Staying Refreshed

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Staying refreshed. Yes, that’s my goal these days. I have felt such oppression of late to the point that I believe Satan is working overtime on me. Perhaps you’ve heard it in hints along the way in my writing.

I have felt overwhelmed with various deadlines and things that must be done, then mother’s hospitalization and move dropped in the middle of it all. I fretted over being so worried all the time. Worried about being worried. Is that like worried squared? Heavy laden, I guess the Scripture would say.

This morning when I woke up, I looked at the clock. Five minutes until the alarm goes off. I laid my head back on the pillow and whispered, “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I hadn’t done that in a while. It felt good.

       

Other verses of praise came rolling out of my mind and I had a wonderful worship time before the alarm interrupted me.

Maybe this holy moment came because we were talking about the fourth commandment in Bible Study this week—Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. How He loves to have holy moments with us.

I found this passage from Philippians to spur me on.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let you gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Philippians 4:4-5

When I meet a new person and they seem to fumble with my name, I say, “Joyce, as in rejoice, rejoice!” I love that verse. But where did that next sentence come from? I didn’t remember that. “Let you gentleness be evident.” Oh dear, I hope that’s true. Do I show gentleness? To all? Big order.

If you back up a few verses for the context, Paul is getting after two ladies in the fellowship who are not so much “in fellowship.” Paul is saying that our rejoicing needs to show in our gentle attitudes. “The Lord is near.” Hmm, does that mean God is looking over your shoulder? No, likely Paul meant the Lord is near to help you.

Then here it comes!

DO NOT BE ANXIOUS, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Nothing new here, friends. He says it over and over in His word—pray. In those anxious times, pray. Along with your petition, give thanks. The results?

       

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Is that beautiful or what? Peace. The kind that transcends all understanding. Flow-all-over-you kind of peace. Peace that protects and guards your heart, your emotions. Peace that guards and protects your mind and thinking. That’s flow-through-the-inside-of-you kind of peace. After all, He’s the Prince of Peace.

How do you get there? Prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. May that be our goal for staying refreshed in Him.

~ Joyce ~

Fruit of the Spirit – PEACE

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

If you should ever journey to Israel, the first greeting you will hear is “Shalom”—peace be with you.

We occasionally sing the little chorus,

I’ve got peace like a river,

I’ve got peace like a river,

I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.

As is often said for the Christ follower, peace is not just the absence of war; it is the presence of peace in your soul. Having the “peace fruit” means you have a sense of harmony and tranquility, a rest in your soul in spite of chaos in your life. While it is  always available, our awareness and benefit is once again dependent on staying connected to the “vine” (Jesus.)

At times, we become overwhelmed with work loads, responsibilities, activities, and expectations which crowd out peace.  Unresolved issues and worry, fretfulness and bitterness also serve as enemies to our peace.

As we allow the Spirit to grow that inner peace, it provides us a place to go when the storms and heavy winds of life try to overpower and bring defeat. I heard a beautiful illustration of this very thing.

Once there was a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists submitted their masterpieces, but the king narrowed it down to two paintings.

One picture had a calm lake that mirrored beautiful mountains complete with fluffy white clouds in a pale blue sky. Many thought this a perfect picture of peace. 

The second picture had rugged, bare mountains with an angry, dark sky full of torrential rain and lightning. A foaming waterfall rushed down the mountain. This did not look peaceful at all, but then the king noticed behind the waterfall a bush growing. In the bush, a mother bird had built a nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry waters, the mother bird sat on her nest—a picture of perfect peace.

The king chose the second picture, because, he said, “Peace does not mean a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.

A tip—when you feel overwhelmed, stop, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety. Try that right now. Close your eyes and as you breath deeply, say in your mind, “Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety. Inhale the Spirit, exhale anxiety.” Memorize it, practice it.

Peace is not a place, it is a person—Jesus Christ. While Jesus was at a dinner, a sinful woman wept and washed the feet of Jesus with her tears. He said to her,

“Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

Jesus explained things to His disciples before He was crucified.

“The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” John 14:26-27

When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the crucifixion, the first thing He said was,

Peace be with you.” John 20;19

Inhale the Spirit (of peace), exhale anxiety.

Shalom.

~ Joyce ~