Offering Peace Like Jesus {Inspiring Women}

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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.

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Jesus as Center Stage

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Hi friends! For the month of May, 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!

Matthew 6:33-34 is the verse for us on this first of May. This is the perfect Scripture for us to focus on – as we kick off our week.

But put God’s kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all those things will also be given to you. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIRV).

Each day has its own set of worries and stresses.

We cannot worry about them. Will tomorrow be stressful? Yes. Will tonight be stressful? Most likely. But here is the bottom line: We have to place God and His Kingdom above those things. We have to place God and His Kingdom high above the concerns we have in this life.

I read a Scripture yesterday that comes to mind, so I want to share it with you all today.

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective (Col. 3:1-2, MSG)

The truth is – we need to keep our minds focused on Jesus. When we choose to follow Jesus, we know His way is far better. His way is infinity better than any way we could concoct in our minds. Jesus Christ, the King of the world, is the One who is worthy of our focus.

And if He is telling us we don’t need to worry, then, we honestly do not need to worry. As difficult as it may be, we need to let go of the concerns of this world and deliberately choose instead to trust our great God.

I would like to draw your attention to the book of Mark – where we are given much insight. Ready for this?

The seed that fell among the thorns represents others who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced (4:18-19, NLT).

When we first heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it had the opportunity to radically change our lives. For many of us, Jesus has been doing an amazing work in us. But His work is cut short. Why? Because of the allure of worrying ourselves to pieces, trying to get rich now versus basking in the anticipation of Heaven’s glorious riches, and honestly – wanting other things. In our hearts, we can place other things above our desire for Jesus Christ.

We need to allow Him to take center stage. He is not the back up act, but He is the real deal!

We need to decide for ourselves if we want to fully follow Jesus Christ, enjoy the full fruit of His promises, and begin to surrender the “other stuff” to Him – trusting Him to be more than enough.

In Christ,

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Week 7: Friday Five (2 Thess. 1)

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Originally, I was turned onto this mode of carrying out the “Five Minute Friday,” by a dear friend. Marie faithfully carries out this Friday series, on her own blog. The idea is to offer five bold points, that you may read within five minutes.

Five Truths on 2 Thessalonians 1

(1) As we continue to follow Jesus Christ, we are kept safe (1:1). This is perhaps one of the greatest treasures I have found. As a woman, I crave protection. So to know that my Jesus, my King, is protecting me and keeping me safe – is comforting beyond words! It makes me okay with the difficult days, when I stop long enough to realize I am being protected and kept safe by the King of Kings!

. . . To: The church of Thessalonica—kept safe in God our Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ (1:1, TLB).

(2) We are given rich blessings, which are found through our relationship with Jesus (1:2). In my digital Bible, it is translated a bit differently which helps to understand the Bible more clearly. Because of God the Father and our Lord Jesus, we have been given rich blessings and peace-filled hearts and minds (1:2b, TLB).

Does it get any better? In the world we live in, peace – filled hearts and minds are one of the greatest gifts we can be given. In a day where our minds and hearts run like they are on a treadmill all night long, the peace Jesus gives is enduring and ever-loving!

(3) We have the opportunity to do three specific things based on the knowledge of those God has placed in our path, who continue to be an encouragement to our faith (1:3-4). We can pray for them, share with others about lessons we are learning through their example, and give thanks.

Each of these things are growing points for me. I believe they are for each of us. We live in a “me first” world, which causes us to forget or neglect others, their faith, and the privilege of praying for them or sharing things we learn through their example.

(4) God can use our sufferings to make us ready for His Kingdom (1:5-6). This set of verses will cause us to give James 1 a second chance, where we are urged to count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV).

We need to trust that God will use our sufferings for His ultimate good. He is preparing us for something greater. His Kingdom is worthy of our suffering (see Prov. 3:5-6; Rom. 8:18).

(5) As we face suffering, God will provide us with quality rest through Jesus’ second coming (1:7, 10). As we come into His Kingdom, we will forever know God as He honestly is – with no holding back. 

One day, we will stand in His presence and will never again be distracted by the circumstances we are facing or the things of this world. We will stand in His presence in utter awe and overwhelmed with joy. We will be fully satisfied in the Lord.

Week 7: 2 Thessalonians 1:11

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With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith (2 Thess. 1:11, NIV).

It always stops me in my tracks, when I read “By His power, He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.” Many of us have unmet desires we are waiting on. God can give us these desires, but it is up to God if they are fulfilled and when that fulfillment happens.

Let’s focus on the Lord, and give Him our heart’s desires!

Truth be told, it is about surrendering our desires to God and keeping our focus on Him. Our focus needs to be on drawing nearer to our King Jesus, not the dreams.

In the waiting and wondering period, we are learning to trust that God is working on our behalf. As we draw nearer, God is changing us from the inside – out. Look at what Philippians 2:13 teaches us – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (NLT).

The right kind of desires are given to us by God, and fulfilled by God in His timing!

Keep coming back to Jesus – our Redeemer. When we keep coming back to Jesus as our Redeemer, we will not be disappointed. We will be reminded of the abundant hope we have been given. Jesus Christ came for you and me.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst (1 Tim. 1:15).

Called by God

While the God of the Universe gives us other desires, He gave us the ultimate desire for Him. God is the One who calls; what we are called to is God’s own kingdom and glory (Reformation Study Bible). We have been moved from a place of condemnation because of our sins (see John 3:16-17) and ushered into the presence of God (see Hebrews 4:14-16). It is a complete change in our destination.

Not only has He chosen to save us, we can enjoy His sweet presence – today!

Cleansed by Jesus

Through Jesus Christ, we have been saved and made new. His love for us is what made the difference in our lives. Jesus Christ is what matters in our lives, which is why we celebrate our Redeemer. He came for us, and is away. He is worthy of our praise and the One who makes us worthy.

Because of Jesus Christ, we can stand in His presence and enjoy our heavenly Father. We have been reconciled to God and He will make us worthy and cause us to grow in all areas of our lives. Now, that’s worthy celebrating!

Both past election and present growth are crucial. They are already children of God; they are to live lives governed by this reality. Thereby, Jesus’ name will be glorified and they in turn will be glorified in him. All of this is accomplished through grace (Asbury Commentary).

Genesis 22-24; Psalms 46-47

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Assigned Reading: Genesis 22-24; Psalms 46-47

Psalms –

Chapter 46: Where do we find our refuge – our strength? In Job 12, we are reminded of this essential truth –

To God belongs wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His… To Him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are His (Job 12:13, 16).

The psalmist knew where he could find some really good strength. The kind that keeps one going and seeking God – no matter how many trials came their way. I want this kind of faith, where it doesn’t matter what happens – because they chose to trust the Lord Almighty and did not waver from faith to utter fear of what may come. The Lord, our God, is great, and we can know Him – experience Him – on an incredibly intimate level. Our strength and refuge comes solely through trusting in the Lord God Almighty and coming to know His Son Jesus Christ!

Chapter 47: As we approach our new president’s inauguration, we are reminded that earthly kings and presidents are no match for God. The God we serve reminds us that every single one of us belong to Him, and His power is more important than anything else. God is over all. God is soo worthy of all our praise and devotion. God raises up leaders, and tears them down. When nations disassemble, God is still the reigning champion of the world. Jesus Christ is our King!

He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved… Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises (Psalms 47:4, 6).

Genesis –

Abraham was tested, to see where his allegiance was: Did Abraham have a bigger love for his son Isaac or God? This would be a difficult thing, for any of us, but especially so for Abraham – knowing how many years they (Abraham and Sarah) waited to have a child of their own. This was quite possibly the most difficult worship session and act of obedience that Abraham would have faced in his lifetime.

Abraham’s faith was abounding, and grew even with this act of giving his son, Isaac, to God. Abraham showed he withheld nothing in his life from God – our heavenly Father.

In our own lives, what are we withholding from our relationship with God through Jesus Christ?

Our faith is determined by what we are willing to give God. When His strong, yet small with our heavy list of earthly distractions, voice calls us to give Him something, we learn much by our willingness to surrender to God. Perhaps, the Holy Spirit is prompting us to visit our neighbor or to go on a mission trip. We learn a lot about our faith in Jesus Christ, in these moments.

As I listen to these chapters, we learn about a man of integrity. While he slipped and fell in his decisions, he did not take advantage of others. He willfully paid the asking price for a place to bury his beloved wife – Sarah. Westley’s notes show us the heart of both men in chapter 23.

The land is worth four hundred shekels of silver — About fifty pounds of our money, but what is that between me and thee? – He would rather oblige his friend than have so much money.John Wesley (on verse 15)

Abraham’s integrity passed down to how he chose a wife for Isaac. Here is where we find the concept of courting. Abraham’s servant became his hands and feet, to find a suitable wife for Isaac. This would a woman who would have had a similar background as Isaac – in terms of their faith in the One True God.

Abraham, his father, initiated the search of finding a wife for his son. It wasn’t that Isaac would have been unwise in his decision. Rather than being a trait of tradition, such a courtship reflected Abraham’s deep love for his son – Isaac

This courtship is even a picture of how God leads us to His Son Jesus Christ out of His abundance of love for us!

At the time, Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah and he loved her deeply. Abraham’s legacy would impact Isaac and the way he lived.

Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean (Genesis 25:20).

What a joyous moment this must have been. Isaac was alone for forty years, and now has met his wife. The one he would live with and do life with, as they worshiped God.

Isaac brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he married Rebekah. So she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (Genesis 24:67).