Offering Peace Like Jesus {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan

Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible (Romans 12:18; TLB).

Peace is one of the amazing qualities of an inspiring woman. She can live at peace with those around her, and even offer this gift in difficult relationships.

We can be tempted to believe we have every reason to be angry versus peaceable, especially if we follow the world’s principles for relationships, but God shows us a different and better way. Come, let’s learn the better way!

Defining Peace

In Matthew 5, we are taught a lot about our need for peace with God and others. What is our definition of peace?  Peace is harmonious and free of rage. While we cannot control how others respond to us, we can choose to respond with the gift of peace.

There are times in our relationships, where people purposely set out to push our buttons. They know how to bring out the worst in us, but Jesus Christ is far greater than these moments. As a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, our way of working through relationship difficulties can be different – when we choose obedience and allow Christ to step into our messes.

Loving the Unlovable

In Matthew 5:43-48, we are taught to love like Jesus. Even called to love people who truly hate us. This can only be explained by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were once enemies of God, and now are called His beloved – His friends and those who are dearly loved by the King of Kings. Because God’s love knows no bounds. He went great limits to declare His love!

God sent His Son Jesus Christ to take our punishment, and show us His sheer grace. Our relationship with Him is restored, which is something we can seek in earthly relationships too. God can help us!

If we think loving others doesn’t make sense, how does it look to know you are deeply loved by God regardless of what you have done? He has come to rescue you and to be with you. Come to Jesus, friend!

His Peacemakers

We can become peacemakers, who act like their Abba Daddy! Our great God is the One who enables us to seek peace in our difficult relationships. Others might not respond as we hope, but God is glorified through it. Not only is He glorified, He blesses us for choosing His way.

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God (Mt. 5:9, NLT).

In our peace-giving, we can become closer to our heavenly Father and see how much He has endured for our sake. May we take on the opportunity to deepen our faith in Jesus Christ and influence others through how we cultivate peace.

The Gospel Demands Forgiveness {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

In order to truly become transformed women, who are changed by our Lord Jesus Christ, we need to become women of humility. Humility, or its opposite – pride, shows up the moment someone has wronged us.

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others (Col. 3:13, TLB).

How Do WE Respond… when someone has wronged us?

This is the moment where we realize a lot about ourselves and the grace that we are given through the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is impossible for us to truly forgive those who have deeply hurt us, except by the power of our risen Lord.

King Jesus is the One who is doing this beautiful work inside of us.

And you will know God’s great power. It can’t be compared with anything else. His power works for us who believe. It is the same mighty strength God showed. He showed this when he raised Christ from the dead. God seated him at his right hand in his heavenly kingdom (Eph. 1:19-20, NTE).

Reminded of the Gospel

When these deeply conflicted situations arise, we are reminded of the Gospel. The Gospel reminds us that all people need God’s forgiveness – which is found only through Jesus Christ. They need our forgiveness, too.

God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. . . Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:19, 20b-21, NIV).

Because we have been changed by the reality of the Gospel, we will seek after God’s heart in our relationships. We need to be willing to pursue reconciliation with others, after being made right with God. If we want to see God bring healing, let’s choose to work toward forgiving others.

Letting Go of “The Right”

We may have “the right” to be angry with someone for the way they have hurt us, but we can willfully choose to “count it as rubbish (see Phil. 3:7-14)”.

Why would we do such a thing? Because, we have met Jesus Christ.

From the moment where we said “yes” to following Jesus, our lives have been changed – for the better. Our hearts and minds are being renewed. Now if we haven’t met Jesus Christ or been changed by Him in this dramatic way, we will try to forgive in our own efforts. We need Jesus Christ and His power to forgive. 

Forgiving others is hard, but made possible with Jesus Christ. Every hint of willingness reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s work in our midst. Through walking by the Holy Spirit’s leading, we are able to remember none compare with Him. His truth always wins.

In Christ,

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Speaking to Destroy {{Week 2}}

Jesus teaches us that our words can sting. He could say a number of things about our words, or why we need to be careful how we use them. But, He says something in Galatians that… just stings.

Read Ephesians 2:11-13. And, meet me back here.

{{Journals for Walking Into The Light (our study) are still available on Amazon. See link at the end of this post.}}

The Outsider

Today, I am reminded of the person I use to be. I haven’t always been the Jesus-girl that I am today. In fact, I remember a young woman far different in character. Everything about her, was different. She used her words like a knife, and would pick a fight with anyone within a 50 mile radius (or internet connection).

I wrote this as part of my prayer for today –

“I am Your prodigal daughter who runs and whose character was more like the Devil in John 10:10 than I would ever care to admit.”

Why Share?

We need to know that others fight their old selves too. We need to know how far God can take us. Part of Saul’s testimony (see Acts 9) is how God can turn him around. Saul (now Paul) had his heart radically changed. And, it changed his entire life.

When he allowed Jesus Christ to come into his life, everything began to change. It wasn’t an instant Clark Kent kind of change. But, it doesn’t make it any less powerful.

In fact, I would argue that it just makes it much more powerful.

We know the heartache of who we used to be.

Some of us even cringe at the thought of things we have said and done, while running from God.

But when Jesus becomes our Savior and Lord… When we allow the power of God to step into our lives, He can begin to transform our hearts.

We go from…

  • His enemy to His beloved child.
  • people approval to experiencing the love of God that sent His Son Jesus to earth, the crowds, the cross, and yes – the Resurrection.
  • reflecting the Devil to allowing Jesus to be reflected in our heart and character.

When we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, there is no area in our lives that He cannot touch!

The Truth of God’s Word

I am a writer. I use words. Words are my friend. Words are my sidekick. But, the Bible teaches us something I can testify to on a personal level.

Our words can be just as potent, as they are lovely.

What are those words in Ephesians, that leave such an impact on this Jesus-girl’s spirit?

“If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other (Galatians 5:15).”

I have had more than my fair share of biting and devouring one another. I have had more than enough regrets in how I have destroyed others. In how I attempted to destroy myself. I once was led away by internal desires and passions to follow after godless pursuits.

But, God.

This is a phrase I have grown to love. Because, I know it’s meaning. When God steps into our lives, nothing is impossible. With God by our side, we can overcome anything. We can overcome every ounce of our old selves that remains.

While He can help us become better, we need to not forget what God has done in our hearts and lives.

Jesus teaches us to not forget.

How have you forgotten who you used to be, before Jesus Christ scooped in and began to change you from the inside-out?

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An Anger Flare

Ever wonder what happened to make one’s anger flare? Perhaps, yours. I am reminded of this Scripture where we learn how to limit the amount of anger that flares in one situation or another. We find our answer in Proverbs 15:1.

“A gentle answer turns anger away.
But mean words stir up anger (NIRV).”

If you are anything like me (I hope you aren’t, by the way), you start out on response A – then somehow you find yourselves trailing reaction B.

Meaning: You start out as one with soft answers. The kind you might of even planned out in advance, as you prayed to God, your Creator, about the situation and what to say. Then somewhere along the line, you are given:

  • A look.
  • A word.
  • Perhaps, even silence.

BOOM!

You have allowed your anger to be flared. The flood gates have opened. You might even let aloud a “oh no, they didn’t?!?!”.

Our Natural Tendency

While we may know that a person’s word or actions have flared our anger, we have to admit something. We have allowed the floodgates of our wrath to be opened. We can’t project all of the blame onto that person or situation. We play a role in the mess we find ourselves in. While we can’t take all the credit (unless we are having a really bad day – and hey, it happens!), we do need to take the blame that is rightfully ours.

The Scripture

In this Scripture, my translation says “mean words”. But, what if we are mean without intending to be? Because, that reality happens too. In the KJV, it uses the word “grievous” – which is defined as “hardship, sorrow, pain, and offense.” People offend us with their words. This is the dangerous part of knowing… “a harsh word stirs up wrath (NET).” We can offend without setting out on that intention. This is where I trust God’s grace to stand in.

God’s Grace, My Comfort

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16, NASB).”

I trust God’s grace to stand in the places where I have screwed up. God’s grace is the overflowing goodness, that spills over into my relationships. Through the grace of God, I have been forgiven of much. As I am forgiven first by God and then by others, I forgive others.

As human beings, we all will struggle with our words at times. This is not a license to sin, but the reminder that the grace of God that comes through the person of Jesus Christ – is more than enough to transform my shortcomings into something beautiful. As Joseph said in Genesis 50:20, God can turn what was once-used-for-evil-for-His-ultimate-good.

We all are guilty of misusing our words, but God’s grace is more than enough to transform every situation where we spoke things we should not have spoken and/or our anger has been flared.

“Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE).”

From Grave Clothes to New Life.

eph14Today, I hope…that I have been a better witness, Christ-like example, better person to be around, because of my quiet time. I hope… that I was different than I could have been today, because I had my time with Jesus, to allow Him to pour into me! Today has been an interesting one, but isn’t it always? Someone does something to you, and you try not to retaliate. I can try to be friendly, but it is only with Christ working in and through me that it actually shines through. In my own strength, I simply cannot do it. I get bitter. I get anger. That is simply how I in my own sinful nature work. Let me share some of the thoughts bouncing around my head from today.

1. Setting aside my “grave clothes”. This came up, as I read a devotional. I can hold onto things from my past…things that are long gone. Clothes that should have been taken off before now, as I have made new in Christ Jesus!

2. This devotional and meditation time bounced me to Ephesians 2. I love chapter two of Ephesians… Really. I really do. God can turn someone who is pretty much dead in all sense of the word, and make them aliveAlive in Christ!

3. Life happened!

Then, the prayer: “Lord, please help me!”

About this point, I had to decide what I would do. One of the things that I wanted to be about this week was James 1:19 (my goal list for this week). Seems a bit nerdy to have to make it a goal to be nicer to people, more genuine, and deliberate in the kind of interactions I have with others….but if it keeps me reminded about it… Well then, that is a good thing…isn’t it?

So finally sit down, weak from the encounter called life just happened…Meanwhile, Ephesians 4:32 is being put on my heart. I should look that verse up. It is probably one I need to read. You probably know the feeling. It is a simple, but profound way of being obedient to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, the first step of obedience is really opening our Bibles. We need to be obedient, and it has to begin with seeking Him in His Word…and following through in being a doer of the Word. Upon looking it up, He is speaking to me. It may not have illicit an automatic noticeable reaction, but God’s words are speaking to me. I am praying for Him to help me. As hard as it is, we have to forgive those people who wrong us, hurt us, etc.

In Ephesians 2  and 4, Paul makes the point that there should be a distinction. One thing that really sticks out is that, we have to make the full resolve to not think like others or act like them. We are called to be different. In every instance. We are called to be different. We are called to God’s glory. We are called to be more like Him. We are called to not be like everyone else, but to let His radiant light shine. We were once completely dead, and it is now that we are made alive.

Alive in Christ Jesus!
We can experience freedom like never before.
Freedom where our heavy burdens are finally gone.
Pure joy that we have never experienced before.
No longer emotionally or spiritually numb.
We are truly alive!
Vibrant, breathing, and free to celebrate.
To celebrate who we are in Christ Jesus!
To celebrate how He has woven us together!
To celebrate His love for us!
To celebrate Jesus Christ coming for us!
To celebrate Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins!
To celebrate Jesus Christ’s powerful Resurrection!
To celebrate…for a lifetime!
Nothing can ever take me from His hands!

So, that is what my focus is on today. I hope. That’s where it needs to be. As I see my day being nearer to ending, that’s where my focus needs to remain.
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How have you gotten alone with Jesus today? What Bible verses are you taking time to meditate on? How can we build one another up?