You know those situations that are so devastating they take your breath away?
When you wonder “Where are You, God?”
And you are in a space for a long while before you can move even the tiniest step forward.
God is with you there. And He will be with you in each step as you gain your footing and get re-oriented. It all takes time and tears. I hate that this life, which was perfectly perfect by design, is has heartache. But we are not in Heaven. There are beautiful things here and they look even more beautiful against the pain and sin that we also experience.
God knows your pain. God loves you. Sometimes we are in a place where it is just God and us.
Lord, when I am in the place when everything and everyone is stripped away, let me have the faith and trust in you that you are enough. Amen.
Where do you friend your peace?
There are times I associate peace with quiet. Or nature. Or alone time. But when I really am looking for true peace, I can only get it from God.
I see what is going on the world. I see what is happening in my community. I know my own struggles. I also know that there are many things out of my control. There is so much sadness, anger, death, disease, and destruction. There is evil in the world. There has been evil in the world for a very long time. If I dwell on all of that for too long, I can become anxious. But I remind myself I can only do one day at a time. And I ask God to help me; to breathe in and through this day and let me see the opportunities that are most beneficial for those around me. While it would be nice to cocoon and only deal with my own life, I know I am called to step out of my comfort zone and share His peace with others with a cup of cold water or words of comfort. Some days, it is just a matter of surviving the day. I pray God will guard my heart when there is turmoil — whether internal or external.
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
I don’t know that perfect peace is achievable this side of Heaven. But I do know that the comfort of knowing Jesus has wiped away the sin that plagues me and the promise of salvation gives me a peace like no other.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. John 10:27-29 NIV
In the midst of stress, confusion, and intensity I feel safe and at peace.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
Stuff. Stuff. And more stuff!
Do you have stuff, too?
Some of it I don’t treasure but I do lug it around. I took it to Indiana from Nebraska. Then we moved to New York and I took it there too. And then we moved back to Indiana. Guess what? We brought it along. But I need to purge and donate some of these things I have been lugging around. I am tired of looking at it.
But it takes some time and some thought.
I tend to mull things around. And when I see these things I think, “This has potential!” I don’t feel like I am a collector of stuff but I have it all the same. Managing all this stuff takes away from more important things. It can also bog down my heart and mind. Sometimes I worry about the stuff being stolen. Or I think about what happens if there is a tornado or a flood. Then what about this stuff? Is all of it necessary? Some of this stuff is heavy —
And it isn’t just physical stuff, either!
I try not to lug around unhealthy, ugly thoughts but some do follow me from place to place. Even if I know things have been forgiven and resolved the emotions attached to the situations seem to come alive again and again. It’s like Groundhog Day! And those things I “put on a shelf until later” are always there waiting for me to review. Do I treasure my right to be angry? Do I treasure being at odds with some people? Do I harbor unforgiveness towards others who have wronged me? What emotional and spiritual stuff am I carrying around that I need to take some time and thought and process?
We do have to live this life so some of our energy needs to go to working our jobs, whatever those may be. But discovering what I do treasure and working on lining that up with what God treasures is worth doing daily. Each day is an opportunity to revisit God’s Word and His blessings and understand more about what He treasures.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. [Matthew 6:20-22, NIV]
May God bless you as you ponder what you treasure!
Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 103
There is so much in Psalm 103 that I wanted to hang out here another day!
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:11-12
Moving through Lent, a season of repentance, can be a little heavy. Reflecting on my need for a Savior is sobering and that is good, but when I am feeling really weighted down by confessed and forgiven sin, then I know God isn’t behind it. Will I have natural consequences from my sin that I live with? Likely yes, but the promise above reminds me He will not hold it over my head.
Now, that is a relief! Jesus went to the cross in my stead!
I do find it rather amazing that God can redeem our past.
Amazing and liberating!
I love how God transforms lives! Yes, there is a time to reflect, repent, and seek forgiveness and restoration.
Hang on….Easter joy is coming soon!
Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 121
I love the comfort of Psalm 121. And even though we can all look it up and read it, I am going to add it below because reading and typing it are all ways it gets into my brain. I would prefer writing it out on a piece of paper or putting it to a melody because those are also excellent ways to get it into my mind! I am practicing being more mindful of what enters my brain but also just more mindful of what I am doing. Maybe it is an age thing, but there are moments when I ask myself some questions–be sure to emphasize the bolded words:
“What are you doing here?”
“Why are you here?”
“What are you doing?”
“What are you doing?”
Sometimes I do things on “automatic pilot”– without much thought–and that isn’t always bad, but it isn’t always good, either. Being more intentional/mindful/thoughtful about what I am doing, saying, reading, and writing helps me to make better choices!
“I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip–he watches over you and will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you–the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day; nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (New International Version)
Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 19
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3
I have always been amazed at the night sky with all of the stars and their constellations. It seems to be the most amazing out in the country on a clear night with just the sliver of the moon. Although a night sky with harvest moon is stunning. Nebraska has some incredible sunrises and sunsets. I have visited quite a few places and they each offer some unique element of beauty and, yet, they all share the heavens. God’s creation is amazing: the expanse of it, the beauty of it, the coordination of it, the intricacies of it! It is amazing how no words can be spoken but how full of information the heavens are.
Hopefully, in the next couple of days, you will get a glimpse of something amazing in the heavens. Keep your eyes open! The are times I am busy or distracted and I simply do not notice what is there, right before my eyes. But when I do take the time to see, appreciate, and acknowledge the beauty that God has created, it brings comfort to me–to know that He, who can do magnificent works, cares about me. It helps me keep things in perspective.
Is it just me? Lately there seems to be so much tragedy. There is the big stuff with the weather but then there are the things that happen on a smaller scale: fatal car accidents, suicides, a deadly cancer returning, a fall down the steps that leaves someone in a coma.
How do we cope with these kinds of things?
My fear of facing the death of the ones I love ebbs and flows. My dad died when I was six so death has been a part of my earliest memories. Sometimes I fear the earthly separation that death brings. I find it challenging to balance the intense love I have for people with the knowledge that one day, I will probably be living without them.
As I considered the pain and failing body my mom was dealing with as well as knowing her faith, I felt selfish wanting to keep her here when she could be whole and with Jesus. It was important for me to release her from this earth and keep Heaven on my mind at the same time.
What early experiences have you had with death that have shaped your approach today? Is there fear? Is there pain? Is there hurt? Is there anticipation? I always have to remind myself of God’s perspective on death. We will all meet our Maker one day. Pray for those you know who are struggling with disease and decay. Offer to assist them in some way. Pray for their peaceful release. And pray for their families too.