Shalom


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John 14:27

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.

The Hebrew word shalom is often used as a greeting, and the word means peace. That’s a nice sentiment. But, there is always something that causes us to fret, to lose our peace. This week it’s been the stock market, but it can be weather, illness, broken relationships, and job loss – to name just a few. How can we embrace the peace Jesus gave us in John 14:27? Perhaps one reason is that we don’t fully understand the peace of God.

For my quiet time this year I’m using the One Year Devotions for Women, by Ann Spangler. The theme of the devotional is God’s Peace. Below is a quote from the January 7th entry:

“But what exactly is peace? When most of us think of peace, we think of an absence of conflict or the sense of tranquility we sometimes feel after a walk in the park or a day the beach. But the Hebrew word shalom is far brawnier than the English word for peace, encompassing these ideas and more.  Shalom contains the idea of completeness. It is the sum of all the blessings God can bestow – healing, prosperity, soundness, well-being, good relationships, perfection. It is what happens when God shines his face on you, when he turns toward you in all his greatness and brings you good.”[i] (Emphasis mine).

To be sure of the accuracy of the author’s claim I verified her definition with the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The word shalom is so much more than a greeting. The word shalom is a powerful blessing!

We all struggle to remember to embrace the peace Jesus gave us. Try to remember the full meaning of the gift of shalom, so you truly feel the peace of Christ.

Numbers 6:23-26

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,

‘The Lord bless you and keep you;the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.'”

  Shalom.

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Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

[i] Devotions for Women, Ann Spangler, Tyndale, 2012, Day 7.

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Thankfulness – Day 2


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Lord, today I am thankful for all those who study and explain Scripture. These men and women have studied your Holy Word, studied archaeological documents, and the customs of those who lived when the Bible was written. To help us understand the Scriptures, and You, they have written commentaries, concordances, Bible Studies and books about Your Word. This helps us understand You and Your ways better so that we may interact with this world in a godly way and know how to share Jesus Christ with others.

Acts 8:30-35

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,

 and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

May you be blessed with fresh insight into the Scriptures today. 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: Google Images, Pinterest

Blessing God


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Psalm 34:1

I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.

The thought of filling my lungs with praise and worship songs is pure refreshment to me. I listen to praise music often, and sign along when I can. This Psalm is telling us that this sort of praise should happen all the time. In just a few words, it sets up a pattern of how we are to live. But there is more in this little verse. We are to bless God.

For a long time I did not understand how I could bless God. He’s God after all. How could I possibly bless Him? He doesn’t need anything. Consider this. Going down the wrong path, sinning – that grieves the heart of God. I have come to understand that praise and worship is a blessing to Him, because it keeps us on the course He has laid out for our lives.

Another way to bless God is to serve Him. We do that by serving those He loves, and that is everyone. Anytime you bless another person, you are blessing the Lord.

During this season that we are celebrating our bounty, consider blessing someone else, and blessing God.

The Beatitudes


God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Psalm 53:2 

Jesus obviously had a following. Matthew 5:1 indicates there were crowds at the Sermon on the Mount. The traditional site for the Sermon on the Mount is a natural amphitheater. The natural terrain would allow for Jesus’ voice to be heard by the masses.

It’s interesting that Jesus opens His first sermon by discussing heaven, in the Beatitudes. Before I discuss the Beatitudes, I thought it important to accurately define the word blessing. The word blessing is a noun. It means:  a special favor, mercy, or benefit; a favor or gift bestowed by God; the invoking of God’s favor upon a person (dictionary.com). A blessing is a true gift! Think about the word blessing as you read the Beatitudes.

The beatitudes give us a picture of a true disciple of God. The beatitudes are proverb-like sayings, each one full of spiritual meaning. Each beatitude speaks of a blessing bestowed upon a person resulting from the possession of a certain character quality. Living according to the beatitudes will give us spiritual prosperity.

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

At first glance it would seem Jesus is telling us to live in physically depressed circumstances, but that’s not the case. After delivering the beatitudes, Jesus immediately goes on to tell us to be the “salt of the earth and the light of the world.” What Jesus is saying is, He wants to bless Christians so that unbelievers are drawn to Him.

Living our lives according to the Beatitudes will bring a glimpse of Heaven to earth.

Blessings on your day.

Scripture is from www.BibleGateway.com

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A Tragedy Or a Blessing?


Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their nine children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they had finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family on a new liner to the United States.

The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life. However, seven days before their departure, the youngest son was bitten by a dog. The doctor sewed up the boy but hung a yellow sheet on the Clarks’ front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were being quarantined for fourteen days.

The family’s dreams were dashed. They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave – without the Clark family. The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son and God for their misfortune.

Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland – the mighty Titanic had sunk. The unsinkable ship had sunk, taking hundreds of lives with it. The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because the son had been bitten by a dog, they were left behind in Scotland.

When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he had felt was a tragedy into a blessing.

Now I don’t know if this story is true or not, but it makes me aware of God’s providence. He is involved in all the details of all of our lives. Perhaps a setback is just what we need. Maybe a tragedy will alter the course we have for our life. Perhaps running late means we miss a car accident.  It reminds me to thank God for the good and the bad. He allows both for a purpose.

Genesis 50:20 

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

John 16:33

“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.”

Blessings on your day.