Peace, Be Still

Charity Rattray

12 Days of Christmas by Charity Rattray

I have had many a stranger ask me after a short conversation “You were a cheerleader in high school weren’t you?” (The answer would be yes by the way).

I have a Sunshine and Buttercups personality. I tend to find the silver lining in all situations. I have found a way to make the very dry reading of the Book of Leviticus seem refreshing! Ha!

But, for some reason, when the Christmas Season starts to loom on the horizon of my calendar I fall victim to melancholy. Can I just be honest? Christmas and the holiday season tend to stress me out!

Me, yes me, the one who is always preaching HOPE wants to hide away from this season that represents the very coming of the greatest hope.

“The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.” ~ Matthew 1:23 NCV

Instead of running and hiding my head in the sand and pretending there is not a holiday season I will choose to embrace the Advent Season. I will anticipate being with the One who came to live With Me!

So today I recommend to you and me a little piece of Peace and Sanity in this maddening time we fondly call the Holidays:

12 Days of Christmas
by Charity Rattray
You are invited to gather with me at your local coffee shop, morning table, or even in your car between errands. Together we will find the refreshing needed to face your Holiday Season. 
Twelve short devotionals with links for reference and resource crafted with you in mind. The “HOLIDAZE” are fast approaching so be intentional and reclaim the HOLY in your home this holiday.
This would make a great 12 days before Christmas gift for the women in your life!

 

I hope you will choose to take the time to read my dear friend Charity’s book 12 Days of Christmas available at Amazon. Most of all I hope you will find time to dwell with Immanuel all year long!

How can I pray for peace for you this season?

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Posted in Christmas, Hope, Inspiration, Love | Tagged | 2 Comments

Without Hope?

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Last week I posted some very powerful words mostly taken from God’s Word in regard to hope and who is our source of hope.

I want to expand on this concept of hope this week.

Remember that in the past you were without Christ. You were not citizens of Israel, and you had no part in the agreements with the promise that God made to his people. You had no hope, and you did not know God. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away from God are brought near through the blood of Christ’s death. Christ himself is our peace. He made both Jewish people and those who are not Jews one people. They were separated as if there were a wall between them, but Christ broke down that wall of hate by giving his own body. ~ Ephesians 2:12-14

“You had no hope, and you did not know God.”

I read this sentence and I feel the hopelessness of a life lived outside of the knowledge of God. An empty cavern the size of the universe seems to swallow me at the thought of just one day, one moment without the Savior I have come to know. The one who used His own body to break down the wall of hate that separates us from one another and His promises.

Our world is broken, scary and lacking peace. Honestly, it has always been so. Tell me what generation, what continent can you run to or back in time to that has perfect peace and security? Not possible. Running only compounds the lack of peace the panic the hopelessness. So where can we go when we are without hope?

So, Lord, what hope do I have? You are my hope. ~ Psalm 39:7 NCV

The only secure place to anchor the ship we call life is in a God who is bigger than our world, our brokenness, our hurt, pain and disease. We must fasten ourselves to the Christ who used His own body to secure that hope and peace we so desperately need.

God wanted to prove that his promise was true to those who would get what he promised. And he wanted them to understand clearly that his purposes never change, so he made an oath. These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. ~ Hebrews 6:17-19

What is making you feel hopeless today?

Is God your source of hope?

Let’s discuss this together…

Posted in Courage, God's Unchanging Character, Hope, Provision | 2 Comments

My Source of Hope

Remember that in the past you were without Christ… You had no hope, and you did not know God. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away from God are brought near…Christ himself is our peace. ~ Ephesians 2:12-14 NCV

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13 NLT

We put our hope in the Lord.
    He is our help and our shield.
 In him our hearts rejoice,
    for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
    for our hope is in you alone. ~ Psalm 33:20-22 NLT

I rejoice in the hope of that glory to be revealed, for it is no uncertain glory that we look for. Our hope is not hung upon such an untwisted thread as “I imagine so,” or “It is likely,” but the cable, the strong tow of our fastened anchor, is the oath and promise of Him who is eternal verity. Our salvation is fastened with God’s own hand, and with Christ’s own strength, to the strong stake of God’s unchangeable nature. ~ Samuel Rutherford

God wanted to prove that his promise was true to those who would get what he promised. And he wanted them to understand clearly that his purposes never change, so he made an oath. These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when he makes a promise, and he cannot lie when he makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong… ~ Hebrews 6:17-19 NCV

Posted in But God, God's Unchanging Character, Hope, Provision, Redemption | 3 Comments

God is the Source

Forever Reign by Hillsong has some very powerful words.

God is love, hope, peace, joy, life. He will always be enough.* Have you every considered God to be your provider of all the intangibles?

My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:26 NAS

Ann Voskamp approaches God’s provision in this way:
“Remember and give thanks? For what?…Christ… All gratitude is ultimately summed up in Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember.**

Everything can be summed up and sustained in Christ. Not only is God the source for what we need He is what we need.

Lord, You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing, You guard all that is mine. ~ Psalm 16:5 NLT

God is our inheritance. He is the one who provides access to Himself.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” ~ Lamentations 3:21-24 NLT

Hope in Him! Seek Him as the source for all your needs. Be grateful for all He has provided. God is the source even of that hope:

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13 NLT

 

* Hillsong – Forever Reign From the album “A Beautiful Exchange”

** Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, p. 154-155

Posted in But God, Courage, God's Unchanging Character, Hope, Provision, Redemption | 1 Comment

Yes, it’s me!

Late Bloom

Yes, it’s me!

Melisa is Greek and means Honey Bee.

“Honey Bees are very industrious.  They have a need to be about their purpose.  Driven to reach just one more flower that they might produce all they have been called to do!” Pollinating Grace

Which brings me to the topic we discussed last week; the importance of separating our performance from our title and embracing our call.

It is not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy. The bee is praised; the mosquito is swatted. ~ Marie O’Conner

Lately, I have been wondering is all of my “Pollinating” making any honey or just noise? We can tell ourselves that God has chosen us based on His affection for us not our deeds or contributions but still we worry.

But I said, “I have worked hard for nothing; I have used all my power, but I did nothing useful. But the Lord will decide what my work is worth; God will decide my reward.” ~ Isaiah 49:4

Yes, it’s me…the one who, it seems, needs constant reminding who I am in Christ!

One of the tragedies of our life is that we keep forgetting who we are.” ~ Henri Nouwen

I am called to pollinate grace. This calling does not change even when I lack perfection, make a lot of useless noise, or am unsure of my results. God is the one who produces fruit.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.  ~ John 15:16a        

You and I did not get lucky and stumble upon God and then vie for His attention: “Oh pick me, give me a job”.

Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace. ~ I Peter 4:10

Don’t forget who you are in Christ. Remember that He calls, He perfects, and He produces the results.

Show up! Bee yourself! Bloom Brave!

Tell me, what noise have you been making? I bet it is sweeter than you think!

Posted in Bloom Brave, But God, Chosen to Tell, Courage | Leave a comment

Mom, is that you?

We have been discussing our unchanging God and His unchanging call. We are chosen by God to tell how His story of redemption is uniquely wrapped up in our own stories.

Today I want to wander off the path a bit and “muck about” in this concept.

…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. ~ Romans 11:29

Irrevocable is a strong word meaning unchangeable. So we know that God has not changed His mind about calling you or I.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. ~ Ephesians 1:4

Wait we are chosen to be blameless?

How can I be blameless in my call? God won’t change His mind about me, but I need to be perfect? What? HELP!

Let me explain. Two weeks ago I sent my children to school like this:

Homecoming Week – Tacky Tourist
(Not pictured are the socks with sandals)

In the same 48 hour period, I also allowed our household to run out of Milk, Butter, and Salt! My husband was out of town at the time. The first morning after He was home again with us and we discovered how difficult breakfast was going to be minus all of the above ingredients my husband said:

“You let our son go to school in a coconut bra and we are out of butter and milk! I don’t think I should ever leave town again.”

His body language was hilarious. He had his hands on his hips. He blew out his breath as the corners of his mouth turned up into a slight smirk, and all the while his eyes told me he adored me. It’s all good.

I am still the wife and mom at this house! My call has not changed just because I have had a supposed lapse of judgment (not that I am admitting one mind you) or forgot to do some simple shopping.

Calling and performance are two very different things. And if being a domestic diva was a requirement to be the Turner’s wife and mom, well I would have been fired years ago!

The same is true with our relationship with God. He called you and me before He redeemed us. Remember what Ephesians 1:4 said above “…before the creation of the world.” I am pretty sure none of us had the ability to be perfect before time began. Our performance or perfection was not a part of the deal He offers. It is God who makes us holy and blameless. And when we make errors, forget duties, or have a lapse in judgment there is forgiveness.

God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So you should always clothe yourselves with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you. Even more than all this, clothe yourself in love. Love is what holds you all together in perfect unity. ~ Colossians 3:12-14 NCV

You and I really are irrevocably called even in our imperfection. We have freedom to separate our performance from our title as a child of God.

I am an imperfect mom, but a fun mom. I am also a good mom!

What are you good at (not perfect) but good at?

Embrace your call and run swiftly when you need forgiveness.

Posted in Chosen to Tell, Courage, God's Unchanging Character, Good Mom Award | 2 Comments

Chosen to Tell

What do we do with our irrevocable call?

But you are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ~ I Peter 2:9 NCV

You have been Chosen to Tell.
Tell who? Tell them what?

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the LORD redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies. ~ Psalm 107:1-2 NLT

What enemies has God redeemed you from? What has tried to destroy you? What battle in your mind or spirit has God helped you overcome?

What darkness has God called you out of?

But I am close to God, and that is good. The Lord GOD is my protection. I will tell all that you have done. ~ Psalm 73:28NCV

God is the one who calls. He is the one with wondrous acts that bring us out of darkness. We tell of His greatness, His redemption.

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. ~ II Thessalonians 1:11

What is God prompting you to do by faith? How can you find the courage to obey?

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. ~ Acts 4:13 NIV

Gaining knowledge does not make us courageous. Being with Jesus does that!

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. ~ Ephesians 2:10 NCV

OBEDIENCE AND COURAGE…here we find it in action:

The apostle Paul is speaking in Acts 26:19-23
“King Agrippa, after I had this vision from heaven, I obeyed it. (Obedience)

I began telling people that they should change their hearts and lives and turn to God and do things to show they really had changed. (Telling about God’s Redemption)

I told this first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem, and in every part of Judea, and also to the other people. (Great Commission)

But God has helped me, and so I stand here today, telling all people, small and great, what I have seen. (Telling how God brought Him out of Darkness)

But I am saying only what Moses and the prophets said would happen— that the Christ would die, and as the first to rise from the dead, he would bring light to all people.”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

…You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ~ I Peter 2:9 NCV

Who do you need to Tell?

What darkness has God brought light to in your life?

Spend time with Jesus so you will have the courage to obey!

Posted in Bloom Brave, But God, Chosen to Tell, Courage, Redemption | 1 Comment