peace

Living Without God for a Year

For [God] Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

A while back, I read this story about a man who attempted to live one whole year without God. The title, “A Year Without God,” certainly caught my attention, and I had several initial thoughts before I ever read a word.

living without God

Did the author mean that he tried to actively disobey God for a year? Had his faith been wavering and he wanted to explore alternatives to the Christian life? Was he exposed to lies that pulled him away from the truth? Did he really think it was possible to live beyond God’s reach? Was he hoping to find peace and quiet somewhere else? Would he eventually repent and turn back to his heavenly Father? Or would he discover new friends and temptations that dragged him farther away than he could ever have imagined?

I also had other questions, the kind that came from deep within my soul. For example: Does this man not realize that his very existence is due to the will and pleasure of God? He must have been following an awfully small God to even think this was worth a try, and I pray I am never foolish enough to follow his example. But what about my kids? How can I prevent them from making this kind of mistake in their lives?

Sure, knowledge about God is important. Beyond deciding whether or not we believe that God exists, there are plenty of important issues such as what it means for God to be eternal, holy, unchanging, all-powerful, and all-knowing. It turns out the author of the article was a pastor. He grew up in a church and went to seminary, so he knew plenty. But isn’t it possible for smart people with academic knowledge to walk away from God? It’s sad but all too true.

What about experience? Does a person have to see a real-life miracle, feel something deeply with stronger-than-normal emotions, or have a firsthand, unexplainable experience that removes any possibility of doubt? Will an indelible memory of God’s power and faithfulness protect one from the lure of sin and worldliness?

When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus pointed to Deuteronomy 6, saying that the most important commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Why is this so important? The more you love God, the more you will want to know Him. And the more you know Him, the bigger He will grow in your eyes. Our faith will only be as big as the God we serve. And peace will only come when we are safe in His family.

Are you serving a small God? Is He a God of convenience, guilt, or tradition? Are you crazy in love with Him, or is He more of an acquaintance? If I asked your kids, what would they say? Now that’s a sobering thought. What kind of a God are you presenting to you kids? Are your kids convinced by your actions that you even believe in God? Do they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you love Him and are in awe of Him?

Some of the worst times in my life have been when I felt far away from God. I wasn’t trying to live without Him. As a matter of fact, during those times I was troubled by the fact that I didn’t feel closer to Him. I desperately wanted to get out of my funk and back to a place of peace, calm, and intimacy in my faith walk and mindset. I can’t imagine ever intentionally cutting myself off from God.

Scripture says that God will never leave you or forsake you. If He’s not leaving me, then I’m not about to try and leave Him. The fool says in his heart that there is no God. It seems just as disastrous for someone to try and live without God or to live as though He isn’t present everywhere.

When I was young, I was taught to think and act as though God was always in the room with me. The point of this instruction was to teach me what it means that God is omnipresent. I’m glad that the Holy Spirit brings this lesson back to mind when I find myself alone. I want to please my God and Savior whether or not anyone else is watching. As we’ve all heard, it is in the secret places that one’s true character is determined.

God is good. He is good to me, and He is good for me. There are myriad material objects, foods, discussions, or practices that would be good for me to live without for a year or longer. If I’m going to remove something from my life, I’d rather choose from this list. But a year without God? I can’t imagine having any peace of mind. No thank you. I’m not interested.

peace

The man who made this decision to try and live without God for a year said this experiment felt a little risky but that his desire was to pursue truth in both serious and playful ways. The truth will still set this man free, as it will for any of us. I pray that he will run back home to the Father. God is waiting, just like the father in Luke 15 who gladly welcomed his prodigal son back to the family with open arms. It was at that moment when the prodigal son finally found peace for his soul.

So what do you think? Was this person foolish, playful, serious, or cutting edge? What does his experiment cause you to contemplate when it comes to ideas about God or your current relationship with Him? If you want real and lasting peace, don’t even try to live one day without God.

A day in [His] courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. Psalm 84:10

 

 

Unwrapping the Gift of Peace

In the early years of being a mother, I would often wake in the middle night full of anxious thoughts. Sometimes those thoughts were about real challenges I was facing, but many times my mind would be overtaken with a variety of imaginative what-ifs.

peace

What if my child’s cough is something more serious?

What if he gets lost?

What if my child never potty trains?

What if he gets attacked by a lion that escaped from the zoo?

The weight of being responsible for another person’s life can lead to some interesting thoughts at 2 am in the morning.

I found myself turning to books, friends, and the internet for answers to my worries. I would makes lists and plans. Yet even when I did find the answers, I was typically still left with doubt and the occasional nagging worry. What if I totally messed up my child? What if I was missing something?

The truth is that I was missing something.

Peace.

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

Nothing in this world can compare to the peace that God gives us. It’s beyond our understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

I had heard about God’s peace most of my life. I had even sung songs in church and summer camp about it. But I didn’t know what to do with that gift. It’s like I received a present in pretty wrapping, admired it, and put it on a shelf without looking inside the box.

Peace is a gift from God that He wants us to enjoy daily. What I learned is that this gift does not come with batteries included. It requires action on our part.

peace

If we want peace in our lives, we should:

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

Pursue it: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Love God’s law: Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:165

I found that the more time I spent in prayer and in God’s word, the more peace I found. When doubts and worry woke me, they didn’t keep me up for long because I knew where my trust and hope belonged.

Lord, nothing in this world can compare to you. Thank you for Your peace. May it fill our hearts and our homes that we can go out and bring Your love the world.

When Peace Feels Elusive

Peace often feels out of reach in the life of a busy Mom.

How can Mom feel peace with the constant demands of motherhood? It’s a job that is unrelenting and exhausting.

elusive peace

In fact, just a few moments ago my children were all happily occupied with projects or play, so I sat down to work on this very devotional. Not two minutes later two children were yelling at each other in the next room. After pausing to deal with that issue, I sat back down at my computer to work. With just one sentence successfully on the screen, another child appeared beside me with an exciting story she wanted to share. Then another child soon followed with questions relating to her art project. So I did what I usually do, which is put work away until late at night. Even while my children sleep my time is occupied by the demands of life. It is easy to wonder, “where is peace?”

Even when life is far from peaceful, biblical peace can still exist in your life. Biblical peace is not the absence of busyness or difficulty. Biblical peace is an inner peace. It is the product of a mind focused on God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

peace

The Bible tells us the simple way to gain Biblical peace- prayer. When life is busy, pray. When life is hard, pray. When worry consumes you, pray.

With prayer comes the peace of God.  Yes, life as a Mom will constantly move at whirlwind speed, but the inner peace of God will provide an inner tranquility.

Feeling De-anchor-ized?

Have you ever gone to the beach and floated around in the ocean on a rubber raft, enjoying yourself and your surroundings, and then, looked up to find you had drifted far away from your starting point?

peace

A small boat unattended will also drift along with the watery current and possibly out to sea. Sometimes, the drifting is subtle, imperceptible. Sometimes, it comes with the compelling force of a storm, wrecking the boat on an unseen sandbar or a hidden, rocky reef.

Though the ship is battered and the sails torn, as the lyrics go, the anchor holds.

Have you ever felt de-anchor-ized? That’s a Lynnism for feeling like life’s anchor has let go and you’re now drifting away with the rushing current of life’s circumstances.

When we are in one of life’s storms, the anchor of our peace, is Christ. He anchors us wherever we are, whatever the situation.

One day in my quiet time, I read the following in one of my devotionals…

peace

“Never a heart’s need that I could not comfort and soothe.”

I said, “Lord, if this is true, then why do I sometimes feel as though You are not there?”

Part of His answer was this…

“My dear one, I have been here all along, through it all. I’ve been here by your side, though unnoticed. I’ve been here, holding your hand, though not felt…

“I’ve been here, through the floods of adversity, rowing your boat for you through all those uncharted waters.

“I am the Navigator. I know where we are going. It is your job to sit still before Me and trust that I know best. Don’t rock the boat by telling Me where you want to go. Just let Me take you to the place best suited for you.

“Ride quietly and trust Me and we will reach our destination much more quickly. Don’t be a hindrance to the One who knows the way. I will not steer you wrong nor will I allow the waves to overtake you. Just trust Me, because I love you.”

So, when an immense storm comes with its swelling surges of heartache, when an ill wind of financial circumstances wraps its tentacles of debt or lack around you so tightly that breathing is difficult, or when you create your own dark clouds of anger, bitterness, or unforgiveness, and it all begins to rock your life’s little dinghy…remember…you are not as one without hope or peace.

David knew this so well, “Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He hushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still. Then the men are glad because of the calm, and He brings them to their desired haven.” (Psalm 107:28-30 AMP)

Christ is not only our Anchor but also our Life Preserver. We are not as those who end up wrecked on a sandbar, as those without a Savior.

Stay anchored to God’s hope, His peace, His truths. Listen to Him, “So we must listen very carefully to the truths we have heard, or we may drift away from them.” (Hebrews 2:1 TLB)

As I was writing this, a song came on the cable music station I was listening to: I Am One in Peace. I started thinking about those words: I. Am. One. In. Peace.

I am…one in peace. I am one…in peace. How? Because I am one in unity with Christ, THE peace. And so are you.

If your heart wanders like a rowboat let loose, drifting away from the shoreline, drifting far from your starting point, remember you have a Rescuer.

Don’t become de-anchor-ized! Cling to your Anchor of hope and your Life Preserver of peace.

For. You. Are. One. In. Peace.

If you have Christ, you have peace.

In your difficult circumstances, may you know the safe haven the Lord provides.

lynnmosher.com

Choose Peace

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Is your life peaceful or chaotic? How much of that is something you can change, and how much of it is beyond your control?

choose peace

We can choose peace in three ways: (1) orchestrating it in our daily routine, (2) prioritizing it in special circumstances, and (3) surrendering to God’s sovereignty in circumstances beyond our control.

First, we can choose peace by orchestrating our daily routine to promote peace. I just saw a lovely example of this while visiting dear friends in Washington state. When the husband comes home from work each afternoon, he and his wife sit down for an hour or so to talk, read, and drink hot tea. They schedule this peaceful time to reconnect before they jump into discussing any problems, issues, and tasks, and it’s a beautiful thing. Their children are grown and gone, so a ritual like this would look different in a home full of young children. But look for ways you can orchestrate peace by building it into the routine of your daily life.

Second, we can choose peace by prioritizing it in special circumstances. I often speak and write about how to find peace in the space between the ideal and reality. It’s one of the most important things I teach. Ideally, we’d like to do and be and have everything we can dream of, but realistically, we can’t do it all. However, we can make choices that promote peace.

For example, on my recent trip to Washington and Oregon, I had an ideal itinerary with a long list of beautiful places I wanted to visit. Toward the end of my trip, I was worn out by speaking at a homeschool convention and a busy sightseeing schedule. Realistically, I had to reserve some energy for book editing projects that awaited me when I returned home. When I evaluated my sightseeing options for the final three days, I realized that two destinations were no longer appealing because the logistics were too complicated. Considering them made me tense instead of relaxed. Instead of frantically trying to cram in more, more, more, I prioritized peace by choosing one simple day trip—a whale-watching excursion in the San Juan Islands—that was a delightful end to my Pacific Northwest adventure, and I returned home refreshed rather than exhausted.

peace

Another example of how we can prioritize peace is refusing to engage in unnecessary conflict. How often have we destroyed our own peace, and that of others, by engaging in vehement debates on Facebook and other online forums? Sometimes it’s important to stand up for truth, but more often than not, we’re simply picking fights or taking the bait. I am learning to just back away from discussion threads that are draining rather than uplifting.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.Romans 12:18

Third, sometimes circumstances are beyond our control, and things are more complicated than simply planning a peaceful routine and making peaceful choices. Maybe there’s a death or serious illness in the family. In these situations, we can choose a peaceful response to the chaos by trusting God and surrendering to His sovereignty. When there is no peace in our circumstances, we can rest in His peace, knowing that He works all things—even hard things—together for our good (Romans 8:28).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6–7

Understand the Keys to The Peace That Passes All Understanding

 

And the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We’ve heard this quoted over and over again. Perhaps this verse from Philippians 4:7 has been spoken over us in every church service since our childhood. We’re heard it anew in Sunday messages and it runs through our minds when we need the peace of God to silence our troubles.

The Lord’s word is breathing, alive and active, and He will always reveal new levels of truth to us when we ask for His wisdom. He is our Savior. In all circumstances.

his peace

This month has been particularly trying for me. I had a callback for more testing after an abnormal result on a routine mammogram. I found my mind under barrage of enemy attack while waiting for the next ultrasound and rescreening appointment. Maybe you’ve experienced something like this, too? You can relate or imagine the horrible thoughts running through my mind I needed to take captive every moment of every day, even sometimes while I slept: “You’re sick. You caught it too late. You don’t take care of yourself. You didn’t get to the doctor in time. This runs in your family. You have cancer. Your family will be without a mother soon. And on and on…”

I was in constant battle mode with the enemy for over a week while I waited and wondered. The only way I was able to continue to function was by remaining in the word of the Lord. I asked for His peace…the peace that surpasses all understanding. I was getting a first hand experience of a different level of understanding just how to call upon God for His supernatural peace, because only He is the Savior.

The Promises Of God

As you can imagine, I spent extra time in prayer and asked a few close friends to pray with me. I claimed the promises of healing through Christ over myself. I’d look straight into my eyes in the mirror and spoke aloud, “I am healed by the stripes of Jesus. No weapon formed against me will prosper. I am created in the image of a perfect and loving God.” I prayed in the car, the shower, in the kitchen, over the laundry and drifting off to sleep. My husband prayed over me and with me. Friends were praying for me while I continued to seek the promised peace that passes all understanding.

Feeling the Peace that Passes All Understanding

I’d been speaking these words of life over myself and my unknown situation as weapons, constantly battling the voice of the accuser and liar in my mind. “How, God? How can I attain this supernatural peace I need and you promise when trials set in?” Out of curiosity, I turned deeper to the word to search out that promise-filled verse in Philippians, wondering “what comes before that word ‘and’ in this famous verse? What is it I’m to do when I need that supernatural peace of God? Of course, He answered. Loud and clear.

Stand Firm in the Lord

…”Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” That’s Philippians 4:6. It’s a command, and it’s also one of my favorite verses to quote; I’d just never realized it was the verse that came right before the peace that passes all understanding!

Such a simple but profound discovery of the character of our Savior. Just give it all to Him. Everything. Through prayer and petition, He promises us that profound and supernatural peace by simply praying, with a few more instructions. In verse 8, Paul tells us how to give it all to Him: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.…”

Did you know in the beginning of Philippians 4 that Paul is asking for help for the women, who “worked hard with me in telling others the Good News.” I felt the Lord had that part of scripture in the Word just for His women, like me, like us, who are on mission to honor Him with our lives!

Let’s read a bit further back,

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!…” verse 4

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” verse 5

Do you see how every action and thought we take while under trial (and in daily life) brings us closer to God and His peace? You know what happened after discovering these truths and putting them into action together?

His peace

Victory is Promised

The enemy retreated. He had no hope of clouding my mind while the word of God overpowered his attacks. I put these truths together and to work.  I began not only speaking words of life but put more effort into rejoicing in God’s goodness. The worship got louder and so did my singing in the shower. I made every attempt to “make (extra) apparent to those around me,” in the doctor’s offices, grocery stores, and at home “the gentleness of God.” (And asked for grace and forgiveness when I did not!) He promised He is near. During the waiting and trials process after the first week of attack, my mind and heart were at peace. It was well with my soul.

Praise God, all was well with the tests! The screening doctor said, “you’re perfect.” And I praised God. Hallelujah! Right there, I worshipped Him. And the doctor smiled.

One Secret to God’s Supernatural Peace

It’s so simple, but it’s three fold. Imagine that? Our triune and living God gives us a three-part instruction manual to the answer when seeking His peace.

  1. Rejoice in the Lord always.
  2. Let your gentleness be obvious to everyone.
  3. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

AND THEN… the peace that passes all understanding is yours. Victory over your mind is yours!

Just try and get something wet ignited with fire. It’s nearly impossible. Let’s be so doused, soaked and saturated in the living water of Jesus that any fire-filled attack of the enemy over our lives and minds has no spark to fuel a fire. I pray for each of us that the only spark we carry to the world and our families is the everlasting flame of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus.

Let’s be saturated, living and loving vessels of His supernatural peace. He is, indeed, our Savior.

If you ask God to give you His peace…

If you ask God to give you His peace…

He’s going to ask you if you’re sure, when you say, “Yes, Lord! I need to write a blog about it, show me peace!” He’s going to do just that, and it doesn’t look or feel anything like yoga. As a matter of fact, it’s more like falling through the ceiling, and thankfully God has His grip on you and you’re going to be okay.

his peace

Life is Messy, so is My Kitchen

The last few months have been filled with excitement and lots of busy activities – isn’t that always the case? I’ve had the privilege of representing my company at homeschool conferences around the country this year. I, the one that does not like road trips, have been a road-trip warrior for the past four months; and while at the end of each trip I’m ready for a long nap, I love serving those whom He calls me to serve.

For this month’s blog, it was time to write about peace. During my prayer time, I “knew” that God’s peace didn’t look like a Buddhist monk at rest; rather it is a deep sense of trusting and resting in Him, but how do you write about that, how does one describe it? As always, God answered and in the spirit of, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” I bring you, “If you ask God to give you His peace, you may just fall through your ceiling.”

If you ask God to show you His peace, you may find yourself traveling every weekend. While you’re traveling, you will be amid a kitchen remodel (more like demolition). During said kitchen demo, you are going to be thrown off your budget (even more than you had already anticipated) because you’ll find out that you need a new subfloor. While installing the sub-floor, your contractor falls through the ceiling (praise God no injuries!). As you are trying to wrap your head around how the contractor fell through the ceiling, you fall through the exact same spot. Lesson learned and you thank God that the only thing that suffered any damage was your ego. Thinking that you’ve learned your “peace lesson” and with a spring in your step, albeit bruised from the fall, you are ready to commence writing.

And God says, “Wait! There’s more!”

As you prepare for your last conference of the season, you need to fly into a different airport so that upon your return you are home in time to take your kids to camp; so you ask if the change of airport is an option, it is! Yay! Peace! When printing out your boarding pass you learn that the flight is booked solid and you end up in the middle seat. You pray. Thankfully you end up with nice neighbors and while you are squeezed in like a sardine, you are a comfortable sardine. You praise God for a safe flight and you meet up with your team mate. While waiting for your other team member, whose flight is significantly late, you make the best of it by getting coffee at Dunkin Donuts and sharing multiple laughs together over your respective journeys to this conference.

Peace for the win.

The next day, your team is ready to rumble and so are you, except the coffee tastes like dirty water, but you are a survivor and like a hound dog searching out its prey, it’s just a matter of time before you find real dark roast coffee and tragedy is evaded. Throughout the conference there were a couple of mishaps; but you are writing a blog this month about peace and you are on a roll, a peaceful roll to boot!

You enjoy sweet fellowship with friends you haven’t seen in a while, the fellowship is sweet, transparent and raw, just what real friendships are made of. There are tears, laughter and together we experience a peace that passes all understanding, knowing that we are all messy people and life is indeed messy, but our God has not left His throne and we are going to be okay.

Go peace!

Now, you know it was just a matter of time before God threw an unsettling moment in my post about peace. He wanted to make sure I kept things real. Leave it to air travel. As I was boarding the plane for the return flight home, as I approached my (middle) seat I could tell from the look the woman gave me that this may just be an extra-long flight. The gentleman who was behind me would be in the window seat, so I let him pass and with a smile from ear-to-ear I say, “yay! We’re all here!” She was not amused, he smiled. The sordid details merit a blog post of their own but suffice it to say, I did not become a YouTube sensation despite her ill will and ugliness aimed at my person. At one point of the flight I closed my eyes and cried begging God for mercy towards me and peace that passes all understanding since I could not understand how a human being could be so rude. What God did show me was that she had no peace and He was merciful because our flight landed 20 minutes early!

Yay, peace!

Then, it was off to connect with my family. It was a sweet and short reunion as we dropped off the girls at their respective camps for the week. While I’d like to say that all is peaceful on the home front and bring this post to a close with flowers and bows neatly put together, I’d be lying. Life is messy and so is my kitchen. As a matter of fact, it is really messy. Even though I placed tarps all over the furniture and tried to contain the dust to one place, the dust has made its way on all three levels of my house. I’m not going to lie, I may have shed a tear or two, at the thought that it will be another two weeks before the kitchen is complete.

Peaceful tears.

As I reflect on the last three weeks, the Lord has given me peace and joy, did I mention the two are inseparable? In His perfect timing, He provides everything I need. I realize that you can’t have peace without God and (His) peace involves trusting Him with the results, regardless of what situation you find yourself in and when you trust Him with the results, you’re living in hope, and where hope abounds there is always joy! Even when you’re falling through ceilings, sitting next to an angry human who needs Jesus, or coming home for the third week in a row to an incomplete kitchen.

peace

But wait, what is peace?

Peace entails joy, hope, and trust. Paul talks about this in Romans 15:13, when he says,

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

I’ve had peace throughout all of this because I was intentional about it. I was doing Isaiah 26:3,

“You keep him [her] in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because (s)he trusts in you.”

I was trusting God to give me peace, mind you it all began with a prayer asking Him to show me peace. As chaos unraveled around me, because my mind was fixed on God showing me peace, I remained at peace.

Trust (believe) that God will give you joy and peace in all circumstances. Be intentional about seeking His peace. No matter how messy life gets, when we allow God to fill us with His peace, we can fall through ceilings, take on angry humans and live in the messes that we don’t understand knowing that the peace that passes all understanding gives us hope.

Keep Us in Perfect Peace

During my morning quiet time recently, I read this in my devotional:

“The way to walk thru demanding days is to grip my hand tightly and stay in close communication with me. Let your thoughts and spoken words be richly flavored with trust and thankfulness. Regardless of the day’s problems, and I will keep you in perfect peace as you stay close to me.” Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, June 4th.

That really hit me. God can keep us in perfect peace as we stay close to Him.

perfect peace

How do we stay close to our Heavenly Father?

This key to staying close to Him is found through a relationship with our God.

Thinking about our relationship with God reminds me of my girls and their relationship with my husband. I’ve overheard my girls say, “Daddy wouldn’t like that,” or, “Let’s get this cleaned up before daddy gets home,” or “Daddy is going to be excited.”

Knowing how their daddy thinks sure helps to make the house more peaceful. When they know what he thinks about something, and then go and do it. Wow! How peaceful it is!

We had a situation like this just last night. The girls had played with their cousins for hours and hours. Then it was supper time and the house was still a disaster. After supper daddy said everyone could either help clean up or sit on a chair and watch the others clean up. They knew he meant business. They heard him. They knew what he expected. They went and did it. Then they peacefully enjoyed a treat together, once the house was in order.

Peace.

How about with our Heavenly Father? Do we search His mind? Do we know what He is saying to us? Do we hear the words He’s speaking to us? Do we listen? Do we know what He expects of us?

Going a step further, as a dad provides for his young children, do we have that same faith that our father will provide for us? Our girls have seen my hubby go to work to provide for us over and over and over. They don’t ever let on that they worry about having enough or ever worry that he will stop providIng. We shouldn’t either. We should remember the past times our Father has provided for us and trust that He won’t stop.

Yet how does this look in real life? How do we know the mind of God? How do we know that He will continue to provide for us? How do we learn more about what our Father thinks? And what He expects of us?

The key is relationship. We must have a relationship with him.

I could fill a book with how important relationship is. (Actually, I have filled a book…you can grab a free copy on my website!) Yet, I could go on and on about this relationship topic. Because, I was doing this whole relationship thing wrong. Friends, I had a religion. Not a relationship. I had it all wrong. It wasn’t until hard, hard things came into my life. I finally ran to God in desperation. Then I found what having a relationship meant.

I hope you don’t to have to experience hard things before finding a relationship with Jesus. I pray you can find that connection with Him. I hope that you can hear and see Him. I hope that you can know Him and have a relationship with your Heavenly Father. We only get to this place of relationship with hard work.

perfect peace

My young girls recently said, “God never talks to me”. Their comment made me realize this is something we learn. This is a skill we need to practice. Then, in turn, it is something we need to teach our children.

Have you seen a blade of grass? Or seen a sunset? Like, really, looked at it? Then, you have seen God.

Have you read the Bible… like, really, read the Bible? Then, you have heard the voice of God.

We need to stop and see God. We need to stop and listen to God. We need to focus on nurturing our relationship with God. Then we can have that perfect peace our hearts long for.

He Himself Is Our Peace

As we continue our focus on peace this month, I felt led to share an often-neglected spiritual discipline with you as a way to experience God’s peace in your life. Right now.

What follows is a guided meditation on the Word of God based on the Christian spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer. In his classic book on spiritual disciplines (A Celebration of Discipline), Richard Foster observes:

“In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in ‘muchness’ and ‘manyness,’ he will rest satisfied.”

our peaceOne way we can “disengage” from the pressures of the world is with contemplative prayer or Christian meditation. Foster states that words used in Scripture “to convey the idea of meditation” occur more than fifty times—and that’s just in the Old Testament!

“These words have various meanings: listening to God’s word, reflecting on God’s works, rehearsing God’s deeds, ruminating on God’s law, and more. In each case there is stress upon changed behavior as a result of our encounter with the living God. Repentance and obedience are essential features in any biblical understanding of meditation.”

As followers of Christ, we don’t practice meditation for the sake of clearing our minds or relaxation (although relaxation may be a happy outcome just the same). Instead, we meditate on Scripture and the Lord’s promises in order to bring about repentance in our lives: restoration replaces resistance and rebellion; obedience overrides resentment.

“…Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Today’s devotional will walk you through a Scripture-based meditation that centers on Jesus Christ as our source of peace. As you participate in this contemplative prayer, you will focus your thoughts on your relationship with the Lord by coordinating your breathing (inhale/hold/exhale) with a very simple physical action (palms up/palms down). As you exhale, you will confess your sins.

Physical Location

Scriptural meditation and prayer are gifts God gave us to center our attention on Him and experience His peace in the midst of life’s turmoils, no matter where we are physically. In other words, you can meditate anywhere, but a quiet place would be best. You can do this while laying in bed, sitting at the kitchen table, or even holding a baby. You can do this in the waiting room at a hospital, in the break room at work, or in a recliner by the pool. This is a simple, portable spiritual discipline! For example, King David meditated in the middle of the night while he was laying awake in bed:

“When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.”
Psalm 63:6-7 (NKJV)

Intentional Breathing

Breathing. It’s not something we tend to think about, is it? Since we’ve been inhaling and exhaling our whole lives, the thought of intentional breathing might seem silly. But it’s not. Intentional breathing is a way for us to control our bodies and quiet our minds for the purpose of focusing on the Lord and the truths in His Word.

The 12-Second Cycle

The 12-second cycle is pretty simple, and you won’t need to keep counting after you go through it a couple of times. If four seconds is too long, adjust the timing so that you can focus on the Lord and not your breathing.

  • Take a deep breath (inhale 4 seconds)
  • Hold it for 4 seconds
  • Exhale for 4 seconds
  • Repeat

Practice the 12-second cycle until you don’t need to count it out (2-3 times is sufficient).

Physical Position

Whether you’re lying down, sitting, or standing, you can intentionally position the palms of your hands facing up (palms up) to symbolize your willingness to receive the Lord’s gift of peace (or anything from Him, for that matter).

Meditation Palms up or Palms down

When you purposefully turn your palms face down (palms down), you are symbolizing your desire to let go of anything standing in the way of your relationship with Him. With a simple turning of the hands, you can physically position yourself to receive from the Lord and let go of distractions and obstacles.

Fellowship thru Contemplative Prayer

Since our theme this month is “peace,” what follows is a meditation on peace—a fruit of the Spirit. We will begin with a “breath prayer”—one word or a short phrase that can be said within one breath. The breath prayer is one way we can stay in touch with the Lord throughout the day. In other words, don’t make the mistake of thinking that prayer is limited to your “quiet time” or time of meditation. You can utter a breath prayer at any time throughout the day to remind yourself not only what you’re giving up, but also what God is doing in your life.

I have written a few “breath prayers” (see below) to help you get started, but you don’t have to use my words! As Richard Foster says,

“Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word…it involves no hidden mysteries, no secret mantras, no mental gymnastics, no esoteric flights into the cosmic consciousness. The truth of the matter is that the great God of the universe, the Creator of all things desires our fellowship.”

That just rocks my world! God wants fellowship with ME. God wants fellowship with YOU! And, listen, this is far from an exhaustive training on contemplative prayer (a.k.a. Christian meditation). If this is something you find fruitful, then by all means, do additional research. I’ve recommended a few resources for spiritual discipline on my website which you can access here.

seek his peace

Meditation on Peace

So, for now, won’t you take a few minutes to slow down, pay attention, and listen to the Lord? Make space for Him to speak to your heart and allow Him to take on the burdens that are wearing you down.

We will begin with slowing down your breathing, then pray a few sentence prayers, and end with contemplative prayer. The breath prayer is something you can take with you throughout your day to remind you of this time with the Lord and call upon Him in times of need.

If you follow my outline, you will affirm the truth found in Ephesians 2:14a: “For He Himself is our peace.”

It’s time to start the spiritual meditation that follows. Allow God to fill you with His peace as you let go of anything that might be hindering your relationship. It’s highly likely that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you obstacles in your life which are not listed here. Feel free to go “off-script” as you spend quality time with the Lord today. Remember: He. Is. Our. Peace.

BREATHING
Practice breathing the 12-Second Cycle. Move to the next section when you’re ready.

Receive (inhale): Take a deep breath ~ 4 seconds
Affirm (hold): Hold your breath ~ 4 seconds
Release (exhale): Blow out the breath ~ 4 seconds

SENTENCE PRAYERS 
This section will provide you an opportunity to receive His peace and release various distractions. Move to the next section when you’re ready.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release the turmoil around me to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my stress to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my exhaustion to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my frustrations to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my habit of comparison to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my insecurities to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release any feelings of insignificance to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release all resentment to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my need to control to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my expectations to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my self-centeredness to you.

Receive (inhale): Peace.
Affirm (hold): You, Lord, are my peace.
Release (exhale): I release my _______________________ to you.

CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
This is your time to fellowship with the Lord. Take your time. Don’t rush this part. Slow down. Listen. Pay attention. 

Pray using your own words…or don’t use any words at all. Use your hands as an outward symbol of the posture of your heart: “palms down” as you confess your sins and release your worries to the Lord; “palms up” as you quietly listen for His voice and receive His peace. You won’t necessarily hear an audible voice, but when the Lord speaks, you will recognize Him. If you’re unsure, continue to listen and pray to the Holy Spirit for discernment. What you hear will never contradict Scripture.

BREATH PRAYER
This is a one-word prayer you take with you throughout your day. Pray it anytime, anywhere. 

The breath prayer for this meditation is “Peace.”

 

True Peace Is Likely More Than You Think It Is

Peace.

What a wonderful word to us moms.

With vocal toddlers, noisy washing machines, electronic toys, and outdoor-voices in the house, we seem to never have peace.
But, believe it or not, true peace is NOT complete quiet and a lack of disorder. I’m not saying those things aren’t wonderful, but there is a different type of peace we should be seeking and spreading.

true peace

Take a look at Matthew 5. In this chapter, Jesus is amongst a crowd of people and went up to a mountain in order to share with them. In this sermon, Jesus speaks blessings to those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, who hunger, as well as those who are meek, merciful, pure in heart, and are persecuted. These are all things we struggle with in our fallen world…things we face as a result of sin entering the world.

And among those verses, he places this jewel: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Peacemakers.

How does that fit in to all the others? Well, we get a clue from the paragraphs following this section. Jesus goes on to say that we are the salt of the earth and a light to the world. Why are we compared to salt and light right after the long list of the challenges we can face in our lives? It is so others “may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven”(Mt. 5:16). You see, it has to do with our testimony…how we share with others the Good News of Christ’s salvation.

What exactly is a peacemaker, then? It is much more than someone who breaks up two toddlers fighting over a toy. It is even more than keeping two people or two countries from fighting with each other, too.

Peacemakers are those who spread the gospel to others, pointing them to the One who brings the ultimate peace. Peacemakers help those who are lost, suffering, or struggling in this fallen world to make peace with their Creator!

Let me tell you. Once we have that awesome peace with God and have been reconciled to Him, we can face any struggle in this world with His strength! We can mourn, we can hunger, we can even be persecuted with a peace that passes understanding, not because we are necessarily happy, but because we have His joy and know that He is our comforter, our redeemer, and our salvation! Nothing can take that from us!

blessed peace

So, yes, as moms we need to “keep the peace” in our households and help our children to get along with each other. But what a privilege it is to introduce them to the One who brings the ultimate peace. The One with whom we need to be reconciled.
How do we do that? By being salt and light to our children in the best way we can. Reading God’s word to them. Teaching His principles as we go about our days and as we teach them during school-time. Praying for their hearts. This is one of the greatest things we can do for our children.

We can be a peacemaker between them and our Lord and Savior! What a privilege it is to lead them to peace with their Creator!