Tag Archives: Peace

Can You Just “Be”?

18 Jun

I have been writing about Walking With God.

Have you ever noticed that we have such an empty feeling when we are alone? I mean really alone. By that I mean when we finally sit down – when we are away from the crowd – we pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV – or our music – or try and get away in a book of some sort or some other type of activity.

Still, something always seems to be missing. That emptiness inside that we can never quite manage to satisfy. We may be able to suppress it briefly, but, eventually that feeling finds a way to surface. There is a void in our lives that only God can fill. That’s a given. God created us for fellowship with Himself. He wants our friendship. He didn’t just create this world so we could have a bunch of fun and a bunch of stuff.He didn’t give His son, Jesus, to die on the cross so you and I could have everything we want that makes us happy and keeps us content. Nor, did He intend that each of us have a different set of rules and standards to live our lives by.

I don’t believe we understand friendship and fellowship with God. I think the idea of God wanting to be our friend is just too inconceivable for us. It may even seem a bit sacrilegious. To some of  us it may even lower His dignity in our eyes. After all, He’s God – creator of the universe – maker of all things. He has more important things to do. Besides, we can’t see Him. We can talk to Him and hope He is listening, but we can’t be really sure – can we?

On top of that, our time is really limited. We have a job or daily chores to do and we have all those activities that we have to achieve in order to live up to those internal standards.When we finally do get a little time that we have determined to be “our time” we’ve still got a long list of things we really want to do.

Have you noticed what place “doing” holds in our lives? What about just “being”? When it comes to “being” we don’t know how. “Being” doesn’t fill any of those voids inside. When it comes time to just “be” we must fill that void with something – the TV or the radio – a magazine or a book – alcohol -drugs – something.

Have you ever stopped to consider that the void that is there can never truly be filled until we allow God his rightful place in our hearts? I’m sure many of you must be thinking about now that you have given God that place.

I want to dispel the notion that walking with God in obedience is easy. The Word tells us that we must take up our cross daily to follow God. Our example, Jesus, was crucified. He was made to pick up his cross. He had been so beaten that he could hardly pick up that cross. At one point, he fell and another man helped him continue up to Golgatha.

Jesus Christ went through all he did for us. He died for our sins. He died so we could spend eternity with Him. He died to save us from living a life of torment in hell, apart from Him. He also died to give us power to overcome our enemy, satan, here on this earth. After his death on the cross and before his resurrection, He went down to Sheol (hell) and took away the keys. He took our place in hell.

It is the responsibility of each individual to discover God’s truth for themselves. When we read a book (even this one) or hear a sermon, we are yielding to another person’s interpretation. We read books and go to church and listen to other ministers tell us about God’s Word. That’s wonderful. There are some Spirit-filled, anointed messengers of God’s Word out there. However, there are also some who are not so anointed to teach God’s Word. How are we to know the difference? It becomes clear after listening to a few different speakers that they don’t all agree on about how God’s Word should be interpreted. So, what do we do? Who do we believe? Understand, it is the Holy Spirit who opens our hearts and gives us understanding.

God wants fellowship and friendship with each one of us. He gave His Son to die on the cross to give us eternal life with Him. His death gave us spiritual power over our enemy, satan, and power to do the things Jesus did – even greater things. He has already given us all the answers in The Scriptures.In order to walk with God and follow Him in obedience we must spend time with Him. We must pick up the Bible on some sort of regular basis and give God the opportunity to speak to us, to teach us, to love us.

The Scriptures tell us that we will have trials. It also clearly tells us to expect persecution and misunderstanding and heartache and sickness and even death, and even how to live victoriously. The Old Testament was given to us to give us examples of how things were done in those days and how God dealt with His people.The New Testament teaches us about how God gave His Son, Jesus to come and shed his blood to cover our sins and the power we need to walk through this world.

Our lives are so busy. Almost everything we do today has been streamlined to make our lives easier, faster and smarter. But, there is one thing that hasn’t changed and will never change and that is God’s Word.

We have come to rely on so much of the world’s ever-increasing technology. The pace of our lives has become faster and faster. We move so fast that we can hardly even find the time to spend with God. We talk to Him on the run. That’s okay. We should talk to Him all the time. Many of us give Him a few minutes each day and call it our quiet time. There’s not a thing wrong with that either. However, I believe God wants so much more for us.

Continued. . .Come back later for more of Walking With God

Our Least Favorite Subject – Obedience – God Is Not Santa Claus!

14 Jun

He Walks With Me

Obedience to God is the key to so many of the things we desire from Him. I am not referring to material things or things on our “wish list”, or to getting our own way all the time. It’s not about having all of our prayers answered just the way we want them or living in a perfect world where there are no problems and life is easy. It also isn’t about a life of wealth and health and utter bliss.

If you are looking for a life where true love exists with no heartaches, and your heart can be at peace when everything around you is failing – going wrong in almost every sense of the word – then, I believe this series of devotionals can help you.

I’m gong to write about finding The Way – true peace in the midst of every storm. It is about learning to trust in the One True Source that can give you everything you need. It is about following through. It is about timing – His timing.

My challenge to you and my purpose in writing this is for you to consider that God wants more of you – not for you to DO more – but for fellowship and friendship with Him.

Where do you look for peace?

God’s Word, is real and sharper than a two-edged sword. It really is. It is so alive and so full of God’s love for you and His direction for every situation in your life. You can have peace – the kind of peace that can’t be explained. It’s a peace you cannot find in all your money. You can’t find it in your mate, or your children or your grandchildren. It isn’t in the toys you love. These are ways to spend your time that may occupy your time and distract you. They may take your mind far away from reality. But these are only temporary fixes.

Your peace won’t come from drugs, alcohol, sex or food. These things may help dull your senses and satisfy your flesh. However, none of these things really give you the peace in your heart you so need when your life is falling apart and your heart is breaking.

We have all seen how hurricanes, tornadoes and other natural disasters, can wipe away all the precious material possessions we all hold on to. When some sort of catastrophe visits our doorstep and begins to take away all that we have held in our minds to be the things that make us who we are, what happens to our peace then? Who do we turn to?

What happens when the world as we know it – our world – is shattered and everything we found our comfort and contentment in fails us? We try to hold it together. We do all we can to make it right again. We struggle and fight within ourselves until we feel our hearts will never mend. We cry out to God and make vows and promises we can’t keep. We try to bargain with God and plead with Him to make everything okay again. We’re disappointed and angry when He doesn’t jump in there and make miracles happen to prove He is God and to show us He will make things okay for us again.

What did you do wrong?

We even come to a point where we’re angry at Him and embarrassed that He could let us down in such a way that our friends think we couldn’t be living right. Surely, we must not be following all of the rules. There must have been something different we could have done. If we had, our lives would be proof of it. We would have everything in order and we would be like the Joneses – with perfect houses full of goodies and great cars and beautiful and perfect, well-behaved children. We would have lots of friends and the most up-to-date clothes – whatever toys our hearts delight in – great health – perfect holiday celebrations and nothing to worry about. That would prove God loves us and we’re living the good life, wouldn’t it?

After all, God said, “Delight yourself in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart”. He said it – did He mean it or not? Well, if I don’t have everything my heart desires, does that mean I’m not good enough or that I am not doing enough for God? Okay, then. I’ll join one more Bible Study or volunteer for a committee to show just how much of a Christian I am. I’ll work a little harder at making everyone see what good person I am. I’ll lose some weight and bring my wardrobe up to date – dye my hair – have some cosmetic surgery. Then everyone will see that I still have what it takes. They’ll envy me and see what a good person I am. I’ll surely feel better about myself.

I know something that will really help me feel better. I’ll buy some more toys. I’ll get new furniture or a big new car – a bigger, newer, faster computer – the most up to date cell-phone or smart phone.
I’ll drink away my sorrow or my shortcomings. I’ll take a few more pills so I won’t have to think about all of the things that bother me. I’ll join another group. I’ll find another mate. I’ll turn up the volume on my IPOD and drown out everything that is trying to bring me down. I’ll eat some comfort food. I’ll buy something that will make me feel better.

Have you gotten the picture? Do you see what we do – what we call living? Can you see what lengths we go to so that we will have peace and joy? Do any of them work for you when your life is falling apart or when you are hurting so much inside? Do any of these things last when you are all alone?

What, then, if anything, is the answer? Where can I find peace and joy? How can I be content? Is it possible?


Come back later — This devotional is continued
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God Is Not Like Grandma, He’s Not Old Fashioned or Behind the Times!

7 Jun

Many of us don’t think much about the spiritual side of things. We believe we have our lives under control and we are ready for what comes our way. Conversely, we are experiencing more and more stress and frustration. We have been taught by the world around us that we need to be strong. We dare not let anyone see us as weak.

Perhaps our spiritual condition doesn’t seem like much of an issue. Some of us may even think that our spiritual lives are separate from our daily lives. Definitely not! We may try to keep it separate thinking it isn’t part of daily living. Besides, it’s not cool to be spiritual. Exactly the opposite is true. Our spiritual condition (our heart of hearts) is where our true character resides.

• Prov 16:9 “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” NIV

• Matt 15:18-20 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart , and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.” NIV

The ways of God obviously are not the ways of man. If man had his way there would certainly be no suffering. It is imperative that we realize how much we need God every day with every step. We could not take another breath, or another step if He did not allow it. Whether we believe it to be true or not doesn’t matter. Our denial of God’s truth doesn’t invalidate it.

God is always with us, not just for our bedtime prayers, but as we get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, and in all else that we do. We can talk with Him at any time about any and every issue. It’s kind of like being at home with a loved one. We are busy in one room and they are busy in another. We know that we can call out to them at any time and they will answer. Only God is not in the other room, He is right with us – wherever we are.

Our conversations with God are not one way. He will speak to our hearts. He will take away our fears and direct us through our every concern, if we will allow Him to.

• John 10:26-27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” NIV

God has His own time-table. It most often does not agree with ours. He is not intimidated by our deadlines. Don’t think that just because He does not work like the high-speed internet that He is old-fashioned and out of date. To the contrary, His ways far exceed that. He created the universe out of nothing. He knew us before we were formed in our Mothers’ wombs. He can handle today’s technology. God is actually the one who gave knowledge to the creators of our technology. What? You think they did it on their own?

Scripture tells us that there is nothing new in the world. Technology was part of God’s plan from the beginning. Don’t think for a moment that we have moved on without Him. No, Friends, He is the one who made it all possible. He is not just our Grandma’s God. God’s miracles and ancient stories of the Bible didn’t stop when the Bible was made into a book with a cover. God is the reason we have progressed to where we are today.

• Eccl 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” NIV

His ways are not outdated. He is the author and finisher or our faith and the reason that we are who we are. We need to recognize His authority. When we read the Scriptures we will find that events do not just happen on their own. God is the force behind them. He places people where He wants them and uses them according to His plan.

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, still operates in our lives as it did in the lives of those ancient men and women of the Bible. They are not fictional like Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland. Rest assured you will not meet those characters in heaven one day. However; you will meet many of those ancient men and women of the Bible there. You will hear from their own lips of their awesome adventures.

God is just as real today as He was when all the events of the Bible took place. He walks with us, covers us like a shield. He goes before us, behind us, beside us. We cannot go anywhere that He is not there.

What Does The Future Hold?

6 Jun

Today’s world gives us plenty of reason to become discouraged. Worldly conditions are becoming more and more uncertain.  We wonder if things are going to get better. It is frightening. Our economy is bad. Many of us don’t have a job, leaving us with financial problems. There have been hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, and wars. Our leaders have been caught lying and cheating. Danger lives on our streets and invades our homes. Our schools are overrun with children out of control. Shootings are taking place in public places where we should feel safe. We are experiencing occurrences in our weather that are inexplicable. We are seeing more bizarre acts of violence. What is happening?

Life is challenging! We work hard and play hard. We move at a very fast pace. We have rigid schedules, time constraints, very little leisure time. Eventually, we become tired and weary. We may even become so exhausted that we begin to make decisions based on our raw emotions. We lose our enthusiasm. We become skeptical, sarcastic, and hard to live with. We may even become so overwhelmed that we become weary and want to give up.

Remember the childhood nursery rhyme, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream”? We dreamed about our future, our plans, how wonderful life would be. We weren’t prepared for how difficult things could be. The second verse of that nursery rhyme is, “Row, row, row, your boat gently down the stream, if you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream”.  We didn’t know that some of our dreams would turn into nightmares!

We couldn’t wait to grow up so we could be in control of our own lives and do what we wanted.  We would then be able to go anywhere and do anything without asking anyone. Well, how did that work for us? It is sort of like joining the army so we wouldn’t have to do what mom and dad said!

Over time, our daily routines can change from exciting and challenging, to dull and boring. Eventually serious issues come up, causing more and more stress, fear, and anxiety.

God wants us to experience unsurpassable peace. It doesn’t mean that the world around us is going to be different. Situations around us won’t necessarily change. People who challenge us won’t be different. Difficult things won’t cease to affect us.

The change that will take place has to be internal. We will begin to transform our way of thinking.

There is good news! God gives us this Word from the Bible.

  • 1 Peter 1:6-9  “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  NIV

Inexpressible joy – wow!  Impossible to put into words – unutterable – unspeakable  – can you even imagine what it must feel like to feel so much joy that you cannot put it into words or express it in any way?

Our relationship with God begins in our hearts. Our temperament, personality, disposition and moral fiber come from our hearts. We have to begin there.

  • Prov 2:1-6 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom. . .” NIV

 

  • Prov 2:9-11 “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you,and understanding will guard you.” NIV

Our accountability is to God, our Father, for in our hearts is where He lives. We must develop a personal and intimate relationship with Him. It is paramount to our reaching joy inexpressible. Attaining life’s most important treasures comes from this most important relationship. Nothing else can take His place. We may strive to reach our goals and objectives on our own. We may even gain a little ground. It won’t last. Nothing will last that is not of God. Joy inexpressible only comes only if our spirits are in tune with our Almighty Heavenly Father. It can happen no other way.

Most essential is making Him our first priority. The omnipotent God of the universe, the creator or life who has complete, unlimited universal power and authority wants a personal relationship with us. He wants our hearts devoted to Him. He wants to spend time with us! Joy inexpressible! How can we understand or explain it? We can’t.

When we reach intimacy with God, we will be so in love with Him that He can ask what He wants from us and we will be eager to obey. This is part of what inexpressible joy and peace that passes understanding is all about.

God’s Timing

2 Jan

Time – none of us have enough of it. When we do manage a little “down time” we find ourselves so exhausted that when we try and “do nothing” – quilt knocks at our door.

It’s interesting to me that God’s timing remains constant. He isn’t concerned about man’s deadlines or other legalistic rituals. At times we remind Him that we have an upcoming deadline and just want to make sure He is aware of it. (Well, what can I say?)

I’ve witnessed many times how God brings us right up to the edge (of what seems like a cliff) and then just before “it’s too late” He rescues us. Let me add that in reality God is never too late. He is always on time (remember Lazarus).

Actually, I’ve witnessed times in my life where God “missed a deadline” (mine, of course) because He had a much better plan than I did. Imagine that! He can cause men to overlook rules, regulations and laws on our behalf.

Here’s the catch – God wants us to learn that in order for us to be in His will and receive His best we must forget about our own timing and learn to trust more in His. If a deadline passes us by it’s not because God missed it. Don’t proceed until you have His peace. A deadline is not in God’s vocabulary. And the biggest lesson I think we learn from this is that we need to give God time for His timing – not ours. If we will learn to do this, we will truly learn to walk in the peace that passes understanding and discover that nothing can move us because we know that we know God is in control!

Ask me how I know this!!