Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Take Time Tuesdays...

Chapter 10 ~ Perfect Peace

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!" Isaiah 26:3

"Drop thy still dews of quietness
'Til all our striving cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,

And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace."
John Greenleaf Whittier

As Cynthia shares: "Whether we encounter medical emergencies or the routine responsibilities of our everyday lives, we need a perfect peace that steadies our spirits and prompts our responses. We need the dews of quietness and the beauty of God's peace. A woman of simplicity is at peace because she trusts God who is her Source of peace and she is willing to step out in faith to seek His peace.

Welcome to another week of pausing for a few moments in our busy lives and taking time to focus on God's Word and all He desires to teach us. This week is an especially difficult chapter for me. Peace - His Perfect Peace - is the area of my faith journey where I need the greatest amount of work. I am still seeking it and know that as I work through this study and continue to meditate upon His Word and walk out His Truths in my life, I will find it. I am confident that He will enable me to find it! So, grab a cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and join us as we seek to become women of simplicity...

Having the peace of Christ requires us to do a couple of things ~ receive it and actively go after it, as shown to us in His Word:

"The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace." Psalm 29:11

"Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14

"The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" Romans 8:6

I'm still learning and growing in this area. I want my life to be filled with His peace and it is to certain degrees, but it's not where I truly desire it to be. I must continue to not only be open to receive it, but also pursue it. And yet, there are more facets to truly having His peace... Read on!

"The unfathomable peace of God who controls the universe and pursues a faultless purpose, is the peace that Paul commended to his Philippian friends... This divine peace kept Paul's mind and heart. The word translated "keep" in Philippians 4:7 is phroureo, which is translated "kept with a garrison." ...Between Paul and threatening circumstances stood a garrison. God's peace had taken him custody. A great river of peace was thrown like a moat around the citadel of his soul." John Phillips

J.N. Figgis said, "If the basis of peace is God, the secret of peace is trust."

Wow! This short statement contains alot of information... The key is TRUSTING God. Trust is a word God has spoken to me so often for many years and it's also an area where I continue to learn and grow. One thing I learned this week ~ the more I trust Him, the more I will experience His peace in my life.

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge." Psalm 62:8

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1-2

I really like these three verses, especially Psalm 91 which has been one of my very special verses for some time now... I love the visual for the Jeremiah passage - so powerful! How I desire to be steady, trusting at all times and calm in the midst of every storm. To be a strong, healthy tree by the water and unchanging no matter the conditions around me...

"This means that we trust all that the love of God does; all He gives, and all He does not give; all He says, and all He does not say. To it all we say, by His loving enabling, I trust. Let us be content with out Lord's will, and tell Him so, and not disappoint Him by wishing for anything He does not give. The more we understand His love, the more we trust." Amy Carmichael

This quote "knocked my socks off". It's yes and no; giving and not giving, etc... And trusting Him no matter what comes our way. God has given me some really difficult lessons this past year and I'm learning to trust Him as He grows my faith even deeper.

Practicing solitude is part of living each day in God's perfect peace. I've got this one mastered - NOT. Getting away, finding time to be alone - got that part down. It's the "stillness" and "quiet" that I'm not so good at. I want to sit and listen to God, but I find that my "voice" begins to speak and share much with God; that when I try to be silent ~ my mind/thoughts start running wildly and I can't seem to quiet them to listen; that so much is happening in my world that I "must" pray about everything before quieting myself before God. So much to learn, so much to learn... God already knows EVERYTHING that is happening in my life, but what He has to say to me should always be my priority instead of "taking off with my own agenda."

An amazing verse and this picture leaves me in awe of ALL He is. Please take a few moments and just sit silently before Him...

"We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with Him and Him alone. Our primary task in solitude, therefore, is not to pay undue attention to the many faces which assail us, but to keep the eyes of our mind and heart on Him who is our Divine Savior. Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature... Solitude shows us the ways to let our behavior be shaped not by the compulsions of the world, but by our new mind, the mind of Christ. Silence prevents us from being suffocated by our wordy world and teaches us to speak the Word of God." Henri Nouwen

For your consideration: "Finding solitude in a noisy, busy world is a challenge. As you consider your schedule, what time and place would be best for you to be silent before God?

For myself ~ I find the best times of solitude are when I physically remove myself from other people and the house and go to the beach, a local gathering spot (where I don't know anyone) or walk around Green Lake - just He and I.

Now for the toughest aspect of this week's study for myself: Peace with others and having a forgiving spirit.

Weatherly made this statement, "Forgiving those who hurt us is the key to personal peace."

I forgive others who have hurt me (by faith - and sometimes I must forgive a person again and again; a daily process) , as my biggest challenge is dealing with the pain/wounds inflicted and learning how to move forward with my life ~ and seeking God for how to develop a relationship with the person when I don't trust them or I am on-guard at all times to protect myself from further hurt. I know I have alot to learn about this specific aspect of peace and have few answers.

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15

This is a familiar passage to me. I do understand it, but I get hung up on the pain. In my head, I understand forgiveness of others ~ but the pain in my heart keeps me in protective mode around offenders and it often keeps me from moving to reconciliation and restoration...

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far is it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary:

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:17-21

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Colossians 3:12-15

I really try to live according to the Romans and Colossians verses above. I know I fall short, but I continue to seek God's forgiveness when I mess up, learn from my mistakes and ask Him for new insights and wisdom regarding what this looks like and how to live it out!

Powerful: "Forgiveness has little to do with your abuser. Forgiveness is about freedom from destructive thoughts and emotions. Forgiveness is about fellowship with God." an anonymous survivor of sexual abuse ~ but this could be anyone who has suffered at the hands of another...

These words gave me powerful insight. I have never thought of forgiveness in this manner before. How I pray God enables me to truly learn from these words - at a heart level - and to trust Him that I truly walk in His forgiveness daily. Step-by-step, He will lead us if we desire to move to this level of devotion to Him.

Oswald Chambers: "My worth to God in public is what I am in private."

Cynthia shares that we must allow God to search our hearts. "...if we truly desire to become women of simplicity, we will abandon ourselves to God and let His Spirit free us and keep us on the right path." She suggest praying this prayer: "Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I'm about; see for Yourself whether I've done anything wrong - then guide me on the road to eternal life." (Psalm 139:23-24, The Message)

  • is listening to God
  • is thinking His thoughts with Him
  • is the finding of His will and viewpoint
  • is the discovering of Truth
  • is giving God a chance to speak
(by Peter Lord)

I know that I will be revisiting this chapter and the lessons taught here, as I seek to become a Woman of Simplicity. I desire to live in His peace each day. Remember ~ He is able.

Next week is the final chapter of this study. How I pray God continues to reveal more of who He is and that we become pure and devoted to Christ; our amazing Lord and Savior.

Abundant blessings and may His peace fill your lives today!

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie