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Together: Five Minute Friday

Happy Friday! This is my first Five Minute Friday post from America in a while. I’m still a bit jet lagged from my summer in England, but I love getting up and joining in with this community on Friday mornings so here I am! This week our prompt is Together.

There’s enough division in these times. We have politics, socioeconomic status, race, religion, etc. dividing us and placing us in to categories with sloppy labels slapped right across our faces. We exclude, oppress, and ignore whole margins of society to inflate our own sense of worth.

How have we so quickly forgotten the strength of everyone working together?

During 2020, 2021, and parts of 2022, our world experienced a pandemic together. All edges of this world felt the changes that Covid forced upon us. At times, we worked together to slow the spread. We shut the doors and we stayed in our bubbles and we lived life a little more simply for a time. And we sacrificed to protect everyone because we were all facing Covid together.

Hurricane Katrina devastated America’s coastal states in 2005. For YEARS people flocked to the region from all over the world to provide aide and to serve in the area’s rebuild. Individuals and organizations worked together to restore the Gulf states and to meet the needs of those suffering the effects of storm damage, flooding, and loss.

In 2001, America was victim to an unthinkable act of terrorism. Afterwards, the country banded together to tighten security, to build our national defense, and to meet the needs of those mourning the loss of jobs, homes, and loved ones.

Worldwide pandemics, natural disasters, and national tragedies are all out of our control; however, it is in these times that we lay aside our differences and work together to survive and rebuild.

When things seem to be going well around us we find ways to inflate ourselves by excluding or shaming others. In those times, we forget about our indestructable strength together and we try to knock down any person who stands in our way. Arguments like, “Who is blame for rising gas prices?” destroy the united front that our world so desperately needs. We inflate our own egos by poking holes in others’.

The truth is we don’t get to decide who is “in” or “out”. The control over this world is not ours and it’s futile to continue living like we believe it is. In the hardest moments, we remember this truth, but it shouldn’t take tragedy to remind us that we are all in this together. It’s okay to disagree–healthy even. It’s okay to celebrate differences. It’s okay to express ourselves in our truest forms without putting others down. We are strongest when we remember that we live on this planet together. May we put down our weapons of words and violence and live together in peace and strength.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

A Prayer For Me and My Nation

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I’ve only been back in America for a few days and already my heart is burdened by its condition. So much pain caused by hate is having devastating effects on people. Like so many of you, I have found it hard to listen to reports about what is happening across the country. Senseless acts of violence plague the news, and social media is exploding with people pointing fingers in an attempt to deal with their fears and anger. As I’ve approached these issues personally I’ve come to realize that this sort of violence is reactionary. It’s a product of the condition of the hearts of people on all sides of the present arguments. And the only way our nation is going to see healing is if that condition of heart of the country changes. It isn’t guns or weapons doing all the killing. Hate is killing these people.

This Sunday my church pushed pause on the intended sermon message and we spent the service in prayer for our nation. During this time the Pastor led us through several passages then we were directed to pray and reflect on the state of our country.

This was such a moving time for me. It was in this intentional time of prayer that I realized that an issue I felt didn’t apply as much to me as others was really an issue that applies to everyone-especially me. The type of hate that has bred violence in our society didn’t come about because of race, gender, sexuality, etc. Rather this type of hate came about when we stopped loving everyone the way that the Lord commanded us to. I’m not sure about you, but that strikes pretty close to home. I’m guilty of not always giving grace and mercy to those who have wronged me. And more than a few times I’ve passed judgement on someone based on my own set of criteria and not based on anything Biblical. (Mostly because the Bible condemns a judgmental attitude)

It was in that moment that I realized that I was no longer just praying for other people fighting a battle that didn’t apply to me, but I was praying also for myself. When love leaves our hearts we allow so much of the world’s ugliness to penetrate it. My prayer is that we begin to realize this as a nation. But first as individuals of the nation.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(2 Chronicles 7:14)

 

I believe that God’s Word applies as much to us today as it did when it was originally penned. I believe the Word was inspired by God. It was even breathed by God. And because I hold so strongly to the truth of the Word I can’t help but be convicted by the words above.

If we want to see healing in our land, God has already provided us a framework for seeing that happen. It starts with those who are called by his names. It starts with Christians. And what are we to do?

-Humble ourselves

-Pray

-Seek God

-Turn from our wicked ways

And if we follow this truth God will forgive our sins and heal our land.

In the days to come I’ve committed to making this my prayer. Daily I must put on the armor of God and daily I must remind myself that I can’t just sit back and blame other people for the evils of this world. The battle to love others is personal battle. It starts in each of our hearts. And our nation will not see healing until the people who make up that nation humble themselves, pray to God for love to fill every part of their hearts and minds, seek God’s wisdom and truth, and turn from the wicked things that keep them from loving others and loving God.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith · Uncategorized

Today at Covenant…Suffering

This week Pastor Travis Davenport of Covenant Church in Grove City continued leading us through Romans 5. Today’s message was part of the sermon series Friends With Benefits. This portion of scripture is rough especially for those currently going through a tough circumstance, but that makes it even more important to be aware of the benefits of a friendship with Jesus. It’s when those tough times strike that we need him most in our lives.

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Suffering

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Romans 5:1-4

Suffering is a part of every journey with Christ. Sometimes suffering marks the beginning of our journey. Sometimes suffering occurs frequently on our road maps. But one thing is for sure: we will all face suffering of some kind in our lives. It’s easiest for us to thank God for His many blessings than to be grateful for the tough places he makes us wade through, however this passage highlights the necessity of those troubling moments in our faith. We love it when God chooses to listen to the prayers and answer them according to our will, but we need to remember that God is more concerned about our eternal state than our benefits here on Earth. Sometimes his answers don’t align with what we think they should, but that usually means that he’s allowing this testing to happen for a greater purpose. And those greater purposes are outlined here in the passage above.

In the pit of suffering the last thing we want to do is throw any type of party (except maybe a pity party.) So there is a struggle in comprehending verse four when Paul says to, “(rejoice or) glory in our sufferings.” The one practical piece this verse gives to us is a look at the importance of perspective when it comes to suffering. When we can stand up to the testing of our faith in the face of struggles we set off a chain reaction which reaps eternal benefits. (Oftentimes this is the purpose of the suffering we face.)

The Chain Reaction-

  1. Suffering leads to endurance
  • the Greek term for endurance means single-mindedness/focus
  • the act of suffering eliminates distractions in our lives
  • our time and money accumulate distractions, but the circumstance of suffering takes value away from things which formerly distracted us from God.

2. Endurance leads to character

  • character is proven through testing
  • once character has been tested the result is proven and genuine
  • you can take control of your suffering by controlling how you allow it to affect you

3. Character leads to hope

  • Hope is a conviction or confidence in an end result
  • our hope is rest and peace with God
  • our suffering removes any competition for our hope
  • suffering shows us that the only thing that will truly fix our situation is Jesus and proves that our hope is in eternal life with Jesus not in anything of this world.
  • there is no rest in any other outlet

So know that if you find yourself in a dark place struggling to keep your head above water that God has in mind your eternal benefits over your Earthly ones. It is not an easy message to digest especially in the midst of a large struggle, but if you endure, prove your character and place your hope in God then the benefits of those choices will far outweigh any other option.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Faith

Living in Peace

Lately, I have been focused on defeating anxiety in my personal study of the Bible. Anxiety is something I struggle with daily (as you can gather from my posts.) Through my studies I have learned that the opposite of living in anxiety and fear is living in peace. So what is peace? What does peace look like? These are the essential questions that drove my quest for finding peace and contentment in my own life. Here is a glimpse into what I am learning:
What is peace?
Peace is defined as freedom from disturbance; tranquility and quietness. (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary)
From the definition above I can tell you that I have not been living a life of peace. Try as I might to achieve freedom from disturbance I have struggled to find tranquility and quiet in my life. For me, anxiety is at its worst when I try to settle down and find rest. It is when the busy schedule ceases that anxiety attacks. In the moment that I try to turn off all disturbances in my life the worries begin to flood my mind and keep me from the rest and tranquility that peace promises. If I keep myself busy and don’t focus on my worries they seem to be non-existent, but that is not what the promise of peace is. Peace isn’t making yourself busy or ignoring the fact that you’re living your life in a state of fear. Peace isn’t appearing to have it all together.
If the words of Psalm 85:8 are true and God promises peace to His people why am I not experiencing the peace of God in my life? The answer is simple and lies in several verses throughout both the Old and New Testament: I am not seeking after peace in the way that I should. “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14) Peace is indeed a gift and promise from God, but because peace is a product of contentment it is something we must fight the enemy to obtain. Satan is always looking for ways to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) and he does so in sneaky and devious ways. (1 Peter 5:8) One thing he is constantly out to rob us of is the joy of taking possession of God’s promises. He puts doubts, anxieties, and fears in our minds and robs us of the peace that God has gifted to all of us.
So how do we defeat this master of deception? We seek peace. We look for peace wherever we can find it. We make the conscious choice to be content with our lives and our circumstances. We intentionally set out to create some quiet time and we reflect on all of God’s blessings in our lives. Peace will never come to those who constantly live in fear or timidity. Peace will come to those who seek it just like all of God’s other promises for us. (Jeremiah 29:13- You will seek me (God) and find me when you seek me with your whole heart.)
Some days it is easier than others to put a disciplined foot forward and race after the peace that is rightfully yours. Everyday we should make it our prayer that God give us peace in every situation. It is imperative that when we feel weak, impatient, and attacked by the world that we present our requests to God and seek peace!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
What does peace look like?
Peace is accepting whatever wrenches are thrown in our plans. It is choosing to be grateful for all that we have been blessed with instead of wanting more and better things. Peace is smiling in the face of adversity and rising above the competition. It is giving back to God as a way of thanking him for all he has done.
Let us now throw off all of the things in our lives that keep us from peace. For me, that means getting rid of my natural instincts toward anxiety and releasing control of my life to God. It isn’t until we empty our hands that we will experience the perfect peace that passes all understanding.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
Additional Verses about peace:
1. Psalm 29:11
2. Psalm 37:37
3. Romans 8:6
4. John 14:27
5. 2 Timothy 1:7
Questions to consider in your life:
1. What in your life keeps you from seeking peace?
2. How can you begin a journey of seeking peace in your life?
3. In what ways can you see the results of peace in your life?
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