Category Archives: Peace

Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when we give thanks for all of our blessings—both as individuals and as a nation. Our thankfulness usually focuses on our material blessings—our daily provision of food, our jobs and homes, our family and friends and our freedom as a nation. While we should thank God for all of these blessings, how many of us ever give thanks for the trials and difficulties of the past year?

Why should we do this? Author and speaker, John Bevere says in his new book, Killing Kryptonite, that “Adversity locates the strength of our faith.” In other words, life’s difficulties are a kind spiritual thermometer that reveals whether we are trusting in our own ability to get through our trials or whether we are really putting our faith in God.

In the book of James we read: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV). What James is saying is that we should be thankful for trials and difficulties because they work in us a spiritual endurance and maturity.

If we are honest, most of us could not say we approach trials with “pure joy,” but we can certainly take steps to move in the that direction.

  1. We can thank God for our trials simply out of obedience, even if we don’t feel like it in the moment.
  2. We can stop and remember God’s faithfulness to us in past difficulties when He has brought us through.
  3. When we are tempted to focus only on the circumstances, we can spend time reading stories of God’s deliverances throughout Scripture.
  4. We can write out God’s promises from Scripture that speak to our particular trial and read them over and over, even memorizing them and speaking them out loud.
  5. We can pray that God will fill our hears and minds with peace as we wait for Him to answer. (“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV).

This Thanksgiving be sure to thank God for allowing the trials and difficulties of the past year to increase your faith ad move you towards spiritual maturity.

 

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God Takes Us From Woundedness to Brokenness

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I recently suffered what I considered a great injustice. My heart hurt and the emotional pain seemed to cast a shadow over my entire being. I felt numb and confused as to why the situation was causing me so much pain.

During a recent morning walk, I cried out to God as David did, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (Psalm 43:5 ESV). I asked God to reveal the source of my pain and show me how to deal with it.

As I prayed, I felt the Lord say to me, “Your heart is wounded.” He said it with such kindness, but I knew that wasn’t the end of it. I needed to get beneath the woundedness to discover how to be healed. Continue reading

EACH WAVE BRINGS A NEW PROMISE


I’m finally at the beach!

On vacation!

For a week!

This morning, as I walked along the ocean’s edge shortly after sunrise, the tide washed ashore in little inlets, reflecting the ever-changing clouds. There were white fluffy clouds foreshadowing a day full of sunshine, but there were also billows of dark, ominous clouds threatening to overtake the promise of a sun-filled day.  


Only a few fellow walkers were out this early in the morning. I passed a lady carrying a small net bag which she appeared to use to collect shells. We exchanged greetings and then she frowned and said, “Not many good shells today,” and kept walking in the opposite direction.

As I thought about her comment and the ominous dark clouds, I was tempted to accept the fact that it was going to be a less than perfect beach day. No good shells to be found and most likely rain on the horizon. But then I had an amazing revelation:

EACH WAVE THAT WASHES UPON THE BEACH BRINGS WITH IT NEW SHELLS AND NEW POSSIBILITIES!

That nay-saying shell collector might just miss a beautiful shell that the next wave washes ashore!

The same is true of life. If we listen to negative reports or trust only in our immediate circumstances, we may miss what God has planned for us — a beautiful day filled with faith and trust and thanksgiving. As I continued my walk I thought to myself — this lesson will make a good blog for PrayWaves, and then I dared to pray a little prayer.

“Lord, help me find a beautiful shell to illustrate this lesson.”

It was true, most of the shells were broken and in pieces, but then the toe of my shoe unearthed something and as I bent down to uncover it, I discovered a beautiful type of shell that I have never found on any of our local beaches. “Thank you, Lord, I whispered. You have just confirmed that it was you speaking to me this morning.”


YOU CONSTANTLY OFFER WAVES OF GRACE, BEAUTY, PEACE AND UNENDING POSSIBILITIES. We only need to trust you and look beyond the dark clouds and nay-sayers.

(And by the way, the white puffy clouds and sun drove away the dark clouds and the sun is shining brightly!)

Put on Some “Spiritual Pounds” This Christmas

The Holidays Afford Us the Opportunity to Draw Closer to God

Putting on Some Spiritual  Pounds

Like a bear preparing for its winter of hibernation, I always seem to gain at least five pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those buttery homemade mashed potatoes and rolls on the Thanksgiving table always beg for seconds. And the Christmas cookies and fudge that show up everywhere—at the office, at church and at all those holiday parties further weaken my resistance. I actually make myself miserable thinking of the pounds I’m gaining as I chomp down on that second or third cookie without exerting any self-control. Continue reading

God’s Secret Place

 Do You Have a Secret Hiding Place?

A Secret Hiding Place

A Secret Hiding Place

A huge pine tree stood on the lot next to my childhood home. I used to crawl through its mammoth branches into a secret hiding place. Hidden from view was a retreat the size of a small room. I’d bring a blanket to put on the pine needle floor, lie on my back and stare up at trickles of blue sky that filtered through the dense branches.

The Bible speaks of another secret hiding place: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty  (Psalm 91:1 NIV).

Like my childhood hiding place, Psalm 91 speaks of a place hidden from the cares of the world—a place where God invites
us into His presence. And in His presence peace reigns—absorbing all our trials, pain, doubts, cares and concerns.

How difficult it is in our fast-paced world where 10-minute devotionals are best sellers, to find such a retreat of intimacy! We delude ourselves into thinking we have fellowshipped with the Father, when in fact we have just driven through the fast-food line. Real fellowship requires an unhurried courtship–a leisurely, joyous pursuit of the One we desire to know.

So drag out your blanket and crawl beneath the branches into God’s secret hiding place!