Unshakable Peace

Early this month my wife and I went on vacation to Myrtle Beach. We had a really good time. WE LOVE THE BEACH!!! Well, in relation to the message this week, in talking about the “shoes of peace”, I went back to the trip at the beach. I think about how hot the sand was when we would walk out to our spot to lay in the sun and that we needed our flip flops because the sand was so hot. I didn’t want to walk on that hot sand barefooted. So, I would put on my flip flops until we got to our little area. Aren’t shoes cool? In general, shoes are such a simple yet neat thing. I can walk out on that hot sand and still enjoy the beauty without feeling the worst of the heat from the sand. That’s what peace does for us as well. We can be walking on the worst terrain and still be enjoying the beauty that is the Kingdom of God. Peace keeps us focused and trusting in the Lord. We can be going through the war of life and still sing songs of love to God. We can be knocked down, beaten up, bloodied and bashed and still have joy in the midst of it all. PEACE…

John 16:33 – “I have told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakeable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”

We live in a world that is becoming more and more godless. Not saying God isn’t present…but the world is pushing God away more and more. As Christ-followers we are going to be met with opposition more and more and we MUST be ready. We MUST know the peace that can only be found in Christ. I love this scripture because Christ is saying that we WILL see tough times. In most versions it says we will have tribulations. In the Amplified Version it goes on to not just say tribulation but also trials, distress and frustration. Having peace does not mean we are without heartache. I am not saying all of this to discourage you so I hope that hasn’t happened. Rather….in the midst of all of that Christ says we can have peace. He says…”you will be unshakeable and assured”…UNSHAKEABLE. Do you feel unshakeable? Or are you being tossed around like a piece of grass in the wind?

Trust in HIM. That is how we find peace. Stop worrying about all the surrounding problems and focus on His Kingdom. Now, I’m all for being prepared. Our country has some tough day ahead and we need to be prepared. But, in the midst of it all we need to have peace. We need to share that peace with others and allow it to be contagious.

If Christ lives in us and us in Him and He overcame the world then why in the world do we FEAR? If He deafeated death then what do we have to fear? If no weapon formed against us can prevail then why do we tremble? Fact is, we can be standing in from the army of darkness, no not the Sam Raimi horror movie, and charge in knowing that we are unshakeable. Peace allows us to be surrounded completely by darkness, completely engulfed by the enemy and still overcome by the empowerment of the Spirit in our lives.

No matter what you’re going through right now….TAKE HEART! Look up and trust in HIM – I promise you WILL overcome.

Allow yourself to be drenched by the peace of God in Your life. Remember, that doesn’t mean a life without issues. Just a life filled with peace.

We ARE….UNSHAKEABLE!

~Jerod

Originally posted on the blog Jerod’s Mind Unraveled.

God is Speaking. Are Your Eyes Opened to Hear?

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If you’re like me, you’re a straightforward person. Nothing has to be complicated about this world. We have eyes to see with. We have a nose to smell with. We have ears to hear with. We think with our brain. The grass is green that is unless you don’t water it. Babies cry. Dogs bark. See? I could just keep going.

Sometimes, though, you would think that in all my simplicity, that I would have no problem hearing God speak. But that’s not the case with me at all. I pray constantly asking to hear God, wondering why I can’t hear Him. Wondering what’s wrong with me? I thought I was listening.

However in all my straining to hear, I sometimes overlook all of the ways His word is pouring out.

The other day, driving to work, I was looking at the trees (and sometimes the road) and it occurred to me that those trees were a product of God’s word. From the beginning of time, God spoke every aspect of creation in to being and it has never stopped. Trees continue to sprout up because His word continues on to this day.The sun still rises and sets.  His creation continues all because of His word. So in other words, I can see His word.

This past weekend, I had found myself questioning again, how I can hear His word. I had heard it, but doubted that I heard it. Again, wondering, how do I get closer to God so I can hear Him? I was deep in this soul inquiry when an older lady, who I had only met once before, randomly told me to keep on following God and He would draw me near. My first instinct was to question this elderly lady and to doubt her words, but I caught myself. I almost missed that one. This time, I literally got to hear His words only they came by way of one of His children.

As we continue on our everyday lives, we see the fulfillment of His prophecy in current events. Being plugged in a thriving church, we get to witness God work in other’s lives and in our own. We witness miracles and healings. Our hearts change. We mature. We grow. In all of this, I get to experience His word.

And even just this afternoon, as I’m on my knees asking God to speak and to help me hear His word. But I hear only the fan going in my room. I look at my Bible, grab it, and open it up. As I did, I heard Him speak. “You have my word right there.” It’s there whenever I want it. I don’t have to strive for it. I just have to reach for it. So, finally, I get to read His word.

We have ears to hear the things of this world, but our listening cannot be limited to the two funny looking organs on the side of our heads. It takes all our senses to be aware of what God is speaking to us. His words are constantly flowing through our experiences, through others, through His creation, and we have His written word at our disposal at any time of the day. He’s speaking right now…are you listening?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

~Janean

#Encore: The Fine Line

Welcome to the Rhapsody #Encore. On Fridays we will be reposting some of our readers most favorite posts. Todays repost is The Fine Line from September 2013

divided-heartI don’t believe in astrology but if I did, by definition, my astrological sign for Gemini would be spot on. I would be classified as the “twins”, which would mean I have two brains and would be somewhat alarmed due to the fact that scripture clearly tells us not to be double minded (James 1:8). My connection with this comparison is that I have a strong tendency to empathize with different and opposing points of views….so much so that I can become weary and overwhelmed easily when it comes to decision making and where I stand. Please don’t misconceive what I’m attempting to communicate with this illustration. I now and will always be testing information, wisdom, etc.  based on if it aligns with scripture or not. And I will most likely disregard any extra droppings that fail to do so…so sorry.

The issue isn’t whether or not I believe in the one true God or that He sent His only Son to die for me. The issue usually boils down to the “fine line” interpretations of scripture. We can dig back into history and study translations, original texts and so on and so forth…and that’s wonderful! As an active Christian hungry for the word of God and truth we should absolutely pursue these things! But…..there are the fine lines that seem to present themselves over and over on certain topics. A lot of scripture comes to us very matter of fact and direct and then the rest we seem to end up quibbling about throughout the denominations. But, I digress….

One thing I tend to hear a lot from non-christians is that there are many contradictions in scripture, which while merely skimming the surface may SEEM to be true in some ways. I believe one must also take into account the lens from which one is looking through. Aside from the black and white I believe God is not limited to one track thinking, teaching, loving, etc. I choose to believe He is a multifaceted God. He has many ways to accomplish purpose through and for His children. One form of discipline or praise may be appropriate for one child who learns in a certain way while another form of discipline and praise may be more suitable for the other child who functions opposite of the first. It’s all very interesting to think about!

Have you ever encountered two different individuals whom you respect and admire greatly only to find they have conflicting opinions concerning the same spiritual matter? It happens. And if it hasn’t happened then give it time. It will.

At Canvas Church I lead the prayer team and am frequently called upon to pray for others. One thing that you can almost always guarantee to hear me include in most prayers is discernment. I love praying for discernment for others because I truly believe it’s vital to the Christian walk. Discernment can dynamite the fine line you encounter in many ways. You see, as human beings we can only go so far and then comes the Holy Spirit. We can educate, educate, and educate but we can’t replicate what the Holy Spirit provides. And we can’t rely solely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). We NEED that guidance. It’s a must.

The next time you encounter your “fine line”, test it, take it to God in prayer, listen to what the Holy Spirit is teaching ..align it with scripture.  And if you still feel He is being silent, don’t stress. Seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33)…it’ll all fall into place, in His perfect timing;)

Leesa

Grace-full Marriage

 

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How great is grace!  The fact that God sent His only son to suffer and die, so that we could spend eternity with Him.  That despite all of our failures and the heartbreak we cause Him, He chooses to see us through the veil of Christ.  He sees us as holy as He is holy!  It makes me well up with joy!  It makes me want to live better in response to that grace!

Now imagine, just for a minute, how our lives would be different if we showed that same grace to our spouses.  Wow!  What would happen if instead of complaining to your husband what he doesn’t do to your liking, you praised him for what he does right?  What if instead of being frustrated with your wife for her tone of voice, you spoke to her with love?

I’m not saying to overlook your spouse’s sin.  We are to be iron that sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) and help our spouses live up to the potential that God has given them.  But what if we could choose to let those little things go and respond in such a way that God would respond to us?

Ephesians 2: 1-10 says this:

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We, in all of creation, were made in the image of God to do the good works He has already prepared for us to do.  We, in all of creation, have the ability to show mercy.  What if we started by mirroring the mercy of Christ in our marriage?  Could we bring the dead things to life?

Grace and Peace,

Ashleigh

Heal Me

Prayer_Sunset

“Heal me so I may find you.” ~Nick Rains

It is like God himself placed the words right into my very soul. I am searching. Asking God to speak to me. Pleading with Him. I want you, Lord.

But, I can’t find you.

Am I looking in the wrong places? Am I deaf to your voice? Are my eyes blind to your majesty?

Do you know the story of King David and Bathsheba? (2 Samuel 11) King David was known as the man after God’s own heart. God loved David. And David loved God. He was blessed in his leadership because he listened to God. One day, David sees Bathsheba, tempted by her beauty, he sends for her. Long story short, Bathsheba ends up pregnant and King David ends up plotting her husband’s murder.

Where was God? Why didn’t God stop him from being so awful?

If you take the time to read the entire story, you will see that David was given many opportunities to turn away and go another road. From the very moment David heard her name, he was told she was married. Do you think God was giving David opportunities to turn away from his sin? Absolutely! But, sometimes even the greatest men fall to their own justifications.

God never leaves us. We just stop listening.

God sends a messenger to David and shows him how he separated himself from God. If you have a moment, read Psalm 51, where David confesses his sin.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love, according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1

Jesus was sent to die for us because we are in need of his healing. Even when we have it all together, we are in need of his mercies. When we lose sight of his face, become deaf to his words, we are in need of His grace. Even the greatest of God’s people turn their backs and put their own desires above their love for God.

 “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Jesus) Mark 2:17

God hasn’t stopped speaking. God hasn’t stopped being present.

Perhaps we’ve stopped praying for healing?

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

~Angela

#Encore: Bedtime Story

 

Welcome to the Rhapsody #Encore. On Fridays we will be reposting some of our readers most favorite posts. Todays repost is Bedtime Story from March 2011

stick_figure_girlThere once was a little girl named little Lonnie. Little Lonnie worked with a group of little Larry’s, little Suzies and tiny Betsy’s. The little tiny’s all worked together in a competitive atmosphere trying to bring in and/or produce all the jelly wellies they could with what time frame they were given. In charge of the little tiny’s were the Hungry’s and Large Marge. Times got tough from time to time trying to produce all the needed wellies, and when times got tough, Lonnie got down on herself and her worth as a good worker…during those bad times she noticed that the MORE concerned and stressed she appeared, the MORE the Hungy’s thought she cared about the work she was doing. If little Lonnie appeared calm and confident even during a day of no wellies, they questioned how much she actually cared!!! “Lonnie just walks around here ALL DAY like nothing is wrong!! If I were her I’d be a little more concerned or have a better sence of urgency!!” Maybe it was because Lonnie remembered the instruction of her Heavenly Father…”Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Luke 25:25-26…or maybe it was “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” Philippians 4:6-7…or my favorite “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

Sometimes we don’t realize that we conform to our surroundings and what is expected of us that we forget what and who we are called to be as Christians. For the longest time Lonnie had let what others expected of her determine the way she perceived things…she eventually realized that no amount of worry would progress her. She did the best she could day in and day out…and when she hit that wall of “impossibility”, she laid the rest at the feet of the one who had already carried every load she would ever encounter. Are you following me kiddo’s???

Goodnight♥

~Leesa

Hey! Guess Who’s Really Steering?

IMGA00571This was originally posted from my personal blog (That Girl) earlier this summer.  I’m happy to say that, he not only loves to ride his bike now, he rides it like a champ.

Today I just bought my seven year old a shiny, brand new bike! And I’m the only one excited about it. He’s not typically an ungrateful boy. Right now, he’s just  scared. Now, we’ve taught him how to ride, but he isn’t confident doing it. His knees are up in his elbows as he’s wobbly and trying to steer. The bike he learned to ride on is, in reality, for a 4 year old. My son feels safer with it because he feels like he has more control. The new one is harder to place his feet on the ground and that’s all he sees. He’s already worked out in his mind how he’s going to fall and how it’s going to hurt. He’s already convinced himself that this couldn’t possibly be a good thing even though his little behind hasn’t even warmed the seat.

Now, I know better. I see the bigger picture. He needs more space to not only steer better and a better range of motion decreases the amount of pedaling. I know that he will not only be able to ride the bike better, but even enjoy it more. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to make it happen. He will tear up and he will not have a good few days as I make him get on it time and time again until he’s mastered riding.

I wasn’t upset or hurt because his lack of (or should I say no) excitement. I’m in the car on the drive back thinking about all the times God was doing something good for me….beneficial for me….but, instead of thanking Him, I cry, get scared, moan, groan,….falter. He, just like I’m going to do with Isaac as soon as the rain subsides, makes me go through it anyway. Why? Because just like my son will be for me, He knows I will be obedient in spite of it all. He knows that I will not only come out of the experience stronger, but also more trusting as my son will be with me….some day.

I thank God, using my 20/20 hind site, because now I can see how all the things I cried over and feared over has taken me where I am today. My son will do the same as he coasting on his new bike. He will look back and see me waving behind him yelling “see, I told you so!”

I don’t know where you’re at right now and what you’re going through. But I do know that if God is in control of your life, He’s just that….. in control.

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. Romans 8:28

Whatever may have you in tears now, you will be able to look back and say “That may have been painful, but look where I am today.” Trust that your God is good and He doesn’t steer you wrong.

~Janean

A Response to Grace in Words

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