3 Ways To Let Peace Boost Your Thanksgiving

Peace…
peace1
It’s more than some iconic symbol.
It’s more than words or a global award.
It’s more than a time of calm amidst the storms of conflict.

We want the calm.
We crave these times especially when the rush of life casts us about like rag dolls thrown into the midst of a blood thirsty pack of wolves.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Sometimes we wonder how we could possibly be thankful when it seems our day or week has been wrought with problems.  Sometimes life just sucks.  Sometimes the joy seems to just get sucked right out of us by circumstances and even other people.  In THOSE times it seems nearly impossible to find something to be thankful for.

Allow me but a few moments today to share with you 3 ways that you can boost your thanksgiving.

3 Ways To Let Peace Boost Your Thanksgiving:

1) Take Time For YOU!
phil

This may sound like something out of a self-help book or something you might hear Dr. Phil say…but it’s true.  We need time alone, and time for self-soulcare.  We must find healthy ways to unwind and relax now and then.  We cannot go 100 miles an hour at everything and expect to find peace when we haven’t slowed down enough to find ourselves again.  We can sometimes get lost in the pile of stuff on our desks or amidst the bills piling up at home.  If Jesus got away from His disciples in order to commune with The Father, we ought to consider doing this as well.  How else can we recharge our spent souls?  How else will we find peace again?  When someone is thirsty they don’t go looking for more saltine crackers do they?  No!  They look for a nice cold glass of water to quench that thirst.  We too are spiritually thirsty and in order to quench that thirst we have to go back to the Well of our Father again and again.  As we take personal time we will once again gain perspective and find peace once more.  It is often difficult to disconnect from a very connected world…but it is necessary for our own sanity and personal care!

invent2) A Personal Inventory Of Gratefulness
It’s seems a little silly, maybe a bit childish…but can we bring to mind all of our blessings?  Can we do a personal inventory of our lives right now and evaluate the things that we can be grateful for?  I think we might find that we have so much by way of blessings from God.

All too often we can dwell from a place of “have nots” that we run the risk of forgetting all that we “have” already.   We live in a very materialistic world where products and stuff is valued above everything.  There is this notion that if we do not possess the next big thing then we aren’t truly living a good life.  What a lie that is.  We buy this lie over and over again in our over-saturated marketed world.  We spend countless dollars in order to recapture an element of happiness with that next “thing” only to find elements of discontentment and sadness once more.

When we dwell in the place of “have nots”, we will never truly be content.  We will never truly be happy.  If we live there we will not be able to properly conduct an authentic personal inventory of our gratefulness – because true gratefulness doesn’t come from stuff.  We have been blessed by a Creator who so desperately wants to fellowship with us.  When we can evaluate our lives by the blessings of Him, we can finally tap into that pure element of His peace; and in so doing, we will once again place Him in His rightful place above the “stuff” that we have accumulated and allowed to become our god.

others3) Others.
It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway.
When we can allow ourselves to become less and Christ to become more, we open ourselves up to finally see the needs of others around us.  We live in a very self-indulged world.  This isn’t news to you I am sure!  Allowing the needs of others to replace our needs isn’t easy, nor is it natural in our present state.  That shouldn’t be taken to mean that we don’t care for ourselves and disregard #1, we need those times as well to refresh and find our source of life again, but after those re-connections with the Father, if we can see the needs of others we can find peace and thanksgiving in our lives!

There are so many people in our communities that need a friend.  There are so many people who need an ear to hear their sorrows and burdens.  We shouldn’t go into those times of “listening” expecting we can fix all of life’s problems for them, but we can be a support to souls who have lost their way.

Can you be a friend?
Can you see the needs of others?
What kinds of selfishness (let’s call it for what it is) prevent us from seeing others?
Do we truly crave genuine peace and thanksgiving in our lives and long to share that with others?

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

In order for the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts we have to take time to commune with Him, we have to see our joys and blessings that He has provided, and we have to share that joy and blessing with others.

Do you want to boost your thanksgiving this season?
I hope it lasts a little longer than just a season…but let’s start there.
If you long to boost your thanksgiving, give these three suggestions a try.
It’s not a “cure all”…but it’s sure a great first step!

Something more to ponder today.
To God Be The Glory!

Encouragement For A Soldier’s Heart…

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.” John 16:33

Mama said there’ll be days like this
There’ll be days like this mama said” -(by Luther Dixon & Willie Denson)

Are you having one of THOSE days?

troubleOur Troubles…
Our frustrations and troubles within this world look vastly different from the early church and that of Jesus’ disciples.  Yet, this verse is for you and for me today.  All too often we engage souls in these ministries that we are responsible for.  All too often we hear other people’s problems and they become ours.  It becomes a shared burden.  We provide care, support and guidance to many within our flock.  We feel the burden of these cares, and sometimes they weigh heavy on us.

Other times our troubles come by way of our calling.  Sometimes the ministries we have been called to or placed in suddenly become a “dry and thirsty land” with very little by way of encouragement, support and hope.  Sometimes instead of a passionate, flowing river of a numerically “successful” ministry we face a slim trickle of moderate or rare numeric success which makes us ponder the questions: “am I cut out for this?” and “what have I done wrong?“…and we face discouragement, disillusionment and even depression.

Still, on other occasions these troubles come by way of outward pressures in our communities or individualistic persecutions.  Perhaps we face false teachers, or we must confront immorality within our church and when we do, we’re blasted as “judgmental” and shouted at with curses and graceless comments such as “how dare you, what gives you the right?”  We question if we should have just let sleeping dogs lie but in our hearts we know it was the right thing to do and we did so with grace and love.  Still…troubles from without and from within have left us wounded and discouraged.

About That Peace?…peace
Jesus spoke these words to His disciples after telling them of not only His pending death but also of their pending troubles in the world…but there was hope.  There is always hope in the Father.  There is always hope in the Son.  There is always hope in the Holy Spirit who guides us on this path.  Have you ever heard the phrase “keep the main thing the main thing?”  It alludes to the need for keeping the principle of our mission at the forefront of our minds.

Our Principle:  The message of Christ (Messiah), the message of the cross, the message of salvation, of resurrection, of hope, of reconciliation, of love, and victory over sin and death.

When we keep “the main thing the main thing”, we realign ourselves with God and turn away from the problems of this world.  Not that the problems of this world aren’t important, but rather, The Author of life itself takes His proper place in our priorities.  From this place of understanding we then can look around our world and truly see how things are and how they could be.  This is when we begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ because we are striving to live for Him alone.  This is holiness.  This is surrendering ourselves at the foot of the cross and then picking up our own crosses to follow Him.

Peace?  What Peace?
Carrying our crosses and following Him (Matthew 16:24) doesn’t sound “peaceful” does it?  Pain still exists.  Hurtful accusations, slander and suffering will still occur.  How could THIS be peaceful?   One might ask.  Perhaps “peace” means something differently than what we initially thought it to mean.  It is certainly not the absence of conflict in our lives; for there is still conflict.  It is not the absence of adversity, discouragement or suffering either; for we still encounter these on our path as well.  Then what is this peace that Christ provides to us if it is not the absence of conflict?  It is an eternal peace.  A peace that transcends this temporal, mortal existence.  It is a peace that alleviates the burdens of our former self as we embrace the image of Christ.  It is a peace that resides in our lives because His Holy presence brings us assurance and hope.  It is a peace that still passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7) yet conveys to us that we are not alone and we will overcome because He has overcome.

soldiers3Dear Soldier…
Are you in need of that peace today in your life?
Are you facing discouragement, hopelessness and pain?  You aren’t alone.  You do not have to carry this burden by yourself.   There is One who can provide you with this peace.  Perhaps there is some realignment that must be done in your heart today.  Perhaps we must go before the Father again with a penitent heart.  Perhaps it is a simple yet constant prayer of “Lord use me and allow me to see evidence of You in my life.

Be encouraged today!  We are not alone.  We are not abandoned.  We are overcomers because Christ has overcome the world.  Allow this peace to evident in your life today!

Something more to ponder today.  To God be the Glory!

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