The shoes you wear

And you’re welcome…another song getting stuck in your head right now….”these shoes are made for walking….”  LOL!  But really…what are your shoes made for and where do you go in them?  Walking, hiking, running, climbing, beach weather, winter weather, just cuz “these are awesome shoes and I wanna wear ’em”, or relaxing at home?  There are all kinds of shoes for all kinds of purposes.  The picture below of the totally awesome (yes…I was a teen in the 80’s!!) platform shoes belong to one of the most kind-hearted, genuinely caring, and positively supportive women I have the privilege of knowing.  And she is rockin’ these shoes!!!  In her day, she has so many things thrown at her (probably literally, but she’ll never admit that!) and she carries herself with such grace.  If I wore those shoes, I would not be so graceful…old age will do that to a girl!  But this woman, she wears these shoes while she deals with multiple personalities, attitudes, and opinions ~ all with a smile on her face.  Because it’s easy?  NO!  Because she knows WHO she truly answers to.  She knows who she is as a Daughter of the King.

Blue Platform Shoes - Mama J

How can we walk through our day full of knowledge that we serve a mighty God and even if (or when!) things go awry, be confident that we are going to be alright?  We have to put on the spiritual ‘shoes of peace’ (Ephesians 6 – the Armor of God).  Specifically, Ephesians 6:14-15 says, “and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”   The apostle Paul was imprisoned during the time he was writing to the Ephesians.  Even in this absolutely horrible situation, God gave him the image of the Roman soldier through the eyes of the Holy Spirit.  Digging in and discovering the true meaning of the armor of good ~ and putting it on! ~ continues to excite me!  As I finish up the Priscilla Shirer study by the same name (The Armor of God) she made a very short, but very powerful statement in the Week 6 DVD; “We are given the same armor to wear as the God of the universe wears.  If it’s good enough for Him, then it is absolutely good enough for us.” (I admit…I was writing really fast, but this is the gist of what she said).

So how did Jesus walk on this earth?  With “feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”  We are called to do the same.  Walking in peace is not easy but we are called to do so.  Choosing to walk in peace through difficult trials, is well, difficult.  But we don’t have to do this with our own strength.  When we ask God to give us the ability to walk in peace, He will.  He wants to give good gifts to His children ~ so ask!  If you are going through a situation right now that is causing you great worry or distress, be humble and ask the Lord to give you the peace you need.  It won’t make the problem go away, it will just make walking through a little bit more doable.

Proverbs 3:5-7 delivers a beautiful promise to us from God, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”

Whatever shoes you are rockin’ today, make sure that first your feet are bathed in the peace of the Heavenly Father, Creator of the Universe.

Blessings,

René

But God?!

“But Mom!  That’s not fair!”, “But Dad!  Mom said I could!”, “But why?  I don’t deserve this!”  Sound familiar?  How about, “But God?  Why did this happen? Why did I lose my job?  Why did my friend have to die?  Why can’t I have a lot of money?  Why do I have to go through this trial?”  And so on and so on.  We’ve all been there….at least, I’m pretty sure we have.  If you have never ~ like, ever! ~ found yourself questioning God on any aspect of your life that didn’t seem fair, please tell me how you do it.

In recent bible studies and scripture reading, I have come across a phrase that I’ve probably seen a bunch of times before, but it is hit me freshly in the past few months.  I know I’ve said it before (and I did in my bible study group this morning!), I absolutely and thoroughly LOVE that God will shine a light on a passage of His Word in a new and impactful way because of what He wants to teach me in that specific moment.  God’s Word never changes, but we do and when we get closer to Him and are careful enough to study His Word, we can see things in a brand new way that we never did before.  God’s Word is alive and well people!  It ain’t going anywhere!!

So, what’s the phrase?

But God…

These two words are used congruently in the Bible about 35 times. And I made sure to read all of them so that I would be beyond certain of what I share with you today.

In each of these circumstances, God was either giving a promise, giving a warning, or giving a way out.  But God.  The word ‘but’ is a conjunction, but can be used as a preposition, an adverb, a noun, or an idiom. The definition found in dictionary.com says: on the contrary; yet; except; save; unless; if not; except that (followed by a clause, often with that expressed); without the circumstance that; otherwise than; who not; that not.

So these verses can be described by saying: yet God, except God, save God, unless God, if not God, who not than God.  God’s Word never wastes a letter, even a three letter word, ‘but,’ can describe a wealth of emotion in the circumstance.

2 Chronicles 20:15 and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 

Job 28:23 “But God understands the way to wisdom, and He knows its location.”

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.”

Ephesians 2:4 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us,”

These verses bring joy to my heart in knowing that God is for me!  I do not have to be afraid of the world and what is in it, but I do need to be aware of what is in the world and what is going on in the spiritual realm so that I can be protected.  As you just read in Job 28:38, God knows where His wisdom is kept and He knows how to impart that wisdom to us.  God always provides a way out of a difficult situation.  But what happens when we feel God isn’t being fair?

One of the things I’ve said to my girls in the past (that they don’t particularly enjoy) is when I hear them say, “But that’s not fair!”  I respond with “Fair?  Fair is a place where you can ride a Ferris wheel and eat funnel cake.”  I laugh…they usually do not.  For the most part, it stops the complaint from going farther.  One of the hardest parts of having my three lovely girls, is when they feel one sister is getting something that they aren’t.  How many times have I had the conversation with one of them about how the big sister gets to have this certain privilege and you don’t…because you are 9 and they are 15.  Six years doesn’t seem to be a huge age gap, but it is.  And it doesn’t seem fair.  When the 15 year-old was 9, they had the same rules, but the current 9 year-old doesn’t remember that because said 9 year-old was THREE!  I guess in a way, we were riding a Ferris wheel!

So when we feel life isn’t being fair, where to we go?  We can run to the everlasting arms of Jesus and He will absolutely comfort us.  We can have strength from the Lord as only He can give and learn to be satisfied with what is going on in our life.  It is definitely a learning process to be content and satisfied.  If we could come by contentedness easily, we wouldn’t need the Lord.  We wouldn’t need to rely on anyone but ourselves.  Then we ultimately wouldn’t need a Savior.  How sad is that thought.

There is nothing that we can summon up within ourselves, all by ourselves, that will truly amount to anything.  The gifts and talents we have, have been given to us by the Lord.  We have a choice what we are going to do with them, but unless we submit those choices to the Lord, disappointment will be around every corner.  Again…and cautiously I say…submitting our will to the Lord and being obedient to the call He has on our life, does not guarantee a blissful life free of problems.  I know I’ve written on this idea before, but I think it bears repeating simply because it’s something we deal with often.  Sometimes we deal with it on a daily basis.  Well, I do at least…and I bet I’m not alone here.  I get caught up in running off down a path that I’m sure will be pleasing to the Lord ~ I’ve prayed about it, I’ve received counsel from others that I trust, all the pieces seem to be coming together ~ and then I ask God to join me on my journey.  Did you catch that?  “My journey.”  This is completely backwards.  I truly may be taking correct steps forward, but unless I submit that desire and choice to the Lord, I’ll end walking on the edge of the path God has for me, instead of right smack down the center of the path where He is leading me.  I need to join God on His journey that He has planned for me.

There are also several occasions in scripture where we see that God has had to discipline His people because they have walked off the proverbial path.

Romans 11:22 Therefore, consider God’s kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen but God’s kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.”

This verbiage may surprise you…that God can be described as kind and as severe in the same sentence.  But He is.  His kindness went so far as to create a plan where Jesus His Son, would come to earth and through His death and resurrection, create a most beautiful free gift of salvation ~ a reconciliation and a restoration of our life back to our Heavenly Father.  How many of us have a pure heart of kindness that we would die for someone in order to save them?  (!! I do not believe that we can die and save someone to eternity, by the way…just wanted to make that clear!!)  But really, our hearts, due to their base sin nature would never be able to do that for anyone.

Only God.  Except for God. If not for God.  ~  We would be lost.

Before we start thinking we are doing so well in terms of how we serve the Lord, how we honor Him with our praise and thanksgiving, we must remember that even in those activities we can become full of ourselves instead of full of the Holy Spirit.  God does not abide in the self-elevation we are guilty of.  Just because we “aren’t’ as bad as that guy over there,” doesn’t mean we are free from being disciplined due to sin in our life.  Luke 16:15 says, “And He told them: “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight.”

It amazes me sometimes that I can forget that God knows my heart and my mind.  I cannot hide anything from Him, so why in the heck do I think I can get away with unconfessed sin.  Afterall, I’m not being hunted by law enforcement, I haven’t killed anyone, I haven’t robbed anyone, so I’m a really good person.  But sin…is sin!  I know I am being pursued by the Holy Spirit to live a righteous life.  I know I need to be truthful in love so as not to destroy a dream that a loved one has shared with me.  I know I need to speak encouragement into the lives of those around me so that I do not destroy the tender heart who shares vulnerably with me about their life.

But God….

I am so very glad, beyond thrilled really, that God has intervened to bring me back to Him; that He wants to pursue me back to relationship with Him.  And He loves me enough to show me in His Word that He has a plan; a perfect plan.  I am thankful for His mercy and grace in my life.  Let me encourage you to trust the Lord, believe that our Heavenly Father has the best life for you.  Turn to Him in the darkest moments and ask Him for strength, as much as you honor Him with praise and thanksgiving in the best of life’s moments.  If you do not know the Lord today as your personal Savior, I would love to pray with you and for you ~ message me!  But you can start by reading the book of John in the New Testament ~ simply opening up a Bible or typing in http://www.biblegateway.com and put the word “John” into the search bar.  Holman Christian Study Bible or New International Version are the easiest to read.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Blessings,

René

Job 28 verses 23,28

*http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/but?s=t

*”but God” search:  https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/quicksearch=but+God&qs_version=HCSB&limit=500

 

Captive OR Captivated?

Are you living a life that is held captive by something or are you living a life that is captivated by Someone?

What’s the difference you say?

BIG difference!

To be captive by someone means to be a prisoner; a person who is enslaved or dominated; slave; made or held prisoner, especially in war.”  To be captivated by someone is the opposite, to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence” ~ one is negative and one is positive.

If you are familiar with the Old Testament, there were laws set in place by God that the Israelite’s were to follow.  These laws served an important purpose in their lives as God’s people were able to focus on serving Yahweh (God the Father).  There were covenants made between God and His people (all throughout the book of Genesis); the 10 Commandments given to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20); a variety of Festivals honoring God (Exodus 23); sacrificial offerings for forgiveness of sin and for celebration (the book of Leviticus); and other laws that were given to the Levitical priests (the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy).

So. Many. Lists.

In the New Testament, Jesus came with the express purpose of teaching us directly about the Father and the grace & mercy He was offering.  Jesus wants to reconcile and redeem ALL of the people back to relationship with God the Father.  However, it just seemed “too incomprehensible” to the Jewish leaders of the day to believe that everything they had been doing for centuries, were no longer needed.  Jesus wanted to shed light on the fact that the Jewish people were living as captives to an old set of laws that didn’t need to be practiced anymore.  Why?

Jesus coming to earth as a man AND at the SAME TIME as part of the Trinity, and eventually fulfilling prophecy of being crucified and risen again, we mind-blowing!  By each miracle, by each teaching, by each healing ~ and ultimately by His Resurrection, Jesus made the absolute and FINAL sacrifice for us.  With that fulfillment of Old Testament promised prophecy, the old laws that governed the Jewish people (and all people for that matter) were finished.

The gap was forever bridged by the cross.  

The throne room of grace was opened for everyone to enter into and sit at the feet of the Father.  The Holy Spirit was made available to live in us and be our Intercessor.

But habits can be hard to break.

There are so many amazing truths that have come to fruition by the coming, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can move from being captive to the old laws, to being captivated by the beauty, grace, and mercy of the Lord.  HIS ways are meant to be attractive to us, to hold our attention so that we can live a full and complete life.  Hear me when I also say that these promises of the Lord do not mean we will be exempt from troubles.   If I could sit across from you at one of my favorite coffee shops, I would listen to you as you poured out your heart and hope to encourage you not to lose hope…to not lose faith in God’s goodness.

At bible study today, one of the women in my group shared a powerful image with us.  We were talking about having faith and peace in our lives, the kind that only can come from strength in the Lord.  She held her coffee cup up and squeezed it just a bit.  She likened that motion as to what we do when we are holding “the cup” (whatever circumstance we find ourselves in) that God has given us but then we start gripping it, squeezing it as we try to take back that situation and bring it under our own control.  We have to learn to be content in the place we are at…easy or difficult…it is a place of God’s design.

No need to just take my word for it ~ read the promise from God in His Living Word in Romans 6:14“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”  I think I hear a Hallelujah from somebody out there!

My encouragement to you today as you read this, is that you make that full transition to become CAPTIVATED by the immense peace and beauty of our Lord Jesus.  When we allow our entire mental, emotional, and spiritual attention to be focused on Him, we will be able to be confident on the road ahead.  We can have faith that as we follow Him, He will not disappoint.

Romans 7 verse 6

Blessings,

René

 

*http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/captive?s=t

*http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/captivate?s=t

*All verses found at: https://www.biblegateway.com

 

When “Hovering” is a Good Thing

In the past couple of days, SoCal has entered what we all hope is finally the beginning of Autumn.  Yes, I know it’s towards the end of October…we’re getting there.  One thing I love seeing is the return of the fog.  We live near some mountains and it’s such a majestic site to go out in the early morning to see fog hovering over tops of the mountains.  The high temperature of the day only gets to about 72-75 degrees, the air conditioning never comes on, and my favorite part…opening the windows and feeling the cool breeze.  At night, the misty fog returns to rest upon the crest of the mountains and lend a sense of closure and protection to our little city below.

But there have been times in my life when fog has not been beautiful or majestic at all ~ it’s been downright frightening!  I have driven in the famous Sacramento “Tule Fog” in the middle of February, on an unfamiliar road, not knowing that it was not a good idea to drive in fog with your high beams on.  Um, yeah…scary!  I was on this road for about 2 hours, going 15 miles an hour, 8 weeks pregnant and had to use the facilities in the worst way.  Let’s just say, I made it to my friends house just in time, but absolutely stressed out vowing to never drive in those conditions again.  Well, in those conditions alone again.

One of the most visual images about the Holy Spirit, at least when I think about Him in this way, is what is described in Genesis 1:1-2:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

To hover is to “to keep lingering about; wait near at hand.”1  Can you picture this?  The Holy Spirit’s job at this point in Creation was to wait near and linger over the heavenly waters as God the Father began to create “the heavens and the earth.”  He was not separate from the creation story ~ the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity and has a very important job.  

Although as we read further in Genesis chapter 1, we see that in order to make the earth and heaven, He had to separate the waters to those “that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse.” (vs. 7b). But wait…when you separate something, it means that there are usually two halves still remaining.  In verse 6 of chapter 1, it tells us, “And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”” That expanse we know as the sky (or atmosphere).  There are heavenly waters that still exist as well as the waters on earth that we know as the sea.  Personally, I have always loved going to the ocean because it just feels like God to me.  The expanse of the sea, the depth of the oceans, the peacefulness of the crashing waves, and the coolness of the water ~ that all reminds me of the profound power and grace that encompasses who God is.

Depending on the commentary you read, the Holy Spirit is known by at least 35 different names in the Bible.2  Most notably, the Holy Spirit is known as our Helper, our Counselor, our Comforter (see John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7; Isaiah 11:2).  After Jesus was resurrected and spent time back on earth with the disciples, He appeared before them one last time before He ascended to Heaven, (see John 16). He gave them ~ and all of us who believe in Him ~ the immensely personal gift of the Holy Spirit to be our: Counselor, Advocate, Helper, Friend, Comforter. The role that the Holy Spirit has is to guide us in our thoughts and actions, and to be a intercessor between us and the Father.  He is with us and with the Father ~ the Holy Spirit is hovering between the two, never leaving one or the other.

Today, let me encourage you to settle in and allow the Holy Spirit to hover over you.  Hear Him speak words and promises of joy, comfort, and even correction to your soul and seek the Lord as you move forward in your relationship with Him.  Don’t miss out on the beautiful way the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, will hover over your life, bringing you great comfort and peace.

Blessings,

René

Genesis 1 verse 1-2

  1. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hover?s=t
  2. http://www.compellingtruth.org/names-Holy-Spirit.html

 

 

The Power of Words

As soon as I chose the title for today’s blog, I can’t get the Huey Lewis & the News song “That’s the Power of Love” song out of my head.  It doesn’t relate to the topic, well, not really…but it’s catchy and you just can’t get those 80’s songs out of your brain!!  Now that I’ve talked about the song, I can move on…you are now welcome that the song is now stuck in your brain!  You’re welcome. 🙂

The Power of Words ~ more than we realize sometimes.  With our words we can: heal, hurt, comfort, proclaim, defend, defy, build-up, gossip, love, hate, encourage, deny, etc.  So much power that we have and so many times so little consideration of what comes out of our mouth.  When I was a teenager, my mom would sometimes say to me, “Honey, just because you think of something, that doesn’t mean it needs to come out of your mouth.”  And yes, I’ve used that on my own daughters’….good times!  It’s true though isn’t it?  When my girls were little and learning how to talk, oh how frustrating it could be for them.   I could see the determination in their little faces trying desperately to explain something to me or ask me for something.  When it was clear that I wasn’t getting it, I would say to them, “Can you show Mommy?”  Or better yet, when they were having a fit about something, I would try to get their attention and tell them, “Use your words.” As an adult how many times have you said something and as the words are pouring out of your mouth (usually at a very rapid pace) you suddenly have an out of body experience and wish we could gather those words and take them back!  I know I have…but you can’t take them back.

And I really can’t stand that silly adage of “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”  What?  Whoever thought of that…ugh!  Really?!?  There are opportunities that we have every day to either build-up or tear down someone with the words we speak to them.

WORDS CAN ABSOLUTELY HURT!

I love how James 1:17 reminds us that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  EVERY gift ~ not just some of them, but every single gift that comes from God, is GOOD!  And what does satan want to do with everything that is good…he wants to turn into something vile and disgusting that brings death and defiance.  So of course, because God’s Word is so good, the enemy uses words to ignite issues between churches, family members, and friends alike.  The more satan can use words to harm, the more he thinks he has won.  But he hasn’t.  We allow him to creep in to our attitudes and develop pride about something, say things we can’t take back and then we are left with the mess to clean up…and satan is standing by laughing.  The great news is that we don’t have to clean up the mess alone!  God is there and His Word is there to guide us every step of the way back to unity in the Body of Christ, with our family and with our friends.  The words, “I forgive you.” are some of the most powerful words in our vocabulary!  Use them!!

The first words to be spoken, we read about in Genesis 1:3 “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”  God, our Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe, could have used ANY means to create this world we live in.  He could have snapped His fingers, He could have just thought it into existence.  But He chose to express with His Words what He wanted to create.  He SPOKE creation into reality.  In Genesis chapters 1 & 2, this phrase is used 12 times during the creation story. There are over 100 times throughout the rest of scripture that God spoke to His people about their life, their blessings they would recieve, or the discipline they would recieve because of their sin.

Take a moment to read this beautiful portion of the passage in Psalm 119:97-108,

“Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word. I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. I have suffered much; preserve my life, Lord, according to your word. Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.”

These are exquisite words that paint such a lovely picture of what it means to love God’s Word.  King David of the Old Testament penned these words as they flowed from Holy Spirit inspiration, to teach all those going ahead of him of the magnitude importance it is to keep God’s laws (His Words) in our heart, in our mind, and on our tongues.  When we learn and obey what God has told us, we will have peace in knowing we are living rightly before Him.  There is no where in this passage (or any other part of the Bible for that matter) that promises us a perfect & easy life if just follow how God says to live.  Nope.  It ain’t in there.  But He does promise us that He will never leave us nor forsake us, (Deuteronomy 31:6,8).  His Words are true…His promises are true…His laws are true and they are good.

Another part I love from the Psalms passage is, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Did you catch that?  It’s not 10,000 candle power search light that illumines our path.  It is a lamp.  A simple lamp with a simple light whose wattage is perfectly suited for the path that we are on.  If we could see what was out 10 blocks in front of us, we wouldn’t need to depend too much on the light that was right in front of us.  This analogy of the lamp shows us how we must be dependent on the Lord for every single step we take.  This is not because God wants to be an overbearing, angry guide who doesn’t want us to be prepared for what is coming.  He wants to lead us down the path He has carved out for us that will be most beneficial for us.  Does that path always make sense?  No, it does not.  But it will all eventually be seen as a blessing and as an example of God’s faithfulness in our life.  Sometimes when we feel like we are in a dark place, it is frankly because we have walked away from the protection of the Lord due to the unconfessed sin in our life.  And sometimes that dark place is when God is covering us, to protect us from something far worse.  In any case, we have to rely on the light of God’s Word to show us where to go.

Psalm 57:1 “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

These words I have shared with you are not meant to bring about frustration ~ they truly are meant to be an encrouagement to you.  Life isn’t easy and we don’t have all the answers.  You may be going through circumstances that are extremely painful and confusing and you are wondering where God is in all of it.  In those moments, and probably at a time when the last thing you really want to do is read your Bible or pray, that’s when you need Him the most.  When you don’t have the words to speak the Father in pray, you don’t have to say a word because our Comforter, the Holy Spirit can go before the throne of God and intercede on our behalf.  I have had several occasions in my life where there just weren’t any words that would come out of my mouth because the pain in my heart was just too great.  From my own life I can tell you, that through those unspoken sobs that come up from your toes, God hears them and He understands them.  If you are able to talk with someone about whatever it is that is going on in your life right now, please talk to them.  Use your words to express your emotions.  If you don’t have a confidante, pray and ask the Lord to help you find one and He will.

Psalm 33:4 “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
Be watchful of the words you speak just as much as you are mindful of the words you think.  Even if the words have truth to them, they may not need to be spoken right when you think they need to be.  Use your words to inquire of the Lord as to the right timing and the gracious way you need to deliver them.  The intentions of our words need to rooted in God’s love so that they will produce growth in the one to whom we are speaking.  Quick harsh words can last a lifetime if we are not careful.  All of this…I say as an encouragement to you and to me as well.  Every day I have to remember to have gracious words and wise timing.  I don’t always succeed, but seeking forgiveness from those I’ve hurt and from the Lord are always in order.  Don’t let pride stand in your way if you have someone you need to apologize to.  You may not have meant to hurt them, but it happened.  Kick satan back where he belongs, and allow God to light a new path of reconciliation.

Words.

Spoken and silent.

Words carry Power.

Image-1

Blessings,

René

Beautiful Feet

I’m as ready as the next gal to go get a pedicure ~ I love getting pedicures!  I really need to go get one, and soon!  I love the whole experience…soaking my feet in warm soapy water, having someone carefully take each foot out of the water, dry it off, slough off the dead skin (sorry…but you know that’s part of it!), remove the callouses (you know you have them too!) and then…the best part…sweet smelling heated lotion and the foot and leg massage.  Ahhhh….. I would seriously pay money just to have someone rub my feet and calves for an hour.  I think my husband would let me know since rubbing my feet is not one of his favorite jobs.  Oh, and then the nail polish, carefully chosen to match the season or the weekend event.  When the foot transformation is complete, I look down at my lovely little toes and smile.  “There!  My feet are beautiful again!” I exclaim to the pedicurist.  “Thank you!”  And off I go.

Did you know the Bible talks about beautiful feet?  It does indeed ~ but in a bit of a different way.  In the Old Testament, Isaiah 52:7 prophecies of how beautiful it will be when the Savior comes to bring the good news of the gospel of peace, to a world that has no idea how desperately they need to hear it.  The promise of what is to come seems too good to be true. Take a jump into the New Testament and the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:15“and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” ~ this was truly a radical statement to the people of Ephesus.  Not only was Paul teaching the new Believer’s how to be prepared to fight the battles of Satan and his demons (read more in *Ephesians 6 regarding the whole armor of God) he was making them aware to KEEP the ‘sandals, or shoes, of peace’ on your feet in a state of readiness for whatever comes our way, at ALL times.

It hit me in a fresh new way just this week reading in Ephesians and I love the way the NASB (New American Standard Bible) puts the phrase, “…having shod…”  He’s saying, “Listen, you have already put these shoes of peace on because you have been preparing yourself by studying God’s word and by being in a restored & reconciled relationship with Him.  So go out and spread the good news of God’s great love.”  You know, the word ‘gospel’ was not used in the Old Testament at all.  Not once.  Thanks to the amazing dvd (session 4) led by Priscilla Shirer in “The Armor of God” bible study curriculum, I learned this fact today.  I also checked my handy online bible verse web site and it’s true!  Since I used the NASB version in the verse above, we’ll stick with this one and see that the word ‘gospel’ is used 97 times BUT only in the New Testament.   As the saying goes, that word was just too good to be true to the early believer’s.

In the Matthew Henry Commentaries**, he writes this with regard to Ephesians 6:15, “It is styled the gospel of peace because it brings all sorts of peace, peace with God, with ourselves, and with one another. It may also be meant of that which prepares for the entertainment of the gospel, namely, repentance. With this our feet must be shod: for by living a life of repentance we are armed against temptations to sin, and the designs of our great enemy.”  This kind of revelation to Jews and Gentiles of that time, seemed too good to be true.  That we could truly be reconciled to relationship with Abba, our Heavenly Father.

So take a moment, soak your feet in the comforting pages of scripture, allow the Lord to slough off the rough parts of your soul, and massage His grace and peace that He freely gives to you, into your hearts and minds.  Prepare to put on the majestic colors of the gospel of peace and walk confidently, declaring the beauty of God’s love and the truth of His Word.

Blessings,

René

Isaiah 52 verse 7 - the feet of him

* https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6&version=NASB

** https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/matthew-henry/Eph.6.10-Eph.6.18

Peace Out

It’s been one of those days and I’m finally sitting down to write ~ I’m taking a “peace out” ~ which I should do far more often!  What does this mean?  That moment when you are about to either explode or implode, but you thankfully catch yourself and basically take a time-out.  You’ve either given a time-out, or been given one, either way the purpose is to redirect the actions and attitudes that are leading you down a negative path towards a more healthy alternative.  So how do you give yourself a Peace-Out?

There’s only ONE way to accomplish this….

You have to go to the Lord in prayer!

We cannot ever (yes…ever!) get enough peace on our own that will be able to tackle an attitude change, or a life change, and make it stick.  I know I have fallen prey to my own designs of making everything perfectly line up to make sure that my life goes exactly how I want it to.  “How’s that workin’ for ya?” you ask ~ it doesn’t!  There have been so many twists and turns in my life, if it wasn’t for the grace and mercy of my precious Savior, I’d be in a sad state for sure!

It is most assuredly not an easy task to pray when you are in the midst of a chaotic, stressful, maddening experience.  Praying is sometimes the last thing you are thinking about.  Asking God to give you peace and patience is not always the first request ~ not to punch someone in the nose is probably more accurate of what is crossing your mind in those moments. When I was a young mom, I used to pray for patience with my little one…all.the.time!  Until one day, a more seasoned mom said to me, “Honey, you’re going to need patience all the time as a mom.  If you keep praying for patience, God is going to keep giving you opportunities to learn how to have it.  How about just pray that you’ll remember to pray.”  Wiser words folks…wiser words!

The best part of praying for peace, is that you aren’t praying and asking God for ‘your’ peace.  You need to ask God to fill you with HIS peace!  In the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible, ‘peace’ is referrenced 361 times ~ almost once for each day of the year!  Whoohoo!!!

Check out this treasure: John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  These are the very words of Jesus to His disciples, letting them know that He was leaving them with the Holy Spirit who would be their comforter, their peace-giver.  Jesus knew that those folks then, just like us today, would need reassurance in times of fear, doubt, anxiousness, anger, trouble ~ that we would need Peace!  Worldly peace is fleeting and temporary and honestly, it won’t get you far.

So when those troubled times hit you, when you have repeated yourself to your kids for the millionth time that day about picking up after themselves, when that car cuts you off on the freeway, when the job goes away, when you’ve been treated poorly ~ you see where I’m going with this ~ give yourself a ‘Peace Out’ and pray.

Here’s the best part ~ He WILL be faithful to answer you!

Blessings,

René

2 Thessalonians 3 verse 16

 

** All bible verses found through: “BibleGateway.” .com: A Searchable Online Bible in over 100 Versions and 50 Languages. Web. 14 Oct. 2015.