Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peace be with you

Merry week after Christmas! This is the calm week between the busyness of the Christmas and the excitement of celebrating the New Year. I always thought the week in-between the two was boring, now I just find it peaceful. Growing up in the Catholic church, I've heard the saying “Peace be with you” more times than I can count. But only recently have I taken time to stop and consider what God's peace is really all about.

P – Purpose

I know I quote the verse a lot, but Jeremiah 29:11 summarizes God's intentions toward us perfectly. He has a plan for our lives, we're here at this time in history for a purpose.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

E – Expectation

Having high expectations of what God will do shows we believe God is able. We may not know if God will choose to move mountains but we certainly know He can!

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2Corinthians 9:8)

A - Awe

I love that “A” is in the center of the word, peace, because “awe” is the center of the peace we have through Christ. Only when we stand in awe and reverence of our Mighty God will we ever truly experience His peace. Everything comes from Him!

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”” (Hebrews 12:28-29)

C – Contentment

I have a sign hanging in my kitchen that says “The secret to having it all is believing that you do!” We can't fully experience the fullness of God until we stop striving for more.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12)

E – Enjoyment

You may be focusing on following Christ's example, but are you having any fun? Jesus did. He embraced the experiences and people around Him. He trusted God's plan for His life.

Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

This may be a week of rest for you. Or, you may be right back into the rhythm of your regular routine. Either way, God's peace can be with you no matter what your situation. I believe it's a gift we should treasure and an attitude to carry us into the New Year. I wish you God's peace today and always!

Be blessed,

Jennifer

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)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I wish you and your family all of the blessings of our Savior this Christmas season!
Merry Christmas!
Jennifer

Monday, December 12, 2011

In a trance?

I conquered my fear of hypnosis. Well, more accurately, I avoided hypnosis and then ended up learning a thing or two about it. Confused? I was too until a few myths were dispelled. Now I have a better understanding. Trust me, you will too.

My husband, Greg, and I went to a comedy club over the weekend with some friends. This week's entertainer was a hypnotist. He began the show with a fairly lengthy explanation of what it means to be hypnotized. And wouldn't you know it, God showed me an interesting parallel.

“Everyone is capable of being hypnotized, but not everyone will allow themselves to be. Therefore, they feel like they are unable to fall under hypnosis.” the hypnotist explained. But then God whispered in my spirit, “The road to destruction is wide... only a few find the road that leads to life.” (Matthew 7:14)

The hypnotist further explained, “Hypnosis is not a trance. It is only a deeper level of relaxation. Your body and mind are far more relaxed, allowing you to be open to the suggestions I make.” To which God replied, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“At no time will I suggest the participants do something harmful, embarrassing or reveal personal information that they would not normally share.” the hypnotist continued. God whispered, “ I plan to prosper you, not to harm you.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


Finally, the hypnotist explained while under hypnosis, people still have free will. They are very much in control of their mind and body. They cannot be made to do something they would normally be unwilling to do. God whispered, “who the Son set free, is free indeed.” (John 8:36)

I always thought that hypnosis was some kind of trance-like state that could be forced upon you, willing or not. I didn't understand. You have to allow yourself to be hypnotized. Unlike a trance, you still have full control of your mind, body and the choices you make. It's really about allowing yourself to be still and open to suggestions.


I believe there is a similar misconception when it comes to being a believer. People incorrectly think once you give your life to Christ, you enter a trance-like existence. They think God tells us all what to do, what to think, and how to act like a puppet on a string. That couldn't be further from the truth! God is all about free will. He freely gave His life for us so we could accept the gift and live for Him.

I'm not trying to make you uncomfortable by comparing hypnosis and our faith walk. It's just a little reminder that when you spend time alone with God and are open to what He has to teach you... you'll see God in your every day!

Be blessed,


Jennifer



Monday, December 5, 2011

How do you handle adversity?

As I enjoy a hot cup of coffee on this cold winter morning, a story I heard recently came to mind. You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling.. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see.."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong , hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?!

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

"The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble." Psalm 37:39