Finding Peace – God’s Power in us
Purity 487 08/03/2021 Purity 487 Podcast
Today’s photo comes to us from a friend’s morning glide across Prospect Lake where they spent a few days camping at Prospect Lake Park in North Egremont, Massachusetts last week. Today’s photo isn’t very flashy, but I love the reflected stillness of the waters and the sense of symmetry that comes as the early morning light shows us a mirror image of our world upside down.
It's summer and many of my friends regularly take to the nature areas of our world to get away from it all when they want to decompress from the stress of their normal routines or want to seek a few moments of refuge as unexpected changes or losses have made them feel like their worlds have been turned upside down.
If we are observant the one thing we can never honestly say is that “nothing ever changes”. While some patterns seem to be a constant part of our lives, every day is new and each one brings us closer to the ultimate reality where we will know the truth about God when we see Him face to face.
But in the meantime we have to make it through today while trying to prepare for a future that we can never be certain of.
Now that I no longer garage at home, every discordant sound from my Honda CRV has me concerned as it is my sole means of transportation, and I don’t want to suffer any breakdowns that will derail my travels or disrupt the flow of my otherwise peaceful days. So I made an appointment to have my brakes and exhaust checked suspecting that one if not both of those systems are in need of some regular maintenance.
My concern over my car is indicative of the fact that we must be self-aware and attempt to establish and maintain good health or balance in all the aspects of our lives if we want to maintain peace.
Life will change on its own, sometimes with little warning, so I try and encourage my children to try to avoid problems by being diligent to perform regular maintenance with the things in their lives and to fix problems as soon as they come up because the impermanent nature of our world almost guarantees that another problem is just around the bend.
In the transition of having to commute again, I have less time in the morning at home, so I was a little anxiety ridden over getting to work on time and maintaining my morning practices of prayer, Bible study, and journaling/blogging.
I was happy to see that, as long as I maintained a degree of focus, I could indeed do it all in a timely manner.
I was also thrilled to rediscover my practice of worshipping the Lord in song on my morning commute. When I garaged at home, it was all business from the moment I left my driveway as I would immediately dispatch on my first job.
While I would have worship music playing on route to my first job, my preoccupation with work and the fact that I was in a company vehicle inhibited my joyful expression of praise significantly.
Yesterday, in my own vehicle, I was free again to enjoy a half hour of praising the Lord in song without reservations as I raced my way to the garage.
So what could have been a continuation of my anxiety of getting to work on time was magically transformed to a rich part of my daily spiritual practice as my mind, will, and emotions were directed toward God and all who He is and all He has done in my life.
So, when I got out of my car and walked onto the grounds at work, I was positively beaming with joy and took delight in greeting some of my fellow workers that I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
Again, this is how we walk in the Spirit, while I could have been angry or annoyed at this unwanted change, because I focused on the Lord and my relationship with Him my morning and day was defined by peace and joy.
God has given us the power to find peace regardless of our circumstances. He gives us the ability to adapt to all the situations that life brings to our doorstep. So much so that some of us enjoy “roughing it” by retreating from our homes with all their modern conveniences and going to His creation to find peace and tranquility in a place where the world system is diminished, and His presence is more apparent.
But please realize that we don’t have to pack up our tents and sleeping bags to find that peace. God is omnipresent so if we simply turn our attention to Him, He will be there to give us strength, wisdom, joy, peace, and love. So keep walking and talking with God, for me it’s the only way to go.
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This morning’s meditation verse is:
Luke 9:26 (NKJV)
26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels.
Today’s verse directs us to be open and to identify ourselves as Christians for all the world to see.
Being a Christian in this world isn’t easy. In our modern society, Christians are viewed with skepticism and contempt which is reflected by the fact that tolerance for other religious systems of belief is preached but the attitude toward evangelical Christianity seems to not be so tolerant as accommodations are being made for other systems of faith but the ability to openly practice evangelical Christianity is being increasingly regulated and legislated against.
This hostile environment that would call Christianity hateful and the religion of bigots may cause those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ to not be so vocal about the exclusivity of Jesus Christ to save or about their identity in Christ. These loud voices from an immoral world may cause some Christians to be silent about their faith as they don’t wish to judge their fellow man or be perceived to be unloving.
But today’s verse tells us that we are not to be ashamed our Savior, Jesus Christ, or the Word of God, the Holy Bible. Some Christians fearing the opinions of man try to put an emphasis on Jesus but choose to distance themselves from the Bible which reveals their ignorance and immaturity because it is from the Bible that we learn everything we know about Jesus.
So inseparable is Jesus from the Word of God that the Apostle John referred to Jesus as the “Word became flesh” (John 1:14), “the Word was God” (John 1:1), and “his name is the Word of God” (Rev 19:13). These verses indicate that Jesus is the personification of the written and spoken word of God. You don’t get one without the other.
So we are to not be ashamed of our faith in Christ, for on the contrary, Christ commanded his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations”, teaching them to “obey all the commands” that Christ has given us (Matt 28:18-20).
Today’s verse is pointing to an authentic Christian faith that involves living our lives as disciples. But it also warns of the consequences of the possibility that one could deceive themselves by having a “form of godliness but denying its power”, meaning that some will believe they are Christians but will not truly put their faith in Christ with their lives and will be horribly surprised when at the hour of their death they are told “I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23).
So seek out your salvation with fear and trembling, God calls you to repentance and a new abundant life. So don’t be ashamed of the One who gives you all things. Speak the truth in love and give yourself as a living sacrifice to His kingdom.
The fruit of the Spirit grows when we practice our faith. Its not about perfection but it is about continually following the ways of the Lord and identifying ourselves publicly as His children.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, beginning Chapter 10.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
You Must Be Real to Be Right
I met Judy when I was fresh out of seminary and ministering in the college department of a very large church. She was a 26-year-old university graduate who had a teaching credential, but she looked like a flower child from the '60s. She wore tattered jeans and no shoes, and she carried a well-used Bible.
Judy was a church hopper and attended a women's Bible study class that met in our church. She had sought counseling from the leader of the class several times about her many problems. When the leader learned that Judy had been institutionalized three times in the previous five years as a paranoid schizophrenic, she felt totally inadequate to counsel her. So she asked if I would see Judy. Although I had no formal training in this area of counseling, I agreed to talk to her.
When Judy told me her story, she had difficulty remembering the details of the last several years. I tried to give her a few simple psychological tests, but she couldn't handle them. As we neared the end of our appointment, I felt frustrated because I was clueless about how to help her.
I said, "I want to meet with you again, but in the meantime I would like you to submit to the authority of this church."
As soon as I said that, Judy jumped up and headed for the door. "I've got to get out of here," she said.
I believe the Lord prompted me to ask, "Judy, is Jesus your Lord?"
She wheeled around abruptly at the door and snarled through clenched teeth, "You ask Jesus who my lord is." Then she stormed out.
I followed her down the hall and continued to ask her if Jesus was her Lord. Each time she responded by telling me to ask Jesus who her lord was. Finally I caught up with her and asked her again, "Judy, is Jesus your Lord?"
This time when she faced me her countenance had completely changed. "Yes," she said.
"Can we go back to my office and talk about it?" I asked, not really sure what I was going to say.
"Sure," she responded.
When we were back in my office I said, "Judy, do you know that there is a battle going on for your mind?" She nodded. "Has anybody ever talked with you about this before?"
"No one I've talked to has brought it up. Either they didn't know what's going on inside me or they were afraid to deal with it," she confessed.
"Well, we're going to talk about it and we're going to deal with it," I assured her. "Are you willing to do that with me?" Judy agreed.
We began to meet weekly. I assumed that her problems were either the result of a moral failure in her life or a history of exposure to or participation in the occult. So I quizzed her about the moral area and found no basis for her problems. I asked her if she had ever been involved in the occult. She had never even read a book on the subject. By this time I was really scratching my head because I couldn't figure out the source of her severe and obvious spiritual conflict.
Then one day we began talking about her family. She described how her father, a noted pediatrician, had divorced her mother and run off with a nurse. Judy's mother and other family members had vented their hatred and frustration openly. Judy, the only Christian in the family, thought she had to be a good witness. She was determined to be the loving, conciliatory daughter. So she kept silent while her emotions tore her insides to shreds.
"Let's talk about your dad," I suggested.
"I'm not going to talk about my dad," she snapped. "If you talk about my dad, I'm out of here."
"Wait a minute, Judy. If you can't talk about your father here, where can you talk about him? If you don't deal with those emotional issues here, where will you deal with them?"
I discovered two passages of Scripture that added significant insight to Judy's problem-plagued life. The first one is Ephes. 4:26, 27: "Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Judy's unresolved anger toward her father was never confessed, and because she had been repressing her anger instead of confronting it, she had given the devil an opportunity, a "foothold" (NIV)—literally, a place in her life.
The second passage is 1 Peter 5:7, 8 (NIV): "Cast all your anxiety on him [God] because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Instead of casting her anxieties about her father upon the Lord, Judy tried to be spiritual by covering them up. By not being emotionally honest, Judy became spiritually vulnerable.
Judy began to face her unresolved feelings toward her father and work through the problem of forgiveness, which was the crux of her problem. Within a few months, this young woman, whom psychiatrists had given up as hopeless, made significant progress and became involved in the children's ministry at our church.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship