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Peace

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

For many years I was in search mode with my faith.  I kept searching for something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  At first, I thought it was to be accepted.  Then I turned to searching for joy.  I finally landed on the underlying need for all my searching – peace.  I  realized what I wanted each and every day was to wake up with sense of peace, go through my day with peace and lay down my head at night peace-filled.

In a recent Bible study I did by Christian teacher Jackie Hill Perry on the book of Jude, she explained the two different types of Christian peace.  1) Peace with God  and 2) Peace from God.  

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

During the Christmas holidays one of the great misunderstandings or misuses of Bible words are “peace on Earth.”   So many non-Christians (and probably many self-identified Christians) think this means no war, no strife.  But the “peace” we can be so thankful for is the peace we now have WITH God after we repented and entered into a life of submission to Him.  In effect, our relationship, which was fractured, is now repaired.  Secondly, the peace with get FROM God is the knowledge that He is in ultimate control of this world and we know our final place will rest with Him in eternity.  

Although it’d certainly be awesome if this world were to stop being at war with each other, if violence wasn’t an everyday occurrence, I know that the unrepentant man will always act for the passions of the flesh.  

Now that my search is complete, I am working every day to live in God’s gift of peace.  I  can easily fall into the well-worn paths of the world that I created but I’m forging a new road with His help. 

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A Teaspoon of Salt

Season all your grain offerings 
with salt.  
Leviticus 2:13

About a year ago my husband and I decided to combine our plans of getting fit at the gym with changing what we ate for dinner.  We decided to try out a couple meal delivery services.  Now, let me first say my husband is an incredible cook – creative and eager to try new dishes.  So whatever plan we chose would have to meet his high standards.  

As we made the various meals we discovered some of the “tricks of the trade” of how to make meals have that extra “pop” of flavor.  And the most basic trick was seasoning with salt and pepper throughout the cooking process.  It was amazing how much better our food tasted when we seasoned at the beginning, middle and end.  Salt is so simple yet it somehow releases the intricate flavors of whatever dish it’s added to.

Do not leave the salt of the covenant 
of your God out of your grain offerings; 
add salt to all your offerings. 
Leviticus 2:13

And throughout the Bible we are encouraged, or as in Leviticus, admonished, to add salt to our offerings to God and to our work for God.

Let your conversation be always full 
of grace, seasoned with salt, so that 
you may know how to answer everyone. 
Colossians 4:6

But what does this mean in our daily faith lives?  Adding salt to our conversations means making sure our work of sharing the gospel is pure and properly seasoned – with grace and love.  In other places in the Bible we see salt as something added to make our lives more pleasing to God.

My BSGs had a conversation once about memorizing scripture and prayers – an admirable activity for sure.  But when our faith life becomes a series of memorized verse or monotonous prayers we can lose our saltiness.  We lose the passion and uniqueness of our special relationship with God.

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, 
how can it be made salty again?" 
Luke 14:34

So how do we regain that beautiful flavor in our relationship with Him?  Ask.  It’s funny how so often when we struggle with faith issues we forget to do the one thing that works the best – ask Him.  “Show me, Lord, how to reignite and bring passion to my relationship with you!”  He might show you a new way to pray, a new book to read, a new song to sing, a new Christian friend, or a new place in your home to mediate.  

The Holy Spirit is waiting to be tapped for answers.  It’s like He is jumping up and down with His hand up going, “Oooooo!  Ask Me! Ask Me!”  

Average is very acceptable in our society but I don’t think the angels are applauding. If you are determined to be excellent, to not back out of it, you will reap a harvest in your life.

Joyce Meyer

Let’s start flavoring our faith life at the beginning, middle and end of our day with salt, with passion, with grace, and with intentionality.  Let’s dine with our Savior and feast on the grace He gives us.

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Eat Up His Words

When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
Lord God Almighty.  
Jeremiah 15:16

I visited some friends recently outside Austin, Texas.  One day we were trying to decide where to eat for lunch and I mentioned seeing a place that served Louisana-style shrimp and crab.  My friend exclaimed, “Oooo those are my two favorite foods!”  And off we went!

As our food was placed before us – heaping piles of crab, shrimp, corn and potatoes — I thought I heard my friend moan.  And when she started in, slurping and sucking on her crab I actually did hear her moan!  We started laughing so hard!  That lunch is what came to mind when I read this verse from Jeremiah.  Eating joyously and to our heart’s delight.

Jeremiah was in a pretty tough spot with God and the people of Israel.  He had to tell the people of God’s coming wrath.  You see, God was done being placated by Israel’s rulers.  It was time to pay the piper for their egregious and continuing sins.  But God promised to save Jeremiah after he makes his plea of faithfulness.

Just think if we all devoured God’s word like my friend did her pile of crab and shrimp!  Or like Jeremiah in his plea for rescue!

“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.”-

A.W. Tozer

Acute desire.  To yearn to read more about God.  To seek with all our heart ways to serve God.  To sit in mediation with anxious expectation to hear from God.  That’s the kind of love God wants from us.  Like lovers that can’t get enough of each other!

My husband and I started out in a long distance relationship.  He lived and went to college in Colorado and I was in California.  We began calling each other every day.  Spending hours on the phone.  We wanted to learn everything we could about each other.  Then our phone bills started arriving!  As poor college students we couldn’t afford to call each other anymore so we took to writing.  Each day I would anxiously await the mail.  And each letter that came was pages long.   I ate up those words with joy and with a happy heart.

The Bible is like those love letters.  It tells us all we need to know about God’s character.  It regales us with stories of how He makes promises and keeps them.  He tells us about how much He sacrificed to show us love.  And He shows us the way to be united with Him again.

If what we call love doesn’t take us beyond ourselves, it is not really love. If we have the idea that love is characterized as cautious, wise, sensible, shrewd, and never taken to extremes, we have missed the true meaning.

Oswald Chambers

Loving God is not a passive pursuit.  We need to love with abandon.  We need to eat up every word from His lips!  

Then you will call on me and come 
and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 
You will seek me and find me when 
you seek me with all your heart.  
Jeremiah 29:12-13

Friends, the enemy is like that jealous school girl who wants to steal your boyfriend away.  She’d love to see you get a bit complacent with your relationship.  She’ll even find ways to distract you and put a wedge between you.  The difference is, the enemy can only work on one side of this relationship.  God is never distracted.

The presence of passion, faith, and belief in our hearts is a gift.  It’s on loan to our souls. 

Priscilla Shirer, Fervent

In other words, we don’t need to conjure up that passion or desire to eat up God’s Word.  The Holy Spirit is already there, waiting for us to access that burning faith!  We need only to call out to God and say, “I love you, Lord with all my heart!  Teach me everything about you so that I may serve you!”  And He will certainly place a feast before you.