THE “HOW TO” FROM ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Hello once again!

Looks like our good ol’ groundhog saw six more weeks of winter!  I hope you’re enjoy it and staying warm by the fire.  I’d like to pick up our discussion of how we can be a channel of God’s peace to all we meet.  According to St. Francis of Assisi in his prayer one way we can begin is to:

BRING TRUE FAITH WHERE THERE IS DOUBT

Let’s look at a possible scenario with a doubting friend who asks you:                “Well if your God really loved me, He never would have let this happen!”                                  “God is with you right now, my friend.  Do you know how much he loves you?”  “Yeah! Right!  He has one heck of a way of showing it, that’s for sure! What do you care anyway?”                                                                                                        “Because I love you the way that He does.  There is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus, my friend. It’s time to accept His forgiveness and sorrow for your hurt.”

I guess we all know that there is no other way of convincing hurting, angry people of God’s love than just by showing it to them.  When our faith burns strong, NO doubts, others feel it.  When our love is the TRUE love of our Jesus, friends feel it.

Showing TRUE faith tramples doubt in its tracks.  Hatred doesn’t stand a chance against the Love of Jesus!  That love never dies!  Hallelujah!!

HOPE AMIDST THE DESPAIR IN LIFE

We can bring Hope amidst the Despair in Life.   Despair is a Hopeless state – Despair is at the bottom – NO ONE wants to be in despair:

“That’s it, God!!  Where are you??  I’ve been searching for a job for a year!!  I’m done!” the young father’s screams echo through the night!

“How can you leave me all alone like this, God??” the widow amidst torrents of tears.

God’s dear children, He promises you :  I am always with you says the Lord.  I will NEVER EVER leave you!  I will not forsake you!!  Because I love you…                      Psalm 42: the psalmist knew deep despair as he cries out,  “Why are you so downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him my Savior and my God.”

“PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD”  –  This situation is  just so, so hard.  Being a channel for God’s peace here leads us to few words and more hugs; no judgements but shared tears.

God IS our source of endless hope, but when we are in despair, only LOVE heals and strengthens. Only TIME in prayer and praising God with one in despair will soothe the awful wound and make a heart stronger in Jesus.  Which then will bring us to what St. Francis says we are to be:

 LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS; JOY IN THE SADDNESS

 The world is darkness;  the kingdom of God is light.  Light is what makes vision possible – Because we are in the Light in Christ Jesus we can see through the darkness of the problems of this life, going from the darkness of low feeling and into the JOY of LIFE IN HIM!   Ephesians 5 says, “You were once darkness but NOW you are light in the Lord.”  So – the darkness is no more for us because we are walking with our Jesus in the Light!

You want HOPE – here’s HOPE –  the hope of every Christian – ETERNAL hope from the book of Revelation 21, Talking about the New Jerusalem where we are headed:  “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the Glory of god gives it light and the Lamb is its lamp” 

There will NEVER be darkness there – Only the Light of the Glory of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ! I’d say that deserves a Hallelujah!

Until next time, with love and blessings,                                                                                                         Barbara

“MAKE ME A CHANNEL OF YOUR PEACE”

Hello!

I’ve been thinking, as we sit on the Launchpad of this brand new, spanking clean, year awaiting our living, with days getting longer every minute, and new hopes rising, exciting plans on our schedules, wouldn’t it be wonderful if our very first commitment made would be to the Peace of God, the Peace which passes all understanding?  I think we will find that St. Francis of Assisi had just that in mind when he wrote his famous prayer, “Make Me A Channel of Your Peace”

Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord
And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
In giving to all men that we receive
And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.   Amen.

Let’s look at St. Francis’ prayer.  He begins: “Make me a channel of your peace.”

I. COMMIT TO BEING A CHANNEL OF CHRIST’S PEACE IN LIVING OUR LIVES

What is a channel?  Webster’s dictionary states the nautical term of a channel being a navigable route between 2 Bodies of water; a strait between a continent and an island. When speaking, a channel is a course into which something can be directed.  St. Francis is asking God to make us route or the vessel of His peace through the way we live our lives.  A Very tall order, for sure, but one through which his prayer guides us.

I think right now is the best time for me to offer a personal disclaimer!  I probably need the guidance of this prayer more than anyone else! That’s why I chose to share this with you!  Being a vessel of God’s peace is a major Christian goal – which is impossible to achieve without God and the encouragement and love of one another.

II. BRING LOVE WHERE THERE IS HATRED 

Of course, in Jesus, it’s all about love.  I have to say that for me, and for many of you, giving our lives to Jesus had an immediate softening of our hearts – that’s where HE LIVES – that’s what HE fills with HIS love.  Our Pastor Tim has shared his amazing testimony to the mighty changes Jesus has brought into his life – feeling less anger, a softer, calmer person.  If we are to be a channel of God’s peace, we have to love first.

Is hatred too strong a word in this prayer?  Read the paper.  Listen to the news.  Talk to your neighbor.  There’s some pretty strong emotions out there and unfortunately, one of them is hatred.  Channeling God’s love into an angry, hateful conversation is what we are called to do.  St. Francis tells us how:

III. BRING THE LORD’S PARDON – HIS FORGIVENESS FOR INJURY OR HURT

Peace is a gentle word.  Love is soothing word.  The Quiet presence of His spirit is a healing touch.  When confronted with hatred or anger, Jesus’ love is soft and kind.  Jesus’ love does not judge but comforts.  Jesus’ love is full of compassion.  As channels of this love, we are called to compassion, to understanding and to acceptance of that angry soul right where he or she is.

St. Francis gives us a course of action which we will save until next entry! Please be in Prayer as to where and when YOU can be a channel for God’s peace in your life this year.

God Bless You!

Barbara

All Glory and Honor Endorsements

Happy New Year, Folks!

My prayer for all of you and your families is that 2018 is a blessed, peaceful one.

We had an exciting December, for sure!  The beginning of the month saw the first sales of my new book, All Glory and Honor Unto You. Sales at churches, Bible Study and to friends have been wonderful so far as I now enter into reaching beyond my local area.  I have included here reviews from several folks who have read the book.  I would encourage you to join me in my ministry to get the wonderful words of Christ’s love and encouragement out to as many women as possible!  You may buy signed copies of this book directly from me for $15 – just send me an email at preciouspearls888@gmail.com and I will send them off!  (Include specific names for signing.       If you feel comfortable mentioning this blog and my book on your Facebook Pages, it would be an incredible boost for sharing of Jesus’ love!

I hope that you are blessed by these reviews:

I LOVE the writing style in this book. From the viewpoint of a somewhat lost soul looking for ways to grow closer and stronger with God, this book is exactly what I needed at this point in my life.  About 6 years ago, I was infected with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. I am a Masters prepared registered nurse with 23 years of nursing experience behind me. Since this incident, I have been left with multiple health issues causing pain on a daily basis, inability to drive, using a cane to walk, unable to work, etc. All of this came crashing down on me leaving me to wonder WHAT NOW? What good am I to my family? What is my purpose in this thing called life?

There were so many chapters in this book that made me stop and say “Wow”!!!!! It was as though the words were written directly to me! For instance, I have to be honest when I say that I don’t set aside prayer time during the day. As I have done since I was a child, I say my daily prayers at night after I lay down in bed, usually exhausted from the day. God does everything for us, and the most I bother to give back is a measly 5 minutes before I fall asleep??? I have since put an alarm in my phone that alerts me to a quiet prayer time each day. I really needed this! I feel so much closer to Him and feel as though my heart and mind quiet down to the point that I am once again able to hear Him speak to me.

In addition, over the past week or so I have found a new outlook on life! Instead of beating myself up and constantly saying “geez, I can’t do this or I can’t do that”…. I’ve discovered that its totally a mindset! I wake up and think positive thoughts and going about my day!

 I can honestly say that reading these words restored my faith in God and restored confidence and a brighter outlook in my life!  I am so grateful for this book.                                               Tammy Ward

To quote Barbara, “I have to remember to ask Jesus to show me light when I am down, because I know that when I am at my lowest, Jesus is at His highest”.The words in this book have brought encouragement into my life and have remindedme to whom I need to go when I am exhausted from life’s challenges. The joy of “journaling” has also been brought back into my life through these devotionals!                               Pastor Linda Kreitz

“It’s seldom recommended we ‘wear our hearts on our sleeve,’ but when your heart is burning with love for Jesus, as Barb Duncan’s is, why not let it shine?  These marvelous meditations in All Glory and Honor are the outpouring of Barbara’s tender heart for the Lord, and all of us who read them will be touched and inspired by her zeal and devotion.”                      Rev. Dr. Blake R. Heffner.

Excited about hearing of all the Lord’s blessings to come this new year,

Barbara

God’s Amazing Love in Christmas

The Christmas Story is really the story of God’s amazing love for us shown through the birth of Our Lord Jesus in a small manger.  Basically, God sent Jesus to us so He could spell out HIS love for us in a language we could understand.  From that manger to the cross, Jesus walked among us showering us with the love of God through our salvation in Him.

I read a devotional which told the story of workers entering an area after a devastating forest fire.  They found a lovely bird, with wings outspread, lying under a tree, who had perished in the flames.  When they went to move her, three little birds wiggled out from under her wings, chirping wildly.  That mother bird knew the danger, and covered her young from the flames.

God’s unfailing love for us is just like that – He has held us close under His wings when the fires of life rain down on us and always will;  he has protected and breathed new life into us and will through all eternity; he has forgiven us through the birth and death of His Son, Our Savior, Jesus Christ and will continue until we meet Him again.  When life has dark moments, we can celebrate Jesus, knowing that God is with Us! And always will be.  God’s overpowering love for us is, indeed, the reason for the season.

Let’s pray together:

Heavenly Father, during this Christmas season, we celebrate you and the love you so freely offer us.  There are so many things happening that we don’t understand but we choose to trust you.  There are those who are suffering, those who are hungry, those who are grieving – we lift them up to you for an outpouring of your love and healing grace because we choose to trust you.  As we celebrate your birth in Jesus Christ, we thank you and praise you,  asking for your strength to do and be all that you want us to be:   stronger in faith, knowing you are with us, and steeped in love for all your children. We thank you for gift of life, the gift of your son so that we might have life to the fullest and the power of the Holy Spirit within us for your glory.

We lay down before you all that we are and ever hope to be.  We open our hearts to you, Lord Jesus, there is room in our hearts for thee!  In your ever holy name and with Christmas joy, Amen.

Merry Christmas in Our Lord Jesus,

Barbara

I Love to Tell the Story

Greetings to you all in this Advent Season,

I would like to share with you a letter I wrote in our church newsletter this month.  I hope that you will join me in telling the story!

Recently, Jack and I were riding in the car listening to some old favorite hymns and “I Love to Tell the Story” began playing.  Now, who doesn’t just LOVE that wonderful hymn with words written by A. Catherine Hankey in 1870.  As I’m sure you can guess, the scripture on which this glorious hymn was based is in Acts 8:1, 4 describing the times when Saul was leading a great persecution of the Christian church, including approving of the stoning of Stephen.  “All but the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.” “Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” In spite of Saul’s continued attacks, these men experienced miraculous healings and events in Jesus’ name.  They truly loved to tell the story.

We truly need to tell the story, “of Jesus and His Love.” We’ve rolled right into yet another Advent, where we await and excitedly anticipate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Will this be our usual tinsel, fruitcake, glittering Hallmark Christmas or will we place telling His story above all else?  I would like to ask you to join me in a NEW advent, a new Christmas Eve, a new Christmas day and a NEW year.  This year I want to “tell the old, old story I have loved so long.”

This hymn tells us WHY we should tell this story: “because I know it’s true.”  How do you and I know it’s true?  Think about that, and write down how you know.  WHY else do we tell it? “It satisfies my longings, like nothing else can do!”  How DOES Jesus satisfy our longings?  Let’s think back and remember when our Jesus has comforted us like no other.  Write it down.  Lord, there is none like you!

Every time we tell the story of Jesus’ love it is “more wonderfully sweet,” but very sadly, “some have never heard the message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.”  We read that the early persecuted Christians preached the Word wherever they went!!  How often do I tell the story?  Do you? Especially to folks who have never heard and believed in Jesus’ salvation message. ( Interestingly, the Lord has given me two opportunities to reach out in His name since I have written this letter.)

This season, I challenge you to think about how Jesus is central to your story and how you know that is true.  Then, take those glorious words and share them with those around you. In this hurting world, folks need to hear Jesus’ story in your life now more than ever before!

Advent begins the love song of Jesus flowing into our hearts, until “in scenes of glory we sing the new, new song” right by His side!

God’s love and blessings,

 Barbara

Published and Ready to Go!!

Hello Friends!

This is a very exciting time for me as my third book, All Glory and Honor Be Unto You, is now published and on sale!  I have been blessed to work with an amazing Christian publisher, Candy Abbott of Fruitbearer Publishing, who has produced a wonderful presentation of my writings about Jesus. (See my previous post.)

Reflecting on this book, I find that my writing is very different than in previous works.  These are short devotionals with journaling questions included for each.  I’m feeling a more personal touch to these pieces than my last work, Precious Pearls, which was more from a teaching prospective.  As is true of ALL my writing, I am thrilled and blessed to be able to share the love of God and power of Jesus with all of you.  In a couple of days, I will be posting some ideas about making this 2017 Advent season a very, very special one.

So – Stayed tuned and be blessed!  If you would like to purchase a signed copy of this new book (great Christmas gifts!), please email me directly and I can send it off right away!  Preciouspearls888@gmail.com.

In His Service,

Barbara

 

 

EXCITING NEWS

ON DECEMBER 1, 2017  SALES WILL BEGIN Of

     ALL GLORY AND HONOR BE UNTO YOU

My new book of Monthly Devotionals!

 Published by Candy Abbott and FruitbearerPublishing, LLC

 

You may purchase your signed copy of my book at my Book Launching events at St. John’s Church on Morgan Hill in Easton and Sherman Church in Sherman, CT. on December 10, at Carol Benner’s Holiday Open House on December 12 or directly from me for the discounted price of $14.00.

Email me at preciouspearls888@gmail.com  and I will send you your signed copy after December 1, 2017.

I would love for you to join me on this faith journey and bless others you know with this opportunity!

TO OUR GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!!

This book will encourage women to keep the faith.   Jessie Seneca, More of Him Ministries.

 To quote Barbara, “I have to remember to ask Jesus to show me light when I am down, because I know that when I am at my lowest, Jesus is at His highest”.  The words in this book have brought encouragement into my life and have reminded  me to whom I need to go when I am exhausted from life’s challenges. The joyof “journaling” has also been brought back into my life through these devotionals!

Pastor Linda Kreitz

 

GROWING IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

Hello there,

Lately I have been especially blessed by several opportunities for Bible Study and growth in knowing our savior, Jesus.  I’m realizing it is essential to continue this growth right up until we meet Him face to face.  Hear the word of our Lord in 2 Peter 3:17 – 18:

…be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

 In this scripture, I think we see Peter showing us why we must study and grow in Jesus by warning us of the dangers of not having a secure and accurate knowledge of our faith.  Without realizing it, we can be influenced by false teachers, but if we have a deepening knowledge of the Lord, we will be stable in Him and not be led astray!  I don’t think I’m usually around “false teachers,” but I do know of folks who bend the Biblical truths, take ideas out of context and try to make the Bible teachings convenient for their lives.  We need to be strong in sharing the pure truth of the gospel with such people.

The more we study the word of God, the more knowledge we gain and the more mature we grow in the faith.  I have found Bible Studies to be an integral part of my faith journey.  There are large groups and small groups, weekend conferences, video lessons, online studies and many, many more ways for us to grow in Jesus.  Devotional readings each day give a fresh start and Christian outlook to us as individuals and can lead us into self-studies.  Whatever works for you, you need to do it.  Whatever fits your schedule and comfort level must be part of your Christian journey.  (Let’s talk about growing in “grace” next time!)

The purpose of our growing and maturing?  “To Him be glory both now and forever!”  ALL the glory!!  The more we learn and grow, the more we are bathed in His amazing Love and our lives are filled with less of ourselves and so, so much more of Him.  To God be the glory, indeed!  For all that He has and continues to do for you and for me.  Amen.

May Our God Bless You Abundantly,

Barbara

 

 

BUILDING UP THE FAMILY OF GOD

Greetings on this lovely Fall afternoon!

Hear the Word of Our Lord for our life today:

“Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another.”                         ( 1Thessalonians 5:11 )

We’re all familiar with the concept of “encouragement” as part of our Christian caring for each other.  Somehow it seems that our society has become singular, more self-centered, glued to a screen instead of conversing and of course, drawing to each other through social media.  These “non-personal” forms of communication can be encouraging or … not.  Does this replace the quiet, gentle hug…no words spoken, just love shown and felt?

Our Faith Family is the group of folks who have accepted Christ as their savior with whom we gather to worship Him!  This time together is so NOT about us, but all about God and loving one another in His name.  Sitting in church together should really not be a passive time, but rather a very active hour listening for His word, listening for what it is HE is calling us to do, listening to one another.  This is the time to be encouragers!  One of my most favorite parts of our worship service is called “Greeting and Moment of Friendship!”  I have the privilege of seeing our family hugging, laughing, waving, crying!  I am comforted, hugged, bathed in kindness!  For something that lasts only a few minutes, this is the bond of Christ – the ties that bind.

It’s often hard to build someone up, but God will give you the words and the touch when you are open to Him, empowering you to encourage others.  Sometimes it’s very hard to understand another’s pain, but God totally understands it so praying for Him to enter in and work His healing powers is encouragement.  Encouragement never judges, but always loves.  Eye contact, smile, “God Bless You,” can be the greatest medicine for one who is suffering.

I know when I am discouraged, someone simply reminding me of How Much God Loves Me, can change my attitude to one of the joy of Eternity.  Encouragement is love from God!

Encouraging you today with love!

Barbara