September Devotion, Day 5

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Peace Like A River

“For thus says the Lord, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river,
And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
And you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees.
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;
And you will be comforted in Jerusalem.
Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad,
And your bones will flourish like the new grass;
And the hand of the Lord will be made known to His servants,
But He will be indignant toward His enemies.”
Isaiah 66:12-14

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I love the old hymn “It Is Well With My Soul” written by Horatio Spafford.  As soon as I type the words, or hear the title spoken, my soul begins to sing the words within me. You know how it begins…

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

We all know the song as if it is our own and probably even know the story behind the writing of the song as well.  This man had known extreme financial difficulties prior to the sinking of the ship that his wife and four daughters were traveling on.  According to some reports, only his wife survived that wreck, and the pain and grief he must have felt had to be overwhelmingly tremendous when his own ship passed safely near the very location where his daughters had given up their lives.

It was in that place and that moment on the ship that he was said to have pinned the words to this song that seems to be etched for eternity in our souls. But we can never know the grief that he alone bore at that moment.  Each one of us can only know our own sorrows and pains.  And it can only be us alone in our moment of suffering who cry out to God in prayer and supplication to receive that peace like a river.

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I wonder if Mr. Spafford cried out to the Lord at that very moment, and in return received God’s peace right then and there, or if it flowed in slowly, taking a long time, like a lazy, shallow summer river?  Maybe it took time for him to receive that peace.  Maybe the words he pinned on that day were the beginning to a long hard trial that God would walk him through.  I don’t know that part of his story.  I only know my own and for me some of the peace came quickly, but other parts have come very slowly, over years even, and after twenty years, it’s still flowing in.

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It may be true that each one of us will experience deep sorrow during our lifetime. But God has a plan during these times.  A plan to comfort us, to give us peace, to supply all of our needs.  His plan, if we are willing, will cause us to rejoice, and to remain gentle in spirit, and to rest in His peace.

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Take a moment and look up Philippians 4.  Read through the entire chapter taking notice of what God does for us and what He calls us to do.  Now let’s write out in our very best handwriting, verses 4-7.  I found it interesting that the word “supplicate” means the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.

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Have you ever spent time in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to God because of a situation that made you incredibly anxious or even distraught?  Did you receive God’s peace that surpasses all understanding?  Did it guard your heart and your mind?  Did His peace come quickly, all at once, or slowly and over a long period of time?

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Tomorrow we will continue with Day 6 of our September Devotion.  I pray that you have a wonderful and safe Labor Day weekend!

You can find the other days to this devotional here:  September 1, September 2September 3, and September 4

Blessings for a Happy SimplyLiving weekend.

Constance

The #3 Way To Be Truly Thankful

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Here is the #3 Way to be truly thankful this Thanksgiving.  I hope these are as beneficial to you as they have been to me over the years.  I’m so excited for Thanksgiving Day coming up this Thursday.  Between writing and studying my way through “November Thankfulness” and going back over these FIVE WAYS to be thankful, my heart feels definitely prepared to celebrate on Thanksgiving Day.

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The Third Way to be Truly Thankful This Thanksgiving

Begin praying for and planning out your Thanksgiving Day, and preparing for Advent which begins on November 30th this year of 2014.

The third way to be truly thankful this Thanksgiving is by doing the “Three Ps”.  Pray, Plan, and Prepare ahead for your Thanksgiving meal and the celebration of Advent which takes place each Sunday after Thanksgiving until the week of Christmas.  By doing this ahead of time, you will feel better prepared for the coming celebrations.

The following is a list of dishes and items that are typically on our Thanksgiving table.  This list will vary, of course, for every household.  My list is simply to get you thinking early about a list of your own:

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, homemade braided bread, peas & carrots, pistachio pudding with marshmallows and pineapple (my kids call this the green stuff), whole black olives, cranberry sauce, and of course, pumpkin pie with whip cream.  Wow!  Just typing out that list, makes me truly thankful for Thanksgiving Day!

If there are any recipes you may need, including how to bake your turkey, I recommend allrecipes.com.  I love this site because it has videos for many of the recipes showing me exactly what to do.

In regards to preparing for Advent I recommend expectantlylistening.com with Valerie, “The Advent Jesse Tree” written by Dean Meador Lambert, “Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas” by Sharon Jaynes, or my favorite Advent book of all time, “The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader” by Donna W. Payne and Fran Lenzo.  This book was given to me in 2004 by a special friend and our family has used it every year since.

I personally use all of these resources to prepare for Advent in one way or another.

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I would love for you to send a list of your Thanksgiving Day dishes, or any traditions, books, or websites you may use to make it a very special day.  If you stop by, please remember to click on the blue “Follow SimplyLiving101” button in the right side-bar or leave a message below.  I’m so glad you came by.  I will be giving the #4 Way to be truly thankful this Thanksgiving tomorrow, so be sure to stop by again!  See you then 🙂

Constance

 

The #1 Most Important Part of My Day

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I have started writing my new free gift for December Followers which will be available on December 1, and over the next five days, I want to share with you what many November Followers have already received.   The following are FIVE WAYS that help me not only prepare for Thanksgiving day, but ultimately end up being things that I use daily to keep a SimpleLiving lifestyle.

I am so grateful and truly thankful that you are taking time to visit my blog.  I love writing about my life and sharing with each of you how I personally take time each day to nurture my relationship with God in this very specific way.  It has become the #1 most important part of my day.

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The First Way to be Truly Thankful This Thanksgiving

I believe the only real way we can be truly thankful is by acknowledging that we have a Creator who loves us.  In the Holy Bible, God declares Himself to be the Creator of the universe and the Creator of all mankind.

I have shared with you my testimony of when and how I gave my life to Jesus Christ on my “About” page.  It was then, almost twenty years ago, that God began to teach me to rest in Jesus, and to simply come before His throne daily and commune with Him in a very intimate way.  It is in this time of communion that I have received great peace and have become truly thankful for all He has done for me.

I would say that the first way that has helped me to be truly thankful at Thanksgiving and every day, is the time I take early in the morning to commune with God through His Word before I get going on anything else.  I have made it a priority in the early hours to spend time in the Bible and in prayer.

Before I go to sleep I whisper a prayer to God, and ask Him to wake me early in the morning to spend time with Him.

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When I wake up, I do not hesitate lest I fall back to sleep, to get out of bed and grab my Bible and my journal, as well as my reading glasses and my pen.  You may decide to keep these in a special place where you will pray.  However, I think the act of having to find them on my end table in the dark, quietly (in order to not wake my husband), really helps me to become more awake and alert.

I spend my time in the living room where I can whisper in communion with God, and not wake anyone.

Opening my Bible to the Psalms, I choose a portion of scripture to write in my journal.  Sometimes I write out an entire Psalm (even Psalm 119!).  Feel free to select any scripture you want.

In my very best writing, I write out the portion of scripture I have found.  The act of writing has been proven to use all of the senses.  This is very important as it helps me to cherish God’s Word and give it first place in my life.

I am now ready to spend time in prayer for my family and myself regarding what God has promised in His Word and how my family is called to live in response to His promises.  I then choose to believe His Word and praise Him for His faithfulness and here I remain until I have God’s peace.  Depending on how early it is, I may go back to bed.

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Do you have a special time or place that you meet with God and bask in His presence each day?  Maybe you would like to take time to share it with others who visit this blog.  I know I would love to hear from you and if you leave a comment below I will be sure to read it. Thank you so much for your visit.  Tomorrow I will be sharing the Second of “Five Ways to be Truly Thankful This Thanksgiving”.  I hope you will join me again.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Constance

O Your Great Mercy!

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Lord, You are Mercy.  You have had Great Mercy on Your people even while we were in disobedience to You.  You are showing Your Great Mercy to us even now by waiting patiently for us to come to repentance so that we will not perish in our sins and be separated from You eternally.

We act as Your enemies in such disobedience and sin against You, and yet You wait patiently for us not wanting one of us to perish.  How amazing is Your Great Mercy!  Help us to be like You toward all who come onto our path of life.  Great Mercy just like You.

Jesus said,

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“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you?
For even sinners love those who love them.

If you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you?
For even sinners do the same.

If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;

and your reward will be great,
and you will be sons of the Most High,
for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

Be merciful,
j
ust as your Father is merciful.”
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I know so many who need my mercy.  I fear I have been stingy with it.  But I long to be like Jesus and give the Great Mercy that He has so freely given to me.  I think we would all enjoy a wonderful day of Thanksgiving if we extended God’s Great Mercy to someone who desperately needs it from us.  Someone who we have withheld it from for far too long.  Let’s do it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Constance

Advent Thoughts

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I love studying the books of I & II Thessalonians and as I have been preparing my heart for Thanksgiving and looking forward to Advent, which begins November 30, I thought of some particular verses where Paul gave some pretty amazing descriptions of things that are still to come; Things we are asked to comfort each other with in regards to the next coming of Christ.

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“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep,
so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again,
even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord,
that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord,
will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.

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Then we who are alive and remain
will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

                                                                                                                        I Thessalonians 4:13-18

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“Therefore, prepare your minds for action,
keep sober in spirit,
fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Christ.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
but like the Holy One who called you,
be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
because it is written,

“YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

                                                                                             I Peter 1:13-16

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What are some special ways you observe Advent?
I would love for you to share your ideas of preparing for the coming of our Lord Jesus in the clouds!

Just leave a comment below.

Our family uses a very special book for Advent called,

“The Handel’s Messiah Family Advent Reader”,

Should Jesus tarry, this book will be a beautiful heirloom for generations to come.
Also, if you would like to know of a wonderful blog that will thoroughly prepare you for Advent, as well as Jesus’ Birthday, check out

expectantlylistening.com with Victoria.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Constance