I find myself distressed. But there is a simple solution with grand results. Jesus gives the solution in only 3 words.
We most often are moving and going so frantically that God’s peace and blessing cannot land upon us.
If God’s peace descends like a dove, I am all but swatting it away with my hectic grasping after success as defined by the American
My priority is to be concentrated on Abba. His closeness is my ultimate good, and not my success as is demanded of me. I spend too much of my heart, mind, energy, and time comparing myself to others.
Abba, I need you. I need you to be close to my heart and mind. I need your peace if I can just sit still long enough that it might descend upon me.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the LORD God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your work. - Psalm 73:25-28
"Whom have I in heaven but You?" If I got to heaven and received all the promises of heaven, but God was not there, would I still want to go? If Jesus were not there, do I still even want it? I want to live a life now where I desire nothing but Jesus. I want god to be my only desire; not his blessings, not peace, not joy, but God alone. I want my heart to live a life by which God IS MY FULL PORTION forever; where my heart and mind fully realize that my greatest good in life is nearness to God.
I desire for God to be my greatest desire; not only His blessings, joy, peace, or provision. All those things are OF GOD, and that means peace, joy, provision, and refuge will only be found in Him.
This means that God is strength and refuge. He will only be MY refuge when i am found near and in Him.
Soul, I will address you as the Psalmists do. Oh my soul within me, why do you continue to focus on the discouragement, shame, and self-defeat? Why do you not focus on Jesus and the rest he gives to you? (Matthew 11:28-29) Why do you believe the lies of the Imposter within you? Listen to the truth of Jesus' words, come to Him, and he will give you rest.
In Jesus, you find your rest. In Jesus, you find rescue and refuge from your troubles. In Jesus, you will find rest you crave and desire. Oh heart within me, you are under the weight of defeat, and you need rest. Only in Jesus will you find rest from self-defeat, hopelessness, and shame. Listen up, soul! You need rest! Only when you are focused on Jesus will you not be be focused on the destructive lies and inner-dialogue.
Oh my soul, come to Jesus this morning [and tomorrow....and the next day], and you WILL find rest.
A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to speak at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. Their theme for the year was PEACE and their theme verse was Philippians 4:7. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ6uLt-VnQo&w=560&h=315]
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7
This peace that surpasses all understanding is the peace OF GOD. This is a God who is immanent, transcendent and omnipresent. So peace of a God like that is available NOW. This peace is here and available now.
The problem is we fight and resist it.
Why would we resist that sort of peace? More importantly, HOW do we resist that peace?
That is answered in verse 6. If I am not experiencing peace that is available to me in my life, it is likely because I am anxious in everything and praying in nothing.
God, I am strongest when I am in your peace. I am strongest when I rest in a peace only you and your presence can give to me. Please help me know your peace. Help my heart, mind, and soul experience peace only you can give to me. I am weak, timid, and weary, but I can know strength in peace if you give to me both. I cannot give myself real peace. Only your gospel working change in me can give me peace where I would not otherwise know peace; in the places I would normally stress, freak out, give up, and fail.
Help me know peace in those moments and in those places. Change my weary and bedraggled heart to know peace. Give me peace and change me that I may know a strength I cannot attain myself.
When we discovered we were pregnant again our world was jostled a great deal more than we imagined it would be. We knew one day we wanted another, but NOW?! That was not in our plan or expectation. We were very nervous, anxious, and fearful as to HOW that was ever going to work. Where would the finances come for this? Where would childcare come while we both have to work to support our family? Is this the best neighborhood for raising a family? Should we move to a better more expensive place? How could this work?
We came to worship together in that same way we all come to worship some days. Our minds and hearts clouded and distanced with all of life's impossibilities and troubles. It makes our worship feel faint and fake.
Once the opening chord of Forever Reign is begun, God met us in that place. We sang the words "You are peace. You are peace when my fear is crippling," and our worship became sincere and authentic in a moment's time.
Months later (say about 9 or so), we were still without a name for our second daughter who would be born the next day. In a seemingly unrelated moment, we would name her Haddisen PEACE.
A couple months after she was given to us, my wife made the connection that was there all along. "How incredible that the moment we were so worried, we sang that song and now her name is PEACE!" God must have known.
Yesterday, on Father's Day, we had both of our girls dedicated. It is nothing magical or mystical. It is a symbol by which we set apart or dedicate our children to God. It is also when we are dedicated as parents. We are saying in this moment that we will raise our children to know Jesus. To say "These are Your children entrusted to us, and we will honor You in that."
We came into the worship center and stood to worship together as a family. I held Haddisen Peace in my arms and we heard God whisper his outrageous love for us in the opening chord of Forever Reign.
Life has changed dramatically again! We went from being Tonya, PC, and Bryleigh to being "The Walkers". Instead of being attended by Bryleigh, I entered into the stage of life of being flanked by "the girls". On Friday, February 24, 2012 we welcomed into the world and our life, Haddisen Peace Walker. I believe that you speak life into your children's name. You speak meaning into their name and life.
"Addison" means 'son of Adam' or earth. We added the H because we love the nickname "Haddie" but do not like the names traditionally paired with it (Harriet or Henrietta). We also love that Haddisen is a unique name we have not seen elsewhere.
As a whole, Haddisen Peace is very redemptive as a name. The meaning of Haddisen draws you back to God's original and peaceful plan for His world and His people. There was perfection and true 'shalom', but of course, with generations of choice, humanity has terribly broken the orignal state God put in place.
Followers of Jesus and believers look to scripture without getting stuck in the cynicism and skepticism typical of our world's outlook. They actually believe and take God at His Word that he is making all things new (Rev. 21:5). They believe God will restore and repair what is broken. Not only WILL but IS! They believe peace (shalom) is possible.
My hope for Haddisen Peace is that she will live her life with a restoration lens through which she sees herself, God, and God's world. I hope she learns to see life not as it is, but as it ought to be.
In Amos 5:4, God says, "Seek me and live." It was a reminder to people who were trying to go back to places of blessing...places where God had once blessed them. It is a reminder that it is the Lord himself and not the places of blessing the children of God are to seek.
How often do I think, "If I could just go back to one place where I had once known such a connection to God!" If I could just go back to Anderson, IN or Meridian, MS. If I could just go back to such and such a place, I would be connected to God's heart again.
God says, "Do not go back to Bethel, Gilgal, or Beersheba." Do not go back to Anderson, Meridian, or Santa Cruz.
God says, "SEEK ME AND LIVE."
It takes intentional hearts to learn and remember my goal is God himself, not joy, nor peace, nor even blessings, but only my God himself.