Experiencing God’s Peace instead of “Going to Pieces”

What crazy and stressful times we are experiencing these days! There are moments when we feel overwhelmed and helpless with volume of bad news in our world. It can fill our hearts and minds with heighten worry and anxiety. When we spend too much time thinking about it, we can feel like we are “going to pieces”, being pulled apart mentally and emotionally in different directions at the same time.

It is important for us to tap into God’s peace which transcends our circumstances. God’s peace is not the absence of problems or difficulties, it is the very presence of Christ in our lives. Jesus is our source for experiencing peace with God and the peace of God. This is more than just a feeling, it is a quiet confidence and faith we have as we continue to trust and follow Him in our daily lives, regardless of our mood or emotional state.

We need to clear out some of the negative clutter in our thought patterns to create some space to find peace of mind. Here are some encouraging Bible promises about peace. We would be wise to take some time to mediate and read often these particular Bible promises.This would be a good antidote for feeling hopeless and will actual give us the hope and peace that we so desperately need. You my want to look these scriptures up in your Bible and highlight them to refer to back to as needed. You may want to print these verses and keep a copy to carry with you or place them somewhere you can see them often…

Jesus said “I am leaving you a gift, peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” – John 14:27 (NLT)

“Let the peace of Christ (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually in your hearts (deciding with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state.. and be thankful (appreciative), giving praise to God always.” – Colossians: 3:15 (AMPC)

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all those whose thoughts are fixed on You.” – Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect peace, whose mind {both its inclination and character} is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.” – Isaiah 26:3 (AMPC)

“May the Lord of peace Himself, give you His peace at all times and in every situation.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace at all times and in every way (that peace and spiritual well-being that comes to those

who walk with Him, regardless of life’s circumstances). The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (AMP)

The Lord gives His people strength, the Lord blesses them with peace.” – Psalm 29:11 (NLT)

We have a unique opportunity for people see our faith in our actions and attitude right now. We can do this if we will continue to seek God’s peace instead of “going to pieces” during these difficult times.

God Looks at Success Differently than We Do

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding in things that don’t really matter.” – D. L. Moody
You and I live in a culture that we are driven to pursue success. There is nothing wrong with doing your best, setting goals and achieving success. However, there are two questions we must carefully consider: What does success look like for you? and What is your motivation for it? I guess the one word that would be most common to describe success today is..”More”. More material things, more wealth, and when that becomes too much, we want more  simplicity. It is disheartening to see people that  are obsessed in the misguided pursuit of “More”. They go right by and miss the opportunities to experience true contentment and lasting happiness in their relationship with God, family and close friends  along  the way. That explains how someone can achieve great success in one arena of their lives, yet be a train wreck in other areas of their lives at the same time. Jesus said : “What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself? What would you give to get back your soul?” -Matthew 16:26 ( CEB)
What some ways God wants for us to be successful from His holistic point of view?
As you study this topic in the Bible, it becomes evident that we are to follow God’s direction in our lives, to trust in Him, to show kindness, love and mercy among many other things. I have studied the Bible for 50 years now, and I am still learning more of the many facets of what God’s definition of success looks like for you and me. It is a life changing and a life long learning process. He loves us too much to let us just struggle and be the same, by trying to do it all on our own. He can give us the power and grace we need as He works in our lives. Here are few examples:
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” – Philippians 1:6 (MSG)
“Not in your own strength, for it is God who is all the while effectually at work in you (energizing and creating in you the power and desire), both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” – Philippians 2:13 (AMPC)
“The Lord has told you what is good, He has told you what He wants from you. Do what is right to other people. Love being kind to others. And live humbly, trusting Your God.” -Micah 6:8 (ICB)
Do not give up on God, He has not given up on you. May this season in your life and my life, be a time to continue to grow in our faith and trust in the God that loves us so much.

Keep it Simple is not Stupid…

One of the great things we have discovered through the recent months is what we can live without, and having to make our lives more simple. Simplicity leads us to less clutter of things that really don’t matter. Simplicity can help us to gain control of other areas of our schedule and lifestyle. When we are living with less, it can free us up to focus more on our relationships, our faith and other things that really matter the most. Keeping it simple leads us to more contentment. It keeps us from being in a deficit financially and emotionally as well as not overbooked in our schedules and other responsibilities.

S.I.M.P.L.E. means for us to…

SEEK GOD’S PRESENCE AND GUIDANCE DAILY.

This should be a regular habit for us. As in the Bible, Psalm 63:1challenges us…”O God, You are my God; early will I seek You, my soul thirsts for You.” By taking this approach, it puts us in the right frame of mind as we go through our day.

INVEST YOUR TIME AND ENERGY WISELY.

Steve Jobs, who helped to design and create the Apple computer and the iPhone said this about focus and simplicity: “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

MAINTAIN GOOD DAILY HABITS. Doing things that enhance our spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well being are key things to keep doing on a regular basis. Dr. E. Stanley Jones was right when he said “Since habit becomes power, make them work with you and not against you.”

PROCESS WHAT NEEDS TO NEEDS TO GO AND WHAT NEEDS TO GROW.

It is important to consider what adjustments or changes you may need to make right now. These may be in your priorities and commitments, habits and schedule.

LIVE EACH DAY TO THE FULLEST.

Embrace the present day, don’t let the past or the future keep you from enjoying and making the most of today. Max Lucado wisely says that..”Since I know God’s provison is timely, I can enjoy the present. The key is this: meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow’s strength yet. You simply have enough for today.”

ENCOURAGE OTHERS ALONG THE WAY.

Living simple is not selfish, it actually frees us up to be unselfish and have more compassion for others. Because we are less distracted by things that don’t really matter, it can allow us to think about and notice people that we can encourage in some way.

Keep it Simple is not stupid…it is the right approach right now.

When Difficult Times Last Longer than Expected

Coping, surviving and recovering from extended difficult times in our lives is a process. It can last longer than we anticipated. We need to learn how to survive and also eventually thrive afterwards. But, how do we do that?

Here are a few things to think about and remember:

REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE, GOD IS WITH YOU.

Genesis 8:1 states that in the midst of the turmoil that Noah was experiencing…”But God remembered Noah”. No matter how long a crisis may linger, God has not not forgotten you and me. It is an awesome thought to realize and acknowledge that God remembers us in the difficulties we go through! Other people may forget us, but God never does!

RELEASE YOUR REGRETS.

There is a power in releasing your regrets. You don’t need to rewind them constantly in your mind. That really doesn’t help you in the long run to go around and around in the circles of shoulda – coulda- woulda type of thinking. Get off that repeat button in your thoughts. We are to learn from the past but not live in the land of past regrets and failures and missed opportunities. We need to trust and follow God, where we are now.

TAKE PROPER CARE OF YOURSELF.

When we are dealing with prolonged stressful situations, it is essential that we take care of our health. This includes…physical, mental, emotional, as well as spiritually. Maintaining these areas will allow us to continue to be at our best over the long haul. We must take mini breaks along the way too. The Ancient Greek warriors had a saying “The Bow that is always bent ( under stress) will break.” Stopping to rest and unwind for even short periods of time will help release the tension we experience. Don’t be afraid to call a personal “time out”, when necessary. Go for a short walk. This can clear your mind and recoup your energy level.

REFOCUS and RENEW YOUR STRENGTH.

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” – Psalm 18:32 (NIV)

Sometimes it takes longer to recover emotionally from these situations. Take one step at a time. Do what you can each day. Talk to a trusted friend or counselor if needed. Then discover some new things or activities that can recharge your energy. Be proactive and intentional, and have specific priorities and time set aside in your schedule to help you recover and regain your strength. Remember, The Lord is our perpetual source of strength. We may grow weak and weary…but He is always there. His mercy, grace, and strength never, ever runs out!