Tag Results For :: "peace"




Away

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
“wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.

— Psalm 55:6, The Message

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Sometimes, I still picture this: Sitting out on Mission Peninsula, surrounded by the greens and blues of northern Michigan, where the cool clear day and a glass of iced tea brought a moment’s respite from real life—the place where I actually live.

The thing about being away is that you don’t belong there. It’s great while it lasts. But it doesn’t last.

So, instead I think I’ll aim to live here:

I call to God;
God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh
deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
in the middle of danger
Even while thousands
are lined up against me.

— Psalm 55:16, The Message

Lord, I’m looking to You today, waiting on Your help and direction, drawing close to Your promises and peace. Show me the way ahead in the midst of this day’s surroundings—in Christ, I pray.

Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.

— Psalm 55:22, The Message



Oak Trees Dancing

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Go where the best prayers take you. — Frederick Buechner

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God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”
Above the floodwaters is God’s throne
from which his power flows,
from which he rules the world.
God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.

— Psalm 29:9-11, The Message

It’s the water dropping from the live oak trees, the small gems shining. It’s the clouds lifting across the charged air currents, the long winds sweeping. It’s the summer light in darkness, the warm solstice at dawn, the calendar page on time.

Above, beyond, and within, He rules.

Lord, magnificent Creator, Father of us all, Your grace is no small thing. Thank You for every good and perfect gift your love brings! Enlarge my heart to receive Your strength, respond to Your peace, and recognize Your glory — in Christ, I pray.



Real Wealth, Rich Simplicity

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be good to your servant, God;
    be as good as your Word.
Train me in good common sense;
    I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
    but now I’m in step with your Word.
You are good, and the source of good;
    train me in your goodness.
The godless spread lies about me,
    but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
They’re bland as a bucket of lard,
    while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
My troubles turned out all for the best—
    they forced me to learn from your textbook.
Truth from your mouth means more to me
    than striking it rich in a gold mine.
— Psalm 119:65-72, The Message
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A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. — 1 Timothy 6:7a, The Message

What current activity or opportunity might be distracting you from enjoying this kind of simplicity in your life? When you see unmet needs for leadership and/or service around you—in your job or community, at home, school, or church, among your friends, family, and co-workers—do you want to respond and try to meet the need according to a list of “shoulds” instead of focusing on what God has specifically called you to do?

What goes? What stays? What needs adding?

Our natural inclination when we’re under pressure is to turn away from God’s peace. Notice the symptoms: Anxiety, upset, worry, irritability, comparisons, anger, and resentment. “Lord, don’t you care?” Choosing to wait upon the Lord and trust Him with our concerns isn’t easy or automatic. We can choose to turn toward Life as we seek Christ’s help and direction, wherever we find ourselves.

What comes to mind as you ask God for discernment about distractions in your life today?



A Prayer for Abigail

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

— Jim Elliot

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God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

— Psalm 119:33-40, The Message

Abigail had an amazing moment last night when she was the first graduate to enter the auditorium, both hands waving. As she wheeled across the stage at the Frank Erwin Center in downtown Austin, the highlights of her life’s journey filled my heart. Through it all, God has strengthened and sustained this remarkable young woman. Her life portrays a shining picture of His beauty and grace.

Lord, bless all of us who rely on Your strength in our weakness. Smooth the path ahead as we travel the road You lead us on. Thank you for the life, the hope, and the peace you alone give. May Your joy be ours—in Christ, we pray.   

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Courage Patience Peace

May 3rd, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , ,

The LORD will accomplish his purpose for me.

Thy true love, O LORD, endures forever;

leave not thy work unfinished.

— Psalm 138:8, NEB

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Sometimes, I start to think: My rate of growth and how I grow is mainly up to me.

Sometimes, I need to remember: The primary facts shaping my existence, beginning with how I got here, aren’t up to me.

Lord, thank you for reminding me that I live and grow in You. May Your Spirit provide me with the courage, patience, peace, and whatever else I need today. I believe you will accomplish your purpose for me in Christ, I pray.

 

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones. And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

— Victor Hugo



Dear Simeon

April 25th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:

God, you can now release your servant;

release me in peace as you promised.

With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;

it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:

—  Luke 2:25-32, MSG

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Seeing this painting on display at UT’s Blanton Museum of Art stopped me in my tracks: Simeon! How long did he wait until that promised day? What obstacles did he face during those intervening years?

 

I’m asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
I’ll study at his feet.

That’s the only quiet, secure place
in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
far from the buzz of traffic.

— Psalm 27:4-5, MSG

 



Morning Colors

April 17th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied withgettingso you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” — Matthew 6:30-33, The Message
 

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After visiting the Lady BIrd Johnson Wildflower Center for a photo shoot, I closed my eyes for a moment. Nothing in my closet or in any clothing store can compare with to the colors I saw this morning, lit by the sunlight under a cloudless blue sky.

Lord, You are my portion and my peace. Will you help me keep remembering where to find true beauty?

 

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, a duty: believe me. That angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence. Our joys too: be not content with them as joys. They too conceal diviner gifts. Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage, then, to claim it, that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims wending through unknown country on our way home.

—Fra Angelico (1387-1455)

 



Not As the World Gives

April 10th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
— John 14:27, NASB

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Come unto Me, ye weary, and I will give you rest.
O Blessed voice of Jesus, which comes to hearts oppressed!
It tells of benediction, of pardon, grace, and peace,
Of joy that hath no ending, of love which cannot cease.

— William C. Dix (1837-1898), “Come Unto Me, Ye Weary”

 

For the thirsty, the hungry, and the distracted, the message of Christ is the same. Jesus speaks of pardon and forgiveness, of joy and peace, given freely to all who look to him to satisfy their innermost needs. Are you trusting the Lord with your heart today? Can you accept he is bringing you ever closer to being conformed to his own character and image? We can live in hopeful expectation believing he will complete the work he has begun.



Doubt It Not!

April 6th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Look at the cross; behold His precious Gift transfixed to it, and that by His own hand, and for your sins. Then look at your present circumstances, survey your needs, your trials, your chastisements, your bereavements, your heart-sickening, heartbreaking tribulations, and know that God still is love. If He had love strong enough, deep enough, to give you Jesus—to tear Him, as it were, from His bosom, and to transfix Him on yonder accursed tree for your iniquities—has He not love enough to bow His ear to your cry, and His heart to your sorrow? Will He not rescue you from this difficulty, deliver you out of this trouble, shield you in this temptation, supply this need, and support, succour, and comfort you in this grief? Oh yes, He will! Doubt it not! The cross of Calvary is a standing pledge—standing until sin and guilt, need and woe, shall be known no more—that God, who ‘spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things’ necessary to our good, and promotive of His glory.” — Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

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We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

– Hebrews 6:13-20, MSG

 

Holding on to hope with both hands today is possible. The opportunity to see, trust, and believe is here, right now.

Lord, help me today to keep looking for you in every moment, each conflict, all my activities, beyond the noise, above the silence. Thank you for meeting me in the midst of my life as it actually is.



Real and Eternal

April 5th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: “Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendor of your Son so the Son in turn may show your bright splendor. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life: That they know you, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent.” — John 17:1-3, MSG

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Is it not truly amazing how simple it is to impose limits on God’s immeasurable love for us without even realizing what we are doing?

When our Savior’s love seems remote, we may sometimes find ourselves discounting His promises as we push ourselves harder and harder to prove that we are worthy of the Lord’s forgiveness and acceptance. We may somehow think that the love of Christ can be bartered for—earned in exchange for our good works and godly behavior.

The Bible assures us that the Lord’s love for us is permanently dependable—solid, secure, and unshakable. Believing this truth opens up our life in Christ in remarkable and unforeseen ways.

The Savior who invites us to abide in Him also makes it possible for us to draw near to Him by covering our weakness and bearing our pain with and for us. But we must choose: Surrendering our heart to Christ requires our cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s bondage-breaking, liberating, life-giving power.

When rugged circumstances cause the ground beneath us to feel as if the earth is going to slip away, when we know for certain that we cannot stand up by ourselves any longer, when we realize we do not have enough strength or wisdom to cope with our current situation, where will we look for help?