Category Archives: Encouragement

Perfect peace perfected in us <3

Finding it hard to believe it is the end of July, but it is and there isn’t a thing we can do about it. 

School families are looking at a mere two weeks of “summer” before school starts, though we all know that the weather has not been notified and we will be sweating and swatting flies for another month or two. 

This week on the blog, I decided to attempt a mini-series on the idea of Peace.

If you are just joining, it was sparked by a phrase I read on Monday in my morning devotions where the author outlined a Saturday that started spiritually great. A morning run, a moving quiet time and a nice breakfast. From there the day unraveled with many unwanted interruptions and surprises and he said “Control masquerades as peace.”

In his assessment as to how he handled the morning versus the rest of the day, he realized that the peace he had experienced up until he was clearing away his breakfast dishes was only because he felt in control of his day.

When his day began to control him, he lost his peace. 

Well, ironically, I too had peace when I said we would do little series, but like the author, the week got away from me and I felt I was scrambling every morning to write something full of thought and meaning. 

In reality, I am scrambling most mornings and this whole idea behind even writing you all is to just have a chat with you and hope God speaks through what I type. 

So as I end the week, I decided to not just focus on what peace is, but look at what it isn’t. 

I am a word nerd, so I started the whole series by defining what biblical peace is and we found that it is most clearly understood as being complete, whole, at rest

Then I googled antonyms of peace and found these words:

  • Broken
  • Insufficient
  • Impaired
  • Defective
  • Deficient
  • Imperfect
  • Lacking
  • Missing
  • Needy
  • Unfinished

As I read this list, Scriptures of Truth jumped up to me as promises of God for who I am, my condition, my state of being, my character…no matter what is going on around me or how circumstances are being hurled at me or whatever is going on in the world or my immediate location that would threaten to undo me. 

So I am first going to write them from memory and then I will add the reference. Because these words are written on my heart, not exactly by any one translation but from years of rehearsing them. 

Broken? He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds – Psalm 147:3

Insufficient? My Grace is sufficient for your every need – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Impaired, defective, deficient? You are called and equipped for every good work and I have given you everything you need to do my will – 2 Timothy 3:17

Imperfect? And He will perfect that which concerns me and He will present me perfect before God in Heaven – Psalm 138:8 & Jude 1:24

Lacking? All that you have seen Me do, you will do even more in the power of the Holy Spirit and He will teach you whatever you need to know – John 14:12

Missing? And if one of you is lost, He will leave the 99 and go and find you and WHEN He finds you, He will bring you back – Luke 15

Needy? I have learned in all circumstances to be content – Philippians 4:11-13

Unfinished? It is Finished, completed, done to perfection – John 19:30

That was just off the top of my head and then I had to google the verses to find them. 

I am sure as you read the list, your own verses may have jumped up to your mind. 

Our peace is found, not in the things of this world or our own small sense of what we can control, but in the Prince of Peace. 

God bless you in your anxious and unsettling moments to have His Truth buried deep in you to rise up and remind you He has brought you perfect Peace <3

You are deeply loved. 

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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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Seeking what I really mean when I say I am seeking peace….

When I think of defining “peace” in my own words, my first thought is to join it with what I consider to be its sister term: “quiet”. 

To have some peace and quiet is to have a place of tranquility where it seems I may have a hopeful glimmer of bringing all my scattered thoughts into some sort of order.

Peace and Quiet is a land where I am not required to come up with responses to someone else’s thoughts and I do not have to sort through processing anything that is being presented to me either verbally or nonverbally by anyone else or deal with situations that I am not equipped or prepared to handle. 

Except there is a small problem with Peace and Quiet and that is the noisy conversations still going on inside of my own head and heart. 

So I see that the phrase from yesterday’s devotion is so true…

“Control masquerades as peace…”

Because when I am left to just myself and my own jumbled thoughts, I can feel like I am at peace, but I am really just fooling myself that I am more in control of the chaos. 

I looked up the definition of peace and found that biblically this word means “complete wellness and wholeness” – much more than just a placid condition of lack of stress and conflict. 

Out of curiosity, I googled the phrase “how can we attain peace” and sadly of the fourteen options on the first page of the search, only one was biblically directed near the bottom of page, and it was from Joel Osteen.

Some of the suggestions from other sources seemed to direct the seeker into methods of taking charge of thoughts and situations. By will power, or mind power, or just changing your perspective on things – you can attain peace. 

I don’t think so. 

If I am left to rely on my willpower to overcome a lack of peace, I have fifteen unwanted and stubborn pounds of flesh that can not resist a bag of potato chips. Every ounce of that fatty tissue will testify that no matter how much I want to change, I do not have the power within me to bring that about. 

But what I do have, is a strong understanding that to be made completely well and whole is going to take something bigger than me. What I do have is the realization that there is something more to having peace than just being quiet and still.

What I really want, as I think about it, is not an absence of conflict and not an uninterrupted series of days where I can do what I want and do it well. 

If I were to have that, I would also not have most of the people I love or they would have to live like robots doing what I want them to do. 

No, that’s not what I want.

What I really want is to remain stable and healthy and healed and whole as I move through life sharing the journey with others who think differently, respond differently, ask me questions I have to think about or don’t know the answer to, deal with moods that are not congruent with my current mood, correct children with the same exact information I have corrected them with a thousand times and not lose my junk, not overreact when too much happens all at once, not come undone when plans get changed or the needs of someone else wipes out my well-planned day… 

What I really want is this:

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor

James 3:17-18 THe message

That’s a good place to start, right?

Can I pray for us?

Heavenly Father, God of mercy and grace. Your love for us and patience with us is unending and I am so grateful. 

Father God, you see the conflict and stress of our days from a vantage point of knowing the end from the beginning. 

When things start swirling around us and within us today, oh Lord, would you in your kindness gently or sternly (your choice to get our attention) remind us that You are our Peace.

We do not have to conjur up some kind of peaceful state for ourselves but rather we can know that You have given us YOUR peace through Your Son, Jesus Christ.

You have made us healed and whole and complete in Him and I pray we could rest in that and believe that and live in that truth. 

In Jesus’ Name

Amen <3

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