Category - peace

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Graduation?
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The Whisper
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The Fight is On!

Graduation?

It’s the season of graduation ceremonies up here on Rocky Top.  People are becoming doctors, dentists, lawyers, teachers, high school graduates and even preschool graduates.

Last week I watched the cutest five year old walk down a long aisle wearing a red cap and gown.   The tassel hung to one side of his adorable face and his smile of accomplishment shone for everyone to see.  As this boy’s Nonna, I beamed with pride and waved as he passed me by.

The head of the preschool boasted about the graduates’ many accomplishments: they knew numbers, the alphabet and various others bits of knowledge.    The teachers had observed their ability to use this knowledge and now they were ready to be presented as graduates!

A few days after this momentous occasion, I began to question if I had graduated.  Yes, I hold a high school diploma and even a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University.   My teachers and professors observed my proficiency in many different subject matters for me to obtain those diplomas.

But am I graduate of God’s word?   A teacher knows his pupil knows the material when the pupil doesn’t just regurgitate knowledge but when he sees the pupil utilize the information in real life.

I can memorize thousands of verses, attend every Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, BSF, Precept Bible study, and go to Sunday School or small group every week yet if I do not use the knowledge of God’s word, it’s just information.

Information doesn’t bring transformation,” I heard a preacher say (Jay Smith).   I must realize that God’s word is meant to be experienced and allowed to be poured out of my life by the power of the Holy Spirit.

If I have memorized the fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) but they are not evident in my life, it is time to question my walk with Christ.

A tree will be known by its fruit.

Am I kind even when others are not?

Is love evident in my life even towards those who are unlovable?

“Words and ideology on a page are cheap.  Grace and incarnating the love of Christ isn’t.” (Voskamp).

When my husband is thousands of miles away sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard, does peace reign in my life when the basement pipes leak again?

Am I patient when I have been put on hold for thirty minutes?

Lord, I don’t just want to be filled with head knowledge.  I want to be filled with YOU!

A true leader/a graduate displays knowledge in action……..kindness, peace, love, joy, and thankfulness.  A graduate of the Word of God displays Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit!

It is better to memorize one verse and live it out than to continue to fill my head with knowledge but show no fruit in my life.

Lord, may I always have a teachable spirit and always be a graduate of your Word!

 

The Whisper

Today let’s welcome Amy Daniel to the back porch up on Rocky Top.  Amy is the wife of Joseph and mom of two littles.   She also loves on lots of littles as she serves as a neonatal intensive care nurse part-time.  Amy’s other role is my middle daughter.  Thank you, Amy, for reminding us that God does “whisper” to us through His word if we will just take time to listen.

It’s 3 a.m.   I jump up frantically and run down the hall towards the screams of my baby. She’s hysterically crying. She won’t calm down. She won’t look at me. I hold her tight and say her name loudly over her screams. She finds my eyes and her little fingers grab my hand and she slowly  settles.
In the quiet I hear the whisper.  “AMY.  Look at me. Hold onto me. Settle.”
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭105:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s way past the bedtime of my little girl.  She didn’t get her way.   A temper tantrum is on full display.   I get down on the floor with her and take her face in my hands. I say her name loud above her wailing and she finds my eyes. I say in a calm voice, “Breathe slow with me. Keep looking at me. Breathe.”  And slowly she settles down.
Once again I hear the whisper.   “AMY. Breathe. Keep looking at me. Settle.”
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I’ve been distracted lately with the craziness of life.  There are daily stressors and the unexpected twists and turns of life.  Yet, God is good. He speaks to me in the midst of my stress. He calls to me the same way I do to my children.   When He speaks my name and I choose to find His face, He settles my soul.
He whispers“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭NIV

Allow the Lord to whisper to you today in the stress of life.  He will settle your soul as He calls you by name.‬‬

The Fight is On!

I really, really do not like to fight. I’m not a fighter by nature. I would rather sit in a circle laughing and talking with others. I truly like peace with people, with my family, and with my church.

But here is the hard, cold truth. Peace came at a price. That price was His precious blood spilt for me and you. His blood poured out of His sinless, perfect life. Peace came because a war was fought.

Jesus won! But it cost a great, great price.

So as I look at His word I read “Fight the good fight of the faith.” (I Timothy 6:12).   I read “I fought the good fight.” (II Timothy 4:7)

Yes, Christ has been victorious on the cross but until He returns, there is a fight! I can either choose to be a part of it or I can sit on the sidelines of life.  And though I love peace, I do not like to sit on the sidelines.

The problem is when I do fight, I want to fight people. To be brutally honest, when I get really mad I want to take some boxing gloves and just hit someone really hard. I actually do that sometimes when I work out!

I hit hard. I mean so hard that the person I am working out with will say, “Donna, do you have anger issues?”

People aren’t the problem. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

We have a real enemy, an adversary. There is one who does not want peace! He does not want peace in my life, my husband’s life, my children’s lives, and he especially does not want peace in the life of my church.

The enemy knows that the world apart from Christ is without peace.   Peace is sought after by people.

People spend thousands of dollars every year to obtain peace. Some take long vacations, some buy boats and fancy cars,  some use alcohol, drugs, sex, and the list could go on and on. Some just attempt to obtain peace through power over others.

If the world sees no peace in my life, the life of my family or in my church, then they want nothing to do with us. They can always attempt to find peace another way.

So if I am going to have to fight, I need to know the rules of this battle.

  1. Embrace my identity as an OVERCOMER.   When the enemy whispers “You are a failure. You can’t do this. Just give up. Quit serving Him.” I need to remind my adversary that I am an overcomer because Jesus has already won the ultimate battle. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world.” I John 5:4
  2. Fight with my armor on. When I stand to fight, I need to do it with all the equipment that Christ has already purchased for me. I need to use defensive weapons: His belt of truth to combat lies; His breastplate of righteousness to combat my inadequacies; His gospel of peace to offer the lost world around me; His shield of faith to combat my unbelief; His helmet of salvation to protect my mind. I also need to train myself to use offensive weapons: the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God and PRAYER which pulls down the enemy’s strongholds or fortresses in our lives.  This type of praying is not “bless me praying”! It is on your knees calling out His name and praying His word back to Him. It is War Room praying!   Ephesians 6:10-18 and II Corinthians 10:4-5
  3. Worship with thanksgiving. Every time the battle is on I must worship Him. I must sing His praises. I must declare all He has done in my life. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11
  4. Overcome evil with good. If there is a person that I might believe to be my adversary, God’s word is clear! “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.” Romans 12:20

The battle is on right now in my life and the lives of those I love. It is intense and is just no fun. There are sleepless nights and hard days.

The Lord promises me He will stand by my side and give me strength.  (II Timothy 4:17)

He will enable me to fight the good fight!  He promises me peace in the middle of the fight.

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”  II Thessalonians 3:16

 

 

 

 

 

 

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