Monthly Archives: April 2012
Serenity doesn’t come from a life without trials. Look at the life of Jesus. He faced betrayal, hatred, beatings, family and friends disowning Him, poverty, and yet He was filled with an inner peace and calm. This calm came from KNOWing the Father intimately. There are many things in life that rob us of serenity – resentment, jealousy, bitterness, worry, pride, and busyness. I have learned over the years how much more I am filled with God’s peace when I am in His word daily. Being busy working in a garden center during spring, I’m finding I can always find more work to do, but I’m also having to intentionally remind myself to stop – slow down – and spend time in God’s word. If I don’t spend time with God daily, I’m finding that my times of walking and talking with Him aren’t as peace-filled, my life doesn’t have an inner calm about it. I realize I am missing what I really desire. Fortunately the boss wasn’t pushing me to keep doing, I was. Once again I need to reprioritize my time and refocus where God wants me to be.
I found I have been reacting to the events around me and as the spring-planting frenzy grows, I was thriving on the busyness of doing, but was suffering from the serenity that comes from resting in God. Whether that is quiet time talking, praying or reflecting on His word and acts in my life, reading His word or singing His praises, I know I desire that serenity even more during the busyness of life.
An old hymn, written by Horatius Bonar, reflects where God wants us to focus:
I heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Come unto Me and rest; lay down, thou weary one, lay down, thy head upon My breast.’ I came to Jesus as I was, weary, and worn, and sad; I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad.
I pray that the blessing of “God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Faye
I recently spent a few hours touring a Holocaust Museum. Holocaust is from a Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.” I’m awed, humbled, and grieved at the atrocities that occurred. We heard a female survivor speak. She was only 5 years old when she was taken to Dachau and later moved to Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen. She was 7 years old when Liberation Day came. When the troops came across her emaciated body, they thought she was a baby because of her size. She shared how she survived those difficult days by allowing her mind to be creative and imaginative. She remembers not having energy to move for anything and lying among the dead and dying. She was interned with Anne Frank who died a month before Liberation Day. Her main reason for sharing her story is so that people don’t forget the injustices. So people remember to treat each other with respect and dignity. She realizes that when we forget what has happened in the past, we will be prone to repeat the atrocities again.
I left with many questions – “Why does God allow such wrongs?” “Why don’t I stand up for the person ridiculed?” “Why can’t we stop bullying?” But I was blessed by the strength of the speaker when she told of how her father, who also survived, became a devout Atheist, while she gained her strength to go through life from her belief in God. She reminds me a lot of Corrie ten Boom, who shares the story of meeting one of her concentration camp guards years later and all the anger and hatred came back, but then God reminded her to love and forgive.
In Romans 12, God says,
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead, ‘If your enemies are hungry, feed them.If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Seeing history like this is painful and part of me didn’t want to go, but I’m really glad I did. It is a good reminder to Love One Another with God’s Abundant Love and Grace. It’s a painful period of history, but one that teaches us a lot about how to treat others. If you want to learn more, check out these links: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Holocaust Museum St. Louis, or Corrie ten Boom’s story.
I am greatly blessed by God’s amazing gift – the gift of forgiveness and grace. Enjoying His love ~ Faye
I have talked with several people this week who are concerned over loved one’s behavior and choices, or facing serious health issues, or decisions about their future employment or move. I’ve spoke with a parent who is beating themselves up about their child’s lifestyle and how they could have changed things somehow, maybe … I’ve been in conversations about the mistakes – no, let’s call it what it really is – sin – we as Christians make daily and how that is observed from an unbeliever. Over the span of a few days I’ve found myself wanting to fix problems that were out of my control. I’ve found myself wanting to be bolder in my faith to have answered when someone challenged about someone calling themselves a Christian and yet spent time gossiping. And I’ve struggled with God trying to find the wisdom to know what I should do in certain situations.
We all want do-overs in life. There’s a part of us that wants to live a perfect life, but sin is ever-present in this earthly world. I’ve enjoyed reading The Quest for Serenity by G.H. Morling and Ruth Graham Bell several times over the past decade. Morling wrote the chapter, Leaving It All Quietly to God, based on portions of Psalm 62. Bell included a poem that reminded me not to live life with regrets but to give them over to God so that I may live a life filled with serenity that comes from God alone.
Leave quietly to God ~ My mistakes. The sins and shortcomings of others. The mistakes of others. That which is none of my business. Politics and world affairs. That which I cannot get done. And that which I cannot get undone. The un-understandable. That for which I am not remotely responsible.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands. Psalm 138:8
Praying you will be blessed with God’s serenity ~ Faye
Recently, I “happened” to run into a dear friend, who lights up the room when she walks into it. The circumstances were such that it could only have been choreographed by God. Our time together was spent encouraging each other and telling how God has been working in our lives since we last saw each other.
She sent me an email the next day telling how she had left work late again, after another challenging day at work but felt drawn to stop by and found myself and someone else talking. She shared “It seriously made my day to see you, talk and laugh with you both!! It changed my whole mood and really brightened the day for me. Faith, Family & Friends – makes the ordeal of life worth living!”
When God providentially arranges our lives and we obey His leadings, it’s incredible to see how He works. It gave us renewed focus on how God intervenes in our lives – especially when we let Him.
How often do we experience delays, changes of plans, and redirections and treat them as intrusions? It could be that God is detouring us so we can do something different or new for Him. Consider Paul’s trip to Philippi in Acts 16. He had gone to Macedonia because of a God-directed vision (vv.9-10). How could he know that he would end up in prison there? But even that trip to jail was God-led, because He used Paul to bring salvation to a jailer and his family (vv.25-34).
God can use inconveniences in our lives if we look at them as divine appointments.
I’ve been working hard at having this be the first thought when I get out of bed in the morning, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12 NIV) I vaguely remember growing up and learning – teach us to order our days aright … So my prayer is help me to put my day in order of Your priorities. Help me to honor You in the way I go through the day. Posture me to see where You want me to be, say what You want me to say, and do what You want me to do. I like the New Living Translation – “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.”
So grateful for the blessing of God’s Divine Appointments. Praying you see His incredible hand at work as well ~ Faye
When flowers develop on the plant, they often grow in a tight bud. They’re the most vulnerable at this point. God’s given them a source of protection/armor as the delicate petals develop. When a baby grows within its mother, the mother is the protection and nutrition for the baby. I am grateful for the reminder from Ephesians 6:10-16 which encourages us to get dressed each day, ready to face whatever faces us. How? By putting on the FULL armor of God. Satan is out trying to destroy God’s kingdom, one person at a time. He is relentless in his pursuit, but God gives us full body coverage.
Paul begins Eph 6:10 with such encouragement – Be strong in the LORD and in His mighty power. I immediately think of the song “Be strong in the LORD and NEVER GIVE UP HOPE. … God’s got His hand on you so don’t live life in fear … take your time to pray and thank God for each day. (The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets)
I know I can’t get through the day without His protection. I can’t just put on the belt of truth and expect to be fully protected against the evil in this world. In order to be protected, well armed and ready to fight, I need to PUT ON THE WHOLE, COMPLETE ARMOR OF GOD.
I’m just finishing book 3 of The Hunger Games. It’s an easy and fun read. When they get ready to head into the games, they aren’t fully protected or armed. Their “controller” wants to see them die. Satan wants us to die. He wants to conquer us and destroy God’s Kingdom. We live for our LORD who wants us to live FULLY for Him and so He prepares us for the battles ahead. Katniss (The Hunger Game’s main character) is excellent with bow and arrow. She can make them appear in places no one expects. They are aimed, focused, and deadly. She even finds the chink in the armor that takes down an empire. Can Satan do that? Oh yes he can – when God allows it. What? God allows it! Oh yes, He allows it so that we will run to Him, depend on Him, trust Him for each day. He wants us to get prepared for battle daily by putting on the full and complete armor of God that WILL protect us from the devil.
Most things that know the arrows are coming take flight, trying to outrun the arrow’s deadly point. God tells us that when we put on the full armor we will be able to resist our enemy. We will be bold and confident to stand our ground because we are covered with the armor of God. When those beautifully delicate fern peonies open their blossoms …
So grateful for the blessing of God’s full armor. Once again – getting dressed for the day! Faye