An Offering from Kathy: Peace

Throughout the night, I was disturbed by one person’s question spoken angrily earlier that day, “What I want to know is if there is a God, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world!?”  I’d certainly heard that question many times at patient’s bedsides.  Nothing I read or heard brought me closer to living peacefully with it.

 

The next morning, in the silence of prayer, I heard these words which brought me the peace I sought:

“My Children,

There is no answer to this question that will satisfy your souls and, as My followers, the closer you become to Me, the more the evils of the world will grieve you and cause you pain because you begin to see things even more through My eyes.

I did not create the world to be filled with the evils you see and experience.  It was not My will. However, because of the nature of sin in a fallen world, pain and sickness and evil will exist.

A shift in focus is needed if you are to live in peace with this question.  Shift your focus to being a source of light and beauty to the world and know that any evil or sin committed against you, no matter how small or how great, can be brought to Me to be healed.  There is no hurt so deep that cannot be healed by Me.  There is no slight so little that does not deserve My attention.

Yes, there is sin and suffering and evil in the world.  The Good News is that I am greater than the world and I can conquer all of this in each of your lives if you let Me.

I love you all and I want each of you to live in peace, entrusted to My care.  Go forth in the light of My love to be lights to the world.”

An Offering from PJ– The Trap

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

Our worried ranch neighbor called and asked us to search for Blue Boy, her precious but curious Blue Heeler, who had gone missing. Because of coyotes and bobcats we sadly expected to discover only a collar or patches of fur, but wanted to offer our friend peace of mind. After hunting through brush, in the oak grove, by the pond, around the house and near the pole barn, we found him trapped but alive! He had survived two days on apples used to bait a 4 by 8 foot wild hog trap. What a pleasure to witness a joyful reunion between relieved ‘mom’ and one happy dog.

Has refusal to forgive trapped you? You venture out each day, trot along in the sunshine of regular routines, sniff out new experiences blissfully unaware of dangers when suddenly you encounter a person or situation that slams you to the ground.

Feelings hurt. “Why would they say that?” You grow angry. “That was incredibly heartless and rude!” Resentment increases. “How dare they! Who do they think they are?” A sense of betrayal rushes in. “How could they treat me like this?! I don’t deserve this!” And thick bitterness blankets and begins to smother. “I’ll get them back! They’ll pay!!”

We’re lured by sweet fruit of revenge, but quickly become trapped in bitterness within a cage of anger and resentment. We enter emotional bondage and find ourselves chained to the offender and bolted to the past. That is until we loosen strangle-holds of destructive thought and release all to God. Forgiveness opens cages and lifts trap doors. Forgiveness enables us to run out and into the open arms of a loving Heavenly Father. Forgiveness ushers in freedom.

God handles life’s injustices far better than you and I ever could. I’m learning to allow Him to do just that.

“Then Peter came and said to Him (Jesus), “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:20-22

Who needs your forgiveness today? Will you forgive?

Springing All Traps Only with God, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2014 PJ Gover

www.PJGover.com

An Offering from PJ: Unexpected Places

 

1 Corinthians 3:9, “For we are co-workers in God’s service…”

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

On our last morning during a recent trip to Canada I lost an earring and frantically searched the hotel room to no avail causing us to miss the 11:35 airport shuttle. We settled for one at 12:00 noon and found our way to the ticket agent. I did something I don’t normally do. While the agent was processing our check-in and tagging our bags I started a conversation that went something like this –

“How are you today?”

The ticket agent replied, “Not too well.”

Taken aback at her honesty I heard myself say, “Life is uncertain and we’re not in control.” Why would I say that I wondered.

The woman nodded and said, “It’s not work. That’s going well, but it’s interesting you said control. The woman that normally works this location, her son died yesterday. You heard about the train hitting the pedestrian?”

I shook my head.

“That was her son.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“He was just 20 and a first year University student.”

Is this an opportunity to touch a hurting soul for Jesus? I decided to leap in faith and added, “I like to say life is uncertain, but God is in control and we’re not.”

She looked up at me and smiled and said, “Yes, He is.”

“I lost my father when I was 11 and it is so hard no matter the circumstances.”

With a look of sorrow, she replied, “It will be hard for her … and to see her.”

“But you can be her friend.” She smiled warmly and nodded in agreement.

That was it. She then instructed us where to take our bags for customs.

In the New Year I want to have more conversations like this one. I want God to use me not only for and with the expected people, places and times, but also, and especially, for the unexpected ones. What do you want for 2014?

That earring? A small price to pay for God’s perfect timing.

Finding God in All the Unexpected Places, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2013 PJ Gover

An Offering from PJ: The Hands

Ecclesiastes 9:10a, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might …”

Psalm 90:17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

James 2:26, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

Recently I was at the hairdresser and beside me sat an empty chair waiting for a three-year old little boy who hollered and shed more than a few tears at the prospect of his unknown fate. But with the promise of a lolly-pop he allowed himself to be picked up and placed on the booster seat and draped with a large plastic cape. After a few slurpy licks on the sweet treat Mom took it to avoid stray hairs. At which point he settled under the drape and then promptly froze as if any movement might lead to the loss of an ear to two.

When his ordeal drew to a close Mom tried to return the goodie and asked, “Where is your hand?” To which the little boy emphatically replied, “I don’t know!” Once tucked under the drape I guess he figured his hands just might have disappeared. At least he didn’t want to move and take the chance!

So, what are your hands doing today?

What did you do for the Lord this morning, this week, this month? Did you carry a meal to the Hungry? Offer a glass of water to the Thirsty? Provide clothing to the Needy? Pick up the phone and call the Lonely? Visit the Homebound? Respond with kindness to the Angry and Rude? Extend mercy and forgiveness to the Hateful? Help out the Helpless? Encourage the Discouraged? Love the Unlovely? Speak God’s name to All?

Don’t freeze under the drape of busyness, tiredness, fear, apathy or even laziness. Get moving, take a chance and do mighty works for the Lord right now!

Working on Working My Hands for God’s Good, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2013 PJ Gover

www.PJGover.com

An offering from Eunice: Reflecting with St. Francis

A Prayer to Prepare to Pray the Prayer of St. Francis

I often begin or end my morning meditation with the Prayer of St. Francis.  Recently as I prayed I realized how much this prayer asks of me and that I have little or nothing to give unless God first fills me.  I felt prompted to pray the prayer in a new way to prepare myself to pray it in the traditional way.  And so I pray …

Prince of Peace, be my Source of deep and abiding peace;
where there is hatred within me, sow your love;
where there is injury, sow your pardon;
where there is doubt within me, sow faith;
where there is despair within me, sow hope;
and where there is sadness within me, sow your joy.
O Love Divine, grant me consolation that
I may be a source of consolation for others.
Grant me understanding that I may offer it to others.
Teach me to receive graciously that I may give generously.
Grant me pardon that I may freely pardon others.
Help me to die to self so that I may open myself
fully to you and be reborn to eternal Life.

Amen.

Eunice Cheshire, Founding Director