FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Shake the Blanket

They don’t create comics like they used to! My sister and I used to fight over who would get to read the Sunday comics first. To this day I still like Peanuts! Charles Schultz was pure genius and all teacher. Yes, his comic strip offered humor but also many lessons, some profound, and wisdom to those who would ponder.

Consider a short four-frame strip with Charlie Brown and Linus as the main characters. Linus, rubbing his blanket along his left cheek, says to Charlie Brown, “This blanket absorbs all my fears and frustrations. At the end of each day I shake it out the door, thus scattering those fears and frustrations in the wind.” Charlie Brown, listening intently and watching as Linus shakes the blanket asks, “What about tomorrow?” to which Linus replies, “Tomorrow I start with a clean blanket…not unlike the proverbial clean slate.”

Now, there’s some wisdom for you.

How difficult do WE make it for ourselves because we hold on to the fears and frustrations of yesterday? Are we constantly replaying the video of past hurts and reliving old dramas? Do we spend too much time thumbing through the records of wrongs that have been committed against us?

God gives us grace sufficient for today, for what is right in front of us (2 Corinthians 12:9), and His word encourages us to forget what is behind (Philippians 3:13). We cannot grasp the joys and take hold of the promises of a new day if we are clinging to the past and holding on to the old.  Let it go.  Lay it down.

We tend to blame everything and everyone for our struggles and failures, our hindered progress when often we need simply look at ourselves.

THIS WEEK reflect on the things that you need to let go of including the hurts and hard feelings toward yourself or others that you need to lay aside. It’s spring and time for spring cleaning – a great time to shake the blanket.


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Peace on Earth (Part 1)

WATCH:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8OYvHPpGDY

Before we can have peace on earth, we must have peace within our communities. Before we can have peace within our communities, we must have peace within our families. Before we can have peace within our families, we must have peace within.

Ourselves!

Unfortunately, instead of Christmas being a time of peace, it is a time of great stress for many. Overfilled calendars and planners, strapped budgets and strained family relationships often come along with the holidays. How, then, do we overcome the accompanying anxiety and dwell in peace? Let’s look to Paul.

While confined in a Roman prison he penned the text of Philippians proclaiming his contentment in whatever situations (including prison) he found himself (4:11).   How? How could he be content, at peace in prison? His “secret” comes in the preceding text, verses 4-8.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV)

There are three key words in this text, and they provide us somewhat of a formula for peace. Prayer. Supplication. Thanksgiving.

In this stressful season and throughout life, pray. About what? Everything! Don’t get caught up in the theology of prayer – what it is, what it isn’t, how to, how not to… Prayer is talking to God. Whatever is robbing you of your peace, talk to Him about it.

Supplication is the fifty cent word for asking earnestly and humbly. Praying is not about laying out a list of requests before God. (Do not confuse God with Santa Claus.) In prayer we come humbly before our Father, and in that relationship of child and Father, we share with Him all that is on our hearts – our frustrations, our confusion, our fears, our angst, our sorrows our disappointments… Whatever you are feeling, tell Him.

Thanksgiving is synonymous with gratitude. “But God hasn’t answered my prayer yet,” you might say. Thank Him for loving you, for hearing you and for accepting the burden that is troubling you. Psalm 55:22 tells us to cast our burden on the Lord and, in the words of Charles Tindley’s 1916 hymn, leave them there! That alone is enough to be thankful for – not only can we give our troubles to the Lord, we are commanded to do so, and He will take care of each one. What else can you be thankful for? Past faithfulness. God’s love. God’s grace. Salvation! Thank Him when you pray expecting that He will answer!

In 1955 Jill Jackson Miller and her husband, Sy Miller, penned another familiar song that shares a powerful lesson for us. The opening line is “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Pray in earnest humility thanking God for what He can do, has done and will do – then let peace begin with you!

THIS WEEK: What action can you take each day this week to bring peace to someone or to some situation?

Leave It There:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyxQZQjLaC4

Let There Be Peace on Earth:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXFeeJ6LSMc