage that mother you see shopping and dealing with 3 young children.”

I want to hear him when he tells me to let someone go in front of me at the checkout line.

When he tells me to slow down, I am driving too fast. Slow down and avoid that accident.

You get the drift.

If I’m rushing around frantically, I can barely hear myself think, let alone hear God speak.

He sent Jesus Emmanuel meaning “God with us.” God is with us. All the time. We just need to open our eyes and hearts to see and hear him in the day to day tasks of life. I guarantee it. He is here.

I want to slow down this December and enjoy the people I see all around me– at work, in the stores, in my neighborhood, in my church, in my home. Oh yes, those at home need our love and appreciation and attention too. Jesus told us to love God and love others.

It’s not about money, and power, prestige, and position. It’s about having a relationship with people. Relationships are the only thing we will take with us into the next life. It would be a shame to waste December focusing on the trappings of the commercialism of the season instead of spending time with the people who are supposed to mean something to us.

Each of us matter to God. Can you shine his light and love to people you run into this December?
As published at  http://affinitemagazine.com/finding-the-peace-in-christmas

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Remembering Nancy

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NANCY COWIE      July 21, 1958 – November 6, 2016

I’m happy for Nancy; she is at peace now.
And once again with her beloved Reg.
I’m sad for those of us left behind.

I miss her.   But why am I so sad?
I know I will see her again, in heaven, on that glorious day.
So why?

Did I tell her how much I love and admire her?
Did she know?
Yes, she knew. I have nothing left unsaid.
Yet I wish I could hug her one more time.

So what is that fear that I see popping up?
Fear of wasting my life…
Dying too soon, with my book still inside me, lost from others forever.

How can I honor her best?
Say wonderful things at her celebration of life?
That is nice, but so fleeting.

Write it down. Document it.
If it’s not documented it didn’t happen.
Lost forever in the wind.

Death will happen to each of us.
None of us know when.
If we are gravely ill, we will know it’s close.
The rest of us …
it could be sudden, after a chronic illness, or a long life.

How will you live out the rest of your life?
Will you make it count for something?

For me–I declare I will take the next step.
I will write, blog, and walk the talk.
Love God. Love others. Tell about Jesus to whomever comes in my path.
And the reason for my hope in the face of grief and death.
Jesus, my hope of heaven.

Nov 7, 2016

Shoes? Sandals? Boots?

img_6137What is your favorite kind of footwear?  Mine is my flip flops.  I live in Southern California and I can wear them almost all year around.

My bible study group has been studying the armor of God from Ephesians 6.  This is what I’m learning about the part of Armor called the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace.

Shoes– feet need footwear for protection
Gospel — the Good News of eternal life in Jesus Christ
Peace– calmness in the midst of chaos
Shalom–eirene– a spiritual force that overcomes chaos — health, harmony, wholeness in chaos swirling around you ( me)

Have you noticed? Anywhere that peace is lacking, the enemy is at work.  If you have No peace?? Then the Enemy is at work. It’s very predictable, a given.

As shoes protect the feet, we need the peace “of God” and peace “in God ” to protect the heart.  Peace is my anchor that will hold, even when the waves get wild.

Is 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:3-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Col 3:15. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Phil 4:6-7. “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 ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Trust in the Lord. Trust activates thankfulness. Thankfulness activates peace.  Give thanks with a grateful heart.  Be grateful. Be gracious.

Be a person who brings good news– the gospel of Jesus Christ– to others. Go tell them. Go. Wherever you are. Go. Speak up. Tell them.

If peace is missing, look at your thoughts. What’s ruminating in there? Is it true? Is it noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report?

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This is what should be in your mind. If not, transform your mind. And however do I do that?
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Like soldiers in battle, we must stand firm and hold the line. Sturdy shoes with spikes help us stand our ground. Stand firm with the whole armor of God.

Beach volleyball. No shoes needed. Almost everything else needs the appropriate footwear. Put your shoes on. The shoes of Peace.
Together we are as as strong as the weakest link. We need to support each other and stand firm together. We are not meant to fight the battle alone.

What I’ll Say to my Children if I’m Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s

This is a guest blog. I love what it says about life still having value. Wonderful food for thought.

I was skimming some other dementia blogs lately and a reader had written in saying, that though she felt guilty about it, she wished her mother would die in her sleep and not have to continue livin…

Source: What I’ll Say to my Children if I’m Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s

Lessons from Lloyd

Lessons from Lloyd, my friend’s extra large dog.

Overflowing Hope

IMG_2369I have a 170 pound “blue” great dane named Lloyd. He is a big boy, and as we have traveled with him across the country, and are now temporarily housed in a small condominium, I have learned a few things from my gentle giant! I was concerned at how he would travel and adapt to all the changes in his life, but I am pleasantly surprised to report that as long as he is with my husband and I, everything in his world is fine. What does this teach me? I am not great with change and not knowing what will happen next. But I have a God who is with me all the time. He knows my every move and thought, and if I rely on Him for guidance and trust Him with all the new things in my life, my world can also be “fine!” I try too…

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Walking the Worship Trail  By Jan King  October 10, 2015

I hear you in the whisper

Your movement in the breeze refreshes me

Your majesty towers above.

Washed in love by your sun.

Beating heart calms to rippling shore.

Silent calm washes clean

Strength to walk the journey calls

Feet explore, Your will beckons

You carried the cross this path for me

Your pines tall in integrity cover me

Squirrel amuses and reminds me

To leap and run to him

Path is already hewn in the earth

Stones- the rock is my guide

Trees gone before are reminders

And give back and nourish the soil of my heart,

Rich Life giving

Quiet of rest, assurance of peace

Leads me home

Rejoice I’m coming home

Your light shows the way.