Devo for the 3rd Sunday of Advent: Joy

While on Christmas tour, my son Ethan, 11, called me with some fun news to share. He had spent all day Saturday, from 8am to 5pm, taking a class required by the state of Minnesota to drive a snowmobile! It was a long day of rules, information, and training. Then on Sunday at 1pm, the day he called me, he took his driving test to attain his snowmobile license. The news was good news indeed.

He passed and was now legal to trek across the globe on a snowmobile (kinda).

What caught my heart was as I was talking to him, he seemed like he was trying holding something inside. It was actually when I said to him, “Dude, you should be proud of yourself.” He said back to me, “I am, Dad. It’s just hard to talk because I can’t stop smiling.”

Ethan's face of Joy

Ethan’s face of joy

That’s fun!!!

Webster’s dictionary says the word “joy” is a noun defined as: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect possessing what one desires.

Ethan was experiencing some real joy!

So how does that happen during Advent? We sing “Joy to the World” and “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” yet for many joy is way down the to-do list. All the stuff going on drains the tank. For some of us it is a really hard season for any number of reasons like a loss in the past, to fears of loneliness, hardships in the present time, and so on. I get that…

Ok, so if you’re not feeling the well-being, success, or good fortune, how do you find the joy that’s makes it hard to not smile?

First, look into the manger and see the very face of the One who is the giver of real joy and peace and realize you bring Him joy. Remember a verse like Zephaniah 3:17:

“The LORD your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with his love; He will rejoice over you with singing.”

That perfect God with no reason to fulfill a duty or obligation and has no needs, looks at you and me and takes delight in us. It’s like that we are His favorites…because we are.

Now, take that truth of how your Heavenly Father looks at you and live in it. When you know that the most powerful God of all is proud of you and adores you, no matter what you’ve done or how messy it is, what does that do inside of your heart?

Doesn’t it make it hard not to smile? Isn’t that the prospect of possessing what one desires? That desire being love.

Ok, so here is your assignment: As soon as you are done reading this, pick a Christmas song that brings you joy. Whatever song it is, TURN IT UP! And then…are you ready?

DANCE! Dance a weird dance; dance with someone in your house. Dance with your eyes closed like no one can see you. Just dance, friend.

You are allowed to dance and enjoy it. It will be really hard not to smile.

It’s a good taste of joy.

God is good all the time.

Peder

Hope! The First Sunday of Advent 2012

Hey my friends,

It’s that time of year again, time for my traditional Advent devotions. I have received many posts and emails wondering if I am doing them again and the answer is YES. I am honored to know these devotions are helpful and even useful to you and your family.

This year I am about the Advent candles. The candles are symbols of what we want to focus on each Sunday during Advent. I like candles. Candles have a great ability to change the mood of any room and atmosphere.

The candle for the first Sunday of Advent – Hope!

photo credit: mtsofan via photopin cc

How many times do we say the word hope in any given day? Phrases like “we’re hoping it works out, I have hope, and I put my hope in this or that”? We even have seen it in slogans like “Hope and Change” or “The Year of Hope.” Sometimes it’s just the line that says “I hope so.”

I wonder if hope becomes more like wishing.

I’m going to wish upon a star. I hope I win the lottery. I hope I pass this math test; I hope he asks me on a date; I hope she will say yes.

Does wishing take away the power of hope?

Webster defines hope this way:
1. to desire with expectation of obtainment.
2: to expect with confidence. 

 The archaic definition is to trust or put confidence in.

This sounds less like a wish and more like an expectation in something that is founded; perhaps an assurance in something that is proven or shown itself to be evident.

If we look at it like this, doesn’t it change where we put our hope?

The first candle for the Advent season is purple.

As you know, I am a devoted Minnesota Viking fan. Vikings are known for the color purple.  As a fan I hope one day they will win a Super Bowl. It’s what makes being a fan fun. But that’s not a life of hope; it’s a life of wishing. Remember, hope is assurance of something that has shown itself to be evident… perhaps not the Vikings. Ahhh, it’s just a fan thing, I think.

Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel heard about a King who would be the King of kings and Lord of lords! He would be the Messiah who would set all captives free. In Isaiah 11:10 it says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in Him.” For hundreds of years they put their hope in God’s promise that He would send this Prince of Peace for their freedom! They hoped He would come.

It wasn’t wishing. It wasn’t guessing. It wasn’t a lottery.

It was real hope.

It wasn’t the hope of the Israelites that made it happen. It was Whom they put their hope in that made the difference.

God has given us a promise of what we can obtain, of what we can expect with confidence, of what the Israelites could expect with confidence. God Himself has proven that He comes through with His promises.

God did come through like He always does.

This is a great place to start this Advent season.

What or who do you put your hope in?

I mean your life hope. Hope for your children, maybe how they will grow up. Hope for how you will live each day at school, maybe hope for who holds your future and dreams?

I can only answer these questions with Scripture…

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

This first week of Advent, take the time to look at what or whom you are putting your hope in.

Let me know your thoughts.

God is good all the time!

Peder

Independence Day

photo credit: sunsurfr via photo pin cc

I can’t believe it’s July already. I love summer in Minnesota, and July marks the middle of the warm weather to me. It’s baseball, fishing, swimming, camps, MLB All Star break, really green golf courses, fireworks, and, of course, Independence Day.

July 4th carries so many memories for me. Growing up on the farm near Hitterdal, MN, we would spend the day mowing the lawn, hand washing all the vehicles, blowing things up with fireworks, and then we would travel to Detroit Lakes, MN, for a picnic, swimming, watching fireworks with the family on the beach, and then falling asleep in the back of station wagon as Dad drove us back to the farm.

I loved those times. My dad and mom did so much to make it fun and yet didn’t say yes to everything we wanted. They would try to be economical and pack as much food and drink so we wouldn’t buy anything we didn’t need. They provided all the blankets, sunscreen, sand castle making equipment, water, coffee thermos (for Dad), mosquito spray, and sweatshirts for the evening show. We were free to enjoy the day with no needs to be worried about. Freedom feels good.

That’s what Independence Day is about right?  It’s about the Founding Father’s declaring they no longer subject themselves to the tyranny of the King and England itself. Even after the declaring independence, the cost to achieve that freedom would not be measurable until it was attained. The cost of human lives sacrificed on the battlefield was not projectable. The attitude was “whatever it takes to get it done.”

It got done, and this freedom has been challenged, defended, protected, and preserved with many more lives “no matter what it takes.”  Freedom is just that important and worth it.

It’s a freedom that doesn’t allow us to do whatever we want but a freedom that says we can pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

Look, my friends, I want to point you in a direction to remember the most important freedom you have. That’s the freedom from the bondage of sin that God gave us through the death AND resurrection of His Son Jesus. That Independence Day is eternal. It’s not just heaven and eternal life but it’s also freedom to pursue the Father God’s love, presence, will, grace, and not have to be afraid. No worries. It’s all been provided for you to approach your Abba Father God.

In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Jesus took care of all your needs so you can have the freedom and independence to come into the presence of God and have no fear. The cost and sacrifice was great. In Jesus, your freedom from death has been challenged, defended, protected, and preserved. He did whatever it would take because you are worth it to Him.

No more tyranny of sin and condemnation.

Thank Jesus even as you read this for your freedom and celebrate Him. Sing. Dance. Fireworks.

God is good all the time!

Peder

Excellence

Switchfoot opens with a great look!

The other day I was given a fun gift by a friend and co-laborer in the kingdom of God: tickets to Switchfoot! This is a favorite band of the Peder Eide family. The seats were great! My wife Sherri and two of our children, Ethan and Allison, sat and prepared ourselves for a rare treat to be together and enjoy a concert where I wasn’t a part of it.

From the beginning song all the way through the end, the whole audience sang every song with the band. People celebrated, were inspired, and were moved by the experience of being in a room with other people who have a common love for a style and presentation of music.

Still there was more. What is it about Switchfoot that made it so welcoming to sing these songs loud and like they are your own?

During the concert, I recalled a conversation I had with a friend on our trip to India in January. We were talking about art and the church, favorite groups, what makes a group or an artist last in this industry we call music. It really comes down to the song. It’s about really great songs. Great communication using music, drama, art, etc. Yes, we all have different tastes and preferences but within those it’s still about an excellent creation of a song, painting, story, play, and so on.

What so powerful to me is how a writer like Jon Foreman of Switchfoot writes these amazing songs we get to hear and sing a long with yet these are not all the songs he has written. These are his best, his favorites, the ones that make the cut for the records. They are the most excellent. The result? Years of powerful messages, inspiring lyrics, and changed hearts because of the commitment to being excellent!

I think about what we create in our everyday lives. We all create. Whether we’re ministers, business people, educators, computer technicians, students, singers, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, we all create! We create a level of which we do our occupation or study in school. We create and form the shape of what kind of man or woman we will be. We create an environment by our attitudes, temperaments, words, and actions that direct and affect all those around us.

Do we do it with excellence? Scripture is loaded with verses doing whatever we do with the highest regard to imitating the Father. Running to “win” the prize. (1 Cor. 9:24-27). If anything excellent, pure, praise-worthy, think on these things (Phil. 4:8). Be holy because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). It’s not because we will impress God but truly it is a response to who God is and to glorify Him. It’s always about God.

Here’s another example of excellence from Lake Michigan. What God has created He lets us enjoy and see Himself in it. It’s a loving thing God has done.

(View it on Youtube under “Excellence from Lake Michigan” on the Peder Eide channel)

Do you think that your pursuit of excellence in whatever you do is not only glorifying God but loving to those around you? Imagine your effort towards your art, music, parenting, studies, responsibilities, verbal responses, facial expressions, being a husband, wife, brother, or sister are truly something to be done excellent and your effort to be excellent is loving?

Thoughts? Email me at Peder[at]pedereide[dot]com and give me some feedback.

Peace to you,

Peder

Hosanna!

Palm Sunday is here! You know the story. Read the Message version:

See How Your King Comes

The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet Him. And they cheered: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in God’s name! Yes! The King of Israel!” Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it: No fear, Daughter Zion: See how your king comes, riding a donkey’s colt.

The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to Him. The crowd that had been with Him when He called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after Him.” John 12:12-19 (MSG)

I love the word Hosanna. It’s powerful. It’s passionate. It’s more heartfelt than we realize sometimes. The word is interpreted with the words “save us,” a cry for salvation but it’s also a declaration of praise! Some might find it to be a mix that doesn’t easily mix but I think it mixes well.

Picture what it might look like! I see hands raised at “Hosanna.”

Raised hands represent celebration, surrender, and a reaching out to touch and be touched!

Hosanna, save us, blessed is He who comes!

I think it deserves a hand raising!

If you were drowning, you would raise and wave your hands to be rescued.

At a winning score by your favorite team, you raise your hands in celebration!

Same hands…

This Sunday, spend some time with your hands raised to the Lord!

He is the one who saves us! He is the One who deserves all praise!

HOSANNA!

God is good all the time!

Peder

I Love March Madness!

I love March Madness. The time when high school and college basketball tournaments are in full swing. It’s when I take Allison and Ethan for a day to the girls and boys state basketball tourney and dream about what it might be like for them to play in it one day. It’s when I fill out my brackets for the NCAA Men’s Tournament and try to predict who will win. I watch my brackets and catch the games I can.

I love tournaments because of the whole lose and you’re done, win and you get to play again situation. Some of the intensity is heavy. Emotions run high, inspiring plays make memories, and the experience of the smaller, lower-seeded team upsetting the bigger or favorite to win team is a blast. I love the underdog, Cinderella moment.

Trying to pick a winner

Imagine if we knew the outcome. What would it be like to know your favorite team is going to win?

Would you still watch?

I would. Especially if I knew my team was beating a rival team. I know I would enjoy the game with less anxiety if we fell behind because I knew it was going to turn around to my team’s favor anyway.

Isn’t that what the life of being a follower of Jesus is suppose to be like? I mean, we know that because God is for us, nothing can stand against us (Romans 8:31b-32)  and the good work God began in us He said He will take to its completion! Check that it’s GOOD work! (Phil. 1:6)

I can live this life like I don’t know about the victory. I can treat my friends and family like I need to trust no one and gain control of any possible outcomes that may come my way. Man, is that foolish on my part.

If I remain in my Abba Father God and He remains in me, I get to experience what David or Esther or Gideon or Joseph felt, to mention a few.

Remember the war is won in Christ Jesus and by His grace we get to be part of the victory with Him.

I just need to live like it. The people close to me would appreciate it for sure. :)

God is good ALL the time!

Peder

Waiting…

I’m sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport right now. I have about three hours before my flight to Memphis and then home to Minneapolis. I’m here so early because I was trying to get on an earlier flight home. I looked online and the possibilities to get a seat were good.

I’m not sure what happened but somewhere between looking online and arriving at the airport, all of the seats were filled with no chance of standby. I am so bummed. I love the idea of getting home earlier than planned. Instead I wait…and wait…and wait.

It’s not like I don’t get to go home. I will still get to go home and see my family, but I had built up some anticipation about the earlier homecoming.

I think it’s like that when God asks us to wait on Him. I don’t know about you but I love to have plans and have them work out they way I want, when I want. Yet my timing is not God’s timing. When the scripture says Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD (Psalm 27:14), I always know it’s right and good but it sure can be hard to change my anticipated plans.

Every time I have forced the issue, every time I have taken matters into my own hands, I have been disappointed. God’s plans are always better than mine.

It’s not about getting home early; seeing my family earlier seems like nothing but upsides. It’s about trusting God even though I want something different than He has planned. It’s about trusting God even when things aren’t going my way.

It’s hard.

Yet still I wait because (this is the best part) my Abba Father is waiting with me and He is doing something in me while I wait. I believe it!

Take heart, my friends. Though the waiting isn’t fun, His plans are always worth it.

Peder

The Voice of Family

I love to coach my kids in the sports they play. I have been blessed coach all my children at different stages and in different sports. It’s a treat for me and fills my cup. I love the atmosphere of practice and, of course, game days. Win or lose (though winning is more fun) the amount of life lessons on a game field or court with a group of people called a team are endless.

Allison drives to the hoop

One thing I have realized is the importance of the sound of my voice. Whether I’m a coach or in the stands when my kids hear my voice, they respond. They play harder, look for me, find new energy, pick up their tempo. The words I shout to them are all affirmation, at least that’s what I try to do. Things like “Keep going, move your feet, go hard!” It blesses me when they respond to the voice of their dad.

Did you know how powerful your words are to anyone around you? The thing is that you and I, because of Jesus, carry the Kingdom. When we express words of affirmation and blessing to anyone, we do more than just say something nice. We actually bring a spiritual blessing that is beyond our understanding because of God’s Kingdom in us. It’s a beautiful way to love someone whether they are easy or hard to love.

Here is an idea from our Taste Worship events for you on this fourth Sunday of Advent. Take a sheet of paper and write across the top “I Love (name of someone here) because…” and then write 20-25 reasons why you love that person. Write it for Mom, Dad, a friend, brother, sister, Grandma, etc. Then give it to them in person or via a letter and let God use your words to do what He wants.

It’s what family does. The voice of a family member is important.

Peace,

Peder

Joy Means Joy!

Have you ever been overtaken with joy? I mean the kind of joy that makes you just act silly, excited, giddy? It’s like something that if you tried to hold it inside because you were afraid you would look goofy, you would still look weird because you can’t hide it.

I love the word joy. I love to feel joy.

Joy is baseball with your son in the summer.

Joy is any of your children being born or holding them in your arms for first time.

Joy is your best friend on the planet saying “yes” when you ask her to marry you.

Joy is hearing your parents say they love each other (even though some days it seems weird :) ).

Joy is what the shepherds and angels felt when Jesus was born! What did they do? They let it show on the outside. Why? Because they couldn’t help it!

“And the ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:1

Hey, my friends, this week when joy overtakes you, dance with no rules, sing loudly, shout a loud amen. Don’t hold back!

Why? Because it’s joy!

Grace and peace,

Peder

Expecting Help.

So Thursday was a hard day.  It was the day my daughter Allison’s pet rabbit Patches died.  We came home from downtown and right as I walked into the house Allison went to check on Patches where she found him lying in his cage barely breathing.  As soon as she called “Daddy, it’s Patches, Patches, Daddy, it’s Patches!!!”  The fear in her voice and cry for me to help was deeply hurt filled.  We grabbed Patches and hopped in the van racing to the vet, but 20 minutes later, Allison’s precious rabbit passed away.

It’s sad. It stinks. It’s hard to watch your daughter experience a loss like that for the first time.

Allison cried out for Dad because she knew Dad would come.  It’s a promise she knows I keep even though we never have to remind each other. She calls “Dad:” I respond.  It’s what dads do. It’s a commitment I never break.  That’s the second Sunday of Advent, plain and simple and yet so vital.  God has made promises and keeps them.  If we seek Him we will find Him. Promise.

He will never leave nor forsake us. Promise.

He claims us. Adopts us.  Promise.

This week, say out loud what God has promised and expect His truth to win.  Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, all expected God to keep His promises AND He did.

You can expect the same from God.

God is good all the time.

Peace and love,

Peder