Tag Archive for peace

Mary’s secret for peace {for all of us.}

Do you find peace elusive? Do circumstances dictate your mood? Does the behavior (or misbehavior) of others rattle you and threaten to steal your joy?

On what does your happiness depend?

One of the greatest lessons we can learn is that peace is not dependent on circumstances when you are in Christ. When my peace is threatened, I know my focus is on the wrong things: problems, injustices, situations.

Getting alone with my Bible and some time with the Lord is really the needed re-calibration for my anxious heart. “Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is fixed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee.”

Mary-of-Nazareth-Nativity

Perfect peace.

One of my favorite examples from scripture, as you already know, is the humility of Mary.

Mary exemplifies a peace filled heart.

Mary’s world was turned upside down and we see her in a state of surrender. Angel appears, news delivered: You’re going to deliver the Messiah.

Peace. Belief. Surrender.—>And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

Mary was living in a time when women had few rights. She was not master of her own destiny. She was dependent on God and she knew it. She called herself a servant–one who does the will of another.

Mary had few resources. She didn’t have riches or influence or people in high places that could get her out of a fix.

It’s easy to romanticize the manger scene with a soft-focused nostalgia. But think about Mary in her material state, flesh and blood, pregnant and uncomfortable with no where to give birth after traveling on a donkey to get to her birthing room, which turns out is no where, because there was no room for them. Plan B: Give birth in a stable on the ground.

Picture her giving of herself in order to give life to another, like every mother does. Her delivery wasn’t sterile or pain free. Shaking, sweating, panting, cold, hot, writhing in pain, holding her breath, frantic to survive another contraction and hoping the excruciating pain would soon be over. Her attitude on the dirt floor and hay bed of a birthing room: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord.”

When shepherds interrupted the scene to see the newborn, and people were invading their space, chattering on and on about the angels and the stars, about the news, and why they were there…

with all that noise and confusion after you just gave birth.in.a.stable.

and we see that Mary is not joining in with the noise and confusion, and is not agitated or demanding her space or rights, but is simply quiet. At rest. Pondering. Unaffected by the outward circumstances. She knew her God and she simply trusted Him. “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

We see very little of Mary during the Lord’s 33 years on earth. We assume she did what normal mothers do. Night after night she nursed baby Jesus. She changed diapers, rocked, burped Him, cleaned a home, made meals, swept floors, cared for Joseph. Nothing spectacular by the world’s standards. Just faithful care for the people around her in her own little sphere of influence. But when we do see her, she was doing the right thing, and following the teachings of God. She followed Joseph when he was warned in a “dream” to flee to Egypt. We don’t see any recorded resistance to Joseph’s leadership. Then, years later, she was faithfully bringing the Lord to the temple when he was 12. Before Jesus first miracle, we see her instructing the servants to “do whatever He tells you.” Her steadfast heart was the same. She still saw herself as a servant of the Lord and trusted in Him.

And this is the secret to our peace as well. We need to see ourselves as servants of the Lord, to do what He commands, to walk where He leads, to serve in humility where He puts us.

Your life may seem mundane and maybe you are doing small things by the world’s standards. You may be obscure and poor and hidden. Maybe you are changing a baby’s diaper, or maybe caring for an elderly parent. And while you’ll never receive recognition for these things, an nobody seems to notice or care, God does see and notice. In fact, you are His servant doing His bidding right there as you feed that baby in the middle of the night, and as you calm that anxious loved one with Alzheimers.

Mary taught us that the ordinary, as well as the extraordinary, are to be embraced as “unto the Lord” and as “from the Lord.” This should teach us to say, with Mary, “Yes, Lord. Anything. Everything. Whatever you think is best for me.”

Mary held the “The Prince of Peace” in her physical arms. We have something better: We are “in Him” and have Him in our hearts.

Col. 3:1-3 “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

This Christmas, why not hand over that thing that has toyed with you and robbed you of your joy for so long. Why not meditate on the Prince of Peace and the one who did so much to bring peace with God to your life, heart, and eternity? Like Mary, why not trust God with everything and proclaim yourself a handmaiden/servant of God?

Why did we allow that small thing to steal our joy and peace again? What can threaten our peace now?

Do You Want Perfect Happiness?

Do you want to be happy in world of stress, strife, anxiety and depression?  Here’s how.

Matthew chapter  5, the famous sermon on the mount, covers it -living a truly blessed and fulfilled life, that is. It may seem upside down to most. It doesn’t include fame, fortune, ease, luxury or self promotion. Quite the opposite, in fact.

When Jesus used the word “blessed” the word  carried the meaning of “divine joy and perfect happiness.”

Wiersbe explains,

The word was not used for humans; it describes the kind of joy experienced only by the gods or the dead. It implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency and did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness. This is what the Lord offers those who trust Him!

God tells us how we can have this joy and perfect happiness, and I love this because it shows that our happiness is not dependent on our circumstances.  Happiness is not the absence of life’s trials and storms. We can be perfectly at peace in the midst of the biggest storms in life, KNOWING that it is Christ who is with us, allowing the storm, and the very one who will see us through the storm and all the while, will use the storm for our benefit, if we trust Him and hold on to Him through it all.

If you want divine joy and perfect happiness:

  • you  will be poor in spirit, or humble enough to see yourself before God as you really are.
  • you will mourn over your sin. You’ll see it as God sees it, and agree that it needs to go.(mortify, put off the flesh) When we do mess up,  we seek to make it right, not only with God, but with the one we sinned against. (you cannot be right with God if you refuse to make things right when you have wronged others!)
  • you are meek, which means that you are not easily disturbed by the sin committed against you. It  means that even though you could, by right, avenge yourself, you don’t.
  • you hunger for God’s word, and are satisfied. You read it, study it, meditate on it, and let it renew your mind.
  • you are merciful, and willing to extend mercy, because you have received mercy.
  • you are pure in heart. Pure verses unpure, stained, tainted. Motives are checked against God’s word.
  • you are a peacemaker, verses a trouble maker. Having experienced God’s peace, you ARE at peace and have a sweetness of spirit, so you can act as an instrument of God’s peace. Huge mood swings,  irrational fears, emotions or outbursts all indicate that there is a lack of peace in your spirit.
  • you are persecuted for your righteousness.  This verse is talking about those who are doing the right things, with the right motives, and still you are being persecuted for their good testimony. Many people believe that they have a good testimony. A testimony is what you say about yourself. But, what about your reputation? That is what other people say about you and your life.

Would they say you are characterized by these things?

Humility, sorrow over sin, meekness, a hunger for God’s word, mercy, being a peacemaking woman verses someone who offends and causes divisions among women, sweetness of spirit, righteous in word and deed.

This is a tall order, isn’t it? Yet, it is what leads to a charmed, blessed life in Christ.

Blooming Between A Rock and A Hard Place

Yesterday, I walked out onto my front patio and noticed a little surprise.

Peter also mentioned them- little pansies growing between our foundation and our blue stone patio.

I saw them again this morning, and thought “How is it thriving there? Blooming between a “rock and a hard spot?” The spigot from our hose is right above it dripping cold water on it…drip, drip, drip.

We can bloom in our environment as well. The conditions don’t have to be perfect. They may be harsh, cold and unexpected. They may not be what you planned. Maybe you have the continual dripping of  problems all around you. Maybe there is someone who is trying to throw cold water on you- trying to harm, undermine, insult or destroy you.  Trials cannot destroy us. (read that post here) And during them, we can still thrive, like my little pansies.

Thank you, Lord, for this example to me this morning, of  a little flower, blooming and doing what it is supposed to do, even in harsh conditions. May I praise you, even in the hard spots of life, and bloom and declare your glory.

 

Gratitude

 

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Colossians 3: 15 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed your were called in one body. And  be  thankful.”

A thankful heart is peaceful and content. In it, Christ is ruling and Christ is enough. Thankfulness flows and peace abounds when Christ is the final goal.

Stayed or Strayed?

Saturday, Peter took me for a day trip to Historic Deerfield, MA. We had a perfect day, and I know that it was a blessing from the hand of God. The foliage was beautiful, the family was happy. It was just what my heart needed.

It had been a rough week for a number of reasons and I was struggling to be content–yes, even after a week of meditating on contentment.  I was frustrated, and  upset with myself for knowing the right things to do, but failing to do them.

I “dutifully” opened my Bible to read before bed, and this is what I read:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trust in you.” Ps. 26:3

Needless to say that I knew right then and there that my state of unrest was due to one thing: my mind was “stayed” on other things. 

A quick  re-evaluation and refocus was all I needed to experience the peace promised to me. I needed to be “stayed.”  I needed to trust. God is God and I am His child. He always does what is good and right for me. God’s peace is “perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. ” (Matthew Henry’s Concise)  The only variable is my mind. 

Evaluate your heart. Are you at peace? If not, it could be a “warning” that your heart and mind are fixed on something other than Christ.