Peace for the Day

Devotions for our daily angst.


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Love Lessons

I’m skewered by texts. The family issues first mentioned in my blog titled Focus continue. I do what I always do, what I’ve always done – I grieve and talk to the Lord.

Me: I’m wounded, Lord. This situation really hurts. (Is there anything in the Bible about being wounded I ask myself. When I see the first verse that pops up, I smack myself in the forehead. Duh.)

Jesus: Take heart. I was wounded so you can be free. The Romans lashed my body so all could be healed. When they crushed the crown of thorns down on my head, it was for your peace of mind. I long for everyone to be whole. (Isaiah 53:5)

Me: Yes, but it’s someone I love. Someone close to me. Someone I trusted.

Jesus: I know. I get it. It was my close friend, remember? Someone I trusted, who ate my bread, who walked with me, who laughed and talked with me, who lifted up his heel against me. It’s hard, isn’t it? (Psalm 41:9)

Me: But, Lord, what’s being said isn’t true.

Jesus: Think about my trial when I was brought before Pilate. Many people talked about me. They lied. Finally, two men were found who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” They twisted my words. (Matthew 26.61)

Me: So what am I supposed to do? Should I defend myself? No one will listen anyway.

Jesus: Remember when I stood before Pilate? When the leaders brought accusations against me in front of him, I chose to remain silent. He even asked me, “Don’t you hear what they’re saying?” Pilate was surprised when I said nothing. (Matthew 27.14)

Me: I don’t know how you stood there, silent. I wanted you to tell them off just like I want to be catty and snarky right back, to tell my side of things.

Jesus: Grace. My grace is sufficient. My lovingkindness and mercy are more than enough, always available, whatever the situation I’m here right beside you. All of you. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Me: What do I do? What can I do?

Jesus: The most difficult thing of all and yet, the simplest. Love. Work at love. Lift patience and kindness. Practice contentment. Put others first. Forgive. Rejoice in truth. Be assured, my love for all of you will not fail.

Me: There’s not anything I may go through that you haven’t already experienced, is there?

Jesus: No, there isn’t. Hope, faith, and love. These three things remain, but the greatest of these is love.

Beloved, if God so loved us [in this incredible way], we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:11 AMP

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Radically Alive

1…2…3…JUMP!Little Girl on Edge of Diving Board

“…the opposite of a nice girl is not just a good woman, but a downright dangerous woman.” “May we be women who acknowledge our power to change, and grow, and be radically alive for God.” Nice Girls Don’t Change the World by Lynne Hybels

 It started with a cassette landing in my lap. “Here, see what you can do. Write a play for these songs.”  With that challenge, and the Lord knows I thrive on a good challenge, I was given the incredible privilege of working with a talented musician to write, direct, produce, and perform a musical called One Week in Time. The entire experience absorbed me. I lived, thought, ate, and drank the production of that play. Back stage, as I listened to the audience react to the words, to the scenes, and to the songs, the cells in my body tingled. In that moment, I was fully alive doing the very thing God created me to do.  The play ended and life calmed down, but I’ve never forgotten that experience. I felt radically alive and on fire with the very knowledge of God and my place in His plan.

For a woman steeped in angst and sometimes paralyzed by fear, it’s much safer to be a good woman, a safe woman, a, well, boring, non-world changing, status quo woman. But that’s not who I want to be. I know inside of me there is a downright dangerous woman ready to risk all for the One who gave His all for me. I pray that in this season focused on resurrection this on fire, radically alive woman would arise from the ash heap of fear and live the life God planned for her.


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Trust

Trust

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. He’s the one who will keep you on track.” (Proverbs 3:5, 6 Msg)

Trusting God, after knowing Him thirty-one years, should be easy. After all, I have the advantage of hindsight. I look back to see His steady hand leading me here, guiding me there, meeting needs beyond what I could hope, ask, or dream.

But…

For me, there always is a “but”.

Here’s the scenario. A dear friend is stuck in one of those boxed-in, no way out, through, under, over, despairing, dark, and hopeless times life brings us. He can’t fix the situation. He can’t kick, yell, scream, or buy his way out. The people who love him don’t have the means or ability to help. It hurts to watch knowing all we can do is, well, pray. I want to fix this. Now. I want to raise my fist in the air, storm the gates, and make this horrible situation right.

I decided to write him a note. I’ve been in the exact place, a dark tunnel with no end in sight, just different circumstances. I contemplated what I would share.

And then it came. The thought.

Yeah, but, what if God doesn’t do anything? What if God doesn’t come through for him?

That’s the question, isn’t it? What am I going to believe? Who am I going to trust?

Do I trust God enough to tell my friend God will take care of him? Will be with him through this long night until the light of day pierces the darkness?

My husband says, “Once you tell him, it is God’s problem not yours.” Nothing is ever that easy for me. I struggle with faith, trust, believing. I feel guilty that I’m even wondering. God has been faithful to me all these years. Why wouldn’t He work in my friend’s life? I cling to God for dear life. Does my friend? Does it matter?

Father! I can’t believe I’m even wondering. I’ve walked with You long enough that I should trust You implicitly. But, here I am back at square one. I’m sorry, Lord. Help my unbelief. Help me to share all You have done in me and my life with this precious friend and, then, let go to let You work. Father, I commit the situation to You, the God who is able.

©


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Lean on Me

Lean on me when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on. (Bill Withers)

What have I to dread, what have I to fear, leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace with my Lord so near, leaning on the everlasting arms. (E.A. Hoffman)

 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. (Proverbs 3:5 AMP)

KC Leaning

Gramma, Quinn, and KC

It occurred to me during my prayer walk that I need to be m ore like our dog KC.

As a breed, boxers are known to be leaners. They love to be near their humans. KC is part boxer and a big time leaner, all 75 pounds of her. Sometimes, she presses against me so firmly she falls if I move. She pushes in close when she’s happy, scared, or in need of doggie loving. I don’t have to tell her to lean. She just does.

On the couch, she jumps up and places her body so close to mine I’m forced to put my arm around her where, amazingly, my hand falls right on her tummy. There’s no room for it at my side because she’s snuggled in tight under my armpit. She lays her head across my chest, a very happy dog.

In a storm, she comes to me knowing I’ll protect her.

In the quiet, she’s beside me contented in my presence.

It doesn’t matter what is occurring around us. I’m her pack and she stays near me. Even as I write, she’s resting at my feet.

As I walked, I sang Leaning on the Everlasting Arms and pictured my dog. How can I lean into Jesus with the same determination KC presses against me. Like her, not because I have to but because I want to be with Him. To dwell in the secret place, hidden under His wings, safe in His love, my head resting on His chest – now that’s sweet. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms. Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.


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Epiphany

 

      Sunrise    And he said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26 AKJV                          

 There are days I feel like a flutterer. I flicker to the latest great idea until another one blows in on the wind. I dart from one idea to another, but I don’t, I can’t, seem to settle anywhere. Oh, that job sounds okay. Maybe I should be working. Take more classes? Teach? How about an MFA, Master of Fine Arts in writing.

 How about this? What about that? I’m making it up as I go along waiting for something to break through the uncertainty so I’ll finally know what I should be doing. I wonder if I’m the doubter mentioned in James 1 who is like a wave in the sea blown and tossed about by the wind.

But it’s not doubt that raises my angst levels and sends me flitting. It’s the not knowing. Merriam-Webster defines “know” as – to be aware of the truth or factuality of:  be convinced or certain of.

The disciples, four of whom where professional fishermen, were in a boat when a storm came up on the Sea of Galilee. The small lake is known for its sudden, severe storms due to its low-lying position in the Great Rift Valley. The men were distracted by the strong wind and violent waves crashing into the boat. It must have been quite a storm to upset men who make their living on the lake.

Jesus, asleep in the back of the boat, was awakened with frightened cries for help. “Master, save us! We’re going down!” The Creator was in the boat with them but they didn’t recognize him for who he was. They didn’t know him.

My heart’s cry is to recognize him for who he is, to be still in his presence and saturated in his peace. I asked him to do a work in me that would erase doubts and help me avoid distractions so that I know that I know – him and his direction. I prayed that the other day. I poured out my heart to Jesus in my journal. Surely, I wrote him, there is a way to really know. I spend a lot of energy wondering and trying to hear you, I reminded him.

There were no immediate lightning bolts of understanding. No neon lights blinking in the sky. Prayers are planted and I try my best not to dig them up. Sometimes I’m successful. Life continued.

Over time, a scene from high school worked its way to the surface. It was me handing my English teacher a short story. I want to be a writer I told her. I want to be a writer.

Then college – I chose to submit the short story instead of doing the research paper. It was a risk since I knew I would earn an A for the paper.

More memories: the novel I started when my children were finally all in school, the plays and skits and stories that burst forth after I emerged from the dark tunnel of depression due to financial and family issues, the writing night after night of my first complete novel, the Dave Barry-esque essays, all the devotions, the course papers Regent University asked to keep on file to show people the quality of writing at the university, the Master level fiction course I was allowed to take without a Bachelors…

Oh you of little faith. Why do you let the wind and the waves distract you?

Aha!