Off to Italy

by Fran Sandin

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. John 14:27 ESV          

What an amazing adventure! My husband, Jim, and I joined the Christian Medical and Dental Association group for a spring tour of Italy.

On our first night in Venice, a ride on the Grand Canal boat taxi highlighted gorgeous views of glowing domes, the famous Rialto bridge, restaurants, hotels, and old, ornate buildings. The following day included a tour of St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and a glass blower demonstration at the Original Murano Glass company. A gondola ride along the back canals revealed colorful side-by-side apartments and quaint shops.

A guided tour of Florence helped us appreciate the Renaissance works of Michelangelo, Machiavelli, DaVinci, and Botticelli. Their artistic details were so breathtaking we could only gaze upon the masterpieces as from God, the giver of exceptional talents.

Rome’s famous Colosseum loomed larger and more massive than we ever imagined. We drove by the Mamertine Prison where the apostle Paul was incarcerated before his death, and we learned he had walked six miles from there to the place he was beheaded. A chapel built on that location houses the memorials of Paul’s demise and a large painting of Peter being crucified upside down.

We eventually arrived in Assisi, the home of St. Francis, who was born in 1181 into a wealthy family, his father being a silk merchant. As a young man, Francis was handsome, witty, and gallant. He loved parties and bright colored clothes. In 1202 he joined a military expedition and was taken captive. During a year in prison, Francis became ill, felt the Lord was speaking to him, and his spiritual journey began.

When released from prison, Francis returned to Assisi with a different view of life; he was more interested in helping the poor than in making money. Since he no longer wanted the world’s ways, he and his father parted.

Wealthy friends could not understand what had happened to Francis. In his early 20s, Francis used to hate the lepers, but his heart had changed; now he loved them. He wanted to help the poor, spend much time in prayer and meditation, and admire nature, which he believed was a mirror of God. He felt God was telling him to rebuild the church and live in poverty.

The life and faith of St. Francis of Assisi has been honored through the years for his work as an Italian Catholic, friar, philosopher, preacher, and the founder of the Franciscan order. He died in 1226 at the age of 44, quoting Psalm 142, a psalm of refuge, as he breathed his last. He was canonized as a saint in 1228.

The life of St. Francis is a testimony to the fact that we must make peace with God before we can experience the peace of God.

My mother-in-law, Jean Sandin, displayed on her living room wall a lovely, framed calligraphy of one of St. Francis’ most memorable writings, a prayer for each of us to ponder:

LORD, make me an instrument of Thy Peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon.             Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.         

O DIVINE MASTER, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Fran Sandin is a retired nurse, organist, mother, and grandmother living in Greenville, Texas. She and her husband, Jim, have traveled to many countries and states. Her latest book, Hope on the Way, Devotions to Go– contains 52 devotionals for those who love to combine faith and adventure. Visit her website to order with a click on the home page fransandin.comHope on the Way has been nominated by Joy and Company in Arlington, Texas, for the Henri Award (for outstanding Christian Literature) both in the Devotional and Christian Living sections.

Join the conversation: How have you made peace with God? Are you able then to bring peace to others?

A Beautiful Reminder

by Melissa Heiland

This morning, I went down to the beach to worship and study and spend time alone with my Jesus. It was very early, and I listened to the crashing of the waves as read and pondered and worried. Disturbing thoughts came unbidden to my mind bringing feelings of sorrow.

I thought about friends who had left without warning or explanation, family members who seemed uncaring. My mind was racing thinking about all the things that were on my list and all the people I wanted to please. I was listening to whispers of the enemy telling me that I was alone and unloved.

And then I looked up.

Sitting very still and incredibly close, was a beautiful snowy egret, a shore bird, spectacular in her beauty and glorious in her nearness to me. If I had extended my arm, I would have touched her.

In that moment, I remembered. I remembered the nearness of my Lord. He is always near, always close, always loving. In that moment, everything changed. My heart and mind were flooded with peace at the nearness of my Savior. How marvelous that my Jesus would love me so much, to send a bird to remind me that He is always with me.

All the issues that were consuming me still existed, but there was a shift in my spirit. In Psalm 46:10, we are told, “Be still and know that I am God.” When I am still in my heart and my mind, I can focus on the love and power of God. He sees me, loves me, and will take care of me. All my fretting is futile and even harmful.

1 Peter 5:6,7 teaches us, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” We can cast all our anxious thoughts on Jesus because he cares for us. We do not need to hold them, to nurture them, to replay them endlessly in our minds. We have a Savior, a Savior who cares enough to die on the cross for us and to send me an unexpected messenger as a reminder of His love and care.

In John 14:27, we read, “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.”

Peace is a gift given to us. Today, and every day, I want to live in His precious peace. I pray that you and I will be still and know.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Melissa Heiland is the Founder and President of Beautiful Feet International, a mission organization that plants pregnancy ministries around the world. She is an international speaker and author who is passionate about mommies, babies and sharing the Gospel. She has written devotionals for pregnant moms, new mothers and short-term mission teams, as well as a children’s book based on Psalm 139. She and her husband Ken have 6 children and 5 grandchildren.

Part devotional, part pregnancy journal, A Mother’s Journey has forty chapters that correspond with each week of pregnancy, offering comfort and spiritual guidance to those facing challenges. Each week’s reading includes Scripture verses and a journal prompt, as well as information about your baby’s development at various stages to help you get to know the little one growing inside you. A Mother’s Journey is a great resource to help you connect deeper with your baby, yourself, and your heavenly Father.

Join the conversation: What do you do to bring down high anxiety?

Can Turmoil and Peace Co-Exist?

by Nancy Kay Grace

Do you long for peace in a world of turmoil?

Have you found yourself overextended by pressures or frazzled by uncertainty? The pandemic has added another layer of stress on everyone, as we’ve had to adapt in many ways. Add to that any interpersonal problems or anxiety regarding health issues, and concentration becomes more difficult. I find my mind spins faster and flits from one thought to another when confusion ramps up. When the mind races, the heart loses peace.

At those times, peace seems unattainable and far away.

Yet Jesus gave the promise of peace. How can peace co-exist with turmoil?

I witnessed this unusual co-existence while my husband and I hiked along a mountain stream. The early summer rains and snow melt flowed through a valley. Although sections of the trail were underwater, we kept hiking, stepping on rocks to crisscross the winding stream. We were determined to see the waterfall at the end of the trail. As we approached the waterfall, we heard the roar of the water tumbling off a rugged cliff from thirty feet above. Closer, the crash of the water over the rocks sprayed my face. It was exhilarating being close enough to feel the coolness and hear the power of nature.          

Glancing down at the pool of water at the base of the falls, I noticed a great contrast. One side of the pool churned and bubbled under the waterfall, but the water on the other side of the rocky basin remained smooth and undisturbed. On the calm water rested a butterfly, oblivious to the swirling water only a few feet away.

Crashing water on one side, gentle butterfly on the other. Turmoil and peace coexisted side by side.

Peace in the Bible is characterized by shalom, which is more than the absence of hostility. It is the wholeness that comes through our relationship with Jesus Christ. Peace allows us to rest secure in him in the midst of insecurity. The Lord is the creator of real peace, a true refuge of security and safety.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace, gave us these promises for the times of turmoil:

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to 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 NIV

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Remembering those promises calmed my anxious heart when I faced the uncertainty of cancer surgery. Jesus gave me true peace in the midst of turmoil. By spending time with the Lord in prayer and the Scriptures, God’s power and tranquility soaks into us.

What a blessing it is to look to the Prince of Peace instead of the turmoil of the world!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of peace in the face of turmoil. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives.  

Visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly Grace Notes devotional newsletter. You can also connect with Nancy on Facebook or Instagram.

Join the conversation: Do you have an anxious heart?

A Word of Hope

by Crystal Bowman

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. Psalm 33:18 NIV

It’s become sort of trendy to choose a word or phrase to focus on for the coming year. Maybe you’ve been doing this for years, or maybe this is new to you. Either way, I like this idea. The phrase I picked for 2020 was hang in there. In the fall of 2019, we had some sudden and unexpected changes in our lives, and I knew the adjustment to these changes would be long and hard. We had to leave our home in paradise (Florida) and return to our home in the Midwest for a variety of reasons. I was doing my best to “hang in there.” Then the pandemic reached the US and once again I was adjusting to sudden and unexpected changes.

Along with my 2020 phrase, I also chose a Bible verse: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

I taped the verse to my bathroom mirror and read it every day. During the months of 2020, I had multiple reasons to be anxious and worried about the future. But every day, as I soaked in the words to that verse and chose to thank God, His peace filled my soul.

In John chapter 14, Jesus begins preparing His disciples for His departure. Since He would not be with them much longer, He offered words of comfort and the promise of the Holy Spirit. He knew they would be troubled because they didn’t understand all that would soon take place. He explained that the Holy Spirit would help them remember Jesus’s words and instructions. I love what Jesus says to them in verse 27 (NIV): “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.”

The peace we receive from the Holy Spirit in the midst of our anxious moments is a peace that we can’t explain. This peace does not come from the world, it only comes through faith. Even when troubles swirl around us like an F-5 tornado, we can experience inner peace when we belong to Jesus.

I began 2021 with a new word to focus on. That word is hope. There are two definitions of the word hope. One is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. The second definition is a feeling of trust. I chose the second. I trust that God will continue to be my source of strength and peace in the coming year. I trust that my life is in His hands and that nothing will happen to me outside of His will.

My Bible verse to focus on this year is Hebrews 10:23 NIV: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Do you have a word or verse for 2021? I’d love for you to share in the comment section below. May God richly bless you in the coming year and fill your life with peace, hope, and joy. 

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

When a child’s grandparent or great-grandparent is afflicted with dementia, it’s difficult to explain the disease in a way that helps the child understand why the person they love is not the same. I Love You to the Stars–When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembersis a picture book inspired by a true story to help young children understand that even though Grandma is acting differently, she still loves them–to the stars!

Join the conversation: What is your word for 2021?

Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men

by Christina Rose

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:13-14 KJV

It was a peaceful night in Bethlehem long ago where shepherds kept watch over their flocks.  An angel of the Lord appeared in the sky and told them that she had come to bring great tidings of joy. She announced that on that day the Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in the city of David. Suddenly a heavenly host joined the angel, and the sky was filled with praises glorifying God, declaring peace on earth and good will to men. When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds left the fields and found Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the manger.

“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those  things which were told them by the shepherds.” Luke 2:17-28 KJV

It was a peaceful night, many years ago, on Christmas Eve at our quaint little church in rural Massachusetts. I snuggled up to my mother’s soft blue coat with a silver fur collar that smelled of her perfume. The snow was gently falling outside while the church was filled with the glorious sound of the congregation singing Christmas carols. At the end of the service, lit candles were passed around as we sang “Silent Night.” This moment is etched in my memory of the perfect peace I felt as a child. I felt loved, safe, and protected.

As we approach this holiday season, many have forgotten the peace that Jesus died to give us. The heated Presidential election has incited riots, destruction, killing and anger. Our news and social media are filled with hate and attacks on our President, police, and anyone with opposing beliefs. Businesses and properties have been destroyed. Jobs and income have been obliterated by the Pandemic that has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Our children are living in isolation and fear. They have been born into a time where they do not know the peace I felt as a child long ago in rural Massachusetts. Those of us who have been privileged to know this peace have a duty to stand firm and remind all around us that peace is our birthright and to trust in God’s word.

It is significant to note that the angel who announced Christ’s birth appeared to shepherds who were located on the lower rungs of the social ladder, and that Jesus was born in a manger emphasizing how God lifts up the humble. Rather than be fearful and angry at this time, we must be humble and trust that God is in control and has a great plan for the world.

When I worked in San Francisco a few years ago, we often ate lunch outside on sunny days. Many homeless people would wait on the sidelines for leftovers. One day someone handed an unkempt woman in rags a bowl of hot noodles. She broke into laughter and started singing. She held each noodle up and sang to it as she slurped it down, laughing and giggling at the sky. She had no home, no job and walked in rags, but she blessed us all with her delight in unexpected noodles. Her humility and gratitude exemplified the peace that Christ died to give us.

“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 NIV

With all the unrest that is happening in our world today, we must model Christlike love to encourage those around us. We must give faith and hope to our children. We must trust that the peace Christ gave us is greater than any unrest that may be raging about us. We must think back to that perfect holy night in Bethlehem when Christ was born to give us a peace that surpasses all earthly understanding.   

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV

This article was brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself.  After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who need hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What thoughts of God bring you peace?

Rejoice??

by Chris Manion @ChrisManionBook

Make us rejoice for as many days as you have humbled us, for as many years as we have seen adversity. Psalm 90:15 CSB

Rejoice, really?

Have you ever tried to make someone smile or laugh when they didn’t feel like it? Our efforts can generate looks that could make soufflés fall. I know. I’ve given such looks. My son captured one once and put the photo in his favorite Christmas ornament. It reads: “Here comes Santa!”

He places the mortifying ornament front and center on his Christmas tree each year. I move it to the back. The next morning, it mysteriously appears front and center. I roll my eyes. Everyone else grins. It’s one of God’s lessons to me about finding joy in the moments He gives me.

Joy is a challenging word for our times. It happens to be the word I chose for this year. Before all “this” happened.

Do you think God knew what He was doing when He put that word in my heart? I do. And I’m working on embracing it. He’s showing me how to rejoice.

The work of embracing joy in trying times stretches me. It’s meant to, don’t you think? God wants our knowledge of Him to grow deeper. When I try to choose joy these days, tears threaten. “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy…” (Psalm 126:5,6 NKJB).

When I’m obedient to what I know He’s calling me to do, joy comes freely. I laugh then ask myself: Where did that come from? How could I be laughing when I was glum just moments ago?  My soul knows. I can almost feel its eye roll at the question. The joy of the Lord’s delight in us can’t help but overflow into our spirits.

My struggle to embrace joy in dark days deepens my relationship with love. Jesus wants to gives us joy and peace. In fact, if we take Jesus at His word, He’s already given it. “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 NIV).

It pains Him when we refuse His gifts. When we push back on His peace, we refuse His love. It seems incongruous that I would push back, but I do. It’s part of our fallen human nature. I haven’t been willing to submit all my free will to Him yet. I’m still holding onto a ridiculous sliver of hope that I can still control some part of my life.

Joy follows awe like a soufflé rises in the desert heat of an oven.

When we accept the refreshment of His peace in these desert times, joy blossoms from the dry soil of our souls. Then we look up to the heavens and in reverence and glimpse the wonders He created around us.

And we gasp in awe.

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Rejoice – insight on joy from @ChrisManionBook on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Chris Sauter Manion loves to speak from her core Scripture verse: The joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10). She’s an award-winning author, leadership expert and inspirational speaker who uses skills from building a $20 million sales organization to help people of all ages embrace the give and take of a deepening relationship with God. Chris lives with her husband of forty-plus years in Florida‘s panhandle where she kayaks and photographs the Gulf coast’s natural beauty. She is a grandmother of five wee ones and loses all sense of time when gardening, creating and cooking. Reach out to her at www.ChrisManion.com

Join the conversation: In what part of your life is God showing you how to rejoice?

Time for a Nap

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.                                                                                                                               Psalm 4:8 NIV 

I seldom ever take a nap during the day. It’s not that I’m opposed to naps, but I’m one of those perpetually fast-forward personalities that has a hard time slowing down long enough during the day to take one. But the other day, my late nights and early mornings caught up to me. I was so sleepy and sluggish; I couldn’t concentrate on anything and needed a power nap.

Setting the timer on my phone for 45 minutes, I curled up on my bed and started to drift off to sleep, but the room was so cold, I couldn’t relax. My husband keeps the thermostat set at “frigid” in our house. Remembering the quilt folded at the foot of the bed, I pulled it over myself. With the heavy warmth of that quilt wrapped around me, I instantly fell into a deep, restful sleep.

It feels good to have a fresh start; and grabbing a little rest is needed. When my timer went off, I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

We normally just think about rest in terms of our physical bodies, like when I ran out of steam in the middle of that day. But rest is essential for our soul and spirit as well. We tend to forget about our need for spiritual and emotional rest. It’s easy to become weary and worn out when our lives are filled with concerns and worries for our family or marriage, work issues, finances, health, or even ministry.

Hey, let’s face it, we live in a cold world, and as much as I needed the warm quilt to relax and rest in a cold room, we need a covering over our minds and hearts to relax and rest in the Lord. That’s where we find peace for our weariness.

God has provided a covering for us that is even better than my warm quilt. Look what it says in Psalm 91:4 NLT: “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” When our minds are filled with a million thoughts, when we are stressed out, when life seems out of control and when things aren’t going the way we want them to, it’s time to step away and rest under the soft downy feathers of God’s faithful promises.

Our situation may not change right away, but His peace that comes with His covering, allows us to relax and rest. After a time of refreshment with Him, we’ll have what we need to get on with the situation at hand.

So, how about you? Are you in need of a spiritual and emotional nap? Cover up under the warmth of God’s wing. He is there for you. Here are a few more verses to read while you rest.

  • Ruth 2:12 (BSB) “May the Lord repay your work, and may you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge.”
  • Psalm 17:8 (NIV) “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
  • Psalm 18:30 (BSB) “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
  • Isaiah 51:16 (BSB) “I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
  • John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

May you wrap yourself in God’s peace and be able to rest in Him today.

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Time for a Nap – encouragement on finding God’s peace from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation:  What are some of your favorite verses that help you to rest?

Peace Like a River

by Lane P. Jordan @Lane_Jordan

For thus says the Lord, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river. And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. Isaiah 66:12, ESV

Oh, that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18 ESV

I just got back from a reunion at my childhood camp. It is my favorite place in all the world. I’m not sure if I love it so much because it’s located on the top of a beautiful North Georgia mountain, or because the food is so good, or the activities stupendous, or just because my memories cannot be daunted.

Either way, I love, love this camp and try to get to the reunion each year. At this year’s get together, we of course sang around the campfire with the standard songs sung every night, ending in a tight friendship circle.

And one of the songs we always sing is “Peace I ask of Thee, O River”. I thought, “How can a river give peace?

And then I remembered. There are verses about rivers in the Bible!

The source of a river, typically small mountain streams, depicts the beginnings of life, and its meeting with the ocean symbolizes the end. The river is also used as a metaphor for both boundaries and roadways. In the first Scripture above, I believe God is saying that His peace is as gentle as a slow-moving river, but as strong as a river with a swift current. Its never-ending movement pictures the kind of care and presence He will always provide.

But if we don’t follow Him and seek other places in which to place our security, we cannot rest in His peace. We may waver, but our God will never change. He and His peace are always there for us.

I love Romans 8:38-39. Paul explicitly says that nothing will ever be able to separate us from God’s love: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NIV

That makes me want to jump for joy! These promises are so rich and so large—how could I ever not have peace in my life?

God loves us so very much. And He wants to give us His peace for every second of every day until we are with Him in His eternal home. That is why Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you: My peace I give to you.” John 14:27

Don’t you just want to have this peace too?

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Peace Like a River – encouragement from @Lane_Jordan on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lane Jordan - High ResolutionAbout the author: Lane P. Jordan is a writer, best-selling author, international motivational and inspirational speaker, singer, artist, Bible teacher, and professional life coach. She lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband who partners with her in ministry and waits impatiently for daughters and granddaughter to visit!  Lane’s desire is to encourage, support, and motivate women of all ages to be better wives, mothers, and women of God by organizing their lives and time. You can find her at: http://www.LaneJordanMinistries.com and her blog at http://www.PathwaysToOrganization.com.

Lane’s book, 12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Woman, is an invaluable resource for every woman–from soccer moms to single grandmoms. It combines practical information on managing a fast-paced life with biblical wisdom and assurances that even when life seems overwhelming, the Lord is our keeper, our father, our husband, and our shepherd.

Join the conversation: What does God’s peace mean to you?

Kicking Out Worry

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“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 NIV

Is worry the unwelcome guest in your home?

Worry can stress you out, damage your family relationships, and ultimately give you an ulcer.

And the dangerous thing about worry is that it creeps into our lives gradually and makes its home with us before we notice it’s there. It usually enters our front door in the form of two words: What if?

What if I lose my job?

What if I can’t pay this?

What if it’s not benign?

What if my worst fear is realized?

But you don’t have to live with worry anymore. At the root of our “what if” questions and greatest fears is what you and I really believe about God’s character. When our minds play through the various what ifs, the question we are really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

And that is not an attitude, question, or mindset I want dwelling in my home. And I don’t think you do either.

So, it’s time to kick it out the door.

God’s Word tells us: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 CSB).

As you and I give God all of our what ifs and worries He can calm our hearts and remind us that He is in absolute control. Then His peace comes to dwell with us, instead of those fearful thoughts.

When you and I trust God with what is closest to our hearts, we are saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

We are also saying to those around us: “I trust God will work this out in your life and mine,” modeling trust and faith before them.

Give God your concerns today and by doing so, you’ll be kicking worry out of your home and welcoming a new family member: trust.

Lord, my worry factor is directly related to how well I know You. When I truly know You and understand all that You are capable of, I can’t help but trust You. Grow my faith and my relationship with You so I can know You intimately.  There is no more room for worry in my life. Only trust.

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Kicking Out Worry – encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books. For more on her books and ministry, or to see if her coaching services can help you write your next book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Every mom is concerned about her children and teenagers. But when does legitimate care cross the line into fear and worry, which Scripture commands us to avoid? 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom will start you on the path to worry-free parenting and a positive relationship between you and your kids.

Join the conversation: What characteristic about God is most helpful to you when you start to worry?

Four Steps to Being a Peacemaker

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.                 John 14:27 NASB

Have you ever been a part of a ministry or Bible study that, for whatever reason, went toxic? Though our inclination might be to walk away, God may be calling us to glorious assignment: that of speaking life, light, and health into darkness. I refer to this as mountaintop living.

Rather than allowing others to drag us into their dysfunction, we can help them rise to a Christ-inspired elevation.

Every believer is called to be a peacemaker, and this runs so much deeper than merely avoiding conflict. Biblical peace is God’s gift of wholeness as lives and hearts become aligned with truth.

Here are 4 steps to help you bring peace to dysfunctional situations.

  1. Center yourself in love.

Though we may convince ourselves otherwise, most often, conflict avoidance is rooted in self-love rather than love for others. We fear their negative reaction, retaliation, or rejection. But Jesus, who perfectly embodied love, routinely initiated tough conversations. He told the woman caught in adultery to stop sinning, the rich young ruler to sell all he possessed, and openly rebuked Peter for trying to persuade Him to avoid the cross. With each of these interactions, He was in essence saying, “I love you, and I’m willing to risk what you think of me to see you walk in truth.”

Remember, truth sets people free. May we, as God’s ambassadors, assume the role of liberators as well.

  1. Focus on growth not solutions.

When problems or disagreements arise, it’s easy to fixate on the difficulty, but Romans 8:28-29 tells us God uses all things, relational discord included, for our good and to transform us into the likeness of His Son. We need to align ourselves with God’s purposes, helping people toward maturity through healthy and Christ-centered interactions. When others grow frustrated, we can model patience grounded in our trust in God. When jealousy sparks harsh words or hurtful comments, we can lovingly direct the conversation to the cross. Modeling healthy conflict-resolution skills will benefit our churches for years to come, long after the current situation resolves.

  1. Ask Heart-probing Questions.

Most often, when individuals fight, the issue is more a symptom than the actual problem.  For example, when my husband and I were first married, I spent a lot of time nagging him about dirty socks left on the floor or food crumbs on the counter. When I finally evaluated my feelings, I realized it wasn’t the actual mess that vexed me: it took less than a minute to pick up the laundry or wipe the counter. What was really upsetting me was in feeling I was being taken for granted. Once I recognized that, we were better able to deal with the root of my emotions.

Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (NIV). Lovingly and respectfully asking thoughtful questions can effectively uncover an underlying concern or fear. Honest questions also have a way of defusing anger or anxiety by assuring others they have a voice.

  1. Pray.

Through prayer, God may reveal that He already has a solution in place; He might call us to simply be still and wait on Him. Or, He may provide the perfect words for us to speak at the perfect time. Either way, He will guide us toward His very best for every situation.

No one enjoys conflict. But in every situation, we have an opportunity to demonstrate mountaintop living—to draw others into a place of wholeness. By bathing our efforts in love, focusing on truth, and seeking and following God’s guidance, we can be an instrument of peace to dark and dysfunctional scenarios.

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Four Steps to Being a Peacemaker – thoughts from @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jennifer Slattery

About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Restoring Her Faith and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.

Hometown HealingShe’s home again, but not for long…
unless this cowboy recaptures her heart…

Returning home with a baby in tow, Paige Cordell’s determined her stay is only temporary. But to earn enough money to leave, she needs a job—and her only option is working at her first love’s dinner theater. With attraction once again unfurling between her and Jed Gilbertson, can the man who once broke her heart convince her to stay for good?

Join the conversation: Have you had an opportunity to be a peacemaker in a difficult situation? Please share!