Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Just Wondering ...

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I made a change this year by focusing on a theme rather than books of the Bible. I just thought it was time for a change.

It’s now been a month, and I have to ask: What do you think? Do you like focusing on peace, for example? Or is your preference going through the book of James as we just did?

I started this blog because I wanted to share God’s words with whomever took the time to read, and I will continue doing so until I have no readers … or God makes it clear it’s time to stop.

So … please do me a favor and either comment here, or send me an email at speakersauni@gmail.com. Since this blog is for you, I want to make certain you are blessed by what you read.

And know that I'm grateful for each of you!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Be a Peacemaker (Matthew 5:9)

Today’s scripture: Matthew 5:9

Some people are just naturally peaceful people. They just seem to take everything in stride, like water off a duck’s back. Nothing seems to faze them.

That’s not me.

I’m not naturally a peacemaker. I tend to get a little “het up” (a good Southern term) when things don’t go the way I expect. I get frustrated with the nuts on the street. I get annoyed when my computer decides to freeze up. I get miffed when my husband doesn’t pick up after himself (which he does more and more lately—praise God!).

But in recent years, I’ve been called to be the peacemaker on more than one occasion. I’ve had to be the mediator in situations that would otherwise be volatile or hurtful or even destructive.

It’s not always easy because it really does go against my natural self.

However, I now know that being a person of peace can be learned. Well, it can be learned by asking God to help.

I’m sorry to tell you, but you can’t get away with saying, “I’m just not that way.”

God can help you.

Be a peacemaker, so that you can be called a son or daughter of God.

Do you find it hard to be a peacemaker? Would you rather just knock heads together? God calls us to be makers of peace. If this is a struggle for you, ask Him now to help you. Be a maker of peace to those around you.   

Friday, January 27, 2017

Righteousness In Peace (James 3:18)

Today’s scripture: James 3:18

Read this verse again: Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

We know that we serve a holy God and that we need to be righteous as well. When we confess our sins to Him, we are holy in His eyes.

Now look at the last part of this verse again: peace is sown by those who make peace.

This says something pretty incredible: We can be sowers of peace. We can not only choose to be peaceful ourselves, but we can also sow peace in the lives of others.

Think about this.

You’re a parent; you can sow peace in the lives of your children and help them to live lives of peace themselves.

You’re a worker; you can sow peace in the lives or your coworkers and help them to complete their tasks in peace.

You’re a friend; you can sow peace in the lives of your dearest companions and help them to find peace in the storm.

You can do that. By being righteous, by seeking God’s peace, by living a life that glorifies the Lord, you can be a sower of peace.

In whose life can you be a sower of peace? Ask God to reveal to you someone to whom you can share God’s peace. And then share it.   

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pursue Peace (2 Timothy 2:22)

Today’s scripture: 2 Timothy 2:22

We live in a crazy, mixed-up, upside-down world. We watch television, read the latest People™ magazine or read the newest Internet headline, and we’re told that riches and beauty will bring us happiness and peace.

Movie stars and rock musicians and sports heroes buy their homes and jewels and Jaguars and tell us that life is just one big party. Drinking and drugs and sex. That’s what’s going to bring us satisfaction and fulfillment.

And tragically, many of us buy into that—even people who calls themselves followers of Christ.

Let me tell you something: None of that will bring happiness. Or satisfaction. Or fulfillment. And none of it will certainly bring any peace.

Peace, true peace, only comes from God.

And how do we pull our gaze from the things this world throws at us? We “flee” from them. We run just as hard and as fast as we can in the opposite direction.

And where do we run?

We run to the God of peace, and we “pursue” those things that are gifts from God. We confess our sins and failings to Him, and we receive righteousness, faith, love . . . and yes, peace.

Have you been caught up with the world’s party? Join the best party in the universe. Seek God, and receive the peace that will fill your heart to overflowing.   

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Peace Among Yourselves (1 Thessalonians 5:12)

Today’s scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:13

Imagine: You wake up on a Monday morning with your entire week laid out in front of you. You spent a restful weekend: productive times of cleaning and shopping; fun times of play with the kids. Even a date night with your husband. You actually felt peace.

Your workweek plays itself out, and gradually, the peace you felt over the weekend begins to disappear. So many things demand your attention. Your job and its many challenges. Your kids and their endless activities. Your spouse and his needs.

You wonder if you’re ever going to be able to do everything you need to do . . . and that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach gets larger and larger as the week goes on.

Imagine weeks and weeks of this same cycle. What happens to your overall sense of peace?

So many demands. So many people stealing your peace—maybe not deliberately, but stealing it all the same.

The Bible tells us that we are to “be at peace among yourselves.”  Is this possible?

I think it is. You see, you have a choice to find the peace in the moment or to allow the worries and demands of the day take your joy away.

Make a choice to be at peace—with yourself and with others.

Do you sometimes lose the God-given peace to which you’re entitled? Make a choice today to experience God’s peace. Ask Him today to help you find the peace in every moment. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Peace Through the Blood of the Cross (Colossians 1:19-20)

Today’s scripture: Colossians 1:19-20

God the Father was pleased to bring His children, His created children, back to Himself through God the Son, Jesus Christ.

From the beginning of time as we know it, God had a plan, a plan of salvation. Even as Adam and Eve sinned, God had a plan.

And His plan was for peace.

Now, it seems like a huge contradiction that peace would come through pain and suffering, but that was God’s plan. Peace came “through the blood of the cross.” Blood, Christ’s blood, brought us peace.

We created children of God can have peace as we’re reconciled to God through faith in Jesus.

It may not be a plan that makes sense to our human minds, but it’s a plan that makes perfect sense to God. And if we trust God, trust that He loves us as much as He says He does (John 3:16), then we can trust that, through each and every situation, we can and will find peace.

Do you find it hard to reconcile that peace comes through death, Christ’s death? Does that seem to be a bit drastic to you? Share your thoughts with God. Let Him help you through your confusion.   

Monday, January 23, 2017

Peace that Breaks Down Walls (Ephesians 2:14)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 2:14

I remember the day that the Berlin wall came down.

I’ve never been much of a history buff, and I don’t know a lot of names and dates, but I know enough about history to know that the wall was built in 1961 to divide east and west Berlin, and to cross over the wall from one side to the other was to take one’s life in his hands.

There are walls dividing people every where—some are literal, like the fences we often have to keep our neighbors out of our yards; some are figurative, like the wall between two people who have hurt each other one too many times.

Jesus came to give peace and to break down the walls between us. We can be one in Christ, without division, if we only seek reconciliation through the love of Christ.

It’s not easy, though. Sometimes our walls feel protective. If no one can get past the wall in my heart, we think, then no one can hurt me. But if we never let anyone in, then we can never experience the joy that can come from a relationship based on trust and love.

Walls can be appropriate, but those that divide our hearts must come down.

Do you have any walls that are keeping people out of your heart? Do you have any walls that are dividing you from someone you love? Talk to God now, and ask Him to give you the peace that can come from breaking that wall down.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Fruit of Peace (Galatians 5:22-23)

Today’s scripture: Galatians 5:22-23

Karen sat in the morning service and just about got up and walked out. Pastor Reed was talking about the fruit of the Spirit, and Karen just couldn’t take it anymore.

She’d known Jesus since childhood, and she’d asked Him to come into her heart when she was in junior high school. She knew all about His love and peace and forgiveness. She knew that she was to be Christ-like in everything she did.

But today, she didn’t feel at all Christ-like.

This morning, she’d had another fight with her husband, Jeff. He’d stopped going to church a while ago, saying he didn’t see the need to go to a place that was full of hypocrites. He said that he still had a relationship with Jesus, and that his faith was just as strong as it had ever been. He didn’t stop her from going or from taking the kids. He just wouldn’t be going himself.

And now, she was hearing about love and joy . . . and peace.

She still loved Jeff—no question about that. But she wasn’t feeling a whole lot of peace. Wasn’t he supposed to be the spiritual head of their home? How could he be that if he wouldn’t even go to church.

Where’s that peace I’m supposed to feel? she silently asked.

Just then, a voice spoke to her heart:

The fruit is available to you, my child. Ask, and I’ll help you.

So she did. And He did.

Do you also struggle with this one “fruit of the Spirit”? You too can have this peace, if only you ask.   

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Live in Peace (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Today’s scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:11

The Bible tells us that we as Christians are part of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27). Each of us has a role to play, and all of us need to work together. Together, we can “be complete” and of “one mind.” We are to “live in peace.”

It’s not always easy, though, is it?

There always seem to be that committee member or small group leader that you just can’t seem to get along with. Living in peace seems to be a pipe dream.

The key in this verse may be that second sentence: “Be of good comfort.” If we’re focusing on providing comfort for others, on seeking to help them with their needs, then our eyes come off of us and onto them.

We can choose to live at peace with others, even if they’re difficult or different. We can choose to set our minds upon things of the Lord, and when we do, we can have confidence that God is with us, that His peace is with us.

Think about someone you have difficulty getting along with. Is it possible for you focus on him and his needs? Can you look at her through the eyes of Jesus? Pray that the Lord will give you compassion for that person, knowing that He will give you peace.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Peace Through Justification (Romans 5:1)

Today’s scripture: Romans 5:1

Jerry thought he had it made. He’d investigated religions and belief systems from every part of the world. He’d found his “inner self” and that self was strong, or so he thought.

He moved up the corporate ladder. He lived in a plush penthouse apartment. He was surrounded by friends. But still something seemed to be missing.

Something . . . crucial was missing.

As he sat on the balcony of that penthouse apartment, he heard a vacuum running in the apartment just below his. A normal, everyday sound. The sound of the vacuum stopped, and in its place, he heard another sound. This time, a voice, singing words he’d never heard before:
When peace like a riverAttendeth my wayWhen sorrow like sea-billow roll.Whatever my lot,
Thou hast caused me to say,It is well, it is well with my soul. (Horatio Spafford, 1873)

Peace like a river? Jerry thought. It is well with my soul? I’ve never felt peace like any river.

Suddenly, from the back of his mind, he remembered something he’d read from the Bible during his time of investigation. Something about Jesus’ dying for him. Then he remembered reading about being forgiven. And still another about peace that surpasses understanding.

He remembered that he had to have faith in Jesus. And that faith would bring him peace.

Peace like a river.

Do you long to be able to sing that it truly is well with your soul? When was the last time that you remembered that because you are justified through faith in Jesus, you can have peace? Remember now.   

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Courageous Peace (John 16:33)

Today’s scripture: John 16:33

There was a time when I really thought the enemy was winning the war—not just the battle, but the war.

Nothing was going right. My husband and I were trying to have a baby, and nothing. We’d gone to a fertility specialist, and we’d been told that nothing was clinically wrong with either of us. We just had to keep trying. And try we did.

But still nothing.

During this several-year journey, I’d recommitted my life to Jesus, and I knew He was on my side of the battle. I believed that our side would win.

But still nothing.

I was finally diagnosed with likely infertility (that so-called specialist hadn’t dug deeply enough), and the battle changed: I wasn’t fighting to get pregnant, I was fighting for peace.

And that’s when I really felt Jesus on my side. I knew that He promised peace in the midst of tribulation. And I finally remembered that last part of John 16:33. I could be of good cheer because Jesus really has overcome the world. Already overcome.

What battles are you fighting? Are you fighting them alone? Or have you asked Jesus to join you in the battle? More importantly, have you asked Him to give you peace no matter what the outcome? Talk to Him now. Ask Him to reassure you that He really is the victor. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Unworldly Peace (John 14:27)

Today’s scripture: John 14:27

The world offers peace—on its terms.

Watch television or read the latest magazine or peruse the internet. The world would tell you that peace comes from driving the best car or wearing the trendiest clothes. Peace comes from having a great sex life or a lucrative career. Peace comes from fame or fortune.

That’s what the world would tell you.

But the world would be wrong.

I tried for years to find the world’s peace. I was college-educated, happily married, well-employed. We owned our home, our cars, our stuff. We enjoyed our vacations and partied with friends.

I had it all, or so the world would say.

But I had nothing, really. I was miserable. Borderline suicidal miserable.

It wasn’t until I recommitted my life to the Lord that I realized that Jesus was right: He gives a peace that the world can’t begin to compete with. His peace is all-encompassing, and it saturates down to your very soul. It’s a peace that illuminates the peace of the world for what it really is: shallow, empty, sad.

Have you bought into the world’s definition of peace? And do you feel a hole in your heart and soul? Talk to Jesus now about His peace. Have confidence that you don’t have to be troubled; He will give you peace.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Perfect Peace (Isaiah 26:3)

Today’s scripture: Isaiah 26:3

Did you notice as you read this verse that the order is reversed?

If we turn it around, this verse gives us instruction on how we too can have God’s perfect peace.

First, our minds must be “stayed” on God.

Stayed on God? What do these old-fashioned words mean? A synonym for “stay” is “reside,” meaning inhabit, dwell, live in.

To have our minds stayed on God, we must reside in Him. And to reside in Him, we must know Him intimately. And to know Him intimately, we must spend time in His Word, learning about Him. We must spend time in prayer, listening to His voice.

Second, we must trust Him.

Whom do we trust? We trust those who have proved to be trustworthy, those who have earned our trust. We can trust God because He has proven Himself worthy of our trust as He has provided for us, as He has protected us, as He has answered our


Third, God will keep us in perfect peace. This doesn’t mean we’ll never experience difficulty or suffering. It does mean that we will be able to feel His supernatural peace in the midst of the storm.

Is your mind “stayed” on God? If you don’t reside in Him, ask Him to help you do that. Do you trust Him with everything and everyone? If you find it hard to trust anyone, even God, share your heart with Him now. Ask Him to show you how worthy of your trust He is.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Time for Peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8)

Today’s scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8

We live in a time of more war than peace, it seems. Every time you turn on the news or read a paper, you read of war—not only “official” war in the middle east, but war on the very streets where we live.

Murder. Shootings. Rape. Fights on the playground.

War everywhere.

The Bible says that there’s a purpose for everything, including war. How can that be? And when will the time come for peace?

We will never have world-wide peace until Jesus returns and sets up the New Heaven and the New Earth as described in Revelation 21:1-4. But we who trust in God can have peace in the midst of the war. We can trust Him to bring us peace and calm now, here on this earth.

And we can trust Him for that world-wide peace that we’ll someday experience as we spend eternity with Him.

Do you find it hard to find the peace within the war? Have you lost someone to the literal war that takes place, whether across the seas or in your own neighborhood? Talk to God right now. Share with Him your heart and ask Him to show you that there really is a time of peace.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Seek ... and Pursue Peace (Psalm 36:14)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 34:14

When we give our lives to Jesus and ask Him to forgive us of our sins, we are clean in the eyes of the Father. Jesus is the bridge that spans sin and brings us back to God’s arms.

But just because we’re forgiven and we have confidence that we’ll spend eternity with Jesus in heaven, we still have to be diligent here on earth.

We know we’re in a war with the enemy (Ephesians 6:12), and this world offers temptations that sometimes entice us to do evil. We must stand firm and turn away from those temptations. We must recognize where we’re weak and literally walk away from those things that might bring us down.

Then we need to seek peace, really seek it. The Bible says we’re to pursue it, chase after it. We shouldn’t wait for it to fall into our laps; rather, as we “do good,” we should be pursuing those things that are holy and righteous. We should practice the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), which includes, by the way, peace.

Do you find yourself sometimes looking at something that you know you shouldn’t? Do you allow yourself to get caught up in those things that you know will pull you down? Commit to God now that you will “depart from evil,” from those things you know attack your weaknesses.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Lord Gives Peace (Numbers 6:24-26)

Today’s scripture: Numbers 6:24-26

The people of Israel, God’s chosen people, were the most fickle folks around. The entire book of Exodus tells of God’s provision for them: He took them out of slavery in Egypt; He provided food in the form of quail and later manna; He guided them both night and day; and He promised them that He would lead them to the land of milk and honey that He’d promised.

You would think that they would be grateful, but time and time again, they complained and rebelled and outright sinned.

But God continued to love them and bless them and provide for them. In the book of Numbers, God gave Moses a blessing to give to the people. God’s words are written in today’s scripture.

No matter what His people did, God still wanted to bless them and keep them. He wanted to shine His glory upon them. He wanted to be gracious to them. And He wanted to give them peace.

And you know something? He wants the same for you. He wants to bless you and give you grace. And He wants to give you peace.

Do you sometimes think that you’re so far gone that peace just isn’t yours for the asking? Guess what? You can never be so far away from God that you can’t find His blessing, His grace, or His peace. You just have to ask. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Lord of Peace (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Today’s scripture: 2 Thessalonians 3:16

The Lord just doesn’t give peace, He is peace. Peace is defined as a state of tranquility and serenity. As you think of that definition of peace, do you picture God? Do you think of Him as tranquil or serene? Or do you think of Him as the great disciplinarian, standing somewhere in heaven ready to rain down wrath and judgment?

The Bible makes it clear that God will judge, and like a loving Father, He does correct us when we’re wrong.

But He also is peace itself.

What does that mean? It means that when we’re in His presence, when we sit at the feet of the throne of our Lord, we can experience His peace washing over us like a warm summer rain.

All we have to do is ask.

Ask Him now. Ask Him to fill you with His peace. Ask Him to fill you with Himself.

Think about God being peace itself. What does that mean to you? How might that change how you picture God? How might that change how you spend time with Him?

Friday, January 06, 2017

Great Peace (Psalm 119:165)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 119:165

The Psalmist writes that those who love the law of the Lord will have great peace. Love the law of the Lord. What does that mean?

In the Old Testament, the law of the Lord was what is called the Pentateuch, the five books written by Moses. Anyone who wanted to know God would know those books intimately.

Today, we have the entire Bible available to us to know God. The more we know His word, the more we know Him. We’ve been given a tremendous gift. Loving the law of the Lord, the Bible, means that we want to spend time in it, reading it, studying it, internalizing it. Loving the law of the Lord means we want to “meditate on it day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

But what about the second part of Psalm 119:165? What does it mean that those who love the law of the Lord won’t stumble?

I believe that it means that when we know the law of the Lord, when we know His words, we have a way to combat the lies of the enemy. We know we’re in a battle with Satan (Ephesians 6:12), and the only way to really respond to his lies is to know the words of the Lord. When he attacks, we can use God’s own words to catch him in his lies. Jesus Himself was able to counter the lies of the enemy when He was being tempted in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11).

If we know and love the law of the Lord, we can have peace in a growing relationship with God, and we can have confidence that our knowing God’s word will keep us from stumbling.

How much do you love the law of the Lord? Do you meditate on it day and night? Do you desire to spend time with the Lord, getting to know Him through His word? Make a commitment with God right now to learn to love His law.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Peace and Strength (Psalm 29:11)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 29:11

Often, I feel very, very weak—emotionally, mentally, spiritually. The world seems to be closing in, and I can’t seem to dodge the boulders being tossed at me, right and left.

Often, I try to take on the world and its challenges on my own, and I feel the weight crushing me, pushing me down until I lie prostrate on the ground.

I can’t do this, I think.

And I’m right. I can’t do this—on my own, that is.

We humans are fleshly, fallen, frail creatures, and we don’t have the strength to combat what this world throws at us. We truly are incapable.

But we do have Someone who can give us all the strength we need: our heavenly Father. He promises strength to us. In fact, as the apostle Paul wrote, we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13). 

And along with that strength, He promises peace. He will bless us with peace.

Yes, we may be incapable, but He is more than capable. We can trust in His strength; we can trust in His peace.

When was the last time you tried to handle the world’s challenges on your own? How did it go? Maybe you’re trying to dodge those boulders right now. Ask God to give you His strength to help you through.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Lie Down in Peace (Psalm 4:8)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 4:8

The night can bring fear and anxiety. Too often we lie in bed, tense and frantic as we rehash the events of today and worry about what's coming tomorrow.

We fret about the stock market, our jobs, our spouses, or our kids. Or all of the above. We worry about distant wars and too-close-for-comfort crime.

We watch the news or peruse the Internet just before we turn out the lights.

And then we lie in the dark ... and sleep won't come.

Worst-case scenarios overflow. What-if's run rampant.

We wonder how we'll survive the night.

I can only speak for myself, but the only way I've found to combat fear in the night is to pray. Seriously. I know I'm not in control of anything, so when I go to the One who is in control, the One I truly trust, then more often than not, I feel peace as I let go of worry, anxiety, and fear.

Do you sometimes feel anxious at night, thinking about all the troubles of the day? Reflect on what it means to be able to sleep in peace, trusting in God’s safe-keeping.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Peace That Surpasses Understanding (Philippians 4:6-7)

Today’s scripture: Philippians 4:6-7

The email was shocking: A friend of mine from high school had brain cancer. Brain cancer! And the prognosis wasn’t good.

What must he and his wife be feeling? I thought. How can they handle this? What pain they must be enduring.

I wondered if they would find the peace that God promised through His servant Paul.

Then I received another email from this friend’s wife, and I was greatly encouraged. She wrote of the confidence they had that the Lord was in control and that everything would happen according to His plan.

How do we get through the deepest valleys? How do we make our way to the top of the mountain? We do it by trusting that God is who He says He is. We do it by having confidence that we can come to Him with all our questions, our pains, our doubts. And He will give us a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Are you hurting right now? Are you feeling rejected or frightened or confused? Reflect on the promise of the Lord, the promise that you can receive peace. His peace.

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Lord Speaks Peace (Psalm 85:8)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 85:8

For quite a while now, these weekday devotionals have focused on books of the Bible, taking them verse by verse. This year, I’m going to shift a bit. Instead of entire books, I’m going to look at themes. The first? Peace.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to include entries from a devotional I wrote a few years ago on that very topic:

I was driving into work, minding my own business, when a pick-up truck decided to pass me on a winding road. Just as he passed me, a car from the opposite way sped around the corner. The truck swerved in front of me, and I slammed on my brakes.

My heart beating out of my chest, I cried out as I watched the car behind me come ever closer. Praise God, no one hit anyone else, but it took the rest of the drive for my heart to calm . . . and even longer for my spirit to calm.

I’d started the day feeling nothing close to peace. I had to ask the Lord to restore my peace, and He did exactly what the psalmist said He would; He spoke peace to my heart, reminding me that He is in loving control of everything.

How often do we allow circumstances or other people to take the peace that God has promised us? Just take it from our hearts? If we can stop and listen to God, and seek His peace, He will shower us with that peace. He will whisper words of comfort. He promises.

Think of a time when someone or something stole the peace from your heart. How did you feel? Did you stop to hear God’s voice? Ask God to speak peace to your heart right now.