June 26, 2017

Faithful Promises

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Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven.
Your faithfulness extends to every generation,
as enduring as the earth You created.
Psalms 119:89-90

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The thing I love about God’s Word is that no matter how I am feeling, no matter what is going on around me, no matter what other people say, and no matter what my mind or eyes see God’s promises take rank over all of it.

God’s promise is always true. Sometimes it is hard to see this, but it is true. You know, when bad things happen God does not cause them.  He is a good God, therefore, He is incapable of doing wrong or bad.  He can only do good. It is hard for us to understand because we, as humans, can do both. However, God is not like us in this aspect.  He can only do good.

Let me say it again, He can ONLY do good.

God’s word says that He has come to give us life and that He has come to give us that life abundantly (John 10:10).  Here are a few of my favorite promises:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary
and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you.
Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart
and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29

And this same God who takes care of me
will supply all your needs from His glorious riches,
which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world can’t give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27

Knowing God’s promises isn’t enough…we have to believe them no matter what.

Hebrews 10: 23 (my favorite verse) says,
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm,
for God can be trusted to keep His promise.”

I Can Pray

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I may never sing a song that brings people to their feet
And mighty men of world renown I may never get to meet
But I have an invitation to hasten to His throne
To lay my burdens at His feet and make my petitions known

I can pray
Though the storm around me rages
I can trust the Rock of ages when I pray
And the peace I can’t explain when I call upon His Name
I just know I’m not the same when I pray

When it seems the road I’m trav’ling on just doesn’t have an end
I have found that He will be my brother and my friend
For He never will forsake me; He will always hear my plea
Because He stands beside the Father, interceding just for me

If my people
Who are called by My Name
Will humble themselves
Will humble themselves and pray

Singer/ Songwriter: Kim Culpepper
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I heard this song several months ago, and it spoke to me.  I put it in my ‘maybe’ list of songs to blog, not knowing when or if I was to share it.  Over the past two months a 16 year old young man in our church has been struggling with a deadly illness and has been through several brains surgeries already, with the almost certain need for more.  Our congregation, friends and family, both near and far, are praying for this boy!  What more can we do?!

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,
letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

The songs I sing will never bring people to their feet, and won’t heal Zach.  The mighty men of world renown can visit him at his hospital bedside, but they can’t heal Zach.  This road that Zach and his family are traveling on seems to have no end.  This is a storm that is too great for any human to conquer.  Perhaps you, too, (physically, emotionally, or spiritually), are on a rugged road that seems to have no end, and are in a storm too great to conquer.

BUT GOD!  Each of us has an invitation to hasten to the Throne of the One and Only God, the Rock of Ages, Who can do anything, including heal our dear Zach and calm your storm. That is exactly what Zach’s parents, and we are doing daily, even moment-by-moment, and I encourage you to do the same.

Where else can we find peace?
Who else assures us that He hears our prayers?
Who else promises to never leave us or forsake us?
Who else can calm the storm?
Who else can heal Zach?
Who else can smooth your road?
No one, BUT GOD!

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.
There we will receive His mercy,
and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
Hebrews 14:16 NLT

Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock.
Isaiah 26:4

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our Refuge.
Psalm 62:8

As one song says, “Our God is an awesome God, Who reigns in Heaven above, with wisdom, power, and love, our God is an awesome God.”  With that assurance, we run into God’s Throne Room, and lay our “burdens at His feet and make my (our) petitions known.”

It is there

  • we have the assurance that He hears our prayers
  • we know that Jesus is interceding before our Father for us
  • we find our peace
  • we find our answers
  • we are “not the same when I (we) pray.”

If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all,
how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?…
Christ Jesus is the One who died
—more than that, Who was raised—
Who is at the right hand of God, Who indeed is interceding for us….
Romans 8:31-39

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Whatever your storm is today, dear friend, believe that Jesus wants you to come to Him with it.  Believe He will take care of your need, no matter what is it.  When you can’t do anything else, YOU CAN PRAY.  And we, your sisters in Christ, will pray with you.  Jesus is waiting and listening…and answering.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.
Isaiah 26:3

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Peace I Leave You

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But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep.
“How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.
But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes.
Luke 19:41-42 NLT

Jesus really had emotions. Sometimes He wept and other times He danced with joy.  And there were times when He truly grieved.  In the Scripture passage above, Jesus wept because the city had refused Him.  And not only Him but the peace that only He could bring them.

As a parent, I truly want the very best for these precious children that I have been blessed with.  When I am no longer here, I hope that they have joy and peace and a faith that cannot be shaken.  Those long nights on my knees, praying over each one of their hearts and the days that were spent investing in their eternal future will pay off because, no matter what, they will know about their Savior.  I hope that they know that the things of this earth are so temporary and that only Jesus and a relationship with Him will give them eternal life. And while they wait on Him to return, that they will claim the peace that Jesus came to give them.

Isn’t that what Jesus wanted for us?  Right before His crucifixion, Jesus promised something so valuable—peace.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

He didn’t leave us fame or fortune or tangible things…although He can provide those things.  He left us something more beneficial. And if we are to be a Jesus follower and lead others to Him, we must have peace and joy to share with this struggling world.

What do you need from Him today?  Is there an area of your life where you find yourself needing peace?  I know that I have to be reminded daily that He doesn’t want me to worry about the cares of this world, so I write this verse so many places.  Maybe you have been struggling with something that you have been asking God to take away.  Don’t lose hope!  God may not choose to take your thorn just yet; however, you will still receive His peace.  And remember: regardless of the trial, Jesus will give you your inheritance…today, and everyday, He offers peace.

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Do you know Jesus?  Do you need His peace today?  If so, I ask that you pray this simple prayer with me….

Dear God, I know that I am a sinner.  I am struggling today with so much and I just want to be free.  I believe that Jesus is Your Son and the Savior of the world.  He died for me so that I can live forever with You.  Help me to know more about You.  Thank You for loving me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Forever Gift

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Peace I leave you, My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

Boxes and paper, bows and bags…now empty and gifts put away. Stockings no longer hang over the fireplace…they too have been emptied. Is that sometimes how you feel  when this excitement is over—empty?  We stress and shop, make list after list, and bake and wrap; all while playing our favorite Christmas carols. Now it’s over, but does it have to be?

The magic of Christmas is always ours if we love Jesus and seek Him.  He is our Gift of salvation and forgiveness and grace.  He, Who was held on that holy day, holds us today. He walked this earth, healing the sick , feeding the poor and loving the least of these. He went through it all so that we could have a perfect example of how to live and how to love. To forgive always and love everyone. We become the gift to others that He came to be to us.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

See?  He left us peace in the midst of this hard, dark world.  He left us joy in the midst of turmoil. And oh! how He loves you and me!  The world gave Him such a hard time, and it doesn’t leave us untouched either. But what will we do with it? After all Jesus went through, we owe Him so much. All He asks is that we let Him be Lord of our lives. And to spread hope to this dying world. And because we have His Spirit, we can do His work.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,
but one of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

And if you put Him before everything, your life will be so much more than you can ever imagine. Every decision you make will be guided by Him and all your days will be ordained by Him. His favor will be all over your life and the joy you will experience will overwhelm you. When your feet hit the floor, hit your knees and ask Him to empty you of yourself and to fill you up with all of Him.

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And the most wonderful gift of all?  We will forever live with Him after this life!  God’s Son, born to die, to save us, His children. Can you wrap your mind around that?  That someone loves you that much? Well, God does!

Do you know Him? If the answer is no, then I urge you to pause today and still your mind and heart and pray this prayer with me:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I need forgiveness. I believe that You are God and Jesus is Your Son. You sent Him to die in my place so that my sins will be forgiven. Thank You for loving me in spite of myself. And thank You for grace. Come into my heart today and be my Lord, to walk with me through it all. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Peace: Be Still

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Be still, and know that I am God!
Psalm 46:10a

Work.  Children.  Family.  Friends.  Hobbies.  Commitments.  Life!

Peace can seem especially evasive during the holiday season.  Peace can also be evasive during the rest of the year.  And not because it just doesn’t want to be with us but because sometimes we can forget that we are supposed to be at peace.

Sometimes, I feel far more accomplished when I’m busy—running around trying to figure out the next thing to do.  Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by so much stuff. Other times I enjoy doing nothing, but also feel as if I’m not getting anywhere in life.

When I think of being at peace in God’s peace, I think of this verse.  Be still.  This verse is not talking about physical stillness, although, sometimes physical stillness is very necessary.  No, this verse is talking about being still on the inside.  I personally feel this verse could say, “Be at peace (on the inside), and know that I am God…” I say this because, it’s almost impossible to be still when you are not at peace.

So, why do I so often find myself running around trying to figure everything out, totally out of sorts, and frustrated?  Because I forget to rely on the Maker.  God is always there to help us.  He provided us with peace and the ability to abide in that peace. Jesus said,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

  • Take a step back from the busyness of life.
  • Take a step back from those looming important decisions.
  • Take a step back and just be still.

Rest.
Be at peace.
Then ask the Lord what’s next so that you can tackle all you need to
…but at peace.

Prince of Peace

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For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 AMP

Glory to God in the highest [heaven],
and on earth peace among men
with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor].
Luke 2:14 AMP

Peace can be very elusive this time of year.  In some ways this has been a rough year for us—we lost our darling granddaughter five days after her birth.  This time of year is particularly hard.  Perhaps you, too, have suffered the death of a loved one or a major loss…loss of a relationship, job, home.

Maybe stress is stealing your peace right now.  {I must admit I have let a little stress sneak in as well.}  Our daughters live in other states so we don’t get to spend as much time with them as we would like.  However, they will be coming here after Christmas.  I want to have the perfect gifts for them.  I want to make wonderful memories while they are here.  And that gets me a little frantic and a bit stressed out. When the cares of this world weigh me down Romans 8:6 reminds me that,

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace

So, how do we have this peace that seems so elusive?  The peace Romans 8:6 refers to comes only from Christ and passes all understanding.  There are so many wonderful scriptures that reiterate this.  Take a minute to read through these slowly and carefully.  And let their meaning sink deep into your heart and mind.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8 NASB

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.
Psalm 29:11 HCSB

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace
Isaiah 26:3 HCSB

…The chastisement {punishment} [needful to obtain] peace
and well-being for us was upon Him,
and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
Isaiah 53:5b AMP

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27 NLT

In John 16:33 (HCSB) Jesus tells us “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.  You will have suffering in this world.  Be courageous!  I have conquered the world.”  As I was writing this, the words of a Castings Crowns song came to mind – “It’s all because of the blood of Jesus Christ!”  Truth!  We cannot do it alone.

Christ IS our Prince of Peace.  His birth was a step towards peace.  He came voluntarily, knowing what lay ahead of Him.  I do not want to be guilty of rejecting His gift that cost so much.

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Today, I would like to leave you with Philippians 4:7 as my prayer because God puts it much more eloquently than I can.

Dear Lord, please let Your peace, which surpasses all comprehension, guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen – It Is So!

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May the Lord turn His face toward you
and give you peace this Christmas season and all year long.
2 Thessalonians 3:16

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:2

I Am

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There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place where we can’t’ find peace
There’s no end to amazing grace

Take me in with Your arms spread wide
Take me in like an orphan child
Never let go
Never leave my side

I am
Holding on to You
I am
Holding on to You
In the middle of the storm
I am holding on
I am

Love like this
Oh my God to find
I am overwhelmed
With a joy divine
Love like this sets our hearts on fire

This is my resurrection song
This is my hallelujah come
This is why it’s to You I run

There’s no space that His love can’t reach
There’s no place where we can’t find peace
There’s no end to amazing grace

Singer/Songwriter: David Crowder (with Ed Cash)

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Have you ever felt you would never be at peace?  Have you ever felt like an orphan, all alone in this world?  Yep, me too.  More times than I would like to count.

I can be worse than a dog with a bone. Replaying events and conversations in my head… worrying and fretting.  I am unable to still my mind.     Peace is elusive. These verses reassure me:

Psalm 29:11(HCSB)
The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.

Psalm 35:27 (NLT)
Great is the Lord, who delights in blessing his servant with peace!

John 14:27 (NLT)
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.

John 16:33 (NIV)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

And that is all the reassurance I need.  There is no end to God’s amazing grace.

I posted this song on my FaceBook timeline last week.  It resonates with me.  As this song plays in my head I am reminded that there is no place, there is no space His love cannot reach.

Psalm 86:13(AMP) reaffirms this:
For great is Your mercy and loving-kindness toward me; and You have delivered me
from the depths of Sheol [from the exceeding depths of affliction].

If He can deliver me from my afflictions—from the very depths of Hell—His love can reach whatever mucky pit I am in.  The only place you and I can find love like this is wrapped in God’s arms.  His arms are always open wide just waiting for us to run to Him.  I am overwhelmed with joy.

So I run to Him — daily.  When things are good AND when things aren’t so good.  I hold on to Him tightly, especially during the storms.  He never lets go.  He never leaves my side.

This is my resurrection song
This is my hallelujah come
This is why it’s to You I run

I am holding on to Him. What are you holding onto?

There’s Within My Heart A Melody

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There’s within my heart a melody
Jesus whispers sweet and low
Fear not, I am with thee, peace, be still
In all of life’s ebb and flow

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sweetest Name I know
Fills my every longing
Keeps me singing as I go

All my life was wrecked by sin and strife
Discord filled my heart with pain
Jesus swept across the broken strings
Stirred the slumbering chords again

Feasting on the riches of His grace
Resting ’neath His sheltering wing
Always looking on His smiling face
That is why I shout and sing

Though sometimes He leads through waters deep
Trials fall across the way
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep
See His footprints all the way

Soon He’s coming back to welcome me
Far beyond the starry sky
I shall wing my flight to worlds unknown
I shall reign with Him on high

Words and music: Luther Bridges

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The Name of Jesus is more than enough to take care of every need in your life:

  • Who saves us from our sins?  Jesus

He is the One all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His Name.
Acts 10:43

  • Who heals the brokenhearted?  Jesus

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,”
Luke 4:18

  • Who gives us mercy and grace?  Jesus

Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

  • Who shelters us with His Wings?  Jesus

He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:4

  • Who leads us through the storms and trials of life?  Jesus

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

  • Who can we follow and be secure?  Jesus

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need…He guides me along right paths,…Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me…
Psalm 23

  • Who is our peace so we need not fear?  Jesus

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27

  • Who is coming again to welcome us Home!?  Jesus

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.
John 14:1-3

Jesus is truly the sweetest Name I know!  The power and the love that resides in the Name of Jesus, is more than enough to make me sing!  How about you?!

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Precious Jesus, You are worthy of all of our praise and worship!  You are our Savior, our Healer, our Protector, our Security, our Peace, our soon-coming King, and so much more!  Thank You, Jesus, that we can rest assured that all of our needs—spirit, soul, and body—can be satisfied in You.  In the Life-Giving Name of Jesus, Amen.

Praise Him

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Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love
and His wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people
and praise Him in the council of the elders.
Psalms 107:31-32

What does praising the Lord look like to you? Is it going out into nature and drinking in the glory of it all, listening to the birds singing, the wind swirling about you or the sounds to the insects? Or do you prefer the corporate worship, where you enter the sanctuary and sing to your hearts content and settle in and listen to the minister teach or preach? Whatever your style is, worship Him. Worship Him with your whole life, your whole being.

Just as David praised God in the good and the bad times of his life, we can too.  We can be angry with God as well, just as David was.  Our God is such a big God. Growing up I had such a reverence for God..I still do.  What has changed is that I have learned that God loves me more than my earthly parents, my husband, my child or my friends ever could. Only—to come to that conclusion—I had to understand who God is.

God loves us and wants what is best for us. Here is an example of His protection of Job:

Have You not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?
You have blessed the work of his hands,
So that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
Job 1:10 NIV

Even though God allowed Job to suffer, Job never wavered from his faith.  Job was a strong leader for his friends and for his wife.  Job always looked out for those around him and looked for ways to improve his relationship with God.

God is sure to give us rest when we need it.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

I pray, as this week closes and we begin to celebrate our fathers, that we choose to honor them for who they are. My dad (who raised me) was brought up during the Depression Era. He was the second or third of five children whose father was a saw miller. His mom was a stay-at-home mom who was responsible for the four boys and daughter. Dad started out on his own with only an eighth grade education and  joined the Army. He served only two years and was discharged. He followed his dad and joined him and older brother in the saw mill business for a short period. Then he was employed by Mr. Pride Car Wash where he became a manager. Dad did his best for his family. He worked hard and advanced with what education he had and took advantage of the skills God had given him.

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Father, thank You for our fathers. They may not be the one we would have chosen, but You have plans. You know who was the best person to help develop us for who we were meant to be. I know I would not be who I am today without the two dads You placed in my life. I thank You for both of them and I thank You for the other people who have helped develop me into the person I am today. I know I still need to improve and seek to know more about You and Your Son.  In His name, I pray.  Amen.

Hurricane

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You’re spinning out of control again
Your life feels like a sinking ship
You’re wondering how it came to this

Is it too late?
Is it too far?
For Him to reach you
And come to where you are
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

You’re in the wreckage underneath
Your hope is buried somewhere deep
You’re wondering how long it will keep

It’s never too late
Never too far
For you to reach out
And take a hold of love
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

Don’t back down from the fight
He’ll shelter you tonight
Just hold on for the change
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

There’s a place, there’s a place you can run
When you fall, and it’s all come undone
You’ll be safe in the raging storm
So just let go
‘Cause you are held in His arms
Step out on the edge
Don’t be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He’ll find you in the hurricane

~  Sing this song with me as our prayer and worship today.  ~

Songwriters: Cindy Morgan, Matt Bronleewe, Natalie Grant
Performed by Natalie Grant

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Have you ever felt as though you had so much going on that things were literally swirling around you and you weren’t sure where to begin?  I know I have…it reminds me of the eye of a storm.  It is a calm place while things are swirling around you.  Do you have Hope in the eye of your storm??  Jesus is the calm in the midst of our storm.

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalm 34:14

So we should be in active pursuit of peace.  Not that we attain it once…and then we can rest; but this is a continuous process.

Why must we pursue something that is already given to us (John 14:27)?  We already have peace available to us. Jesus IS our Peace; it is found in Him.  We just have to utilize it by keeping our eyes focused on Him instead of the storm swirling around us. I love this excerpt from the book In the Eye of the Storm :

“What internal code kept His calm from erupting into chaos ? He knew the value of people… Interestingly the stress seen that day is not on Jesus’s face, but on the faces of the disciples… ‘Send the crowds away,’  they demand.  Fair request.  ‘After all,’ they are saying.  ‘You’ve taught them.  You’ve healed them.  You’ve accommodated them. And now they’re getting h ungry. If we don’t send them away.  They’ll want you to feed them, too.’  I wish I could have seen the expression on the disciples’ faces when they heard the Master’s response: ‘They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat…’

When we get outside of ourselves and the storms of our life, and begin to focus on Jesus, then peace will come.  Our storms will be used to minister to others and He will show us what to do in the midst of them.

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Heavenly Father, I thank You for the peace that has already been given to us when we choose to put our eyes and our focus on You.  Thank You that You are our peace in the eye of the storm and that You will never leave us or forsake us.  Thank You for showing us what to do in the midst of them.  In Jesus’ name. Amen!!!