Monday, August 22, 2011

Steps to PEACE

Boy oh boy has it been a rough summer, for the first time ever, I am actually glad to see summer end. You see, in April, I found out I was losing my job, in May I turned the big 40 (ugggh), in June we found out that the baby we have loved for almost a year was going to be leaving our home, Jeremiah had an emergency appendectomy and Jerry left for 2 weeks on a mission trip, in July the baby went home and Jerry became very sick with what we now know is Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It was a rough summer!

In the midst of the sadness, disappointment, and chaos I must admit that I began to lose focus and there was no peace in our home. Then God began to get my attention. First I met with a friend who reminded me that fear is the opposite of faith, then I picked up a book by Joyce Meyers, The Battlefield of the Mind, and began to read realizing where I began to lose the battle of having peace despite my circumstances.

I am going to guess that I am not the only one who has faced hard times and I am probably not the only one who has allowed myself to lose sight of the peace that comes from Christ. So today I wanted to share with you some steps to finding peace.

First, We MUST keep your eye on the Savior rather than the situation. Matthew 19:26 tells us of a time when the disciples were baffled by some teaching Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” It is so easy to get bogged down with our circumstances and lose sight of the promises of Christ. For goodnes sake, we are standing knee deep in the circumstance and it demands our attention, but we have to make a conscious choice to keep our eyes on Christ.

Second, We need to pray and not panic. I don't know about you but I can tell you that when a crisis hits I often forget to just stop and pray but Matthew 7:7-11 tells us to “7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" We need to go to God first, not to our friends, not to the box of chocolates or bowl of ice cream, not on a retail therapy trip, or whatever else it is that would distract us from going to Christ.

Third,we must have faith and not fear. I admit it is hard when we face unknowns but Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is, "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." So that means choosing faith over fear even when we don't know what the tomorrow holds, because we know WHO holds the future. In fact Hebrews 11 goes on to say in verse 6 that "without faith it is impossible to please God."

So my question to you today is, what is holding you back from having peace? Remember satan is a thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus came so that we may have life, not just a barely surviving life but an abundant life, to the full. (John 10:10)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

There Is A Balm in Gilead

Jeremiah is one of my favorite Old Testament figures. He had a heart for his people and spent countless hours crying out to the Lord on their behalf. The rest of his time was spent trying to redirect the misguided steps of his fellow Israelites.

Perhaps you have heard the popular song by Three Dog Night entitled, "Joy to the World." Well if you are familiar with it then you can smile at my rewrite in honor of my own sweet Jeremiah, "Jeremiah was a prophet, in Old Testament times, people never listened to a word he said and he was crying all the time, singing,'woe to the world, all the boys and girls, woe to the fishes in the deep blue sue, and woe to you and me."

Truth is though, there wasn't too much to smile about in Jeremiah's day. The Israelites were in exile in Babylon. They had been use to living the good life but that time had come and gone. Along comes Jeremiah and he is brokenhearted at the fate of his people. So he cries out to God in Jeremiah chapter 8, "Since my people are crushed, I am crushed. I mourn and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?" (Gilead was a city that was known for its herbs and medical spices used in healing)

Essentially Jeremiah was asking, "Where is God in all of this suffering?" And that is a question I have asked a time or two (or ten) myself. In fact, I've been asking it pretty often here lately, but I met with a friend today who helped me see that I am exhausted, not because God hasn't shown up but because I am running ahead of Him, not waiting to see what His plan is or what He is doing that I cannot see. I may have been a little distracted by all the work that has gone into planning my pity party also.

As humbling as it is to admit, I have been feeling pretty sorry for myself and bordering dangerously on the edge of becoming like Job's wife. I have been thinking about all I have done to make this situation right with my nephew and niece and grumbling about the fact that it seems that I am doing all the work and God isn't showing up to do His share. And then I read Isaiah 43:19, "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Maybe you have heard the old Spiritual, "There is a Balm in Gilead" but the words ring just as true today as when it was first penned: "There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul."

Are you weary? Are you hurting, too wounded to crawl out of bed and face the day? Jeremiah could relate, hey, I can relate! So let me first say that I am sorry for whatever life has handed you that is taking the wind out of your sails, and second I want to remind you that there is a balm in Gilead, and in LaMoille, and in whatever city you are sitting in right now. The same God who heard Jeremiah's cries hears yours. And just as He was faithful back then, He is faithful today. Maybe you can't see what He is doing, but trust me friend, He is doing something!