Praise Picture ~ Peace!

John 14:27 -- My peace I give to you! (Praise Picture via www.JeanWilund.com)

Praise Picture — Peace!

I just wanted to share this Praise Picture with you. Now go take on the day — with peace, and lots of it!

PS — And look forward to my upcoming Never-Ending List of the Character Traits of God. It’s almost ready. ūüôā

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. -- I'll take it, #Jesus! #Peace #PraisePicture Click To Tweet




The Surprise Blessing of Desperation — While My Child is Away – Part 2

The Surprise Blessing of Desperation

Imagine sitting across from two of your kids as they describe waking up, floating in a river hours after having been struck by lightning and blown out of their kayaks.

Edie Melson lived that nightmare.

Read the excerpt here if you missed yesterday’s post.

Motivation to Pray

Edie and her husband have raised three boys.

Three boys.

Boys get blown out of kayaks.

They¬†say, “Hey y’all! Watch this!”

Boys are motivation to pray.

I’ll never forget when my son and his friends started their own Fight Club.

They pummeled each other for fun until we parents complained about the broken bones and outlawed it.

I’ve¬†got other stories, but fortunately, none involve our son getting thunder bolted¬†out of a kayak.

Edie and I talked about her journey to becoming a prayer warrior and writing her latest prayer book, While My Child is Away: My Prayers for When We Are Apart. 

Her story will encourage and inspire you.


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson:

I wanted to share my story to empower other people.

I write books on prayer now, but prayer for me didn’t come easily.

I thought I was really bad at it. I felt inadequate, like my prayers weren’t powerful enough to affect anything.

But I knew I had to pray.

The biggest thing was the desperation.

My kids needed prayer, and I couldn’t do anything but pray.

At that point, I didn‚Äôt realize that prayer was the best thing‚ÄĒthe strongest thing‚ÄĒI could do.

I looked for books on prayers, but they were formal. And they weren’t my emotions.

One morning I called out to God in my quiet time.

The disciples asked You to teach them how to pray. Do it for me, too.

Everywhere I turned for the next six months, information just showed up. Scriptures would appear on billboards.

God finally got through to me that prayer wasn’t about the formality, the words, or the ways. It wasn’t legalistic. 

A huge weight fell off my shoulders. I can do this!

But I still felt awkward.

I began going through Psalms, inserting my children’s names in Scripture.

I began to write them out because I’m easily distracted.

This process of journaling and praying scripture for my children revolutionized my prayer life.

When I finally clued into the fact that the power in prayer didn’t rest in me or my words, it rested in God, the whole world opened to me.

All these prayers that were in me, waiting to come out in just the right way, started flowing because I finally got that it didn’t have to be perfect.

We want our prayers to matter the most with our kids.

Without realizing where the power in prayer comes from, we can dam up our prayers ourselves.

God wants us to be free and able to come to Him without feeling stressed.


The Surprise Blessing of Desperation

Desperation isn’t fun, but it‚Äôs a great teacher. It reaches us when logic and reason can’t.

God used desperation to clue me into the power of prayer, too.

With my kids far away, the only real power I still had to impact them was prayer.

Like Edie, I felt a desperate loss of control.

My desperation led to the surprise blessing of peace.

Peace comes whenever we let go of the need to control and choose to trust in and rely on God instead.

Fully trust in and rely on Him.

God¬†knows all our kids’ needs, and He’s always good and faithful to work exactly as He knows best for their good and His glory.

And He knows how to move us from desperation to peace.

One helpful tool is Edie Melson’s¬†While My Child is Away.


The Surprise Blessing of Desperation -While My Child is Away #Stop2Pray #Pray4MyChild @EdieMelson Click To Tweet


Edie Melson, author of While My Soldier ServesEdie Melson is the mother of three grown boys and the author of several books, including While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With Loved Ones in the Military. A sought-after writing instructor, Edie serves as the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. Connect with her on her blog The Write Conversation at www.EdieMelson.com, Twitter, and Facebook. Edie and her husband live in Simpsonville, South Carolina.




When Stress Mounts — BREATHE by Jonny Diaz (Monday Music)

 

Click to view music video Breathe by Jonny Diaz (For those times when stress mounts) via www.JeanWilund.com

Is your stress mounting? Mine is.

Breathe.

I have more deadlines than time to meet them.

Breathe.

What if I can’t meet¬†them?

Breathe.

I’m breathing all right. I’m breathing so fast, I might hyperventilate.

You will keep in

perfect peace

all who trust in You,

all whose thoughts are

fixed on You!”

~ Isaiah 26:3

When the storm clouds of stress mount, we can¬†look beyond the storm to the Light … and breathe.

I can’t meet all my deadlines, but I can trust God to lead me each step.

If it’s to be, He’ll do it.

If it’s not, all the stress and work won’t make a difference.

We can trust God with our hopes, dreams, deadlines and results.

Don’t stress. Breathe.

Relax and listen to Jonny Diaz’s music video¬†Breathe and let the light of God’s peace break through your¬†stress today.

When stress mounts, breathe. Listen to #Breathe by @jonnydiaz #MondayMusic #PeaceOfGod Click To Tweet




Silent Night — The Song That Stopped A War For A Day

Click to listen to Silent Night, The Song That Stopped the War for a Day via www.JeanWilund.com

Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht.

All was quiet on the western front on Christmas Eve 1914 when the sound of singing broke the silence over the World War I battlefield.

Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht.

Hunkered down in their foxholes, Allied soldiers recognized the tune rising from the German side of no-man’s land.¬†

Silent Night. Holy Night.

They joined their voices with the Germans over the battlefield and stopped the war on Christmas Eve.

Silent Night. Holy Night. 
All is calm. All is bright.

As the sun rose Christmas morning, the Allied soldiers noticed the Germans standing in their foxholes, waving.

The Allies stood, too. For a second. What if it was a German trick.

They peeked over their foxholes and stared in disbelief at what they witnessed next.

The Germans emerged, unarmed and walked into the middle of no-man’s land, calling out, ‚ÄúMerry Christmas‚ÄĚ in English.

Stunned, but intrigued, the Allies crawled out of their holes and met the Germans in the middle.

Filled with Christmas Spirit, enemies shook hands like friends that cold Christmas morning in 1914.

They exchanged gifts of cigarettes and food.

Some even reported playing a pick-up game of soccer.

Both retrieved their fallen soldiers.

Love Ruled

Not a shot was fired that day in that small part of the Great War.

Christmas Spirit had fueled an informal, impromptu truce between enemies.

They’d risked immediate death, choosing to trust the enemy and marching into no-man’s land, unarmed.

And they’d risked execution at the hand of¬†their own army for fraternizing with the enemy.

A stronger power than fear ruled that day — Love.

Eventually, the soldiers all returned to their foxholes and waited to see what would happen.

How could they shoot each other now that they’d shaken hands and exchanged kindnesses?

Could they continue to defy the rules and not engage their enemy, their new friends?

Sadly, the battle resumed, but the memory of The Christmas Truce of 1914 lives on.

May this story of how love came down and made friends of enemies and brought peace to the Western Front for a day continue to pass down to all generations.

Love Conquered

Over 2,000 years ago, Love came down from heaven, but not for a truce. For a takeover.

Jesus Christ came down in the form of a helpless babe.

He lived and died for His enemies.

He wanted no truce with sin or death. He conquered them both on the cross.

“It is finished.” ~John 19:30

Jesus brought peace with God to all who will believe and receive His gift of Love.

He brought peace, not for a day, but forever.  

If, while we were his enemies, Christ reconciled us to God by dying for us, surely now that we are reconciled we may be perfectly certain of our salvation through his living in us. ~ Romans 5:10 (J.B. Phillips)

~ † ~

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 5:1

Music Video & Historical Account: Christmas Truce of 1914

(I chose the following¬†music video because it contains Sinead O’Connor’s hauntingly beautiful rendition of¬†Silent Night¬†along with powerful photos from World War I.

The words at the beginning of this song seem to suggest that the two sides simply¬†chose to stop fighting to retrieve their fallen comrades. This doesn’t match every other historical account I read about¬†The Christmas Truce of 1914.

At the bottom of this post is a short clip from The History Channel on this incredible event with wonderful eyewitness accounts.)

The peace of Christmas 1914 didn’t last.¬†Peace with God through faith in Christ is eternal.

May we never listen to Silent Night the same again.

 

Listen to the song that stopped a war for a day. #Christmas Click To Tweet

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
~ Psalm 40:3




Parachute Lights & The Peace of Christ (They’re better than frown lines and fewer friends)

Click to read about the rehearsal dinner that led to parachute lights and the peace of Christ rather than frown lines and fewer friends. via www.JeanWilund.com

Forty-five people were coming to dinner, and it looked like we’d have no place to seat them.

This wasn’t just a regular dinner.

As if dinner for 45 people is ever a regular dinner.

Our son Bobby and his fiancee Kaitlyn were getting married, and this was their rehearsal dinner.

The groom’s family has one job. Just one. Feed the wedding party and special guests the night before the wedding. That’s it.

Plus, you want to impress the new in-laws, so they don’t grab¬†their daughter and run.

So, what do you do when you learn the night before the dinner that there may not be a place to feed the 45 people coming?

“Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled,
nor let it be fearful.”
~ John 14:27


Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Forty-five people are coming for an alfresco dinner with forecasts of thundershowers and the possibility of no place to seat them and keep them dry, but do not let your heart be troubled.

Sure, no problem.

My husband Larry and I pulled into Black Mountain, NC. and stopped by The Mill Pizzeria to size up the situation. 

While Jay, the owner of the restaurant, explained that the city hadn’t given him the permits he needed to finish the structure that would host our rehearsal dinner¬†party the very next night, Larry and I listened and smiled.

I was going for a relaxed and casual smile¬†as though I wasn’t worried at all that the dinner would be anything¬†but a huge success. I’m not sure I achieved anything more than an awkward look.

Jay shared¬†his vision for how he’d transform¬†this construction site into the perfect, romantic setting for our dinner for 45 people in just 24 hours.

Did I mention there would be 45 people coming for dinner in 24 hours?

He explained how he’d take the¬†rain-soaked parachute currently covering the footings and tie it to the excavator, which looked like a small steam shovel to me. He’d use it to hoist the parachute¬†over one of the large tables.

If an army green parachute held up by a small steam shovel doesn’t shout¬†wedding, then I guess I don’t know what does.

I fought the urge to laugh but couldn’t hold it in any longer when he said his next statement:

“Don’t worry. This place looks much better in the dark.”

Bahaha!¬†I lost it — and¬†now I have¬†a new¬†favorite line¬†to repeat often.

 

I’m In

Jay instantly won me over.

All I could think was, “I’m in! Whatever he’s got planned, I gotta see it now.”

Besides,¬†I knew the food would be great. His pizza is quite famous. Bobby and Kaitlyn chose it because it’s their favorite restaurant¬†in Black Mountain.

What did it really matter if we had to eat in the rain, right?

There was a time when all this would have caused me to fret and pull my hair out.

Before I’d have been so stressed I would’ve snapped at Larry, the kids, and the dog if they even breathed wrong.

But over the years God has been graciously leading¬†me¬†through stressful situations and patiently pointing me to truth as I’ve studied His Word.

Studying God’s Word is¬†a vital¬†part. Before I studied God’s Word, emotions attacked me and truth eluded me.

Over time, God’s truth has begun to click and sink in as I’ve obeyed it.

Obeying God’s Word is the other vital part. If I studied it, but then didn’t do it, how could I expect His promised results? And His truths don’t¬†really click until you put them¬†to the test and see how faithful they are.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
~ John 14:27

For those who’ll actually take God at His Word, Christ’s peace will fill your heart, and stress will dissolve in His¬†presence.

Those who’ll choose to believe Christ will be able to choose not to let their hearts be troubled or be fearful.

That Thursday, Larry and I¬†drove off in excited anticipation as to just how bizarre¬†of a rehearsal dinner we’d be hosting.

One¬†day earlier I’d not been¬†so victorious.


What a difference a day makes

One day earlier I was sitting at my kitchen table throwing a crying fit. No peace to be found.

Would you be surprised to hear that a computer was involved? Not many things can bring a person to their knees faster than modern technology. 

I was trying to put together a sentimental video of Bobby and Kaitlyn’s life and love, but I couldn’t get the sound to work with the photos.

Then I realized that the wonderful Ken Burn’s Effect had effectively cut off their heads in many of the photos, and there didn’t appear to be an¬†easy way to fix that.

I had¬†wonderful, clear shots of their stomachs, but it’s not quite the same as seeing their smiling faces.¬†

I dissolved into tears. Larry could only hug me because computers bring him to his knees too.

But then, suddenly, as though a bright light of hope filled our home, our daughter Brittany came to the rescue.

She looked at my problem and then said the blessed phrase, “What if you just . . . “

Sure enough, it worked. She saved the day, and I felt ashamed.

I didn’t care that I couldn’t figure out the problem by myself. I was ashamed that once again I’d taught my daughter to cry in the face of struggles rather than rest in God.

Brilliant, Jean. I keep acting human! Imagine that.

But I can be taught.

So that’s why, when it appeared that 45 people would show up to a construction site for the dinner on Friday in the rain, I was laughing on Thursday.

God had mercifully reminded me through the video meltdown that resting in Him is infinitely more fun and productive than throwing a hissy fit.


To fret or rest. That is the question.

If you’re facing a trial today, you have a choice to make. Fret or rest.

Your trial may not be as inconsequential as feeding 45 people. It may be downright serious.

Regardless of our situations, we all have the same choice. Will we choose to fret or choose to rest in Christ?

How tragic that so many of us followers of Christ either refuse to follow His example of resting in the face of a trial (like I had¬†with the video), or they don’t believe they can.

Many Christians¬†actually think they can’t help but fret even though¬†the Spirit of Christ assures us we can rest. He promises He’ll do it in and through us if we’ll choose to trust Him and choose not to let our hearts be troubled.

Christ is our example. He wasn’t feeding 45 people when He told His disciples not to let their hearts be troubled.

He’d already fed 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish without fretting.

Christ wasn’t feeding a crowd in the rain. He was facing His crucifixion.

Just look at what He said to His disciples next:

You heard that I said to you, “I go away, and I will come to you.” If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. (John 14:28)

When Jesus tells them they should rejoice that He’s going away, understand that He’s already been telling¬†them that He’s going to be killed at the hands of His enemy.

I’m not talking about Christ being¬†given a lethal injection. He knew He was going to be tortured. But much worse than torture, He knew He was going to become sin and be separated from the Father.

God would turn His face away from Christ as Christ bore the detestable sin of the whole world.

That’s a little heavier than a rehearsal dinner¬†dilemma.

In fact, Christ had just sent His disciple Judas off to betray Him. And now Christ is scolding His disciples for not rejoicing over His impending death.

“Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;¬†but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me.¬†Get up, let us go from here.” (John 14:29-31)


But God, You don’t understand!

“But God, You don’t understand! I can’t have peace¬†in the face of this circumstance!”

You can try to¬†stand your ground and convince God of how right you are, but you won’t succeed.

God knows the truth. He is the truth.

You will, however, succeed in making yourself miserable if you don’t do what He commands.¬†

He’s actually¬†commanding us¬†to be happy, because when we trust Him, we experience His peace, which leads to happiness.

But Christ didn’t say He’d do exactly as the Father commanded Him so He’d be happy.

He says He’d do it so that the world may know that He loves God.

Happiness shouldn’t be our goal for choosing to rest in Christ in the face of trials.

That the world may know we love God should be our goal.

God’s glory should be our motivation. Choosing to rest peacefully in Christ is the path. Happiness is just a natural by-product of Christ’s peace.

 

Do you love the Father? Do you love Christ?

Then do exactly as He’s commanded you.

Stop fretting. Stop throwing hissy fits.

Trust.

Rest.

Rejoice.

And get up and go.

Leave the unrest in your heart.

Enter into the peace of Christ.

Remember that God’s taking care of everything that concerns you.

He may call you¬†down a hard road, but He’ll lead¬†you¬†every step of the way.

And He won’t lead you down a place you don’t want to go unless it’s necessary.

We can choose not to worry.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
~ John 14:27


Follow the logic. Follow Christ.

I’ve never met a fretter who was happy.

I’ve never met anyone who worried themselves into joy.

But I’ve met perennial fretters and worriers who have frown lines and fewer friends.

We all have our moments, but if we’re characterized by fretting and worrying, we’re headed for misery — if we’re not there already.

I’ve never met anyone who truly rested in Christ who wasn’t happy or filled with joy. They tend to have¬†laugh lines and people who love to be around them.

Follow the logic. Follow Christ. 

After my video debacle and in the face of a potential rehearsal dinner disaster, it was time for me to stop talking about trusting and resting, and do it.

 

Both Christ and Jay were right.

So, how did the rehearsal dinner turn out?

It was brilliant! And Jay was right. The place looked amazing in the dark.

But not because we couldn’t see anything. But because he’d created an artistic and serene¬†ambience with lights strung everywhere, glowing through the darkness.

His wonderful, creative vision had turned into a fabulous reality.

It’s the same with Christ.

Christ’s truth looks amazing in the dark, too.

In the face of uncertainty, I chose to rest in Christ and His promised peace turned into fabulous reality.

Christ’s truth shine brightest in darkness.

Even the army green parachute held up by the steam shovel was magical. Seriously. He’d hung branches and¬†lights down from the center that¬†drew oohs and ahhs from everyone.

The picture below doesn’t do it justice. It was amazing.

Look in the bottom right corner and you'll see Jay working the steam shovel.

Look in the bottom right corner and you’ll see Jay working the excavator.

And we all got a great laugh when Jay decided to raise the parachute up a bit to give more clearance for our heads.

He cranked up the excavator and raised the parachute higher.

He gave a literal meaning to the popular phrase, “raise the roof!”

When¬†he turned the excavator¬†off, it¬†all settled¬†back down. The decorations almost popped Larry’s dad in the head.

Everyone laughed as he quickly cranked it back up again and hoisted the parachute and branches even higher.

That’s a story I bet no one else has ever gotten to tell.¬†And as my sister Kimbi loves to say, when everything runs smoothly it’s boring. There’s no good story to tell, and everyone¬†loves a good story. (She’s so right!)

And then came my video debacle.

Not the one at home while I was making it. The one at the restaurant when I was trying to show it.

We couldn’t get the sound to work.

Oops.

After much clicking of buttons and switching of cords, we realized that the problem was me. I’d somehow saved it without the sound.

Hmmmm.

Fortunately I had the original copy of it that did have sound.

Whew!

With the cheers of 45 people spurring me on, I started the video — just as a¬†train came roaring by.

No one could hear a thing.

More laughter.

I hit pause and waited for it to pass.

It passed,¬†I restarted it, and it went off without a hitch — until everyone noticed that on the last slide I’d typed the date of their wedding: July 25, 2105.

July 25, 2105

Oops! Apparently they’re not getting married for another 90 years.

More laughter.

Oh, and by the way, it never rained! Thank you, God!

 

I choose laugh lines and friends

I could’ve have been embarrassed, but laughing is so much more fun.

I could’ve fretted all week about the dinner, but excited anticipation is more fun.

I could’ve been upset that the restaurant wasn’t exactly as Jay had said¬†it would be when we reserved it in the Spring. But the¬†setting he created was not only more fun and unique, it made for a fabulous story.

Choosing fretting and frustration leads to frown lines and fewer friends. 

In this world we will have troubles. That’s a promise.

But when we choose to rest in Christ, we choose to glorify God. All who glorify God will be blessed.

Choosing the peace of Christ leads to joy and laughter.

I choose laugh lines and friends. I choose peace.

Not peace as the world gives, but the peace that Christ freely gives to all who trust in, rest in, and follow Him.

What will you choose today?

Click to read about the peace that Christ gives (John 14:27) and a pretty funny story too.

(I woke up the morning after Bobby & Kaitlyn’s wedding to this gorgeous, peaceful view of the mountains with the clouds resting among¬†them.)


If this post encouraged you, then I’m thrilled¬†our misadventures could bless you. I hope you’ll pass it along to others.¬†

And if you’re ever in or near Black Mountain, NC you’ve got to visit The Mill Pizzeria. Outstanding pizza baked¬†by Jay, the fascinating, visionary owner, and his¬†dog Anchovie. (Anchovie doesn’t make the pizza, but he’ll be glad to eat some of yours if you’ll share. Don’t worry, he’s not pushy.) Check them out on Facebook.


 

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