A study on what I want my life to be filled with

Month: March 2020

What Brings You Peace?

Peace. It’s been a long month with all that’s going on in the world, but I’m hoping that some of  your thoughts about peace have changed or deepened and you have a better understanding of what peace can mean and how it can show up in your life.

What brings you peace? Maybe it’s taking a long walk through the forest appreciating the beauty of creation. Or maybe it’s creating a beautiful masterpiece with a paintbrush or pen. Or maybe it’s even completing a long-anticipated project. For the writer of Psalm 72 it was the mountains.

The mountains bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

Psalm 72:3, NKJV

When he gazed toward the mountains and hills, he felt peace, knowing that God created them. He took care to create mountains for us to enjoy knowing that the beauty of his creation would bring us peace. There is just something about nature that puts your mind, body, and soul at ease. Maybe it’s all that green (living in the Pacific Northwest there is a lot of green) or the fresh air or the array of different flowers and birds all around. I know it is all those things for me.

Whatever it may be that brings you peace, I hope that you can hold onto those sweet moments with appreciation and cherish them in the times when it seems like peace is far from you.

( Photo by Dereck Mora on Unsplash )

Peace at All Times

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

This is such a beautiful blessing that Paul, Silas, and Timothy left with the believers of the church in Thessalonica, and with us as well. I can’t think of a more comprehensive blessing about peace than this. He prays that the Lord of peace himself would give them peace. I know if I were to receive peace from someone, I would choose the Lord of peace to give it to me. Anyone else would give me a less superior portion of peace. Then, as if that’s not enough, he adds that they would receive that peace at all times and in every way. That pretty much covers it all. Peace in the morning? Yes! Peace in the middle of the day? Yes! Peace at night? Yes! Peace when you lose your job? You bet! Peace when you have a fight with your spouse? Absolutely! Peace when you feel your pain will never end? Of course! What comfort to know that God has peace for us at all times and in every way. The final cherry on top is his blessing that the Lord be with us all. This is the ultimate blessing, having the Lord of peace with us at all times! Not just his peace, but his presence! I know I need to be reminded that the Lord is with me and I have his peace always around me. Be blessed knowing that you have that same peace with you!

(Image by Republica from Pixabay)

Peace Beyond our Understanding

There are many things I don’t understand in this world, like the inner workings of the human brain or the engine in my car, but I’m glad that I can trust in a God who understands everything. To continue from my second blog this month I want to look at a second verse from Philippians.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7, NIV

As I am looking at the Greek definition for “pass,” or in my translation “transcends,” I am seeing this verse in a whole new light. The definition that I have says: to stand out, rise above, overtop; to be above, be superior in rank, authority, or power. I don’t know what I thought peace that passes or transcends all understanding was before, but it is powerful to see that God’s peace is superior in authority and power to our peace and understanding in all ways. It is a comforting thought to know that God’s peace can guard my heart and my mind because of its superior power. Anything I would try to do pales in comparison.

When I see the words rank and authority I think of the military. God’s rank is a six-star general and we may think we are a Colonel or Captain, but we are more likely an Officer, and our rank has no real influence over the general. Or for non-military people, God is like a lion, with no natural predators he is at the top of the food chain, an Apex Predator. We are like a lion cub, we think we are doing well, and we know what’s going on, but really, we need to look to our father to see how the savanna life works. We need to look to the one who has all authority and power if we are going to live in peace. We may not understand everything that’s going on in the world or our lives, but let’s rely on the peace of God that is far superior to our own.

( Photo by Ben White on Unsplash )

Good News

News can be good, bad, or neutral. But the gospel is literally good news, the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. With all the bad news stories around us in the media every day it can be overwhelming, especially lately, but when we read the bible it is meant to bring us the good news of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I could use some more good news in my life.

The good news of the bible is also meant to bring peace. Not only as we read it but also as we share it with others.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Isaiah 52:7

I love being around people who are always positive. I can just imagine waiting in a town or small village to see if whoever came over the mountain would bring good or bad news, peace, or fear. I can also imagine being the person delivering the news and how good it would feel to see the relief on people’s faces as I delivered the good news of peace and salvation. I want to be someone that delivers good news and brings peace to those I share it with. Whether that is an encouraging text to a friend in need, smiling at a stranger on the street, or hugging a relative who just lost their spouse, good news can be shared in many ways.

Share the good news of Jesus, but also just share good news!

( Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash )

Peace amid Chaos

Is it possible, you might wonder, to be at peace in the middle of chaos; to take a breath and be still in the middle of the storm? In our world today we are taught to go with the flow and stay as busy as possible. But often that flow leads to chaos in our personal lives because we don’t know how to stop, breathe, and reset to a place of peace. We can’t rely on the world to bring us peace, but we can rely on Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to bring stillness to our lives. Let’s see how he demonstrated this with the disciples.

On that day, when evening has come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

mark 4:35-41, esv

They, like many of us, started out with everything going smoothly. There wasn’t a storm when they got into the boat, and I’m guessing they didn’t even see it coming. But right in the middle of their journey across the sea the storm arose, and water started filling the boat. There was chaos all around them and they were fearing for their lives, and there was Jesus…asleep…in the front of the boat. They thought Jesus didn’t care that they were going to die. They assumed that he would sleep straight throu, gh the storm and they would be left to fend for themselves. But when they woke him up, he rebuked the storm with a call of peace and the wind ceased.

We all start the day hoping things will go right. We don’t usually look for the storm that may be coming at home with our spouse or at work with our boss. We might be in the middle of lunch when a co-worker comes in and starts accusing us of not pulling our weight on a project, or we might be in the middle of rush hour traffic when our kids call saying that we forgot to pick them up from their after school activity. It may seem like Jesus is asleep in the middle of our storms and that he doesn’t care about what is going on in our lives, but I assure you, he cares a great deal. If we will stop, call on Jesus, and ask him to take charge of our storm, he will. If the wind and water obey Jesus, the circumstances of your life will bow to him as well. He wants to have authority in our lives. We need to allow him to come in and have faith that he is going to do what he came to do. He is the Prince of Peace. If there is anyone who knows how to establish peace in our lives it is Jesus.

Stop. Breathe. And rest, knowing Jesus brings his peace into our lives.

(Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay)

Set your Mind on Peace

Where do your thoughts go during the day? What are you focused on? Is it bringing you peace and life or anxiety and death? What you have your mind set on determines where your life is headed. The battles start in our minds. Let’s look at what the difference between having our mind on peace and having it on anxiety looks like.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Romans 8:5-6, ESV

Are you thinking about the next big thing in technology or what new car you are going to purchase? Those things in themselves aren’t bad, but when they become the things that dictate how you live your life and detract from living for Jesus, that’s when they become a problem. In contrast, are you thinking about how to serve your family or who in your life needs an encouraging word? Those are thoughts that come from the Spirit and lead you to living for Jesus. Peace is something the Lord has promised to us.

You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3, NKJV

The challenge remains to keep our minds stayed on the Lord, which means to lean or rest upon him. Will you accept the challenge to set your mind on things of the Spirit and lean on the Lord for his help?

To quote Paul in Philippians 4:8: …whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” These are not the normal thoughts we tend to focus on, which means it will be a challenge to change our thinking to focus on the things of the spirit. But in the end, it is worth the work.

Here are some examples of things I think Paul would encourage you to think about: I am loved by Christ and am his child. So are all the people I come across every day. He created all I can see and touch, and he made them for my enjoyment. He loves to be good to me and thinks about me all the time. Thank you, Lord, for all the ways you bless and keep me. You are a good God and I can put my trust in you.

Be encouraged to try a new way of thinking and enjoy some much-needed peace.

( Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash )

Trade the Anxiety of This World for Peace

When I planned out what topics I was going to be working on each month, I never realized how many people would need peace at this time. With the coronavirus spreading throughout the world and the presidential race in full swing that’s enough to send people over the edge of sanity. Then you add in everything that’s going on in our personal lives and it’s a recipe for disaster. But there is a different recipe in the bible that leads to peace. Let’s see what the good book has to say.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7, NIV

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7, NIV

The bible’s recipe says that if we pray and cast our anxiety on Jesus, he will guard our hearts and our minds because he cares about us. When the news is telling us to hunker down and don’t go outside or we may get sick, we should pray and ask God for his peace that will guard us. When you sneeze and wonder if you’ve caught a virus, pray, and present your request of health and wholeness to God. We can give him ALL our cares and anxiety and he will take them, because he is a HUGE God and he can handle the cares of all his children.

As I was looking at the word “care” in the Greek, it came up in another passage that I thought was quite interesting: The parable about the sower throwing seeds on different types of ground.

As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

Matthew 13:22, ESV

Isn’t that just like anxiety?! It comes into our lives and chokes out the truth of the word and we forget how faithful and good God is! He doesn’t ever want us to be anxious or live in fear. He wants us to trust him with our anxiety and receive his gift of peace over our lives. Next time you feel the fear and anxiety of life coming upon you, stop and pray. Ask God for his peace in your life. You might just be pleasantly surprised with his answer.

( Photo by Pradeep Ranjan on Unsplash )

Peace

This month I’m going to be looking at how we can find peace in Jesus and in our lives. I decided it would be a good idea to start with what that word means so we have a foundation for the rest of the posts.

Peace. Shalom. Aloha. Paz. Paix. No matter the language we all have a word for peace. Peace is one of those words that has so many deeper meanings it’s hard to convey with just one word.

Meriam-Webster defines peace as: A state of tranquility or quiet; freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; harmony in personal relations; a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity.

Wikipedia defines Shalom as: a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare, and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye.

Two different words with the same meaning. What do you define peace as in your life? Or maybe what would you like peace to look like in your life? Maybe by the end of March peace will mean something totally different to you. I hope to have a better understanding of what peace means to me and how I can have more in my life.

( Photo by Hamza Bounaim on Unsplash )

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