Express His Glory in Your Life

Posts tagged ‘peace’

Find Peace by uniting body, mind & spirit

It astounded me to read a poster on the wall of the Lowe’s Family YMCA that stated their purpose as helping to bring unity to body, mind and spirit.  The poster had Christ’s words from His prayer in John 17.  Most non-profits began with Christian ideology…few retain those principles.  As I reflected on the ‘rightness’ of their purpose, the evidence of lives not in unity pierced my own heart.  Even secular studies confirm that as much as 90% of illness comes from wrong thinking and failure to give our physical bodies what they need.  We have authority in this world over our own minds and our own bodies.  We exercise that authority by placing ourselves under the authority of the God of the Bible.

 

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  John 17:21

Unity.  We do want it…but we usually want it on our terms which immediately puts unity out of reach.  Unity can’t happen until we welcome Jesus into the details disrupting our 15747529_1799284616976374_5369443153573163066_npeace.  Problems aren’t our problem.  Jesus already overcame the world.  Our problem is not allowing Him to be the way to Peace.

That sounds sort of good…and sort of judgmental, doesn’t it?  I promise you, it is all good.  Jesus has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves:  open the way to abundant life.  He is the way, and if we examine His life, we realize the way is not easy.  It is ‘simple’ but incredibly difficult and requires embracing suffering.

Embracing suffering is NOT being a martyr.  Martyr’s choose where they will suffer based on their own preferences and for personal reasons:  meeting their own needs in the name of sacrifice.  Christ did not do that.  He sacrificed Himself to restore us to the Father–because that is what the Father wanted!

Unity comes when we are as passionate for the desires of the Father as Jesus is!

While Jesus willingly did what we cannot, He will not do what we can do!  We have responsibility for our earthly lives.  Our minds and our bodies are ours to surrender.  We must choose thoughts that line up with God’s…and activities in line with His laws.  When we don’t, we don’t have peace.  We don’t have health.  Our bodies will break down and our emotions run amok.  Check out this definition of amok…it astounded me in its accuracy and the fact that is in the DSM as a psychiatric disorder.

Running amok, sometimes referred to as simply amok or gone amok,[1] also spelled amuk, from the Malay language,[2] is “an episode of sudden mass assault against people or objects usually by a single individual following a period of brooding that has traditionally been regarded as occurring especially in Malay culture but is now increasingly viewed as psychopathological behavior”.[3] The syndrome of “Amok” is found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR).[4] The phrase is often used in a less serious manner when describing something that is wildly out of control or causing a frenzy (e.g., a dog tearing up the living room furniture might be termed as “running amok”.)

God is passionate for unity.  He not only allows our lives to press us toward Him…press us toward life…He designed us to need Him.  He is unity and peace and life.  If your world feels like it has run amok, ask Him where His priorities have been set aside for your own.   Choose God’s priorities and He will do the work, you will find the rest you seek.  If you choose your own priorities, you will suffer and struggle as you try to do what you feel is right and good.

Where is your mind or body running amok?  What do you need to change:  your view, your actions?  Ask God…ask a friend for ‘truth in love’ and accountability.  Peace is possible.

Danger & Devastation: Fire Insurance

We buy fire insurance with the hope that we never need it.  In the natural realm, it works reasonably well.  Even if the policy is not that good, fire insurance works well to gives us peace of mind and even a poor policy will mitigate the devastation if a fire happens.  So, a fire insurance policy is a solid investment for our earthly concerns.

Kilroy fire

December 19, 1976 – childhood home

Eternally, though, fire insurance is another story.  In fact, it is a false hope based on deadly deception.  Faith as a ticket out of hell is really a ticket to a dead end.  On earth, fire insurance is bought with hope that it will never be used.  In the spiritual realm, there is no such hope.  Death is a certainty.  It makes sense then that much more care be given to eternal insurance…assurance.

Just as earthly death is certain, Scripture reminds us that faith without works is dead.  (James 2:17).  That verse is not speaking about earning salvation.  Salvation is not based on us; it is faith in the completed work of Christ that saves.  But faith is evidence of what we believe; if we don’t act as if we believe, where is the evidence.  James 2:17 is saying that the way we live reveals the faith we possess.  Faith is belief…our actions reveal what we believe more than our words do.  Our minds can agree to something but unless we actually believe it, our hearts will not feel it and our feet won’t walk it.  Fire insurance faith gives mental assent…living faith gives united assurance.

Walking out faith

The shoes we are to wear as armored believers are Good News Shoes!  Our walk is to be one of peace…restored to a loving relationship with the One True God.  Any time our lives have ‘compartments’ or places where the sweet peace of God is not felt, we need to stop and seek the face of God.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God–unless we allow it to.  James tells us that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.  The cry

max and marie hands fire

Picture from my in-laws living room after their home was destroyed by fire.

of the Father’s heart is ‘come to me’ — Christ’s prayer before He endured the cross was that we would be united with Him because He was united with the Father.  Total immersion in the holy goodness of God is the desire of God for each of us!

No matter what the battle feels like…the raging war and waves of horror…the end is sure.  The life of faith requires the death of self.  And death is not pretty.  Have you walked in the valley of death with a loved one?  The physical and emotional toll is great.  Scripture says Jesus endured for the joy set before Him.  That is our hope as well as we battle through to confident assurance of our unity with Him.

Engaging in Battle

Make no mistake:  spiritual battles are real and necessary.  Putting to death the old man is not easy.  There is a deadly, dangerous self-protective deception that can keep us from ever seeing the depths of our own depravity.  We can study the Word and love its beauty–and think that our studying and appreciation for it is enough.  It is not.  Appreciating art does not make me an artist.  The Word is pure and holy–but we are not.  Mental assent does not create unity with God.  Fire insurance faith is not assurance.  It is a deception that can kill.

So, how can you know?  Eternal life is the gift of God Himself.  Read that slowly.  It is not a gift of God…it is God.  Eternal life doesn’t start when we die; we live it now.  We live it when we receive it.  When we receive the gift of God, there is a war between good and evil.  It is a war that is won but it is not one we can excuse ourselves from.

But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession before many witnesses. I Timothy 6:11,12

And never give up.  It is always too soon to quit!  Press on for victory by renewing your mind with Truth from God…and then committing to act.  Strongholds come from conditioning of the past…negative thoughts & actions that you cannot control are conditioned responses.  What you have conditioned yourself to do can be changed as you remove anything that does not align with the Word of God.  Seek unity with Him and the double-mindedness that kills will be eliminated.  That is the death of self…that is participating in the crucifixion.  It will be painful…but it is the only way to life.

Seek to know God.  Surrender to His way.  Sacrifice to obey Him.  

And see the miraculous ways He works.  God is faithful.  Christ is victorious.  

Love Life

Shortly after 9/11 there was an interview with an ISIS member who captured for me the essence of their heart.  He said something like this:

“America, you will never win because you love life and we love death.”

He may be right…our country may not win, but we don’t have to lose.  Christ is life; He already won by overcoming death.  He offers us life.

In the face of yet another murderous attack, I share a piece from Fixing our Eyes on God.  We need not be fearful or victimized.

Know Jesus.  Know Peace.  No Jesus.  No Peace.

Our look at the Lord today is a well-known title: Jesus is Life.  It (life) is a passion for God; He is the giver of Life.  God loves Life and longs for every soul to know the abundance of true Life. Jesus came that we could know the fullness of eternal life.  But Satan loves death and constantly seeks to blind all to true Life.  He directs our attention to illusions of life that are only death in masquerade:  fame, fortune and adventure.  True Life is Jesus.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, Scripture guides us to Life.

All Scripture points us to the fullness of Life—to Jesus.  The writings of the disciple John repeatedly remind that Jesus is Life.   John quotes Christ’s own words that ‘He is the way, the truth and the life.’  Jesus is the only way to God; He is the source of truth; and Jesus is Life itself.  The gospel of John opens by beautifully laying out Christ’s eternality as the Word, the Life and the Light of the world.  John’s gospel ties perfectly with the Psalmist who praised the light given by the Word.  It knits with Paul’s explanation that the presence of Jesus reveals eternal life.  The Word, Jesus, is light and life to all who receive it.  The Greek dictionary defines the light that the life of Christ brings as a light unable to be kindled or quenched by another!  Satan can deceive for a time, but he cannot produce a light that endures.  The Word who is Life and Light will never pass away.
Fixing our eyes on the source of life is the only way to navigate this treacherous world safely—and to help others do likewise.  No path on earth can resist the light produced by Christ’s life.  As we allow His life to fill the darkest parts of our lives, the pathway we should take becomes clear.  The shadows that fill the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ flee in the presence of eternal Life!  The despairs that threaten our souls—loneliness, addictions, fear—dissipate when the truth of His life penetrate.  Lives filled with His life illumine the paths of others as well.
In addition to the Light that accompanies the Life, scripture reminds us of other ways Christ is life to this world.  Jesus is the ‘living bread’ and the ‘living water.’  His Life is sustenance and refreshment in this dry, weary land.   As pilgrims, we are not to rely on any other source for life than Jesus Himself.  When the Life of Christ fills us, that which is ‘dead’ becomes alive.  In fact, Christ calls us to be ‘living stones’ in this world of death.  Our lives are to evidence what Christ told Martha:  “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live…” (John 11:25).  Our lives are to overflow with the Life of Jesus so that He spills onto those who walk nearby us.

Struggles? Concerns? HOPE!

Just a short note this morning from the hope I found in Scripture this morning.  Hope in the Bible means confident expectation for good.

The struggle in your face?  

  • God’s got it.  Just like Joseph, we need to remember that evil is turned upside down in God’s hands! (Genesis 50)

Our task?  

  • Respond rightly:  Refuse to indulge in the fruits of the flesh!  Feast on and share the fruits of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5)
  • Be noble like the Bereans:  Examine the Scriptures.  (Acts 17)
  • Focus well:  Look at what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4)

 

The Great Barrier to Peace

One of the most difficult things in life is forgiving those who hurt us–or the ones we love.  Forgiveness is never for the offender, though.  Forgiveness frees us!  I am excited to share another ‘taste’ of the spiritual journaling book.

Working through Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to LIVE the Gospel in the most tangible way possible.  Practicing forgiveness is an immense privilege!  In it, we share the fellowship of Christ’s suffering:

Matthew 6:9-15 (v 12) _______________ says to forgive.

Mark 11:25 …so that Your Father in heaven may _________________.

Matthew 18:21-35  Forgiveness sets _________________.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Prevents ______________ from gaining a foothold.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Measure of the _____________ I have received.

Romans 8:28 All of life is Father-filtered.  All works for the _________!

Now even with all those encouragements, forgiveness is hard!  One technique which helps is learning to separate the person from the sin.  Jesus did it.  On the Cross–as He suffered and faced the horrifying time of separation from the Father, he said:

“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”  

The soldiers knew they were crucifying him, but they didn’t understand the fullness of their acts.  The same is true for those who hurt us (and those we hurt).  Mercy triumphs!

The details matter in forgiving.  Blanket statements will not suffice; be specific in forgiving:

“I forgive ______________ for ________________.”

Face the emotion(s) knowing there is nothing Jesus cannot heal.  A friend uses a rhyme that helps me in times of deep hurt:  “I will feel it because Jesus will heal it.”  

Allow yourself to feel the emotion and ask Jesus to come to it, through it and take it away.  Jesus is unchanging and His presence still heals.

When you have soaked in the beauty of Christ’s presence, you will see the past in a new light.  What had been hurt becomes a spot sweetened by the presence of God.  

Alongside that aspect is this: time and maturity offers a different perspective.  Sometimes a fresh perspective eliminates what had been a wound.  In either scenario, awareness of the presence of God brings light to darkness.  

Allowing the past to have a hold on you negates the work of the Cross.  There is nothing Jesus has not atoned for…the price has been paid.  

 

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