P E A C E Like a River in the Midst of War
There is great peace that can flow through your life when you come to accept the fact that Someone bigger than you is in control of this universe. But yet, just knowing this or saying this does not insure peace, does it? Why, because peace and rest are not the normal positions of our human bodies, our minds, or our hearts - not when we live in such a hectic, turmoil, drama filled, chaotic world! In fact, a "cabillion" dollar industry that caters to our need for vacations and escapes only prove this thought...LIFE is STRESSFUL and this WORLD is STRESSFUL.
So how in the world are we supposed to dwell in rest in the midst of War? Can peace really be one of the strongest character attribute of our lives? I say, "Yes!".
And here is HOW: But first, will you let me challenge you to think in a different way than perhaps you have thought in the past? Here we go...
How do you live in peace when there is war around you?
1. Labor! What! Work harder? No. This is what I mean. The Bible encourages us in Hebrew 4:11 by instructing, "Let us then make every effort (labor, strive, do our best) to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience."
PART 1: "Let us make every effort to enter " means, I need to do what I can to rest in the right things...how?
When you are having a hard day - give thanks for what is going right.
When things are black around you - call a friend and go out with someone who will encourage you to see things differently.
When you are tired and weary - just simply go to bed and stop talking.
When you are overwhelmed with how the day is going - stop and pray and tell God what you need.
When you do not know what to do about something - read a book and read The Bible to gain wisdom. Pray and ask God for help.
When you are lonely and you have no one - Listen to a pod cast, and inspirational speaker on You Tube, visit a church, or join activities on purpose to connect with others.
PART 2: "...to enter that rest so that no one will fall into the SAME PATTERN of disobedience."
You mean there is a rest that is the right rest and it is possible for me to live in a "wrong rest and in wrong patterns" a place that I was never created to live? Yes! And when your in that place of wrong rest your very mind, body, and soul begins to experience the same emotions and stresses that are linked to when we do wrong (disobedience).
How can when we know when we are in the wrong place? We will know, when our spirit, our body, and our life begins to feel all the feelings that go with living in disobedience ( the way we were not created to live): unsettledness, guilt, stress, shame, disgust, anxiety, stress, tension, or even anger...
How can I get back to feeling peace and rest when life is so busy? First, you need have a true understanding of what The Bible says about that striving. Second, reckon (agree) that it is truth. Third, make a conscious decision to change your thinking every time the wrong feelings begin to creep in and then finally, work on staying in the right position by agreeing that God, who is bigger than you, is in control.
What does the Word say about wrong patterns? Let me show you. In the Old Testament the High Priests stood, they worked, they sacrificed, and they followed the Law daily because a lot of work had to be done in order for there to be "rightness", God's acceptance, forgiveness and so on. But in the New Testament this wrong pattern or system of works, striving, law and "doing" in order for there to be rightness, God's acceptance, forgiveness, peace, joy, strength, victory...stopped with Jesus. The New Testament passage, John 19:28 says when talking about the crucifixion, "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst".
Also, in the New Testament, Jesus when he was crucified declared, in John 19: 30, "It is finished".
And as the greatest example to us, Jesus himself is SEATED in Heavenly places. Ephesians 2 5-7 tells us "even when we were dead in our transgressions, Jesus 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 ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus".…soooo
If Jesus Himself declared the work (of trying to attain... in our own strength) was done and if He Himself is seated in a position of rest, shouldn't we be too?
Absolutely YES! God loves you and He has provided a solution that is meant to help you stay, live, and dwell in peace. That solution is: to rest in His Son, His Strength, His Spirit and His work on the cross. He has already done the work - it is finished! Seek Him first and then do what has to be done with an attitude of obedience and victory rather than an attitude of panic and urgency. We should never be lazy and we should never stop working on relationships, personal growth, and our mental health; but, in doing so, we should work from a place of peace and rest and not our own strength. When we work in our own strength, our lives literally look like we are living while feeling dead inside. You know what I mean, the "not fulfilled life". The "exhausted self - created escape" life, or the anxious life that produces temporary insanity moments.
Then how can you change this? Make a clear, conscious , on purpose decision to....
1. TRUST! That God knows today, He know what was going to happen, He is in your midst.
2. TRUST that God is working on your behalf and for your good and that what is happening RIGHT NOW or what has happened IN THE PAST is going to be used to strengthen you, better you, move answered prayer into your lives, or open different doors.
3. CONFESS what is right. REMEMBER where your seated. CAST your cares on Him
4. PRAY and ask the Holy Spirit to help you and tell you what you can do.
5. Listen, journal, read the word, wait, seek Godly counsel.
6. THEN, with all diligence, do what you can do. Keep working on what is right. Stay mindful of who He is and who you are not. Keep being persistent - give thanks and stay mindful of your heart.
7. Stay in peace, choose peace, choose to be quiet, choose to rest.
8. BREATH! Do all you can to stay in peace so that you will not fall into the same pattern of disobedience. God died so you could be free. He loves you, He cares for you, He is real, and He does do miracles today. Keep moving forward in His strength and in His peace - On Purpose - You can make it if you don't give up. With persistence, even the snail made it to the ark. YOU can too!
All my love, prayers and cheers for you,