Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, (Rom. 8:1 NIV84)

When I was sick last week, God had me stop…and look at Him. Even when I wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong – especially then.

It felt good to be open with Him, not trying to hide anything, and to find no condemnation but just acceptance, peace and rest.

I haven’t done that on a long while. Such intimacy. It requires boldness, bravery and risk! Because I’m not sure how He will react.

And the acceptance is that much sweeter in the face of risk and deserved condemnation. And then I am left with a sweet memory of my intimate time with Him.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV84)


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20130128-095448.jpgWow! This was the sunset in our back yard last night!  I am always in awe of the spectacular works of art that God creates.

Recently, a friend asked me about one of the things I struggle with, feeling unworthy. (Read her blog here.) One of the ways she described the Christian life to me was “faultiness yet success”.  I thought what a perfect way to describe it!  I had never heard it put that way before,  but that is it!  We are not perfect, just forgiven.  So I told her about my struggle with this and what God is teaching me:

“I’ve struggled with feeling inadequate too.  I’ve learned that I just need to acknowledge that I am weak and when I have failed, like when I struggle with pride.  If I adopt an attitude of repentance in my heart, agree with God that what I did or thought was wrong, that is what He expects.  In my mind, I picture myself kneeling before Him, admitting my mistakes.  And I know He accepts me.  I can be humble yet accepted at the same time.   I believe what He really wants from us is humility, not perfection.  Then we are forced to admit our weakness and our neediness for God.

I’ve really struggled with feeling unworthy, to the point where it was driving me away from God.  But I finally got to the point where I understood that that had to be satan.  (Of course it is, because his goal is to separate us from God.)  So at some point, with God’s help, I just decided to reject those evil voices:  “You’re not good enough, you’ve failed again.  God has had enough with you…”   I just said ‘no, I’m not going to accept it’.  I knew it wasn’t God, and I don’t have to accept these lies.  I’m still working on this.

God accepts us just the way we are.  He doesn’t expect perfection this side of heaven.  He loves us because we are His, with all our flaws and our assets.  He is not so fickle as to change how he feels about it based on our performance for the day, thankfully!  He sees all the amazing things we have accomplished so far through His power, and He doesn’t expect us to be running a marathon when we’ve just accomplished crawling, walking, and talking.  He’s just really so thrilled at where we are now and how amazingly far we have come already!

And…God loves us!  Just the way we are now.  When we accomplish lots or when we accomplish little.  Even when things are really bad, and we aren’t able to accomplish a single thing. Even when we can’t walk, and He has to carry us, He still loves us dearly then and delights in His sons and daughters as much as He ever did.  Nothing we can do can ever separate us from His love.  He is our Daddy and He delights in us!!  Because we are His!

‘Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?  [satan tries but its all lies. he has no real power.]  It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns??  Christ Jesus…is at the right hand of God…interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine?…No in all these things we are more than conquerors though Him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death or life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers…nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!’   Romans 8:33-39

Wow-I really need to learn that verse better.   Isn’t that awesome?  That is our key to being conquerors and rejecting satan’s accusations, which are all lies, and to be confident that God accepts us completely.  Once we accept that, we can experience peace and confidence.  We can just relax because we’re not performing anymore for God’s acceptance.  We’re just accepted, no matter what.  We can accept ourselves, because God has accepted us.  Then we can relax, experience joy, and laugh, because we are loved, no matter what!”

My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest.  Exodus 33:14

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Sometimes it’s really hard to spend time alone with God. It’s easy to get out of the habit of it, and sometimes hard to get back into it. Sometimes I feel such resistance to just being alone and quiet before him. I want to be busy, constantly! I want to watch my Internet Netflix tv shows and do yoga on my split screen tv at the same time… and check my email messages on my iPhone! Lol Good grief! Technology is awesome, but it can really distract me from just being alone and quiet before God.

I can get to the point of being alone with God, but my iPhone is still a distraction. I can get to the point of reading a Christian book or my Bible, which is great and necessary. But to take the further step after that of putting everything away and just being quiet, praying and then being quiet and listening, that is the antithesis if the busyness I’ve become used to.

I got an idea from my sister who posted on Facebook that it was her goal in 2013 to spend 20 minutes a day alone with God. So today I decided to set my timer on my iPhone (see, it has its positive uses too ! Lol), and sit quietly for just 20 minutes. It’s hard to sit quietly with no defined time period because it just feels like such a huge task, at least at first. But 20 minutes seems doable.

Usually when I begin to be quiet before God I feel very antsy for the first 10 or even 15 minutes. My mind is racing. I am thinking of a million things, prayers mixed with thoughts, and just a general chaos and noise. It’s almost like it is loud in my brain. And then almost always when I do this, after that initial 10 or 15 minutes, suddenly I feel a calming, quietness and peace. It’s like God steps in and turns the chaos in my brain down. Then I feel peace. Sometimes I hear Him teach me something. I begin to sense His presence and really start enjoying myself!…And then my timer goes off, and by this time I’m actually disappointed that my time with Him has ended.

It’s awesome to know it is possible for God to quiet me down if I give him a little time to do it. It gives me confidence to try again next time! So if you struggle with being quiet before God like I do, try giving Him 20 minutes and see how it works out!

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psa. 46:10


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Be still and know that I am God; 
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth. 
Psalm 46:10

I have a serious decision to make, something I think God may want me to do.  But I am scared to do it and cannot stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong and reasons why I should not do it.  They go over and over in my head until I have trouble focusing on God, and it cripples my ability to make this decision.

Three times recently, God showed me Psalm 46:10.  I have read it many times before this and have even memorized it.  But suddenly this verse has become extremely important to me.  This morning, I prayed it over and over, and it seemed to displace my anxiety, leaving no room for it in my consciousness. 

It is comforting to know that He is in control, absolute control.  I try to take control, I try to reason things out, but ultimately He is in charge, and He knows best for all people, all the time.  There is a huge amount of relief in knowing that,which brings peace and comfort.  I don’t have to be the boss.  I don’t have to know everything.  Only He does, and all have to do is follow Him.  He Is God.

So I continue to pray this prayer.   I would appreciate it if you would pray for me about this, and I pray the same for anyone who also has a big decision to make.  May He make His will clear to us and enable us to accomplish it with His confidence and peace.  In Jesus sweet name, amen.

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“For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.’”  1 Kings 17:14

In our women’s Bible study at church recently, an older lady stated that God had provided for her many times throughout her life when they did not have enough money, even to the point of making things last longer than they should.  Someone questioned whether God actually provides in this way, but the woman was adamant that God did these things for her.  Her story reminds me of what God did for the widow and Elijah, quoted above. 

I know God doesn’t provide for everyone in the same way, but He promises to provide for us whatever we need, whether it be  to make appliances last longer than they should, or to provide the money we need to fix them, and/or the grace to get through the hard times as He helps us to cultivate peace in our hearts and to trust Him.

This past year and a half has been hard on us financially.  Our income has been reduced quite a bit, and we have just enough to pay the bills now.   We are learning that it is easy to say we trust God when we have plenty of money in the bank account.  Really we were just trusting ourselves and our own money.    Now we get to show that we trust God when unexpected expenses occur and that money is not there and we don’t know where it is going to come from!

One day, my husband Dave and I were looking at the budget.  Things are so tight.  All of the categories are maxed out.  And then Dave opens the mail.  A friend of mine who lives in another part of the country had sent me a Wal-Mart gift card for $250!  Just randomly, out of the blue, for no reason.  We were so amazed, sure it had been a mistake!  But she said no, it was for us.  I felt so blessed by her and by God.  To me it was reassurance from God saying, “I am here.  I see what you are going though, and I will take care of you.”

Shortly after that, I was driving my car home from my parents, and suddenly all the gauges stop working on the dashboard.   I couldn’t see how fast I was going, how much gas I had in the car, or what gear I was in.  I got the car home, and my husband took it to Autozone to have them test the computer.  It was a bad circuit board, $300 just for the part.  They said we’d probably have to take it to the dealer since it would have to be programmed.  At least $500 total.  We didn’t have this money! 

My husband worked on the car several times, trying different things, but we were sure what the Autozone guys told us was the truth and there was no other possibility.  One day, Dave looks at the battery and notices that it is not secured to the car.  So he disconnects it and reconnects it.  Then he drives the car around the block.  Right before his very eyes, all the gauges go from not working to one by one working again.  He said he just could not believe it.  A miracle was happening right in front of him!  God saved us at least $500 bucks, right there!  And on top of that, during this time, the parking brake had also stopped working.    It felt like something had snapped, and we knew it needed to be fixed at the mechanic.   This wasn’t as big of a deal as the previous problem, but would you believe that a couple of days later, it just started working again too, totally inexplicably?  We now had no reason to bring the car to the mechanic!

Also because my husband has started a new job, we have to wait for health insurance until December.  We have short-term insurance in the meantime, but it does not have any copayments for doctor’s visits, only a $300 deductible.  Would you believe that my youngest daughter hurt her knee and then her ankle?  After much anxiety about whether to take her to the doctor, God allowed her knee healed on its own after about a week.    But the ankle was taking longer to heal, and I was torn as to whether to take her to the doctor and to pay $500 to hear that we needed to keep doing what we were already doing:  use the crutches and a boot (from my older daughter’s previous injury)  and rest her ankle.   

We decided to wait, and try the boot and crutches.  Day after day, she just did not seem to be getting better.  Her ankle really seemed to be bothering her, and I felt bad that I had not taken her to the doctor yet.  Finally, I had determined that I needed to take her in within in the next day or two.  Dave and I had been praying for her healing and we had both prayed that night.  The very next day, my daughter comes home and says for the first time that her ankle was finally starting to feel better.  I was so amazed!   Again, God saved us so much money.  On top of that, my two girls have been sick so many times since we haven’t had insurance.  But would you believe not once did I have to take them to the doctor?   God has provided the crutches and the boot when we could not afford it, and He has allowed the girls to get better without needing medical intervention.

It’s like having no ability to pay for these extra things ourselves attracts God’s intervention.  We did not need God like this before because we could pretty much cover all our expenses ourselves.  Now we are in desperate need of His help financially.  We cannot do it ourselves.  And so we get to see miracles.   It is such a scary situation to be in, but it is also a little exciting to see what God is going to do next!   We can trust God when things are hard.  He will take care of us.  He has promised to do so, and He has been doing just that! 

God, we are amazed!

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I have been writing about my struggle with all of the changes in our lives recently, losing jobs, income, and time with family.   This has been one of the hardest things I’ve been through.  Several weeks ago, I was struggling in my relationship with God, and I could not figure out if I was doing something wrong or if this was just a natural phase in our relationship.  I asked Him what was wrong several times, and one evening the lesson in our women’s Bible study, Jonah by Priscilla Shirer, was on anger.

In the book Jonah, after the prophet finally preaches to the Ninevites the very thing he was afraid of happens:

“When God saw…how they turned form their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.  But Jonah was greatly displeased and beame angry.  He prayed…’O Lord, is that not what I said when I was still at home?…I knew you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.  But the Lord replied, ‘Have you any right to be angry?'”  Jonah 3:10-4:4 

(What makes me laugh every time I read this is how Jonah is complaining about how God is compassionate, loving, forgiving!   Jonah enjoyed God’s forgiveness when he sinned, but he didn’t want any non-Jews to have it!)

Priscilla then asked whether we have accepted the plans God has made for us, even if they are different that we had planned for ourselves.  And because of this, did we struggle with anger at God?  Suddenly, God showed me what was wrong with our relationship:  I was angry at Him.  I didn’t want to be.  Intellectually, I knew that was wrong and that God is right.  But yet I was still angry.  And the emotion was interfering with my relationship to Him.

So as I talked with God that evening, He showed me that I had stopped trusting Him.  I stopped believing that He was working for our good.  I had begun to try and make my own plans work out because I was doubting Him.  And once you know what it feels like to follow Him and be in His will, it feels pretty miserable to be out of it and to try to work things out on your own.  And I was miserable.

So I asked God to help me trust Him again.  I needed to choose to believe that everything He is doing is for our good.   Every time the evil one would whisper in my ear, “See, God is not working things out for you,” I need to reject that idea, by His power, and determinedly believe that He is good and working for our good.  It was almost like developing tunnel vision.  I needed to close off my “vision” to any idea that would suggest doubting God.  Instead I needed to look straight ahead at Him and only Him.  And as I rejected these doubts, it became easier to reject them and they came less frequently.

And with this renewed trust comes…peace.  And restoration of relationship.  It feels really good to be right with Him.   To trust Him and not to doubt.  To look each to day to see what His will is, to see how He works things out, and what blessings and gifts He has prepared for us.  To believe that the God who is in control of my life is good and working for my good.  And that He can sustain me through anything that we have to go through.

Praise You God that You are good.  You are trustworthy.  You are in control.  And we can trust You.  We are safe in Your arms and in Your will.  It is the safest and happiest place we can be, and we praise you for that, Dear God.  In Jesus Name, amen.

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How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!…He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psa. 147:1,3

Now and then God wakes me up in the middle of the night, and I cannot get back to sleep.  Sometimes I am able to rest in Him and enjoy Him, but other times it turns into a spiritual battle.  Things always seem worse in the middle of the night, and I get stuck in despair over the hard things that our family has been through recently.

This usually happens when I am already beginning to distrust God.  I begin to forget the good things He is providing for us in the midst of the storm, and I forget that He is working through all of this chaos for our good.  All we need to do is wait and trust Him so that we can survive these trials, and have peace and sanity in the process!

But in the middle of the night, in the middle of the spiritual battle, my heart doesn’t always believe what my head knows, and I feel pretty miserable.  However, if I wait on God and give Him whatever tiny bit of trust I have left, He pretty much always rescues me eventually.

This morning I struggled with Him, feeling that things were really bad.  Finally after a  while, I heard, “Praise Me.”  I was surprised that it was so clear and direct, and I was relieved to at least have a direction from Him.  So as I agreed, praise began to flow through my mind, almost as if the Holy Spirit was just waiting to put the words into my mouth.

Gradually peace and comfort began to replace the despondency.  The problems were still there, but I began to see them from His point of view.  They aren’t so bad when I remember that I have an all-powerful God, who loves me more than I could ever imagine, on my side!  As I relaxed with Him, I was finally able to drift off back to sleep.  What an awesome God, who can take us through the valley of the shadow of death and back out the other side, comforted and calmed.

Thank You, Father, for your great battle strategy:  praise!  So simple, yet so hard to remember sometimes.  Help us to remember in the heat of our battles to wait on You, to trust You, and to praise You.  In Jesus Name, amen.

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