Posts Tagged With: peace

The Peace in Icky and Ouch

Ick

I love music. Love.

I could listen to music from the time I get up until I go to bed. Crooners, R&B, Gospel, Hip hop, Rock, Alternative…I love it. I gotta tell you-a does of Hip hop works better to wake me up than a cup of coffee does. Seriously. It just gets my blood flowing.

The problem with some of the music I like? The lyrics. They can be trashy. REALLY trashy.I have been willing to ignore that fact because of my love for the beat. The. Beat. The pounding. The grooving. It makes me feel alive. (just being honest here).

But, as I’ve grown closer to the Lord, He has been talking to me about the lyrics. In all honesty, I haven’t wanted to hear what He’s had to say.

I told him, “This is the only “bad” thing I do and it isn’t that bad. I really love the music.”

Pause. “More than Me?”

OUCH. “No. Of course not.” 

“But you aren’t willing to give it up for Me.”

How many of you know that God is always right? There is no arguing with God.

 “You are not to serve any other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3 (VOICE)

Wait. I’m not putting any other gods before God. Right? I believe that Jesus is the true living God. I don’t believe in other gods. Or, does Exodus 20:3 mean anything that I place in a more important spot in my heart than God? I mean. I haven’t been willing to give it up. Hmmmm.

Is it possible that music has become a “god” to me? What else could become “gods” in our lives? Food? The news? The internet? Television? Video games? Sports? …

I’ve decided to give up some of the music I listen to. (I’m not saying ALL secular music is bad, so you don’t need to write me. 😉 ) It is something I have personally allowed into my  life that has become a problem for me. You know what? It’s painful. I don’t like it. I miss it. I’m not happy about it. But, I have peace.

Living for Christ is not always easy. Sometimes it’s HARD WORK. (those two words are icky, right?) But, the pay off is huge. Think of an athlete. Is training always easy or fun? No! But, only through dedication and perseverance does an athlete become a winner. It’s the same for you and me in our walk with Jesus.

Is there something in your life that God has been talking to you about? Don’t push Him away. He always speaks to us out of love for our own benefit. Trust Him to know the best path and plan for your life.

Well, I’m off to discover some good Christian artists. Any suggestions?

Love you guys. ❤

 

 

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Categories: Encouragement, Obedience | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Easily Offended?

Love

I have recently become pen pals (like the old-fashioned, handwritten, in cursive letters) with three beautiful ladies. Last night I got a letter from one of them. She is a precious lady who has been in my life all of my life, but has only become a real part of my life recently. (and, I’m loving every minute of it!). In the letter, she included a little half-sheet of paper. The paper may have been small, but the words written on them had big meaning.

After reading over her thoughts several times since last night, I’ve decided to blog them for you. I think it’s something someone(s) out there needs to hear, ponder, and take to heart.

SO, these words are not my words. I would give her credit, but she is extremely humble, and I don’t want to embarrass her.

When thinking about peace, how often do you hear this verse quoted, “Psalm 119:165Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.'”?

Do we want peace?? Then which law should we love?? The Ten Commandments??

In Mark 12:28 and 29, Jesus was asked the question, “Which is most important of all the Commandments?” Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.'”

So–first we must love God! That’s easy.

Second, we must love others! That is harder to do.

But, IF we do this, then NOTHING should OFFEND us or make us STUMBLE.

The result?? GREAT PEACE.

Jesus said in John 14:27 AMPPeace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]”

Sometimes we wonder why we don’t have peace. Do we love God above everyone and everything else? Do we love others? If not, that could answer why we are so easily offended–why we stumble so quickly. We aren’t following the two greatest commands…to love God and love others. Peace comes through love.

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts by Lexi (Deep, deep Thoughts)

Yesterday I was having a conversation with Lexi. She often pushes me to think more deeply than I care to and yesterday was one of those days. 🙂  (Love her) I asked her if she would like to be a guest blogger and share her thoughts with all of you. She is an amazing young lady and I know God is preparing her for a future full of purpose.


I’m currently enrolled in a course titled School and Society, and it has unexpectedly been the most perplexing and invigorating academic experiences of my life. I have just completed my third book of the semester, Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. He discusses the modes of communication and how they have affected our culture. He starts with the typographic mind, follows with the photographic and telegraphic mind, and ends with the mind and society shaped by television. I have underlined many of his thoughts, but the following passage from his concluding chapter has captivated me:

“…Spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate…there is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture death is a clear possibility”(155).

He isn’t talking about spiritual devastation and death on the Christian platform, but he might as well be. We, as a society, are happily distracted every day but trivial things. Postman is mainly referring to his discussion on television, though, it can be expanded to many other things: social media, friends (that we keep simply for amusement, not to sharpen us), video games, Pinterest, etc. The Devil has been very smart to not force us away from God, but instead, he’s made it easy for us to walk away ignorantly and blissfully. He does not want to lock us up in a cage where we will inevitably yearn for God.

I so often associate the Devil with troubles: divorce, relationship troubles, death and sickness. But, by doing this I am completely underestimating his wit and deceitfulness. He would never want to do something that would bring me closer to God. Although, Amusing Ourselves to Death is not a Christian book, it has really opened my eyes to see what Satan has been doing and how he’s been tearing God away from a society. I would say tearing a society away from God, but society is too happy with the world to be “torn away”. The author says the solution, (although the term solution is too heavy, because the true solution cannot be found in the world and culture today) is found in how we watch and see the world. He says, “For no medium is excessively dangerous if its users understand what its dangers are”(161). If we watch TV (or participate in the other things similar to it), and ask questions, the spell of ignorance will be broken: What’s the purpose of this? How is it helping me? Is it trying to persuade me? Is this facilitating thinking? It is leading me astray from the more important things in life (God)? Our solution is found in the lens of God (he doesn’t say that, my thoughts have led me to that conclusion which is subject to review). Television and the other amusement are not evil; it is how they are used that makes them so. After a long day after work, it is not television, video games, or Pinterest that will relax us, it’s only God who can shower us with peace.

Postman earlier says, “I believe I am not mistaken in saying that Christianity is a demanding and serious religion. When it is delivered as easy and amusing, it is another kind of religion altogether”(121). Christians cannot be mindless and succumb to being spoon-fed their faith. If we are ignorant about what we believe, we will be easily led astray. If our faith is strong and we have proved it to ourselves through critical thought, it is not easy to let that go. God wants us to live in wisdom and not of ignorance; and wisdom must be gained.

Proverbs 4:6-7 “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:9-11 “ Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

My name is Lexi Bryan! I am currently a 19-year-old sophomore at Missouri State University studying secondary education with an emphasis in history. My parents, though separate, have each influenced me with their passions of learning and truth seeking. They have always put importance on my individual journey and growth, opening endless opportunities in my young adult life. When I was 8, they graciously allowed me to attend Kanakuk, a Christian athletics camp that completely submerged me in the love of Christ. My intense passions include education, learning, history, dogs, traveling, people, and of course, the love of Christ.

Postman, Neil. Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. New York: Viking, 1985. Print.

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That Worry Word

Today’s world is full of stress. There has always been stress. Every generation has had big issues. Imagine your family during Civil War America. Brother against brother, family against family. Blood shed everywhere on our very own soil.

World Wars I and II brought constant fear to mothers of losing their sons. There were shortages of necessities, women had to begin working.

Think about Vietnam and all of the teenage boys that died. And, then there was the drug counter-culture that began, with drugs and free sex everywhere.

The 70’s were scarred with oil shortages, job shortages, and political upheaval.

In the 80’s we had the Cold War, never knowing if Russia was going to blow us up, drugs and sex were still rampant, and the family was falling apart with divorce rates skyrocketing. Girls were under pressure to succeed in the business world and raise perfect families.

The 90’s brought war to us once again, ending with fears of the “world” shutting down at Y2K.

Then we had the attack on America and a never-ending War on Terror. It seems everyone is worried about finding a job, keeping a job, or losing their job. The family is broken. The church seems broken. Kids are told to go to college and that college is a waste all in the same breath. We have the same people who would lay down their life for an animal, fighting for the right to kill a baby. Everything seems upside down.

But God.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

People question why God allows the world to be like it is: such a mess. When God created us, He gave us free-will. He wanted us to choose to love Him and to want to spend time with Him. Unfortunately, His first human creations chose sin over Him, and man-kind has followed in that path ever since. It isn’t God who has created this fallen world, it is man.

Worry, fret, stress: These have all become a part of the daily life of most Americans. We wake up worrying and go to bed worrying.

Let’s take a look at what God’s Word says about worry and anxiety:

Matthew 6:25-27 “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. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Luke 12:25 MSG “Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

Luke 12:25 ESV And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

So, God is telling us. Do not worry. Worry doesn’t change a thing, not one. All worrying and fretting do is cause illness, exhaustion, irritability, depression, anxiety, anger; but it does not change the circumstance one bit.

Worrying does not bring peace or resolution.

What should we do when we don’t know what direction to go—when we feel stressed or confused? Again, the answer is in God’s Word.

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

God created you. He is your creator and your Father. He loves you with a love so deep you cannot possibly comprehend it. Trust Him. Give control of your life over to Him. He will not lead you in the wrong direction. Ever.

God’s Promise to us:

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11

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Reality of Fear

It was a hot summer night and my friend and I were still too young to drive. But, her friends all drove and we crammed into one of their cars for a drive through the woods. We were staying at the lake and decided to go on a little adventure. As we drove, the tree frogs were making their spooky, yet somehow comforting, sounds. We were laughing, the music was blaring…good times.

Suddenly, the car stopped. Looking forward we saw someone standing in the lane. As the lights illuminated him, my mind was screaming that something was terribly wrong. My skin felt prickly and I was overcome with the urgency to flee, but there was nowhere to go. He stood there with a club, (or was it an axe?), in his hand.

Despite our begging him to just drive away, the driver of our car decided to get out and see what was happening. As he got out, the man grabbed him and started beating him. My friend and I were terror-stricken. I felt light-headed; the scene in front of me seeming unreal. Another man came out from the woods toward the car. Climbing into the driver seat, my friend threw the car into reverse trying to escape the danger in which we were surrounded.

As she drove backwards, we were crying hysterically.

And, then, the laughter began.

Confusion set in.

The boys were all laughing. What was happening? They explained it was a prank. A joke.

I didn’t smile. I didn’t laugh along. I was utterly traumatized. It was literally years before I was comfortable in or near the woods.

You see, what happened to me was not real. But my mind believed I was truly in danger and it set in to protect me.

FEAR. Fear is a powerful thing. It can overcome us. It can rule us. It can become our master. Many times things are not what they seem. But, we allow our mind to take over growing something small into a monster. Perhaps the fear isn’t even valid, we just think it is, and we become anxious, sleep-deprived and even sick worrying and fretting over something that may never take place.

Let’s keep our eyes focused on Christ; on His promises. What does His Word say about the truth? Don’t let Satan laugh at you as he deceives you. Let the Lord of Peace be your ruler.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Deuteronomy 21:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

John 14:27 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.

Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives strength to his people;the Lord blesses his people with peace.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

His Gift of Peace

John 14:27 AMP Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

Humans have this habit of being drawn to the negative. What kind of news sells the most papers? The ugly, dirty, frightening news: the dirty laundry. We read about it, watch it, and dwell on it. We spread the gossip and speculate on outcomes. We worry, fret, and dread what we’ve seen and heard.

So, it is with our own lives.  We are more likely to take to heart the one small negative comment someone says to us, than the five compliments we received. We then turn that little nasty comment into self-talk, convincing ourselves it must be true.

What about our physical well-being? Have you been given some news that has frightened you? Is the prognosis ugly? Where is your mind taking you? The Lord has given us a gift. He has GIVEN us peace. He has bequeathed (handed-down) His own peace to you. WHAT A GIFT!

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid.”  This is more of a command than a suggestion. We do not need to be troubled or afraid. Will you feel fear? Yes! You are human. But, when the fear comes immediately release it to the Lord. Determine to hand it to The One who can change your outcome. The Word says to stop allowing yourself the negative feelings. You cannot control the feelings that come over you. However, you can control whether or not you allow the feelings into your heart and mind. Stop them at the point of entry. Then choose to focus on the gift God has for you: PEACE.

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Clouds and the Son

Image

As I was cleaning this morning, a thought struck me. Sometimes I let my thoughts go on out of my head. But, occasionally, like today, the thought hits my heart.  When it does, I feel like I need to share it. So, here you go: 

When dark clouds fill your heart and mind, remember that the Son is still shining. Look up! 

Jesus is our Light. He Shines in every darkness. He is Calm in every storm. He is Peace in every conflict. He is Healing in every sickness. 

Look to Him and allow Him to open you to the warmth of His Presence. 

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life. John 8:12 AMP

 

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Prayer for Peace

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Lord Jesus,

Your Word tells us to not worry. Yet, often we find ourselves tangled up in knots of anxiousness and fear. Worry overcomes us and we can’t seem to see beyond our circumstances.

Help us to follow Your leading. Instead of worrying, let us enter into Your presence. As we enter in and come to You with our needs, we pray that a sense of praise and thankfulness will come over us. Allow your cleansing peace to flow over us. Make us aware of Your wholeness, of Your goodness, and of Your unconditional love.

As we spend time with You, help us to allow You to replace our fear and worry with Your Peace and Confidence.

We love You and give You all praise and glory for what You are doing and what You are going to do.

In Your name,

Amen

Categories: Encouragement | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Saw Myself in Him

This morning I had my weekly breakfast with my dad. Well, I had breakfast (oatmeal) and Dad had his coffee. As we sat there, a guy came walking in and went up to the counter. I noticed the cashier’s face as he walked up to her. It was a mix of curiosity and fear. I could only see his back, but I could tell something was “up”. He didn’t stand still. He would wipe at his face with his arm and acted like he couldn’t concentrate on what he wanted to order. 

I tried to pay attention to what my dad was saying to me, but my eyes kept traveling over to where he stood…or rather, where he paced. He took his tray and sat across the room. He sat there with his hood up. His movements were very “jerky”. I kept watching him. Finally Dad asked what I was watching. As he asked, I watched the man take a bite of his food. It was obviously too hot for him, but he painfully chewed on it anyway with his mouth partially open, tossing the food back and forth. He finally spit the food out and then started the process over again. He looked confused and very uncomfortable. What I mean is, he seemed uncomfortable in his own skin. He couldn’t sit still. He would swipe at his face, rub his face, and rock himself. I couldn’t stop watching him. 

My guess? Meth. We live in (at least we have been) the Meth capital of our country. So, it’s not that hard to spot around here. I could be wrong, but that’s my guess. 

I looked back at my Dad, “I was watching that guy over there. I think he is on drugs. Why do people do that to themselves?” 

As we left the restaurant, I said a prayer for that man. I come in contact with Meth addicts every week: Wal-Mart, the gas station, the roads…There was just something about this particular man. It was as if he was fighting the demon he lives with. It tore at my heart. I thought of him throughout the day, and I am still thinking of him. 

You know, I have never been a drug addict. I don’t know what that is like. However, I do know what it’s like to live with demons. I know what it’s like to feel like my skin is crawling. I know what it’s like to pace the room because I was afraid if I sat still I might go crazy. I know what it’s like to run my fingers through my hair because I simply had to do something with my hands because they were shaking so badly. 

His demon: Drugs

My demon: Anxiety

As odd as it sounds, I guess I sort-of saw myself in that man. Not the today me, but the me of my past. I pray that God will somehow deliver that man and free him of his bondage.

Freedom, Joy, Peace: they are priceless. Well, they are priceless to us. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our gift of deliverance: He gave His life. 

Galatians 5:1 ESV For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Ephesians 3:12 NIV In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Psalm 118:5 ESV Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.

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What Will Your Choice Be Today?

It’s Monday Again! Let’s Choose Joy Today! 

Nehemiah 12:43  (KJV) Also that day they offered great sacrifices, and rejoiced: for God had made them rejoice with great joy: the wives also and the children rejoiced: so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. 

If I’ve learned anything lately, it’s that I have choices to make every day regarding my attitude and my outlook on life. For far too long, I had chosen to wallow in regret, un-forgiveness and worry. 

I would wake up and worry, fret, worry, fret. I would go to work and worry, fret, worry, fret. I would lay down at night and worry, fret, worry, fret. (See a pattern here?) Guess what I was, can you guess? Miserable. 

We don’t always have control over our circumstances. We certainly do not have control over our past. But, we do have control over the way we deal with our present and our future. 

The past will not change. It’s a finished story. So, let it go. Replaying it in your mind is not going to change what happened. Find forgiveness with the help of God and say “Goodbye” to it. 

Each day try waking up with a joyful heart. Joy is a choice, not a feeling. Choose to rejoice because of God. He is your Strength, your Comfort, your Healer, your Peace, the Master of Everything, the Beginning and the End, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace: We HAVE a reason to rejoice with joyful hearts. 

Begin to speak words of thanks, praise and adoration to your Heavenly Father and see if you feel a change, a softening, taking place in your heart. 

May His Peace and Joy fill you today! 

© [Lisa Bull] and [mommalisaof2@wordpress.com], [2013-2015]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Lisa Bull] and [mommalisaof2@wordpress.com] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Categories: Empowerment, Encouragement, Forgiveness, Joy, Let go of past sin, Motivation, Worry | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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