The new house!

The new house!
This is our spring and summer view from the kitchen of our new home in Oklahoma!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Ravages of Fear...

While my wife, the pooch and I were strolling down the sidewalk yesterday in the midst of a beautiful, crisp fall day, I began to share some thoughts with Piper about what I have been learning concerning the ravages of fear.  I am beginning to understand it as one the strongest tools that the enemy of our souls carries in his toolbox!  I have seen it cause people… good people… to act in some of the most uncharacteristic ways.  I have seen and felt it force mature Christians into saying and doing things that flow in opposite directions to that as taught in the New Testament.  The beginning of Ephesians 4:19 in the Jubilee Bible seems to sum it up the best by stating that those who do outlandish things that are opposite to the ways Jesus demonstrated, do these things; “after losing all sense of feeling…” 
On our walk yesterday, I stopped and declared to my wife that I just can’t imagine these folks doing these things if they really understood what their actions were doing to the recipients of them.  It would seem that fear has blinded their sight, their feelings, their courage and most of all… their hearts.  The toughest part of this revelation though, has been my realizing that I have done similar things in my past.  I may not have acted them out in the physical or said the words… but I sure thought them and many times attempted to minister or relate to people based on my incorrect and clueless theories on their personal situations!
Now that my wife and I have worn the shoes of those going through difficult and you could even say, life and death situations… I see and do things a lot differently!  I feel a little like what is said of Jesus’ sensitivity to others, “for we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15 MKJV)
You know what?  I think that it is pretty clear that the Lord is calling His people to grow up!  To say and do as Ephesians 4:14 instructs us to and “stop acting like little children.” (CEV)  One of my favorite scriptures has always been Joshua 1:9 where the Lord confronts Joshua as he is about to lead the children of Israel into their promised land.  The Lord knew it would be a difficult endeavor.  He knew that Joshua would have to fight off fear. And He understood Joshua’s doubts as this was to be his first campaign as the new leader of God’s nation!
I can almost see the Lord taking Joshua’s hands in His, looking deep into his eyes and calmly saying: “Have I not commanded you Joshua?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Be assured that I will never neglect you or abandon you.” (Joshua 1:9 and 1:5 God’s Word © personalized)
This scripture along with a select few of others have always had special significance to me and have carried me through some of the darkest episodes in my life, although none can compare to the current valley that we are going THROUGH (See Psalm 23:4)!  But even though I have been entangled at the hands of some good meaning individuals who have been swayed by the throes of fear, I have learned mostly about myself and those conspicuous places where I may have unknowingly allowed fear to hijack my responses to the needs of others.
I would adjure you to not let that happen to you.  Stay in the Word.  Keep its truth in your heart, your mind and on your lips!  Think Gospel before you think You!  Believe me… it will save you a lot of messy clean up… If you’re able to see the truth and then make amends, that is!
Everything is on track here for us to close on our piece of Canaan Land tomorrow!  Needless to say, we are QUITE excited and blessed.  Have a great week.  Stay in tune to God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “With or in Whom am I expecting to resist FEAR today?”

Monday, October 19, 2015

Doing What's Appropriate

I’ve always been an observer of people.  I am not sure if I could say that I am a “keen” observer of others, but I definitely am the type of individual who has learned a lot by watching the way people do things.  I can especially remember as a kid in school watching my teachers with deep interest in the way they taught, the mannerisms they used, the way they spoke and whether they successfully captured the imagination of the class or left them doodling at their desks uninspired by what was being presented.
Since I attended parochial school during my elementary years, I was very in tune to the way in which the nuns prayed, the way they shared their lives and their reverent attitude toward the church and the Word of God.  One of my favorite teachers over the years was a math instructor I had in public junior high.  Since math was not one of my stronger classes at that time, I was a little wary of him on the first day of class when he calmly but strictly told us of his rigid expectations that he would demand of us throughout the year.  Then with that established he smiled and joked the next day and from then on took a very personal interest in each of us students.
Another favorite instructor was a teacher that I had for a variety of classes throughout high school including a business class in my senior year.  I recall that he would keep us on the edge of our seats as he regaled us with some of his adventures working uncover for the Italian underground resistance forces during WWII. He drove to school in a vintage Italian sports car which obviously caught my attention, and was a semi-professional wedding photography on the side.  He was a great inspiration and mentor to me during my formative years as a budding photographer.
He was always very patient and encouraging as I would bring him all my initial attempts of projects from my photography class that I was learning to develop in the school dark room and later on in my backyard shed that I turned into a darkroom at my parent’s home.  The vast majority of the pictures I brought to him for his evaluation and mentoring were of my hot young girlfriend… (many blurred and over or under exposed), so he also got to know my future bride as well!  In fact, he shot the photos at our wedding a few years later!
In my years in the ministry I’ve also been a close observant of other ministers when they preach, minister to people in need, and how they carry themselves outside of the walls of the church.  I have been blessed to be associated with and work under some excellent men and women of God who walk in integrity and with whom I hold in high esteem. 
Most of these individuals in ministry that I have sought to learn from just seem to always say and do the appropriate thing in almost every situation!  Many times I will look back at their responses to life and think, “How did they know to do that… wish that I could react that way without having to stop and think about the situation!”  Lately I’ve come to learn that their quick and positive responses are just who they are.  It comes from years of learning and countless hours before the throne of God through prayer and study of the Word of God.
In writing to Christians the Apostle Paul instructed them (and us today as well) saying: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.”  Ephesians 4:17-18 KJV)  Thayer’s Greek Definitions defines the word “vanity” as: “what is devoid of truth and appropriateness. 
That definition clearly explains the reasoning behind many of the unreal and insensitive things that were said and done (or not done) toward us over these last few years by folks who were simply being led in their response to the sickness attacking my wife strictly by their five senses and not the truth of God’s Word.  In my strain and pain of the harsh realities in dealing with the events at hand, I did not feel that their actions were very appropriate.
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges directly relates the phrase “the life of God” to the Word of God.  So once again, I see where the various writers of the New Testament, under the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit, continue to point us to the Word of God as the truth from which we should guide the words and actions of our lives… regardless of how strongly our senses may try to convince us otherwise.
Those teachers back in school as well as the men and women of God in my adult life that ministered to me the most were (and are) the ones who exhibited patience, love and caring toward me as they nurtured me through my mistakes, ignorance and clumsy learning attempts throughout my life.  They did (and do) the appropriate thing and it literally helped to positively form many of the parts of who I am today.
As I learn, lean on and follow the truth of God’s Word as my pattern in life, I notice that I also tend to do the appropriate thing with those I come in contact with through each day of my life.  Do you find that to be true for you as well?  Who are those in your life that you look to as appropriate examples and mentors for you?  Do they do the things that are filled with truth and excel in doing the appropriate thing for and with those they interact with?  Do others say and think that about you?
Have a great week.  Stay in tune to the truth of God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to follow as my example of doing the appropriate things in life?”

Friday, October 16, 2015

Which Is True?

When I went into our bedroom this morning to help my wife up for the day, she was lying on her back, fast asleep with a very content look on her lovely face.  I must admit that as I stood there gazing upon her countenance I found myself with a wide smile on my face and suddenly had a strong urge to tickle her!  But restraint prevailed with the truth that such actions would most likely serve only to confuse her as she awoke… besides, she’s not very ticklish in the areas in which most others seem to be sensitive in… but then again… there is that one spot right above her knees…  Ooophs!  Don’t let her know that I spilled her secret!
And while we are on the subject of truth… I had somewhat of a frustrating incident yesterday.  We finally had a day free of most of our home buying responsibilities and I took advantage of the time by taking the Mustang in to get the oil changed and the necessary North Carolina Inspection as a pre-requisite to getting new tags for the vehicle.  Since this was the first time I was to get any maintenance on the car since we bought it, I decided to bring it to the larger of the local Ford dealerships in neighboring Cary, NC.
This particular store is not located with most of the other dealers on Auto Row on the far end of the city but nearer to the downtown area.  I was not familiar with the location and trusted my path to my old friend MapQuest.  Well… my friend let me down!  It turns out that the directions I had were not true and I ended up going around in circles for a while until I finally pulled over to give my iPhone and Siri a try.  Her voice activated assistance led me on a true course to the service center located two or three streets away from the original MapQuest directions.
As I lay on my back in bed this morning (I guess this was a day for sleeping on our backs for both of us!) I began to meditate on a portion of Ephesians 4:15 from the King James Version where Paul wrote to believers in the church: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things…”  When I first read this the other day, my initial point of view was our experience of some folks not speaking truthful things about me and the decisions I was making for my wife’s care and how those words we’re definitely not spoken in love but in anger.  I was going along that same path this morning when I suddenly heard that small still voice deep inside me ask: “What if that “truth” in that verse was talking about the truth of God’s Word?”
Well, that startled me for a moment as I swung my feet over the edge of the bed in order to get up for the day.  That argument would definitely change the way most of us face our daily lives!  What if all we spoke out of our lips was what the Word of God said about the situations we face?  Not what we see, hear, think or feel that might be different to what HE says about it.  I know that I have mentioned before how in John 17:17 Jesus prayed to His Father asking that He would set apart His followers from the dictates of the world through His Word.  My revelation this morning would seem to agree with that prayer… wouldn’t it?
Romans 8:2 informs us that “The standards of the Spirit, who gives life through Christ Jesus, have set you free from the standards of sin and death.” (God’s Word ©)  Further down in verse six we come to understand that the corrupt nature of those who trust in the world’s standards or dictates have an attitude that leads to death.  I believe that this can be considered as either death to our souls, our bodies or to our faith!  While those of us who follow after the dictates or truth of God’s Word have an attitude that leads to life and peace. (God’s Word ©)
Trusting and speaking out what the world says about the situations in life gives us no hope and literally destroys our expectations of God’s best happening in our lives.  It takes our eyes off of His capabilities and places them on… well… on NOTHING!  I see this disparity almost every time I explain to someone new what is going on with my wife, just like with one of the home inspectors on Monday, or the older Japanese lady that we met while on a walk around our neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon.
I could see the sadness and despair in their eyes when I explained her situation but then also witnessed a total change in their very countenance when I ended my explanation declaring: “BUT… we are not giving up because we serve a mighty and powerful God!”  It was like I tossed them a life raft and salvation was possible!  Suddenly they had something to hook their hope onto… Suddenly they had an expectation of God’s best for my wife!
If we spoke and believed in the truth of God’s Word for the traumas we face on a regular basis, we would have that same life raft of His potential salvation for that situation… no matter what our senses were screaming out to us… wouldn’t we?  I think… NO!  I KNOW SO!  Like I’ve said repeatedly… that’s the only thing that keeps me going each day.  If I didn’t continually speak out the Word of God over my wife throughout the day and night… I would have given up long ago!  But you know… I can’t give up, because I have the TRUTH of God’s Word working on her behalf!
It’s like I spoke out to my wife in that crowded waiting room at the Ford dealership yesterday saying: “You do realize that you are set apart from what the world says about  that chair you’re currently sitting in and from the dictates of that disease by the TRUTH of God’s Word… don’t you?”  And she smiled… and so did I!
Have a wonderful weekend.  We are supposed to have some cooler weather in the mid-fifties blow in by Sunday.  So if you’re like us, it might be time to take out the Fall weather coats and sweaters!  Stay TRUE to His Word and keep asking yourself… “What or Who’s Word am I expecting to trust as the TRUTH of any matter today?”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Concentrate on YOUR job...

I am finding out that buying a house takes a lot of work and effort… by many different individuals in order to come to conclusion in a satisfactory manner.  I seemed to be in the middle of all of it, but still have to trust in the various professionals as they perform their inspections, complete the necessary paperwork and the legal documents all necessary to assure a proper transaction and thereby a happy buyer and seller!  Everybody has a specific responsibility that must be accomplished before each next step can take place.  And since we close next week, I am depending on each and everyone involved in the process.
Back in the mid-1980’s during my early years in supervision with Hewlett Packard, I spend a large portion of my time evaluating the work performance of those on my teams.   We used a merit based promotion and pay system so it was important for each employee to know exactly what they were being judged on.  Therefore I had to make sure that I wrote clear and concise job descriptions for each worker, and assure that they understood what was expected of them during regular one on one performance reviews.
I found a similar procedure with definitive job descriptions to be advantageous for the volunteers assisting in our children’s and youth programs at the churches we served in as well.  And even though there are subtle differences in some of the ways you manage paid employees as compared to volunteer workers, many of the same difficulties within the workplace still arise and must be dealt with in order to keep the team flowing in unity.
One of the most common situations that I have experienced is workers complaining about the way someone else is doing their job or workers that want to do another’s job instead of their own.  I think this was one of the most often and distracting team breakers that I witnessed in the church.  Many times an individual would begin to act out with negative behaviors because they felt like their particular gifting’s and talents were not be fully utilized by the Pastoral team.  I learned over the years that a detailed job description given to a volunteer at the beginning of their tenure in any position (at least in children and youth ministries) along with lots of thanks, encouragement and personal interaction from leadership helps to assure a joyful, uplifting and well working team effort.
Ephesians 4:16 tells us that the key in the church lies in each of us doing our assigned jobs while keeping our collective eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Apostle Paul tells us that: “He makes the whole body fit together and unites it through the support of every joint.  As each and every part does its job, he makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (God’s Word ©)  The King James Version describes it as “the effectual working… of every part.”  Thayer’s Greek Definition says that this phrase is only used in the New Testament as referring to “superhuman power, whether of God or the devil.”
That to me tells us that Paul was inferring that our individual work or jobs in the church are to be done in His strength and in His grace.  When we are all focused on Him in His strength and endowment of grace for every task, then we grow together in love and can accomplish seemingly unbelievable things that might seem impossible to those not in unity with us!  I believe this is what makes the church stand out in a community.  This ability of the church is one of the things that will draw the unbeliever to us!
So whether you’re leading the Praise and Worship in front of the congregation on Sunday morning, leading a Bible Study class or cleaning the church or mowing the facility’s lawn all by yourself on a Saturday afternoon (and believe me… I’ve done all of these!), do it as unto Him!  Keep your eyes focused on Him and on the overall picture and ministry of the church and its vision for your community.  That’s the focus that will quickly quell any lying thoughts or accusation from the enemy of our souls when he tries to tell you that what you’re doing is inconsequential and/or that you should be doing something “more important.”
We do our part for Him and He makes it all work together in love.  I’ve also found out that promotion usually follows a job well done.  Sounds like a good plan to me… What do you think?  Have a great day.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or How am I expecting to do my job for and through Him today?”

Friday, October 9, 2015

Hard Wired!

It has been a little surprising to me how much the purchase of a new home can take of your concentration and time!  Not only has this transaction been one of the main subjects on my mind over the last few weeks, but has also had the demand of much of my time and effort as well!  My wife and I spent the entire afternoon on Wednesday at our new place and the nearby town of Fuguay-Varina as we had scheduled a couple of different home inspections throughout the day.  I am finding that the more time we spend out there, the more I am convinced that we are in the center of God’s plan for us at this time in our lives!  I really sense that this home is to be the center of the next phase of the calling and purpose that Papa God has for us.
And speaking of His plan and purpose  As I was getting ready for bed earlier in the week, I found myself thinking about a not-so-good health report that we had recently received concerning an on-going condition with a relative of my wife’s.  As I stood there before the mirror brushing my teeth, I thought about all the remembrances I have since becoming closely involved with her family over 45 years ago.  And I was saddened to realize that we have basically been left out of the direct loop to this current important event in the life of their family.
Throughout it all though, I have endeavored to stay in contact with them as I have felt that this is the way Piper would want it to be if she had more comprehension as to what was happening.  I had come to the conclusion that it is just the right thing to do!
With that in mind, I stood before the mirror and simply asked the Lord “why?”  Why do we keep reaching out to others when they do not respond to us?  Why do we automatically attempt to make eye contact and share a positive greeting with those we meet on our daily walks around our neighborhood?  Why do we try to encourage the cashier at the store who looks troubled, bored or like they really want to be somewhere else?  Why do I write an encouraging blog three times a week?  Or like the other day at our new house, stand there with a look of appreciation and attentiveness to the second inspector who was giving me the same exact explanation about the foundation of the home that we had just heard from an earlier inspector?
Then a bit of self-pity snuck in when I found myself thinking that even in the midst of the darkest times that we have endured in this adventure in faith with my wife’s health, that we have still reached out to relatives to help them better understand the situation and help build their faith to believe for God’s best for Piper.
And with all that swirling around in my brain, I shook my head, flipped off the light and headed off to bed!  But you know… the Lord had an answer for me!  The next morning when I opened up my Bible Study program, I felt led to move on in the book of Ephesians and clicked over to chapter four where I began to read.  When I got down to verse eleven, things began to awaken in me as I read what Paul had to say in his explanation of the five-fold ministries established by Papa God for the good of the body of Christ.
Then with the reading of the twelfth verse in the God’s Word translation the spot light went on!  Here it declares that “Their purpose is to prepare God’s people, to serve, and to build up the body of Christ.”  My answer to the previous night’s question was right there in front of my face.  That memorable experience back in the late 1970’s, lying on that hard bunk in that drafty and smelly old cabin filled with sleeping Junior High boys from our youth group came vividly back to mind!  For it was at that time that I clearly heard the voice of the Lord calling me into the ministry… to be an under shepherd of the head shepherd Jesus Christ.
When my thoughts re-focused on the Word before me I heard the Lord say: “That it is because I have called you to Pastor… and as a Pastor I have called you to serve those in need around you… no matter what their response is to you and your efforts!  The S. Way 1906 translation of verses eleven and twelve defines the five-fold ministers as those “endowed” as ministers of the Gospel.  (The Letters of St Paul to Seven Friends with the Letter to the Hebrews)  A current definition of the word “endowed” in explains it as: “to furnish, as with some talent, faculty, or quality; to equip.”
I will admit that I have felt a bit like being in the twilight zone since stepping down from my last position as an Associate Pastor at our church in California in order to devote my full efforts toward the care of my sweet wife.  It seems like almost every time we meet someone new, like one of the home inspectors the other day, the subject always gets around to the question: “so… what do you do?”  And after a pause I’ll say “I’m a Pastor… or at least I used to be!”
But as I read Ephesians 4:12 and rehearsed the words of the Lord to my inner man, I saw what He was trying to convey to me.  Being a Pastor isn’t what I do… or what I’ve done… It is WHO I am! (or I should more accurately say who we are…)  I guess you could say that it has been “hard wired” into Piper’s and my very beings.  It is simply the way that we see and respond to the world we live in.  We’ve been “hard wired” to equip, to serve and to build up the body of Christ as well as those in need that we come across in our daily walk!  It is our second nature.  It is almost like we just can’t help ourselves!
So...What about you?  Do you know what you have been called and equipped to do and to be?  Have you become at peace with your God given place on this earth?  It is actually quite freeing to realize this reality and come to terms with WHO YOU ARE!  In God’s eyes you are fully equipped to handle your world with the special gifts and talents… the endowments He has place inside of you!  Don’t ever allow someone else to criticize or belittle who you have been made to be by Papa God!  You are a unique and highly talented individual!  So go out and face (and change) your world with WHO He has made you to be!
Have a great weekend!  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to be - for and from Him - today?”


Monday, October 5, 2015

Peanut Butter and Jelly!

I sat down at my computer yesterday to send in our monthly offerings to two different ministries that have literally changed our lives over the years.  When I inputted our personal information I had to stop and smile as I looked at what I had typed: “Jim & Piper Berruto.” You know… it just looked good to see those two names together.  Over the last few years, under the advice of our lawyer, we have put just about everything we have into my name alone and have drawn up a trust that protects and guarantees the rightful and protective care for Piper in case something happens to me.
So almost all the correspondence we get including the bills, special offers and most advertisements are simple addressed to me.  When something comes in with Piper’s name on it, it always catches my immediate attention and action.  When I looked at our names together yesterday it reminded me of how our two names just always seemed to go together like peanut butter and jelly!  You just can’t have one without the other!
That idea jumped out to me again this morning as I read from Ephesians 1:15.  Here Paul tells his readers that “I, too, have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people.  For this reason I never stop thanking God for you.  I always remember you in my prayers.” (God’s Word ©)  His comment reminded me that the thing that caught his attention with this church was what he had heard about their active stands of faith and actions of Godly love toward others.
He seemed to be making the point that faith and love go together like peanut butter and jelly… or like Jim & Piper Berruto!  We personally experienced the reactions of some who demonstrated little faith for my wife’s healing and therefore had little drive or power to perform acts of love toward us.  And on the other side of the coin, we have seen others who may not have been considered as mature in the Lord as the first group but yet have faith for Piper and thereby no difficulty stepping out of their normal comfort zones to reach out in love to be at her side in her time of need.
The scriptures tell us that “Faith expresses itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6 God’s Word ©)  My experience suggests that love is always the inevitable response of a strong faith in God and His Word.”  The King James Version says that faith works by love.  And I think you could reverse that statement and it would still prove true saying that love also works by faith… or you could say that love is motivated or empowered by our faith in the Lord and the truth and expectations of His Word working in, for and through us unto others.
So… just like that peanut butter and jelly sandwich that might be in your lunch (or breakfast…) today, do you find yourself carrying the twins of FAITH and LOVE with you everywhere you go?  Give it a try… It might just be the newest, most tantalizing and tasty treat that you can give to someone in need today!  Have a great week.  Stay in tune to God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… What kind of peanut butter and jelly combination of FAITH and LOVE am I expecting to share with others today?”

Friday, October 2, 2015

3:00 AM and Barf under the bed!

This whole week has been more than just a little crazy for me!  We have been working diligently to schedule and discern the various home inspections that need to be completed before the “Due Diligence Time” in which we and/or the sellers investigate and repair any problem areas within the home, the property and what seems like a zillion other things, is over.  For us that date is October 19th.
Complicating the process is the impending hurricane that is threatening to make land fall on the eastern seaboard over the weekend!  It already has been raining here for over a week and looks to continue into the beginning of next.  It was actually kind of funny yesterday as we needed to take the dog to the Vet for a follow up appointment in the midst of the rain.  Attempting to get my wife out of the car and quickly into her chair with the rain coming down and the dog pulling on her lease in an opposite direction must have been quite a scene for those driving past!
Let’s just say that it has been a busy week for us.  I have also continued to have the need to minister to Piper’s needs a few times each night, so sleep has also been a fleeting friend!  Last night seemed to be going well until the dog suddenly needed to go out at 3:00 AM.  When she got back in, she snuggled under the bed on Piper’s side and all was well until about an hour later when she started gaging under the bed!  So… there I am reaching under the bed trying to get her to move to the hallway and the faux wood flooring so as not to stain the carpets a few weeks before we move out!
Well, I wasn’t successful and I found myself trying to clean up the mess… stretching under the bed for I am not as small as the dog to fit under it… without disturbing my quietly sleeping wife!  Then it seemed like I just fell asleep again when the process started over and I leaped from the bed and grabbed the pooch before she could get under the bed once more.  That effort was successful but she still emptied her stomach on the light brown carpet!
By then I had it and the self-pity attack was primed and ready to explode!  With towel in hand, on bended knee, I began to clean and could only say: “Why… Why Lord?  What is happening here?  I’ve got so much going on right now… I NEED MY SLEEP!!!” 
But again… that’s as far as I got when I quickly discerned where this attack was coming from.  Sure the circumstances stunk… in more ways than one… and seemed to be WAY opposite to the Word of God that we have been standing on… But I quickly swallowed hard, pushed through the frustration… okay… a little bit of anger mixed in with it… and simply began to praise the Lord for His goodness, for His faithfulness, and for His love for Piper and I.  In fact, my anger toward the situation at hand turned into righteous indignation toward the enemy of our souls, and I found myself digging in and focusing on the Word even more than I had earlier in the day when things seemed to be clicking with well-coordinated synchronization.
Finally the intensity of the way I was feeling began to subside and I was able to clean up the spots on the rug leaving no discernable stain, washed up and hit the sack again.  And throughout this whole time and the rest of the night, Piper slept comfortably and never made a noise.  In fact, I actually got up a couple of times to make sure she was okay!  Then I fell into a deep sleep and the next thing I knew it was 9:00 AM!
As I reflected on all this at breakfast, I could not help but think about Jesus’ words to us in John 14:27 where He said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (KJV)  I bolded out the phrases “Let not” and “Neither let” for a good reason, as His peace in, for and through us is dependent upon US taking those actions!
I could have had a real anger and fear fest last night if I had chosen so… but thank God, I didn’t.  The pressure of the situation was quickly curtailed and He (and I) got the victory when I controlled my emotionally charged thoughts and words and re-focused my attention of the truth of God’s Word that we have been standing on… instead of what was unfolding before me… at 3:00 AM on a dark, rainy and windy night!
You know… His peace will ALWAYS prevail… if we let it!  Have you ever experienced that phenomenon?  What choice will you make the next time things seem to be spiraling out of control around you?  According to Jesus… the choice is TOTALLY up to you!  Have a great and peaceful weekend.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or in Whom am I expecting to choose my peace today?”