Peace Beyond Understanding

As I was sitting in church one morning I heard the preacher say, “peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of Jesus Christ in the midst of conflict”. I don’t remember much else of the sermon; however, this phrase stuck with me. As I continued to think about this statement, I found it to be more and more true.

We often see people going through terrible circumstances and wonder how they have peace through them. A husband left to raise young children after losing his wife in a car crash which only he survived- how does he find peace? A young couple over their heads in debt- how do they find peace? Parents losing a child too young- how do they find peace? A family that goes to bed hungry every night- how do they find peace?

Many more circumstances try to steal our peace throughout our lives, but they only succeed when we let them. Peace is having complete trust in God. Peace is resting assured in God’s promises. Contrary to secular belief, peace is not a problem-free life. Rather, it is a life lived with confidence in Christ Jesus our Lord. People can find peace in terrible circumstances only when they know that God has them in His Mighty Hand. Only when they trust in their hearts that He is in control can they have this incomprehensible peace.

Next time a problem arises that tries to take your peace remember that peace is the presence of Jesus in the midst of conflict. He will meet you right where you are if you seek Him. The pain may not subside but peace beyond your understanding will come. The Holy Spirit will fill you with comfort and peace. Trust in God. He is always in control.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

Let’s Talk Numbers

In our society we put a lot of emphasis on numbers. Social security numbers are used to identify us. House numbers are used to locate our houses. Phone numbers are used to contact each other.

We use numbers to track things such as time and purchases. We use numbers to grade athletic and academic performance. And of course, numbers are the essence of money and finances. We place importance on numerical things like whether we have a 6 figure salary or 5 figure salary, how much is in our bank accounts, and how much what we have and do not have costs.

Numbers are great. I don’t know where we would be without the number system. I am not trying to criticize our society for the focus we put on numbers. Rather, I am challenging us today to put emphasis on the right numbers.

So let’s talk numbers. Seven, the number of days it took for God to create the heavens and the earth and all that dwells within them. Forty, the number of days and nights the Israelites wandered in the desert before entering the Promised Land. Twelve, the number of disciples that obeyed the call to follow Jesus. Seventy times seven, the number of times we are to forgive each other (although Jesus was really just using this large number to symbolize every time). Three, the number that makes up the Trinity- Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. One, one birth that brought hope to the whole world. One, one death that tore the veil and made a way for everyone to come before the Father. One, one resurrection that promises eternal life to those who claim Christ as their Savior. One, one King to reign forever.

And lastly two, the number of choices we have here on earth- accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and dwell forever with Him or reject Christ in our hearts and burn in eternal fire. Christ will come again to take those that belong to Him. Choose today to let Him into your heart. Choose today to focus on no other number but number 1, Jesus Christ our one and only Savior, Lord, and King.

Who Inspires You?

Not too long ago I was asked in an interview, “Who inspires you?”. My immediate answer was my dad. I was surprised that I didn’t even have to think about this answer. It just kind of shot out of me the minute I was given the opportunity to reply. And now as I take the time to think about my answer it still remains the same, with the addition of my mom, my grandparents, my siblings, Granny Rogers (my great grandmother whom this blog was inspired by), and above all my Lord Jesus Christ.

I don’t know what kind of response my interviewer expected, maybe a well-known war hero or a highly achieved businessman like Bill Gates. Though their stories of sacrifice and success are inspiring, I find more inspiration from the little things that I get the privilege to witness everyday. Little things like waking up long before it’s light out to cook breakfast for a group of volunteers or to attend a Bible study. Things like giving up time and wants to serve and give to others. Things like knowing just the right moment when someone needs a hug or to hear I love you. Things like remembering to say thank you and appreciate others. Things like handing down prayer journals, Bibles, and devotional books so that others can share in your Christian journey.

Let me just stop and talk about that last “little thing” I just mentioned. Granny Rogers died when I was just a baby, but I still got the privilege of knowing her. How you ask? Through the Bibles and prayers and devotions she left behind. In these beaten up, torn books browned with age I discover Granny’s struggles, blessings, and faith in Jesus Christ. I learn from her journey as she walks with me through mine. It is such a great blessing and I bet she had no clue of the impact it would continue to make in her offspring.

That being said, I encourage you to start keeping journals. Write your struggles and successes, prayer request, revelations from God, and all the rest in the margins of your Bible. Underline your favorite verses. Write out your thoughts on the margins of your devotional books and record heartfelt, honest prayers in a journal. Most importantly save them for yourself to reflect back on as well as for future generations. The more torn and ragged they are the better- that means they have been used. Trust me, it is the greatest gift you can give someone you love.

I was blessed beyond measure with family that inspires me to be better than I was yesterday and to glorify the Lord in service to others. I understand that not everyone’s family life is ideal. There are a lot of broken families out there and inspiration is the last thing some may find in family. However, inspiration can always be found in Our Lord who forgives when forgiveness is undeserved, who loves the unlovable, who rescues the abandoned, who reaches out to the forsaken, who restores the broken, who overcomes the enemy, who died for the unrighteous.

Who inspires you? What inspires you? It’s okay if it’s a sports star or famous figure. It’s okay if it is not a family member. But if the Lord Jesus is not on your list, some things need to change for your benefit. Ask the Lord to show you some inspiration from Him today and He will be faithful to do just that!

 

Subtle Reminders

You know how you can hear a song or a phrase or a verse of scripture several times but it has no effect at the moment; then, one day those words ring in your head over and over. Well, that is exactly what happened to me on this wonderful Friday morning.

I heard a song on K-love on my way to work. A song I’ve heard millions of times before, but a song I just sang without thinking about the words. Again, this morning I sang the familiar words. However, this time it was different as I kept repeating the words to the tune stuck in my head, “this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long”.

Time and time again I’m amazed at the subtle yet very effective ways God changes my thoughts and attitude. In the simplest manner He can turn my heart to praise. I wouldn’t say I was in a bad mood this morning but I was tired and lethargic and not terribly excited about beginning my day. But the Lord changed all that by the subconscious repetition of the words of a song in my head. I mean you can’t help but to feel joyous and revived when you sing words like that.

It took several times repeating those words before I stopped and said to myself, “Hmm, praising my SaviorĀ  all the day long, what reason do I have not to do that?”. I have endless reasons to praise my Savior, starting with the reason He was given that name. He died for me and for you in order that we would have eternal life with Him (1 Thessalonians 5:10). If nothing else, we can praise Him all day long for that heroic action.

If I tried to list all the reasons I have to praise the Lord all throughout this day, I would run out of space. We all have reasons to praise God whether our life is in shambles or we are on cloud nine. Let God use subtle reminders to redirect your heart towards praise. Think of reasons to offer praise, write them down, and join me in praising our Savior, not just right now, but all the day long.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)