Finding Peace

I haven’t posted anything for quite a while.  Sometimes it’s easy to be too busy to spend time doing more than maintaining.  I think that is what I have been doing.  But I find that just maintaining doesn’t “feed me” enough to do more and so I lose focus on what is really important.  Following God and doing His will for my life is what is truly important. When I’m not following closely enough I lose “peace”.  I needed to get back on track and follow Him as close as I can get.  I need that peace only He provides.

Where do we find peace when we don’t have it.  Only in the Word of God.  Jesus continually spoke about peace and reminded us that He is our peace.

John 14:27 (NLT) tells us:   “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Again in Phillipians 4:6-7 (NLT) we are reminded:  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

If you question how to get God’s peace we can find this in 1 Peter.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NKJV) Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Here I had to include 2 different versions.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NLT) So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Remember who Jesus is and what He has (already) provided for us.  God’s desire is to bless us.  How awesome is that?

John 10:10 (NLT) 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My (Jesus) purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Ephesians 3:20 (MSG) 20-21 God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT) The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

God is always looking for people who are committed to Him.

Jesus has guaranteed peace for us.

John 16:33  (NKJV) 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 14:1-4  (MSG)  “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”

John 14:15-17 (MSG) “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

John 14:26-27 (MSG) “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

  • Don’t look at where you fall short.  Look at where He (God) meets us and provides what we need.
  • God didn’t call me or you to do what anyone else is doing, only what He tells us personally to do.  I (we) only fail if I (we) don’t do what He has told us.

Prayer: Lord help me to do what You tell me to do today.

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What are you doing with the seed? Friday Bible Study

Matthew 13 (NLT)

13 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

14 This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.

15 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’

16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.

18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.

20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.

22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.

23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

One of the wonderful things about reading the Bible is that if you read it expecting to receive from God you always  get what you are expecting.  There are even (many) times when you read because your know you should without consciously expecting revelation (God revealing things to you) and still you get amazing insights and direction for your life.   I have read this parable and heard it taught for many years but, when I read it yesterday I saw several things in it that I had not realized before.

The first thing that the Lord showed me here is that all of us at one time or another can be in any of the growth place with the (seed) Word.  I have always seen this parable with each part being a different person.  It really opened my eyes to realize that each of us could at different times receive the Word in different ways.  This also made me realize that we have a choice in changing how we receive the Word of God and how much “growth” we have, or what our blessing is from it: no growth, thirty, sixty or hundredfold.

Isaiah 55:11 (AMP)  So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

The Bible tells us that God’s Word won’t be useless or without reward but we (personally) may not get a “harvest” of blessings from it if we don’t receive the message at all.

The second thing I realized is that we can change the “soil” of the word in us) We have a choice to accept and work against the things in life that cause the seed to not bear fruit (or blessing).  How much fruit  is produced may depend on the ground, the watering, the weather, fertilizing, how deep the roots are and weeding.  This takes work, but just as when you plant a garden or grow anything, the results are worth the effort.

  • Some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.

  • Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock and the plants wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots

  • Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.

  • The seed that fell on good soil produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

Where are you right now?  What happens when you hear the Word of God?
How do you respond and what is the harvest are you getting?  What can we do if we aren’t “good soil”?

Joshua 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

  • Adjust your “soil”– Change your focus  – are you watching a lot of TV? Give your time to the Word of God.
  • Don’t let the “birds” steal the Word from you – anything that goes against what the Word says can do this – negative thoughts, outside influences can steal the Word from you.
  • Water and fertilize the soil – continue to feed on the Word of God in every way available to you.  Don’t just “snack” get filled up.
  • Get your roots deep.  Don’t settle for the “milk” go for the “meat”.  This is what will build up you faith and give you strength when the enemy comes to steal the word from you.  Confess the word you read, claim it for you personally.
  • Don’t let any thorns grow.  Don’t allow unforgiveness, bitterness and strife come into your life.  If they are there already, pray and ask God how to eliminate them.  Most of the time it will be making a decision on your part to reject them.
  • This will take some work but as with planting a garden, the results are worth the effort.  Just think of that harvest you will enjoy.
  • Good soil – cultivate that “good soil” in your heart:  focus on God and His Word, read the word (daily), speak the word (not other words).  Get your roots deep.

Proverbs 3:1-6 (NLT)

3 My child,never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart.

2 If you do this, you will live many years, and your life will be satisfying.

3 Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.

4 Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

Trust in the Lord and in His word.  Keep the word always in you mouth, in your eyes and in your heart.  Make you confession what you lack.  When you have an area of need, confess the word to change the circumstance.

God’s will for you is healing.

Matthew 8:7 (NKJV) And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

Matthew 8:16 (NKJV) When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,

Luke 6:19 (NKJV) And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.

Luke 9:2 (NKJV) He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Luke 9:37-45 (NKJV)

37 Now it happened on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, that a great multitude met Him.

38 Suddenly a man from the multitude cried out, saying, “Teacher, I implore You, look on my son, for he is my only child.

39 And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him so that he foams at the mouth; and it departs from him with great difficulty, bruising him.

40 So I implored Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.”

41 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.”

42 And as he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. Then Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father.

God’s will for us has always been healing.  You find God healing throughout the Old Testament and when Jesus came He healed all who would receive.  You can’t find a place where Jesus would not heal someone.  He was always willing.  Even when He (Jesus) sent the disciples out a part of what they were to do was to heal the sick, whatever type of sickness they had.  He never said this is to teach you a lesson or draw someone closer to God the Father.  Healing takes faith though and we have to believe that healing is for us.  Make it personal.  Take it just like you would take medicine.  Jesus provided healing with His sacrifice on the cross.

Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV) But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.

1 Peter 2:24(NKJV) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

Choose healing.  Look up and study healing scriptures.  Confess them for yourself.  Believe and receive.  When you ask for healing, He has already said I WILL.  Don’t let yourself be discouraged if it doesn’t happen immediately, you may have to undo some old beliefs.  Keep your faith out there, keep confessing what the Word tells you and take your healing.  He wants to bless you.

With God everything is Possible

Matthew 19:21-30 (NLT)

21 Jesus told him,“If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

24 I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

25 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.

26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

27 Then Peter said to him, “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”

28 Jesus replied,“I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.

30 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

Some of the messages from Jesus are hard for us to understand with the natural mind, they seem to be opposite of all we know.  That’s because they are.  We have to understand them through the spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

How can we give up everything and still have a hundred times more? By faith.  Jesus did not give this message (to sell all) to everyone, just to the one He was speaking to at the time.  A man who was so tied to his possessions that he could not follow the Lord.  We don’t usually have our possessions, they have us.  When this is the case the only way we can truly put our faith in God is to be willing to give them up. I don’t know that this means a person always has to give everything up but they do need to be willing to give everything. Some people start out serving the Lord with nothing, in that case what they have to give is themselves.  This is the most important sacrifice.

The disciples had already done this but did not realize that the sacrifices they had already made were what would bring them the greatest reward.

Matthew 19:27-29 (NLT)

27 Then Peter said to him, “We’ve (already) given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”

28 Jesus replied,“I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life.

We don’t give up (things) to get a reward but God does reward those who are willing to sacrifice to follow Him.  The key here is to follow Him.  Allow Him to guide you, instruct you and keep you.  Put your faith in Him and trust Him to take care of you.  Don’t get distracted by looking for a reward.

This passage begins with the man asking how to be saved.  If this is our goal we have to follow God’s plan.  Give yourself to Him, ask Him to be your Lord and Savior, follow Him and His plan for you, and give Him all you have: spirit, soul, body and possessions (as He leads you).

Matthew 19:26 (NLT) Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.”

Let Him decide the reward.  It is sure to be more than we could ever ask or think. Be obedient and serve the Lord wherever you are.

Matthew 19:30 (NLT) But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

Ephesians 3:18-20 (NLT)

18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Worship the Lord at All Times

Psalm 9 (NLT)

1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.

2 I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

3 My enemies retreated;

they staggered and died when you appeared.

4 For you have judged in my favor; from your throne you have judged with fairness.

5 You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have erased their names forever.

6 The enemy is finished, in endless ruins; the cities you uprooted are now forgotten.

7 But the Lordreigns forever, executing judgment from his throne.

8 He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.

9 The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, OLord, do not abandon those who search for you.

11 Sing praises to the Lordwho reigns in Jerusalem. Tell the world about his unforgettable deeds.

12 For he who avenges murder cares for the helpless. He does not ignore the cries of those who suffer.

13 Lord, have mercy on me. See how my enemies torment me. Snatch me back from the jaws of death.

14 Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem’s gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me

15 The nations have fallen into the pit they dug for others. Their own feet have been caught in the trap they set.

16 The Lord is known for his justice. The wicked are trapped by their own deeds. Quiet Interlude (Selah).

17 The wicked will go down to the grave. This is the fate of all the nations who ignore God.

18 But the needy will not be ignored forever; the hopes of the poor will not always be crushed.

19 Arise, O Lord! Do not let mere mortals defy you! Judge the nations!

20 Make them tremble in fear, O Lord. Let the nations know they are merely human.

No matter where you are in life or what is going on, make the conscious choice to WORSHIP THE LORD.  The heading for this passage is:

“A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Death of the Son.”

obviously David wrote this psalm at a hard time in his life, yet he chose to worship the Lord.  He didn’t ignore the bad things that were happening to him but even in the midst of them He saw that,”The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”

We can do this also.  Not matter what is happening in your life, worship the Lord, trust Him and turn your cares over to Him.  As you worship, He will raise you up and at the very least you will feel better.  Put you hope and focus on Him.  The Lord is worthy of our praise.

 

Rest

Matthew 11:28-30 (AMP)

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.

29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet for your souls.

30 For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Are you tired, stressed, worn out and anxious?  God doesn’t want us to be that way.  Part of what Jesus provided for us is rest.  The Lord wants us to give Him our cares and worries, those things that keep us awake and night and make us feel stressed and anxious during the day.  This is addressed several times throughout the New Testament.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV) 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Rest.

SABBATHnoun

1. The day which God appointed to be observed by the Jews as a day of rest from all secular labor or employments, and to be kept holy and consecrated to his service and worship.

2. Intermission of pain or sorrow; time of rest.

The Lord planned the world so that we would get the rest we need.  He worked for 6 days and then rested on the 7th day.  We should do this also.  If you are feeling physically worn out.  It could be because you do not rest when you need to.  Make sure to take a Sabbath day of rest this week.