An Unusual Peace

My mother and I have the joy of living close to the sea.  Nearly everyday we drive along the seaside. There are seagulls; and lately with the sunshine, there are kite surfers, children playing, picnics, and dog walkers.  Such a feeling of the hope of summer coming.

Today as we were driving along, returning from our own time of dog walking, I glanced at the people and activity along the shore.  That’s when a memory of long ago came back to me.  I had gone down to the beach just to find a place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the wind and sea and sun.  I remember that as I sat there I began to pay close attention to the people all around me.  In fact, I would say I felt drawn to them but I didn’t know why.  I tried to turn my attention back to seagulls diving, and waves rolling onto the shore, but no, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the people.  That’s when I sensed God whispering into my heart, “pray for them.”  What?  I don’t know these people nor have I ever even met them.  I considered my reasoning to be valid, but still, the whispers of Father were unmistakable.  “Pray for them.”  So I sat there, fastening my eyes on one person after another, praying for them.

You might be wondering what I prayed since I knew nothing about them.  It occurred to me that I can pray a blessing on someone without knowing anything about them at all.  We can all do that for anyone, whether we know them or not, and what a truly wonderful and loving thing to do.

The Lord said something to Moses about this in Numbers 6:23-27: “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.  May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.  May the Lord show His favor and give you peace.’  Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”  Isn’t that an amazing thought?  As we pray a blessing on someone, it rouses the blessing of Father upon them.  God has given us the amazing privilege of interacting with Him, through prayer, to bring blessing upon someone else.

As we drove along the sea today, with that memory of the whispers of God to me so long ago, I smiled and thanked Him for the habit that formed in my life from that moment.  I pray for people in airports, while I’m driving along, when I see others walking their dogs, or even just glancing out my widow and seeing someone walking along the sidewalk.

When I do that, you know what I have discovered that happens to me?  My own worries and troubles seem to fade into something manageable.  At times, life’s struggles loom large, often, seemingly insurmountable.  When I pray a blessing on someone, it brings my own concerns into the proper perspective of, “with God, nothing will be impossible.”  Luke 1:37  God has designed a way for us to have an unusual peace; a peace that comes through a desire to bless someone else.  It gives us fresh strength, a renewed joy, and hope that the troubles of today, are safe and manageable in the hands of our loving Heavenly Father.

 

Knowing Your Identity

In this world we live in, proper identification of who you are is a must.   Picture ID’s are often required in banks, hotels, and other places of business.  Proving who you are is a must to keeping hold of your finances, your job opportunities, and your security.  Knowing who we are and proving who we are is key to stability in all our worldly affairs.

It is even more important in our spiritual world.  Our arch enemy, Satan, is always attempting to bring us down.  He tempts us, tells us lies about ourselves and others around us, and seeks to confuse us as to who we really are.  You see, if we keep our minds concentrated on the truth, that the same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is the same Holy Spirit who inhabits our being, then that is cause for Satan and his kingdom to tremble.  We have nothing to fear; Satan does, when we know who we are.

Apostle Paul wrote in Galations 2:20, “My old self has been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  When you and I remember our identification in Christ, then we also know from whom comes our power to conquer anything, to stand strong against temptations that would cause us harm, to move in peace when the world is swirling in storms of confusion, and grappling with all manner of madness that we see daily on any news channel.  When we know who we are; that our lives are hidden with Christ in God, then we walk forward in God’s strength.  We reason with God’s wisdom.  We make decisions with God’s guidance.  We hold our heads up courageously, no matter the name calling others may slander us with, all because we know who we are — children of the Most High.  Sons and daughters with a most amazing heavenly inheritance.

When we know who we are, there is no emotional onslaught that we cannot walk through in absolute victory because we know that “with God nothing shall be impossible.”   Luke 1:37.

Therefore, be courageous.  Be victorious.  Know who you are.

Paralyzed In Fear

You’ve probably heard stories of people in situations that so badly frightened them they could not move.  I once heard the very sad tale of a boy whose brother slipped in mud while walking along a riverbank that sent him sliding into the water.  When he fell, he hit his head on a rock so hard, he was knocked unconscious.  His brother, who was terribly frightened of water, was paralyzed in fear, rendering him unable to go down into the water to help his brother.

Hearing the boy standing on the bank crying out for help, people arrived on the scene to pull the unconscious boy out of the water but it was too late.  The brother had already drown.  To add to the sadness, the boy was not fully submerged.  His brother could easily have stepped down the bank and lifted his brother’s face out of the water until help arrived.  If not for fear the situation would have been vastly different.

God’s Word tells us that God is not the author of fear.  Therefore, fear that prohibits us from moving forward in a positive manner, comes from the enemy of God — from Satan himself.  This arch enemy of God is also the enemy of every follower of Jesus Christ.  Satan hates that very name and will use every tactic he can conjure up to make us ineffective.  Like all enemies he seeks to destroy and kill.  He wants to destroy success and joy, and to kill all hope and peace in our lives.  He whispers lies that, if we make the mistake to consider the lie, may paralyze us with such a fear that we choose not to walk in the direction that God has chosen for us.  After all, God’s destinations are not always known.  He often asks us just to take a step at a time, trusting the path we take to His leading.

The unknown can be fearful.  When we listen to our enemy, fear can take hold, paralyzing us in fear.  We become weak.  Joy leaves us.  Peace drains away.  Fear is such a joy killer.

“But with God nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37  

The key word in the above is “with.”  When we rely on our own strength to overcome our fear, it may never happen, but “with” God there is no path too difficult to travel.  “With God” we need fear no direction in which He leads.  We need fear no person or goal to meet.  The key is always — “with God.”

One Twig At A Time

I walked to our mailbox by the road to see if any mail had arrived.  As I was strolling along I looked up and noticed a bird’s nest balancing on a limb!  I stared in amazement!  There were no leaves to help it stay together, nor was it balanced between two limbs; it just rested atop one slim branch.  The wind was blowing, but there it rested securely.

I tried to imagine the bird that decided to build a home in just that spot. One twig at a time would have been put in place.  I don’t understand how it all came together, but I saw it with my own eyes — a beautiful nest.

As I contemplated further, the thought came to me that, that’s how it is when God puts it in our hearts to do something in particular.  Perhaps we tell ourselves that we’re not skilled enough or perhaps we say that someone else can do the job better than us.  Excuses can go on and on.  We want to do what God has put in our hearts to do, but the fear factor can put our efforts into slow motion.

What can we do?  How about, think of one twig at a time.  That’s how the bird built her nest.  Paul ministered to churches in many countries by traveling one day at a time.  Noah built an ark by putting together one board at a time.  Jesus fed 5000 people, one fish at a time.  John baptized in the Jordan River, one person at a time.  Mary gave birth to the Son of God by trusting in Him, one day at a time.  Peter preached to thousands, one crowd at a time.  David led his soldiers into victory, one battle at a time.

Too often, we scare ourselves with our own imagination.  We try to envision the outcome of our attempts.  It’s too big!  We might fail!  What will people think?  How will we ever accomplish the task we have been given to do?  We will accomplish what God asks of us, just like all the examples before us — one step at a time, one day at a time, one prayer at a time.

“For with God, nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37

The key to this verse is in the word, “with.”  It’s with God that we can do anything that He asks us to do.