31 December 2011

PEACE be with you this New Year's Eve


“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

Every New Years Eve seems to bring with it a time of reflection ... looking back on the joys, challenges and changes of the past 365 days. For many it becomes a time for making new promises, plans to do things differently, resolving to be more and do more. We come up with new dreams, more hopes and desires - and this year will be no exception.

I had a lot of dreams for 2011, but quickly realized that God had different plans. He must have been looking down on me, laughing and saying, “Donna, you still don’t get it. I have bigger plans for you.” You see, nothing seemed to go according to my plans - I had to turn away from my “wants,” becoming totally dependent on Christ alone.  I must admit that I was a little scared and felt somewhat uncomfortable in the process, but God’s grace and mercy were more than enough.  I think God finally got the point across ... whatever He has in store for me is always so much greater than what I could have imagined (although I still might have to be reminded from time to time).  Jeremiah 29:11-13 has become one of my favorite scripture verses ... a promise from God, one that I have grown to rely on.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. When you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

So for 2012, I am trying a different approach: no plans, no pre-conceived ideas ... just an open mind, a thankful heart, and a willing spirit. I am looking forward to all that God has in store for me. 

Don’t get me wrong, I do not plan to sit idle waiting for things to happen. I believe that God wants us to do our part, to live life to the fullest, and He wants us to make our desires known to Him through prayer.

Some of the most positive changes that took place in my life this year, occurred because of the journey I began on January 1st ... to seek more peace in my life.  I chose to focus on two words ... PEACE and SPARKLE, and God used every milestone of this journey to teach me valuable lessons and instill in me one life-changing fact.  Through this journey I have learned the secret for living a life filled with God’s peace  ... finding peace (and hope) in troubled times is the same as finding joy and love in happy times. 

TRUE PEACE can only be found in the stillness of God's presence.

I’d love to hear what God has revealed to you in our journey together. Do you have any resolutions, hopes, or plans for 2012? Have you chosen “one word” to focus on in 2012? Be sure to check back on Monday to read about the words I have chosen for 2012.


As we wait in anticipation for the New Year to begin, my prayer is that God will bless your life in 2012. May He lead you in unexpected ways and take you on amazing adventures that will draw you closer to Him.

God’s Peace,  Donna Weaver



It’s not too late to pick ONE WORD for 2012, check it out:

26 December 2011

Wise Men Still Seek Him


"When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with
their flock, The work of Christmas begins: To find the lost, To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry, To release the prisoner, To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others, To make music in the heart"
- Howard Thurman, author, philosopher, theologian, educator, civil rights leader

Christmas is a time when we think about the Wise Men embarking on their journey to Bethlehem ... even though Christmas Day has come and gone, as the quote above states ... the work of Christmas continues.

WISDOM:   knowledge and the capacity to use it; discernment and judgment; discretion.
EMBARK:   to make a start, such as embarking on a new career.
JOURNEY:   travel or passage from one place to another, such as the passage from youth to maturity.

Every journey must begin somewhere and a good place to start is by asking ourselves, “Where does our wisdom come from?” AND “How can we use our wisdom to bring glory to Christ?”

Julia Bettencourt, one of my favorite writers of small group devotions, opened her devotion titled "What to Know” with the following statement. “When my oldest daughter was in school she would always get frustrated and ask, when will I ever need to know this in real life?”  I remember asking myself that very same question many times, especially in my teenage years.  When I was growing up, my wisdom came from teachers, pastors, mentors, and my parents – so I associated being wise with older people. Perhaps we embark on a journey of growing in wisdom, long before we become aware of the journey itself.

Over the years, I continued to gain knowledge - from my peers, co-workers, and life’s everyday experiences. As I look back now, I realize that at times I was seeking wisdom from all the “circumstances” and everyone but God.

It was about 15 years ago when I first heard the words of what has become one of my favorite praise songs, and that is when my journey for wisdom changed focus. The song is called, “Seek Ye First” and was written by Karen Lafferty. The words of the song are based on Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Hearing the lyrics today remind me of the story of Solomon. More than anything else, Solomon asked for wisdom so that he could be a wise ruler of God’s people. He sought God first, and God not only granted him wisdom but blessed his life in many ways. Wisdom may not bring all of us power, riches or a long life, but living a life of constantly seeking God’s wisdom will keep us on the path of righteousness. Scripture tells us, “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me” (Proverbs 8:17).

As we acquire knowledge, we gain protection by being able to make wise choices between good and evil. We also learn more about our vocation and gain a better understanding of God’s will for our lives. And most importantly, we gain discernment and sensitivity for loving God’s people in a bigger way. Maybe that is why the Apostle Paul constantly reminded the early church of the importance of being wise.

Some of you may be thinking that you are already wise. I say to you, “Is the search over?  Are we ever wise enough?” The answer may be found in a quote by Georg C Lichtenberg, “One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.”

As I continue my journey I still question everything. Bit by bit, lesson by lesson, as I seek to know Him more and follow his ways, God still continues to grant me wisdom. I used to think that wisdom was something you acquired with age. Now that I am on the other side of young, I’ve come to realize that wisdom doesn’t have as much to do with age as it does with taking the journey to actively seek it.

If ever the day arrives when I “come to terms with everything,” I hope that I will finally be able to say that “I AM WISE.” Until that time ... the journey, and our kingdom work here on earth continues!

Seeking Him First.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will
be counted among the wise.” – Proverbs 19:20

24 December 2011

It’s a Silent Night


“The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event
that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's
town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.” - Luke 2:10-11, The Message

For the last two days I have been struggling with trying to write this blog. “Preparing for Christmas” has been on my heart and mind a lot lately and the topic has consumed more than a few of my blog posts. But, today the preparation has ended – the last few packages have been wrapped, cookies baked and packed safely in decorative tins. House cleaned – check!  Dinner with friends, yep! And I just got home from our Candlelight Service at church – awesome as always.

What next? After all tomorrow morning is finally the moment we’ve all been waiting for – young and old alike.

I quickly put on my candy cane jammie’s, grabbed a cup of hot chocolate, lit a candle and sat down to ponder the question. Most certainly ... What next?

Two lines of a Christmas song came to mind. The song is called, “I Need a Silent Night” by Amy Grant. It has been one of my favorite songs this holiday season. The words that came to mind were: “What was it like back there in Bethlehem with peace on earth, good will toward men” and “I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here, to end this crazy day with a silent night.”

Thinking about that peace-filled evening so very long ago ... shepherd’s watching over their flocks, the still of the night - all the while an event that would change the lives of each one of us was taking place. The Messiah – Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace was born!

2011 has been a year consumed with my personal journey of seeking peace. Some days I am convinced that I am I on the right path, other days not so sure. One thing that I have learned along the way is that we cannot find peace without seeking God first.

I am reminded of a verse that I read in a greeting card which speaks the exact words that I am feeling tonight. It said, “If you look for Me this Christmas, you won’t need a shining star – I’m no longer just in Bethlehem, I’m right there where you are. Love Jesus.” So as midnight quickly approaches, in the hush of this holy night, I plan to seek the gentle peace of the Lord ... right here, where I am ... jammies and all!

Praying that tomorrow will be filled with the true spirit of Christmas for you and your families!
Blessings, Donna Weaver

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace
among those with whom he is pleased!”
- Luke 2:14

19 December 2011

What are you dreaming of?”


“May the God of hope fill you with 
with all joy and peace as you trust in Him”
- Romans 15:13

This weekend one of my grandkids wrote this message on Facebook, “Its my favorite season and I can’t even play in the snow.” They live in Chicago, and right now there is no snow. For some people a “white Christmas” means fun making snow angels, snowball fights, building forts, sledding and skiing. For me, thoughts of a white Christmas make me nostalgic!

It is said that when Irving Berlin wrote the song “White Christmas,” his original assignment was to write about each of the major holidays of the year. He found it hard to write about Christmas, so he wrote from his experiences of Christmastime in New York and Los Angeles. I grew up looking forward to watching the movie every year, and consider it a timeless classic. Several years and lots of Christmas movies later, it is still one of my favorites.

Many of the themes of Christmas are reflected in the movie, including celebrations with family and friends, Christmas trees and holiday decorations. There are only a few more days until Christmas and this week will be filled with last minute decorating, shopping, gift-wrapping, and lots of festivities. As we continue to prepare our hearts for Christmas, the peace of the season can be overshadowed not only by the busy-ness of our preparation, but also by our memories.


It’s fun to watch movies depicting the “perfect holiday,” but we need to be careful when comparing those fictional lives to our own. As much as we may want to live up to the images of people enjoying “magical moments,” is it a reality?

For many people, holidays are extremely difficult – even our most cherished memories can fill us with overwhelming feelings of sadness or loss. Life happens ... divorce, deployment, relocation, and death are just a few of the many stressors that become even larger during this time of festive gatherings. A memory of a wonderful family get-together can quickly change in to the reality of being separated. The joy of receiving a Christmas card from a family member might bring up feelings of the loss of a loved one. A favorite treasured ornament hung on the tree, may also be a sad reminder of happier days.

Even though the movie “White Christmas” doesn’t have a religious theme, when the Inn in Vermont is in jeopardy of having to close its’ doors, a caring community (the soldiers), are called to come together, to remember the time they spent together and to help the General. As Christians, that is what we are called to do... to offer a helping hand, to love one another (John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10, 1 Peter 3:8).

Hearts are healed when those who are going through grief are remembered in our thoughts and prayers. Take a moment this week to reach out to those who are moving through loneliness, life-altering changes, loss, or grief. Whether you are dreaming of a white Christmas, a peace-filled day, or a festive time with family and friends, may we all remember and honor those who are no longer with us, and cherish those who are.

In this most magical of seasons, may you find peace, love and much happiness.
Blessings, Donna Weaver

“God is so big He can cover the whole world with His love,
and so small He can curl up inside your heart.”
- June Masters Bacher



16 December 2011

From Greed to Grace ... ‘tis the Season

 

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” - Hebrews 13:16

I need to make a confession. My name is Donna Weaver and I am a Christmas movie junkie. I think I’ve already watched some of my favorites at least 3 times. And of course I’ve probably watched at least half a dozen (or more) variations of “The Christmas Carol.” The other night as I was watching yet another version of the classic movie, I realized how it actually reflects many of the principles found in Luke 19:1-10. A classic redemption story.

Just for fun, let’s do a little comparison of Zacchaeus and Scrooge.

Zacchaeus: Unpopular, chief tax collector who made himself rich at the expense of other Jews.
Scrooge: Selfish, miserly banker who became wealthy at the expense of others.

Zacchaeus: Jesus loved him.
Scrooge: The Crachits loved him.

Zacchaeus: After he met Jesus, he had a change of heart and realized that he needed to make amends.
Scrooge: After meeting the three ghosts, he realized that he needed to change his life.

Zacchaeus: Gave half of his possessions to the poor, and said he would pay anyone he cheated four times the amount.
Scrooge: Made up for his wrong doings. He became joyful and generously gave to others.

Most of us probably don’t consider ourselves to be like Scrooge or Zacchaeus. I don’t think of myself as a “greedy person.” However, there are many ways that greed can bury itself in our soul and rear its ugly head from time to time. Characteristics such as self-indulgence and stinginess are not the only signs of greed. What about envy, gluttony, longing, hoarding, or resentment?

Consider: Do I hoard my time or resources that could be used to help others? Am I always discontent, needing the best of everything? Is my time spent on wishing for what I don’t have, rather than being thankful and enjoying what I do have?

There are many similarities between the Story of the Tax Collector and The Christmas Carol – but there is one huge difference. Even though both of the main characters learned to appreciate the value of love and compassion over cold, selfish greed ... one (Zacchaeus) was taught by being loved by Jesus, and the other (Scrooge) was frightened in to repentance by three scary ghosts.

Our God is a loving God  and He constantly reveals His grace to us, giving us second chances. I asked myself, “When that happens, do I breathe a sigh of relief, or do I learn from the experience and change my ways?”

As I prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, I want my heart to be overflowing with peace, love, and joy! I don’t know about you, but I think this is a perfect season to examine our hearts and see what is really hiding deep within.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ...
God has lavished us with His grace. As Christmas Day approaches, let’s share the blessings and grace that He has bestowed upon us, with those less fortunate. Search your heart ... can you give a little of your time, donate some food, spare a little change, do a kind deed?

Remember, your “spark” might just be the light that keeps someone else’s candle burning!

Have a blessed weekend -
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have
into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
- Melody Beattie, Author

12 December 2011

The Main Character is _ _ _ _ _ ?


“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they
shall call
His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
- Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)

Every year I receive more junk email during the Christmas season than any other time of the year. I usually end up going through my inbox and just hitting the delete key, but occasionally there is one email with a catchy title that peaks my interest. This year was no exception. The subject line said, “Why Jesus is better than Santa Claus.”

As I read through the comparison, I began to wonder how people would answer the following question ... Who is the main character in your Christmas celebration?

Take one popular, non-biblical saint, add the influences of many festivals, observances, and traditions, along with fascinating legends, a little mystery, some magical stories, and Saint Nicholas becomes Santa Claus. This is a very simplified description of the process that has spanned many centuries, countries and cultures, but the bottom line is - Santa Claus has come to town.

Santa’s merits include the fact that he is loveable and a bit magical. He is a generous gift giver, who is full of joy. He cares for children and gives them a wonderful sense of hope and anticipation. Families even watch movies together, based on his character. He can be seen everywhere. If he was a real person, you could say that Santa has some positive Christian qualities, but he is a fictitious character.

On the other hand, Jesus is the Son of God, and is beyond anything we can imagine.

He knows all about us – not just whether we’ve been naughty or nice, but also our inner-most thoughts and desires. Jesus also gives us gifts, especially the greatest gift of all ... salvation! And His gift is given to all who believe in Him, not just to those who “deserve” it. Best of all, Jesus is not just a character that is with us for a season ... He is real and He is with us always!

Unfortunately, many people find Santa much more appealing than Jesus.

Because of his popularity, Santa’s negative qualities make up quite a list, too. Santa is worshipped by the retailers, who already try to do what they can to take Christ out of Christmas. Grown-ups and children alike begin to think of Santa as a source for their greatest wishes and wants. They believe the season is all about how much they will be receiving, and this is the exact opposite of what scripture tells us. Christmas is all about God’s gift to us (John 3:16).

Santa offers us a “ho-ho-ho,” but Jesus offers us peace, love, joy and hope!

One of my favorite Christmas figurines is the statue of Santa kneeling next to the manager. There is also a poem I love, entitled Santa’s Prayer on Christmas Eve, by Warren D. Jennings. The poem speaks about Santa’s “to-do” list, but the writer puts everything in to perspective in the last two verses ...

All this is to honor the birth of the One,
That was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son.

So to all of my friends, least Your glory I rob,
Please Lord, remind them who gave me this job.

Both the statue and poem give us a glimpse in to the real meaning of Christmas. Yes, Santa comes once a year, but without Jesus we would have no reason to celebrate. As Christians, we don’t need to worry about a jolly old elf, but we do need to make sure that Jesus remains our real “Reason for the Season.”

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let us “shine” the light of Christ for all to see.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver


Click here to read the entire poem Santa's Prayer on Christmas Eve: http://washingtonmo.com/christmas/xmaseve.htm

09 December 2011

Getting Ready for the Christ Child


“Light shines on the godly,
and joy on those whose hearts are right.”
- Psalm 97:11 (NLT)

I read the following question in a Christmas devotion just this week, “Has preparing for whatever you're doing with family and friends on Christmas, replaced time spent getting ready for the Christ child?”

It sure got me to thinking!

“How many more days?   Can’t this line move any faster?   Are we almost there yet?”

Rush ... rush ... rush...

Today everyone is in a hurry ... “immediately” is a term used way too often. With such long “to-do” lists, places to go and things to get done, the more we hurry - the quicker Advent is swallowed up.

What’s the worst that could happen if we just slow down for a few minutes, and enjoy some Christmas Peace?

I find my “Christmas Peace” at night with the lights dim, a candle burning, and Christmas music playing softly in the background.

I always love the sounds of the season! It could be listening to Handel’s Messiah (and reminiscing about Christmas’ past), being in the moment of Christmas present and singing along with a beautiful contemporary Christmas song such as Emmanuel by Laura Story , or taking in each perfect detail about the very first Christmas (while listening to O’Holy Night).

“Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10).

If we don’t find time to seek a bit of quiet each day, and listen to God in the peacefulness of the Christmas season, how can we possibly think we will find Him in the busy-ness and excitement of Christmas morning?

It’s Friday, Let’s “Sparkle” ... action required ... Is your church having a Christmas cantata, a special children’s program, or some other musical event? Why not invite some neighbors, co-workers, or friends to join you in experiencing the sights, sounds, and peace of this Christmas season.
 
Praying that you take time today to find some Christmas Peace!
Chillin’ in His Grace, Donna Weaver

"Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime."
- Charles Dickens

 
Listen to Emmanuel by Laura Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyJeqeTG1PU


05 December 2011

Fall on your Knees


But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.
I brin
g you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord...” - Luke 2:10-11

I started writing this blog on Saturday, after what I consider to be a very LONG week. You see, 2011 has been a year filled with many changes in my life, and this past week was no exception.  I was planning to put a few finishing touches on my post Sunday after church, but as I listened to the sermon God directed the path of my words and my post took a different turn than I had originally planned. God does that to me a lot - He will use a message, a scripture verse, a song on the radio, or the words of a friend to help me understand exactly what I am going through and what I should be writing about.

One of my favorite Christmas carols is “O Holy Night.” A line in the song says - “Fall on your knees.” Have you ever fallen on your knees before the Lord? I have to admit that this week I was stricken to the point where I did just that! Out of fear and physical exhaustion, I fell to my knees ... and today after listening to the sermon, I realize it was a sign of my total submission and absolute dependence on Him.

Scripture reassures us over and over again that we should not be afraid, or anxious – that we should cast all our worries on the Lord (Luke 2:10, Isaiah 41:13, Matthew 6:34, Philippians 4:7). But when we forget or begin to doubt those words, and try to rely on our own power, things fall apart very quickly. My only hope was to turn EVERYTHING over to the Lord ... and I did just that!

Recently I lost my job, and for financial reasons, this week I had to move out of my apartment. The Pastor today said that our attitude can become so steeped in what we think we deserve that we stand tall with “ungrateful entitlement.” Thus, our attitude turns away from what God’s word tells us. Other times we take for granted the gifts (blessings) that God has given to us and forget the fact that He does not “owe” us anything, or has not “promised” us everything that we want. Again, our outlook takes a negative stance.

This is the season for celebrating the birth of Christ. In doing so, we also remember the visit from the Magi. These men were distinguished foreigners (Wise Men, Kings, and Astrologers), yet came from far away, bowed down before the Christ child and worshipped Him. Today I was reminded that my posture, words, and actions need to reflect the same reverence and respect. Just the thought alone of baby Jesus lying in the manger should always drive me to my knees.

This week I was “blessed” to start an amazing new job, and this past weekend I have been “blessed” to find a new place to live. In the words of Psalm 120:1, “I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.” I did not receive His blessings because I earned, deserved, or was entitled to anything, but only because of His goodness, grace, and mercy.

So, tonight I once again fall to my knees. This time it is with a sense of profound gratitude ... because the same Christ child that was worshipped by the Magi, that died for the sins of the world, continues to watch over me and bless me. Apart from Him, I have nothing - but because God so loved the world and sent His Son, the Christ Child, I am humbly grateful for all that I have!

Here is a link to an amazing video of the nativity, accompanied by Josh Groban singing O Holy Night ... enjoy!

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Josh+Groban+Oh+Holy+Night&view=detail&mid=E7149185BC883CD1EB8BE7149185BC883CD1EB8B&first=0&FORM=LKVR4

May you fall on your knees and worship Christ, as you continue to prepare for the celebration of His birth.   Have a blessed week and be sure to check out my Friday blog - "Getting Ready for the Christ Child."

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver



25 November 2011

A Christmas Guarantee


" 'This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving,
not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives
anew the wondrous gift, the Christ."  - Frank McKibben

Today is the busiest shopping day of the year, and this holiday season there’s lots of talk about Walmart’s 2011 Christmas Price Guarantee ... Walmart will pay the difference between the cost of any item purchased at its stores for the same item found on sale or for less at another local store.

• Walmart’s Christmas Price Guarantee is valid on purchases made Nov. 1 through Dec. 25 on identical items (the same brand, size, color, quantity, grade and model number) that are currently available at competitor’s stores located within the same local market as a particular Walmart store.

• You just need to bring the original Walmart cash register receipt and the local competitor’s printed ad to Walmart’s Customer Service desk. Once validated, a Walmart gift card for the difference will be issued.

Sounds like a pretty good deal, huh?  Who could ever offer a better guarantee than that?

GOD, that’s Who!


God’s Christmas GIFT:
“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11).

God’s Christmas GUARANTEE: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).


It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... This holiday season, amidst the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating, and cooking, let us remember to share the news about the best GUARANTEE of all.  

Here are some great Christmas gift suggestions from author, Oren Arnold ... "To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."

May you have the spirit of Christmas which is PEACE, the gladness of Christmas which is HOPE, the heart of Christmas which is LOVE.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

"Christmas is a time to open our hearts to God and his gifts."
- Author Unknown

23 November 2011

Kidz Topic: PREPARATION

This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and “sparkle” ideas just for kids. Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life.

KIDZ ☮ PEACE ... Most of us have already started
"preparation" for the busy season ahead. This week it will be all about getting ready for Thanksgiving. Thursday may include a huge family get-together with all the fixings, or a quiet simple meal. Whatever our tradition’s are, we need to remember to take time to prepare our hearts to give “thanks.”


On Friday, we begin preparation for “giving” Christmas gifts. The busiest shopping day of the year will offer some of the best bargains. We will see the generosity of some shoppers and the greediness of others. But as we prepare for our Christmas celebrations, we need to remember the real “reason” for the season.

Once the shopping has begun, then the decorating, baking cookies, and holiday parties begin. Our “to-do” list get’s so long, and our
busy-ness stresses us out. With all of the hustle and bustle, our
“preparation” can quickly change us from “holiday angels and elves,” to a bunch of “Scrooges.”

1. Preparing our hearts ... Advent begins this coming Sunday and should be a time to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, so ask yourself the following questions:

How will you prepare your heart for this Christmas season?

How will you keep Christ as the center of Christmas?

How will you reach out to others and share the real meaning of Christmas?

2. What does God’s Word tell us? When we read our Bible, scripture can explain more about “preparation.” Check out these verses: Psalm 46:10, 1 Peter 3:15, Isaiah 40:3, Ephesians 2:10.

3. We’re going to “sparkle” ... You might be asking yourself what I mean by the word “sparkle.” As Christians, we have a light inside each of us that comes from knowing and loving Christ. We have to remember to be an outward reflection of that light. When we pass on the joy, peace, and love that we have within us, we “sparkle.”

Beginning next week thru Christmas, I will be posting a weekly Kidz Peace Advent blog. Each Wednesday there will be a special message for kidz and their families. We will be finding time to “be still” ... preparing our hearts and minds for the Christmas season. I will be including a scripture verse, short devotion, and fun ideas on how the whole family can “sparkle” together. So be sure to stop back next week and let’s countdown the Advent weeks together.

You might want to gather the following items and place in an “Advent Box.” We will be using ... 4 candles, a Bible, and paper & pencil. Also, if you have a nativity, don’t set it up yet - we will start next Wednesday and add pieces each week to tell the story of preparing for the Christ child.

Kidz Thought for the Week: "Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts." from Janice Maeditere

Keeping you in my prayers. 'til next week ... give thanks with a “grateful heart.”

God’s Peace, Donna

21 November 2011

It's all about feeling FULL


“But I have all, and abound: I am full...”- Phillippians 4:18

Thanksgiving is almost here, and today I was thinking about all of the preparation that goes along with the big day.

Cleaning, shopping, cooking ... a full schedule.

Then come the friends, family, and football ... full of busy-ness.

... but in all of our activities and togetherness, we can’t forget to set aside time to give thanks for our many blessings. So between now and Thanksgiving, give some thought to how you will give “thanks.” Below is a poem that we will be using as the blessing at our table this year.

Abundant Blessing

We thank you for the turkey,
The gravy and the dressing.
Dear Lord, this table overflows
With Thy abundant blessing.

Let us always be aware
That all gifts come from You,
And may we serve Your heavenly will
In everything we do. Amen.

by Joanna Fuchs

Long after all the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and other goodies are gone, we need to continue to recognize our fullness. Not the “fullness” from eating a meal of abundance, or the fullness of our schedules, but the fullness of God’s abundant blessings ... the blessings not just during a holiday, special occasion, or the good times, but the blessings found in our ordinary everyday lives.

This Thanksgiving I am thank-“full” to God ... for provision, peace, and hope ... for family, friends, and my faith ... for all that I am and all that I have been given.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Blessings and God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the
highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
– John F. Kennedy


Poem “Abundant Blessing” used with permission from writer, Joanna Fuchs.
For more poems written by Joanna and her husband, Karl, check out their website: http://www.poemsource.com/index.html

18 November 2011

Feeding the “Hunger”


“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)


Hunger is one of those topics that is addressed over and over again in scripture. We all know about physical hunger - our stomachs remind us all the time. But spiritual hunger is different - we don’t always recognize the signs.

Spiritual Hunger:

In scripture we see people that were hungry and desperate to connect with Jesus. They spent time with Him, listened to his teachings, and shared his ministry. And it is still true today. God places a spiritual hunger in our soul, and the closer we draw to Him, the strong our hunger becomes. We acquire a desire to please Him, to know Him in a deeper way, to feel His presence, to serve Him.

The Bible tells us, “Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be filled” (Luke 6:21).

I can always tell when I am spiritually hungry. I can’t seem to find any peace. I lose my joy. I become tired and weary. I am spiritually starving ... and it is usually a result of my self-imposed busy-ness, or an attempt to control things myself rather than follow God’s will for my life. Most likely I have skipped a few spiritual meals such as prayer, quiet time, and reading my Bible.

Without a conscious effort to feed our spiritual hunger, we may begin to feed our souls with anything the world offers us. And as we become spiritually weak, we become susceptible to all sorts of attacks from the enemy.

Who can give us living water that satisfies our soul? In John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

So, how is your spiritual hunger today? Are you thirsty?

Today I am asking God to give me a spiritual appetite that stirs up the passion and desire - that I might want more of Him! Won’t you join me in this prayer?

Physical Hunger:

As we mature in our faith and feed our spiritual hunger, another dimension is added to our hunger. Not only do we want more of Him, but we also desire to share God’s love and compassion with others. We begin to look for ways to feed the hungry (spiritually and physically), rather than just wanting to receive spiritual food for ourselves. God shows us the importance of ministering to the poor and needy in both the Old and New Testaments. One such story can be found in Matthew 14.


The scene:
a lonely wilderness place by the Sea of Galilee, a hungry crowd of 5,000 men plus women and children

The outcome: an entire crowd eats, with 12 basketfuls remaining

We continue to live in a world full of hungry people. And just like Jesus commanded them to be fed in biblical times, He asks us to feed them today.

Impossible?

Not with God’s bountiful grace!

It’s Friday, Let’s “Sparkle” ... action required ... I once read a quote that said, Peace begins when the hungry are fed (author unknown). For a Christian, ministering to the poor and needy becomes a part of our lifestyle. In these harsh economic times, the number of families and individuals seeking assistance has risen dramatically. This Thanksgiving, consider how you will reach out to meet the needs of the “physically and spiritually hungry” in your community.

When people are hungry, there is no such thing as “too many volunteers.” Contact your local food pantry, soup kitchen, or community meal delivery program.

Here are a few other suggestions:

• Invite someone to join you at your table for Thanksgiving dinner
• Personally deliver a meal to a needy family
• Don’t forget about a lonely neighbor, or a widow/widower

“Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:8-9 NLT).

May you feast on the goodness of God today and everyday!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

16 November 2011

Kidz Topic: GRATITUDE

This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and “sparkle” ideas just for kids. Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life.

KIDZ ☮ PEACE... I once read that the biggest difference between people who are happy and people who are not is that happy people focus on, think about, talk about, and give thanks for what is good in their lives. Unhappy people don’t. Sound simple? It is!

1. Do you have an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE? When we become “thankful” our attitude changes ... Did you know that it is impossible to have a bad attitude when we thank God in ALL things - our joys, unexpected blessings, miracles, the small things, and even the hardships, disappointments, and challenges?

I know it might sound a bit strange but yes, we can find blessings in all things. Even when we are having troubled times, we can be thankful in knowing that God is always with us and that He is in control.

Do you know people who go through life mad or frustrated about what they do not have? They spend all of their time complaining and never realize how blessed they are. Sometimes It’s okay to be a “NOT” person, but only if you consider it a true blessing (see the 4th comment in the list below).


Here are a few things to remember about giving thanks...

• Gratitude has to do with our heart and not how much we have or don’t have.

• When we are happy on the outside it is based on our circumstances, but when we have joy on the inside it is based on our attitude.

• God is the source of every good thing in our life, AND our strength and hope whenever we face the “not so good” things.

• Concentrating on the "NOTS" can enable us to see thankfulness from a different perspective (Examples: I am not homeless, I am not blind, I am not hungry, I am not stupid, I am not alone).

2. What does God’s Word tell us? When we go to God in prayer and read our Bible we can find words that instruct us on how to be thankful. Check out these verses: Psalm 69:30, Colossians 4:2, Psalm 136:1, Colossians 3:15, Psalm 100:4.

3. What are you thankful for? Here are two ideas to help you recognize all of the things that you are thankful for.

Gratitude List: Find a small notebook or journal and try writing down 3 things that you are thankful for every day. As you write them down, give thanks to God for your blessings.

Not Box: Find a box about the size of a school pencil box or shoebox, and place it somewhere you will see it every day. Anytime you think of a “NOT” that you are thankful for, write it down on a slip of paper and put it in the box. Pick one of your “NOT” slips at night and use it as something to pray about. One example would be: “Dear God, I am thankful that I am NOT sick.”

Kidz Thought for the Week: God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?" - from William A. Ward

Keeping you in my prayers. 'til next week ... be thankful in ALL things!
God’s Peace, Donna

14 November 2011

A Letter to my Readers


Dear Friends,

For as long as I can remember, my passion has been ... sending cards and letters containing handwritten words of encouragement and good news. For all of you who know me, I am sure this is not the first time you have heard me say this.

There is nothing like going to the mailbox and seeing an envelope with a handwritten address just waiting to be opened. When we send a note through the postal system, we are telling someone that they are worthy of our time and efforts.

It has become a tradition that I begin writing my annual Christmas cards over Thanksgiving, but this year I made an exception for two reasons. First, a few weeks ago a friend of mine sent out an email saying that she would be sending a package to a Chaplain in Afghanistan later this month. He ministers to 200 soldiers there and her hope was to send 200 Christmas cards, one for each American soldier under his care. She was asking for volunteers to help write cards.

God tugged at my heartstrings ... I couldn’t say “yes” quickly enough.

The second reason happened this weekend as I was watching one of my favorite Hallmark movies, The Christmas Card. The script used a churches tradition of sending greeting cards to our military as a catalyst for a holiday-themed romantic story. The film told the story about a soldier, Captain Cody Cullen, stationed in Afghanistan who received a Christmas card addressed to “any soldier.” The card contained a hand-written message from Faith Spelman, a woman living in the small town of Nevada City, California. While serving his country, the Captain found encouragement and the strength to survive, in the words written by Faith.

Inspiration abounds ... what a perfect setting to work on the cards that I had committed to write.

FYI: During the 2006 holiday season (when the movie, The Christmas Card was first released) Hallmark Channel partnered with various organizations such as Operation Dear Abby, Cards for Troops national campaign and America Supports You, to help support the men and women of the Armed Services.

Another person who has been busy “making a difference” is Beth Pennington, mother of a Marine, and founder of the group Military Missions Inc. According to their website, Beth tells us “What started as a simple prayer has turned into a non-profit organization that is blessing hundreds of deployed military each month. God took me, a ‘home school mom’ with no intentions of changing her path in life, and placed me in a position where I have the privilege and blessing of touching the lives of many with His love. Through sending care packages and cards of encouragement to our military, I have the opportunity to share the love of Christ in each box and card that makes its way overseas.” She went on to say, “I can’t enlist in the military and deploy overseas to a war zone, but I serve and honor those that are standing in the gap for me.” 

The Bible is God’s love letter to a wounded and hurting world. It is a constant reminder of the power of God’s love – a message we need to pass along. “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:14). A letter is something someone can touch and keep ... they can become treasured mementos. According to Dayspring (a subsidiary of Hallmark), “When we care enough to send a card that carries God’s word, we can confidently pray that God will use it to accomplish His will.”

We never know how the words we write, will uplift or inspire another person, or how lives may be changed.  My hope is that my words have inspired you to join in the efforts to send messages of peace, love, and joy to our military. What better time to be reminded of God’s amazing love than during the Christmas season!

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver


For more info on cards for the military, send me an email or check out this website: http://www.military-missions.org/events/opsend-christmas/

11 November 2011

Kindness can Change the World


"Kind words can be short and easy to speak
but their echoes are truly endless” - Mother Teresa

Definition of  kind•ness  - the practice of being or the tendency to be sympathetic and compassionate, behaving in a way that shows consideration and caring, an act of good will.

Kindness is one of the Fruits of the Spirit, along with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I believe in the magic of kindness! I love the warm, fuzzy feeling that you get when you give or receive kindness. I love to see the sad look in someone’s eyes turn in to a twinkle. I love to brighten someone’s day when I know that there may be no one else to do so.

How do I find the magic?

By asking myself 4 little words ... “How can I help?”

What does kindness look like to you?  

Is it a kind word, an unexpected note of appreciation, encouragement from a friend, a shoulder to cry on, the generosity of a stranger, or a hug from your child?

To me, kindness is seeing the needs of others and doing what I can to help meet those needs.

Words have power – they can motivate, inspire, express emotions, and bring joy.

Actions have power – they can lend a helping hand, bridge the generation gap, offer safety, and represent the hands & feet of Christ.

Psalm 139:23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” Our love for God gives us the desire to be kind to others. Why not ask the Holy Spirit to give you “spiritual eyes” to see those needing the kind words and actions that are filling your heart today?

Here is a link to an amazing short inspirational video filled with quotes on “kindness” ... http://www.powerofkindnessmovie.com/

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... Did you know that World Kindness Day is coming up Sunday, November 13?

Kindness begins like a ripple of water. When we do something “kind” it has an impact on the receiver, they may even feel like doing something for someone else, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Below are a few suggestions taken from the Random Acts of Kindness website ...

• Holding the door open is a polite and thoughtful act you can easily do for your family, friends and even strangers, every day. Whether you’re at school, the grocery store, at work, or at home, those around you will certainly appreciate your good manners.

• Picking up groceries can be an especially kind act for an elderly neighbor who isn't able to get out much. Simply knock on their door and see if you can pick something up for them while you are at the store. This is most helpful to do when you know bad weather is approaching.

• Saying hello to someone, even if you don't know them, is a common courtesy. It means you are acknowledging their presence; you are saying that they are a person, too, and that they are important enough for you to say hello to.

• Show someone (your mom, your wife, a friend) you love them by surprising them with flowers when they least expect it. So often flowers are sent on birthdays or anniversaries. Send flowers to your loved ones on any day!

Leo Buscaglia once said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

God saw broken, hurting, suffering people– and sent his Son to offer hope and to rescue them. Christ showed us the best examples of kindness ... shouldn’t we follow His example?

Have a blessed weekend.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver


“Kindness, like a boomerang, always returns.”
- Author Unknown

09 November 2011

Kidz Topic ... SHARING

This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and “sparkle” ideas just for kids. Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life.

KIDZ ☮ PEACE... God wants everyone to know about Him!

For the past two Wednesdays we’ve been talking about ways to reach out to others ... and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Some of you may have had a chance to “SHINE for Jesus” over Halloween, and others may have started “TEXTING for Jesus.” But, being a witness doesn’t come easy for everyone. Some of you may have friends that aren’t Christians and you may be saying, “I don’t know where to begin.” Don’t worry, just keep reading.

Today I am going to give you a few tips that will make it easier for you to become a witness and share your faith when the timing is right! 

1. Getting started ... Do you have friends that really seem lost, sad, angry, depressed, or just can’t get along with others. Do you think they need Jesus in their life? One of the most important things you can do is to know the Bible better so you can tell them about Jesus. 

What does God's Word tell us? When we go to God in prayer and read His word we find many verses that can help us when we want to share our faith. Check out these verses: Romans 3:23 (we've all sinned), Romans 6:23 (sin separates us from God), Romans 5:6-8 (Christ died for us), Romans 10:9-10 (confess and repent), 1 John 1:9 (God will forgive), 2 Corinthians 5:17 (He makes us new), Romans 8:38-39 (we can't lose His love).

Ask God to help you memorize a few of the scripture verses, so they will be in your heart and mind when it comes time to share with others. It may help to write some of the verses down on note cards and tuck them in your book bag - that way they will always be handy.

2. Becoming a role model: Did you know that one of your friends who is not a Christian, may be watching you. They may be paying attention to how you treat people, the way you speak, or how you are living your life. You may be an example to someone and not even know it.

Read the two sentences below and complete one in your own words. Once you have the blank filled in, you can use the statement when someone asks you about your actions or your faith.

“I am glad that I’m a Christian because _____________________________.”

“I know that God loves me because ________________________________.”

3. Getting Involved: Activities such as Sunday school, Youth Group, Vacation Bible School, and Children’s Outreach Ministries also provide great opportunities to invite your friends to church.

As we continue to grow in our faith, it is important to remember that reaching out to others is not an option. It is a necessity. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus sent the disciples out to teach others about His commandments. Just as He has sent out the disciples, we have also been called to go out and tell others about Christ and His teachings.

Kidz Thought for the Week: God does not ask your ability or your inability. He asks only your availability. – author unknown

Keeping you in my prayers. 'til next week ... SHINE ... be a light that leads others to Christ.

God’s Peace, Donna

07 November 2011

Reflections on Psalm 100 and SHARED BLESSINGS


“God has two dwellings: one in heaven,
and the other in the meek and thankful heart.”
- Isaac Walton

I was thinking about some of the scripture verses I memorized when I was young and Psalm 100 came to mind. Memorization never came easy for me, but once I finally accomplished the task, it stuck with me ... for a very long time. So, today as I was thinking about the psalm, I wasn’t surprised that the words flowed easily from my tongue ... and I felt a such a comfort and peace.

With Thanksgiving approaching, it is a great time to be looking at Psalm 100. Many people are dealing with terrible trials and tribulations in their lives, and find little to be thankful for. Most of you already know that after reading the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, I set out on a mission to find blessings in the simple, every-day things in my life. So yes, even amidst struggles and difficulties I have been able to find much to be thankful for. My advice for anyone searching for blessings in their life is to read this Psalm carefully.

• God is our creator and we are His creatures. We were not made by accident!

          He made us from nothing (dust).
          He made all things without help.
          He made all things “good.”

“Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (v. 3) ... that means He is our Shepherd. He is our refuge and leads us to safety (Psalm 8:52).

So why should we be donning this attitude of “gratitude?” Well, that answer can also be found in the words of Psalm 100. The psalmist tells us that the character of God reveals His goodness. He is benevolent, merciful, truthful, loving, faithful, and so much more.  He is worthy of our praise!   Ann Voskamp says it this way Eucharisteo (thanksgiving) always precedes our blessings (God’s goodness).”  

My friend, Peggy, and I have been faithful in keeping up our “Shared Blessings” journals. Every 2-3 weeks we pack up our journal and mail it to the other person. Once the journals have been swapped, we continue writing our list of blessings. It has become something that I look forward to with great expectation. Our friendship has been one of encouraging each other, discussing God’s word together, and praying for each other, but there is something special about reading Peggy’s handwritten musings ... I get to peek into her heart and understand more deeply her thoughts and reflections.

God’s Word has a similar effect on me. When I read my Bible, I feel that I am peeking into God’s heart and find unconditional love, security, hope and trust there. Maybe that is the peace which Paul was writing about in Philippians 4:7 (NIV) which says, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Have you ever stopped to think what your life would be like without Christ? I sure have! I would not be here writing about my blessings and thanking Him for not only my provisions, but all that He gives me above and beyond ... all the blessings I do not even deserve. This Thanksgiving we all need to give thanks for our blessings of the simple things, the Special (miraculous) blessings, and the blessing of Christ in our lives.

So, how are you going to “give thanks” this year? Are you counting your blessings? Why not share your attitude of gratitude with a friend. It’s twice the fun and twice the blessings.

In Psalm 34:8 (NLT) scripture tells us, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” When we live a life filled with joy and peace, and offer thanksgiving to Him, God is glorified.

Chillin’ in His Peace, Donna Weaver

“The Lord gives strength to His people;
the Lord blesses His people with peace.”
– Psalms 29:11

04 November 2011

Peace or Anxiety?


“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds
are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
- Isaiah 26:3

The Bible is not a book about people who love God and never have problems. We can read story after story about good people who suffered loss - and life is no different today.

Circumstances happen, problems arise, situations catch up with us.

As hard as I try, I can’t control everything!

God has tried to teach me this lesson over and over and over and over again – but do I listen?

NO, and once again I am in the midst of a situation that I cannot control!

Anxiety or peace?

Because of God ... I have a choice!

So today the question is ... “How can I cope with unemployment and still keep an optimistic attitude that God will provide for my needs?”

I can choose to “worry” and ask myself the following questions:

• What if God wants something from me that I can’t give, or don’t like?
• What if God leads me down a road I don’t want to travel?
• What if God’s plans don’t include the plans I have for myself?

Or I can choose “peace” and remember what I’ve learned from scripture:

• Blessing and loss exist for the glory of God!
• He has a plan and purpose for our existence!
• Life is not about never suffering loss and having to endure hardship - it is about maintaining absolute trust in God!

Jehovah Jira is an ancient phrase, which in our everyday language means, "the Lord will provide." I may not know what my next job will be, or where my next paycheck will come from, but I do know that God has a plan for my life - He is in control! So I will fix my eyes on God and trust Him - I choose PEACE.

So now the question becomes ... “What marvelous unexplored possibilities and opportunities are mine to discover - where is God leading me through this experience?”

I can’t wait to find out!

It’s Friday, let’s “sparkle” ... action required ... As you go about your activities this weekend, keep your eyes and ears open for those around you that may be unemployed. And don’t forget to take action - offer an encouraging word, send a note containing a handwritten message or some scripture verses, ask them if there is anything you can do to help, pray for them!

Until Monday, have a great weekend...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
- I Peter 5:7

02 November 2011

Kidz Topic ... TEXTING

This is a new segment of my blog where I will be sharing a variety of thoughts, scripture verses, and “sparkle” ideas just for kids. Feel free to pass them on to your children, grandchildren, or any other young people that God has put in your life.

KIDZ ☮ PEACE... This week we are going to continue to talk about “outreach” ... aka EVANGELISM.

According to a survey done by the Nielsen Company, teens average more than 3,000 texts a month — more than 10 per hour (not including the time they are sleeping or in school).


I got to wondering ... if Jesus had been born in this generation would he have had a cell phone or used texting?  During his ministry Jesus spoke to people using whatever language they understood. He used different ways to get people’s attention, even a “burning bush.” He spoke from a boat, on a mountainside, at banquets, at a well, and in people’s homes (like Mary and Martha), but His message was always the same.

I have to admit that texting is not my favorite way to communicate. Anyone that sends me a text knows that it takes me forever to reply to their message. But, I have to admit that since so many people (especially kids) love to text now-a-days, I may have to change my attitude. One of the problems I have with texting is that I don’t understand “text lingo.” I know a few basics like BFF means “best friends forever” or TTYL means “talk to you later,” but I wanted to understand more. So I “googled” text lingo and as I was reading through the list, I came up with an idea. Wouldn’t it be fun to use texting to spread God’s word?

1. What does God’s Word tell us?  Psalm 119:105 tells us, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." When we go to God in prayer and read our Bible we can find lots of verses that tell us the importance of God’s word. We can also find important messages that would be awesome to share with our friends. Check out these verses: Matthew 19:26, Isaiah 26:4,Phillipians 4:6, Isaiah 40:29, Genesis 12:2, Matthew 6:33.

2. Outreach Idea - Text Lingo and God’s Word: I started making a list of text lingo, what the letters mean, and a scripture verse that had a similar meaning. Here are a few examples:

IASAP4U (I always say a prayer for you)
I always thank my God as I remember you in prayers (Philemon 1:4)

GMTA (great minds think alike)
Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking, because you were called together in one body to have peace. Always be thankful (Colossians 3:15).

AAS (alive and smiling)
This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).

PLO (peace, love, out)
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace (Psalm 29:11).

TMOT (trust me on this)
Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock (Isaiah 26:4).

AIMP (always in my prayers)
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers (1 Thessalonians 1:2).

TMWFI (take my word for it)
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:6).

WAN2TLK (want to talk)
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7)

RYB (read your Bible)
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

POAHF (put on a happy face)
A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit (Proverbs 15:13).

IWALU (I will always love you)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

PCM (please call me)
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me (Psalm 17:6).

RIP (rest in peace)
I will give you peace...and you will be able to sleep without fear (Leviticus 26:6).

TIAD (tomorrow is another day)
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today (Matthew 6:34).

PZ (peace)
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).

And check out these Christian messages:

YIC (yours in Christ)
g2g2c (got to go to church)
GBU (God bless you)
BRWG (get right with God)

PTL (Praise the Lord)
YBIC (your brother in Christ)
YSIC (your sister in Christ
WWJD (what would Jesus do)

3. Hey Kidz, now it’s your turn ... Next time you text a friend, why not send a message that includes God’s Word such as ... POAHF Proverbs 15:13

ALSO, I ‘d love some feedback ... answer the question “What do you think Jesus would text (WWJT)?” Be sure to include the text letters, what it means, and a scripture verse you think goes with it. Post your response on my Facebook link for this blog post, or in the comment section on my blog page.

Parents/Grandparents: Why not start texting your children/grandchildren and send them a scripture verse each day? (ie. Phillipians 4:14). It may create an opportunity to talk about it together, and you will be speaking their language ... how cool is that!

Kidz Thought for the Week: Honk if you love Jesus, Text while driving if you want to meet Him (Message from a church billboard, author unknown).

The Bible is full of messages that are just waiting to be read and passed along ... Call 2 Me and I will answer U and show U gr8 things which U do not know (Jeremiah 33: 3).

KYIMP (Keeping you in my prayers), TNW ('til next week) ... have fun texting!
God's Peace, Donna

31 October 2011

Are you wearing a MASK?


"Clowns wear a face that’s painted intentionally on them
so they appear to be happy or sad.  What kind of mask are
you wearing today?"  - Author Unknown
Today is Halloween and when evening comes, children will be trick or treating in all sorts of crazy costumes and masks. Grown-ups wear masks too, but many times they are not part of any Halloween costume.
Do you ever hide behind a mask? Afraid to have others find out the “messy-ness” in your life? Trying not to let others know that you are falling apart, or hurting on the inside... all the while smiling on the outside?
Do you wear a mask of perfection? Pretending to be someone you are not? Trying to keep up an identity that you feel others are imposing on you or expecting from you?
Do you see yourself through a mask of fear? Do you worry that if others knew the “real you,” they wouldn’t like you or accept you?
The truth is that our safety can only be found when we remove our mask and allow others to see our authentic self.  God knows the person behind our masks. He understands who we are and what we are hiding from, and He loves us anyway ... just the way we are. So let’s talk about 4 steps that we can take to remove our masks:
Awareness: When we hide behind our masks and never let others see who we really are – flaws and all, we deny them the opportunity to get to know us, accept us just the way we are, ecourage us, love us, pray for us, offer us advice, teach us how God’s word can help us, and share their stories with us.
Acceptance:  Before we can take off our mask and become transparent, we need to recognize and admit that the person behind the mask is who we really are. We have to accept ourselves, just like Christ accepts us.
Scripture tells us ... In Genesis 1:27 we are told, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."  Psalm 139:1-4 says, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
Part of understanding “who we are” is finding out why we have put on our masks in the first place. Are we hiding our feelings, are we hiding the fact that we are not comfortable with ourselves, or we lack self-confidence? Are we hiding because of fear?
I’ve been reading a book entitled What Women Fear. In chapter 3, the author Angie Smith talks about the fear of being found out. I’d like to share two of the fears she talked about that may offer some understanding as we try to accept ourselves. Smith wrote, 1) People have said that others saw themselves as much more spiritual than they felt they actually were, and 2) We often live our lives trying to avoid letting people down. Many of us feel like the real “us” will be exposed when we don’t rise up to what someone else thinks we should be. It is important to understand that we should never let what others think of us, determine how we think of ourselves.
Acknowledgment: We need to admit the price we pay when we hide our true identity from others. How is hiding behind a mask affecting your view of yourself, your relationship with others, and your relationship with Christ?
Learning to be transparent is never easy, but necessary. What does it mean to be transparent? According to scripture transparency means:
• Living a life of integrity and godly sincerity - “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

• Being honest about our spirituality - “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).

• Willing to accept criticism from those we love - “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses” (Proverbs 27:6).

You are probably thinking to yourself ... Why do I need to be transparent? God has called us to live in community with one another, and as part of the body of Christ, we need to be authentic with one another ... loving, encouraging, and praying for one another through good times and bad.

Action: Many of us have been hiding behind a mask for a long time, so revealing ourselves may not happen quickly. Ask God to help you understand why you have been hiding and how you can become transparent. Why waste another moment? If we are willing to be vulnerable, we may just be surprised by the response we receive as we remove our masks.

My “unmasking” ... I grew up as the oldest of 7 children and have to admit that there were many times I wore a mask. Feeling the need to set an example, I would hide my true feelings (afraid of letting others down). As a single parent, I would again put on a mask - to hide my fears from my children (afraid of failing). As I’ve gotten older, I love being an “encourager” to others. Occasionally I find myself once again hiding behind a mask. It is not easy for me to let others see that I might need encouragement (afraid of showing my weakness). Step by step in my spiritual journey, God is constantly placing other believers in my life who gently remind me that there are times when we all need people we can count on. Living a life of peace, a true and authentic life, begins when we stop pretending to be someone we are not, and when we take off our masks and say, “What you see is what you get... this is who I really am!”

If you are hiding behind a mask, I want to encourage you to begin the process of showing that beautiful smile and those glimmering eyes that have been hiding for way too long. I will be praying for each of you. Please feel free to email me at donna_a_weaver@hotmail.com if you have specific prayers requests.

Have a safe Halloween!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver