Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~A Day To Remember~ May 27, 2013

thewallMemorial day is a time to honor the service men & women of our country.  I hate to admit it, but as a teenager, it was just another holiday that got me out of school.  Now I understand just what it cost in order for us to have the freedom that we oftentimes take for granted.

I think of countries where there is no freedom of religion and I’m thankful for those who gave their lives that we might have ours.  We aren’t told what we can believe in this great nation.  We have the right to choose our faith and live it out openly with no reprimand.

What about the freedom of speech & press?  Had it not been for the brave men & women who stood up for what was right, I would not be able to sit at my tiny, makeshift desk in the corner of my dining room and write about the God I love then share it with the world without fearing for my life.

These freedoms may not have cost you or I anything, yet we are reaping the reward.  Thank the veterans that you know for the high price they paid knowing that one day someone else was going to receive the benefit.  Those who died on the battlefield, willingly gave their lives knowing there would be no personal gain.  Selfless.  In a word, that is how I would describe every member of our armed forces in the United States of America.

I would like to share with you a bit of a young man’s story who I first heard of yesterday during our Memorial Day video at church in Ronald Reagan’s inaugural address in 1981:

“Each one of those markers (At Arlington National Cemetery) is a monument to the kinds of hero I spoke of earlier. Their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.

Under one such marker lies a young man—Martin Treptow—who left his job in a small town barber shop in 1917 to go to France with the famed Rainbow Division. There, on the western front, he was killed trying to carry a message between battalions under heavy artillery fire.

We are told that on his body was found a diary. On the flyleaf under the heading, “My Pledge,” he had written these words: “America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”

The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice that Martin Treptow and so many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God’s help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

And, after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans. God bless you, and thank you.”

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

(John 15:13 NIV)

Thank you to all the men and women who are currrently protecting me by choosing to sacrifice each and every day.  Thank you to the veterans who lead the way and left us a shining example on what it means to serve others needs above your own.  To those who laid down their lives on the battlefield, who we cannot thank, we honor you in the lives that we now live because of you.  You are loved.  You are needed.  You are appreciated.  God bless you today, tomorrow and forever.  Amen

 

 

~Freedom in Worship~ April 29, 2013

worship“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”

(Hebrews 13:15 NIV)

Yesterday was a life-changing day for our church.  I struggle to even put into words how God moved among His people.  I will attempt to tell it as a story from my point of view, only to give you a visual of just how powerful and awesome our God is.

As part of the worship team, we began with prayer just before the start of service.  Our leader prayed that God, not us, would lead the service.  That it would be His will that was done to achieve what He desired.  As soon as we sang the first note, I knew this was not going to be an ordinary service.  We don’t live by feelings, but I’m telling you, you could feel the presence of God in that place.  Hands began to go up throughout the room.  As we moved through the set, more and more people began to worship.  And I mean really worship.  No one seemed to care who was around them, who was watching or what they might think.  The Lord was breaking down some barriers for our church.  Song three, “Forever Reign,” and I was lost in my own worship to God.  We moved right into our last song before the message, “You Are Holy,” and the worship being lifted to God was without question, the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.  I was weeping, as were others in the congregation, some had come to the altar while others dropped to their knees with their faces to the ground in the presence of the Lord.

Our Pastor came up and said he felt we needed to remain in an attitude of worship and prayer for the remainder of our time together.  He chose to put aside the message he had prepared in order to allow God to have His way.  He gave an exhortation to the church to get rid of anything that was separating them from God, to dedicate their all to Him.  People began to flood the altar for prayer as the worship team continued to play and the elders and their wives moved throughout the crowd to pray in agreement with those who had came forward.

There truly are no words to describe what God did in those altars yesterday.  It was freeing, humbling and awe-inspiring all at once.  Lives were forever changed in an instant.  Walls that had taken years to build came crumbling down before the Lord.  Hearts that had become closed because of past hurts and heartaches were opened to the love of God.  Souls that had gone astray found their way back onto the path that leads to victory.

It was a glorious day that I feel privileged to have been a part of.  It’s moments like that when you know that the God you serve is real, that He loves you with an everlasting love and that He is near to those who call on Him.

I have attached the song that we sang as performed by CFNI. I pray that you would listen to the words, realize that God can cleanse you of whatever it is that keeps you from fully surrendering to Him, and that your life would be forever changed by the power of His Spirit at work in you.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters,I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

(Romans 12:1 NLT)