Miracle of Peace

Thought for March 28–

John 14:26-27 “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

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Everywhere I look, there is everything but peace. Wars,  political infighting, and the declining health of those I love, all wanting to steal my inner tranquility.

Like B. J. Thomas sang, “The rain keeps falling on my head, And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed, nothing seems to fit,” Life doesn’t conform to my standards.  Yet there is still a feeling of peace in my soul.  Praise God!  My sins are forgiven.  I have declared to be at peace with God.  God is at peace with me. Today I will experience the peace that is simply incomprehensible. I trust in a God that loves, cares, draws, forgives, restores, destroys fear, and limits trouble within my heart.

I live with peace within myself, I live in peace with one another, I live at peace with God.  When things change inside me, things change around me.”

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Don’t worry, be happy!

Thought for March 27

Matthew 6:25,26  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

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The words of the Lord say, “Do not worry about your life.”  This sounds like a command. Worry is my only place to vent when I face the unknown. Come on Jesus this is crazy talk!  Everyone worries. Worry is a part of every person’s life. I may not worry as much as others I may know, but there are times when an emotion that could well be characterized as worry does pop its head up in my life. But Jesus, does this mean that when my brakes on my old pickup start to grind and the pedal is as soft as an over-ripe peach, I should not worry about going down the interstate at 70 miles an hour in rush traffic?

Perchance, I think what he is saying is “Don’t let worry become my response to circumstances out of my control.  I must rely moment by moment on his provision, promises, and plan. First, I must realize God is the source of my peace, and second get my brakes fixed.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”  Leo F. Buscaglia

#Just Larry

It is a choice I make

Philippians 4:7 The peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your heart and mind.

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Emotions are not my thing.  I can get excited, but not often.  I do feel empathy when I see or hear of friends not doing well.  I can smile at a good joke. I am warmed by the hand of my granddaughter.  Nevertheless, I am mostly on a constant emotional level. When I listen to a teacher or a sermon, I am not easily awed. To me, feelings are something I have; not something I am. For a true blessing, I must look carefully and with due diligence to see beyond the exterior and see the interior. I must set my mind every day to discover the little miracles which make my day.  They are there hiding amid the normal and usual.

An important decision I make today is to be in a good mood. I must keep looking and expecting.  Today, I will look for a small miracle. I am realistic and yet I expect miracles. Today, I will connect with God.

# Just Larry

Please, Sir may I have some more?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18   Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

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Small miracles are miracles all the same.  I often hear those, who after finding a perfect parking spot or finding a needed item on sale saying, “Praise the Lord.” Instantly I ask myself, “Does God have an interest in my ability to park fifty feet closer to the store?”  Does God orchestrate that perfect shirt on sale? Do we trivialize and lessen God’s big miracles by giving thanks for the small ones? 

I do not think so. God is the divine caregiver. God in my life allows me to see the miracles in everyday things. Not only the sudden, dramatic great, and good fortunes wafting in on a new wind from the sky type of miracles, but mostly in routine soft smile type. C. S. Lewis said it well, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”   Each little thing that comes gently into our lives is a miracle just the same.

Today as we walk in our lives of quiet introspection, find a miracle today. Whether it is a small incremental adjustment or large and  life changing, simply acknowledge it and give thanks. If you look you will find.

Miracle of the everyday

Acts 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

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Peter was trying to answer the question, “Why do you believe?” He makes an argument for belief because of the wonders of God stepping in and God making a difference. Things one man took as a chance, a man of faith took as a sign.

A miracle of a loved one recovering from disease, a impossible business deal, or a chance meeting with a long-lost friend, are all miracles that come by faith. It was not the grand doctrines or the sweeping ideals which make believers out of men. It is the simple happenstance of God in the world around them. Living in expectation of God revealing Himself in the everyday is living in faith and by faith.

“The steps of faith falling on the seeming void of nothingness will find the solid rock hidden beneath.”

How about right now?

James 5:13-16 “Anyone who is having troubles should pray. Anyone who is happy should sing praises. Anyone who is sick should call the church’s elders. They should pray for and pour oil on the person in the name of the Lord. And the prayer that is said with faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will heal that person. And if the person has sinned, the sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen.”

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The world seems to tell me over and over that miracles just don’t happen anymore.  They are nothing more than a happenstance, a coincidence.  But I have seen one more than once. Healing when all hope is gone.  When life runs into reality, and it is overcome.  I have learned of and been witness to miracles of answered prayers, and of unexpected happy endings. Yet the greatest lesson I have learned about the miraculous is amazingly simple.  Every miracle in my past and in my present has come quietly and simply.  It has come as if on tiptoe. They have manifested themselves in the background.  So stealthily that I hardly knew it had occurred. I can and do pray for miracles and when they come it is not with a shout but with a quiet assurance. Once realized, my response is usually a simple smile.  Maybe a simple song of praise.  Nevertheless, I am glad.

# Just Larry

March 13

My light is to shine.

Matthew 21:21 “Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, Go, throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done.’”

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There always have been cynics and scoffers.  Those who would rather tear down than build up.  Those who would see others in groups with little to do with themselves. Some would try to separate me from my faith. A few more would rather dwell in darkness and curse it than get up and look for the good, the true, the faithful, the light.  What is a miracle, if not the revelation of a small light in total darkness? What is a miracle if not the manifestation of light where only darkness is expected?  Let there be light! Push out the expected darkness with a grand illuminating brightness. And this small light is mine to show.

# Just Larry

Miracles are in Jesus

Mark 9:23 “If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

A distraught father was at the end of himself. The love of his family his first born son was continually falling to the ground in convulsions.  The young son had burns from falling in the fire. The child had been afflicted since he was born and all the available medical resources had been exhausted. The love and care of his family had never wavered.  The disciples had failed in their efforts to help and had suggested their Rabbi as a possibility.  The reputation of Jesus drove the father to seek help. Could the young rabbi have pity in this constant tragedy? “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” was the plea of the father. Jesus replied, “Everything is possible”. A miracle was needed.

Walking on water or feeding 5,000 with a few loaves and a couple of fish was a miracle.   Raising a friend from the dead after three days is a miracle. There are two ways to live life. One way is to perceive the wondrous world around me without acknowledging the miraculous; a life full of insane reality, using words like coincidence, myth, story, or exaggeration. I have chosen a second and hugely different perception.  A perception that sees miracles and the possibilities of miracles. I use words like faith, hope, love, forgiveness, kindness, peace, and wonder.  When I stop believing in miracles, I have forgotten that I am one.

Jesus healed the boy.

# Just Larry

All Things

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

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Paul, in his writing to the Romans disturbs me. How do I know that God is causing the infinite and the totality of things to become good?  War, pain, pandemic, unrest, in the large, and in the weakness of my life, the small, become good? I live a life of gradual delegation to inactivity and frailty, how can these things become good?  Ministry seems so far off.  I struggle to be all that God wants of me.  I must take the voice of Paul who faced terribleness and trust God to be within my imperfect world. I must love God and acknowledge his purpose. I must keep making one step at a time. I well understand the happenings of my life are to make me different. To make me better.  I already have received the greatest miracle of all, which is eternal life. I will continually keep crying out to God knowing His Word is true. All things transformed into good.  It is a miracle.

God is still there

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

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My bones tell me daily I am not as young as my heart would tell me.  My emotions are dimly lit and well under control.  My heart jumps and leaps for joy when I get through the latest turmoil in life. I am struck by the pain of others but I have committed to staying the course of understanding.  I experience the pathos and praise of others.  But my nature is not one to express these emotions and feelings for all to see.  To most, I am seen as a stoic, pragmatist. I seem calm when passing through tough times. Nevertheless, I struggle in high waters and sometimes stumble in the fire of life. I am who I am because I have discovered the God in my life and He is a God of peace. He is a God that cares for me and I am assured that He gathers me up in the tough times and protects me.  I may not run up and down shouting about this inner peace.  But that peace is the foundation of my life. God is still there for those who pass through high waters and those who walk through the fire.  Please pray for me as I pray for you.

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