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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

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It’s Over…But Are We Done?

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Here we are at the day after Christmas. I hope your season was filled with laughter and precious memory-making time with family and friends. Some continue to celebrate over the next few days, for others the tree will come down, decorations will get packed away and gifts will be returned. Maybe you will join the rush to after-Christmas sales to round out what you didn’t get from your list, or maybe to begin shopping for next year. Perhaps you, like me, return to work and the regular routine.

In my part of the country winter is upon us and will settle in to stay for a few months now. It’s easier to enjoy at Christmastime when the snow seems to add to the magical feel, but now the shoveling becomes tiresome and driving on slippery roads a chore. It’s the time of year when what I call hibernation mode sets in. I don’t want to go out at all, and when I do I tend to get done what I’m out for and return to my warm home and a cup of something hot.

The danger with returning to our routines and entering the hibernation mode of winter is forgetting what we’ve just spent a month or more practicing and encouraging others to do. At the beginning of December I issued a Christmas Kindness Challenge. It helped us to be conscious of others and reaching outside ourselves to reach them, even in a small way.

As I sit here this morning I ask myself, “now what?”

Will I pack away kindness with the tree and wreaths? Will I throw out thoughts of others as I toss the paper and ribbons? I hope not.
I am reminded of what Jesus told the crowds and His disciples during His sermon on the mount.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40

and later on…

‘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

The red kettles will be put away, the toy drives have ended, and the Christmas dinners for the homeless have been served. But there are still homeless people, hungry people, and those who are alone and lonely. There are still neighbors who can’t get to the store because they don’t drive in the snow, and children who will go to school without warm mittens, coat or boots.

Needs don’t end when the gifts have been unwrapped. And we shouldn’t stop looking.

As we move into the new year and set goals or make resolutions let’s resolve to be kinder in January, February, March…you get the idea. Look for needs, and meet them as we are able. If we can’t meet them ourselves perhaps we can enlist others.

heart mittens

In simple be aware.

Let’s not be done with the Christmas ‘spirit’ just because Christmas is over.

Blessings and peace to you on this day after Christmas!
Paula

 

 

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Christmas Kindness Challenge

The Christmas season is here!

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Lights and decorations are going up on homes and businesses. Cities and towns are festively decked as trees are lit and lightposts adorned. Here in Central New York snow blankets the ground. For most it is a time of wonder and anticipation. There is a magic in the air as people seem more willing to believe in the goodness of others and the possibility of miracles.

Unfortunately for some the excitement and anticipation is laced with sadness. They may be dreading the coming days. In retail shops this season brings longer hours and less time for family. Some are alone or struggling to make ends meet and Christmastime reminds them of their solitude and what they are lacking. Celebrations are sometimes laced with sadness and regret.

In our merriment and preparations it can be easy to look inside, focus on our little circle of family and friends and overlook others.

So this year I’m issuing a Christmas Kindness Challenge to myself and anyone else who will accept.

Every day from now until Christmas I will post a challenge on my author Facebook page. (you can “like” it here: https://www.facebook.com/pauladavispeace ) Most of the challenges require little or no money, but help us to think of others differently perhaps. Here’s the first challenge:

CKC Day 1

This is the time of year we celebrate the gift God gave us when His son Jesus came to earth to take away our sins and create a way for us to join Him in Heaven some day. We can give the gift of kindness to a friend or even a stranger each day.

Join me, won’t you?

Feel free to share this with others as well. Let’s make kindness contagious this Christmas!

Blessings and peace…
Paula

 

 

 

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Habits ~ Words Worth Remembering Week #13

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NIV

I love to bake.

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…and I love to eat what I bake (or what anyone bakes for that matter!)

Eating too much of what’s not healthy for my body has become a bad habit for me.

I don’t mind exercise, but it has not become a good habit of mine.

balance

Combining these two have resulted in too many pounds and preventable health issues for my body.

The older I get the more intently I look at my lifestyle and realize that if I don’t change poor habits soon my physical challenges will only increase and I may miss out on adventures and experiences because of limited capabilities.

While this should be enough to instigate change, because I have struggled with these poor habits for so long it seems like I will never conquer them. I try again, mess up and then give up.

I start believing that I can never beat these bad habits.

Can you relate?

The thing is that I cannot beat these habits on my own. Not in my own strength. I’ve proved that over and over.

But the truth of today’s verse is that if I rely on strength greater than my own I can do anything.

yes, ANYTHING.

So can you!

God doesn’t promise isn’t that it will be easy. And He won’t do it for us. But  the strength of the Holy Spirit in and through us can beat any poor habit, bad mood, or self-defeating attitude.

The Lord also gives us others to walk along with us and help hold us up when our strength fails. We are called to encourage each other and build each other up. In a community of struggling believers we can find strength to overcome and then help others to find strength they didn’t know they had either.

Do you have a habit you need to change?

Need someone to help you find God’s strength to change it?

Share with us in a comment here, or send me a note at pauladavispeace@gmail.com.
I would be honored to pray for you and encourage you.

Let’s hide this truth in our hearts and find the strength to overcome anything that comes our way!!

 

blessings and peace to you!
Paula