PEACE. Where does it come from? Is it a state of being or a being itself?
I have only found one sustaining answer to these questions.
I've experienced peace in it's several forms - at the side of a lake, in a breathtaking sunset, rocking a baby to sleep, sleeping... But what happens when I wake up, or the baby cries or the sun sets?
I've also known the presence of peace in the most awful times in ways that are beyond explanation, defying the circumstances surrounding it. But where does peace come from?
Peace comes from knowing that my feet are on a solid floor and that my destiny is not flippant.
Peace is the calm under the the top side of a lake that is being battered in a storm, or the warm fire in a house while a storm is wrecking everything outside.
Peace is knowing that I am being held up by someone bigger, wiser and stronger than myself, when I feel like all hell is crashing down.
Peace is surety that isn't always felt. It's a trust. A knowing that we are somehow being taken care of by someone who is larger, yet more present in the details then we could ever be; someone who is greater than the sum of all trouble.
My only answer to this question is outside of myself. I have experienced and continue to know true peace regardless of what is swirling inside or around me. From the most minute disturbance to the deepest cut, peace has come to me when I have asked. Yes, peace has a name and this name could sleep in the middle of a storm.
God is peace. He is stable footing in any situation. He is there in the small, irritating times and in the 'monstrous, I feel like I'm suffocating and can't go on' times. He is here by his spirit, through his son, Jesus. Yes, this is why Jesus came so many years ago to live on earth...
He is peace. He is here for us. All we have to do is ask.
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33, NIV)
There is a scene in 'The Last Crusade - Indiana Jones', (come on, entertain me for a minute :) where Harrison Ford comes to an impasse; a chasm that must be crossed but he has no way of doing it. He cannot return until he completes this path so he takes a step of faith over the gorge, into the emptiness and with great relief, finds that his foot lands on a hidden, stone bridge. After crossing over, he stops and throws dirt on it so that it remains revealed for the return trip...
Have you ever had moments in life like that?
Some roads I've travelled have been ones that I would definitely not want repeated. These are the roads of intense pain and loss; the ones that blindsided me; the paths with deep chasms in front of them. Because they were nonnegotiable, my only foreseeable options were to either sink in the after-moments or bravely inch forward.
It takes great courage and faith to keep walking, especially when all you can see is that you are on the edge of a cliff. Typically, my heart would instruct me but in these kinds of moments it is the heart that experiences the chasm. The pain of it is overwhelming making you want to run but finding there is nowhere to go. The chasm is luring in its despair. It is then that the words of God embedded in life and the experiences of truth handed down through faithful generations kick in. It's as though I move by rote and habit, but mentally I choose what I will believe and do. I choose God.
Unlike this movie, God gives us dust to throw before we step out in faith. Faith is substance. Faith comes out of what we hope for. Hope comes from God. If we invite His presence and voice to give counsel, He will be like dirt thrown on the hidden path revealing the way forward. There is a bridge. Jesus gave us that many years ago when He came and took all hopelessness away by dying on a cross. He is the path, the truth and answer in seemingly hopeless situations. He is life and love giving healing to unanswered hurts, release from bondages formed in injustice, and incredible courage to hope again for something good in the future.
I guess what I am trying to get at is this; we cannot have answers to all of what happens in life but we can trust a loving God who promises to stand by His word. His word is His bond. When He says that He is love, we can trust that. When He says that He will never leave or forsake His kids (Psalms 94:14), we can trust that. That means He is there, at the cliff... and He will make good on His Word. He will make a way for you to cross over!
“For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.
Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”
Psalm 94:14, 17-19, 22 NIV
Throw (apply) His Word on your scenario.
Invite His presence. Ask Him to speak. Let Him show you the bridge.
Let Him be the bridge.
This is going to be a short post. I'm not so interested in giving you a bunch of my words today. I would like to simply encourage you to remember how practical God is. That may sound like an oxymoron (... a combination of words that have opposite or very different meanings) but I believe it is true. If you want success, peace, and favour in your life, follow God. Learn His ways. Emulate Jesus.
I was reading Proverbs 3 when these thoughts struck me. God is smart. He made me and knows how I tick best. I would be wise to follow His advice...
God is smart. He made me and knows how I tick best. I would be wise to follow His advice...
The story of Naomi and Ruth is an amazing one! Every time I read it, I am blown away by how big God is, how involved He is in details, and mostly, how loving and kind He is toward those who are after His heart. Here's the intro to a Bible study that I wrote that expresses my heart ... sorry guys, this study is not directed at you :)
What does it mean to be a godly woman?
We are women and we are unique. We are not like men, and they are not like us. I know this sounds kind of elementary, but we live in a world that seems to be getting it a little mixed up. To be ‘godly’ seems to have little to do with our past. If it does, I for one failed the test several years ago; in fact I probably failed it the moment I began my journey as a Christian! Godliness has nothing to do with successes and failures, but everything to do with my present posture & state of mind before God. I guess another way of putting it is; a godly past does not justify or acquit an ungodly present.
As I was pondering the question of being a godly woman, I was drawn to the book of Ruth. As I read and reread the book, I was impressed with the many things that we could learn from the lives involved. I was stunned by the significance of Ruth’s choices, especially as I reflected on the genealogy listed in chapter 4 (Ruth 4:13-22). It was then that I saw the women specifically that were used to fulfill the coming of Jesus; unlikely candidates for a King’s lineage! In Matthew 1:1-16; there’s another genealogy account listed for us that takes the one from Ruth all the way to Jesus’ birth. Christ’s lineage includes woman like Tamar (she slept with her father-in-law), Rahab (a harlot & Canaanite), Ruth (a Moabite), and Mary (unwed & young). God takes great delight in using unlikely people for His glory.
The very nature of ‘being’ a Christian is to be constantly growing and learning, ever changing as Christ increases in us and we recognize our intense need of Him. That is my life-long endeavour; to always be teachable, pursuing the heart of God and bringing Him glory with my life. The more I mature, the more I realize that I am like most of those that God used in scripture; unlikely candidates to be used effectively for a King. But, this is mere human reasoning as God takes great delight in taking foolish things, weak vessels, and broken lives to exhibit His salvation.
"Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don't see many of "the brightest and the best" among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn't it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these "nobodies" to expose the hollow pretensions of the "somebodies"? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That's why we have the saying, "If you're going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.""
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31 MSG)
While reading this morning, I knew the Lord was speaking again to a very deep place in my heart...
I've been reading through a chronological version of the Bible and today's chapters were in Deuteronomy where God is giving Moses final instructions & reminders for Israel before they move into the promised land with their new leader, Joshua. So as I come to chapter 18, I glance at the sub-titles: Offerings for Priests and Levites, Occult Practices, The Prophet and dive in. After reading the previous OT books, a lot of this is beginning to look repetitious, but I move on. I resonate with the Levites, agree quickly with the avoidance of occult practices, and want the voice of the prophet. Oh, but I haven't noticed this before... Look at verse 16!
For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
I want His voice & presence to be near. I trust Him. I honour & fear only Him. I want Him to speak & move through me.
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children...
A friend put out a public prayer request asking for a non-believer's healing. It was given with her consent and with the assurance that God is a healer, has been doing some great things in people's lives lately, and that we will ask for a miracle to happen ... that she has a full recovery.
I found myself praying for the individual and then, I thought, "God, Your name is being put out on the line today." And just as quick as the thought was out, was this realization: God is His Name!
We serve a great God; One who actually personifies His name.
Healer Lover Provider Redeemer Faithful Friend Powerful Merciful Just Compassionate Forgiving
Let them know that You, whose name is the Lord —
that You alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 83:18 NIV
God stands by His Name.
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Messiah"
Mark 8:29 (NLT)
I had just listened to a challenging sermon on the fear of God. If I am to fear God rightly - out of respect, honour and love - then I need to know Him. Hearsay is not enough. Something inside of me must engage with who He truly is.
So, I got to thinking ... I've respected & honoured others before; my husband, my granny, Billy Graham, the Queen. Now, I haven't (obviously) had relationship with all of these, but I have held them all in high regard. But maybe this is about more, more about living and dieing. Who would I live for? Who would I die for? Or even, who would I allow to live with me and give me life? Who would I allow to give me advice and guidance, so much so, that if they said so, I would do so. Hmm, this hits a much deeper chord, doesn't it?
We are now in the territory of the "me" - the territory of rights. This is where fear dwells, both the healthy and scary kind. If I do not know who God is (who He says He is and has proven Himself to be) I will never fear Him rightly. I may panic (wrong fear) when He tries to enter "my spot" or just be indifferent - not being aware of His presence and understanding His intentions.
I can look to my past, but I cannot lean on it
Please inquire for the word of the LORD today. 1 Kings 22:5