The Importance of Being Peaceful

Joyce Meyer Got a Tattoo! Surprised? Hold on, we’ll get to that later. First, let me share some of what Joyce taught me about peace.

Peace is wonderful, but it isn’t automatic. Hebrews 12:14 says, Make every effort to live in peace with everyone.” A life of peace doesn’t just land in our laps. We have to “make every effort.” How? We could always start by taking these steps:

Value peace. Then you’ll be willing to make the effort.

Stop being angry. Let the offensive moments of life roll off your back. Proverbs 17:9 tells us, “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”

Avoid peace killers. God is good. Good is going on in the world. But that’s not what you’re likely to hear about when you’re plugged in to mainstream media for hours on end.

Humble yourself. It’s a whole lot easier to experience peace once you no longer need to impress people.

Avoid “acceptable sins” like jealousy and unforgiveness.

Be nice. Be helpful. Be positive. Give people mercy.

Mind your own business. That can be a tough one, but give it a try!

Now, about that tattoo. Proverbs 16:28 warns that, “A perverse person stirs up conflict,and a gossip separates close friends.”  One way to express that in today’s language might be “mind your own business!” Joyce Meyer recently got two tattoos. One is generally unseen, but I saw the one on her ankle (from a distance). It reminds her to walk in love.

Unscriptural? Probably not. Some people believe the Bible says we shouldn’t get tattoos. Others, including Joyce, believe the verse used to forbid tattoos is talking about a pagan act done to honor the dead.

Controversial? Probably so. But only for those who choose to mind Joyce’s business instead of their own. We aren’t free to judge people who do what we think they shouldn’t do, particularly when the Bible is fuzzy at best on the matter. Perhaps Joyce was led to get tattoos to make that very point.

Are you losing your peace over someone else’s choices today? Are you angry? Jealous? Bitter? Flooded with negative media? Bound up in a desire to please other people? Value peace! Hit your knees and ask our Lord to renew you from within. Then continue, by his grace, to make every effort to live in peace with everyone. We can change the world that way.

photo credit: @ isracguti19 via Unsplash.com

Questions from a Cruise

I went on a cruise! It was lovely, exhausting, indulgent, and full of unforgettable hours. As always, I looked for life lessons in the process. Let me share a few with you.

1. Ask (and heed) the wisdom of those who’ve gone before you.

When preparing for our trip, I read travel blogs and checked out opinions regarding excursions. I looked for tips on how to make the best of our vacation time.

Do you know someone whose wisdom and experience could keep you from learning things the hard way?

2. Stay focused so that you don’t miss out.

The most important moments of any day were rarely what I expected. The big shows were fun, but conversations over early morning tea were more precious,

What’s happening right now, in your everyday life, that deserves your full attention?

3. Turn off your phone.

I didn’t have cell coverage, so I was never on the internet, and life rocked on just fine without it. What a lovely reminder to me to keep the chatter of life down to a need to know basis! ‘Helped me focus on the experience at hand.

Really, how much do you need to know?

4. Be courageous.

I shy away from heights and speed, but, for the sake of my grandson, rode a really fast waterslide. It was delightful! (I rode it six more times.) If it’s safe, moral, and legal, go ahead—step up to try that new thing that gives you butterflies.

Is fear holding you back from something good?

5. Let people be your priority.

When all was said and done, it mattered far more who was with me than where I was.

Who could use a call or a hug or a visit from you this week?

6. Pray about everything, and submit even the lousy moments to God.

God has often surprised me in the way he works things out. Bugs in our bathroom at 1 am (ugh!) led to an amazing upgrade.

Have you joined the “pray without ceasing” club yet?

And have you learned a good lesson while traveling or on vacation? If so, I hope you’ll tell me all about it!

Photo by Georgy Trofimov on Unsplash.com

August

Coming soon: a new grandchild to the Koinis clan! Thus, I will be pausing my blog for the month of August. (Of course, you can always visit www.smoothersailing.com and read entries from the last ten years if you miss me too much!) I’ll be back in September. Until then, I want to leave you with this quote, encouraging you to be open to whatever God may ask of you.

“She’d spent so much of her life with a firm plan for what she would do and how she would live her life. Now she was surprised to find that she enjoyed simply waiting to see what assignment God would give her next.”

The Finder of Forgotten Things by Sarah Loudin Thomas https://a.co/2k0dCUY

Photo by Mediamodifier via Unsplash.com

Pure Gold by my mom, Beth Smith

Early prospectors during the gold rush were fooled into thinking they’d found real gold instead of something called iron pyrite, worthless rocks with flecks of shiny material in them. So many were fooled that iron pyrite became known as “fool’s gold.” I want you to know where our real gold is—where we have a neverending supply of genuine gold—in the Word of God.

Remember the crippled beggar to whom Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6 KJV). What did the cripple do? He went “walking and leaping and praising God.” He received far more than he asked for. Would he have traded his healing for a truckload of gold coins? Of course not! Here’s a bit more from the Bible regarding gold.

  • The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold” (Psalm 119:72 NIV).
  • I love your commandments more than gold, more than pure gold” Psalm 119:127 NIV).
  • Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable that silver and yields better returns than gold” (Proverbs 3: 13-14 NIV).

Are you a bit timid about mining gold from the Bible? If you don’t have a modern or revised version, I recommend that you get one and try it out. That can make a big difference.

Another important thing to remember as we go into our gold mine, the Bible, is that we do not go alone. John 14 says that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Ask him to help you understand what you are reading! The Greek word for the Holy Spirit is Paraclete, which means “one who is called along side to help.” He will help us if we allow him to.

On more than one occasion, I’ve “just happened” to read a portion of the Bible that was exactly what I needed in that moment. God will do the same for you. The next time you read a verse that makes you think, “That was for me,” you can be sure it was God at work. Our gold mine is filled with power for living in God’s world, in God’s way. “Every Scripture was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well-prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 (TLB).

It’s time for us to think not “Thar’s gold in them thar hills,” but, “thar’s gold in this here Book.” (It hurts me as an English teacher to write that way.) It’s not fool’s gold, but the real McCoy. So pull out your Bible and read on!

photo credit: @zlataky via Unsplash.com

How Good Is Your Memory?

Every time I re-read portions of the Old Testament, I’m astounded by the way the Israelites got caught in this loop:

  1. Cry out for help. (For example, “Let us out of Egypt!)
  2. Experience God’s miraculous provision. (Like parted seas.)
  3. Find a reason to complain. (“We’re thirsty!”)

REPEAT:

  1. Cry out for help. (“Give us food!”)
  2. Experience God’s miraculous provision. (Like manna from heaven.)
  3. Find a reason to complain. (“We’re so sick of eating the same old thing!”)

REPEAT…REPEAT…REPEAT…

But I have grumpy days, don’t you? I feel sorry for myself or evaluate my lot in life and decide it doesn’t measure up to someone else’s. I long for something I don’t have and forget for a while all God has done and all I’ve been given. I’ve seen miraculous provision in my own life, so how am I any different from those Israelites? I am ashamed to admit that I can get tired of manna too.

I was knocked upside the head by this quote not long ago: “If God never did one more thing for you, you ought to be the happiest person in the world.” (I heard it in a TV sermon, but don’t remember who was preaching.) Oh my, yes! When I step back from my doldrums and recount the miracles in my own life and in those of my loved ones, I realize any one of those gifts from God should be enough to keep me rejoicing until eternity. How quickly I can forget!

So, today, I want to leave you with this verse, Psalm 42:6, from The Message.

“When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you.”

Has God ever done anything for you? Then, next time you find yourself grumpy or dissatisfied, refresh your memory! I plan to do the same.

Photo: Nam Anh on Unsplash.com because “an elephant never forgets,” or so they say.

Those Who Mourn

July 7, 2022

Here’s something weird that happened to me today. I have a sweet 90-year-old neighbor who wants to have her windows cleaned. She gave me a flier a few weeks ago for someone she was hoping would do the job. I made a call and what I thought was an appointment. Nobody showed up. I called the number on the flier again today. Short version: the guy who answered told me he was busy, that I should wash the windows for her myself, and then hung up on me. So, yes, weird. And, for a few too many moments, insulting and upsetting. Fortunately, I remembered that people sometimes have bad days, and I let it go.

A few hours later, I got a text that a dear friend had that very morning passed away too young and too fast. Now I’m the one having a rough day. But I don’t look any different. If I stub my toe, I’m probably going to break out in sobs. If I have to wait in a long line, I will probably look impatient. And if someone wants to have a deep conversation with me, there’s a good chance they’ll wonder why my face shows such obvious distraction. They won’t know unless I tell them.

  • If you’re having a rough day, please be willing to tell those who love you or who need to know so that they’ll understand what’s going on inside your head.
  • If someone treats you roughly, please be willing to make allowances, since you don’t know what may be going on inside that person’s head.

My grandchildren have been learning to list the fruit of the spirit, creating a perfect opportunity for me to review and remember that list as well:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

If you’d asked me to name them a month ago, I would have gotten about seven out of nine. The two I think I would have missed were goodness and gentleness. Those are the subtle ones, ones that are all about how we treat others, and the ones I urge you to consider today. Please, go about your day today with goodness and gentleness, letting the rough edges of those around you become beacons of need. We have the Holy Spirit within us, equipping us to make allowances, even when they seem undeserved. We may never know the full story…

Photo credit: Fa Barboza via Unsplash.com