2019: The Missing Piece
In Your Peace

The French say “paix.” The Spanish say “paz.” The Dutch say “vrede.” The Norwegian say “fred.” The Pig Latins say “Eacepay.” And in a timeless, universal language, Jesus says, “I am leaving you a gift of peace,” (John 14:27)  Jesus is the peace we need. When there was a violent storm, Jesus calmed it. When Jesus was being arrested, He brought order to the chaos. When Jesus’ ministry was upsetting the town, He left quietly. When there was a lesson on revenge, Jesus said turn the other cheek.  And at the end of his timeshare on Earth, Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.” (John 16:33)  He is the Prince of Peace.  Jesus said His peace is a gift – He gave it to you when you gave him your heart. OPEN this gift, TAKE His peace out of the box, apply it when it hurts, activate it when your waiting, set it like an alarm when you can’t sleep, and take a bath in it when your future is uncertain!  The amazing thing about His peace is you’ll run out of days before He runs out of peace. You can’t take too much. It’s abundantly, exceedingly, infinitely there for the taking…within you!  Hey, wanna pray with me? (I’ll assume you said OK) Lord, thank you for Your peace! Forgive us for forgetting it is already ours! We ask that you would i.d. the missing pieces of peace in each of our lives. Please fill them in with your peace… to. the. overflow!!  May the spill-over be for others around us, who need your peace, too. Your gift of peace is for everybody–we know You want nobody to be without it! You are the Peace to every missing piece. That’s why you are God and we are not! We love you, Lord. Yes, Prince of Peace, we surely do. Amen.

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My Twas the Night

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my town, as the stockings went up, the sun came down. The trees were getting trimmed, the smell of pine near. It was Christmas now, was Thanksgiving even here? My kids sensed something fun in the air Yet I struggled with something that didn’t seem fair. In the midst of shopping, snow and fun, I wondered what it was like for a hurting kind of one. Ole’ St. Nick had a better view of my busy, boomin’ town. From the Pole, he saw every face I was around. He saw a single gal at Starbucks all alone. A child at our mall, avoiding his home. The moon was rising, night came on fast, But from the Pole, he could still see thru glass. “That family, in the gated home, you think has it all? “Not true. Thru their windows there is only a wall.” “The bagger at the store? Today with no reply?” “Not one person spoke to him, not even a sigh.” “And on the expressway with a line of cars” “Was a man in a tollbooth, a soul with a scar.” “And at the intersections of those major traffic lights? “They are homeless with hearts, not beggars of plight.” So may I offer a suggestion with this festive affair? Hoping my message conveys because I care. If there’s a thing inside, a holiday ache, Stop for a moment, cause it’s a nudge…take a break. My view’s the North Pole, but God’s view is MORE precise. Loving by what He sees, because He doesn’t have to think twice. This season, He implores, “Please help from where you are.” At Starbucks, the grocery store, when you’re in your car. Sure, at Christmas, as God, I could reach down & help nearby. But I’d like to partner with you, if you’d give it a try?” “Let’s slow down and make the season a journey. You’re made in my image, with love there’s no hurry. When in a store parking lot, take your cart to the man, Tell him thanks and go ahead, why not, smile, shake his hand. Dining at the Pancake house, ask your server for more–More about her life, and what her future has in store. I think you get the idea, tis the season, to have Christmas and to give without reason. But you know the last line; don’t forget this word, alright? It’s: Merry Christmas to ALL …because all deserve a good night.

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Dark Days
O Holy Nights!

My favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night.” The one line gets me every time, “Fall on your knees, Oh hear the Angels’ voices.” Falling on your knees before God is not a comfortable posture. It isn’t attractive. It is awkward. We don’t see if often in our Americanized religious gatherings. And it displays to anyone watching: humility and desperation. In 2009-2010, I battled a strong bout of depression. My morning quiet time became unproductive because I didn’t know what to pray. The words just weren’t there. So I tried praying on my knees. At first, it was weird; but eventually, I found it the most comforting moment in my day. Sometimes, the sunrise would beam through the shutters in such a way that I could feel the beams on my back, as I was praying on my knees. Maybe God was using them to hug me! On some days, depression can render you horizontal in bed, as if there’s concrete blocks around your ankles. But I discovered that if I’d start the day praying on my knees, I was half way to standing up on the floor. This Christmas, if it’s hard to sing “Fa La La La La, La La La La” take a line from “O Holy Night” and try this. It may be a Christmas gift [from God] you weren’t expecting—turning a dismayed morning into a holy night! ❤️

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What If God Had
12 Days of Christmas?

What if God had a “12 Days of Christmas” that He (your True Love) gave to you?  What would that look like? Here’s my little take, and it doesn’t include maids of milking! On the 1st day of Christmas, God gave love. “Who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) On the 2nd day of Christmas, God gave One. “but God is one.” (Galatians 3:20) On the 3rd day of Christmas, God gave light. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) On the 4th day of Christmas, God gave his spirit. “Now the Lord is the Holy Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, freedom is also there.” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬) On the 5th day, God gave a door. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved,”  (John 10:9) On the 6th day of Christmas, God gave a shepherd. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) On the 7th day of Christmas, God gave bread. “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger,” (John 6:35) On the 8th day of Christmas, God gave resurrection. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25) On the 9th day of Christmas, God gave the way. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.'” (John 14:6) On the 10th day of Christmas, God gave a vine. “I am the vine; you are the branches…for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John‬ ‭15:5‬) On the 11th day of Christmas, God gave hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,” (Romans 15:13) On the 12th day of Christmas, God gave peace. “For he himself is our peace,” (Ephesians 2:14)

This Christmas, if you don’t get what you want from others—take heart! God gives you all you need from Himself.❤️

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What If You Can’t?


God can handle what you can’t handle.
God can carry what you can’t carry.
God can heal what you can’t heal.
God can forgive who you can’t forgive.
God can rest what you can’t rest.
God can raise who you can’t raise.
God can love who you can’t love.
God can manage what you can’t manage.
God can forget what you can’t forget.
God can move what you can’t move.
God can accept what you can’t accept.
God can deliver what you can’t deliver.
God can free what you can’t free.
God can resurrect what you can’t resurrect.
God can lift what you can’t lift.
God can mend what you can’t mend.
God can believe who you can’t believe.
God can save who you can’t save.
You can’t. I can’t.
But God can.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians‬ ‭4:13‬

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3 To-Do’s 4 Xmas Blues


Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! But this time of year can also yield bouts of depression, or “blues” for people. I’ve had the Christmas blues before. It’s not that I wasn’t thankful for Christmas; rather, I had Christmas nostalgia and sadness at the same time. If you are having the blues, here are 3 things I’ve done. I am not a professional, just someone who’s been there and writes about it.

1️⃣ Consider Christian counseling in December. If you go once a week, that equates to four sessions. It’s probably the best Christmas gift you could give yourself because you are giving yourself the gift of release and peace. Don’t have the resources this time of year? Then when asked what you want for Christmas, tell them a 4-pack counseling session. If it’ll bring joy to you, it’ll bring joy to them to give it.
2️⃣ Go to Church. One of the hardest things to see is someone who tells me that can’t go to church because they’re sad. This can not be! The FIRST place we should run to in our sadness is God’s hospital. There is a supernatural, healing, holistic experience awaiting you that ONLY God can offer. Yes you will have to miserably drag yourself there, but I promise, you will leave better than you came.
3️⃣ Give. Give, give, give, give, give. Give old clothes to the homeless, give donations to your church, give time to the elderly, give free babysitting to a single mom, give volunteer hours. It’s true that it’s more blessed to give than to receive…I would also add…it’s more healing. It’s the ultimate paradox: giving away fills up. And that’s just what an “empty” soul needs–a fill-up. I hope this encourages someone today. May you know His peace.

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Kindness:
Weakness or Strength?


One of my new fav buds, Bailey, speaks for many of us when she says kindness can be her weakness and strength.  I don’t wanna blow up this post with opinion, experience or psychological babble. Let’s get right to The Source: what does GOD say about kindness?  “But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.” [Galatians 5:22-23] See, what I take from this verse is that kindness comes from God’s Spirit within me.  When I accepted Jesus into my life, his Spirit’s fruit began to germanate in my soul. Kindness is not mine to give, take away, or be taken advantage of. I’m just the fruitbowl! HE’s the fruit! So perhaps my kindness struggle is a perspective thing. If I see my “Kiwi of Kindness” as God’s and not mine, then it’s not I who gets bruised when it’s taken advantage of; it’s God. And God can handle it.  So I just need to grow, grow, grow that kiwi of kindness and give, give, give it away. How someone may pluck or bruise it, is between them and God. I love how this verse ends: “meant to be limitless.”  There’s a surplus of hatred in this world, let’s let kindness step up and be the new [limitless] surplus.

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Like the Tin Man’s
Breaking Heart

My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.–Jesus, Matthew 26:38
Now I know I’ve got a heart, because it’s breaking. –The Tin Man, Wizard of Oz
We all have a heart, and can I assume we’ve all had it broken? So has Jesus.  No heart broke more, hurt more, anguished more, than His.  In life, one of the times I can feel the loneliest is when my heart is breaking. During those times, it seems like nobody runs parallel to my pain. You too?  But Jesus does.  When my heart is breaking, He runs parallel to my pain because He knows what it’s like – his empathy is my therapy. Also, when I asked Jesus into my life, He came to live in my heart. You can’t get closer to a broken heart than within it. These being said, only He can fix it.  A sick heart can be fixed by a doctor.  A broken heart is fixed by Jesus, M.D.  He doesn’t need a knife, anesthesia, or even time.  As soon as your heart is breaking…His is too and He is immediately there to begin mending.  Surely, we’ll have hearts that break. Unlike the Tin Man, we won’t need to travel on a brick road, hoping the wizard is behind the green curtain.  We travel as far as a barely-there, whisper-of-a-prayer, and know God’s already in our heart, ready to repair.

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Spirit of Heaviness

I often troll the bible looking for mind-verses. One thing I discovered is there’s no therapy-book like God’s book. It is the book of life because it’s a double-edge sword against thoughts of death. It is a book that buries itself like treasure in your belly when you read it, NEVER to return void. It is the book that, when stored in your heart and uttered aloud, will make the enemy flee. It is a very powerful mental-health resource, and it’s free and accessible to all of us. I was thrilled when I came across Isaiah 61:3. God says He can give, “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” To me, this says WITH God, we can exchange heaviness for praise. How? Simple: by praising Him. It sounds intellectual and theological, but I’m neither one of those, so I know this is achievable. We “praise” all the time at sporting events, concerts, ceremonies, birthdays. Praising God is celebrating Him, with emotion and voice, like we do at those aforementioned venues. But unlike those venues, praising God isn’t bound by venues; it’s pure, non-idyllic reverence of the REAL ONLY GOD. On a jog as the sun rises, after a storm when a rainbow pops out, after a prayer is answered, during a song of worship at church, I praise (celebrate, cheer, compliment, thank) God. If you are in a spirit of heaviness, try praising. Exchange your heaviness for His praise. There’s nothing to lose, and like God promises in Isaiah 61, a garment to gain!

 

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The Wondherful Life Gift Box


A few years ago, I received a call about a young girl who attempted suicide. I didn’t know her. I told my friend I would pray for her.  Let’s pause for a commercial<<when we say we will pray for someone, sometimes we won’t know the details and we don’t need to. We are praying to the omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent God. Our prayer is ushering down the Savior of the world to a situation WE can not save, but He can. If you tell someone you will pray for him/her, pray.  You may be the only one in the world who will.>> Returning to our regularly scheduled post:  I was praying for this girl, but I wanted to do more. Through my friend, I was able to get in contact with mom. Through mom, I was able to ask mom if I could give her daughter a gift box. Maybe because I used to be a young girl with the same struggle? Maybe because a gift box could be a tangible extension of prayer? Maybe because my love language is “receiving gifts,” so to give one is to relay, “you are loved.”  Anywho, I met mom at a local spot, and gave her a gift-box to give her daughter. Unknowingly, that was the beginning of the “wondherful life gift box.”  Sometimes, I give it to a loved one to personally deliver. Sometimes, I deliver it myself to the hospital or psych ward. Sometimes, I ship it. Sometimes, the person who attempted suicide dies, so I give it to the grieved. It’s not always the same contents–that’s modified with gender, age and spiritual-season. But the box always contains: a bible, book and/or journal, a “No Perfect People Allowed” tee and an invite card to Church by the Glades (even out-of-towners because we livestream our services!)  Back in 2000, when I was discharged from a psych ward for suicide, I wasn’t functioning at normal-pace. Life definitely moved me from the HOV lane to the semi-truck lane. I was home-bound, medicated, lethargic, and only able to make counseling/psychiatrist appointments. However, when I look back at my books, journals and bible, I have proof those were part of my pace…and subsequent recovery. Not because I’m super-spiritual, but God was a safe place, and where He was, I wanted to be.  I hope this encourages someone today. And if you know someone who needs a wonderful life gift box, let me know.

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