Let the Peace

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

—Colossians 3:15

Walking along the deck at a park I had not visited before, I saw some flowers growing from the watery edge.

The blooms were a beautiful lavender color with marks of yellow and blue.

Surrounded by green leaves, the flower commanded attention as its beauty stood out from the surroundings.

I need to remember to let the peace that Jesus gives rule in my heart, commanding the attention of my mind.

The beauty of His peace will always stand out from the anxiety and confusion in the world.

 

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Fixed

Would you like to be at perfect peace?

Not worried?

No anxious thoughts?

Today, I heard someone say a little phrase that caught my attention immediately.

It was something like, “Think of Him, not them.”

When situations come up that are troubling and crushing to our hearts concerning others that we love, we can direct our thoughts and prayers to God.

Being human, our tendency is to focus on the problem—

all day, all night.

At work.

At home.

Focus, focus, worry, worry.

There are things in this world that we cannot “fix.”

When we look to God in praise and with intercession, we “fix” our eyes on Him.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”

—Isaiah 26:3

 

 

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Cast All

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:7

 

Yesterday, there was a terrible tragedy about an hour’s drive from my home.

People all over the world are talking about it.

Because of our technological capabilities, people all over the world can learn of breaking news in moments.

While being informed is a good thing, it can sometimes be overwhelming, as well.

When I check the news headlines, I get an overview of all the major occurrences across the globe.

Politics, science, war.

Health, sports, natural disasters.

Weather, entertainment, economics.

When horrific things happen–like yesterday’s tragedy–it’s too great to comprehend.

There is so much to take in.

It’s overwhelming for me.

And what about those who are directly affected?

I can only imagine their consuming emotion.

What is there to do?

1 Peter 5:7 reads, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

God is greater than anything we could ever envision.

When we are anxious and troubled, distraught and undone, we can cast our emotions on Him and look to Him to comfort and to heal.

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He Heard Me

Walking with my friends in the garden, I came upon a beautiful camellia flower blooming.

Still cradling water droplets from the recent rain, its delicate, pink petals were layered in elegant, star-like formation.

There’s something curative and calming about strolling through a garden, pausing to appreciate the artistry that God has created in every design.

Fears and anxieties begin to ebb as we view each new expanse of beauty.

Psalm 34:4 reads,

“I sought the LORD and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”

What better place to pray than in the quiet solitude of a garden of flowers?

 

 

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Do Not Be Anxious

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Do not be anxious about anything,

but in everything by prayer and supplication

with thanksgiving let your requests

be made known to God.

And the peace of God,

which surpasses all understanding,

will guard your hearts

and your minds

in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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Quiet and at Rest

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What is there to worry about?

Plenty of things.

Yet, worrying won’t change them.

It won’t help at all.

Sometimes, it’s just good for me to walk around outside–even if it is just in my own yard–and look at the fascinating creations of God that are right there.

Flowers, butterflies, tiny blooms on weeds.

Birds flying overhead, lizards scurrying about, dragonflies that come to hover near me.

There, I find a calm and a respite from responsibilities, if only for a short while.

I have been praying lately about many things, wanting to trust God with people and situations, instead of worrying.

God is in control.

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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I Leave With You

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Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

–John 14:27

Jesus comforted His disciples by saying these words.

I think He wants me to be comforted by them, as well.

When so much is going on around me that constantly invites worry, I can have peace.

Jesus says, “My peace I give you.”

Jesus says, “I do not give to you as the world gives.”

Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled.”

Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”

In my human mind, I can respond with, “But what if…..”

With my surrendered heart, I can respond with, “Jesus, I accept Your peace.”

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By Prayer and Petition

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After recently watching a movie that was centered on the power of prayer, I made a decision.

In the film, the main character wrote prayers down on paper and attached them to the wall of her closet.

It was there that she prayed for many concerns.

Considering what the greatest burdens of my heart are, I have begun to write down specific prayers and tape them to a wooden wardrobe in my closet.

When each prayer has been answered, I will be able to write that answer on the small pieces of paper that are posted there.

In just writing down my most heartfelt longings, I realize that my intercessory concerns are too big for me to handle.

I can’t change someone’s attitude.

I can’t give someone else the gift of wisdom.

I can’t heal someone from disease.

I can’t choose the perfect job for someone else.

I can’t.

But God can.

Coming to Him in prayer about anything and everything, is the best possible action.

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

—Philippians 4:6

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Get Rid of All

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I had just walked out the door.

It was early morning and I was on my way to work.

As I approached my car in the driveway, I saw the piles of fresh dirt by the concrete.

Ants.

Probably hundreds of them, even though only a few were out and about where I could see them.

Where I live, it is quite common to be bitten by ants.

They set up shop almost anywhere and you don’t really know where they are hidden until they decide to show themselves.

The mounds of dirt that seem to appear so quickly are just the final testimony of what’s been going on all along.

Under the surface of the ground, the ants have been multiplying and building their forces, silently and without any fanfare.

Then, without warning, one day they come out of hiding for all to see.

There are some issues in our lives that behave just like that.

Anger.

Jealousy.

Bitterness.

No one really wants to think about these, but they are often there.

Hidden deep inside us, these emotions multiply like ants, building their forces, silently—without letting anyone else know about it.

Hidden behind smiles and appropriate behavior, their presence may go unnoticed, perhaps for years.

Then, for whatever reason, feelings of anger, fear, jealousy, bitterness, guilt, regret or anxiety suddenly seem to surface for all to see.

It may seem sudden to onlookers at the time, but the problems have perhaps had quite a long history behind them.

So, what can be done?

Anything at all?

If I’d had access to a large enough shovel and the time to devote to it, I might have been able to dig up the ant nests.

I could have purchased a product designed to rid them from my yard.

What can be done for the human heart that suffers from detrimental feelings?

God can remove them all.

Fear?

Anger?

It doesn’t matter what the problem is.

He can rid them from your heart.

If any of these things are troubling you, why not ask God to take them away?

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Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

—Ephesians 4:31

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Your Worries

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Walking along the dock tonight, it was peaceful and calm.

My heart was fairly peaceful and calm, as well.

The sun had long been gone, but a hint of orange still remained in the gray sky of dusk above me.

It was raining and the lights reflected in the soaking wood beneath my feet.

In the last couple of weeks or so, I’ve had many issues to bring before the Lord in prayer.

Already, there have been answers to some.

If I just stop to consider, I have so many blessings to be thankful for.

Despite the issues that seem difficult and overwhelming, there are so many things that are right and good.

Things that are just as they should be, or actually, even better.

1 Peter 5:7 reads,

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”

God loves us.

He doesn’t want us to be sick with worry and concern over things that are in His control.

He wants us to come to Him with our concerns.

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Courage

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Courage.

The dictionary defines courage as, “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”

Psalm 3:3-4 reads,

“But, Lord, You are my shield.
    You are my wonderful God who gives me courage.
 I will pray to the Lord.
    And He will answer me from His holy mountain.”

If I were to take the modern definition of courage and consider it in this verse it would be,

“You are my wonderful God who gives me the quality of mind or spirit to enable me to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear. You are my wonderful God who gives me bravery.”

As I stood on the grass by the lake as the sun was setting tonight, I photographed the clouds towering in the sky, reflecting on the calm water below.

I prayed.

God knows that I am in need of some courage.

His courage.

He also knows all the other things I need, too, even though I haven’t realized it yet.

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When I Am Afraid

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I’ve been afraid before.

Afraid as a child.

Afraid as a teenager.

Afraid as an adult.

Fear causes an inner turmoil that grips us, whether we are in a dentist’s chair or waking from a troubling dream.

Whatever the situation may be that causes the response of fear, we are never alone in it.

God does not abandon us when circumstances in life become frightening.

When we are afraid, we can put our trust in God.

We never, ever walk alone….

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When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.

—Psalm 56:3

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My Peace

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Peace.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines peace in one form as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”

Jesus said, Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” —John 14:27

Jesus can certainly give us freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.

Simply put, we can have freedom from worry, anxiety and fear.

It’s more than that, however.

Jesus’ peace is His peace.

A divine peace that cannot be fully described.

What is worrying you today?

What is causing anxiety to well up inside you?

What is inviting fear into your heart?

Ask Jesus to give you His peace.

Talk to Him about the things that are troubling you.

Jesus is with right there.

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To the Throne of Grace

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Below are some of the lyrics to a popular Christian song:

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

(from “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher)

Lately, the words, “And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You” have gone to a special place in my heart.

How precious to even consider that during our greatest weakness, God is there for us to fall on.
In recent weeks, several people that I know have faced extreme circumstances.
In fact, some of them are still facing these trials today.
This song, when changed to an intercessory prayer, is a comfort to me concerning them:

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Lord, they come, they confess
Bowing there, they find their rest
Without You they would fall apart
You’re the One that guides their heart
Lord, they need You, oh, they need You
Every hour they need You
Their one defense, their righteousness
Oh God, how they need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, they are free
Holiness is Christ in them
Teach their song to rise to You
When temptation comes their way
And when they cannot stand let them fall on You
Jesus, You’re their hope and stay
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My heart is solemn as I yearn for healing of every situation in the lives of my each of my friends who are facing troubles.
God is the only One who can take care of each of the needs.
What a precious privilege to have the gift of prayer.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.—Hebrews 4:16

 

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Throne of Grace

Troubled, Neither Let It Be

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Jesus said,

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

—John 14:27

Jesus is able to to give me peace, even when those I love are ill.

My cousin is in ICU tonight.

Jesus is able to give me peace, even as I realize that I am not in control of others’ lives.

Those I love must make decisions for themselves.

Jesus is able to give me peace, even when I realize that I cannot know the future.

God alone knows the future and the past in its entirety.

In the passage above, Jesus told His disciples not to have troubled hearts or to let their hearts be afraid.

Instead, He wanted them to have peace.

I think this is what He wants now, for me and for you.

Does your heart need His peace tonight?

Are you troubled and afraid?

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What You Will Eat

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Walking along the sidewalk of the park yesterday morning, I saw a squirrel not far from me.

Securing an acorn in his paw, he began to eat without fear of my presence.

The trees in my own yard yield a great many of those same acorns.

On any given day, I can see squirrels scampering in my yard, enjoying life.

God provides them with the food they need.

He can provide for us, as well.

Jesus said,

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.”

Matthew 6:25

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Carefree Before God

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Carefree.

I decided to look the definition up in the dictionary.

What did I find?

“Free from anxiety and responsibility.”

I Peter 5:7 in The Message reads,

“Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.”

Living a life free of anxiety sounds good.

But, do we live lives without responsibilities?

When we think about it, we are responsible for making the decision to allow God into our hearts and lives.

Then, we are responsible for how we obey His leading.

We are totally free, however, from some other responsibilities.

God is responsible for those.

The verse above as written in the Living Bible reads,

“Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”

God gave us our lives and He is sustaining them.

The world and the universe are held by His power.

He is aware of absolutely everything in our lives.

God loves us, and because of that, we can trust Him with all of those responsibilities we could not possibly handle.

He is “most careful” with me and with you.

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Consider the Lilies

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Is adding a single hour to your life a small thing?

God can add an hour, a day or a year.

He can add any number of years if He chooses.

God is the giver of life.

We are not in charge.

So, since we can’t really add to our lives or make anything better by worrying and being anxious, why do we do it?

 

 

 

 

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

—Luke 12:25-27

 

 

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