RSS

Category Archives: Peace

Yes, and…

mayyes-and-fancyWhile my husband and I were at a financial workshop designed for couples to communicate effectively in regard to the emotional impact finances have on their marriage, we did an interesting activity involving brainstorming. We were given a scenario and told to try to solve the dilemma using the phrase “Yes, but…” After a few minutes we were instructed to use the same scenario, but use the phrase “Yes, and…” while brainstorming.

What a difference one word makes! At the completion of the exercise, we talked about how easy it was to use “Yes, but…” to get our point across, yet, didn’t help us solve the problem. Using the phrase, “Yes, and…” took a little more effort but opened our hearts and minds to greater possibilities.

Later in the evening we had opportunity to brainstorm solutions for one of our own financial goals. While doing this, my husband and I found ourselves in a quandary because we were literally saying “Yes, but…” and tension was escalating. “Yes, I hear what you’re saying but you want me to do what?” “Yes, I hear what you’re saying but that’s ridiculous!”

We weren’t getting anywhere because we weren’t hearing each other. Suddenly it hit us! We were saying the wrong things! We smiled! We laughed! We regrouped! We started saying, “Yes, and…” We had fun! We brainstormed! We came up with a plan! We’re on our way to reaching our goal!

All this got me thinking though about something bigger! It got me thinking about the power of those two little words, “Yes, and…” AND what if we used those words with Jesus! What if we read His Word and always responded with those two words?

let_not_your_heart_be_troubled_mousepad-p144284209831913735envq7_400Here’s what it might look like taking John 14 as an example: Jesus says, “Don’t let your hearts get all out of whack! Don’t be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” We say, “Yes, and how cool is it that we don’t have a trouble in the world AND how cool is it that we GET to believe.”

maxresdefaultJesus says, “Yes, and in My Father’s house are MANY mansions. I’m going there to prepare a place for you.” We say, “Yes, and when I die, I GET to live in the place You’re preparing.”

Jesus says, “Yes, and since I’m going away to get this place ready, you can believe I’m coming back to get you so where I am, you are.” We say, “Yes, and I can hardly wait to see what You’ve prepared for me.”

Jesus says, “Yes, and where I go, you know! AND, you know the way.” We say, “Yes, and we know we know the way because we know You.” (Yes, read it the way I wrote it)

imagesJesus says, “Yes, and there is more! I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” We say “Yes, and knowing You the way we do, we also know our Father.”

Jesus says, “Yes, and because you believe in Me you get to come to your Father.” We say, “Yes, and now because we know our Father, can you show us our Father?”

Jesus says, “Yes, and I can do more than that! Just so you know…you’re looking at Him…because when you see Me you see your Father who is in Me and I am in Him.” We say, “YES, and…Is there more, Jesus?”

He says, “Yes, and assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also and greater works than these he will do because I go to My Father.” We say, “Yes, and how excited we are to do these greater works. Is there more?”

20120319-231032Jesus says, “Yes, and whatever you ask in My name, I will go ahead and do it just so My Father will be glorified in Me.” We say, “Yes, and from now on I’m going to ask for all the “whatever’s” in Your name. Is there still more?”

Jesus says, “Yes, and if you ask ANYTHING in My Name, I will do it.” We say, “Are You kidding me?” (haha!) No, we say, “Yes, and if I ask for anything in Your name, I know You will do it. More Lord?”

Jesus says, “Yes, and if you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” We say, “Yes, and because I love You, it is truly an honor and privilege to obey You.”

pic twoJesus says, “Yes, and there is more! I will pray that My Father will give you another Helper who will stay with you forever.” We say, “Yes, and I can’t wait to get to know this Helper intimately.”

Jesus says, “Yes, and this Helper is the Spirit of truth and you already know Him.” We say, “Yes, and we know Him because He lives in us and is with us all the time,everywhere we go.”

Jesus says, “Yes, and you can believe something else too… I would never leave you fatherless. I’m coming back.” We say, “Yes, and I can hardly wait! I’m so excited for the time You are coming to get me.”

Jesus says, “Yes, and until that time the Helper, Holy Spirit, whom Father God is sending in My name will teach you everything you need to know and He will help you remember everything I’ve said to you.” We say, “Yes, and I am teachable and want to know and remember everything! Is there still more?”

images (1)Jesus says, “Yes, and I’m leaving you something real special. My peace! It will keep your heart from being troubled and afraid.” We say, “Yes, and Your peace is so different from the fake peace the world offers us.”

Yes, and I could go on and on and on in God’s Word! I could show you lots of examples where we see people saying, “Yes, and…” People like Abraham when God said He would make his descendants like sand on the seashore. People like Rebekah who went with Abraham’s servant when he met her at the well and said he would like to take her back to be Isaac’s wife. People like Mary, Joseph, Paul, and let’s not forget Jesus, who always responded to His Father with “Yes, and…”

There are lots of “Yes, but…” responses too. BUT, those don’t turn out so well just as our “Yes, but’s” don’t turn out so well today! It’s a choice! As for me, I’m going to make sure my vocabulary includes the phrase, “Yes, and…” instead of “Yes, but…” and I’m going to have some fun with the Lord today and everyday! How about you? My suggestion is you give it a try! What do you have to lose except some “but’s”!

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Peace, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

A River and God’s Peace – What Do They Have in Common?

Rivers are fascinating bodies of water that evoke a variety of thoughts and feelings when we are near them. A quiet meandering river can generate a sense of serenity. Sitting by the edge of a river watching the water flow gently over and around rocks and fallen tree branches and trunks brings a calm that seems to make time stand still.  Letting the water trickle over our feet is soothing, refreshing, and invigorating all at the same time! Traversing over rocks and boulders to cross a river is exciting and a bit risky but adds a dimension of adventure into any hike. 

Then there are those waterfalls to make us stop and gape at the power of water rushing over the edge, the sound deafening as the forceful surge descends, making it impossible to even hear the voice of someone standing next to you!  

Rivers have the ability to inspire our creative juices to flow, unlock our imaginations, or render us speechless as we ponder the magnificence, energy, beauty, and tranquility. They are also a rich source of food, travel, sustenance, and entertainment! God really knew what He was doing when He created something as simple as a river! And then God uses rivers to describe something even more valuable to us – His peace!  

Isaiah 66:12 “For thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river…”

God’s people, His bride, the Church, the body of Christ is the “her” God is referring to in this Scripture! He extends His peace to us like a river!  By discovering more about the rivers God created for us here on earth, we can understand more about the peace He extends to us on earth!

Rivers vary in size, shape, use, and beauty but they all have commonalities as well. Rivers are natural watercourses, usually freshwater, and most often flow towards a larger body of water.  Rivers get their water from precipitation, drainage basins, surface runoff, underground springs, and natural ice and snow packs. The total volume of water transported downstream is a combination of visible free water flow along with a substantial contribution of water flowing through sub-surface rocks and gravel under the river. In other words, the water flow we can’t see may far exceed the water flow we can see on the surface. No wonder we can be amazed standing in a river speculating where the water comes from and where it is going as we experience an underwater current that can be quite different from what we see on the surface!    

God’s peace is supernatural, fresh and invigorating as it flows from His throne to us, coming to us in a variety of ways, as it ministers to us as individuals, yet it consistently and indescribably affects our lives!  Just as rivers flow toward a larger body of water, the peace of God fills us and causes us to flow in Him, who is larger than anything or anyone in life!   Just as river water flowing below the surface exceeds the visible water flow, the peace of God is moving powerfully in our lives, even when we can’t see it.  His peace is a powerful current moving and coursing through our lives and most of it we can’t see on the surface.  But we can feel it when we step into the river of God, when we step into His peace and let it work deep within, where we can’t see it!  We can stand amazed in the peace of God just as surely as we can stand amazed in a river in life!  

Rivers are not only beautiful, but valuable, serving many purposes. Most major cities of the world were established on the banks of rivers because they are a source of fresh water for drinking, bathing, and irrigation. They provide a rich source of fish and other edible aquatic life. Rivers can be a means of disposing waste-water, and in less developed countries, other waste as well.  Fast flowing rivers are used as a source of energy or hydropower to drive machinery; hydroelectric plants provide power to entire communities; watermills were common for grinding cereals, processing wool, and other textiles. The coarse sediments of gravel and sand generated and moved by river flow is used extensively in construction.

The peace of God is not only beautiful, but valuable as it serves every purpose in life!  God establishes us with Him!  He is our Source of Living Water so we can drink deeply from Him!  We are cleansed by Him, and He waters, irrigates, and saturates us in His peaceful presence. God’s peace provides nourishment to our hungry and thirsty souls, and washes away all the waste and debris in our lives. God’s peace, though gentle and calming, is at the same time, fast flowing to energize and empower us in this world. Every particle of God’s peace is usable to construct our lives in Him!

Rivers form boundaries for cities, states, regions, or countries. They are useful for navigation and transportation, even providing a unique and cost efficient movement of felled trees to lumber camps by floating them downstream. Rivers provide excellent sources of leisure and recreational activities like fishing, boating, tubing, and canoeing, while whitewater river rapids attract kayak enthusiasts.  

God’s peace is a safeguard, forming a boundary of protection in Him from any and all enemies.  His peace helps us to navigate through life, transporting us effortlessly through many snags and trials, sometimes floating while other times being rushed along, but always flowing in Him!  And of course, His peace is an excellent source of pleasure, leisure, and is the perfect and only place to re-create! 

God’s peace is ours!  We choose to live in His peace by embracing it like a river! Our choosing is followed up by heeding!  Isaiah 48:18 “Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!  Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

Heeding God’s commandments means we pay attention to Him and what He has to say, and then we follow Him and what He has to say!  Just get in the flow of the river with God!  Get in His peace! Don’t stand on the banks and watch the river go by!  Don’t watch others flow in His peace while you stand warring with yourself. Take off all your inhibitions, throw off your doubts and unbelief, get rid of your worry and stress, and step into the river of God, the peace of God, and let Him carry you, flow through you, refresh and invigorate you, cleanse and nourish you, sustain and empower you!

The next time you’re near a river, don’t just observe it from the bank.  Take off your shoes and socks and step in! Let the water rush around your toes, feet, and ankles.  Let your thoughts begin to ascend to Jesus!  Let Him be the river beneath your feet. That sounds a little funny doesn’t it? It doesn’t sound very solid or firm and yet, to flow with Jesus, to flow in His peace, to be IN Him is the most peaceful place there ever was, is, or will be!

Enjoy His peace like a river!  

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Peace, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Peace of God! Let it be! Let it Rule! Just Let It!

Peace! An amazing and necessary reality for life in Christ, yet it can often feel too idealistic or out of reach so we simply don’t give it much thought!  I wrote a blog “His Peace Will Accompany Us Through the Push” on December 7, 2011 about God taking us deeper into revelation about His peace as He transitions us through the push to uncover His mysteries!  As more things attack our thoughts and emotions causing unrest, concern, fear, and anxiety, the more I realize how much peace we miss out on every day, and the more passionate I become to unveil His mysteries and live in His peace!  We need His peace to take hold of us instead of trying to take hold of it!  Catch that one little verb “let”!  That’s the secret! We need to let peace take hold of us! Sure, we can try to experience peace by reducing stress or avoiding conflict but the only way we will have true Godly peace is to let it rule!

Colossians 3:12-15 “Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

We put on mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and love!  We put up with each other and we are to put off un-forgiveness along with complaining! But we let the peace of God rule in our hearts! Putting and letting – two very different things! Putting means to place, move, make, set, cause, or move something or someone into a particular place or position. Letting is about “not” preventing something from happening, allowing something to happen, or giving permission for somebody to do something. Putting is an action on our part while letting is allowing action be done for us on our part! In other words, we are active and we activate our faith in God as He acts! God provides it all.  Our part is to put on, put up, put off, or let!

“Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” What is this “peace of God” we are supposed to “let” rule? It is as much a place as it is a quality! It is the kingdom of God!  Romans 14:17  “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  A kingdom is a realm or area of activity in which one particular thing, people, or person dominates. Animals dominate the animal kingdom, plants in the plant kingdom, and a king or queen in a monarchy. In ancient times, nearly every country was known as “The kingdom of…”, meaning every country or territory was ruled by those particular people.  We call them governments now.

God also has a kingdom, where He is king, and He has established rule in His kingdom; righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit!  That is definitely a kingdom we want ruling our hearts!

We already established we are not to seek, put on, put up, or put off peace, and now we know peace is the kingdom of God, so how do we let the kingdom of God rule in our hearts?  We don’t!  We let His peace rule but we seek His kingdom. And when we find His kingdom, we let peace rule! Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” We are to seek God’s realm of activity and live in right standing with Him, not seek after other things in life we often spend all our time doing! We find His kingdom as we read, study, and let the Word of God penetrate deep in our hearts, soaking in His living Word, not reading it as a boring textbook.  We find His kingdom as we fellowship with Holy Spirit; pray, praise, worship, and meditate on Him!  We find His kingdom when we fellowship with the body of Christ, serving and being His body here on earth! We find His kingdom as we agree to live in Jesus Christ, under His rule and authority as Lord!

So, when we seek and find the kingdom of God, we let what rules His kingdom rule in our hearts!  His kingdom consists of righteousness, peace, and joy and they rule! So let His kingdom come and let His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!  Let righteousness, peace, and joy come and let His will to be Lord of our lives be done on earth as it is Heaven!

When we choose to live in submission and fellowship in any kingdom, we choose to live under the rule of that kingdom! It is the same for the kingdom of God.  We can choose to live in His kingdom and let peace rule our hearts, or we can choose to live in His kingdom and let other things rule our hearts, but then, that isn’t really living in His kingdom is it? The point is we choose what rules!   When we choose to let the peace of God rule, it prevails and governs in every situation, every trial, ever matter in life!  It is literally the ruler, deciding all differences and everything that rises up to cause discord or uproar in our lives.

There is something else about this peace ruling in our hearts!  We were called to it! “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” When we were called into relationship with Jesus Christ, we were called to one body. We were called to peace with God as a privilege; and we were called to peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ as a duty or responsibility.  We can’t live together in a kingdom if we refuse to honor and respect the rule of that kingdom. In the kingdom of God the rule is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  In order to be at peace, to let it reign and rule in our hearts, we have only to be thankful!  Now that shouldn’t be too hard should it?  Thank You Jesus!  Thank You Father!  Thank You Holy Spirit! Thank You for being You!  Thank You for Your Word of Truth! Thank You for the fellowship we have with You!  Thank You for Your kingdom!

When we let other things rule our hearts, it is difficult to be thankful because we are not at peace! The things we let rule put their friends in positions of authority as well.  For example, if we let anxiety rule, it invites worry, concern, nervousness, and apprehension to join the party, and our hearts get all messed up! If we let fear rule, it welcomes doubt, dread, panic, terror, and other phobias into our hearts.  We might “know” what God’s Word says, but when we let other feelings rule instead of letting His peace rule, we have made God’s absolute truth a mere platitude.

Now we might feel quite helpless at times because we don’t think we consciously “let” these other emotions rule in our hearts, and the truth is we all fall short in this area at times, but the key is not to stay short or to stay down.  When we fall, while we are down there on our faces,  we ought to spend some time looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!  He will show us why we fell, and as we acknowledge our part in falling short, as we repent and look up to Him, He picks us up and sets our feet on solid ground.

He leads us in seeking His Kingdom, but we must consciously refuse to “let” all these other things rule in our hearts by seeking after the things of this world, even if they seem good.  Everything pertaining to life and godliness has been provided and we find them in His kingdom. (2 Peter 1:3) So all we need to do is seek first the kingdom of God and we find everything else because it is then that we are letting the peace of God, His kingdom, rule in our hearts!

When we live in His kingdom there is a “No vacancy” sign over our hearts, because His peace rules! There is no room for ungodly rulers in our hearts when we do what comes naturally in the kingdom of God – think on Godly things! Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

The God of peace is with every believer, every follower of Christ, every child of the Most High who does the things they have learned, received, heard and saw! His peace isn’t a sweet “thought” out in spiritual la-la land. It is real, authentic, tangible, and  meant to literally rule our hearts, driving away every other ruler who attempts to overthrow the kingdom! Our heart is the center of all physical and spiritual life, the seat of our thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, emotions, and endeavors. Imagine life with God’s peace ruling EVERYTHING from the center of our being! Now do more than imagine it!  Let the peace of God rule in your heart!

God said we will need to push this year!  He is leading the way!  We just need to be in Him and be willing to push with Him! Pushing with the Prince of Peace – Living with the God of Peace – Letting the peace of God rule in our hearts!  It can’t get any better than this!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Peace, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , ,

Peace! It Has Been Bequeathed To Us! Let’s Do Something With It!

Peace is a coveted yet elusive state of being in this world!  It is something we generally think we can only experience when life is free from conflict, hostility, disturbances, and annoyances, but seriously – when does that ever happen? And if we get a short respite, it’s still only a semblance of peace. It’s almost as though we live on pins and needles, waiting for the next bad thing to happen to cause discord and upset our sense of peace!

But there is a peace that passes our understanding, is tangible, relevant, and independent of whatever is happening around us!  This peace encompasses so fully we can literally live untroubled lives amidst troubling times. This peace is bequeathed to people who know, love, and obey the One who left it to us, Jesus! John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  

Jesus is the Giver!  Whenever something is given however, it must be received and then used or applied in our lives.  When I was in high school and college athletics “back in the day”, it was common for star athletes to bequeath their numbers to younger players whom they believed had potential to lead the team once they were gone. It was a special honor to be bequeathed their number.  Along with that honor though came responsibility to work hard, to be a person of integrity, to show respect for the school and sport, and to carry on the legacy of the last person who wore that number. Bequests are at the discretion of the giver, never the receiver. In other words, people don’t get to ask for something be bequeathed to them.  The one who bequeaths to another considers it an honor and privilege to pass on and bless another person.

When Jesus chose to leave us His peace, this was solely His decision, not ours.  He is honored to bless all those who believe in Him with His peace.  Now, it is our responsibility to walk in His peace, bringing Him honor as we do, demonstrating respect as we live in it, and carrying on the legacy of the One who gave it to us.

Notice Jesus gives a directive after leaving and giving His peace!  He said not to let our hearts be troubled or afraid.  Wait!  Isn’t that what His peace is supposed to do?  Take away the trouble in our hearts and all fear? Isn’t that His job to take us to a place of tranquility, serenity, and calm where we are untroubled and free from strife? No!

But it is this kind of thinking which keeps us searching for peace in this lifetime and rarely finding it. We want peace to overtake or cover up the disharmony, warring in our soul, tumult, turbulence, and pandemonium in our lives. We ask Him for peace without realizing it is already ours, it has already been left to us because Jesus bequeathed it to us. We need to stop asking for something He has already given to us!

We have had the order wrong.  His peace doesn’t come in after our life is full of all sorts of hullabaloo!  The peace He left with us is meant to fill our hearts; that is, our emotions, thoughts, desires, so when the hullabaloo happens in life we are at peace!  When we start with peace, we will end with peace and we will not let our hearts be troubled or afraid.

We must understand that peace does not erase the tumult in life and peace does not keep our hearts from being troubled.  His peace is experienced in the midst of tumult and we are not to let our hearts from being troubled or afraid.  Jesus tells us how and it is very simple – Believe! John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”  

Believe in God, believe in Jesus, let Him be Lord and master keeps our hearts untroubled and free from fear, living in His peace! That’s right! The pathway to an untroubled heart is belief in Jesus! Understand that believing in this context means in faith we literally give ourselves up to Jesus.  We are sold out, knowing we cannot do anything in or of ourselves. When we give it up for Jesus, our hearts are not troubled.

There you have it!  And it isn’t so much that we keep our hearts from being troubled, but rather He keeps our hearts from being troubled.  As we keep ourselves in Him, we let nothing else keep us!  Our part is really all in the “letting”.  Let not your heart be troubled.  If we are troubled it is because we are letting our hearts be given up to someone or something else!  Believe in God instead!  Give yourself up to Him.  Believe in Jesus!  Give yourself up to Him! Let Him in!

 Most often when it comes to the peace of God, Christians pray and ask God to give His peace to them in the midst of tragedy, loss, struggle, turmoil, and devastation.  In truth, we should not ask Him for something He said He already gave to us!  When He gives us something it is ours!  Could the absence of peace in our lives exist because we don’t believe He really left it with us? Or because we haven’t received what He gave to us?

If we believe in Jesus and receive the peace He gave to us, we know it is within us!  We know we own it and have a responsibility to use, apply, enjoy, and live in it!  His peace is tangible, authentic, powerful, and it is OURS! This is the stance from which we let our hearts not be troubled. Knowing His peace comes from the inside out, not from the outside in!  We aren’t asking Jesus to download peace into our lives.  Instead, it rises up from within.  When His peace rises up within our hearts, it literally drowns the troubling and fearful thoughts and emotions that come from the outside.  I hope you caught that! Troubling and fearful thoughts, carnal desires, and the like come from the outside.  We can receive those and let them trouble our hearts or we can take them captive into obedience to Christ and let our hearts NOT be troubled.

Peace!  It no longer needs to be an elusive, coveted, rarely lived in state of being!  Peace is in you if you believe in God – if you believe in Jesus! He left us His peace – He gave us His peace! Let’s do something with it!  Let His peace rise up and overflow within you today! AND, let not your heart be troubled or afraid!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Peace, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

The Peace of God – Not Just a Stitch in Time but Woven Into Us For All Time!

Who doesn’t love the feeling of peace – the sense of contentedness, free from concern, conflict, and controversy?  We love feeling “at peace” but most likely don’t give much thought to how or why we feel at peace, or the source of peace. Even Christians give God’s peace little thought outside times of death and great crises.  We might pray for God’s peace when people wait for test results, when loved ones die, or say “Go in peace” when people leave church and the like. But the thought of God’s peace integrated deeply into our lives is rarely if ever contemplated.

Every day things happen that threaten to disrupt, if not totally dismantle any peace we might be experiencing. Yet we should live in God’s peace no matter what is happening around or to us!  And I don’t say that haphazardly or without being tested in this truth.  As I write about peace, I get plenty of opportunity to practice what I preach.  For example, the other day while running errands with my husband, the driver in front of us started to take her right turn and my husband did the same.  As he looked left to continue his merge, she changed her mind and stopped.  He didn’t.  It was just a little bump, a little mark that could most likely be removed easily, but enough for her to be concerned about the “damage”.  And of course, most of us know auto body estimates are usually high, often including a bumper replacement because of one little scratch.  

How frustrating this can be and how easy it is to step out of feeling the peace of God and into the chaos and irritation caused by one little mistake.  Not knowing how much money it will take to cover this blunder carries with it the potential to steal our peace while we wait. But as with most everything in life, we have a choice; we can choose to complain and worry or we can choose to trust God, soak in His assurances, and experience His peace no matter the material cost!  The thing is, we must intentionally make the right choice or risk alienating ourselves from the peace He has given us!  Living in His peace is not dependent on waiting for anyone or anything to “settle down” or “line up” properly in our lives.  It IS dependent on positioning our minds to experience it continuously.

 When I think about God’s peace it just doesn’t make sense. There is no good reason to experience peace when thinking about throwing money away to fix a scratch or watch insurance rates climb. There is no good reason to experience peace when disease strikes, unemployment hits, children wander away, finances dwindle, or relationships get complicated. But when we realize our inability to make sense of it opens us to His ability to lavish us with the revelation of His peace, we stop trying to make sense of it and learn to acknowledge and live in it.   

God showed me how to experience His peace 24/7, by illustrating stitching and weaving in their simplest forms.  Stitching is the joining together of two pieces of material while weaving is actually “creating fabric”. Stitching is certainly useful for mending, decorating, and making clothes or other items but compare it with weaving, the process of creating fabric or cloth by interlacing threads or strands and you can sense the disparity.  Then we also note a difference in strength and durability between the two.  Woven fabric is difficult to undo without altering the entire piece while stitching is easily undone without affecting the appearance.  (Seamstresses and sewers – don’t be haters!  You do lovely work just like weavers! It’s just the basic “concept” I’m addressing)

Moving this model then from fabric to God’s peace, we can say it is woven into our lives not simply stitched to them. God doesn’t simply attach His peace to us nor does He use it to mend our brokenness. He actually weaves it into our existence so it creates in us an ever-present sense of strength and durability that cannot be easily undone without affecting our entire being. This reveals the profundity inherent in God’s peace as it literally touches every aspect of who we are.  When God formed us in our mother’s wombs, His peace was woven into the fabric of our being.  We are not merely cloaked in His peace, it is not an additive, but we are created in it!  This enables us to let the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

We access His peace within by keeping our minds set on Jesus.  Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  Here’s where the weaving/stitching concept helps us out.  If we KNOW God’s peace is already woven into us, we know we can get access to it because it is already WITHIN.  We are not looking for it somewhere OUT THERE.  We don’t need to try so hard to keep our minds stayed on the Lord because He is in us and is Lord of our lives, having created and now keeping us in perfect peace.  We can only “keep” things we already have!  He keeps us in perfect peace because we already have His peace woven into us.  It is easy to trust Him and stay focused on Him when we know we already have Him!  Knowing He keeps us in perfect peace frees us from looking elsewhere for it, waiting for life to settle down so we can feel it, or hoping to experience it.  It is time for us not to just pray for His peace, but to believe we already have it, and then act like it!

The next time you don’t feel “at peace” stay right where you are and remember it is within you, because God is in you.  Don’t try to create a state of peace.  Don’t try to find it, stitch it into your life, or ask God to give you His peace.  He already did!  John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Think about God weaving His peace into every fiber of your being when He formed you.  Let your mind be renewed as you meditate on your Prince of Peace, Jesus, and then let His peace that passes your understanding guard your heart and mind in Him. Your life will never be the same as He keeps you in the perfect peace in which He created you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Peace, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Understanding the Peace of God – It Can’t Be Done! But It Sure Can Be Had!!!!

People have a desire to understand just about everything in life!  We don’t just want to know what but we want to understand why or how! Our thirst for understanding is generally a great trait, but can also interfere with our ability to live in the moment.  It can even prevent us from flourishing when our thirst turns into a “need” to understand before we accept.  

Think of children when they start asking “why” questions.  They use “why” as a discovery strategy to connect with people and learn about their world.  It’s actually a good thing but wow,  it is exasperating for those who get to answer their questions. “Why do I have to go to bed?” “Because you’re tired and need your sleep.”  “Why do I need sleep?” “Because everyone needs sleep.” “Why does everyone need sleep?” “Because it helps our bodies to be healthy.”  “Why does my body need to be healthy?” “Because then you have energy to play.”  “Why do I need energy?” “Because energy helps you  do all the things you like to do.”  “Why can’t I do things without energy?” “JUST BECAUSE!  NOW GO TO BED!”  Some people think this as a stalling tactic, but there is definitely a desire for understanding inherent in the questioning.

The reality is that asking “why” doesn’t mean they literally need to know why, but it means they are interested in something and want to know more.  We know this to be true because giving them the facts never satisfies their curiosity.  For children, it is more about the journey than the destination. You can almost see their minds racing trying to process the information they get when asking “why” and what a privilege we have in helping them journey through the process of discovery. 

Adults have the same desire to understand “why”!  We are usually more open to new experiences and more willing to embrace something when we understand why.  Unfortunately though for adults, it is often more about the destination than the journey.  We get frustrated when our “why’s” only lead to more “why’s” if the answers do not satisfy.  Unlike children who ask “why” and eventually “get it” even when the answer is “just because”, adults are more prone to “reject it” when it is “just because.”

 This is never more evident than when it comes to the things of God. The truth is some things about God aren’t meant to be understood, but accepted and experienced!  Our search for understanding is marvelous, but sometimes God says “Just because”.  It is at that point many adults say “That’s not good enough for me”, while others recognize the omniscience of God and continue to enjoy the journey knowing the discovery is just as beautiful as the destination.   

The peace of God is one of those entities we can try to understand until Jesus returns and we will never “get it” through understanding.  We certainly should enjoy discovering it’s qualities but if we wait to experience it until we “get it” we will never live in His peace!  Philippians 4:7 “… the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  When God says something surpasses our understanding, it really means it passes our ability to understand. 

If we don’t accept this truth “as is”, we will waste our time trying to bring it down to our level of comprehension, which doesn’t work, plus it eliminates the reality of His peace in our life. The peace of God doesn’t change, but our ability to live in it drastically diminishes if our acceptance of it is based on understanding.  Most people experience His peace sporadically, not abiding in it because it passes our understanding, and we don’t like that!  This is clear evidence we would rather BE at our destination than enjoy the journey, accepting the “just because” answer as we discover the depth of His peace!

Peace is that intangible quality or state of being most people love but rarely stay in very long. There are several definitions for peace ranging from a quiet, tranquil, calm state free from disturbance and noise; to being mentally calm and serene with NO anxiety; to a state of harmony, free from all conflict or disagreement among people.  Most people would describe the feeling of peace to include the absence of stress, conflict, tension, or disagreement.  This being the case, we experience peace when stressful situations are erased, conflicts resolved, tensions loosened, and agreement achieved.  This never happens!  Though this may depict a semblance of peace, it keeps it in the realm of understanding thereby falling short of what God’s peace truly is or feels like.   

The truth is, rarely, if ever, do we have NO stress, conflict or tension or where everything in the world is PERFECT.  Again, this just doesn’t happen!  If God’s peace required this, we would never experience it. Therefore we discover the ability to possess God’s peace is in the midst of stress, conflict, tension or any other negative emotion.  There are many peace stealers in our lives, and the older we get, it feels like that number grows.  Even memories carry the potential to be peace thieves as we remember, question, or even regret events, decisions, relationships, experiences, investments, and the like.

I got a good, though humbling lesson from God about His peace when my husband received a “call” from a congregation to be their senior pastor.  One of the unique things about ministry is the “call process”, the way a congregation goes about “looking” for and “choosing” the person they believe God has called for their particular body of believers.  Each congregation or denomination goes about calling their pastor differently, but ultimately, they hope to arrive at a unanimous decision as to the “one” they believe God has led them to.

My husband has had many calls throughout the years, each one carried the potential to steal the peace of God from my life.  But here’s the thing – nothing can steal our peace in God unless we cooperate with the thief.  In the past, it seemed I was in cahoots with the peace thief, but this time, I KNEW it would be different.  I KNEW I would not be moved from my place of peace during the waiting process. I convinced myself I didn’t care one way or another and when concerns did come, I would simply give them to God and all would be well.  After all, I KNOW His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and future, no matter what it might “look” like.  But since I hadn’t heard God speak “Yea or nay” I pretty much settled into the “Whatever” mode, usually not a good idea with God.

The day came for the first interview and I was nonchalantly praying for my husband while he met with the call committee. Yep, these were just “nice” prayers, not the “pressing into the heart of God” ones. “Let Your favor rest on Mark, Lord!  Let the room be filled with Your presence and power.  Surround and indwell each person!  Give Mark the words to speak, in Jesus’ Name!  Let Your peace that passes all understanding fill him now.”  It was when I uttered that last phrase when Holy Spirit stopped me. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually like it when my prayers are interrupted (that was a joke). It’s only when we stop talking and start listening to God that we discover He has a lot to say to us.  In this instance, He said, “You want ME to let MY peace that passes understanding fill Mark? Well, Julie!  If My peace passes your understanding why do you always try to understand it!”  My reply to Him was “Well, I don’t Lord!”  His response “Yes, you do!”  “No, I don’t!”  “Yes, you do!”  “No, I don’t!”  “JULIE, you CAN’T understand My peace!”  

Have you ever felt God raise His voice to you? At that point of course I was frustrated because I WAS praying for Mark, not trying to understand God’s peace and definitely not dealing with one of my own deficiencies.  It seemed God was speaking to me a bit out of context!  I proceeded to question Him, “Lord, don’t you want me to pray for Your peace to fill Mark?” He was silent!  I wasn’t!  “Oh, so this isn’t about Mark and the interview!  This is about You, right God?”  Then He said, “Now, you’ve got it! Trust Me.  You don’t care about this interview anymore than I do!  You only care about Me! Let’s talk for real now.” 

Oh how I love the Lord! The reality of that love hits me like a tidal wave at times like these – when honesty AND truth slam me in the face – when my words are puny – and He puts me in my place.  He caught me praying nice words, not heartfelt cries. He interrupts our thoughts and prayers to talk about things we didn’t even think to talk about.  The Lord knows what we need to hear, we usually don’t.  It amazed me that in the middle of my “not so hearty” intercession God decided to speak to me about a quality of His I didn’t even know I struggled with. He heard my questions without any awareness on my part they existed.  I hadn’t even contemplated that I might be suffering from a lack of God’s peace, nor did I even suspect I wasn’t abiding in it as a result of need for understanding overriding my desire for it. This had led to a vacancy in my heart which was far more important to God than an interview.  Let the listening begin Lord!

At that very moment, His peace became simple and real. I didn’t need to pray for His peace to fill Mark! His peace already filled him, as it does anyone who abides in His peace with no need to understand it.  God then reminded me of a basic principle He had taught many years before this about positioning.  I needed to position myself before Him to live in His peace.  Trying to understand His peace by asking “why” questions while being focused on the destination positioned me outside of Him. Asking “why” questions while being focused on the journey and then accepting His “just because” answers positioned me in His presence.  If we do not position ourselves before Him, we won’t experience what He has prepared for us.  

Here is how God says to position ourselves before Him! Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”  Verse 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

Before the peace of God which surpasses all understanding WILL guard our hearts and minds through Jesus, we must:

     Refuse to be anxious for anything with no excuses attached!

     Pray about everything – have conversation with God about everything!

     Supplicate about everything – seek God in everything!

     Pray and supplicate about everything WITH thanksgiving – Be thankful in all things!

     Let our requests be made known to God – Ask Him for what we need and want.  

When we do these things we are smack dab in the face of God!  It is only there that we stop trying to get to a place of peace, stop asking for His peace to fill us, and simply KNOW the peace of God because we are positioned IN it! 

We can’t understand the peace of God!  No matter what we think, how intelligent we are, how much we psychoanalyze it, it is one gift God gives that surpasses ALL understanding! Go ahead and ask “why” but be like a little child and enjoy the journey more than the destination, enjoy the process of discovery more than needing the literal answers, because the truth is God’s peace is “just because!”  

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Peace, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: