Tag: peace

You CAN Survive! And have God’s Peace

I was reading a short article from DaySpring today titled 6 Ways to Find God’s Peace in Difficult Situations. (link at the bottom) Along with myself, so many of my friends and loved ones are living with some kind of difficult situation right now…How about you?

pexels-inzmam-khan-1134204Is there some physical illness or condition you are living with? 

lady-g97a8d38b3_640Has there been emotional turmoil in thinking about your present situation? Your future?

Do you have any relationship issues with a friend, family member, or someone you work or minister with?

Have you been in a spiritual desert?

As I read, I had a bit of a different take, but found some very encouraging take-aways:

1 – Define PEACE – What does peace mean to you? I define it as Possessing Equilibrium Amid Chaotic Events. Not just the absence of war or stress. But feeling a balance in my spirit even when all else around me is in turmoil, whether in circumstances, in relationships, or just in my spirit.

2 – TRUTH – Remember that God is with you!  And has a good plan for you!  Don’t go to the “worst case scenario” or entertain your fears. See the truth of the situation before you, asking God for His perspective if you can’t see it yourself.

3 – SURRENDER CONTROL to GOD – Stop thinking there is something you can or should do to be in control. Even if you think you see something to do, and do it…your sense of control is not real. God is in control. Let Him do the driving!

4 – Read, Recite, Recall SCRIPTURE – Maybe even keep a list or journal of scriptures that become meaningful to you on your journey through marriage, parenting, grand-parenting, caring for others, or dealing with difficulties.

5 – Worship with MUSIC – Listen to it, sing it, recite the words, write it – let the music lift your heart and refocus it on God.

6 – CREATION  – Take walks or just sit somewhere you can see or feel and experience God’s Creation. Delight yourself that He created all this to be the perfect world for you! And again, let it refocus your heart on God, your Creator.

bible-ga71615e85_640Philippians 4: 6-7, Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I am so relieved to KNOW that I CAN SURVIVE my circumstances – and so can you!  WE ARE ABLE to have God’s peace in the midst of it all – any and every uncomfortable, humbling, frustrating, disappointing, demanding pressure! Knowing He will show me how to balance my life in His truth when I surrender it to Him. That when I turn to scripture, worship, music and His creation instead of worry and trying to control, He will bless me and lead me.

But it is incumbent on me to listen and follow.

So I offer you a challenge:

people-2604834_640Sit with God for 5 minutes each day this week. Read aloud the Philippians 4:6-7 scripture above – or from your favorite translation.

Tell God about the situation or difficulty and surrender your anxiousness to God. 

underground-885206_640 (2)Pray, asking, requesting that He act on your behalf. Surrender whatever control you think you have, placing the outcome of the situation or difficulty in His strong and capable hands.

Thank Him for listening to you. For taking your anxiousness away. And for acting on your behalf. 

clef-593912_1920And then take another 10 minutes and choose worship music or His creation to refocus your heart on God.

clouds-872143_1920If you can – take a walk or sit outside or inside and look at, take in His creation. Or instead, sing or play, listen to or write a brand new melody to worship the Lord!

 

jaque-handsraisedI am praying that God will speak clearly to you. That this week you will sense God’s presence with you in real and tangible ways. That you will see that God has already prepared you to meet whatever challenge you are facing.  That you will receive that peace that God offers when you focus on Him. And that you will be empowered by a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit. God bless you!

Link to Dayspring article 

What armor are you wearing? Part 1

warfarehelmetsThe armor makes a difference!

Part 1  The Armor of God

I believe there’s a battle that we can’t see going on in the world today.

God gives believers armor and weapons to wear and use as protection, and as offensive and defensive weapons against the evil one and his schemes against us.

Many picture the battle for the world as 2 near equal powers fighting for control – as if on a see-saw, where any little thing could easily tip the scale in one direction or the other.

 

   <-  Us  ->

God                                                  Satan

/\

    World

 

NO WAY ! !   That is far from the truth! 

 

As a created being, the devil is in NO WAY equal to God

not in power, stature, character, not in any way.

If you are a believer, you’re on God’s team.  The truth is: once we join Jesus’ team by accepting his free gift of salvation, we NEVER return to satan’s team.  The enemy, satan, knows this and he looks for ways to trick or discourage us to keep us sidelined and out of the game.

Ephesians 6 talks about the pieces of armor.

Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesians while in Rome, under house arrest.  He was guarded by Roman soldiers.  Every day, he saw men dressed in armor, bearing the insignia of their authority.  The Holy Spirit must have inspired his analogy of a Christian “soldier.”

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us the armor we should have in place.

Belt of Truth – a wide, tight band around the waist, this holds pieces of armor in place, as well as the sword.  With it we are constantly girded about with the truth – God’s truth, and can recognize a lie from the evil one when it’s launched as a half-truth or outright lie.  With it we can hold anything up to compare it to scripture, the plumb line for truth.

breastplate-537832-1024

 

Breastplate of Righteousness – protects our heart and vital organs (a forerunner of the bulletproof vest).  It is the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ that forms a protective cover that halts darts and arrows, and deflects blows directed at us.

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – In our homes, we often remove our shoes as a sign of relaxation.  So, to put on shoes is a sign of readiness or preparedness to accept marching orders to stand for the gospel of peace we have in Christ Jesus.

spartan-1494365_640Helmet of Salvation – bears the insignia of our authority and who we serve, the army in which we fight.  It protects our heads and guards our minds so we can reject thoughts placed there by the enemy who would like nothing more than to sideline us with thoughts of fear, doubt, insecurity, or unworthiness. “as you think, so you are…” Pr 23:7 KJV.  It allows us to take every thought captive to be sure it is God’s truth before accepting it.

roman shield

Shield of Faith – not some puny little garbage can lid with a handle, but a head to toe protection, repelling the enemy’s offense – when the shield was anointed with oil it would reflect the glare of the sun and blind the enemy.  This shield covers a soldier from top to bottom, side to side and can join with others to form a wall of protection that will fend off an attacker.  On a wooden frame, its thick covering can stop projectiles and extinguish flaming arrows.

sword-790815_640

Sword of the Spirit – our offensive weapon, the WORD of GOD.  We can use the very words of scripture to fight against, repel, harm and defeat the enemy.  Jesus used these very words to overcome satan’s temptations.  There is power in the Word of God.

Wearing this Spiritual Armor prepares us for and protects us in battle.  So, arm yourself with the armor daily.

Speak each piece on in prayer. Out loud so the evil one hears you!

Here’s a sample prayer for the armor.

Lord Jesus Christ, with the belt of truth fastened around my waist, I say that I will not believe the lies satan would try to use to confuse me.  Give me clarity and an understanding of what is the truth in this situation.

The helmet of salvation I wear will guard my mind, and I take every thought captive to you.  Help me see past what the world and others tell me, to what you want to say to me.

The breastplate of righteousness I place over my chest protects my heart, so I can hear you with my mind and my heart.  I believe satan is tempting me with lies and half-truths so I will stand on Your promises and Your truths.

I wear the shoes of peace to say that I am ready to receive my marching orders  from you and to obey what you tell me to do.

I take up my shield to repel all the arguments the evil one would send against me.  Father, You have taught me right from wrong, help me cling to what is right.

I take up the sword, the Word of God, and say that satan has no power over me.  Lord, You are my Master, my Commander, my Creator, and it is you who I will follow and obey.  You have created me fearfully and wonderfully, and you alone are worthy of all my praise.

Father, anoint me with the Holy Spirit so I may truly hear and understand your words.  Send the Holy Spirit to guide me in this decision and to silence all the voices that are not from you.

In the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, I thank you for hearing my prayer.  I yield my will to You and wait to hear from You, listening with my heart and my spirit. Amen.

sword-41036_640

Do not be anxious…

Kneeling-in-awe

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

This is an unprecedented time in our country and in the world.  With the pandemic spread of the Coronavirus and the self-quarantining of social distancing, business and school and church closures and resources being hoarded, and the uncertainty that comes with all of it, it’s not surprising that people are at a bit of a loss to know how to cope.

These are real worries that affect each one of us personally and differently.  And we may be left with intellectual and emotional responses that are not helpful in dealing with the issues that confront us.

Some things have helped me find a peace that is sustaining me through all this.  So although I have no magic solution I can share those things I have heard others say that have helped me.

Pray – for people, for leaders, for healing from this disease, for medical, physical and financial needs to be met, for people to turn to God in the midst of this crisis

Balance – the time you spend listening to the news with time spent listening to God – through listening for His Voice in prayer and reading His Word

Make – 3 personal connections each day through a phone call, a text, face time, an email or a written letter, to overcome the sense of isolation that social distancing brings for you and for others you know who may not have the human contact they need.

Practice – the personal hygiene suggestions on the CDC website and do some extra cleaning of your own home.  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html

If you need prayer, reply here to me, or call 1-877-247-2426 at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, or contact your local church.

For further encouragement online go to www.billygraham.org

And join me in this prayer…

Father in heaven, thank You for today being set apart to pray for the world as we face coronavirus which has circled the globe.  People we know and people in countries we have never even heard of are dealing with this illness in many ways.

We lift up those who are sick and ask that You would be their Healer.  Whether they can get to a doctor or not, strengthen them and their immune systems to fight this virus in their bodies.  Fight for them when they cannot.  Give them the rest and nourishment they need to survive.  Let them draw strength from You.  And bring people alongside them to help them with their needs.

We pray for caregivers – whether doctors, nurses, family members or friends and neighbors who are helping the sick.  Father give them the energy and stamina they need to help in whatever ways they can.  Protect them from getting sick too.  Give them patience and a sense of humor when they need it to meet the needs of those around them who are ill.  Let them draw strength from You.

We pray for those who are still working, whose jobs are impacted by this outbreak.  Many will have lost wages and be facing financial hardship even though they may not be sick.  Those living from paycheck to paycheck will have difficult decisions to make.

Father, open opportunities for them to earn money in other ways to meet their financial needs.  Let them receive grace to delay payments on rent and bills until work picks back up.  Provide for their needs through the generosity of the communities around them.  Ensure they have the food and care they need to survive this hardship.

We pray for leaders in positions of authority in local, state, national and world arenas to receive godly counsel in making decisions. Father, give those called to address this crisis, whether medical or political, wisdom and compassion.  Let them draw strength from You.

Lord, show each one of us how to best function in this time of “social distancing.”  Lead us in a time of spiritual growth and maturity, reading Your Word, praying, listening for Your leading, helping others.

Father, turn the tide of this epidemic.  Halt its progress.  Release a wave of healing that circles the globe.

We turn to You.  Our Healer.  Our Savior.

Amen

 

Light of the World

calwaen-liew-343557-unsplash

Father, without You we are in complete and utter darkness.

Our world is dark.  This time of year the nights are longer so there is more physical darkness to the day.  Without artificial light we would not be able to see to get around in the dark.

There is also a kind of emotional darkness that comes from worry, stress, anxiety and fear.  These can be due to a lack of direction or encouragement.  Or a lack of truth in relationships.  Or from hardships, difficulties and tragedies we endure.

And there is also a spiritual darkness that seems to pervade our world.   At times it appears that evil is prospering.  And it has an upper hand so many places where there is persecution, hatred, and violence.

Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for being the Light of the World.  You are Light in our lives in so many different ways.

Three in particular come to mind.

Soft light.

background-boy-christmas-713148 (1).jpgYou can be the soft light that allows us to feel relaxed, comfortable and safe; like the light from a campfire, or Christmas lights, or early morning just before the sun rises.

That kind of warmth or glow is gentle.  And You can be gentle with us.  You can wrap us in a radiance that calms us and brings a sense of peace no matter the circumstances.

In allowing You to envelope us in a blanket of soft light there is a sense of security.

Bright light.

joshua-earle-480378-unsplash

Daylight allows us to see things as they are.  We can see traps, holes, dangers.  We can navigate safely.  We can perceive more clearly.  And the bright light that You provide also lets us see the truth in ourselves and our relationships.  It allows us to see the reality of our true identity and our circumstances.

Your bright light provides us with direction and clarity.  And that brings confidence.

 

Laser light.

laser-858309_640Light can be so strong that it burns.  Lasers can be weapons of destruction.  Or they can be so focused that they can be treatments for cutting out dead or diseased tissue.

As such, Your laser light can seek out and target our worries, fears, bitterness.  And can be a healing light burning out cancer and disease.

I praise You that You are Light.  That there is no darkness in You.

And that by Your light I can walk and live and prosper as my soul is prospering in the salvation You brought to the world.  Amen

Snowflakes

snow-1848346_640Snowflakes: drift down aimlessly from the bright, white sky.

animal-3127017_640

 

Birds: titter and hop from branch to branch to feeder to ground where seeds have spilled down onto the white, mounding snow.

 

branch-437501_640

Trees: which must have taken decades to grow up from tiny seeds drinking in moisture and pushing through the ground cover of leaves and nettles and dirt, hold arms extended, reaching out to catch a line of snowflakes that imperceptibly pile on top of their outstretched branches.

Crisp cold air: visible only when man or beast passes by, exhaling huffs of clouded condensation, chills everything, adding a clarity to the reality of this poetic scene.

glistening snow

Light: distinctly noticeable as the sun breaks through the overcoat of clouds, adds a shimmering and warmth in its momentary passing presence.

Overall: peace, a sense that this is exactly as it should be. For this time, for this place, God’s complete intention is fulfilled.

And I stand here in awe of this blessing; grateful and humbled to be a witness to the completeness of this scene before me in this moment.

forest-2130206_640

Amazed at the direction and diligence of the Master’s hand that created and placed all these elements together for this moment of perfection. The Master: who grew trees from tiny seedlings over years, decades;

blackbird-2341697_640

birds from eggs in nests for generations to be here right now; who creates snowflakes and controls the weather; who prepared this moment for me so that I would bear witness.

 

Philippians 1:6 confirms to us that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it” and I can only have confidence in a God who can orchestrate moments like these, to orchestrate the events, relationships and circumstances of my life; through me, because of me, even in spite of me to do exactly as he promised.

What a mighty God we serve!wintry-2993370_640