Author Archives: Paula Davis

Betrayed, Arrested, Disowned

In amongst the blessings of life we all have times when things don’t go our way. We face sickness, pain, loss of jobs, days when dreams don’t come true or someone didn’t come through the way you thought they would. Sometimes we aren’t sure if we’re even following God’s plan for us.

DSC04752

All of this is part of living in a sinful world with imperfect people and we learn to cope with it. But have you ever been betrayed by someone you love? Have you ever had a time when someone you thought would stick by you pretended they didn’t know you? This goes beyond disappointment. It’s enough to plunge someone into despair.

When Jesus finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane He was confronted by a group of His enemies…and one of His closest friends. The kiss Judas greeted Jesus with was not a kiss of affection. It was a kiss of betrayal intended to identify Jesus to those who wanted to take His life.

Jesus was arrested in the Garden and led off to be judged. His friends followed at a distance or I imagine some of them slipped away as not to be taken captive themselves. Either way they didn’t stand at Jesus’ side to plead His case to those who would judge Him.

We don’t know why Judas agreed to betray Jesus, but we do know that he did it for a few pieces of silver. And we know Judas was so ashamed of what he did, sure he could never be forgiven that he took his own life.

 

As Jesus was taken into the temple to be judged Peter followed. I believe Peter wanted to protect Jesus and wanted to defend Him but I think he was scared. Whatever his reason, when asked if he knew Jesus Peter denied that he did. He was pressed by someone who saw him with Jesus and still he denied it. When Peter heard the rooster crow early that morning he realized what Jesus said had come true. Peter had denied he anything to do with Jesus three times. Imagine his despair as Jesus died before Peter had a chance to make it right.

Loud

Have you ever said something and then wished you could take it back? Perhaps you have treated a friend badly or had a fight with your family, then parted before being able to make it right. It is a terrible feeling.

The good news for Peter was that after Jesus rose from the dead He gave Peter an opportunity to redeem himself. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Jesus. Three times Peter said that he did. And all three times Jesus told Peter to go and take care of others, helping them to know Jesus as Peter himself did. Peter didn’t let Jesus down again.

This same opportunity is available to you and me. No matter what we do, when we genuinely confess and repent to Jesus we will be forgiven. It may take time to repair the damage done to earthly relationships but there is hope for those as well.

Jesus’  gift of forgiveness and restoration offered and granted to Peter is there for us too. We only need to ask.

blessings and peace to you,
Paula

Persevere ~ A Lesson from Gethsemane

As we draw closer to Easter weekend we remember the time Jesus spent preparing for the last meal He would eat with His disciples before His death. Throughout the day Jesus tried to explain to them what was to come – of His imminent betrayal and eventual death. His disciples didn’t get it. Jesus washed their feet, explained to them about serving others, and asked them to join Him as He prayed in the garden. He never gave up trying to teach them of God’s love for them.

When evening came Jesus gave us such a beautiful yet heart wrenching picture of perseverance. Jesus knew He was about to be betrayed and executed. He had lived a perfect life. In all His interactions with those who opposed Him Jesus never sinned. Yet He would be ridiculed and hung on a cross to die the most painful death for all people who believe that He is Lord and Savior.

His heart must have been so heavy, yet He persevered.

Jesus Gethsemane

Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane that evening to pray for God’s will. Matthew’s gospel tells us that Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He didn’t receive an answer so He prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Jesus prayed a third time in the same manner, persevering for an answer from His Father for what He was facing.

The outcome of Jesus’ perseverance was not His deliverance from the coming ridicule and death. It was not what He desired but for Him it was more important for God to be glorified than for Him to be comfortable. Because Jesus persevered and completed the purpose for which His Father sent him to earth we reap countless blessings. Every year as we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us we are reminded that if He had not persevered through His times of tribulation we would not have the gift of eternity in Heaven with Him.

Each one of us has challenges to work through and overcome. While yours may not seem significant to the world it is significant to you, therefore it also matters to God. Whatever you are facing as you read this I pray for your perseverance. Don’t give up – on yourself, a solution, and especially your faith that God will bring good out of your circumstances. And as you persevere remember that through Jesus’ gift of salvation we can have the blessing of peace that passes all understanding.

blessings and peace to you as you persevere today,
Paula

Preparing

How do you spend the days before a holiday or special event? Mine are usually filled with lists, shopping, decorating and baking. I want to make sure everything is just right for the special day.

Passover was a time of preparation as well. There was cleansing, choosing a lamb and preparing food for the feasts. I imagine there were plenty of lists and worries over everything being just right.

DSC04969

This year Jesus was trying to prepare His disciples for what they were about to experience. He tried to explain that He was going to die. They didn’t realize how different Passover would be this year.  Jesus even told them that one of them would betray Him and send their Savior and friend to His death but still they thought He was talking about the distant future instead of a few days away.

Maybe the disciples weren’t truly listening to Jesus closely enough to figure out the intent of His parables and believed as before He would explain them later when all the other people had gone.

Possibly some of them did begin to understand what Jesus was preparing them for but were too afraid to believe it really could happen. There could have been a sense of denial as well. They may have quietly hoped this one time Jesus could be wrong.

When all that Jesus was trying to prepare them for did come to pass the disciples found themselves unprepared and unable to process it all. They weren’t ready to move on and see what God had for them next.

Have you ever found yourself at a place of uncertainty, unprepared for what comes next? I know I have and sometimes I look back and see how God had been trying to prepare me only I wasn’t paying attention or didn’t want to hear what He had to say.

Thankfully, while the circumstances the disciples found themselves in left them without Jesus for a time that never has to happen to us.

Jesus and His Holy Spirit are always with us to guide and direct us, giving us wisdom beyond our own. He will take our fear and turn it to confidence and joy.

 

We need only ask.

prayer

 

If you’re facing uncertainty today and it’s unclear what your next step should be I encourage you to take some time to sit quietly and seek God’s guidance.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you, and be open to His leading.

Prepare your heart to be ready to hear from Him.

I guarantee you will.

 

blessings and peace to you…
Paula

Palm Sunday – It All Started With Hosanna

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
  John 12:12-13

Palm ProcessionIt all started with “Hosanna”.

Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, a very important holiday for the Jewish people. It is at Passover that Jews celebrate their freedom from slavery in Egypt.

A brief history lesson:

God’s people had been slaves in Egypt for generations. What began as an invitation by Pharaoh for Joseph and his family to share the Egyptian land turned into fear. Joseph and all of his brothers had died and a new Pharaoh came to power. He saw how numerous the Israelite nation was and was worried that the Israelites would someday side with Egypt’s enemies in a war…and he would be out of a job, or worse yet, killed.

To prevent this from happening the Egyptians became slave masters over God’s people and forced them to hard labor with little or no pay. They lived this way for over 400 years until God provided a way out for them.

One night the Israelites were instructed to kill a lamb without any deformities and paint its’ blood over the doorposts of their home. The angel of death visited the land of Egypt that night and killed every firstborn son. Those with lamb’s blood on their doorpost would be spared.

That very night God’s people left Egypt under God’s protection and found freedom from the Egyptians. They were no longer slaves but were free to worship their Lord in their own land.

Every year this freedom is remembered and celebrated in the homes of Jewish families and for some it is a time of pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the geographical center of the Jewish faith. This was also true in Jesus’ time.

As Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt that day He was celebrated. People waved palm branches and laid them and garments on the ground for His donkey to walk on. This was a custom when welcoming someone of high honor.

Palm Sunday

People had been following Jesus everywhere He went for years, but He had recently raised Lazarus from the dead and many more who saw or heard what He had done now followed Him into Jerusalem shouting praises to Him and declaring, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Only Jesus knew the truth of what this week held. He would perform more miracles and teach His disciples more about loving, serving, and sacrifice. But riding on that donkey Jesus knew many of the same people singing His praises would desert Him. They wouldn’t understand the sacrifice He was about to make that would give them a new freedom.

He knew before the week was over they would be calling out, “Crucify Him!”

And Jesus knew He would give His life for each one of them.

Jesus’ life had been perfect (just as the lamb at the Passover celebration) so He was the only one who could serve as a sacrifice for us. While He disagreed with the religious leaders and some of the laws of the land Jesus never sinned. He took with Him to the cross the sins of every man, woman and child who ever lived or ever will live.

It can be easy to praise God and welcome Jesus as leader of our lives when we see miracles and other good things happen in our lives. It’s also easy to turn away from Him when we don’t understand how He will bring good from a difficult situation.

As we enter Holy Week and reflect on the last days of Jesus before His ultimate sacrifice may we examine our hearts and ask ourselves if we believe without reservation. Will we stand and proclaim Jesus is Lord through it all?

blessings and peace to you on this Palm Sunday,
Paula

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happened To Compassion?

Our world is filled with cynicism, busy-ness and ‘me first’ mentality. We are a people quick to judge and quick to become annoyed. How many times do we see someone fall down and we laugh and continue on our way? Or gossip about someone different from us behind their back?

make fun of

Our “news”casts are filled with sensational stories of people cheating on their spouses and doing outrageous stunts at the expense of others. Stories of kindness and compassion rarely show the sensationalism to make the cut.

As I write this I am convicted of conforming.

I am guilty too often of becoming part of this fast-paced world of “me first”.

How many times does a conversation include mention of a concern or hurt and I choose to skip over it and move forward as to not get drawn into more details? Am I in too big a hurry to get on to my own agenda instead of having compassion on a friend or a stranger?

Do I find amusement when something goes wrong for someone else?
Do I chuckle instead of lending a helping hand?
Not always, but perhaps too often.

Jesus calls us to have compassion for each other:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

This is something He modeled for us throughout His ministry on earth:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
So he began teaching them many things. Mark 6:34

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes.
Immediately they received their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:34

Jesus was a busy man. He had people to reach and disciples to teach. But over and over we see Him model for us compassion as he stops to spend time with someone hurting, sad or in need of compassion.

It didn’t cost Him anything but His time, and often the results were eternal!

As we go into this weekend may we follow Jesus’ example of compassion.

compassion hands

I pray that each of us will not be too busy to give our time and lend an ear to someone who needs a touch from someone who cares. Watch for opportunities as you go through your days.

You could be the peace in someone’s puzzle today!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Missing The Mountain For The Mountaintop?

Ah, the mountaintop. The view is breathtaking, it seems we can see forever and we often feel so close to God. Whether it’s a physical mountaintop, relational or spiritual the mountaintop brings a high that leaves memories that linger.

mountaintop

Moses went to the top of Mount Sinai to meet with God and receive the Ten Commandments. (see Exodus 19)

Elijah went to Mt. Horeb where God spoke to him on the mountaintop. (see 1 Kings 19)

Even Jesus went to the mountaintop: He allowed satan to take Him to the mountaintop to be tested and Jesus was transfigured on a mountaintop where He went with His disciples. (Matthew 4)

So often we search for the mountaintops in our lives an yearn for those times of exceptional experiences to mark moments to remember.

But are we missing something in our quest for the mountaintop?

As I was spending time with the Lord the other day and wishing for a mountaintop experience to snap me out of the winter doldrums and inspire me in areas of my life God showed me something completely different. While I was looking for the top of the mountain and wishing for what was up ahead I was missing the precious times I can have with Him along the way.

trail

Searching the scriptures I found the example Jesus gave us when He met with God during His time on earth.

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.    Matthew 14:23a

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12

Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.  Luke 21:37

While Jesus had mountaintop experiences during His time on earth He didn’t need a mountaintop experience each day.

When Jesus needed to get away and meet with God He went to the mountainside – not all the way to the top. He separated Himself from the everyday routine and went to a place where He could be alone with His Father and recharge.

Where do you go to meet with God and recharge?  Do you have a place – and a time each day where you separate yourself from the world around you and focus on what God has for you that day?

If not, I encourage you to find that time. No matter how busy your schedule you can carve out a few minutes if you make it important. It may mean getting up 10-15 minutes early or turning off the tv for a while.

While you don’t need to dedicate hours each day to study and prayer, a few minutes is vital to your walk with God. It is in those minutes where He can refocus you, encourage you, even redirect you along the path.

And it is here where He brings peace to the puzzle of your life!

Where and when do you meet with God each day?

blessings & peace to you…
Paula

He Picked You!!

Happy_valentines_day

Are you filled with anticipation today for the excitement that awaits you?

Perhaps suspecting surprises of flowers or candy or even a sparkly something on this special day?

NO?

Is today tough for you? Is it a day that reminds you of being alone…taking you back to your grade school and junior high days when you stood in a line waiting to be picked? You waited and waited as others were chosen, whispering to yourself each time, “pick me! pick me!”

Fast forward to adulthood as you look around and see others picked to fall in love while you’re still saying, “pick me”. It can be a hard way to spend the day.

I have good news for you…someone DID pick you!

pick me cupcakes

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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:16-17

Is this verse too generic for you? Let’s try it a different way. Read the verse out loud and say your name each time there is a blank:

For God so loved ____ that He gave his one and only Son, that because _____ believes in Him _____ shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn ______, but to save the world through Him.  John 3:16-17

You were chosen to be you – uniquely you and loved by an amazing God. He has wonderful plans for you whether or not you have a sweetheart to spend Valentine’s Day with. I understand the pain of being without an earthly love/significant other who loves you, dotes on you and can’t wait to spend time with you. I still desire that.

But one thing I know for sure. The love of other human’s will fail. They will disappoint us. They will anger us. Some day they may leave us (at least for a time) through death.

Not so the love of God. The apostle Paul put it this way:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

God’s love isn’t always easy to comprehend on human terms. But if you reach out for Him, He will reach in and change your life in wonderful ways.

Even if you’ve known Him for years, come to know Him in a new, deeper way this Valentine’s Day.

Today, may the unending love of Jesus wrap you in a hug deeper than you’ve ever experienced before.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

blessings and peace,
Paula

BIG REMINDER! (and something to think about)

TOMORROW IS VALENTINE’S DAY!!!!

Happy-Valentines-Day  Wallpaper

This public service announcement is not only for those who have a significant other whom you should not forget on this special day.

It is also (perhaps especially) for those who look ahead with dread toward a day that reminds them of what they “have not”.

This alert is to give you time to turn around an otherwise melancholy time of the year.

I spent almost 20 years of my life as a single woman dreading Valentine’s Day. I felt that it wasn’t fair that other women could celebrate the day of love with their mate enjoying a romantic dinner, being surprised with roses or jewelry to commemorate their love for each other. And there I sat…

Alone.

Wallowing.

Consuming large amounts of chocolate.

One day a thought dropped into my head.

head-and-heart1“you know, you’re not the only one alone on Valentine’s Day!”

I know it’s not really a radical, mind-blowing thought, but it was for me that day. I began to really look around me at others who were preparing for Valentine’s Day. And I saw plenty of others alone and lonely, sometimes even in a marriage or relationship.

And I realized that I can make a difference to them on Valentine’s Day.

What about you? How can you make Valentine’s Day better for someone else?

Here are some ideas:

  • Mail or deliver Valentine’s to those who are alone.
  • Pick up candy, flowers, balloons, etc. and hand them out randomly to people who look like they could use a smile.
  • Pick up the phone and call someone who might need a friend.

There are so many other options. Pray about what you could do, on your own, with your significant other or as a family.

heart mittens

I guarantee that as you reach out, God will reach in!!

Tomorrow I have a very special Valentine’s message for you.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Calling All Cheerleaders!

And by this I mean YOU!  I know, I was never a cheerleader in high school or college either (I fell more in the creative nerd category) but that doesn’t exempt anyone.

megaphone 2

Each of us is a cheerleader for someone, or should be if we are not. If you are married you should be a cheerleader for your spouse, as a parent you cheer on your kids. Even in our friendships, and especially in ministry we should be cheerleaders for others. We cheer on our favorite sports teams so why not those who are important in our lives?

I was reading the other day in John 3:22-30. John was baptizing people and not too far away Jesus was doing the same. Jesus was just beginning His public ministry and people were drawn to him…and away from John. His followers were somewhat alarmed, and spoke to John about it. John’s response?

 He must become greater; I must become less. 
              John 3:30

John was not jealous of Jesus because He was attracting more people than John. John knew what his call was and Jesus was the culmination of all John had been teaching. His full reply was this:

“A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” John 3:27-29

Not only was John not jealous of Jesus, he was Jesus’ biggest cheerleader. John was excited that Jesus, the promised Messiah had come and John was given the privilege to announce Him to the world.

Have you ever thought of cheering someone on as a privilege? Maybe those you want to cheer for, but what about your competition? Yes, your competition.

I sometimes find myself seeing the blogs and Facebook pages of other authors and the thousands of people following them and it’s easy to envy their popularity and the lives they are touching. That envy can quickly turn to whining and sulking about how I want to be like them.

But God doesn’t call me to be like them. Often He calls me to pray for them and their ministries. After all, drawing others to Christ should never be a competition. We are all in this together!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up… 
1 Thessalonians 5:11

The truth is that we don’t know the impact we are making for God’s kingdom by praying for others, sending a note, or cheering them on. If that is what God calls us to do He expects us to do it cheerfully and with spirit! When we are faithful to being in the background God can be sure we will be ready when He calls us to step out into a more public position.

heart spirit

Be ready to be a cheerleader for anyone God calls you to. You have no idea how pleased you will make Him.

After all, isn’t pleasing God what it’s all about?

blessings & peace to you today!
Paula

 

Don’t Stop Believing!!

We’ve spent time looking at goals, making them S.M.A.R.T. and not being afraid to make them big…turning our dreams into goals to watch them come true. Confidence abounds as we look ahead at our clean slate believing we can accomplish what we set our minds to.

As exciting as making goals and resolutions can be the newness quickly wears off and the fun turns to monotony as it sinks in that this is going to be work. That is when many of us just give up. In fact, it is so common to give up resolutions that January 17th is declared “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day”.

So what’s a person to do?

dream-believe

In the words of the band Journey – “don’t stop believing! — hold on to that feeling”

But how?

We need to be intentional in maintaining our focus. By setting aside time at least once a week to refocus on our goals – how we’re coming and where we need to tweak things we keep them before us and keep it real, so to speak.

1st – Use Scripture to Defeat The Enemy
Post scripture around your home, in your car, at your workplace — wherever it will remind you. Write it on index cards, print it out on the computer or make it fancy. The method doesn’t matter, just get it in front of you. When you can’t bring it to mind it will be there in front of you.

Change it up each week. Here are a few to get you started:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

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

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.
Ephesians 3:16

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

2nd – Keep It In Front of You
Whether you use a vision board like I mentioned in a previous post (find it here: https://pauladavispeace.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=901&action=edit) or another method, keep your goals in front of you. I used to use a 3-ring binder exclusively for my goals but found that I didn’t look at it! I still have that binder for the S.M.A.R.T. goal sheets I use but now I also keep photos and notes in a place where I’ll see them every day. They remind me not to give up or hide the goals away where I lose sight of them.

3rd – Track Your Progress
I have a calendar where I mark every day that I exercise. I found some bright feet stickers and put one on every day I work-out. There is actually a little thrill when I put that sticker on, but even more encouraging when I glance at it and see consistency. The calendar also kick-starts me when I see too many blank days, reminding me that I need to get with it again.

calendar

If you’re working a losing pounds, perhaps a count-down scale posted where you will see it. Write the number on the scale each week. When it’s lower you will smile each day you see it. If it went up it will push you to work harder to see it go down again.

Whatever you do, don’t give up!!

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

blessings and peace to you as you keep reaching for your goals…
Paula

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 315 other followers