Words of Blessing and Wholeness

“Hey!,” was the text I sent to my best friend recently. She responded, “Hey, how are you? Do you have a few minutes to chat?” And this started an actual verbal conversation about life and catching up with each other.

Since my best friend and I are, well, best friends, we use a casual form of greeting one another. But, how would you feel if you knew that the way others greet you or you them carried more than simply the words of the greeting?

Paul was in the habit of greeting others with, “The grace of the Lord be with you, or the grace and peace of God be with you.” Whenever I read Paul’s greeting there is a certain amount of joy found in his words. I often wonder did all ancient Israelites greet one another this way? Was it a cultural thing at the time? Or, was this something Paul and a few others practiced?

Paul spoke the truth of God’s word and actually delivered the gift of a blessing through his greeting. The Greek word for grace is Charis and it is God’s favor and kindness brought to us through Jesus. It is God extending Himself and bestowing a blessing on His creation by the nearness of His presence.

Peace is God’s gift of wholeness when all essential parts are joined together. This reminds me of our wholeness in mind, body and spirit joined together in harmony with Holy Spirit as we continue to seek Him, read Him, learn about and from Him.

Could it be God’s gift of wholeness through His peace contains healing? That these two words that are not oft spoken in greeting in our current culture could be the beginning of healing?

What would our world, our spheres of influence, our communities look like if we chose to greet others in peace and grace? Would colors seem a bit brighter? Would traffic seem a bit lighter? Would our days seem a bit less laden because we speak the truth of God’s favor, kindness, blessing and wholeness to each other.

Today I say to you grace and peace in the name of Jesus. May you experience His wholeness in all that you are and all that you do. May the blessing of the nearness of His presence cause you to want to be even closer to Him.

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Live Deeply

How do you live deeply? what are those moments that you take to refresh your soul?

Is nature where you feel most connected to God or perhaps a walk along a sandy beach at sunset looking in wonder at the deep and spectacular colors in the sky and praising God?

What are your passions? Where are the places you go and the things you do where you allow God to capture your heart and you know deep within you, you are in communion with Him?

Posing many questions today. I believe reflection is an integral part of our relationship with Him.

Whatever you choose to do today I pray you choose to live deeply with Jesus in that moment and in His presence.

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God’s Favor Over Sullied Food

Deep red and thick with the fragrance of fresh herbs and spices with an aroma so enticing my family and I would sneak dips of french bread into its richness while it was still cooking on the stove. But she knew, my momma always knew right when we were dipping and would call out, “Put the lid down.” Every Sunday my momma made her delicious homemade spaghetti sauce with enough pasta to feed an army and we welcomed whomever stopped by to enjoy a feast with us. Most Sunday’s she made meatballs to add to her sauce but every once in a while she added freshly made Italian sausage from my cousin’s store. Her oil and vinegar salad dressing was always perfect. She didn’t measure out the oil or vinegar she just knew by taste. My momma loved to cook, she was an excellent cook and baker and loved when her table was full with others enjoying the feast she prepared.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel 1:8

While Daniel and his friends were in captivity the king had ordered they be fed from his own house; the royal food and wine. Daniel was not about to allow himself and his friends to be sullied by the king’s food that most likely included meat, fish, lamb, fowl and nuts, fruit and vegetables along with the wine to drink.

Many times other things look much tastier than what is already on our table. When what is on our table is from God nothing else compares in taste, smell, texture and satisfaction. God offers us food and drink that will never spoil regardless of how tasty something looks elsewhere.

We do have a choice to make. Will we choose what appears royally pleasing to the eye with aromas that seem delectable or will we choose the feast God has placed before us continually satiating our hunger?

I am afraid of my lord the king.

Daniel 1:10b

The chief official charged with overseeing Daniel and his friends was afraid that if he allowed them to forego the royal food and wine the king would punish him. Nonetheless, God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to them.

God does the same for us. He causes others to show us favor and sympathy which is a beautifully tangible reminder to us that His favor rests upon us simply because we have chosen Him and we are His kids!

As we stay connected to God [remembering there is no perfect way to spend time with Him except to ask Holy Spirit what that looks like for you on any given day] we don’t need to be concerned about fear. Jesus defeated fear and as we stand in His love for us fear has no chance at all.

Royal food and drink—we have no need because the Lord directs our steps directly to where His provision waits for us.

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The Encouragement Project

How do you greet people when you see them? Maybe it’s with a smile or handshake, perhaps with a timid or hearty hug. Do you also verbally express your delight in seeing them with, “It’s good to see you or you look great!”?

To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:2

Throughout Paul’s writings and teachings his salutation expressed how much he cared for and loved the recipients of his words even when he had to include some hard truths. That is the core of discipleship, guiding each other back to the truth of God’s word and allowing Holy Spirit to convict us toward Christlike living. Because he loved Jesus and others so deeply Paul stepped out in courage and boldness. He was more concerned for the spiritual health of others than what others thought of him. Talk about knowing one’s identity in Jesus!

Paul was a wonderful encourager which led me to think how I could encourage others outside my sphere of influence. Without hesitation Holy Spirit dropped a thought into my mind—to send out cards of encouragement to churches around the world.

And, the Encouragement Project was started. It’s quite simple. I ask Holy Spirit who He wants to encourage and He highlights an area. I look up the churches in that area and He highlights a specific church. I write a short note of encouragement and place that in the mail.

Imagine with me the smiles and goodwill feelings those who read these notes must feel. Knowing God hears and sees them! With that, I challenge and encourage you to become a part of the Encouragement Project. I also encourage you to share this post not because I want traffic to my site but because I would love for others to have the opportunity to join in encouraging others. Imagine with me again how this one small sacrifice of our time could change the space, community and world around us making our living areas just a little bit sweeter. And, I guarantee you will feel joy for having spread some joy.

Shalom!

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Wednesday Encouragement

No, I am not calling you a fool! When I read this verse it brought to mind what I see posted on other social media platforms. It has been my experience that we tend to post mostly about God’s love and encouragement, even prominent Christian influencers, and hardly anything about the uncomfortable and sometimes hard truths. This isn’t a negative thing it is actually wonderful. But it causes me to wonder, if we believe all of God’s Word is the inerrant truth why are we not also posting the uncomfortable and hard truths?

I love God’s Word, all of His Word. My heart’s desire is to disciple others back to His Word where He teaches us about His love and where the truth of His Words convict us to make positive changes in our life so others will desire Jesus too. If our actions and our words don’t line up with our profession of Christ as our Lord and Savior then we miss opportunities to be the light Jesus left us to be.

Time is short, the harvest is overflowing and it isn’t about you. It’s all about Jesus.

Shalom!

Living Righteously

Do we step off the path at times? Absolutely! Sometimes a minor course correction is needed and sometimes it can be a major correction.

Living a righteous life takes courage, it takes boldness, it takes wisdom.

You can do anything through the strength of Jesus. He promises. He wants you to do more than keep your head above water. He wants you to walk on the water of any situation in your life in the victory He won at the Cross for you!

Let’s stay tethered to Jesus together. Cheering, encouraging and holding each other accountable along the path of life and restoration.

#discipleship #belikejesus