INCREASE YOUR PEACE

REMEMBER GOD…

Dove over Water

God is always with us.  We may not always be aware, but He is always here watching us and waiting for us to call upon Him when we are in trouble.  Peace comes when we remember His presence on a regular basis.  Isa. 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”  

This is the key.  Keeping our thoughts fixed on God.  Thinking things like: “What would He do in this situation?” or “Since God is with me I am not afraid.”  If we acknowledge Him in all we do and before any decision we make, peace will always be with us.  

Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus and follow his example to run the race with endurance.  

Remember, God is with us.  Remember, God is our peace.  Remember, God is our guide. Remember, God is watching over us and will help us in times of trouble.  This kind of thinking will keep you in perfect peace.

Jesus on benchDON’T WORRY, PRAY

Philippians 4: 6-7 NLT says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” 

Once we have our mind and thoughts fixed on God, we can keep the conversation going with Him all throughout the day.  Sure,  it is important to have our time with God in the morning to start the day.  Many of us have a morning ‘quiet time’ devoted to God and reading and/or praying.  But He wants us to include Him in everything we do.  When stress arises during the day, ask for help.  When you get that promotion, thank Him.  When we feel joyful or happy about what’s happening, share it with Him.  

Don’t worry,  God is here.  Don’t worry,  God has for back. Don’t worry, take all your cares to Jesus.  He will take all your burdens and help you carry them.

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How to Change Worry to Peace and Freedom

Worry happens when we take on a responsibility that is not ours.

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Jesus told us that we should not worry. Philippians 4:6-7 in the New Living Translation says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:7 says  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Jesus wants all our cares.  That is why he came.  He came to walk beside us and carry our load.  

We worry about our children

When our children are small and live at home, we don’t tend to worry about how to feed them, how their diaper is going to be changed, or how to carry out our basic responsibilities toward that child.  We have been given the ability to do these things because it is our responsibility and God gives us the knowledge and strength to carry them out.  When our children grow up and move out of the house, they start making their own decisions and choices.  They are no longer under our chain of command and are no longer our responsibility.  We can counsel them when they ask or help them when they need help; but, ultimately, they are now under God’s chain of command and if we start to worry, it’s because we have no control over the situation.  It is not ours to control so God has not given us that ability, strength or knowledge.

We worry about finances

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When we worry about finances, that is also taking on a responsibility that is not ours.  The bible says in Philippians 4:19 that God will supply all our needs.  So ultimately it is His responsibility, not ours.  That does not mean we sit back and wait for someone, sent by God, to hand us all the money we need to life.  Our responsibility is to ask God to supply our needs then listen to His plan of action.  He will tell us where to work and how to earn an income.  Our responsibility is simply obedience to his Word, spoken or written.  Once we obey, He honors and blesses us.  

We worry about the future.

called-to-be-loved-26-638So, we cannot control our grown children, we cannot control our finances (our trust is in God, not money or our present economy), and we certainly cannot control our future.  It has not happened yet and we never know what is around the corner, but God knows and He works all things together for our good.  Most things we worry about that concern the future will either never happen or they will be things we can handle and eventually walk out of victoriously.

So what are we to do?

Just live like a child.  Again referring to Jesus’ teachings, He told us to come to Him as little children.  Have you noticed how happy little children are?  They know they cannot buy their own food, or dress themselves, or take care of even their most basic needs.  But they trust their caregivers to care for them.  All they need to do is come when called and let their caregivers hand them all that they need.  That is what our Savior can do for us.  He will hand us all we need as long as we live for Him and obey His leading.  And no, our parents will not always hand us everything we want.  They know we need to eat our veggies and protein, not only sweets.  So, also, God will not hand us all we WANT.  Only what we NEED.  Trust in Him.  Let go.  Be free.

Soothing the Soul

Three things that soothe my soul.

MUSIC:  Do you ever wonder why there is music playing everywhere?  Everywhere we go: restaurants, malls, department stores, and the list goes on.  Music is a source of rest and relaxation for me. I will listen to different types of music depending upon my mood.  I like soft ambiance type music, slow and soothing, when I am stressed and need to cool off emotionally speaking.  When I am sad I like to listen to upbeat Christian music that lifts me up and get my heart racing and my adrenaline pumping.  When I feel lonely I like to listen to love songs about how much Christ loves me.  And sometimes I like listening to romantic music about the love between a husband and wife.  There is music for all ages, races, nationalities, and personalities.  Music is a common ground that all people can appreciate sometime in their life.

MEDITATION:   Many times I like to sit and let my mind wander.  I often do this while taking a long drive out of town here in North Texas.  I look out at the plains, the farm fields, the road ahead of me, and just think of nothing.  I let thoughts float by and when one interesting thought comes my way I may ponder it for a while.  If it is a problem I need to solve, I pray about it and ask God to show me how to fix it.  Many times it is just a thought about a random subject that I begin to analyze or a topic that I try to outline or learn from.  Sometimes I just sit there and listen to the birds sing, the wind blow or the soft music playing in the background of my mind.  (I often seem to have some song in my head playing in the background of my thoughts).  Meditation like this can be like dreaming while you are awake.  I have read somewhere that dreaming is like organizing your experiences of life that day and filing your thoughts, memories, and emotional experiences in your mind.

MEMORIZATION

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The scripture above is a great example of how scripture can soothe the soul.  We have every blessing available to us through Jesus Christ.  If we search the scriptures we can find a multitude of blessings we can receive or have received from Him.  The best way to keep this with us is to memorize scripture.  We can say at any moment, wherever we are, that we are blessed by God.  And this soothes my soul.  Another good example is Psalms 103:1-5

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your [a]years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

Emotions of Life

emoticonsDuring our lives, we (especially women) go through many faces of emotion.  Throughout my times of strong emotional uprise, I have vented those emotions by writing poetry.  I have compiled those times into one larger poem called “From the Heart”.  You can read it  here.

I realize at the end of those emotions that Jesus is always the answer.  When we are happy, Jesus is the reason (John 10:10).  When we are sad, Jesus is the One to whom we can run(Matthew 11:28-30).  When we are angry, Jesus takes revenge for us (Romans 12:19). 

King David complained to the Lord a lot in the Psalms; however, at the end of most of those Psalms, he would exclaim something like “But God” or “And yet will I praise You”.  Sometimes he just talked to his soul and told himself to hope in God:

Ps. 42

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while people say to me all day long,

“Where is your God?”

4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
under the protection of the Mighty One
with shouts of joy and praise
among the festive throng.

5 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

No matter what our emotions are, we can rest assured that Jesus will be there for us.

 

Psalm 84

We long for God.  He made us that way.  Like the song, “God shaped hole” by Plumb.  When we ask Christ into our lives, His spirit comes to live in our spirit.  We become the dwelling place of God’s Spirit.  Therefore, we our spirit is always satisfied.

 However, our soul still has longings.  The Christian life is a journey toward the goal of saturating our soul with His presence.  Although our spirit is always satisfied and filled with joy, peace, patience, etc., our soul is torn between the flesh and the spirit, between the world system and God.  Our soul still has to deal with our own longings, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, needs, desires, habits, financially, psychologically, and the list goes on.  I find that even though I am filled with joy in my spirit, my soul has a longing.  Sometimes this is hard to understand, but I feel that the cause may be in part because I are not fulfilling God’s plan for my life.  If I am bored, maybe it means I am not doing all God wants me to do.  If I feel lonely, maybe there is someone I have to forgive, a relationship that needs to be restored, or maybe it’s just because I need to create more relationships and meet more people.

God does supply all our needs; they are there always.  We just need to take them.  God doesn’t always just lay them in our lap.  Sometimes He wants us to take them.  Sometimes He wants us to find the treasures He has for us, like a parent hiding an Easter Basket and having their children look for them.  He won’t make us take His gifts.  He doesn’t force his goodness on us.  He offers it to us.  He hands it to us.  But we need to take it.  We need to claim possession and declare that it is ours.  We need to accept the gift.

The keys are:  one – asking.  “Ye have not because ye ask not.  Ask that you will receive and you joy may be full” (see John 16:23-26, Matt 7:7-8, and James 4:2-3).  John 16:26 says that Jesus won’t ask the Father for us.  That means we need to ask the Father for what we need.  Two – motives; are we asking for our own worldly pleasure, “Give me money so that I can spend it in me” or “Lord I’d like a new Mercedes”?

So, to sum up — The longings that we have are known by God.  It’s up to us to ask with the right motives.  And it is up to us to accept them, take them and receive them when he lays them before us.  And it is up to us sometimes to find it, to look for it when he says it is His plan for us.

Blessings through the Psalms: Chapter 3

Psalm 3 Blessings

How many of us have heard the phrase “You can’t do anything right” or “How can you be so stupid”  I still say that to myself when I make a mistake.  It’s just the perfectionist in me.  But God sees us as “holy and blameless in His sight” – (see Eph. 5:26-27) 

God blessings seen in Psalm 3:3 – He gives us protection, honor and self-confidence.

  Steel_sq_shield_detail1.  PROTECTION “You, O Lord, are a shield for me…”  This shield David is referring to symbolizes protection.  The shields used then were full body shields protecting the entire length of your body from head to foot.  When people were in battle, they stood back to back four in a group all carrying these shields so they were enclosed all around with full body steel shields. 

God is our protection from everything around us.  Nothing can harm us if we trust in Him, NOTHING!

 

HONOR “my glory”  This means God gives us honor.  He gives us self-worth.  Without Him we are nothing, but with Him in our lives and in our hearts as our savior and the one we follow, He gives us significance and purpose.  He makes important and gives us honor.

Confidence
Confidence

CONFIDENCE  “the lifter of my head”  Our sin covers us with shame and we bow our heads in humiliation realizing that we are flawed, we are nothing, we are lost.  God gives us confidence so we can lift our heads in pride and satisfaction knowing we are a child of God and are forgiven of anything we did wrong. 

  What we need to do is see ourselves as God sees us.  Not as we look in a mirror, not flawed, not stupid, not abandoned, not worthless. 

We are strong, we are pure, holy, and blameless in His sight because we are His children and He made us with a unique purpose.

Verse 5 blessings – Rest and Strength

Rest “I lie down and sleep” The Lord gives us rest as we trust in Him because we need not worry.  We can be assured that He has all our problems in His hands and can take care of us.  So with a peaceful life, we can be free to rest in Him and relax so we can sleep.

Strength “I wake again because the Lord sustains me.”  He gives us strength to arise and accomplish our task for the day.  We can look to Him for our purpose for the day.

Verse 7-8 blessings – Salvation

Salvation “Salvation belongs to our God”.  God saves us from all our troubles.  When we receive negative thoughts such as “I will never get it right” or “I’m can’t do this” that is from our enemy, the devil.  God saves us from all those negative thoughts and gives us assurance of who we are. We can do all things through Him.  We are victors in Christ, more than conquerors (see Philippians 4:13 and Romans 8:37).

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Blessings through the Psalms: Chapter 1

Psalm 1:1-3

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Psalm 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Verse 3 expresses 4 blessings:

1.  Constant refreshing “He shall be like a tree planted by the water.

2.  Bear fruit in season (“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22)  We will show these characteristics in the proper time as needed when we come across people and situations that need these ‘fruits’.

3.  Eternal life – Starting now our “leaf does not wither”.

4.  Prosperity – This is not financial blessings, although that may be included.  These blessings include love, joy, peace, sharing life with those who were once dead in their sins.  Being an instrument of peace, etc.  Whatever we do, when we have been meditating on the word and follow God in obedience, we will come out successful.  More people will be added to the Kingdom of God.

Conditions to receive these Blessings:

1.  Delight in the law of the Lord – (vs 2)

2.  Meditate on the Law day and night (vs 2)

In order to receive blessings from God, we need to delight in his Law.  We need to meditate day and night on the Law of the Lord so we will have the knowledge and wisdom to do what is says.  Only then can we receive the blessings as a result of our obedience to his Word.