Friday, October 28, 2022

You can't out give God.

 

My husband and I are getting ready to speak at a United Marriage Encounter Weekend.  United Marriage Encounter holds many weekends every year for couples that want take their marriage to the next level.  It is a great opportunity to learn a new tool for communication and practice it while on the Weekend.  It’s like a tune-up for your marriage.  We need annual tune ups for our car.  Why are we not thinking about our marriage the same way?

UME is a 100% volunteer organization, so it takes many hands to make the work light.  There are numerous tasks that need to be completed before the couples arrive on a Weekend Friday night.  My husband and I are the executive couple for the local community and assist with the many tasks that help the Weekend go on without a hitch.  We have been volunteering since 2016 which was our original Weekend.

Our first task is always prayer.  Prayer is first because spiritual warfare is strong.  The enemy does not want marriages to become stronger.  If anything, the enemy wants to destroy marriages and families.  This way the foundation is cracked and is vulnerable to attacks.  We need God in our marriages to keep our perspective when the attacks occur.

My husband and I often walk into the Weekend on Friday singed from all the attacks.  If the enemy can reach us, then the UME Weekend can be affected.  God always fills our cups as we pour into the couples on the weekend.  I am amazed every Weekend how God shows up and we walk out as refreshed as the couples.

We all know, where God calls us, He also prepares and qualifies us.  Carl and I are far from perfect.  We are two ordinary people willing to be used by God.  He receives all the Glory as we share our stories on the Weekend.  We often say that we are God’s cosmic joke teaching marriage tools when we both have been married three times.  The awesome part is that GOD gets ALL the credit when we present on Weekends.  He qualifies us.  He gives us the words.  He is in control, and we don’t need to feel unqualified.  I am so thankful for His calling on our lives. 

But don’t forget, where God calls you, the enemy is right around the corner ready to attack because that way he can ruin your testimony.  Staying on our knees in prayer helps us to be humble and remember who is really in control.  This is His weekend, not ours.  He is the one reaching the couples, not us.

With all the hours and spiritual warfare, you might ask - Why do we do this?  One thing I have learned in my pursuit of His will is that you cannot outgive God.  He called us to be a part of this marriage ministry.  And like the loaves and fishes, we never walk away with less than we put into the Weekend.  We give our time, and our finances to bless couples we don’t know because God called us to do so.  When we do, there are miracles that happen each Weekend.

What has God called you to do?  Remember where He calls you, He will qualify you.  Whether it is your time or finances, you cannot out give God.  Pray today to see where you can be used in the Kingdom.

 

Want to know more about UME and what we do?  Click here or send me a message and I can help!

www.unitedmarriage.com

 

Ephesians 6:12-13

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

 

Isaiah 6:8  

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

 

Isaiah 48:15  

I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him. I will bring him, and he will succeed in his mission.

 

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

 

Luke 6:38

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Thankful in the waiting...

 



Waiting is not one of my strong suits.  Patience is one of the fruits of the spirit.  Honestly, it is one of the last ones I ask for from our Father.   Have you heard when you pray for patience, God gives you a trial to build patience in you?

I know, you don’t need to ask for patience for God to work it in you.  I also know that God knows what we need and often brings us the trials to build us and bring us closer to Him.  We are being refined in the fire.  A diamond is not created without pressure on all sides of a piece of coal.



During the trials in my life, I have learned to step aside and spend time with my Father.  Once I ‘get away’ from the noise around me I can then start to think logically.  I refocus my thoughts to what I am thankful for.  When you look at a difficult situation in thankful terms, it becomes easier to swallow the bitter pill of the trial you are experiencing.

We may have no control over the trials and tragedies in our lives, but we have control over our thoughts and actions.  When I was younger in my faith it was easy to ‘react’ and justify my reactions.  Slowly the Lord has worked in me to pause, pray, then move forward.  Being thankful for the little things around me helps my ‘knee jerk’ reaction.  In the grand scheme of things, life can always be worse. 

When I feel overwhelmed or frustrated, I take a breath.  What can I be thankful for today?  It may not be what I am going through. However, I can be thankful for other things.  Here are just a few I remind myself:




My Salvation – I know how the book will end.  All will be resolved, and I will have eternal life with my Father in Heaven.

My husband – who is there for me in this crazy world we live in.

My health – it could always be worse.

My puppies – who make me laugh daily.

My sight – to see God’s beautiful creation around me

A roof over my head – there were days when I didn’t have one.

Money to buy gas – I remember counting change to fill my tank….  And not that long ago

Friends – Who are always there to stand in the gap and pray for us.

You – I am thankful for you! For hanging with me and listening to my ramblings weekly.


I could go on forever here…

So, when the trials hit, and they will, sit with me and write your thankful list.  It may not be about your trial. But we will always have something to be thankful for in the waiting…

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Psalms 106:1 (NIV)

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (NIV)

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Ephesians 5:20 (NIV)

always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

I thank my God every time I remember you.


Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Fall colors of change...


I love this saying:  

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go.

 

I love Fall and watching all the change of colors on the trees and bushes. The beautiful colors that blanket New York can be breathtaking.  This year seems to be more colorful than previous years. 

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I am finally taking the break to see the colors.

I also have mixed feelings about Fall because I know winter is right around the corner.  For us in the upstate, winter can be brutal at times.  Mind you, I love snow. 

Well, actually I really hate the cold and doing anything that requires me to wear several layers of clothes.  But I do love looking from my window as the landscape is blanketed by a soft snowfall during Christmastime.  I am definitely not a fan of driving in it or shoveling it out of my way.  Once Spring comes back to town, I am excited to see the flowers and leaves once again after a long winter.

The one constant in our lives is change. 

Agreeing with change does not mean we walk away from the foundation that God gave us.  Accepting change means we are letting God work in and through us.  Change means we allow God to add or remove things, people, or our plans so that He can accomplish His ultimate plan for our lives. 

Solomon knew about change when he wrote Ecclesiastes. 

Nothing can stop time from marching on.  Except God.  Remember that story about how God stopped the sun from setting? 

 

Joshua 10:12-14

On the day the Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the Lord in the presence of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being. Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!


Now that is my kind of God!  One that not only created the universe, but One that can stop the sun in its tracks!


Each day - time marches on with change.  We can take it one of three ways.


Ignore it.


Stick our heads in the sand like this ostrich and pretend it is not happening.  When I ignore change, I end up frustrated by its sudden knock on my door.


Fight it.


This picture says it all.  Fighting change is probably the most unproductive way to live our lives.  I am not saying I haven’t fought change in the past.  I have and often continue to fight change.  My prayer life helps me to see things in God’s perspective and not my own.  


Embrace it.



Embrace God’s plan for your life.  We can make a plan, but God determines our steps, remember?  God sees the beginning from the end of our lives.  We should trust He knows what is best for us.  When we allow God to change things in our life, we are giving our will over to His plans.  Remember the picture at the top?  Without the falling of the leaves, new growth can’t happen in the Spring.  Let God bring change in your life to create something even better.

---------------------------------- 

Today ask God to help you embrace change knowing you have an All-knowing God who can handle it.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.

 

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

 

 

Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved. 



Thursday, October 6, 2022

How healthy is your fruit?

 


Someone recently asked the question; “Is there enough evidence in your life that would convict you of being a Christian?”  I meditated on the question for a bit.  There are many paths it could take.

First, I thought of the countries that struggle with the ability to openly share their Christian faith.

Did you know that more than 80% of the world’s governments interfered with their citizens worship in some way in 2019? 

That was 2019…

This is 2022…  not much has changed.

This is a map of countries in blue where Christianity is illegal in 2022

 



It may be difficult to determine whether Christianity is illegal or legal in a country because the local laws can contradict themselves.  Some countries say they have freedom of religion, however if it interferes with the local government, it can be considered harmful to the country.

This is happening today in many countries and they covets your prayers.  I can’t imagine being persecuted because of my faith or hindered from reading my bible in public.

This subject tugs at my heart because I had a fourteen-year-old teen who went on a missions trip to Hong Kong in 1997 during the transfer from British rule back to China.  The stories he brought back were both scary and amazing.  Bibles were smuggled into the China and the Gospel was preached on the streets of Hong Kong daily.  God was with that team throughout the entire three-month trip. 

 


Back to the US.  Back to my backyard. 

What are we doing that would ‘convict’ us as a Christian? 

The ability to read our bible doesn’t break US laws, yet. We won't go down that rabbit hole today.

This question above must go deeper than the cross around our neck or the music we listen to.  What does scripture say? “You will know them by their fruit.”  Good trees bear good fruit.


What fruit am I producing?  Does it edify the body of Christ?  As we plant seeds and water them in others for the Lord, we will eventually see the harvest.  Not by our hands, but by our willingness to be an instrument for the Lord.  We must be bold as we share the Good News.  Time is short.  

God has called us to step out for Him.  He has given each one of us a gift or talent.  How are we using it for Him?  We will be accountable for the gifts He has given us.  Remember Matthew 25 and the parable of the bags of gold?  We are accountable for even the small things.  We are not all called to be Billy Graham.  But we are all called to use the talent God gave us. 

Plant a seed…  Water a plant…  Pray for the harvest…

So, can we be convicted by our fruit?  If so, praise God!  

If not, step back a moment and pray.  Ask God to show you how to be bolder for Him.  We are all a work in progress.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  

You are not expected to be perfect, just willing.  We will all be perfect when we are face to face with the Father. 

In the meantime, press on with me my friend...

  

1 Corinthians 3:7

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

Matthew 7:16-20

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 25:21

 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

 Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

The enemy in my head.


I got up that morning and started my day with prayer and devotions.  I judged the armor of God was firmly in place and ran full speed into my day.  I was working on several projects.  I had a list of things to do.  I pressed on tackling them one by one.  I was so focused on crossing off things on my to do list that I didn’t see the attack. 

My armor had slipped.  I went right into fix-it mode that I missed one part of Ephesians 6

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions

with all kinds of prayers and requests.

With this in mind, be alert

The enemy knew I was distracted by my day and used it against me.  I completed a story for my blog and proceeded to send the link out to some friends.  I then got ready and drove to the hairdresser. 

That is when things took a turn.  I noticed there were no responses to my texts.  I sent one to the office just checking in and again a few hours later - no response.  Instead of thinking about a possible technology failure, I turned inward and started to question myself. 

Did I write something that offended people.  Did I totally miss the mark?  Did I forget to ask God for direction.  None of those questions were true.  But I ran down the rabbit hole just the same.  I started to question the text I sent to the office.  I started to question everything.  Why?  Because I stopped praying in the Spirit and instead turned to my own strength and let the enemy get into my head.

“You offended someone” “You shouldn’t have taken time for yourself, you are selfish” “You are wasting time writing” “No one cares”

It was ugly.

I would like to say I turned it all around quickly, but I didn’t. When I returned home it continued. My mood was sour because I spent the day letting the enemy put me down.  I started to believe what I was hearing.  I received emails and calls on my phone so I assumed the texts were working as well.

The next morning, I woke up and looked at my phone.  Still no responses.  I suddenly got the bright idea to reboot my phone. I know, not my idea. I finally listened…

When I rebooted my phone, it started to go off like a 4-alarm fire call.  The texts came in fast and furious.  There were so many encouraging words pouring from my phone.  I just stood in dumb silence reading the texts and then cried.

I didn’t miss the mark.  The enemy didn’t want me to see who my writing had reached.  That story reached more than any others before it.  Why?  I don’t know, but God does.  He ordered my steps that day and told me what to write. 

I ignored Him after writing and let the enemy get into my head.  The enemy wanted to crush me and stop me from seeing what God did.  The enemy wanted to stop me from writing.

Someone later shared with me.  “If you are stepping into the enemy’s camp, don’t expect a welcome mat.”

What a GREAT statement!?



For a brief moment I forgot I was at war.  That’s all it took. I was distracted and forgot to pray.

 



Has God called you to do something for the Kingdom?  If so, secure your armor on for battle.  The enemy will do what ever he can to distract and discourage you.

Remember we are not at a playground; we are in the battle.  The battle for souls. But don’t forget, Got is on the Throne and We win in the end.  As I add on my Facebook posts - #weknowhowthebookends

Don’t forget!

Standing in prayer with you!  You got this!

 

Ephesians 6:10-19

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,

Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Stones of Remembrance...

We got good news yesterday.  Actually, three things happened that made me stop and thank God each time.  One was a reprieve from the storms ...