Relaxing this summer is something I am trying to focus on and allow God to do His will for my life and not control and plan everything. I have a hard time relaxing as my family of six keep me busy with all of their activities. I feel the need to keep up with everything to not let anyone I love down. But as I am doing that I realize I am letting God down by giving Him my leftovers and not resting at His feet. This reminds of the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Martha was distracted and kept busy with her tasks at hand while Jesus was visiting and Mary chose to sit at the Lord’s feet and listen and relax with Him. The Lord says in verse 41 and 42, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” This story has so much meaning as we live out our lives because we have the choice to relax at Jesus’ feet or get caught up in the busyness of life. If we continue to be caught up in the world we miss the opportunity to be with Him. This summer God is reminding me to not miss out on spending time with Him and having that be part of my day and giving Him my attention first. When I do that it has caused my days to be peaceful and be able to rest in His presence and recognize Him each day. I love the verse I have in my living room as a reminder, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Finding the stillness in our everyday and seeking His presence will help us relax this summer. Are you ready to relax with Him this summer? Put on your sunglasses and let’s bask in the SON
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Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” Nehemiah 8:10.
I have had to see God’s joy in each day as I have been mourning the death of one of our dear friend’s daughter. Words can’t describe all the emotion you go through when you lose a loved one. I can honestly say that it is one of the hardest things I have had to go through and it felt like the loss of one of my children. Our friends were like family to us and we would go on family trips together and spend time together for birthdays and holidays. This little girl that passed was only 5 years old and was my youngest daughter Lydia’s best friend. It is hard to mourn as an adult but when you see your child mourn it breaks your heart as a parent. But Lydia has brought so much joy through this time and truly showed me how to have joy in our sorrow and that it each day was a gift from God and to be joyful. She would tell me to cry happy tears and that her friend was in heaven having so much fun and that we should be happy for her. Lydia carries her picture around wherever we go and will hug and kiss it! She is choosing joy and happiness because she knows her friend is so happy in heaven. My daughter has shown me so much and seeing it through her eyes has brought me so much joy in my mourning. Lydia is choosing joy and not letting anyone take that away from her because she knows she will see her friend and Jesus in heaven one day. As John 16:22 puts it, “ So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” Let the joy of the Lord be your strength in your mourning. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength,” Nehemiah 8:10.
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So it’s 2016, where did 2015 go? Maybe you had the best year yet, maybe it was the worst you’d ever had. Wherever you find yourself, I pray you find your place of peace in 2016. You see tribulations and trials are waiting right around the corner. The Bible even said that they not only will come, but they must come. You know what else will come? Some good times, some funny stuff, some smiles, and many blessings. With all of the New Year’s resolutions and last year’s reflections, I hope you can see yourself standing in the place of peace.
I say these things because this past year has been such a mixed bag and if I had no grounding and no seeking Jesus for peace, I could have read into so many things incorrectly. God has given me grace to stay patient in the face of some confusing situations. Had I faced these things just a few short years ago, I don’t know if I would have had the spiritual stamina to just hold my peace. But that’s just what I’ve done. Not because I prayed 20 hours out of 24, or fasted for forty days and forty nights. It was because in the morning, or at night, or during the day, when I was facing the unfortunate events, I would simply think “Jesus.” Not in a disrespectful and vain way, but in an honest way. A sober way. A way that was calling out his precious name. Jesus, I need you. Jesus help me. Jesus, give me wisdom. It’s been these simple prayers in my heart that I have found the quiet strength I needed to keep my gaze steady and my faith from flailing.
I hope someone hears me as they read these words. I hope someone knows that they are not alone when they are facing things they never dreamed they would, and instead of eloquently praying they are stopped in their tracks and left with the simplicity of calling on the name of Jesus. I hope someone is realizing that the name of Jesus is a strong tower, that the name of Jesus is the name above all names, that demons have to flee at that name, that sickness will leave at that name. That hearts will be healed at the mention of that name and minds will be kept in perfect peace.
Happy New Year my friends, peace be unto you!
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV
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