30 March 2012


“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
- Proverbs 15:13 (NASB)

This week one of my friends sent me an email that included a short devotion entitled, “Sparkling!” Since that just happens to be part of our message at PEACE, LOVE and SPARKLE every Friday, I wanted to share with you the opening paragraph.

“As I was waiting to checkout I glanced at one of the magazines on the rack, I noticed it had a female celebrity wearing a gem studded gown worth four times as much as my friendly cashier could make in a year. When I looked at it, however, I couldn’t help but think that nothing on that dress sparkled as brightly or shined as beautifully as the cashier’s joyful smile.” (excerpt taken from “Sparkling!” by Joseph J. Mazzella)

What a wonderful compliment ... but it actually means so much more.

Do you remember this childhood song?

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

If you’re happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it.

f you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.

A SMILE is an outward expression of an inward emotion. And that inward emotion is JOY. Our JOY comes from knowing the LORD. And our love of the LORD fills our heart with JOY (inward emotion) and is expressed with a SMILE (outward expression).

Okay, are you dizzy yet? Whether you noticed it or not, we just went in a complete circle.

As Christians we have so much to be thankful for. I once heard someone say that “heart smiles” erupt on our faces and give us a special radiance that comes from the joy in our heart.

Does your face reflect the spiritual condition of your heart?

Here are some reminders from scripture:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.”
- Proverbs 31:25

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
- Habakkuk 3:18

“Laughter does the heart good like a medicine
but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
- Proverbs 17:22

It’s Friday, so if you are happy, let your face show it
– aka Sparkle.

Our smile can be a wonderful testimony to our faith. Let your confidence in Christ – your joy, happiness and peace, shine through.

Remember, you may be the only Christ someone will ever see.

Praying that your weekend will be filled with JOY and lots of SMILES!
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

29 March 2012

Falling Asleep in the Garden - Being Passionate

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it
when it’s in your power to help them”
- Proverbs 3:27

I don’t know what the weather has been like where you live, but here in Colorado it’s been gorgeous lately. I’ve opened windows and breathed in the fresh air. Flowers are popping their heads out from the ground, especially the daffodils. I’ve even seen a blue jay perched on a fence post. Sure signs of Spring!

Have you ever wondered what it was like in the Garden of Gethsemane over 2000 years ago?

Unfortunately, this is the last post from within the Garden. We will be leaving shortly and continuing on our Journey to the Cross.

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, which marks the day Jesus entered Jerusalem. It is the beginning of the week of His passion – and we will walk that path right here, next Wednesday. But first, let’s explore the word “passion.”   Here are just two of the definitions as stated in the Merriam- Webster Dictionary:

1.  the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death
2.  ardent affection, a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object or concept

God has given us a passionate spirit and fills our heart with the longing to make a difference.

Ask yourself, “How do I respond to God’s calling?” Am I passionate or passive?

Many times we relate to the pain of others, experience their suffering, see the needs of the lonely or lost - but we wait thinking someone else will step up, we rationalize, procrastinate, avoid the promptings of His gentle “nudges.” But, if we are passionate, we must actively choose to follow Christ.

In Luke 9:23 Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Christ came as a servant and His dying was an act of obedience.  Will you be obedient?

This week as we prepare for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, let’s give thanks to the Lord for His passion and obedience, even to death on the cross. Ask God to show you what breaks His heart, and how you can use your “passion” to make a difference.

May Palm Sunday be a day of shouting sweet Hosanna’s ... “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD” - Psalm 118:26.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

25 March 2012

Thoughts about GRACE

“By the grace of God, I am what I am.”
- I Corinthians 15:10

I love to wear jewelry, and some of my favorite pieces are my cross necklaces. I collect all sorts of crosses. I have the ones I wear, and others I hang on my walls at home. My crosses are a symbol of my faith. Occasionally someone will see me wearing a cross and ask me where I go to church or questions about my faith. My crosses have become conversation pieces and a tool for witnessing.

Today I was thinking about the word “grace.” What a beautiful word, and as we begin to understand the true meaning, we also understand just how “amazing” grace really is.

Here are some of my thoughts about grace:

• Grace is God’s unmerited favor.
• Grace cannot be earned.
• Grace is kindness from God we don’t deserve.
• Grace is a gift from God.

If you were asked to explain the meaning of GRACE, how would you respond?

Someone once shared the following acronym with me, and it has become a simple way to remember the meaning of “grace: ...

I certainly don’t understand everything about the grace of God – but one definite way to learn more is to search scripture. His Word speaks the truth and gives us great insight.

“For sin shall not be master over you,
for you are not under law, but under grace.”
- Romans 6:14


“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
not by works, so that no one can boast.” - Ephesians 2:9

“Those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life
through the One, Jesus Christ.” - Romans 5:17

Prayer for God's Grace

May the grace of Christ our Saviour,

And the Father's boundless love,
With the Holy Spirit's favor,
Rest upon us from above.

Thus may we abide in union
With each other and the Lord,
And possess, in sweet communion,
Joys which earth cannot afford. Amen.

This week I encourage you to think about all of the things we do not deserve but for which we have received grace. Thank the Lord that He lavishes His GRACE on us for no other reason than because He first loved us.

See you back here on Wednesday as we continue our Journey to the Cross.

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

23 March 2012

Seeking “God-Moments”

"Blessed are those to whom Easter is not a hunt... but a find;
not a greeting... but a proclamation;
not an outward fashion... but inward grace;
not a day... but an eternity."
- Author Unknown

The next two weekends will be filled with a burst of spring activities; shopping for the perfect Easter outfit, haircuts for the kids, preparation for the Easter brunch, community Easter egg hunts, freshening up the house for out of town guests, practice for the Easter program at church, and of course, Spring Break activities.

Beware:  Busyness once again lurks in the shadows - ready to attack and steal our peace.

Remember:  Daily time spent with God can fill us with peace, patience, perseverance and help us through each day. His presence will give us perspective!

Sometimes I feel like my mind is like a broken record, replaying the same words over and over again ...
“avoid BUSYNESS, seek PEACE, seek HIM”
“avoid BUSYNESS, seek PEACE, seek HIM”
“avoid BUSYNESS, seek PEACE, seek HIM”

The fact is, these reminders keep pounding in my head because I still have not learned to listen to God’s promptings. Always good intentions ... but in my human-ness, I always fall short ...

I wake up and rush to get ready for work, missing the beautiful morning sunrise. I’m on the go, running my errands, can’t be late – missing the fresh scent of flowers along the path. I have my head buried in paperwork, eyes focused on the computer, TV making noise in the background, but I do not take time to sit on the patio and enjoy the afternoon sunshine.

God provides beautiful works of art, if we choose to open our eyes. God provides magical moments, if we choose to open our hearts. God provides inspiring, encouraging and loving words in scripture, if we choose to open our minds. As I was writing this, I got to thinking about the Bible verse about the “lilies of the field.” Check out this version of the passage which is taken from The Message Bible.

Matthew 6:27 - 33 (MSG)

27-29 "Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 "If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Sounds so reassuring ... like a wonderful, relaxing, peace-filled plan. God’s beautiful plan.

How about we give it a try? Would love to hear how you plan to enjoy some God-moments this weekend. Post your comments below.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... In the midst of all the spring celebrations, there are people we may need to pray for, offer an invitation to, or take action to help out. Ask God to open your eyes to their needs. Ask Him to open your heart to reach out and love them. And ask the Holy Spirit to fill your mind with the words to tell them the reason you have hope, love, joy and peace.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” - Romans 5:8

Grace & Peace, Donna Weaver

21 March 2012

Falling Asleep in the Garden - HUMILITY

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves,
you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,
kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
- Colossians 3:12 (NLT)

Last Wednesday we talked about drawing closer to God. I hope you’ve been able to spend a little extra time in His Presence this week.

Our Journey to the Cross will soon take us away from the Garden, but before we leave, there are two words I think we should explore – humility and passion. I chose these two specific characteristics, because in both cases, our godliness can often be measured by the line between the characteristic and it’s opposite or extreme. Let’s take a look at the definition of the word HUMILITY, meaning the quality of being modest or respectful . The opposite is ARROGANCE, contemptuous, feeling or showing self-importance or disregard for others. So, what is the “fine line” between these two extremes?

We start out with CONFIDENCE, a self-assurance or belief in our own abilities. But, then PRIDE comes along.

Pride can be a proper sense of own value, the correct level of respect for the importance and value of your personal character, life, efforts, or achievements.

Pride can be satisfaction with self, the happy satisfied feeling somebody experiences when having or achieving something special that other people admire.

Or, Pride can become a feeling of superiority, a haughty attitude shown by somebody who believes, often unjustifiably, that he or she is better than others

Pride opens the door and offers a temptation to change our God-given talents, gifts and passions into something sinful. However, humility allows God to help us keep our thoughts, motives and desires focused on being Christ-like.

Philippians 2:8 tells us, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”

I think Lent is the perfect time to remember ... when we fall short in our own efforts, when our human, sinful ways get the best of us ... Jesus’ death is our only hope.

PREPARING OUR HEARTS: This week, ponder the thought that every trait, ability, quality, talent and desire we have, are gifts from God, and could be taken from us at any moment. With the help of the Holy Spirit, make a conscious effort to ask God to reveal the intentions of your heart and grant you the ability to see yourself as He sees you.

Be sure to check back next Wednesday as we explore our answer to the question, “Are we passionate or passive?”

Counting down to Calvary ...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

19 March 2012

Meditating on His Word

My thoughts are jumbled and the words are not flowing, so I turn to the only thing that will comfort and encourage me ... God’s Word ... and my favorite Psalm.   Have a blessed week!

Seeking His Peace,  Donna Weaver

Psalm 139

GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
I'm an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I'm never out of your sight.
You know everything I'm going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you're there,
then up ahead and you're there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can't take it all in!

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
to the far western horizon,
You'd find me in a minute—
you're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!"
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I'll never comprehend them!
I couldn't even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
all the men and women who belittle you, God,
infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
Your enemies are my enemies!

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I'm about;
See for yourself whether I've done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

 - The Message

16 March 2012

Inside the Cover – WEIRD: Because Normal Isn’t Working

“Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God
transform you into a new person by changing the way you
think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which
is good and pleasing and perfect”  - Romans 12:2

Can I tell you a secret .... { I want to be WEIRD! }

When I was young, kids would do almost anything to conform and not be considered different (or weird).  But, I’ve grown up – and, in today’s world “normal” people are stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. Our normalcy affects our friendships, our family life and most importantly, our relationship with God.

Normal is rarely content. Normal has become living paycheck to paycheck. Normal lacks time for what is really important in life.

Let’s face it, NORMAL isn’t working.

I just finished reading a book that gives the reader permission to break free from the “norm.” It is packed full of alternatives that will help us choose to live a radically abnormal (and much more fulfilling) life.

The author of WEIRD: Because Normal isn’t Working is a pastor, husband and father of six children, and he is WEIRD (in a good way). Craig Groeschel begins his story by recalling a time in his youth when he asked himself questions like: “What if Jesus is real? What if his teachings are true? How would my life change if I truly tried to live like Jesus? What if I really gave my life to God?”

Knowing that he did not have all of the answers, he knew enough to foresee that pursuing these questions would “force him to step outside the safe circle of being normal.” Using personal stories, scripture, and a touch of humor, we are challenged to join him and step out of our comfort zone.

He offers his WEIRD views on topics such as time management, financial decisions, marriage, parenting, sexual purity, intimacy, relationship with God, and morals. One statement that he made really hit home. He said, “We choose popular standards instead of the habits that lead to holiness.”

In the book we are asked the question, “What if the Bible is talking about a different-than-what-everyone-else-does, good type of Jesus weird?"  Today I challenge you to read this exciting book and join me in being WEIRD.

It’s Friday, Let’s “Sparkle” ... action required ... Books like the one we discussed today can be a great addition to our spiritual learning. Why not gather a group of friends together and read a book together?  Many Christian books include discussion questions or offer companion study guides that help facilitate conversations about the book and our faith.  Great reading, interesting discussions and blessed fellowship - PRICELESS!

Have a WEIRD weekend!

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

Resource:    WEIRD: Because Normal isn’t Working
by Craig Groeschel

14 March 2012

Falling Asleep in the Garden – DRAWING CLOSER

 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you” – Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

What has this Lenten season meant to you? How have you drawn closer to God?

On this blog we are always talking about how our lives – the busyness, commitments, and other demands on our time STEAL OUR PEACE. Well guess what? Those same trappings, if we let them, can keep us from drawing closer to God. The Journey to the Cross doesn’t take a day off, or time out because of other commitments or busy schedules.

What competes with your time with God?

Sometimes I feel like the disciples when they fell asleep in the Garden. I grow tired and weary, and end up choosing sleep or mundane activities (such as Facebook, Pinterest, or TV) to fill my time. And yes, you guessed it - my “God-time” suffers.

The words of James 4:8 tells us, “Come near to God, and He will come near to you.” God expects us to take the first step, and if we do, He will meet us right where we are. It takes a conscious effort on our part to draw near to Him.

Let’s read the passage one more time: “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet” (James 4:7-10, The Message).

Why would we choose to battle the chaos, hurt, weariness, sin, disappointment, loneliness that comes from our constantly trying to do things our way, filling ourselves with things of this world - when we can find peace, comfort, strength, and joy {and much more} in the presence of God?

Christ humbled himself when he came to walk with us, and to die on the cross for our sins. 

Are our actions and choices telling HIM that it was all for nothing?

PREPARING OUR HEARTS: Let’s make today a new day, a re-commitment to this Lenten season. Let’s abandon our attempts to do it our way, to “save” ourselves. Remember the words from James? We have been commanded to take the first step.

This week I came across a prayer from Joel and Victoria Osteen, and it is the perfect prayer for this moment. As we respond to His command, won’t you pray with me …

Father in heaven, I choose to draw near to You. I open my heart and turn from anything that displeases You. Fill me with Your power to live the good life You have planned for me as I draw close to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

I have posted two music links for the songs “In the Garden” and “Draw Me Close to You” ... enjoy! There is also a resource listed below that offers 365 meditations for a year long journey of drawing closer to God.

Blessings & Peace,
In Christ Alone – Donna Weaver

In the Garden, sung by Alan Jackson

Draw Me Close to You, sung by Michael W. Smith

Drawing Closer to God: 365 Daily Meditations, 
by Dianne Neal Matthews


12 March 2012

Digging Deeper for the TRUTH

un•der•stand – to realize or become aware of something

What is the cost?  What does the commitment entail?  How far away is it?  How much time will it take?  UNDERSTANDING the full picture is important in any aspect of life.

This semester I am taking a course called Interpreting the Bible.  I am learning to analyze, interpret, and apply what I am reading. I am also discovering that many times we read God’s Word with a “preunderstanding” (conscious and subconscious preconceived notions). These notions may be based on things we learned as a child, from our life’s experiences, or from our culture.

Understanding a passage in the original context - including who wrote it, to whom it was written, and what historical things were going on at the time, is so important. To understand how to apply God’s Word to our lives today, we need to grasp the meaning of the text as God originally intended.

“Each passage of scripture was God’s Word to other people before it became God’s Word to us. We are separated from the biblical audience by culture and customs, language, situation, and a vast expanse of time” (Grasping God’s Word, 2005). With that said, the time bound message of Scripture contains eternally relevant principles that we can discover and apply to our lives in today’s world. That is why it is important for us to dig deep and meditate on God’s Word and never rely totally on the understanding or interpretation of someone else.

The concept of digging in and finding the truth for ourselves is a great practice in other areas of our life too.  This week several things happened that were separate but also connected in many ways. First, I am on an email/prayer list for a missionary in the Sudan. Her name is Michelle Perry and her base is an orphanage in a very dangerous area. She shares her stories and how God is working in the lives of the Sudanese people on her blog. This week she shared a very insightful story. Before I share her link I want to tell you the other half of the story. While spending time on the internet last week I kept seeing a post for KONY 2012. I didn’t have time to check it out, but this weekend my daughter called to let me know that she had sent me an email that would touch my heart. It was the KONY 2012 video.

As I watched the video, I thought about Michelle’s work in a different light. My daughter was right, my heart broke for the children that have been abused and tortured by this awful person. One particular scripture came to mind:

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one
of the least of these, you did not do for me” – Matthew 25:45

I plan to continue to pray for Michelle and the work she is doing in the Sudan. Beyond that, I cannot say where my heart will lead me.

The key to taking any type of “action” can only be found in truly UNDERSTANDING. Many of you have probably viewed the KONY 2012 video. If you have not, I have provided a link below. You will also find links to the two posts that Michelle Perry’s wrote this week - she is a beautiful writer and photographer, and captures the words and faces of life in the Sudan, beyond anything you can imagine. She sheds a new light on the same topic and your heart will be touched.

Have a blessed week. As you continue to study God’s Word, I pray that you will seek a deeper understanding of each passage you read.

I’ll be back on Wednesday as we continue our Journey to the Cross.
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

Original KONY 2012 video:


Michelle Perry, Missionary in the Sudan - blog posted 3/8/12:

Michelle’s follow up blog posted 3/9/12:

09 March 2012

With a Thankful Heart

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

So often we’re asking, asking, and asking for the things we want from God. It’s time once again to talk about an attitude of gratitude.

For almost a year now, my friend Peggy and I have been keeping what we call our “Blessings Journals.” We started out with two identical journals, our favorite pens, and a goal of recording 1,000 blessings in each book. The fun part is that we swap journals every 2-3 weeks and continue recording our blessings in the other persons’ journal.

Last week it was time once again for our “swap,” and guess what? We have recorded almost 500 blessings in each book. Half-way there, but we’ve also decided that the number doesn’t matter anymore. Holding each other accountable and sharing our gratitude, has blessed us both more than we can put in to words. There are some days when the only blessing might be, “the day is finally over.” Other days, God’s abundant blessings never seem to end. It may be a "thank you" for patience, an unexpected check in the mail, a phone call from a friend, bird's chirping in the early morning, a handmade card from a grandchild, a beautiful sunrise, or a slice of cheesecake.  The size or number of our blessings doesn’t matter ... it is the attitude, our changed hearts and the joy found in reading the other persons blessings. It is worshipping God with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart.

I think we’ve both decided that we need to continue our shared journals forever.    { s m i l i n g }

With a grateful prayer ...

Each one of us have been given more than we’ll ever know.

and a thankful heart ...

Whatever we think about throughout the day affects our attitude.

We worship you, Lord.

Joy, peace, healing, prosperity, salvation - just a few of our many blessings.

I just love this quote, it says it all ... “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beady

It’s Friday, Let’s “Sparkle” ... action required ... Below are some tips for beginning your own Blessings Journal. Why not consider sharing your gratitude with a friend – twice the blessings and twice the fun! I have also included some scripture verses you could pass along to someone that might need to realize all of the blessings in their life.
Go Shopping, be Creative - You can use a beautiful hardbound journal, a plain blank inexpensive notebook, or a simple collection of blank notecards tied together with a beautiful ribbon.

Pick your Style of Journaling – Make a list, write a prayer, jot a thank note to Jesus – simple words or eloquent writing, it’s your choice.

Make a Commitment – Having an attitude of gratitude, a thankful heart, is a discipline. It’s best to try to make a plan – once a day, three times a week, every Sunday, whatever works with your schedule. Be consistent.

Don’t give up! – If you find that you are skipping a day, forgetting to write, or saying to yourself “I’ll start again tomorrow,” pray and ask God for willpower and self-discipline. Another great idea is to ask someone to hold you accountable.

“Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make
known his deeds among the people” - 1 Chronicles 16:8

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise: be thankful
unto him, and bless his name” - Psalms 100:4

Below is a link to a Youtube video of a song entitled “With a Thankful Heart,” by Don Moen. Please enjoy and have a blessed weekend.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver
Don Moen – “With a Thankful Heart”

06 March 2012

Falling Asleep in the Garden – FORGIVENESS

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness
of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace”
- Ephesians 1:7

By now, we’ve come to realize that the Lenten season is a Journey to the Cross. We began our walk through the garden of Gethsemane by reflecting on the things that separate us from Christ. Last we went back to the garden and talked about confessing our sins with a sincere heart.

This week we will be exploring the topic of forgiveness. Even while we were sinners, God sent his Son to die in our place. Jesus took the journey to the cross, experienced pain and suffering ... and ultimately died for our sins. He carried our burdens and took our place on the cross.

“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

Are you beginning to sense the depth of God’s love for you?

As we continue on the path from ashes to glory we need to realize that this GIFT of forgiveness occurred once for all time. It is God’s free and loving gift to us. A gift we cannot earn and one we definitely do not deserve.

PREPARING OUR HEARTS: Let’s stop along the path this week to smell the roses. A few years ago I came across the story below and love to pull it out at Easter time. It’s a great reminder that we need to pass along the same love and forgiveness that God has shown to us, to others who join us on our life journey.

The Fragrance of My Savior
by Sharon Lee Roberts

I was running bath water the other night when I looked into my basket of bath salts and little soaps. There was a small package with a beautiful floral print on the front. It was called “Essence of Rose.”

I thought about the name. I smelled the fragrance. It smelled just like a rose. Though it wasn’t a rose, it carried the rose’s fragrance.

I remembered that special title for Jesus found in the bible “the rose of Sharon” (Song of Solomon 2:1). I remembered that I, as a Christian, am to carry the fragrance of Christ, whom I follow.

Also, I am to reflect his image. Do I reflect Jesus Christ? Will people see him shine through me? I hope that others can see Jesus in me. I know that I can be more like him only as I submit to God’s will for me, to his working in me. For it is God who does the work. The process may be painful, but I need to endure it so that the desired results in my character are produced.

I pray that I have the fragrance of gentleness, and the scent of forgiveness and forbearance. I pray that meekness shines through me.

As I inhale that beautiful fragrance of “essence of rose” and close my eyes to envision a rose, I pray that the world will sense in my life the fragrance of my Savior.

This week I pray that we will truly understand the power of forgiveness,
and the joy of everlasting life that goes along with it.

Counting down to Calvary ...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

01 March 2012

Encouragement for a WEARY HEART

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”
- Matthew 11:28-30

May 22, 2011. A supercell thunderstorm produced an EF-5 tornado over Joplin, Missouri. The sign above was from in front of the Joplin High School. When the tornado struck the J - L - I - N were blown off the sign. Days later someone expressed the sentiment of the town when they added a duct tape H and E. The new sign makes a statement about the attitude of the students and the community. They made a choice in a most difficult time. They chose HOPE!

Last night I was catching up with friends and family on Facebook and I happened to see a post from a friend that said she had lost her job. Another dear friend added to my prayer list of those without jobs. The list just keeps growing – and my heart goes out to them because it wasn’t all that long ago that I had also been on the same “list.” Life circumstances may be out of our control, but one thing is certain – we serve a mighty God who loves us and is IN CONTROL. Just like the person who changed the letters on the Joplin High School sign, we too can choose the way we react, the attitude we have and the source of our strength – even when times are difficult.

Today I would like to share some of my favorite words of HOPE, along with some awesome resources. It is my prayer that these words will offer encouragement and remind those with a “weary heart,” that they are not alone.

SHUT DOORS –– God will sometimes shut doors (even the ones we really want to walk through) in order to guide us in the right direction. We simply have to trust God. He has the power to open every door, and shut the ones we shouldn’t walk hrough. Proverbs 19:21 states: “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”       - Called Magazine

PROVISION –– Your God will bring supernatural provision for the vision
He has given you. So have faith, and don't doubt! Do you believe He is
able to do it? Then, according to your faith it will be done (Matthew :27-29).
- Called Magazine

 “Don't worry about a thing just let
God's peace flow over you.”

- Philippians 4:7

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what
others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never
let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; He'll always be
there to help you come through it."  
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message)


"You need Me continually - not only for daily bread and blessings,
but also for the myriad of decisions you must make each day," - Dear Jesus
- from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

“A downpour of trials can be a force that destroys and washes
away hope, or it can become a tool God uses to bring healing new life.”

- Excerpt from Rain on Me: Devotions of Hope and Encouragement
for Difficult Times, by Holley Gerth

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... Look around and find someone that needs HOPE today.  Offer them a listening ear or an encouraging word.  The message below was posted on Facebookand is worth repeating ...

"Sometimes when I say "I'm okay," I want
someone to look me in the eyes, hug me
tight and say, "I know you are not!" 

What a powerful reminder that there are so many hurting people in our world today.  Let's be the hands & feet of Christ to a hurting world.... one person at a time.If you would like to post a prayer request in the comment section, please do so. While you are at it, why not say a prayer for someone else on the list.  Have a safe and relaxing weekend ... remember to find time to rest in His presence.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

CALLED Magazine helps Christian women serve better, lead better, and live better– no matter what they’re called to do. Ministry is not for a select few. It's for all of us!  http://calledmagazine.com/
Books by Holley Gerth and Sarah Young
Available at  
www.amazon.com   or   www.christianbook.com

A Walk in the Garden – CONFESSING OUR SINS

"Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in
me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me"
- Psalm 51:9-10

Our Journey to the Cross continues.

Where do you go to seek God’s presence?

I don’t know about you, but I love to walk in a beautifully manicured garden. The sweet smells, the beautiful colors, the wonder of nature makes me feel close to Him. I admit that I do not have a green thumb, but I definitely appreciate the peacefulness amidst nature’s beauty. This past week there was another “garden” in my thoughts ... the Garden of Gethsemane. Located east of the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, I can only imagine that it was a beautiful place too - a peace-filled place, where Jesus went quite often to seek God’s presence.

I hope you’ve been able to find some quiet time this past week ... a time for reflection ... a time to examine our hearts, and pray about the things that hinder our relationship with God. Now we have to step out of our comfort zone and cry out to God, just as David did in the words of Psalm 51.

Easier said than done!

Most of us are more comfortable with the idea of giving up something for Lent, or just focusing on the upcoming celebration of Easter morning. But the hard fact is that we need to walk through the darkness that comes before the light ... the confession that comes before the joy.

As Easter approaches we need to be honest with God. We need to lay our sins and burdens at the foot of the cross. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse us from every wrong.”

Remember ... there is nothing that will surprise God – no sin too bad, no secret too dark. God is a God of light and darkness cannot survive in his presence. Nothing can keep us from His mercy and grace when we confess our sins with a sincere heart.

For our God sent His own Son in to the darkness, to die on the cross ... for US. He took our place. He was our substitute, so that we may live in the light.

PREPARING OUR HEARTS: Meditate on the words of Romans 5:6-11, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

This week take time to pray about what it really means to take someone else’s punishment in their place. What are the results of Christ dying for us while we were still sinners?

Counting down to Calvary ...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver