Candy blogs: One night this week we went to campmeeting. We enjoyed beautiful worship and heard a message from Dr. Jim Diehl, a loved and respected figure in our denomination. His message was about peace; I loved his perspective. He based his talk on the words Jesus spoke on several occasions after His ressurection … peace to you … and then shared stories from his own life when the peace of God was especially poignant and how it led to his seeking God’s peace above all other things offered to us.
Since then I’ve been thinking about peace and when I’ve been the most aware of it in my life. In Dr. Diehl’s story he took us to the time of his salvation, the time of his sanctification and the time of his greatest sorrow. When I was in high school my dad “made” us memorize Scripture.
One of the first verses I memorized was Isaiah 26:3:
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
I memorized it in the King James version and I like it best. This is the verse that comes to mind whenever my peace is threatened. As a 16 year old, I grabbed hold of this verse. I had found peace and this verse told me how to keep it.
In Beth Moore’s teaching on peace, she says that peace rules. It is a conscious bowing of my will to God’s will and purposes for my life and to let God rule no matter the circumstances. I can bow to His rule if I trust God completely, knowing He always works for my benefit. So this verse is saying I will be at peace if I am actively seeking God’s will for me and, when it is revealed, to trust in it apart from life’s circumstances.
Peace … at Salvation
(you’ll get a kick out of this if you click on this link) Candy childhood testimony
I got “saved” many times as a child. LOL! But when my preacher grandpa once asked me at age 8 if I would go to the alter so the other children wouldn’t be afraid to go, I told him I didn’t need to. I was already saved. I had peace that my sins had been washed away and I was going to heaven. The peace and assurance of my salvation has never left me. I don’t doubt or question it.
Peace … at Sanctification
Don’t let that word sanctification scare or offend you. It’s just an old fashioned word that, in very simple terms, means I made a decision to live my life full on for Jesus Christ. I was saved but I allowed my carnal nature to control my speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. I Timothy 4:12
When I was 16 I remember lying in bed one summer night at my grandparents’ home. I was thinking about my relationship with Jesus and why it always seemed to be so “hard”. Suddenly all the sins I could remember came flooding into my mind. It was ugly to me. I wanted to live my life with spiritual power and confidence and be guided by the Holy Spirit. I decided that night that I would stop fighting God and His ways. And when I did that, a new and deeper peace settled over me.
My pastor’s wife later helped me realize that this was my sanctification experience. People call it different things. I don’t really care what you call it. I didn’t get “more” of God; I got all of Him when I was saved. But I did give him control of my life. Before this experience I took one step forward spiritually and two steps back. Since then I continue in forward motion spiritually. I don’t live perfectly. I have known discouragement and suffering. I have made poor choices. I’ve been immature. But my peace remains. My motives and intentions are pure.
Peace … in life’s deepest Sorrows
Some of my deepest sorrows have been the loss of dear loved ones, some have been the grieving of lost friendships, some have been watching those I love suffer. Some of my deepest sorrows involve other people and it isn’t my place to share their stories. But I have known deep personal suffering in our marriage and in our family. In these times when I have no say, no control, no answers, my heart and mind still know that my God will keep me in perfect peace if my mind is stayed on Him, because I trust in Him. He is only good. He is trustworthy. He is always at work for my benefit. And I can trust Him completely with those I love. God has a separate plan for them. My peace remains, apart from circumstances.
There is nothing this life can throw at you that can drive away the peace that passes understanding. If you will bow to God’s rule. Peace rules.
“Peace doesn’t come with the answer. It comes with the authority.” Beth Moore
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Colossians 3:15
Thank you, Dr. Diehl, for making me think again about the beautiful gift of God’s peace.
Peace to you. ~Jesus Christ
Peace … it’s what everyone wants. Life is pretty chaotic without it. The typical American pace is constant motion. We can’t sleep at night because we can’t seem to get our minds to stop racing with tomorrow’s to do list or re-living our past mistakes or worrying about the future or wondering if we’re beautiful enough or if the world as we know it is coming to an end.
The Bible says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Proverbs 14:30
But we can’t just wish peace into existence. If we could, we’d all have it and we wouldn’t need God. Nope, peace is a person. Jesus Himself is our Peace. We can’t have the peace of God until we have peace with God.
“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8
When we experience the peace of God, it guards our hearts and minds. We can’t really understand this kind of peace, at least I can’t. When we have it, and if we will allow it, our circumstances may be chaotic but our hearts and minds bow down to the rule of God’s peace. It can only come from God. Beth Moore says that when Jesus walked on water during the storm and invited Peter to do the same, He didn’t change his circumstances to make them bearable. He mastered them at the peak of their impossibility. Jesus created circumstances in which He could reveal His majesty.
Did you ever think about peace that way? It’s like other virtues we seek after. We can’t develop or experience them until we bump up against some person or circumstance to put it into action. Once again, peace has nothing to do with what’s going on outside of us. Peace is the absence of internal chaos and disorder. Once we know Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we have some responsibility to control what we think about, what we dwell on, what we allow to overtake us, and what we let rob us of the peace that is ours.
Beth also says that we are to remain under God’s umbrella. He holds it. Whatever is “hanging out” is in chaos. Isn’t that fabulous?! That paints a picture, doesn’t it? We choose to stay under that umbrella as God moves along. We choose to stay close to the Lord and bow to the rule of peace instead of keeping our eyes on what’s hitting that umbrella!
JOY! MY FAVORITE!
Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.
God’s word, the Bible, is where God’s statutes are contained. Being familiar with it is the most important way we can know who God is … the source of our joy. Biblical joy is rooted in eternity. Biblical joy isn’t based on what is happening around us or to us. We experience happiness when things go well. Joy comes over time. It comes after learning that God can be trusted through unchartered waters and firey trials. When you’re standing on the mountain top after a long climb, you can look down and see how God guided and protected and provided down in the valley and on the upward climb. When you can see that God can be trusted because you are stronger and more spiritually confident after the difficult journey, you’ll begin to experience joy not just on the other side of the lesson, but during the lesson. In this way, joy can always abide in us.
Joy comes as we see the results of living without being driven by fear. You can’t experience joy and fear at the same time.
Fear-driven people …
* are self-focused (I am afraid; I am unhappy; I need to be in control)
* allow pain to steal their joy
* reach out for happiness that is temporary
* fight God’s plan and purposes (I don’t want to; I won’t; it doesn’t feel good)
Joyful people …
* are outward and God focused
* allow joy to soothe their pain
* have abiding peace
* understand that God always has our good in mind in His dealings with us
Joy is more than being positive, more than a lift of the heart, more than a bubbly personality. As Christians, our joy can only be realized when we allow Christ to reign in us, alone and uninterruptedly. Joy draws people in. It brightens. It encourages. It softens. It presents a stark contrast to fear. As Beth Moore says, it cometh.
“There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind when they go.” ~ Frederick Faber
That’s why I always say …
Candy blogs: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
I have so been enjoying this Christmas season. Have you? I really believe it’s because, as a friend said recently, I have purposefully built margin into my December. There is so much to do in December … all good. But if the activity doesn’t leave you time for pondering the season, have you really experienced it? Or have you just done a lot of good things?
To ponder means to consider something deeply and thoroughly; to meditate. This is tough in our culture, isn’t it? My first pondering of the season is the morning after I decorate the Christmas tree. I get up early, turn it on in the dark house and just sit and ponder … me and the tree and the Lord. And the Christmas spirit miraculously descends upon me! In the quietness and the magical light of the Christmas tree, my mind is freed to let the thoughts come forward and into the Light.
It’s important to have a place to ponder. Is it by the fire, at the dining room table with a cup of coffee, in your bedroom before you turn off the lamp at night, in your car with no radio or CD playing, folding laundry, on the treadmill? Wherever it is, I encourage you to spend some time there, especially in December. Dennis Rainey says, ‘We’re always puttering and planning and doing and moving from one place to the next but never stopping . . . and listening . . . and recharging . . . and pondering.”
December is the time we reflect on and celebrate the birth of our dear Savior. Simply performing familiar rituals and traditions and singing Christmas carols and giving to the needy won’t take us all the way there. Our spirit must make a connection with His spirit. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:16 When we take the time to allow that to happen, God floods in and we can bask in a fresh awareness of what He did for us when He came to Bethlehem. Our perspective changes. We remember what is truly important and of eternal value.
Enjoy the fun, familiar things of an American Christmas season! But build in some margin and spend some of that margin pondering the glorious coming of Jesus Christ to earth so we can be called children of God.
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Stop right now and take a moment to become aware of your physical body.
Are you uncomfortable? Are you hungry? How do your feet feel in your shoes? Bra strap? Do you smell nice? Is your skin scratchy? Do you feel fatigued? Got a torn nail that is driving you crazy? Are your shoulders tense? Any pain? How does your outfit make you feel today? Maybe you just finished exercising and you’re exhausted but exhilarated! Or cooked or baked up a storm as a love gift to your family and you’re tired but delighted. And maybe there are a few out there who smell nice, feel soft, are perfectly manicured and feeling fine!
Do you find it difficult to focus on your physical body?
What are you going to do about it? Have you ever stopped to think that something should be done about it? Will you carry on being uncomfortable and troubled? Will you go to bed that way? Our mental and emotional and physical health is all intertwined. A stressed mind can contribute to an uncomfortable body. And ill-fitting shoes or bras can contribute to a restless mind. These things can overflow to our husbands and children and co-workers and friends and are reflected back to us.
What can take you from uncomfortable or restless to cozy and peaceful? For me it is having on as few clothes as possible, spa or chamber music and any association with water … the sound of it, the weightlessness of it, the warmth or coolness of it, the quietness of it. What is it for you?
Here are some lovely things:
Hot or cool bath or shower
Manicure or pedicure
Get a new bra, for heaven’s sake
An old black and white movie
Nap with a pillow and blanket
Cuddle with ________________ (husband, child, pet … you choose)
Enjoy some intensely-flavored foods
Just a couple of bites of any of these fruits, savored and truly tasted, can change your whole outlook on life today! They have zest and energy and joy in them! Truly! Make it an eating “event” instead of just a snack. Bite, taste, chew, taste, savor, chew, swallow. Any happy memories coming up? Are your jaws tingling?
* citrus fruits
* berries of any kind
* Granny Smith apple
Sometimes we have to learn to care for ourselves. Women are always caring for everyone else. Make your own list of cozy peaceful so you know what to do when you need it. Don’t let discomfort be the norm. Let it lead you back to self care.
“Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I Peter 5:7
Do you have other caring verses you’d like to share?