Follow the Leader

You may know by now that my husband and I have a dog named Autumn. She has been the subject of a few of my blogs. Maybe you’ve read some of them. She definitely has some interesting behaviors.

Autumn’s newest interesting behavior is that she follows my husband everywhere he goes in the house. When he moves, she moves. When he is standing still, she stands still keeping her eyes on him and waiting for his next move.

Sometimes I’ll say, “Autumn is playing follow the leader again.” We laugh, but in reality, we know that she just loves my husband and feels secure in his presence.

Autumn’s behavior reminds me of a time when the nation of Israel was in the wilderness. God led them with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day.

When the fire or cloud moved, Israel moved. When the fire or cloud was still, Israel was still. The fire by night or the cloud by day was always in front of them. [Exodus 13:21-22]

The fire and the cloud were the presence of God. He was always with them. Leading them, protecting them, and providing for them. As long as they followed the Lord, they were safe, secure, and always headed in the right direction.

Israel was following the Leader!

Today, God doesn’t lead us with pillars of fire or clouds but He does still lead us. He leads us through His word-the Bible-and through His Holy Spirit.

Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

John 16:13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”

Maybe you have accepted Christ as your savior but you feel afraid, insecure, alone, and confused. You’ve lost your peace and your joy. Get back into the presence of God!

Keep God’s word before your eyes and in your hearing. Spend time worshiping the Lord, even when you don’t feel like it. Fellowship with other believers who will encourage you and pray with you and for you.

Maybe you are not a believer or follower of Jesus and you feel afraid, insecure, lost, alone and confused. You are not in the presence of God because your sin separates you from Him. I invite you to pray the prayer at the end of this blog.

There is only one access to God’s presence and that’s through Jesus. Jesus paid for all sin for all time when He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins. When we accept Jesus’ payment for our sins we have full access to God, eternal life, peace, and joy.

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There is no excuse for any of us to not be in God’s presence. He invites us to be with Him. He’s made a way for us to be with Him. In His presence, we are safe, secure, and never alone.

Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Likewise, there is no reason for us to feel lost or confused. God has given us His word and His Spirit to lead us and guide us into all truth.

Let’s follow the Leader. Let’s follow the Lord into the new year. Let’s resolve to stay in His presence and to allow His word and His Spirit to lead us and guide us into His purpose and His plan for our lives this year and every year.

I pray you all will have a safe and happy 2020. God bless you all!

~Patrice Maguire

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 through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, goodwill 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 we don’t accept it we won’t experience the benefits the 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.”

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 on a lake. 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 we have to spend time with them. There have to be conversations. There has to be a relationship. Trust has to be built. In order for trust to be built, we 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 the 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.