Tag Archives: peace

Finding Peace When You Need It Most

By Kevin Howell

Finding peace
photo via Compfight Creative Commons

I’ve been reading the Bible from The Message translation lately just to provide a fresh perspective on the scriptures. The Message is one of the more modern versions of scripture, translated from the original language by Eugene Peterson. Petersen decided to write the translation because he felt adults in his congregation “weren’t feeling the vitality and directness” of scriptures, and weren’t “captured and engaged” by them as early readers of the scriptures were.

Well recently, a certain scripture captured me.

God knows exactly where we are at — emotionally, spiritually, mentally. And sometimes, He just uses a quote, a song, a message, and in this case, a scripture to ease our souls. I usually study the Word from a Bible app, and each day when I open it, a scripture of the day pops up on the screen. I usually ignore it. I treat it like those annoying pop-up ads you get when you’re on the internet.

But for some reason, this time, I decided to read it — Isaiah 40:27-31. It was in the Message translation.

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts…

Sometimes circumstances in life distract us from God. We focus on what’s around us instead of who’s in us, and who’s for us. We look at what we lack instead of Whom we have. Sometimes when reading about the unbelief of the Israelis in scripture, I shake my head at their doubt. But I realize I’m the same way. I complain. I whine. I think God lost track of me.

But just when I get tired — not physically tired, but mentally tired, emotionally tired, and spiritually tired — God does something. He doesn’t intervene in a huge, miraculous, sea-splitting, water-walking, five-loaves-multiplying kind of way. But He’ll encourage me with subtle words and actions. He’ll remind me, in unique ways, He’s here, He knows what’s going on, and He’s in control.

God knows how to push our buttons — in good ways. He knows what will bring us peace, individually and specifically. I can be mired in simple stint of loneliness, yet the God who controls the universe, watches over the billions of residents of Earth, and reigns over the creatures of Heaven, finds it vital to remind me I’m not alone. He’ll use phone calls, texts, Facebook messages from friends to reveal the loving fellowship in my life. It reminds me of a quote from author Mark Batterson:

“God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is also great because nothing is too small.”

So, if you’re like me, and you’ve been distracted by the issues of life lately. Or, if you’ve grown tired within, stop trippin. He’s come through for you before, He’ll come through again. He’s never left your side, even if it feels that way.

Encouragement is on its way. Relief is on its way. As the rest of the scripture in Isaiah 40 says, “Those who wait upon God get fresh strength.”

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Time to Give Up

By Yodit Kifle

photo by Erin Lea via Compfight
photo by Erin Lea via Compfight

Not a day passes by where we don’t use something we have no idea how it works, but we know it works. We get up in the morning, we turn the shower on and take a shower. We get in our cars, put our keys in the ignition and drive to our destination. We stop at the ATM, put our debit cards in and get money out. Simple as that.

I doubt there was ever a moment when you thought to yourself that because you didn’t understand how your shower worked, or how your car turned on, or how the ATM could generate money that you would refuse to use it.

You simply know you’ve seen them work enough times to trust you don’t need to know how they work.  It’s safe to say that you’ve pretty much given up your right to understand.

We spend our lives seeking to make sense of the things that take place in our lives.  In our humanity, we desire to understand the why’s, the how’s, the when’s and where’s.  There are thousands of books written on how we can figure this life out. The world says, figure it out and you will find peace, when in reality, figuring it all out was never God’s plan for our lives.

One of my favorite promises of God is:

 “Do not be anxious about anything. But in everything, by prayer and petition — with thanksgiving — make your requests known unto God and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

A peace that surpasses all understanding can’t be restricted by our limited minds. The key to receiving this peace is our willingness to give up our right to understand. Life will throw curveball after curveball, and we may never know the why or the how or the when or the where.

Many of us are stuck asking God why a relationship didn’t work out.  Why we didn’t get into this school? When will we get this opportunity? How will He work out this situation with our family? We bombard Him with question after question simply seeking to understand. We’ve found ourselves at the footstep of frustration, bitterness, unforgiveness, and distrust. Needing to understand will keep us from living a life outside of our understanding — restricting God of want He wants to do in us and for us. He knows our understanding won’t guard our minds or hearts but only open them up to chaos and confusion.

“Trust God with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all of your ways and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

When we resolve to give up our right to understand, it will not only bring us to the footsteps of freedom and joy, but it will allow us to walk through their doors — a freedom that experiences abundant life and a joy that endures hardships. We won’t need everything to make complete sense because we sense God’s presence in the midst of it all.

We serve an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God. We have to start believing He truly knows more, sees more and can do more than we could ever. And the beauty of serving Him is He desires to His peace available to us —not the world’s peace—but His peace. This peace trumps anything this world can falsely give us because it can’t be shaken. It can’t be manipulated. It can’t be diluted. It’s pure. It’s real. It’s His.

It’s important to know that giving up your right to understand does not mean giving up your desire to know God and His ways. It’s acknowledging His ways are higher than yours and the ways He shows you and leads you to are ways that will always keep you dependant on Him.

In our desire to know God, we begin to know His heart towards us. And when you know the heart of someone, you never need an explanation. So know the heart of God so you can stop asking to understand. His heart desires to give you grace. His heart desires to prosper you and not bring you harm. His heart will never leave you or forsake you. His heart seeks to mature you and give you a peace that surpasses all understanding, so remain close to His heart so you can begin to release the grip of understanding you’ve held onto so tightly.

So are you ready to give up your rights? Will you jump in to your life today like you would jump on a plane or a car — never seeking to truly understand every detail of how it works, but willing to trust that it will work — and will you trust God that everything that has happened, is happening, or will happen is all going to work out for you good? (Romans 8:28)

Let’s give up today so He can give us His peace.

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Moving in the Stillness

By Yodit KifleMoving in the Stillness

It’s the rush of the New Year. The excitement hasn’t worn off quite yet. Our minds are still fixed on the goals and resolutions we’ve put in place and we are ready to charge towards them.  We are determined to make this a year of movement and we’ve been encouraged about that.

Before we thrust ourselves into the busyness of this year, I believe there is a goal we need to set:

Be still and know that He is God! (Psalm 46:10)

You’re probably wondering how we can deem this year to be a year of movement yet set the goal to be still. We often equate being still with not moving. But when God tells us to be still and know that He is God, I’m beginning to see there is more movement than we think.

BE STILL

I am sure that there will be times during this year where we will allow our “doing” to consume us to the point of feeling overwhelmed.  I am confident that we will in some way experience disappointments and confusion as well. However, to heed God’s command to be still and know He is God is His way of preventing these moments from shaking our foundation and taking us to a place that we don’t need to be. We don’t need to be overwhelmed. We don’t need to sit in confusion.

When we set it in our hearts to consistently be still and know Him, we invite His presence to quiet our soul — the seed of our thoughts and emotions. Yet at the same time, we are allowing His Spirit to awaken our spirit to be sensitive to His voice so that we can move in the direction He is leading us.  Our soul can often get in the way of what our spirit needs to hear. It’s when we learn how to be still that God helps us align them.

Being still is not to restrict our motion but to boost our faith. It’s to help us see that God knows us — intimately — and what God knows, He watches over.

Now, He’s asking us to know Him more because what we know, we are willing to trust and relinquish control to. What we know will keep us moving. It will keep us alive.

Being still and knowing that He is God is a chance for that exchange to take place.

KNOW HIM

What you know enough of will help you refuse that which comes against your knowledge. Know Him more so that you can refuse the enemies scheme to kill, steal, and destroy.

So know His faithfulness (2 Timothy 2:13); Know His grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). Know His promise (Psalm 119:50). Know His love (Jeremiah 31:3). Know His peace (Isaiah 26:3-4). Know His hope (Hebrews 6:19); Know His way (Psalm 32:8).

He wants us to know that He is God, not just intellectually, but practically, spiritually, and emotionally.  So as an encouragement to all of us, as we are in the mind-set to fully charge towards all the amazing things in our hearts to do, let us first set the goal to consistently be still and know He is God.

And there is no need to be afraid of being still — it will only keep us moving forward.  So let our soul be still and let our spirit move in Him and by Him.

 

Yodit Kifle is a young woman passionate about God and the things of God. She started a ministry called WITHIN — www.thewithingroup.ning.com — focused on connecting young women to embrace sisterhood and encouraging them to become all that they are called to be. Connect with her: withinministry (at)gmail.com

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