Category Archives: Discipline

focuses on the spiritual disciplines

To have the authority to surrender… and interesting thought <3

A short but sweet thought for you today regarding peace. 

As I read Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah, he says he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God

Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace

Only one term is a title of authority and that is Prince, or Ruler of Peace. 

God is called the God of Peace in Scripture in other places. 

He owns peace, has authority over peace, rules peace and in Colossians 3, I find that He gives me the option of coming under that authority.

In Paul’s writing the believers in Colossae, he instructs them in practical ways to live out their faith. 

The words of the entire passage are a sermon we would do well to preach to our minds and hearts often. 

If we took them to heart and activated them in our lives, we would make a better testimony of what Christ has done in our sphere of influence daily, but I will focus on verse 15 today since I promised to be brief. 

You also would be proud because I just pruned the previous sentence down from a rather hefty paragraph…but I digress…

So Paul, after giving clear teaching on how to live in the spirit, says:

And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. 

Colossians 3: 15

In that short sentence, Paul packs several punches:

  1. Peace belongs to Christ
  2. We see the wholeness and completeness of us pictured as being a part of a unified body
  3. The peace of Christ has authority and rulership
  4. We have to allow it; we have to give it permission to rule over us

In other words, He IS the author and supreme authority of this wholeness and completeness we seek. It is found within the context of a bigger-than-us Body. But we each play a part in receiving it by allowing ourselves to lay down our little thrones and kingdoms and LET His Peace take charge over our hearts. 

He has authority yet is not an authoritarian. 

The term “let” means: to decide, determine, control, rule. 

So He has authority and control over peace and I have authority over my will to either refuse His authority or submit to it. 

He does not demand I surrender, He surrendered first and then invited me to enter into His Kingdom as a child. 

He is the Prince of Peace and each time that I place my trust in Him, I am kept in that Peace

I have His Word on it and I have learned by experience

A prayer for us today:

Heavenly Father, like a child, I often find myself stubbornly refusing to trust that You know more than I do about a situation.

As I wrestle with anxiety or frustration or offense or anger, I find that my heart and soul enter into a state of turmoil and unrest.

Each time, again as a child, I run to You because I know that You are the only One who can help me sort through all that I am feeling and sensing.

I know that You alone know the whole story on what is going on in me and in those around me.

I have found You faithful time and again and I am so thankful that you listen to me as I pour out my thoughts and You hold me as I work through the release of my own desire to control things and people to fit my plans.

You do not grab things from my hands, but I am so thankful that as I pray for Your help, You gently loosen my grip with reminders of why I can trust You to lead me.

Thank you for Your endless patience with me and for the gentle but firm ways Your Spirit brings to my mind and heart the peace that passes my human understanding.


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A peace that rules over me <3

When I taught Sunday school, most of my lesson prep was not done sitting at the table with a Bible and Commentary and such opened as I took notes. A lot of it was, for sure, but MOST of it was me mulling over and praying about and meditating on some portion of Scripture or a phrase or theme and asking God to give me insight and understanding as to what He was trying to teach me about Him, and about us and about how to live it out. 

And so has it been with this mini-series. 

I have been jotting down passages that have to do with “peace” and then I read over them and pray over them and ask God what He wants us to hear. 

Today as I was looking for Psalm 27 to complete an exercise in the final pages of the Truthfilled study, my eyes fell on some notes I wrote in the margins of Psalm 116. 

I am assuming based on the color of ink and penmanship on other notes for this passage that I wrote this thought in August of 2019. I can assure you I have absolutely no recollection of the details regarding some struggle I was having, but I at a later date I wrote in a different color pen “Hmmmm…..that was a victory moment.” 

And today I am noting that it fits with this whole concept of defining peace as complete wellness and wholeness. 

The Psalm itself has this for a subtitle in the CSB translation resting on my lap as I type:

“Thanks to God for His Deliverance”

It is a beautiful Psalm and I have made notes on various verses, so I want to share those thoughts first. 

In verses 3-4, I noted that God listens to us even when no one else does. 

In verses 5-6, I see that I can “rest” in God (have peace) because He is good. 

In verse 9, I declare…I am not dead. I am alive and I walk before God among the living. 

In verse 13, I am reminded that the cup of Salvation and the Name of the Lord will keep me upright (healed, whole, complete, well)

In verse 16, I celebrate because I know I am set free so that I can give praises to God. 

But my thought penned at the bottom of my Bible that day was based on verse 17:

I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

And here is what I wrote in response:

Tonight I offered comments and participated in things in a positive way even thought I didn’t feel joyful and happy. My heart and spirit are hurting – but I am offering that to You and I am not letting my feelings rule or control me. I am counting my blessings and I am calling on Your Name and I will take the cup of Salvation.”

While I do not know the cast of characters nor the script that precipitated this growth moment, I can tell you that the plot line is one all too familiar to me in my journey. 

Highly sensitive and prone to insecurity, I often get my feelings hurt and like a wounded animal, tend to lash out or retreat back into a dark corner of a cave to lick my wounds. 

The result is that everyone who loves me immediately knows I am no longer engaged in the present moment. My sudden switch to a  stormy mood throws them off and try as I might to pull it together, I just make things worse and worse. 

But this time, apparently, I somehow moved my hurting self into a quiet and still place in my spirit and was able to maintain an attitude of civility and cordiality in the physical atmosphere where the offense took place. 

Most likely the offender had no idea what he or she had done because I actually can not think of a single time any of my friends or family directly and consciously hurt my feelings on purpose. 

And so by applying what I knew to be true…that only God would understand why my feelings were hurt. Only God loves both me and the one who hurt me and if they need conviction – He can give it and if I need correction…same. 

I somehow remembered in the moment of rejection that I am ruled by the Prince of Peace, not the untrustworthy whims of my emotions. 

By turning the hurt only to God and not allowing it to mar whatever gathering I was participating in, God worked in me a peace that didn’t lie about the pain, but took the pain to the right place for healing. 

My ability to continue to engage positively with others without forcing them to carry my soul ache was my “sacrifice of praise” as I chose to offer thanks to God and lean into Him for strength. 

So in this case, peace was not found in exacting an awakening in the heart of my offender and receiving an apology. 

Peace was not found in having God justify my injury. 

Peace was found in a quiet place of acknowledging quickly (for me) that I was hurt but asking for help to not be a jerk about it since most likely it was not even a thought to anyone else. 

Peace was found in knowing that God knows when things hurt my heart and He is ever healing me and that His grace over me is more than enough and that in thanking Him for that I can overcome the scrapes and bruises that life lived with others brings to us and I can rise up and be loving and kind and forgiving whether offense is noticed or not. 

Can we pray?

Heavenly Father, as we engage with our loved ones and acquaintances and even people we don’t particularly like, sometimes we get roughed up a bit. 

In those moments, I pray You to remind us that Jesus was harshly rejected and often ignored. He was misunderstood and judged unfairly. Yet He continued in obedience and steadfast love of You to minister to all of us. 

While He did not need refining, He endured it to show us how we can turn to You and grow to become kinder and more compassionate as our flesh nature is sanded away by these encounters. 

As I look at His example, I see that He often and frequently went off to quiet places to pray. Let me also be reminded throughout the day to withdraw in my heart and mind and pray to You for strength and grace. 

Help me to remember to seek to be in Your Presence and to fellowship with You so that the times I am with others will be fruitful and beneficial to building Your Kingdom here on earth. 

Thank you for the small victories You give me over my own sin nature as You continue to refine me and transform me more and more into the image of Your Son.

It is in His name I pray.

Amen <3

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Take me out to the ball game <3

This is the ball season that never ends, or so it seems. 

With three boys playing on separate teams and beaucoup makeup games for rainouts, we are now in the end of season tournament for our firstborn grand. 

It is double elimination and they lost the first game in a close one right at the last bat, so now every game counts if they are going to hang in there. 

Last night we gathered yet again at the ball park. Since a picnic table was kind of blocking our view from the yard chairs, I just sat at that and had what would be considered a box seat at the major league stadiums. 

A boy in same age bracket as Graham had arrived early for the next game to do some batting practice and when his coach was finished with him, this fellow was hot and tired and asked if he could sit by me. 

I scooted down and if there is anything I love in a young kid it is when they will talk to you. 

He asked me how it was going and then he asked me if I was nervous. 

Our boy was pitching at that point and I probably was feeling ever throw and showing it, but I could honestly tell him that no, I wasn’t nervous. 

I have sat through too many ball seasons to be banking my hopes for the future of the well-being of all things on planet earth to rest on my loved ones team winning this particular game. 

Oh be confident…there was a day…many a days…when this was not the case. 

There were many white knuckle prayers lifted in the bleachers and from bag chairs and as I paced behind the row of fans for fear I would holler out something inane that would give away that I had absolutely no idea what was going on with the game but I knew we were losing. 

But over the years I watched as kids who were bitter rivals became fast friends when the
“all-star” game eliminated the separate neighborhood teams and put all kids on one team. 

I have been told that all the trophies earned for every sport known to man times three holds no value to the children that earned them and yeah, you can just throw them away mom. 

The years and Facebook posts have proven that girls and boys who smack-talked each other and whose parents could barely be cordial due to team politics are now out being friends and raising their families together. 

So no. 

I am not nervous that Graham’s team will win or lose. 

I am praying for his heart in the process…praying for all their hearts. 

Praying they remember that when we lose a game, if we have played our best and own up to our mistakes, we have really won and have no reason to hang our heads. 

Praying they remember that sometimes we or our teammates will not play our best, and that is part of being human and how we extend grace and receive grace is also a win. 

Praying they remember that when we do win, someone else has lost and we will keep our celebrating in perspective. 

Praying that parents will remember a wonderful meme I saw that reminded everyone at a little league game that no scholarships would be handed out and to just let the kids be kids and have fun. 

I heard later that my little friend at the ball park and his team lost their game. I hope they played well. I hope they had fun. And I hope this young man continues to have the confidence to strike up a conversations with people of all ages. Cause in my book, he’s a winner <3

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