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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

The past few weeks have brought story after story of heartbreak and pain for many of my friends and family. Brokenness, loss,  relapse, destructive choices have caused heavy hearts, fear, even despair.

In my years of walking the heights and depths of prodigal wilderness, God’s Word has been a refuge, a haven, a place of courage and hope.  These are some the passages that have infused my heart and mind with peace and gratitude in even the darkest days.  May they do the same for you.

Jeremiah 24:6,7:  My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land.  I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them.  I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.  They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Jeremiah 31:16,17:  This is what the Lord says:  Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded.  They will return from the land of the enemy.  So there is hope for your descendants.  Your children will return to their own land.

Isaiah 54:13:  All your children will be taught by the lord, and great will be their peace.

Isaiah 59:21:  As for me, this is my covenant with them.  My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of descendants from this time on and forever, says the Lord.

Job 42:12:  The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.

Philippians 1:6:  Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:4:  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.

A blessing for you from Psalm 20:  May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.  May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.  May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.  May the Lord grant all your requests.

Psalm 21:6:  Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

Deuteronomy 31:8:   The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you.  He will not fail you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.

Colossians 3:12-13:  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

James 1:5:  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God,  who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Hebrews 4:16:  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

I Thessalonians 5:18:  In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 34:5-7:  For those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.

Psalm 34:18-19:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.

Isaiah 60:22:  I am the Lord; in its time I will do this swiftly.

What about you?  How has God encouraged you in a wilderness journey?

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The bull was out of control.

Our family was at a rodeo in Colorado. Grandboy Aidan had just made a try at “mutton busting”—riding a sheep.  He lasted about three seconds, but it was fun and he got a cowboy hat.

Bull riding was next.  And the bull coming up was wild.  He tried to climb out of the chute.  He smashed the cowboy into the wall.  The gate flew open and he was a contortionist.  The cowboy lasted about one second, and he and all the handlers scattered to escape the angry bull.

Out of control.

Sometimes life, or family situations, or financial needs seem overwhelming.  We feel out of control.  We can’t help or stop or change things.  We can’t control them.

It is good when we recognize this, for then we will hopefully turn to El Elyon, the Most High God.

The literal meaning is “God is the high one.”  Synonyms would be sovereign and ruler.  In other words, He is in control.

This name of God appears throughout the Old Testament, but most often in the book of Daniel.  Here we read the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty ruler of the Babylonian empire.

Though he acknowledged the power of Daniel’s God, he still believed he was in control.  Thus God’s word to him:  “You will be driven away from people and will live with wild animals…Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men…”

And that is what happened.  After seven years of living as an animal, the King looked to heaven and was restored.  He said, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just…”

Where is your life out of control?

Lost a job?  A child on drugs?  In foreclosure?  A cancer diagnosis?  Or just myriad small details adding up to one big mess?

Then it is time to acknowledge that, in reality, it is out of control.  And to turn to this Most High God who is, in reality, in control.  No surprises, no indifference, no “oops” for Him.  He knows.  He cares.  He is able.

His name is a promise.  You can depend on Him to be in control.

This powerful God has invited you to bring all the confusion and pain and lostness to Him.  He says, “Come.  Let’s talk.”

Here are some possible things to talk with Him about:

  1.  Help me to believe the you are in control and you can bring good from this chaos and confusion.
  2. I need wisdom to make wise decisions toward some possible solutions.
  3. I could really use some peace.

Add some more of your own:

4.

5.

This post is one of a series from His Name Is a Promise:  Praying the Names of God.

c 2011 Judy Douglass

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Making decisions can be challenging!  How often do we desire wisdom for the choices we need to make, the direction we need to go, handling of difficult situations?

Wisdom is available.  The key is to get it from the right source.

James, insightful and incisive as always, warns us that there are two sources of wisdom, and they lead to very different outcomes.  (James 3:13-18)

Some wisdom is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.  Thus it comes from the devil himself.  This is what it looks like:

Bitter.  Jealous.  Selfishly ambitious.

The result:  Disorder and vile practices.

The wisdom from above comes from God Himself through His Holy Spirit.  This is what it looks like:

Pure.  Peaceable. Gentle.  Open to reason.  Full of mercy and good fruits.  Impartial.  Sincere.

The result:  A harvest of righteousness sown in peace.

So how to make sure you discover the wisdom from above:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

What a wonderful gift:  Wisdom from above.

Where have you been getting your wisdom?

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I’m not a fan of exercise. I do walk—but my “brisk” is a little slower than most people’s.  And I get quite a bit of exercise playing with my grandchildren.  But nothing approaches aerobic.

So I find it a little amusing that God gave me some aerobic assignments—spiritual aerobics.  That is, He reminded me of a sequence of “positions” or “exercises” needed to experience fully the blessing and fruitfulness that I desire in my life and ministry.

I have actually done messages on several of them, and continue to study all of them in God’s Word. Here they are briefly:

1. Fall on My Face

When Isaiah saw the Lord, He said, “Woe is me. I am undone.”  When Daniel was confronted by the Angel of the Lord, he fell on his face.  When Peter realized that Jesus was God, he asked Jesus to leave him because he knew he was sinful.

When we truly see God and truly see ourselves, we can’t help but fall on our faces.  His holiness and our sinfulness are totally incompatible, causing us to appropriately fall on our faces in fear of the Lord.  Then the most amazing thing happens.  With grace and mercy, God lifts us into His presence by the redeeming blood of Jesus. (Isaiah 6:1-8; Daniel 10:9; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 22:4; Psalm 19:9)

2. Drop to My Knees

I am convinced that the work of God is done on our knees.  Then we go see what has been accomplished.  So many of us are truly activists, out getting the job done, and that is commendable.  But I believe we would see far more fruit if we spent a lot more time on our knees.  (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; John 16:24; Ephesians 6:18)

3. Stand Firm

Repeatedly God’s Word reminds us that we are in a battle.  We have an adversary who is determined to distract, defeat and destroy us.  But we are also reminded, in the words of Martin Luther, “the right man [is] on our side.”

We are admonished to have courage, stand firm, and see the deliverance of the Lord; to be on guard, to be strong and to stand firm; to be free and stand firm; to put on the armor of God and stand firm; to resist the devil and stand firm.  We are the victors if we stand firm in the power of God.  (2 Chronicles 20:17; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 6:14; 1 Peter 5:9)

4. Walk Worthy

Then we start walking.  We start living the Christian life—in a way worthy of our calling.  We are to walk in humility, love, purity, holiness, patience.  We are to walk in truth and obedience, as lights shining in the darkness to reveal our Savior.  We are to walk not in our own strength, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Ephesians 4; Colossians 3; Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:18)

5. Run with Endurance

The cliché holds true:  The Christian life is not a sprint, but rather a marathon.  Each of us has a prescribed course.    We are invited to throw off worldly encumbrances and entangling sin and to run with endurance  the course God has marked out for us, with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  We are encouraged not to grow weary and lose heart so that we might win the prize and hear those wonderful words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your master.”  (I Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1; Matthew 25:14-30)

6. Rest in Peace

God is a firm believer in rest:  He rested on the seventh day.  He commanded us to rest one day a week.  He told the Israelites to let the land rest every seventh year.  The psalms speak repeatedly of “resting in God.”  And the Lord Jesus makes the most wonderful offer:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Right now I am tired and weary—and so grateful Jesus gives me rest and peace.  (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 31:15; Leviticus 25:5; Psalm 62:1; Psalm 91:1; Matthew 11:28)
I’m grateful that the Lord has been so clear about the kinds of exercise I need to follow and serve Him. And He gives grace for me the push through even the most challenging courses.

Which exercise are you most in need of?  Leave a comment here.

c2011 Judy Douglass

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