27 February 2012

Time for a Checkup

It’s been over a year now since I set out on my journey to seek more of God’s peace in four specific areas of my life.  I think that I’m past due for a check-up and re-affirmation.

"When you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful
to have it even more fully in your heart.”  – St. Francis of Assisi
Peace in my Heart is directly affected by my relationship with God and others. I will continue to seek peace in this area of my life through prayer, being still (listening to God), and reading His Word.

“If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.”
- Henry Miller

Peaceful Environment is the result of simplifying my life. I will continue to seek peace in this area through controlling clutter (self-discipline), honoring the commitments that God calling me to (self-discipline), and avoiding chaos (self-discipline).

“The fruit of silence is prayer; the fruit of prayer is faith;
the fruit of faith is love; the fruit of love is service;
the fruit of service is peace.” – Mother Teresa

Spirit of Peace is reflected by the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I will continue to seek peace in this area by abiding by the virtues of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

“Make me an instrument of your peace.”
– St. Francis of Assisi

Sharing the Peace is to share the light of Jesus that resides within us, aka “sparkle.” I will continue to seek peace in this area of my life by using the gifts, resources, and passions that God has given me to bring Him glory.

I believe a spiritual journey of seeking God’s peace helps me live out the words of John 10:10, “ ...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full..”  My prayer is that as we continue this journey together, we will allow God to transform our hearts, encourage us, teach us and lead us each step of the way.

Don’t forget to check back on Wednesday as our “journey to the cross” takes us back to the Garden of Gethsemane.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

24 February 2012

Inside the Cover – GOD’S GUEST LIST

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11

You can’t always judge a book by it’s cover, but you can tell how good a book is by the impression it makes on you. Was it heart-felt - bringing you to tears or creating feelings of overwhelming joy? Did it spark curiosity, making you want to learn more about the topic? At the end of the story, did you want to read more? Was it entertaining, shocking, surprising, mysterious, educational?

What about those books that inspire you? Did you finish reading the last page and feel moved to take action?

I’m a huge fan of New York Times bestselling author, Debbie Macomber. I have read her romance novels for years, and have also enjoy her books that have been made in to TV movies, such as the holiday story of Mrs. Miracle.  Recently I read one of her non-fiction books that truly inspired me.  
  As Christians, our lives are all about relationships – with God and with others. We meet people every day. Some become our instant friends, but others we never think about again. Some we think about years later, and ask ourselves what ever happened to them. And then there are those that you think about and are reminded of the impact they have had on your life. I am a firm believer that God brings people into our lives for a purpose, a season, a moment or a lifetime.

In her book GOD’S GUEST LIST, Debbie Macomber shares how God prompted her to make a list of the people he had sent in to her life. As she explored the names on her list, she wrote down how each person impacted her life. Her book explains how each of us have “influencers” that have changed us or made a difference in our lives – through encouraging words or deeds, through teaching, sharing, or mentoring. God has used others to help us become the person we are today.

Who is on God’s “guest list” for your life . . . and why?

The answers may surprise you.

I highly recommend this book. Macomber’s personal stories and brilliant insight will definitely change how you look at the people in your life - past, present and future.

The author’s journey to compile her “Guest List” was so inspiring that I have started working on my own list. As I have been journaling, God has brought to mind so many people that I had completed forgot about or lost track of. Not only has this become a great way of preserving memories, but I plan to send notes to some of the people just to let them know how they have influenced my life.

By pausing to recognize the influences that other people have had in our lives, we can only begin to grasp the extent of God’s plans and desire for us to be in “relationship” with others.

Woven throughout the book, Debbie also uncovers the power we have to shape and influence others. So keep your eyes open, because we might just be invited to be on God’s guest list in someone else’s life.

It’s Friday, Let’s “Sparkle” ... action required ... Books that inspire our Christian life don’t always have to be filled with theology. Sometimes an easy read, such as God’s Guest List” can help us see God’s work in our life. Talking about our favorite books and sharing them can be a great way to witness to others.

Here is a great tip: If you like going to thrift shops, keep your eyes open for Bibles, Christian devotionals, Chicken Soup for the Soul and other books that you can pick up at pretty reasonable prices. I once picked up an NIV Study Bible (in great condition) for $3.75. It’s a great way to have books handy, just to “pass on” to others.

I’d love to know ... “What was the last book you read that inspired you to explore your faith or take some other kind of action?”

See you back here Monday – have a blessed weekend.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

21 February 2012

Falling Asleep in the Garden - REFLECTION

Matthew 26:36-46

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?  Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.  Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

Reading the words of Matthew 26 might be hard, because none of us want to think that we played a part in Jesus’ suffering – but we all need to face our humanness. Would we have fallen asleep (like the disciples) while Jesus was praying? Would we have denied knowing Jesus (like Peter)? It’s hard to comprehend how we would have reacted, but one thing is for sure – sin still dwells in us (the same sin that sent Jesus to the cross).

Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten Season. Today many of us will be marked with a cross of ashes, a reminder that we come from dust and will one day return to dust (adapted from Genesis 3:19).

As we begin our Journey to the Cross, we need to remember the significance of these ashes. The origin of using ashes in religious ritual can be traced back to the Old Testament. For example, the prophet Daniel called out to God to rescue Israel, “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).

Lent is simply a time for us to improve our relationship with God. Let’s use this holy season for prayer, reflection, repentance, turning away from our sins, recommitment, and celebration.

Let the journey begin ...

PREPARING OUR HEARTS: Meditate on the words of Psalm 139:23 – 24, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Are your sins or weaknesses caused by pride, envy, impatience, self indulgence, arrogance, lack of discipline, prejudice, contempt, cruelty, or dishonesty? This week take time to reflect on the things that you feel come between you and God.

In the Grip of Grace -
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

20 February 2012

Craving Peace

“For He Himself is our peace.” – Ephesians 2:14

Have you ever shied away from being accountable to others?  Have you ever been a little secretive on purpose?

For the past 5 weeks, I have been participating in an on-line Bible study with over 8,000 other participants. I have to confess that even though I have shared tidbits from our study, I wanted my commitment to be between God and me. I didn’t want to get caught up in “goals” or meeting the expectations of others. This was a time of deep prayer, seeking God’s guidance and a lot of self-reflection.

But today, as the final week of our study begins, I would like to open my heart and share some of the wisdom and truth I have learned from our study of the book, MADE TO CRAVE by Lysa TerKeurst.

Confession: In the past I have craved food more than God and was not willing to make a sacrifice to have it any other way.

Insight: We have been made to “crave,” but the object of our craving was never intended to be food, alcohol, wealth, sex or anything else that eventually consumes us (or comes between us and our relationship with God).

Biblical Truth: “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Confession: The purpose of this study was not to diet, lose weight, or join an exercise program. My purpose was to learn to “crave” God first and foremost.

Insight: We were made for more than living a life in a vicious cycle of being ruled by food. God’s Word will give us the encouragement we need to replace all of our excuses and rationalizations.

Biblical Truth: “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north” (Deuteronomy 2:3).

Confession: For years I identified myself by my circumstances and not by my relationship with God. My weight is a direct result of my choices and the state of my health (physical, emotional and spiritual).

Insight: Becoming a woman of self-discipline can empower me. It pleases God and brings glory to Him.

Biblical Truth: “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial” (2 Corinthians 10:23).

As my journey to seek peace continues, I have realized that peace can never be found in craving food, or anything else that separates me from God.

So, in the words of Lysa TerKeurst, “I’m not on a diet. I’m on a journey with Jesus.”

And as I continue along the way - I ask that you join me, encourage me, pray for me AND hold me accountable. It seems like God has taught me a lot of lessons about relationships over these last 5 weeks.

Craving Him...
Peace & Love, Donna Weaver

*** Countdown to Calvary begins this Wednesday at Peace, Love & Sparkle
Join me on a Journey to the Cross as we explore this season of
and reflection each Wednesday through April 4th ***

17 February 2012

A-Z and Everything In-between

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the
Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life”
- 1 John 5:13

I love everything about words. Who could have imagined that 26 individual alphabet letters would give us the opportunity to construct such a variety of unusual, fantastic, quirky, awe-inspiring and powerful words?

Could it have been the same Creator that used the power of His Word to create everything in the universe?

I’m sure no one else could have designed such a plan. After all, God’s Word is just as applicable and powerful today – more than 2,000 years later.

You know what, my friends? We have all been given the amazing gift of language. With words we can communicate, encourage, and pray for each other. We can introduce ourselves and meet people we don’t already know. Words are incredibly versatile.

Recently I read an interesting article on “How to Cultivate a Love of Words.” The writer offered many suggestions on how we can increase our “world of words” ...

1. When speaking or writing, try to find replacements for basic words that may be overused. Increasing our vocabulary and replacing everyday words with more meaningful ones, can have an important effect on our message.
2. Let your words paint a picture. Close your eyes and think of the words in your head. Now what words can you use to describe the picture you see?
3. There are many ways to improve our word “knowledge.” The internet offers an assortment of valuable tools such as dictionaries, thesaurus’ and word lists.
4. Have fun with WORDS. Every “word lover” knows that crossword or word search puzzles, and games such as Scrabble or Boggle combine entertainment with an opportunity to learn.
5. Let words inspire your environment. Wooden signs, refrigerator magnets, and chalkboards are just a few unique ways to decorate your home with words.

My love of words spills over to my enjoyment of books. When I read I can be inspired, learn something new, or be whisked away on an amazing journey. I guess that’s why I also love to put my words on paper. Over the last 15 years writing has become a spiritual discipline that I have been able to incorporate into my walk with Christ. I enjoy writing everything from children’s stories based on scripture, to blogging my journey to seek God’s peace. So I wasn’t surprised that recently poetry has become an outlet for relaxation and creative expression in my writing. I have had fun playing around with HAIKKU (a few of which I have shared on my blog) and have added others to my personal journals. 
My heart is on fire
I hear His voice calling me -
Write of peace and hope

(Haikku by Donna Weaver)

Did you know that the Bible is filled with poetry? The book of Psalms contains 150 songs and prayers, each having a poetic character. We can find such beautiful words of praise and thanksgiving when reading through the Psalms.

New Testament references show that early Christians used the Psalms in worship, and if you listen to Contemporary Christian music you know that is still true today. You may recognize inspiration from the Psalms in songs such as the ones listed below by Third Day:

 ‘King Of Glory’  (Psalm 24:7-10)
‘My Hope Is In You’  (Psalm 25:1-5)
‘Your Love Oh Lord’  (Psalm 36:5-6)

Recently I came across the short poem below which was written by Emily Dickinson. As a Christian I know that my eternal future is not determined by my good deeds. With that being said, this poem captures my heart because it reflects my purpose in life – serving others and making a difference in the world I live in.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

In just a few lines Dickinson’s words become an inspiration. Life is so much more than thinking of oneself. It is possible for each of us to leave a trace, a mark of our existence by serving others - and in the process we might just make a new friend, inspire someone, or change a small piece of the world . 

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... Action Required ... We never know the role that words will play in our lives - an educational essay, a creative poem, a famous screenplay, the next great novel or a simple blog post.

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve tried to think of ways to encourage my readers to “sparkle” (the outward shine of God’s love within us). Last week we talked about the meaning of words, and the ways that we can express our love to God and others. Today I am suggesting that we have some fun, try something different. Let’s use our words to encourage and inspire each other ... write a short poem or a Haikku, or share your favorite scripture verse or quote.  Post your “words” in the comment section below or over on my Facebook page.

Today let’s give God the glory and “sparkle” using the gift of language.

Have a blessed weekend – talk to you again Monday,
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

13 February 2012

“Heart Day” Part 2 - My Beloved Valentine

Jesus said to him, “you shall love the Lord your God with
all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
- Matthew 22:37

I love Starbucks (just saying).  I crave my cup of coffee.  My Grande White Mocha is to die for.


As a society, have we become too casual in the use of certain words? Do we really mean what we are saying? What importance am I placing on the words: love – crave – to die for? To determine the answer to that question, let’s take a look at their meaning ...

Love – feel affection for, adore, worship, be devoted to

On Friday we talked about how God loves us and some of the ways we can pass that love on to others. Loving God with our heart, soul and mind is the key to everything in life. So I ask:

          • How do I show my love to God?
          • Am I living a life that is pleasing to Him?
          • Do I put God’s Will above my own?
          • Does my love for God make me want to learn more about Him?

Crave – long for, desire, need, beseech

I’m currently in a Bible Study class and the topic is all about learning to “crave” God. We are discovering ways to satisfy our deepest desires with God, not coffee, food or other cravings and unhealthy habits. The choice is ours ... “Luke 9:23 tells us, Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

To Die For – breathe your last breath, give up your life for, meet your maker

Really? Would I give up my life for a cup of coffee ... I think not! On the other hand, Christ gave up His life for me so that I could have eternal life. Oh, how I just want to shout the words of Psalm 84:1-2, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”

That sure puts everything in perspective.

Hmmm ... maybe I should be saying, “I really appreciate the convenience of Starbucks. I enjoy a good cup of coffee. My grande white mocha is such a treat!” Now that sounds much better.

So, all of this perspective stuff got me to thinking, “When was the last time I told God I love Him?” Valentine’s Day is just two days away – what perfect timing to be reminded that we should express our love to God on a daily basis. Let’s use the words of Ephesians 5:18-20 as our guide:
“Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Worship Him daily with a thankful and prayerful heart ... “You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 118:28-29).

Worship Him daily with a joyful spirit ... “Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises [zamar] to Him with the timbrel and harp” (Psalm 149:3).

Worship Him with a sound mind ... Our thoughts and words, reading and studying His Word, keeping His Commandments, all of these actions reflect our obedience and love for the Lord.

Worship Him with a passionate soul ... Loving and meeting the needs of the “least of these” through serving others, not only reflects our love for the Lord but also brings glory to Him.

Worshipping God is paramount to nurturing our relationship with Him. By doing so on a regular basis, it becomes a spiritual discipline. And for me, during this year committed to “self-discipline” - that is definitely a good thing!

Today I plan to sit down and write some Valentine cards to send to family and friends.  I think I’ll start by putting God at the top of my list and writing a love letter to Him.

How will you choose to tell God you love Him?
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day, remember - God loves you, and so do I.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

10 February 2012

"Heart Day" Part 1 – Be My Valentine

“YOU are precious and honored in MY sight,
and I love YOU” - Isaiah 43:4

You have just received a Valentine from God. The words were taken straight from the Bible which contains lots of love letters and special messages, written especially for you!

How do we really know that we are loved by God?

I was taught at a very young age that “Jesus Loves Me.” My Sunday school teachers read me Bible stories that told me so, and my family taught me prayers that told me so.

BUT, do I really believe that I am loved by God?

I have to be honest and say that there are times when I forget that I am loved by my Creator, and think to myself, “Why would someone love ME?”    ... God has taught me that I am precious in his sight, that I am beautiful and wonderfully made, and I am valued.  He has a plan for my life that only I can fulfill and that all of the days ordained for me were written in his book (Psalm 139). 

Other times when I am struggling to accomplish something that seems way beyond my reach, I tell myself “I can’t do anything right!”  That's when I wish I could hear the words, “You are doing a good job.”     ... God assures me that I can do all things because of the strength and power I receive through Christ.  I pray that maybe someday I will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

I hate to admit it, but occasionally I feel so alone.  I grow weary, and wonder to myself, “Does anyone care?”    ... God has promised me that he is always with me and will never leave me or forsake me.  I find such peace and comfort in those thoughts.

And then there are moments when a small voice whispers, “You are not worthy.”  ... but God reminds me that he loved ME so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that I could have eternal life.

The following is an excerpt from a devotion I read this week.  It is taken from the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young:

"Every morning when YOU wake up let YOUR first words by, "I am loved by God."  And every night when YOU go to sleep let YOUR last words echo, I'M loved by God."  

I don’t know about you, but I need to write those words down on a card and carry them with me. My Christian walk is based on the beliefs of my faith. God gave us His Word and if I accept Him as my Lord and Savior, I understand that he pursues me and calls me to a relationship. The Bible continues to speak to me through the stories of God’s people, and as my Pastor said in a sermon a few weeks ago, “Their story is OUR story.”

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... Action Required ... A woman says, “Tell me I’m beautiful.” A man says, “Tell me we’ll grow old together.” A child says, “Tell me I’m your super hero.” These words express the emotions of so many people struggling in today's world.

Hallmark has a commercial running right now and the tag line says, “Everyone has something they need to hear. This Valentine’s Day, vow to tell them.”
What a great idea.  Let’s reach out and brighten someone’s day - express your love – offer encouragement - let someone know how important they are to you – pass on God’s love!

Why not make everyday a valentine’s day, a real “Heart Day?”

Loved ones, friends, co-workers, lonely and hurting people are not the only ones that need to hear how important they are to you, how much you love them, that you couldn’t live without them …
Have you told God lately how much you love Him?

Check back on Monday for Part 2 of my "Heart Day" blog, as we talk more about our love relationship with God.

Sparkle (shine, glow, twinkle, glitter, shimmer) for HIM!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver


Check out this link for great ideas to “fill all your days with love” … http://www.hallmark.com/online/promotions/life-is-a-special-occasion.aspx?mc=T_V_P_ED_HM_LIFE#kids

06 February 2012

God’s Timing, NOT Mine

“Don't worry about a thing,
just let God's peace flow over you”
- Philippians 4:7

In case you didn’t notice, I have been MIA (missing in action) for the past two weeks.

I’ve been house-sitting for some friends from church.  It's always fun taking care of their cats and finding respite in their beautiful home.  This time, however I forgot to ask them to leave their internet access for me, so I  there I was - two weeks without internet. This was not in my plans and at first, I ran through a list of my options to try to “get-it-all done” – check my email, connect on Facebook, post my blog.  But, after some ‘stressing” followed by prayer, I felt God saying that it was time to take a short break. So I followed the words of Philippians 4:7, took a deep breath and chose peace!

Sometimes our best made plans get unexpectedly interrupted. I’m sure many of you have had it happen ... a snowstorm, a family emergency, an illness. In those moments, we have a choice. We can worry, or we can rest in His peace.

What will you choose?

On Friday, Colorado was hit with the biggest snowstorm of this winter. Many people tried to battle the inevitable, but others just hunkered in to enjoy the beauty of each flake.

I was reminded of the words found in Ecclesiastes 8:15, “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.”

I had some fun taking pictures in the back yard and monitoring the snowfall at my “temporary home.” The picture above (of the birdbath) was taken late Friday afternoon.

Same birdbath, more snow,  Picture was taken mid-day Saturday, and the snow continued throughout the day.

Sunday morning the snowfall had stopped, the sun came out and life started getting back to normal.  As I drove to church, I looked at the white covered mountains and couldn’t help but thank God for the snow, and a chance to be refreshed.

I drew this heart in the backyard, and focused on how God has reminded me once again over the past two weeks, that He is in control of my life and loves me enough to make sure that I take time to rest in His peace.

As I write this blog, I am back at home with my internet connection.  Back to the demands of every day life.  Here in Colorado we are expecting more snow this week. Hopefully it will only be a few flurries, but if God’s plans say otherwise, I will still choose peace.

Have a wonderful week and be sure to check back on Friday for a special “Hallmark” message.

Chillin’ in His Grace, Peace & Love,
Donna Weaver