Category: PEACE


Rest

Rest Awhile

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. (Mark 6:31 NLT)

No one is perfect. Even trained professionals can have a bad day if they are tired or under significant stress. A fatigued baseball player might fail to make a play during a game and it is called an error. The player obtains coaching for improving performance and continues playing another day after some rest. A tired employee can make the wrong decision after working numerous overtime hours. The employee receives a performance review with a corrective action plan and continues to work the next day after a good night sleep. Christian leaders who have been drained from the demands of their service to others can also fail morally which is called sin. Thankfully the uplifting prayers of fellow believers and the never ending forgiveness of Christ Jesus brings restoration. The Lord Jesus recognized this risk of burn out and instructed his apostles to rest in his presence away from the busy demands of ministry. Resting awhile quietly in the presence of the Lord refreshes us for another day. Only Jesus is perfect and he will never fail us.

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Follow Your Dreams

“He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds.”
Job 33:15 (NLT)

Most people have had a bad dream otherwise known as a nightmare. Dreams have been studied from the perspectives of psychoanalysis and neurosciences but researchers have not been able to determine the purpose of dreams. The continuity hypothesis theorizes that dreams reflect your life experiences while awake. In other words daytime problems continue into night time dreams. (1) Are dreams just random memories keeping the brain active during sleep or could some dreams be divine messages from God sent to warn us? Quite often a bad dream can involve falling from a height. Through deception people fall away from the Lord (2 Thess 2:3) but remember from where you have fallen and repent. (Rev 2:4) Another frightening nightmare that occurs frequently is being chased by someone but when you seek the Lord he promises to deliver you from all your fears. (Psalm 34:4) A third common dream type can include a school examination as in a test situation.(2) The Lord examines us to test our hearts and minds (Psalm 26:2) so prepare yourself by obeying God’s Word and don’t follow your dreams unless they lead you closer to the Lord.

1) Schredl M, Characteristics and contents of dreams. Int Rev Neurobiol., 2010;92:135-54
2) http://www.today.com/id/17876281/ns/today-today_health/t/most-common-dreams-what-they-mean/

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Stress Free Living

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Matthew 6:27

We have all had times when we feel stressed out. Unexpected problems arise that we have no control over causing us to worry. We all are guilty of worrying about issues such as personal health, material possessions, and even our physical appearance but these types of prolonged thoughts over time can negatively affect our health. Worry is just an alternate term for fear or anxiety. Researchers have found that continual anxious thoughts can trigger a number of inflammatory processes in our bodies which can result in elevated blood cholesterol levels over time. High cholesterol can cause hypertension and heart disease.(1) The Bible says that “anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25) We are always going to have stress in life but it is our reaction to the stress that makes all the difference. The Lord Jesus has promised to give us his peace so do not “let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Dear Lord Jesus, “when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”(Psalm 56:3) “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” (2 Thess 3:16)

1) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/34047.php

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Lie Down and Rest

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures.”
(Psalm 23:1, 2 NIV)

We are living in an ever changing complex world. Every day we need to make a multitude of decisions. Many people are struggling with the burden of working full time while simultaneously pursuing higher education. An uncertain economic future further adds to the stress as people compete for a limited number of employment opportunities. Life is so busy it seems to pass us by but the decisions we make now greatly impact our future. No person can know the future but God knows our future. A Psalmist prayed so long ago “teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground,” (Psalm 143:10) and this still stands true today. The Lord as the Good Shepherd wants to lead everyone of us into that specific green pasture that will provide all of our needs. The green pasture is that place where we will find peace as our soul is fed the life sustaining nourishment of God’s Word. This place is called the Church which gathers all believers who have made the life changing decision to lie down and rest in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Warm Up!

“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:3

Winter is here and it is wise to keep warm. One of the first body regions to feel the cold is the hands. They are located further from the body’s core and easily become cold if they are exposed to the frigid temperatures. To keep the hands warm some prefer the greater independent finger mobility offered by a pair of gloves, while others favor the warmer atmosphere inside a pair of insulated mittens. Mittens are hand coverings enclosing the four fingers together and the thumb separately. Mittens are warmer than gloves made of the same material because fingers maintain their warmth better when they are in contact with each other although some individual finger mobility is sacrificed. God requires his people to be unified in the warmth of his love but often individualism can cool relationships down resulting in competition and eventually division. The Bible urges us to “always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephes 4:2) “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1 NIV) May all believers warm up in loving contact with one another for complete unity in Christ Jesus.

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You Said It!

“Then God said………….”
(Genesis 1:3 NKJV)

No one likes to be around a pessimist. The dictionary defines a pessimist as someone “who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy.” These people vocalize every problem or impossibility instead of solutions and possibilities. Their words spoil our joy and rob us of hope. There was a man in the Bible named Zacharias who vocalized his unbelief in the promise of God but there were negative consequences to his negative comments. “And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (Luke 1:20) The thoughts we choose to speak are significant. Zacharias was made mute so that he would not sabotage the coming of his promised blessing with his own words. When God says something, it happens. The Lord “calls those things which do not exist as though they did.” (Romans 4:17) The powerful phrase “then God said” was used eight times when God was speaking this planet into existence back in Genesis. When God says a Word, the Word comes true. God said it but do you believe it?

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Shut Your Mouth!

“My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight.”
(Daniel 6:22 NLT)

There can be times in our lives when we feel surrounded by people who behave like vicious animals. They attack using criticism and slander our reputations. These cruel people voice strong opinions in promotion of their own selfish agenda. We may be tempted to quickly react emotionally but it is always better to patiently respond with self control. Lions are carnivores and they eat flesh so if we react like an animal we will get eaten by an animal. God’s people do not have to defend themselves as the Lord will always defend the innocent. So “do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19) “The upright see and rejoice, but all the wicked shut their mouths.”(Psalm 107:42) God will shut the lion’s mouth if we keep ours shut. The best revenge is the good fruit of a life that has been completely surrendered to God.

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Change of Seasons

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

The early winter storm can take us by surprise if we are not prepared. An unexpected large snowfall overnight can result in a great disruption of public services. People are immobilized until utility vehicles can plow the snow and clear the roads. The cold weather contains people inside their houses and the usual routine is completely disrupted. Fortunately the weather forecast can predict a coming storm so that people can prepare themselves. Life can progress as seasons. The difficult storms of circumstances can arise suddenly rendering us immobilized. But God has provided us with his Holy Word to prepare us for these seasonal trials. The Bible instructs us to “be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2) We are blessed even in these seasonal afflictions when we study the Scriptures. Seasons may change but the Lord does not change. (Malachi 3:6) God is always the same. (Psalms 102:27) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) Ordinary people rely on the passage of time for the change of a season but the extraordinary people of God put their trust in the One who has established the times and the seasons.

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Move to Live

“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.”
(Job 22:21 NIV)

We were on a picnic one beautiful warm afternoon enjoying nature in the shade of a large tree when some uninvited pests showed up to spoil our peace. Some mosquitos decided that we were the main course on their dinner menu. After swatting a few of them we decided to move to a better location to finish our day. We were blessed to find a lovely place at a marina and watched the sunset. Sometimes life is as smooth as a picnic on a perfect day but frequently problems can arise that disturb our peace. Financial difficulties, relationship conflicts or physical illness can inflict us with pain provoking us to fight against God. Rather than resisting to maintain the present position we should see life’s pestering circumstances as an opportunity for positive change. The Lord can permit personal difficulties to arise prompting us to move to a better location to receive the blessings of his his perfect will. Lifeless things don’t move but because Jesus is alive we also live so let’s surrender to God and let him move us in the right direction.

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