There is no Peace

Recently, while decorating the Christmas tree and listening to an Elvis Christmas CD, the gospel song Peace in the Valley was up next on the shuffle repeat mode. While listening I began to sing along, to which my husband commented, “There is no peace.”

If that is so, then what did the heavenly host mean when, to the shepherds, they proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” on the night Jesus was born (Luke 2:14)? Did that mean everyone, from that point on, would all live in peace with one another? If so, the Angels got it all wrong that holy night. Look around you or within you! There is clearly not much, if any, peace to be found.

The definitions for peace are 1: a state of tranquility or quiet a: freedom from civil disturbance b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom. 2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions 3: harmony in personal relations 4a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity (Merriam-Webster Dictionary App)

Today, just the opposite is true in the world, our homes, our lives, hearts and minds. We are all fighting something or someone. Countries are fighting. Governments are fighting. Political parties are fighting. Races, genders and families are fighting. We are angry, offended and offensive. We are worried, stressed and exhausted. The list goes on and on.

So are we doomed to a life of no peace? Was my observant husband correct? Is there no peace? Is there no hope?

Don’t despair! There is one opportunity for true peace. The heralding angels had it right after all. When God gave us the gift of His Son Jesus, on that faithful holy night, He also gave us the gift of peace (Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.) And just as with any gift, if you don’t accept it you won’t experience the benefits that amazing gift has to offer.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 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.” John 14:27 “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.”

I love the incident that took place in Matthew 8:23-26. In my opinion it is a perfect example of peace. Jesus and His disciples got into a boat. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and spoke to Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Why were the disciples afraid? Why were they worried about the fierce storm/circumstances? They obviously didn’t have a full understanding of who Jesus really is. To truly know a person you have to spend time with them. There has to be conversation. There has to be a relationship. Trust has to be built. In order for trust to be built you have to consistently experience a person. The disciples didn’t fully understand that the One through whom all things were created had authority over all creation? Colossians 1:15-16 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

The boat represents our life, our heart and our mind. If Jesus is in our boat we can rest assured that He is in control of troubling circumstances that are sweeping over us. When peace is in our life, heart and mind we can remain calm in the midst of the craziness going on around us. When Jesus is on the scene we don’t have to be afraid, worried or troubled. If Jesus isn’t worried then we shouldn’t be worried. If Jesus is resting during the storm then we should be resting during the storm. Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Are you experiencing disquieting or oppressive thoughts and emotions concerning the turbulent storms all around you or within you? Is Jesus in your boat? No Jesus equals no peace! Will you spend time with Him in prayer and studying His word to get to know Him better so you can trust Him more? Will you accept the gift of peace that is being offered to you today? It’s the same gift that was offered by God that first Christmas so long ago; the gift of His Son Jesus and the peace that only He can bring. If you don’t accept the gift, you will never experience the benefits that amazing gift has to offer. The choice is yours!

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Go Your Own Way

Last week, during a weekly Bible Study, our group of ladies were discussing answers to a question concerning Psalm 2:1-3 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The  discussion question was, What is the complaint against God in Psalm 2:1-3 and how does this compare with people’s complaints against God today?

One of the ladies in our group creatively responded with, “It reminds me of that Fleetwood Mac song ‘Go Your Own Way.'” Which was very appropriate since we were discussing Psalms. We all laughed. The next lady, following along those same lines, said it reminded her of the Frank Sinatra song “My Way.” More laughter! Needless to say I haven’t been able to get “Go Your Own Way” out of my head or off of my tongue since. It’s funny how God can use a song to expand our thoughts on a subject. He’s so clever!

The growing consensus against God thousands of years ago and today seems to be,”Leave us alone! We want to do what we want to do and we don’t want any accountability or consequences. We want to be free of You. You only want to spoil our fun!” If it isn’t said in word it is definitely said in deed.

God gives us free will. We get to reject Him if we want to. That’s one of the aspects of His love for us; freedom. We are free to live apart from God. We are free to do what we want when we want and how we want to do it. We are free to have as much so called fun as we want to have. But there will be consequences and accountability rather we want them or not.

I’m reminded of a parable in the Bible (Luke 15:11-16) of a Father that had two sons. The younger son wanted his share of the Father’s estate. So the Father divided the property between His two sons. The younger son decided to gather all of his money and belongings and moved far away from his Father. He squandered his wealth on wine, women and song. There arose a severe famine where he was living and he became desperate. So he went out and got himself a job working for a pig farmer. The pig farming business must not have been very lucrative because he was so hungry that even the pig’s slop looked appetizing to him.

God is the Father. We are the rebellious son. We want the benefits of God the Father but we don’t want to live with Him or be in relationship with Him. We want to be far away from Him. So we “go our own way” and we do things “our way” living our life of freedom apart from God. We spend our money the way we want to. We use our bodies the way we want to. We spend our time the way we want to. All of which are gifts from God our Father. We think we are enjoying a life of freedom without accountability. But in reality we are living a lie. (Revelation 3:17 “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”) Consequences do come and when they do we need to know where to go for help. There is hope!

The story about the Father and son continues in Luke 15:17-24. The son came to his senses, and decided to go home to his Father, ask for forgiveness and ask for a job. He felt as if he was no longer worthy to be called His son. He thought he had messed up so bad that the best he could hope for was a job working for room and board. While the son was on his way home, but still afar off, his Father saw him. He was filled with compassion for his son; He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. The son asked for forgiveness and told Him he no longer felt worthy to be called His son. To the son’s surprise the Father threw him a party and lavished him with gifts. The Father proclaimed, “My son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” It was a time of repentance, forgiveness and restoration; a time of celebration!

Maybe you have “gone your own way” and are “doing things your way” like the son in Luke 15. Maybe you are wallowing in a mire of sin. Maybe you are squandering God’s goodness on wine, women (or men) and song. Maybe you think you are living the high life of freedom but inside you feel dead, lost and empty; hungry for something that will truly satisfy.

We are free to choose! We can choose life over death. (Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.) We can choose to be found over being lost. (Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.) We can choose a life with the Father, sharing in all that is the Father’s; true love, true joy and true peace. We can choose true freedom; freedom from slavery to sin. (Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?) We can choose true satisfaction. (John 6:35 Then Jesus declared,”I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”)

Just as the son came to his senses, realizing that life apart from His Father wasn’t as great as he thought it would be, will you come to your senses today? Will you go to the Father with a repentant heart? Will you ask God to forgive you for wasting His goodness on a life of self-gratification (Ephesians 2:3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath). The Father is longing for you to come to Him. He’s looking for you. He loves you and has compassion for you. He wants to call you His son or daughter. He wants to give you gifts and give you a life worth celebrating; a life of eternal purpose. Will you go God’s way instead of your own way? Will you do life His way instead of doing life your way? He’s waiting for you! Come to your senses today!

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Trash to Treasure

Tis the season! Time to put the autumn decor away and replace it with the Christmas decor. The day after Thanksgiving, I recruited my sweet husband to take on the tree decorating challenge with me. He agreed before he knew that there would be extra work involved. Thankfully, once he was informed of the special request, he did not back out.

I like to recycle and repurpose. If something is broken I like to fix it or have it fixed. Especially if it was expensive. I exhaust all efforts to restore an item until all hope of restoration is gone. Then and only then does it end up in the trash.

A couple of years ago our pre-lit Christmas tree decided not to light up. I tried changing bulbs and fuses but that didn’t work. So instead of discarding it, I just didn’t plug it in. I went out and bought more lights and put them on the tree hoping no one would notice the lifeless bulbs. Much to my delight, my scheme worked.

Last year, feeling nostalgic, we decided to buy a live tree. That was fun but a lot of money to spend on something that only lasts one month and then ends up at the road. So, this year we went back to being frugal and practical and brought out the old dysfunctional pre-lit tree. But this time, instead of trying to hide the inoperable lights, we decided to remove what was broken and replace it with what worked.

My husband was such a good sport about the extra work. He did not run away from the challenge. We both got out our scissors and got to work. It was a daunting, back straining task. It ended up being more work than we had anticipated. The wires were not only attached to the tree but they were knotted around every branch. The tree was literally entangled in useless wires and bulbs. Half way through the process we were rethinking our noble decision. However, we persevered and saw the task through to the end.

Off with the old and on with the new! With all of the unusable lights removed, we could then add the usable lights and ornaments. The finished product is a bright radiant tree that is serving its purpose. It’s a beautiful spot to place our gifts beneath and its beauty can be enjoyed by all who see it. Plus we can relax knowing that we no longer have to hide the secret of the dead lights and we can feel good about not adding to the landfill. A win-win for all!

The broken lights represent darkness; they don’t light up. In the bible, darkness represents evil and sin. Sometimes we want to secretly hold on to our sin and use godly things, words and deeds to distract from the truth; the truth of our entanglement in hidden sin. We know that the sin is what’s broken in our lives and that it is unproductive, useless and maybe even embarrassing. But we are afraid of the pain and effort it will take to change. So we take the easy way out and hang on to our brokenness while continuing to conceal the truth.

Ephesians 5:11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Proverbs 5:22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. Psalm 90:8 You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. Luke 12:2 There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. Job 12:22 He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. Psalm 107:14 He brought them out of darkness, and broke away their chains. 2 Samuel 22:29 You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

Just as in the case of that broken pre-lit tree, a lot of people may be ready to give up on us. They may want to throw us away. They may label us as trash, hopeless, dysfunctional, unproductive and useless. But God!

Thankfully God is in the restoration business (Psalm 80:3 Restore us, O God; make Your face shine on us, that we may be saved)! When He looks at us He sees what we will be, not what we appear to be. We are priceless to Him. He’s not concerned with the work it will take to change us. He has a plan! He wants to remove all the things in our lives that are useless and broken and replace them with things that serve a purpose and are productive. He wants to cut us free from the sin that entangles us. It isn’t easy and it isn’t painless but it is always worth it. The finished product is a life that is bright and radiant with God’s light, love and joy. A life that is beautiful and meaningful. A life that can be enjoyed by all who see it and experience it. A life that is free from darkness and secrets. A life that is usable for God’s glory and for the good of others. A life that goes from trash to treasure. Now that’s a win-win for all!

~Patrice Maguire

If you would like to accept Christ as your savior, pray: Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to be Thankful for

The question that seems to be on everyone’s lips this week is, “What are you most thankful for this year?” I guess its time to start making our, “Things to be thankful for,” list. Yours could quite literally be a written list but, if you are anything like me, it’s more likely to be a mental one. Or perhaps you feel as though you have little to nothing to be thankful for this year. Hopefully by the end of this blog you will either be adding to your list or starting one.

There is a popular song out right now called “Known” by Tauren Wells. It’s a beautiful song. If you get the opportunity to listen to it, pay close attention to the words. There is one particular phrase in the song that really gets me thinking, “I’m fully known and loved by You.”

What does it mean to be fully known? My dictionary app is one of my best writing friends. Some synonyms I found to replace the word fully are: completely, entirely, perfectly, thoroughly, through and through, totally and wholly. How about the word known? The meaning of the word known is to come to a knowledge of.

I would venture to say that there is not a single person in this world that fully knows you or me. They might think they know us but in reality people only know about us what we allow them to know. I mean, they would have to know everything about us: everything we have ever done, every word we have ever spoken, every thought we have ever thought and even every motive or intention of our heart. Now, that is completely knowing someone.

Oh, and what are the chances of finding a person that not only knows us through and through but loves us regardless? I’m talking about the kind of love that doesn’t criticize us. The kind of love that never changes toward us no matter what we have done, are doing or will do. The kind of love that knows us completely and remains kind, gentle, understanding and patient with us. The kind of love that never thinks less of us. That is almost impossible to find in this world. I would venture to say that the closest we could come to finding that kind of love may be the love of a parent for their child.

Isn’t that what we all want? To be completely known and completely loved simultaneously. I do! We all do! There are things that I could tell you about my past or things that I struggle with today, in my heart, that would cause you to think of me differently or speak of me differently. It would be humanly impossible not to. As a matter of fact, you may not even treat me the same way. There is only One who will ever entirely, through and through, know us and still love us entirely, through and through. That’s God; our Heavenly Father!

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. 1 John 4:8 God is love. God can’t not love us. Love is who He is.

He knows us completely because He created us. Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.

Not only does God fully know us and fully love us but He also fully understands us. Wow! There is actually someone that understands why we do what we do and why we say what we say? He even understands what we meant to say when the words just came out wrong or were misinterpreted. He understands our intentions. Now that’s huge! How often are we misunderstood weekly or even daily? It hurts to be misunderstood. And it usually makes things worse when we try to explain ourselves. I’ve kind of given up on the explaining part. At this point in my life my thinking is, “God understands and that’s all that matters.” In my experience, most people don’t really want to understand. They only want to make their point. And that’s ok because God understands them too. That takes us back to being fully known and loved by God. Now we have come full circle!

Hebrews 2:17, 4:15 For this reason He (Jesus) had to be made like them (us), fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet He did not sin.

There is someone who knows you perfectly, loves you perfectly and understands you perfectly. He is the Creator of heaven, earth and you. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

Nehemiah 9:6 You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship You.

~Patrice Maguire

If you would like to accept Christ as your savior pray the following prayer:                   Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

From Ugly to Beautiful

Recently, I had the privilege of spending extra time with my ladies bible study group. As we fellowshipped over gumbo and cake, the conversation somehow found it’s way to possums. One of the ladies was very knowledgable on the subject. I don’t know that much about them so I was intrigued. She was informing us of their usefulness in that they eat bugs. More possums = less bugs/roaches in the yard which is always a good thing in my book. Not to mention that, depending on where you live in the US, possum may be considered a delicacy. Now, that type of usefulness does not interest me one bit!

The other ladies were commenting on the possum’s appearance and their consensus was that the possum’s ugliness was a more dominate factor than its usefulness. It was then that I made the statement, “So, although they are ugly they serve a purpose.” Everyone laughingly agreed.

Later, while driving home, I began thinking more about the possum conversation and the closing statement I had made. That’s when the thought came to me, “The ugliness in our lives serves a purpose just as the ugly possum serves a purpose.” Who knew that so much value could come from a short conversation about possums.

The ugly things in our lives can look like addiction, adultery, incarceration, divorce, abortion, sexual immorality. They can even look like anger, bitterness, envy, gossip, lying, stealing and hatred. Oh, and let’s not omit the ugliness that can be done to us such as: sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse, just to name a few.

I know that, in my own life, God has used the ugliness to reveal my need for Him. It also gives me a great sense of gratitude for His redemption and forgiveness. Not to mention that it keeps me humble and relying on Him and His mercy. Through the realization of His mercy toward me, I have been able to forgive the ugliness that has been done to me by others.

The ugliness in our lives is not only useful to us but God uses it to help others through us. It reminds us to be compassionate toward others who are going through some of the same things we’ve gone through. Anyone can say that they understand your struggle or pain but until they have walked in your shoes it’s just not the same. We may have words of encouragement or wisdom that only come from having the same ugliness in common with another person.

We can tend to be ashamed of our ugliness and try to hide it behind walls that we have built to protect ourselves. Sure, we will be safe from criticism and judgment behind those walls. But it’s important to remember that the same walls that keep us safe also keep us imprisoned and defeated. There is power in transparency and vulnerability. In our translucency we are saying, “I don’t care what you think of me. I trust God to use the ugliness in my life to help someone else and to set me free.” This is truly a beautiful thing!

I tried to hide the ugliness for a long time until I met someone who was going through the same ugliness as I was. She was so open about it. I was shocked by her willingness to be exposed. Her act of bravery changed me forever. It taught me that if I keep the ugly parts of my life hidden they are wasted but if I share them, allowing God to use them to encourage others, they become beautiful and meaningful. Isaiah 61:3 For those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.

What if the ugliness in the lives of the people in the Bible had not been exposed? If that were the case we would barely have a Bible at all. For example: Paul traveled around having Christians put to death and imprisoned. David was an adulterer and a murder. Moses killed an Egyptian and tried to hide the body. Tamar dressed as a prostitute so she could get pregnant by her father-in-law. Simon Peter denied Christ three times in one night. Jonah had a problem obeying the Lord and wanting to do things his own way. Despite all of their ugliness God used them to change the world and fulfill their purpose and His plan.

Who’s life could you change by revealing the ugliness in yours? Let’s be brave! Let’s make a difference! Let’s not allow the ugliness in our lives to be wasted. Let’s allow God to use it and turn it into something beautiful.

~Patrice Maguire

If you would like to accept Christ as your savior pray the following prayer:                   Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Are you Walking on the Water or Drowning in it?

There was one day last week in which I felt very anxious and overwhelmed; which is unusual for me. I’m usually at peace and a joyful person but for some reason, on that  day, this wasn’t the case. By the end of the day, I was trying to put my finger on what may have been the determining factor for my unrest. I really couldn’t come up with any particular cause until a couple of days later.

As I was journaling about that particular day and the feelings I had experienced, I ended up with a list of possible culprits. It was basically a list of problems. Then the Lord revealed to me the cause of my anxiety. It wasn’t one particular thing that was the cause of me feeling anxious and overwhelmed, It was a sea of them. I then saw the whole scenario play out in my mind.

I saw Peter walking on the rough water as Jesus invited him to do so. He was focused on Jesus. Then I saw Peter begin to sink and begin to drown in that very same water (Matthew 14:28-30). What had caused Peter to go from walking on the water and then, within minutes, drowning in that same exact water? What had changed? Had the water changed? Had Jesus changed? No! Peter had changed his focus. Instead of keeping his eyes on Jesus, the One who enabled him to walk on the rough water, he looked at the source of his anxiety; the rough water. Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

For me the rough water represents life’s problems and walking on the rough water represents victory over those problems. We can either walk on top of our problems in victory by keeping our focus on Jesus or we can drown in them by putting our focus on those problems, on ourselves and on our inability to remove or change those problems. And that’s exactly how I felt. I felt as though I was drowning in a sea of problems and impossibilities. Sure it’s impossible to walk on the water (walk in victory over our problems) on our own but nothing is impossible with God. Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Do you sometimes feel anxious and overwhelmed with life and it’s endless problems and annoyances? Do you feel as though you are drowning in a sea of overwhelming circumstances? Are you frustrated with your inability to change those circumstances? What are you focusing on? Who are you focusing on? Have you taken your eyes off of Jesus and put them on your problems or on yourself and your own inabilities? 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.

Jesus is inviting us to walk on the water with Him; to walk in victory with Him. Our circumstances may not change but neither does Jesus. Sometimes the only thing we can control is what or whom we choose to focus on. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus! Let’s walk on top of our problems and stop drowning in them. 1Corinthians 15: 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

~Patrice Maguire

If you would like to accept Jesus as your savior pray this prayer: Dear God, I know I have sinned and I want to ask for Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I now accept Your offer of eternal life. With the help of the Holy Spirit I will follow Jesus as my Savior and try to obey Him in all that I do. Thank you for my new life. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Stop Paying for Things that Already Belong to you!

Do you know someone who has so much stuff that they don’t know what they have? I do! We probably all know at least one person who is that way. They start a project and need a particular tool so they go to the store to buy it when all along they already have two or three of the exact same tool that they just purchased; they just didn’t realize they already had it. I have to admit I’ve done that a time or two myself only to find the twin item later and feel so silly about having wasted money on something I already had.

A lot of times we do the same thing in life. We go about trying to obtain things that are already ours. We may try to acquire peace by having more money, more insurance or more security systems when Jesus has already given us His peace. John 14:27 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. Don’t get me wrong, having money, insurance and security systems are not wrong. But if we are putting all of our trust in them bringing us true peace we will ultimately be disappointed.

Maybe its love we desire and we think that buying friends or sex is going to fill the love void that we feel. Maybe we are tolerating abuse and calling it love. Maybe we are trying to buy the love of our children with stuff and enablement when all the while we are already loved. We don’t have to earn it or deserve it we only have to accept it. Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

How about joy? A lot of times we try to attain joy by purchasing things. We think that the more stuff we have the more joy we will have. Sometimes we think food, drugs, alcohol or sex will bring us joy. Maybe a better job or a different wife or husband will bring us joy? How about a bigger house or a fancy new car? Travel? More money? The list is endless. In reality there is only one way to attain joy. Jesus is the only way to true lasting joy. The joy that He gives never fades due to circumstances. It’s in us and it stays in us no matter what is going on around us because we have something that can never be taken from us; true love, true peace and hope. 1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Maybe you didn’t know that you have access to true love, true peace and true joy. Or maybe you’ve forgotten that these things already belong to you. Regardless, they belong to all of us through Christ. So stop paying for things that already belong to you. Jesus already paid for them. They’re yours! Just accept them and enjoy them.

~Patrice Maguire

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can pray this prayer: Dear God, I know I have sinned and I want to ask for your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. I now accept Your offer of eternal life. I will follow Jesus as my Savior and try to obey Him in all that I do. Thank You for my new life. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Take What is Yours

What if someone promised you something really awesome? It’s yours, all you have to do is claim it. But what if claiming it meant fighting for it? Would you fight for what was yours or would you allow laziness, timidity, passivity and excuses keep you from taking what was promised to you?

I’m intrigued by the bible’s account of the events that unfold in the book of Joshua. God had promised Israel land flowing with milk and honey. All they had to do was drive out the current occupants. So what if they were bigger then them (giants) with iron chariots. No problem! God told them over and over again to not be afraid because He was with them and He was fighting for them. All they had to do was show up and do their part. What was their part? Trust and obey. Easy Peasy right? Well, maybe not as easy as we think.

It was going to take tenacity, drive and determination to take possession of the promise. Not all of Israel embodied that recipe for success. Some of them were passive fearful procrastinators. So what is the difference between someone who is passionate about taking what is promised to them and someone who is passive about taking what is promised to them? Faith! Faith in who made the promise. Faith in who is saying He is fighting for them. Faith is the secret ingredient in the recipe for successfully taking hold of the promise.

In the Fall of 2016 God told me I was going to write a book (when I say He “told me” I don’t mean I heard an audible voice. He spoke into my spirit. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it. We’ll just let that be a discussion for another day). I had never written a book before. The only thing I had written was in my journal. I didn’t know the first thing about writing a book. But my first book was about fear and rightfully so because that is what I had to overcome (my giant) in order to move forward in obedience. God has been faithful to show me step by step what to do in the process of writing a book and getting it published.

What was I doing? I was taking hold of the promise. I was trusting and obeying. I was being brave and courageous. I was driving out the occupant of fear; the fear of failure and rejection. I chose to put my faith in God. A God that I had seen come through for me in the past over and over again. A God who has proven to be faithful to His word and character throughout my life. The same God that had proven Himself faithful to Israel.

Do I get discouraged? You bet I do! Do I sometimes want to quit? Yes! But the Lord always  encourages me through His word. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. Deuteronomy 20:4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. Exodus 14:13-15 Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Why are you crying out to me? Move forward!

What has God promised you? God has made many promises to all of His people. The bible is full of them. Has God promised something specifically to you? A promise just for you? What’s keeping you from taking hold of that promise? Are you afraid of the giants of failure or rejection? Are you afraid of the giants of inadequacy or hard work? Are you making excuses for not taking what is yours? Will you put your faith in the God who made you the promise? Will you put your faith in the God who is fighting for you? Will you trust the God that loves you? Will you move forward? The promise is yours. Take it!

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

All are Valuable and All have Purpose

Recently on my morning walk, I was thinking about the 40 Days For Life Campaign that is taking place all over the country. I thought about what this world might look like if everyone valued ALL life of ALL ages.

What would the repercussions of a world that saw every person as significant and as having a purpose be? What if we took Matthew 7:12 seriously and did to others what we would have them do to us? Would the murder rate go down? Would the rate of kindness go up? Would respect increase? Would their be less lonely people in the nursing homes? Instead of hurting one another would we be helping one another and encouraging one another? Would their be more mercy and more generosity going around?

All are valuable! Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Luke 12:24 Consider the raven: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

All have purpose! Exodus 9:16 but I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Romans 9:21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purpose and some for common use? Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What if we not only saw other people as valuable and having purpose but we also saw ourselves as valuable and having purpose? Would we talk differently? Would we dress differently? Would we behave differently? Would we be more careful about what we put into our bodies? Would the suicide rate go down? Would we be determined to find out what our purpose is and persevere to fulfill it? Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

What if today, every parent and every teacher taught every child that they are valuable and that they are here for a purpose? Would their be less bullying? Would their be less lonely children on the playground? Would their grades go up and their bad behavior decrease? What would the next generation look like? What greatness would transpire?

It has to start with you. It has to start with me. Let’s treat all people the way we would like to be treated. Let’s not only tell people they are valuable but let’s show them they are valuable. Let’s stop blaming and pointing fingers for how we feel about ourselves and take responsibility for knowing our own value and purpose. Let’s make today one of the most important days of our lives and find out what our purpose is and start walking in it.

~Patrice Maguire

 

Attitude of Gratitude

Let’s be honest! There are things that we have to do in life that we really just don’t like to do or don’t want to do for that matter. A lot of those things are things that we have to do because other people are depending on us. We do them but we might be complaining the whole time or thinking and saying, “I’ll be glad when this is over.”

Let’s take dusting for example. I dislike dusting very much. I confess that it is my least favorite chore. However, I’ve found a way to make it a little more enjoyable. Instead of complaining about having to dust or having a bad attitude while dusting, I’ve started thanking God that I have a house and things in my house that need to be dusted. Wow! What a change that has made. I’m amazed at how just a little gratitude has transformed my attitude.

What are some things that you dislike doing? Do you hate mowing the lawn? Thank God you have a lawn to mow. Do you hate your job? Thank God you have a job that pays the bills and puts food on the table. Do you hate cooking? Thank God you have food to cook. Do you hate grocery shopping? Thank God you have money to buy groceries. See how that works?

God has plenty to say about being grateful and thankful. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says we should give thanks in all circumstances. I’m guessing that household chores, jobs, mowing the lawn, cooking and grocery shopping would all fall into the category of “all circumstances.”

Psalm 107:1 says to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. So that house we have to clean, that lawn we have to mow, that food we have to cook and that money we have to buy groceries are all a result of God’s goodness and love. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling more grateful already.

And Psalm 147:7 says to sing to the Lord with grateful praise. Singing while we work? Or how about whistling while we work (haha thinking about that cute song in Snow White). Now that will change your attitude for sure! And it’s likely to rub off on everyone else around you. Imagine the conversations you could start with people if you were joyful while you were working. Imagine the glory it could bring to God if when they ask, “Why are you so happy?” And you tell them that you are joyful because you are thankful for all that God has provided for you.

Wow! It just goes to show that a little gratitude can go a long way. Even further than you might think.

~Patrice Maguire