Finding Peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

Good morning! For this month’s theme, I chose the word peace. Who doesn’t appreciate a little peace? I know I do! But what about those times when peace seems to allude us even when we’re doing all the right things? You know, those times when we’re showing symptoms of Martha syndrome.

For example, as vessels, we are in need of filling. If we’re filled to the brim with everything around us, we have no room for the things of God. Empty, we have nothing to offer those we meet along the way. That is why we must take the time to rest, rejuvenate, and connect with the Prince of Peace.  Such was a time for me this past week!

As I pondered on this month’s posts, colorful visitors kept dropping by to say hello. Less than ten feet outside my office window, their bright colors kept catching my eyes and diverting my attention from the monitor. It was as if the Creator was inviting me to come away for a moment and enjoy His gifts.

My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Song of Songs 2:10-13

Mama Flycatcher CHW-1

O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. Song of Songs 2:14

At times, finding peace is as easy as changing our focus.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:31

Perfect Tree Canopy CHW-1

Sometimes, it’s as close as lying beneath the shade of an oak contemplating our blessings.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights… James 1:17

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Peace can be as close as our backyard!

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1

 Sunset 3-1

Such wondrous beauty we often forfeit when we fail to take the time to appreciate God’s gifts. Creation is a testimony of His greatness. Take a look around and drink your fill. I promise you won’t leave thirsty!

What are some things you do, other than reading your Bible and praying, to connect with the Prince of Peace? Let me know in the comments!

 

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

There is nothing I enjoy more than music that points to the Savior.

In the past weeks, I have enjoyed finding new artists to share with you. Each day the songs I posted were on my mind reminding me of the reason for the season. But then things changed as problems on top of problems occurred. At first, it didn’t faze my joy. But then yesterday…

Everything I touched went wrong. Have you ever had one of those days? I tried baking bread. The dough didn’t rise. I tried making divinity candy. The thermometer went haywire. The first batch of sugar and water turned to rock candy. The second batch was too syrupy. Then, I tried making pralines. That didn’t turn out right either. My daughter said she didn’t care what the candy looked like, it was still good to her! I disagreed. I like pretty candy.

Just before I fell into the “depths of despair,” Paul’s words suddenly came to mind. “We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). I remembered the post, Joy to the World. Moment of truth! I always have a choice whether to give in to my emotions or reach for higher ground. So, I took a deep breath and made a decision. I would not allow my circumstances or the enemy to steal my joy and peace. I stepped out of the kitchen and began thanking the Lord for everything in my life. And do you know what happened? That’s right. My joy returned, and peace flooded my soul once more.

 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. Psalm 16:9

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matthew 11:28-29

Through the Prince of Peace, we have rest!

History

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833. Although the author is unknown, it is believed to be one of the oldest carols. It appeared in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843). Listen to the 1917 Edison record recording here.

Favorite Line

To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray

I confess I enjoy the 1917 Edison recording, but Keith and Kristyn Getty makes the Irish in me stand up and shout, “Yes!”

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

It isn’t surprising that I have Christmas carols running through my mind day and night. What’s surprising is the one that has played non-stop for the past two weeks.

The carol?

I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Wanting to know more, I went in search of the story behind the song. What I found made me appreciate the song even more.

  • In 1831, Longfellow married Mary Storer Potter.
  • November 1835, Mary died during a miscarriage.
  • July 1843, He married Frances (Fanny) Appleton. They had six children—five survived.
  • April 1861, Confederate soldiers fired on Fort Sumter and the Civil War officially began.
  • July 1861, Fanny Longfellow’s dress caught on fire. When Longfellow failed to put out the blaze with a rug, he tried to smother the flames with his own body. The next morning Fanny died. Longfellow’s wounds did not allow him to attend his wife’s funeral. He grew a beard later because of his inability to shave.
  • March 1863, his son Charles left home to join the Union army.
  • May 1863, Charles is sent back home due to typhoid fever.
  • July 1863, Battle of Gettysburg
  • August 1863, Charles returns to his unit.
  • November 1863, Charles is wounded when a bullet hits his left shoulder.
  • December 1863, Longfellow receives word of his son’s
  • December 1863(1864?) Longfellow pens the poem, “Christmas ”
  • April 1865 the Civil War ends.

When reading the facts of Longfellow’s life, we are far removed from the pain. But when we take into account of losing two wives, a child, and the almost fatal injuries of his first-born, then we can begin to imagine his anguish in the world around him.

The Civil War alone claimed an estimated 640,000 to 700,000 lives.

And amid these horrible conditions Longfellow remained quiet. Some write he didn’t publish anything for two years. But as the bells pealed the news of “peace on earth, goodwill to men” Longfellow could not stay quiet. His ears heard one thing while his eyes saw another. Side by side stood the glaring contradictions.

The war-ravaged countryside.

The Prince of Peace!

Longfellow wrote seven stanzas. Two spoke of the horrors of the war. Later when John Baptiste Calkin wrote the music, he dropped those two verses and rearranged the remaining five for the song we all know and love. Below is the last two stanzas of the original poem.

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said,

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead: nor doth He sleep;

“The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

*Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

What an amazing contrast! When our eyes “see” one thing and our hearts “understand” another. Paul wrote, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

It can’t be explained with human reasoning. It must be experienced. And that experience comes with knowing the Prince of Peace! I’m so glad I know him! How about you?

*Most books and sites noted this song (poem) Public Domain.

Want to know more? Visit:

The True Story of Pain and Hope Behind “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

Poem of the Week

History Net.com

Poets.org

What Saith the Scripture.com

Blessings

Gail