Category Archives: PEACE

Phil.4:8 Response

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Gualala, Ca “Sea Cliff on The Bluff”       http://seacliffonthebluff.com

This is our favorite Get-Away Spot! We love sitting in the twin recliners gazing out the picture windows overlooking The Pacific Ocean and this view. At times, we’ve even been able to watch the whales. When we manage to spend a few days here, the cares of our (real) lives fade into the distance.

By the time the morning of our final day is drawing to a close and it’s time to depart, we’ve been able to rest our bodies, quiet our minds, renew our spirits and begin to dwell on “The Better Things” of life.

The good news is, more and more, we are learning – (being taught – by Him) to do this in the midst of our REAL day-by-day lives. How? You ask? Good Question!! As I sit here this morning and ponder, I’m  realizing how “simple” it turned out to be.

GOD Loves me! The ONLY Things He desires of me is for me to Love Him – in return. “It Really IS Just that Simple!” #But-ItAin’tEasy! This PROCESS of getting from “there” to “here” and continuing on to “there” has been an at-times tortuous trek. Other times, it’s like a walk in the park.

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I’m learning the difference is that I can walk with Him, because He LOVES me. Unconditionally! Just as I am! I spent a lifetime trying to be worthy of walking with Him. HE walks with me! He takes my hand. He holds me by my right hand. (Isaiah 41:13)  I can rest secure in His Love! That makes it simple. Whether the path is smooth or rocky, bright or dim, straight ahead or hidden behind a bend in the road, when I choose to believe His Promise to “Never leave me, Never forsake me,” my life works in ways that amaze me. One of the most amazing changes has been the voice in my head. Phil 4:8 has become much more a reality because I’m able to see it as RESPONSES to His Presence rather than REQUIREMENTS.

Photo credits:

Gualala Sunset by – The Author

Mtn.hike photo by Eric Sanman on Pexels.com

ParkPhoto by Andrii Nikolainko on Pexels.com

10 Years Later

Three years ago this week, Nelda’n I took Lex’n Logan to Yosemite.

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On the way, we passed through the area burned by the RIM FIRE. Five years ago, that 400 sq mile forest fire dominated the headlines much as the CARR FIRE has this summer.

I remember standing at the edge of the road overlooking one of the valleys that had been destroyed. We were saddened and dismayed at the measure of destruction.

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However, just around the next bend in the road, we were able to observe the recovery that was beginning to take place. New sprouts of green were beginning to appear. A (very) few birds and animals were venturing into the area.

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You see fire is a part of nature.  However recovery is very much a part of nature as well. There are some pine cones that only open after they’ve been through fire. God and nature takes care of His part, but some of the rebuilding man has to participate in.

Ten years ago this month, I remember standing on the edge of the “road” I’d been traveling, feeling very much as if I was gazing upon the hopeless devastation that had engulfed my life as a result of that dark, dismal time. I now refer to that time, that place as my “GIFT of Desperation”. If I had not been there, I doubt that I’d be here. You can read about it HERE!

This morning, as I’ve sat on our patio for a couple of hours in the morning quiet, I’m able to recognize the recovery that has been taking place. New Growth is occurring. I’ve (We’ve) been healed in places I did not know needed it. Areas of my life that had been closed have opened to new revelations. Relationships have been renewed, strengthened and restored. Hope for tomorrow has never been brighter. Fears of past, present or coming storms are greatly diminished. Rebuilding is underway.

“Old (dead) things have passed away, Behold, all things are becoming New.” II Corinthians 5:17

Through it all, we (me’n mine) have discovered, He Really IS still our God even in the midst of darkness! I’ve realized that God has His part in my recovery, and I have mine. I can’t do His part, (‘cause He’s God, I’m not) but He helps me with my part when I ask. The more I keep that in mind, the better it is! Last night, a young man asked me: “Hi Jim, How are you this evening?” I replied: “Better than I ever thought I’d be.”

You can read the RIM FIRE post from five years ago   HERE

The King’s Voice

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I haven’t heard The King’s Voice lately. I wonder if it’s because, like me, He’s grown tired of all the political bickering.

My WW’n I spent most of last month away from it all, cruising through the Panama Canal. Well, at least away from the majority of it. I see now that it took a few days to “get away from it” while we were gone. I fully intended to keep my distance upon returning. I’m amazed how quickly I was sucked back into the vortex. The voices are shouting even louder than before we left.

I remember evenings standing at the rail, gazing into the gathering darkness with my mind as still and quiet as the distant horizon. This verse from one of my favorite hymns slipped into the quietness of my mind:

                                 “When peace, like a river, attendeth my soul –
                                  When sorrows, like sea-billows roll –
                                  Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know –
                                  It is well, It is well, with my soul…”

This morning, in these early quiet moments, I’m reminded that the Peace-full Stillness I seek is not in silence from the strident voices surrounding me. Just as in this stillness, I hear the tick-tock,tick-tock,tick of the grandfather clock in the corner, the distant rolling of the train across town, the first chirping of the early birds at the feeder, and of course, the quiet breathing of my sleeping WW, there is a quiet place within my soul where I can once again hear the gentle whispers of My King’s Voice saying:

                                                               “Peace!”

ThkQ for reminding me this morning that You are already aware of what will transpire tomorrow. I’d like to think You’re in control and I can simply petition You to make my choice reality. In actuality, I know that some of your other kids are asking You for the opposite of what I want. One of the real temptations is to let our differences lead to anger! Perhaps that anger is part of the reason I don’t hear Your Voice! I think I’m glad I’m not You!! lol

ThkQ for reminding me this morning that WHATEVER happens tomorrow, in that quiet place deep inside me, I will still be able to sing/say/know…

                                                  “It Is Well, It Is Well, With My Soul!”

 

SATURDAY GRATITUDEs #4

You can read part #1 HERE

Part #2 HERE Part #3 HERE

There’s this guy that likes to live in my head. In AA they call him “The Committee of one” I call him Sir James. I introduced y’all to him HERE. And HERE

One of the favorite tricks of Sir James is to get me to Compare. I’ve said it before, and I come to believe it more as time passes: 

Comparison is a Thief of Joy! 

AND Gratitude. 

Comparison is such a part of our natural way. It’s what makes us feel better (or worse) than others. It’s what drives us to build bigger, buy more, to plan ahead for greater tomorrows. It’s also a huge part of the reason I occasionally find myself in a pit. Fortunately, not as often nor as deep as in past times. 

I doubt that I have ever felt grateful because of comparison. Oh, I’d be glad that didn’t have “problems like other people.” But, I’ve discovered that feeling was usually based more on PRIDE than GRATITUDE. The major problem with being glad you have a better life than someone else is because none of us are at the top. There’s always someone else that’s “glad they don’t have a life/troubles like mine”. 

So… How/Why am I grateful? To a large degree, it’s a matter of choice. It’s a choice that I can CHOOSE to make. I do not have to listen to The  Voice of Sir James.  

My friend Matt once told me: “Jim, you need to write a book about Sir James, because EVERYBODY has a Sir James in their life.”

Q for YOU – What’s the name of the man / woman that lives in YOUR head? Does {S}He bring you to a place of peace and gratitude? 

This prayer is one of the thngs that helps me cope with Sir James:

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen


GRACE 1st! then PEACE

Some time ago, I  noticed something I’d never before seen. In all of the apostle Paul’s salutations as he opened his letters, PEACE ALWAYS follows GRACE!

“May God give you more and more GRACE and PEACE. 1 Peter 1:2

GRACE is a Gift. Gifts have to be accepted.  PEACE (in our lives) is not a gift, but is a result – of receiving and learning to walk in, to participate in, to cherish, to desire and to give away, that (free) gift.

D’ya want an interesting exercise? (no, not THAT kind of exercise…) Do a google (or yahoo or Firefox or ???) search for Grace and Peace. Then do one for Peace and Grace. Watch what happens. (Google knows what Paul knew… Most of the search results put Grace before Peace!)

Related post: 50 Shades of Grace

So… (U ask) “What does that mean for me and U?” I love it when I have PEACE in my life. My home. My marriage. My mind. My driving. In times of turmoil, I find myself praying for PEACE, seeking PEACE, striving to get things back in order and under control so PEACE returns. In all honesty, though, I must admit that praying is not always my first action!

Perhaps, rather than laboring in the pursuit of PEACE, I need to ask HIM for a greater understanding of GRACE

I awoke this morning with the thought: “God WILL give you more than you can handle.” God knows that if turmoil in my life will drive me to seek more of Him, He will allow that to happen. I understand the God is not the author of confusion and pain. But I know from personal experience that He can use ALL THINGS to make me more like Him.

Related post: HIS TAPESTRY

“May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you GRACE and PEACE.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭1:3 NLT