Jesus Peace



Now available in paperback and Kindle!

Come experience the incredible, life-changing peace that only Jesus can give.  This 31-Day Devotional will transform you as you trust in Jesus and find His perfect peace.

In every situation and every season, we can find peace, strength, and rest in the comforting presence of Jesus.

Peace has nothing to do with our circumstances.  It has everything to do with Jesus!

 

Order Jesus Peace~

Resurrection Power

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 1:19-20)


Easter week is a special time to focus on Christ.  It is an opportunity to reflect on His sacrifice, and remember His pain, suffering, and death.  But even more so, it is a wonderful time to rejoice over His resurrection and His victory over sin and death!  We celebrate Jesus and remember that because of His great sacrifice and resurrection, we are forgiven, we are washed clean, and we are declared righteous—not because of anything we have done or ever could do, but simply as a gift to reunite us with our Creator and make us holy—thank You Jesus!

The Spirit of God, which raised Jesus from the dead, is also alive in His followers.  The “incredible greatness of God’s power”, “the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…”, this power is in us, available for all who believe Him.  I want to understand the incredible greatness of God’s power–this same power that raised Christ and is available to every believer.  I want to live with this power working in me and through me!  

Inside every believer, we have an endless supply of life changing, world changing, death defying power, and yet we so often live in defeat and despair because we allow the Spirit to become dormant and quiet inside us, drowned out by the noise of this world.  The Holy Spirit must be so frustrated with me and with so many other believers as we wallow in silly, changeable things rather than take up our sword of the Spirit, armed with truth and knowledge and faith and fight!  Fight for our mental health, our physical health, our friends and family who are lost and hurting, and a dying world!  It is so much easier and comfortable to live in my tiny world and never look up and out—but God is calling every believer to a world changing, life changing faith and strength in Him and I don’t want to miss it!

So I’m wondering, where is the power to change lives and change the world that we see in the New Testament?  Those believers were simple people, fishermen and women who were scared, normal people until the power of Jesus’ resurrection!  Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Christ from the dead, they changed the world!  And this power is still available to us today.  It hasn’t diminished or changed–our desire and our focus has!  Where is the hunger for God’s word and a desire to be changed by it?  Where is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so great that thousands of lives are changed in a moment and then the revolution spreads throughout the world and changes it?   
The life changing, resurrecting, lift giving power is available but we have to live it and use it!  We can’t just play church and go about our lives in a comfortable fog, ignoring the pain and hopelessness around us—every single person who calls themselves “Christian” MUST begin to actually follow, mimic, look like, sound like, and imitate Christ and be changed from the inside out! 
The Holy Spirit is in us and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is in us!  He is here and waiting for us to jump in and be part of something amazing and world changing—it is time to stop bickering among ourselves inside beautiful stained glass sanctuaries and pristine fellowship halls that keep the hurting world out.  POWER is found in the Holy Spirit and the world needs Him—needs to see Him in us and needs to feel that love!
God is a God of abundance, but too often I wallow in mediocrity.  God is a God of love, yet too often I sink to irritation and annoyance.  God is a God of peace, yet too often I am in turmoil with worry and fear.  God is a God of forgiveness, yet too often I squirm in guilt and self condemnation.  NO MORE!  My God is bigger and stronger and more powerful than anything this world or the enemy can throw at me, and I refuse to live a moment longer accepting anything less than His unequaled, unending, limitless power reigning in me! 
So this Easter week, as I remember the sacrifice and celebrate the resurrection, my prayer for myself and every other believer is that we would be completely changed and so incredibly full of the Spirit that we simply can’t be stopped!  That we would unite as the Body of Christ, His beautiful bride, and show a hurting, dying world that there is hope, love, healing, forgiveness and an eternal joy that only comes through Christ Jesus! And He is coming back for His bride!

Lord Jesus, help me live with Your power in my life.  May Your love and peace be so evident and strong in me that others see it too.  Empower me and equip me to not only be changed, but to create change around me and may Your Word go forth and thousands upon thousands be transformed by You!  Fill me and transform me Holy Spirit and use me to Your glory!!
Happy Resurrection!

God is So Much More than “Good”

“Good times”, “That’s good”, “It’s all good”… we use the word “good” in many, many ways.  We say a movie was good, our kids are good, we fight the good fight, and we even say God is good!

So, what is “good” really?  It is the opposite of bad; the absence of evil.  So yes, most definitely God is good!  But…He is so much more!  God is my Creator, Sustainer, Provider, Savior…my absolute everything.  Yes, He is good, but oh, He is so much more!

God is Love.
God loves us with a deeper, more intimate love than we are even able to understand.  He knew us, chose us, and loved us before we were even created. Jesus left heaven and descended to earth to die, knowing He would be beaten, tortured, spit at, and made fun of–the King of Kings allowed us to make fun of Him while He was saving us because He loves us that much!  Thank You Jesus! Yes, God is love!

God is awesome.
All creation–every sunset, every wildflower, every bird of the air, and every creature on earth–is created to worship God.  He fills us with awe (or should) and His glory is more than we can imagine.

God is holy.
He is holy, righteous, and perfect.  And, He commands us, “…be holy, for I am Holy.” (1 Peter 1:16). He has given us His Word to protect us, guide us, and lead us to a holy life and into His Presence.  It is our honor and delight to follow His commands and seek to live a holy life that gives Him glory and honor.

God is righteous.
He knows everything about everything and He is our righteous judge.  And to all who follow Him and love Him, He even gives us a prize!  He will award His faithful, those who love and look for Jesus’ return, with a beautiful crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8).  We certainly don’t deserve it, but He is our Abba Father, and He gives incredible and wonderful gifts to His children.  And we aren’t meant to keep this crown, we will one day place it at the feet of Jesus, who is the only one truly worthy to ever wear a crown!

God is all powerful.
He is bigger and more powerful than…well, everything!  He is stronger than our fear.  He controls the tides, the seasons, There is no authority except from God (Romans 13:1) and His power is complete and unfathomable.

God is infinite.
He has no beginning and no end.  He has always been, always is, and always will be.  And He has created us as eternal beings too.  We have a beginning, but He has created us to live forever with Him in perfection, in holiness, and in His presence.  When we choose Jesus, we will spend the rest of forever with Him in joy, peace, and rest.  No more tears, no pain, no sorrow–just pure joy in His presence!

Yes, God is good.  But He is so much more!

 

 

 
Thank You Lord for loving me.  I am unworthy, but because of Jesus, I am washed clean, redeemed, renewed, and declared holy.  Thank You Jesus for taking my place on the cross and giving me new life in You.  You make all things new, and I love You.  Create in me a clean heart today and teach me to follow You with intense passion, putting You above all else!  In Jesus’ powerful name, amen!
God is more than we can ever imagine or describe.  What would you add to this list?  Leave a comment below and share what God has done or is doing in your life–right now, Who is God to you?  Also, I would love to pray for you.  You can leave a prayer request or shout His praises!

Linked with Five-Minute-Friday

photo credit: balance2_1928 via photopin (license)

Why is Good Friday “Good”?

Jesus died on “Good” Friday.  He suffered in pain and anguish as He was beaten, tortured, and crucified.  His family and friends watched in horror as He died an excruciating death while others mocked and spit at Him.  So how can we possibly call it “good”?  It is the most horrific day in history when the Savior was brutally killed because of our sin!

If the story ended on Friday, there would be nothing “good” about it.  It would be the saddest, most depressing story of mankind.  BUT, thankfully, it doesn’t end on Friday.  Instead, it is the most joyous, incredible, amazing story of salvation, freedom, renewal, and life–because Sunday is coming!

When Jesus rose from the dead, He beat death.  He triumphed over everything dark and sinful, and declared victory over the enemy.  The battle isn’t over yet, but Jesus has already won and He offers to share His victory with us!

Remember, no matter how bad your circumstances are, there is always hope! Even on the saddest day in history, hope won the day.  Ask Jesus to come into your situation and bring hope, restore peace, and overwhelm you with love–His love.  Just as Easter morning changed the world, Jesus changes everything!  Trust Him!

Lord, thank You for loving me with an unconditional, complete love.  I am nothing without You and I surrender everything to You–my heart, my mind, my life, and every thought and action.  Change me from the inside out, transform me to be life You.  Thank You for saving me! In the name of Jesus, amen! 

photo credit: Shadow via photopin (license)

Jesus Changes Everything

Jesus called His first disciples simply by saying, “Come, follow Me.”  He found them, loved and accepted them right where they were, and offered them a new life, a new beginning with Him.  Before they could even understand the magnitude of their decision, they knew they should accept…and follow Jesus.

Jesus offers the same exciting, life-changing adventure to us.  He simply and lovingly extends His hand and says, “Come, follow Me.”  We don’t have to meet any requirements or standards or make any changes.  The simple decision to follow Him is all we have to do and He will lovingly guide us, teach us, and direct us as He takes care of the rest!

Absolutely everything changed for the disciples when they chose to follow Jesus, and He offers the same transformational power to us.  In Jesus, we will spend eternity in heaven with Him where there will be no more evil, no pain, no tears.  But He has not left us alone here on earth until then.  He has sent the Holy Spirit and offers a life of abundant joy and peace, right now if we will just follow Him, trust Him, and obey Him.  He offers rest for the weary, freedom for the captives, strength for the weak.  He offers perfect peace, perfect love, and perfect joy.  We do not have to live burdened and consumed with fear, worry, regrets, or shame.  Jesus changes everything!

Yes, He makes us into completely, brand new creations.  And then, once He heals us, cleanses us, and brushes off the hurt, pain, and dirt of this world, He says, “Go, share my love with others.”  We are not meant to just enjoy His love for ourselves.  We are supposed to be completely transformed, renewed, and remade, and then go teach others how to find that same love and peace.  
Wherever you are in your journey with Christ, whether you are brand new and just getting to know Him or have walked with Him for years, He is holding out His hand to offer love, support, and comfort.  I pray you will grab hold of Him right now, let Him hold you, and be overwhelmed with His love for you.  And don’t keep it to yourself.  Someone in your path today needs that same love and encouragement–and you are the one God is asking to show them, to help them, to lead them to Jesus!  So if you follow Jesus, bring someone along with you and show them the way!  Jesus makes all the difference!
Thank You for loving me Jesus!  Holy Spirit lead me, teach me, and guide me to a life that brings You glory.  Help me abide in Christ in every moment and teach me to share Your love with everyone I meet!  May Your radiance and glory be so evident in my life, it is unmistakable that I am Your follower.  In the name of Jesus, amen!

photo credit: sun in the trees. via photopin (license)

On a Donkey

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
    Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
    righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
The Sunday before Easter, Palm Sunday.  Jesus has spent the last three years teaching, preaching and healing throughout the area, and today, He rides into Jerusalem to make known publicly and officially, “I am the Messiah.” 
The people celebrated His arrival.  With joy and fanfare, they excitedly wave palm branches and shout “Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord, even the king of Israel!” (John 12:13).   They welcomed a King.  They wanted freedom from the oppressive government and a new life.  But Jesus was about to offer even greater freedom from all oppression and a new life for eternity!  But first, the same people who were so excited to welcome Him, the same ones shouting “Hosanna” in a few short days would change their cries to “Crucify!” 
Palm Sunday is a celebration of the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.  Today, 2,000 years later, we still celebrate it and remember it as a special day when Jesus fulfilled ancient prophecy and humbly rode in on a donkey.  Not a creature of dignity or honor, but a lowly animal meant for hard work and service.  Jesus did not enter as an earthly king, but as the Savior of the world! 

Today and in the coming week, take time to remember what Jesus has done, and reflect on who Jesus is.  Is He your king?  Your Savior?  He offers unbelievable freedom, joy, peace, and eternal life when we accept Him as Lord and Savior.  He entered Jerusalem fully aware of what He was about to endure, the pain, suffering, ridicule—all at the hands of the very people who so excitedly welcomed him in.  Yet, He chose, in love, to endure the cross so we all could have forgiveness of every sin.  As He smiled at them from the back of the donkey, He must have pondered their hearts, our fickle hearts.  As He looked at each of their faces, perhaps He also pictured ours.  Knowing their hearts, our hearts, He humbly accepted their praise, ready to accept their contempt, about to change the world!    

Celebrate Jesus today and worship Him—He is worthy!  Also, remember who He is.  Whatever our thoughts of Jesus, He is more!  He is stronger, more powerful, more loving, more forgiving…He is more than we can understand or imagine.  Today is a day of remembrance and celebration, and it is also a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
Jesus is Lord and King of all creation; He is Savior, Messiah, God in the flesh.  Do you recognize Him in your life?  Who is He to you?  I plan to reflect deeply this week on Christ’s role in my life, and I pray you will do the same.  Have we welcomed him in on the donkey and stopped there?  Or have we surrendered ourselves completely?  Have we become a living sacrifice, dying to ourselves, living for Him, looking ahead to the coming day when He will soon return on a white horse and take His rightful place on the throne?  He has entered.  The cross is soon.  His Resurrection is coming…and He will return!  Are you ready? 
Worship Him today and lift Him high!  Not just with palm branches, but with your heart, thoughts, and life.  Worship Him with heart, mind, and soul and give the King praise! 

Jesus, thank You! We remember Your time on earth and celebrate Who You are.  Teach us to go further with You, all the way to the cross and strengthen us to fully surrender absolutely everything to You.  Thank You for Your love!  We love You, praise You, and worship You! In Your name, Jesus, we pray, Amen! 

photo credit: Sun thru palmleaves via photopin (license)

A Daily Choice

Today, we have a choice.  Will we grow closer to God?  Or will we drift away in the busyness of life?  

Every new day ushers in fresh opportunity.  I can choose to grow closer to God, or I can allow myself to fall away from God…It’s up to me to choose. And falling away doesn’t always happen in big leaps, but often in small, unnoticed, unintentional slips. Seemingly unimportant decisions that don’t line up with God’s Word, and move me in the wrong direction.  

Let it never be so! I want to be closer to God when I go to bed, than I was when I arose. Every day, every moment, I want to deepen my understanding, my love, and my devotion to Him. So today, I will choose, not based on my circumstances, but based on God’s character and goodness.  

·        I will choose to love God!  

He loved me enough to send His son to die in my place before I even knew Him- so no matter what is going on around me today, I will love Him.
·        I will choose to praise God!  
He has never let me down, and even in the struggles and pain of life, I know He loves me.  He will comfort me, protect me, and shelter me!  So even in the darkest, scariest times, I will praise Him- not because life is easy, but because He is worthy!
·        I will choose to love others!
I will share the love of God with others because God loves me, and His word tells me to!  So even when I am hurting, even when I’m scared, even when I don’t want to, in His strength, I will love those around me!
·        I will choose to rejoice!

This is the day that the LORD has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalm 118:24).  I do not rejoice because my life is easy or only on the days that I “feel” happy.  I will rejoice because God is love and He is giving me the opportunity today to rejoice- so I choose to rejoice!


We are always, constantly moving in a direction–either toward God or away from Him, closer to family or further away, growing friendships or losing them. If we are not intentional about our relationships, we will become more distant with each passing day.

We live in an age of technological friendships and intense loneliness, but the Savior of the world, the lover of our souls, is always with us.  I don’t want to be so busy, I miss Him!  I want to be intentional with my time, my thoughts, and my focus.  And I choose God!

~In seasons of waiting, God renews my strength; in seasons of trial, God comforts me and brings peace—and in all things, no matter what, I will choose to trust Him and praise Him because He is faithful, He is trustworthy, and He is worthy to be praised! 
Father, thank You for loving me even before I knew You.  Thank You for always being my refuge, my comfort, and my rock.  Help me and strengthen me to serve You, trust You, and praise You no matter what my daily circumstances are!  In Jesus’ name, amen!

God’s Perfect Timing and a Grandslam

***(Reposted from May, 2011.  Such a sweet memory from a painful time that was filled with God’s hope, peace, and love!)  
It was Garrett’s second to last game of the season and he came up to bat with bases loaded. He got a great hit, right over the 2nd baseman’s head into the outfield. The centerfielder threw it in to the infield who threw it to the catcher just a second or two too late- Garrett slid and was safe for a grandslam!! The whole team went crazy and hugged him and James high-fived the coach- we were all so incredibly proud of him! He even got the game ball! Just that afternoon, Garrett had talked about how great it would be to hit a homerun- “maybe even a grandslam” he said. Well, he did it!!
I think God gives us little encouragements and “God hugs” along the way to remind us that He cares and to encourage us with a smile and hope. Garrett has been practicing hard and hitting great, but the timing of his grandslam is from God!  God never left our side throughout everything with Connor. It has been incredibly difficult and emotional, but there have been smiles and joy along the way too, and peace beyond understanding. The nurse in the ICU that could one-hand clap and actually made us laugh for a moment; Garrett drawing on everyone’s faces and hands and bringing a smile to everyone; small things, seemingly insignificant, but God knows just when we need those things, and brings them at exactly the right moment- just to remind us He loves us!
Garrett has been so incredibly brave and supportive of Connor during this time. When the doctors were sure it was going to be leukemia, Garrett said he would give bone marrow without hesitation even though he knew it might hurt. When Connor was so weak he couldn’t even walk around or play, Garrett sat on his bed and played the Wii with him. Garrett has prayed for Connor every night and wanted nothing more than for Connor to be healthy again.
We are so proud of Garrett and the young man he is becoming! He loves his family and shows love and kindness to everyone around him and he always brings a smile to everyone’s face with his joy and humor. We are proud of his grandslam and will never forget it- but we are even more proud of his love of God and love of others! 
Way to go Garrett!! 🙂

Peace… No Matter What!

Peace

What does it mean to you?  Do you enjoy it or are you currently longing for it?

Often, the answer depends on our understanding of peace. We tend to confuse peace with comfort or the absence of problems.  But this is false peace. It isn’t real and it never lasts.  This world is full of scary situations, loss, grief, and pain–tragedies to deal with and trials to face.

But even in the midst of our pain, our peace can be constant, complete, and unending.

But how?  How do we hold onto peace when life is painful.  How do we keep our joy and security when life is scary and the future is unknown?

Only Jesus!  His Peace is a gift and it changes absolutely everything!

Jesus says, “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, emphasis mine).  

Jesus has given us His peace and it is not like anything of this world.  His peace guards us, and is so perfect, complete, and unconditional, we can’t even fully understand it! (Philippians 4:7).  His peace does not depend on our behavior, our situation, or our circumstances.  His peace is always available in endless supply and gives us the power to live in security with freedom from all fear and anxiety. 

So how do we accept His gift and hold onto it during times of crisis, while confronted with problems and seemingly impossible situations?  How do face our circumstances with courage, joy and peace in times of trial, pain, or loss?

* Trust  

We must choose to trust God and intentionally “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Our emotions and feelings will mislead us, our thoughts will confuse us, and our hearts will doubt, but we have the power through the Holy Spirit to decide that no matter what, “I will trust God!”

* Prayer

We have the incredible gift of prayer!  We have the opportunity and ability to talk with God, and know that He hears us!  This divine communication should never be taken for granted or ignored.  God tells us to come “boldly before His throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4:16, ESV).  And we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:16).   In our pain, in our joy, in our trials, and in our celebrations, we should maintain an open, ongoing dialogue with God, and never stop!

* Fellowship

Our pride can get in the way of an amazing source of comfort and strength that God has given us–His people.  We are to be transparent with each other and love one another, just as Christ loves us. All too often our pride blocks us from the blessing of true fellowship and encouragement.  No one can encourage us if they don’t even know we are discouraged!  As brothers and sisters in the faith, we are to “…encourage one another and build each other up.”  (1 Thess. 5:11).  The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to bless one another, but it is up to us to use them.  Imagine what would happen if we all stop pretending we have it all together, admit our needs, and truly encourage and love one another as Christ loves us–it would be so beautiful! 

* Faith

  “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7).  Do we believe God loves us?  Do we believe He is faithful?  Can He handle our problem?  To maintain peace in the trials of life, we must remember we live by faith in God.  The problems, struggles and pain are temporary and we need faith in God to see beyond them, to the bigger, better plan God has for us.  And when our faith falters, we can go to Him in prayer and ask for more.  We can say, “Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:20).  And He is faithful.  He will never leave us nor forsake us, (Heb. 13:5).  


Lord, strengthen me to rise above my circumstances, to focus on You, and remember that my peace comes from You.  You know my struggles, my pain, and my trials, and You are with me.  Help me find peace in You, increase my faith, and teach me to love You, trust You, and rely on You completely, in all things.  In the name of Jesus, amen!


Do you need prayer or encouragement?  Leave a comment (even just your name) and I would be delighted to lift you in prayer!