The WAR within me

Facing a trial in our lives can make us feel like someone has waged an all-out war against us. Nothing seems to go our way. We can’t even see a light at the end of the tunnel. It can be sickness, it can be marital problems, it can be financial crisis; it truly can be anything or everything at the same time! This isn’t necessarily good news (or new news), but there IS good news for us as believers.

We don’t have to look far to see that we aren’t the only followers of God who have encountered some extreme battles against our faith in Him. Over and over again throughout the Old Testament, the Jewish people faced exile and captivity. It must have seemed as though it would never end, but the prophet Isaiah had words of comfort for them.

He told them that their “warfare was over” and to remember that the One who “created all the stars” gives “power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” He encouraged a people who were faced with bondage and slavery that their God hadn’t misplaced a single star, and He wasn’t about to forget them either.

Just imagine that. Your warfare is OVER. Does it feel that way? Probably not. You probably have reminders of your battles every single day, but Isaiah wrote those words to a nation that was facing a Babylonian conquest which would end in their exile, and before it even began God was declaring through His prophet that it was already over!

Isn’t it amazing to think that our Creator has seen our end from the beginning? He knew what we would face and feel before we were ever born, and yet still He tells us that the victory is won in Christ Jesus! It’s this truth that we hold to. This is the “confident trust in the Lord” that Hebrews 10 tells us not to throw away, that we can patiently endure the storm KNOWING God has already secured the outcome. The fight is fixed! And YOU are the winner.

In Romans 15:13, Paul gives us this prayer he prayed for the church in Rome, and it’s a prayer I pray for you now. No matter WHAT you are facing, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Remember that weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning! Lift up your eyes and see, the sun is rising!

Come this way

Take the Pathway to Peace

Trust is the pathway to peace. For there is no fear where trust exists. Love breeds trust, and perfect love casts out all fear. Trust in Me with all your heart and lean not unto your understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Me, and I will direct your steps.

Trust Father to lead and guide you every step of the way into a broad place of blessing where you can come to know Him in a new way. He wants to encounter you today and every day. Trust that He is with you always, and look for His blessings.

I trust You, Lord. Help me trust You more. I choose to trust You with everything in me. Show me the places of my heart that I am holding back because of fear. I am determined to trust You with all that I am and all that I have. Help me.

Read:

  • 1 John 4:18
  • Psalms 56:3-4
  • Psalms 13:5

Real PEACE

Full of Peace

Early in their seminary training, many pastors-to-be learn a curious phrase. Their professors instruct them that they are called to be a “non-anxious presence,” that is, the one person in the room who maintains a peaceful presence when everyone around them is losing it. When a child has died, when a couple is on the verge of divorce, when someone is in despair, when the church is threatening to split, they are to be present in a way that reorients the emotional and spiritual atmosphere.

Instead of becoming enmeshed in the emotional atmosphere, getting sucked in by the frustration, fear, or anger that may be swirling around them, they are able to maintain their equilibrium. They tend to solve problems not by trying to fix others but by focusing on how they can improve themselves. For instance, instead of instructing people to “stay calm” in a difficult situation, they put their energy into remaining calm themselves. Even one such leader at the helm of an organization can turn the tide.

A look at how the Gospels portray Jesus reveals that Jesus was the master of the non-anxious presence. Sleeping in the boat in the midst of a storm, feeding the five thousand with a few loaves of bread, responding to the hypocrisy of religious leaders, raising a dead girl to life despite the taunts of those who thought it couldn’t be done — Jesus was often the one peaceful person in the room. He was also the one who consistently challenged his disciples to peace-filled lives of greater maturity.

Jesus gives us a hope that is grounded in him and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Trusting in Christ and relying on the Spirit, we cannot help but overflow with the joy, peace, and hope that God provides. The peace that counts, the peace that is real, is the peace that emanates from our relationship with Christ, not from the fact that our circumstances at any given moment happen to be favorable or pleasant. As we grow in his likeness and are transformed by his Spirit, we begin to experience his peace in greater measure.

Special Delivery

The world loves the peaceful Jesus: the Christmas baby in the manger, the wise and humble teacher of the Sermon on the Mount. Gentle Jesus meek and mild … or so we think. But a careful reading of the Gospels reveals someone who seems at times to go out of his way to provoke his listeners. Did Jesus really mean it when he said he came to bring peace? If so, what kind of peace was he talking about? And what exactly did he mean when he spoke of “my peace” and of giving it “not as the world gives”?

Furthermore, how could Jesus say these things on what must have been the most troubled night of his life? Just a short while later he would fall on his face in Gethsemane, praying to his Father about the fearful events that would soon overtake him. To his lethargic and prayer-less disciples, Jesus described his soul as being “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:34). He knew, though they did not, that in just hours he would suffer arrest, abandonment, and death. How, then, could he speak of peace and of having so much of it that he could give it away?

The very first words Jesus speaks to his disciples after his resurrection, when they are gathered together, are these: “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19, 21), as if he knows precisely their need, terrified as they are by the Romans and by the religious leaders who conspired to murder their rabbi. They are in profound turmoil because everything they believe has been called into question by his death.

Noting the wounds in his hands and side and seeing him alive again, his disciples would have known that this was no dreamer. Truly he was the long-awaited Messiah. This shocking realization must have produced in them a new and deeper kind of peace, one they could never have imagined. Instead of wishing his disciples peace in an ordinary, everyday kind of way, Jesus was actually delivering peace in person. He continues to deliver this same kind of peace to us today.

“Completeness”

Shalom

We know that the world’s original harmony was wrecked by sin. Like a Molotov cocktail thrown into a backyard garden, sin exploded the world that God had made, fracturing and dividing it. Instead of wholeness, brokenness; instead of health, illness; instead of friendship with God, alienation; instead of peace, strife.

Because we live in this fallen world that is yet to be fully redeemed, we can only glimpse the fullness of God’s peace. Scripture tells us, however, about God’s original intentions for the world he made. Consider the Hebrew word shalom, which is often translated “peace” in English translations of the Bible. While such a translation is accurate, comparing the word peace to the word shalom is like comparing a twig to a log or a boy to a man. When we think of peace, we tend to think of an inner sense of calm or an absence of conflict.

Shalom, however, means these things and more. It means “wellness,” “completeness,” “perfection,” “safety,” “soundness,” “success,” “wholeness,” “health,” and good relationships between people and nations. When there is shalom, everything is as it should be, our lives are as God meant them to be, our world is in the order he intended. To experience such peace in its fullness is to experience healing, satisfaction, prosperity. To be at peace is to be happy, fulfilled. It is a sign of the blessed life of the new creation. Peace has a whiff of paradise about it. It offers us a taste of the world to come.

Sometimes we sense this kind of peace as we worship with others, or as we pray quietly, or when forgiveness is asked for and received. Bent things are straightened. Hurt things are healed.

The Bible locates shalom in only one place — in God himself. We find such peace by living in harmony with him. As we do, our divisions, both external and internal, start to heal. We become fulfilled, complete. The harmony we have with him in turn produces harmony with others and harmony within ourselves. This is peace beyond our circumstances or feelings. This is shalom—life as it should be.

Numbers 6:24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Lasting PEACE

Remember the story of Dorothy, the young girl from Kansas, who followed the yellow brick road in search of the Emerald City and the great wizard of Oz? At one point in her quest, she and her companions wander into a field of poppies. Though Dorothy doesn’t know it, she is standing on dangerous ground because the flowers exude a scent that can lull unwary travelers into a sleep that will last forever.

Our own world can sometimes function like that gorgeous field of poppies, lulling us by its pleasures and seducing us by its comforts — a nicer house, a better job, a thinner body. We become consumed with pleasant distractions instead of focused on our spiritual journey. Like the flying monkeys Dorothy later encountered, trouble, too, can ensnare us. The stock market plunges and fear proliferates. Our children struggle and anxiety takes over. Our career disappoints and depression sets in.

Of course God can use our difficulties, as well as our desires, to advance his plans. It is sometimes true, as the saying goes, that the obstacle itself is the path. A sickness can lead to deeper prayer and greater empathy. A difficult child can lead to greater faith and patience. Nothing is wasted in the lives of those who belong to God. Even our pleasurable pursuits can help us discern his will. The mistake comes from pursuing or resisting desires and difficulties on our own, without seeking God’s help and guidance.

Think for a moment about the things that upset you most in the past week as well as the ones providing the most joy. Do any of them have the whiff of eternity about them, or do they merely carry the scent of this world? Is the power and presence of God the driving force of your life, or are you constantly buffeted by the winds of success, comfort, fear, or anxiety?

If pursued or resisted without reference to God, both our struggles and desires can obscure not only the path ahead but the fact that we are even on a path. If we want to experience lasting peace, it is vital to keep walking on the path of faith, to continue to follow the one who loves us, God our Father.

PEACE

The Search for Peace

For most of us, the word peace has a certain wistfulness to it, an “if only” quality. This sense of wistfulness arises because we can think of countless things that prevent us from experiencing the peace we desire. We think, “If only I could go on a vacation,” or “If only I could get a better job.” This sense of wistfulness arises because we can think of countless things that prevent us from experiencing the peace we desire.

Each of us can come up with our own list of “if onlys” — of the situations or the people we would like to change so that our lives wouldn’t feel so rushed and anxious and stressful. Such lists, of course, imply that peace is situational. We will experience peace once our troublesome circumstances are resolved, once that difficult person moves on, once we find a new job.

Circumstances do, of course, affect our sense of happiness. There are often countless obstacles to discovering the peace we seek: financial stress, strained relationships, poor physical health, as well as psychological ills like anxiety, phobias, and clinical depression. When our circumstances remain the same and various obstacles appear insurmountable, can we still find the peace God promises? Is it possible to experience peace even in the midst of so much tension and difficulty?

If your experience is anything like mine, finding peace is not a destination as much as it is a journey. Making progress on such a journey toward peace may be hard to measure sometimes. You may even feel as if you are taking one step forward and two steps back. Like life itself, our progress toward peace does not follow a linear path.

But as you base your peace on the character and personhood of God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — you will find that in the end, even the least peaceful times in your life will have drawn you closer to the one who is himself our peace. The mystery of how exactly this can happen resides not so much in our own efforts but in God’s grace and in his unswerving desire to deliver on the promise he has made.

My Reflection…

James 1:23-25 ~ For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

God is showing me so much of where I need to be better. The reflection is sometimes ugly on the surface but He’s revealing to me the beauty and grace He has reserved just for me. A new thing,  a new perspective, a new peace and understanding engrossed in the ills of the world and my surroundings, He’s tapping in and saying look at yourself girl,  all that’s happening around you,  YOU mirrorneed to change the things that aren’t of me before you can expand beyond your immediate circumstances. It’s not often a comfortable place but it’s a necessary one to impact change and open the door to the promises we sabatoge. I’m starting now, battered but empowered. For His glory. He is able. Declaring victory and peace in my life. It’s already done. Love and blessings!

Prayer:  Most Precious Lord Jesus, Gentle And Wonderful God, Truly Awesome And Ever-present Holy Spirit, Precious Lord Jesus, I love you. I praise your name even when the chaos of my life means I don’t know whether I am coming or going. My life is a harried and pressure-filled mess right now. Help me live more at peace with myself, with others, and most of all, with you. When I start to lose hope amidst the pressures of my life, stop me for a moment and call upon my heart to look up to you. When I start to lose hope amidst the pressures of my life, stop me for a moment and call upon my heart to listen to your sweet voice telling me how much you love me. When my harried life afflicts me hour after hour, remind me how your peace is just a prayer away. All these things I humbly pray in the name of my most Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, my Mighty God, and my Ever-present Holy Spirit upon whom I can rely. Amen!

Written by: Cybill

Living at peace…OnPurpose!!

THANK YOU LORD, THANK YOU LORD, THANK YOU LORD, I JUST WANT TO THANK YOU LORD!

(Galatians 5:22-23) But the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I once heard a preacher say, “you can tell the root, by it’s fruit.” What is inside (the heart) will show on the outside (by our actions).
These character traits are the by-product of our full acceptance of God through Christ and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.
These are the qualities of Jesus! Now, some may try to force themselves to practice or pretend these qualities, but we can’t “truly” “have” them until we “truly” let Him “have” us.
By letting Him have total control, by letting His Spirit live in us, He bestows us with these spiritual gifts. These are the qualities in which we utilize to fulfill the true intended purpose of the law — to love God and our neighbors while being obedient to His will.
God’s gifts are abundant and overflowing to His Children.
Are you one of His own?

I AM…On purpose
image

“Heavenly Father, make my heart one with You and Your Son, so that I may bear fruit that brings you glory and honor.”
Amen!!!

Inspired by: “Elaine”

A Prayer For PEACE

peace-002

Thank you for your peace.
May I always be a humble servant for you.
May I always do the work you call me to do.
According to your sweet will, let your peace reign in my life and in my soul.
Let your peace reign in my life as I shun the thoughts of war.
Let your peace reign in my life as I shun arguments and verbal battles with others.
Let your peace reign in my life as I try to make peace with my enemies.
Let your peace reign in my life by helping me give peace a chance even when I know I must defend those who cannot defend themselves against aggressors who want to kill, maim, and destroy.
Let your peace be with me as I rise above the purveyors of hate by trying to get them to stop hating.
Let your peace be with me as I try to avoid war even when I must prepare for it.
Let my wishes, hopes, dreams, and the promises I embrace be peaceful.

In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Written By: The “Butterfly”

Seeking PEACE…OnPurpose