Part : In Pursuit of Peace
Recently I spoke for a couple of sessions about peace, specifically planting seeds of peace. Recent studies about peace inspired me to share some thoughts and principles about peace with the ladies I teach in India. Is there anything more than peace that can seem more elusive today?
Because of the frequent mention of peace throughout Scripture, I believe there is great evidence that “peace” has always been sought for, among the lost world and yes, even among those that have the presence of God within their lives, within their very souls.
The word “peace” is found in the Scriptures 429 times, and that does not include similar words nor synonyms. God has given us a full well to draw from.
Being agitated or troubled is not necessarily an indication of low spiritual growth for the Christian, though this possibility must be considered, particularly when peace is not found for days, weeks, even months. Possibly King David, writer of many Psalms, is evidence enough that a spiritually minded person struggles with peace. The Psalms also evidence that peace can be found, in the midst of life’s greatest storms.
I mentioned “the times we live in.” Are these days like the days of Noah? I cannot help but believe that there must be similarities. We absolutely are surrounded by reprobate, or upside down thinking. As Christian women, we do not want to be swayed by the world’s beliefs, even under the guise of compassion. This is a sure way to disrupt peace in our life. A sound heart and mind, based upon God’s Words is the best way to ensure steadiness of spirit. We may be deeply grieved, even shocked, in our spirits by what is happening in today’s world, but we were told that these things would happen. Perhaps my greatest shock is in the speed that the decline has become easily recognized.
My friends, most of you know, that the seed for this decline was planted years before it became evident. A study of culture shows that some of the seeds for decline were planted intentionally. The harvest of rampant sin in our society comes from seed planted intentionally to disrupt the way of life America intended for its citizens. It is to disrupt the lives of every God-fearing person. Unfortunately, lack of peace in the world, including our personal lives may come from weeds that grew while we were sleeping.
Recently I asked a group of women if they thought it was most important to sow seeds of peace into our own life rather than into the lives of others. Did they think that by sowing peace into the lives of others, we would reap a harvest of peace into our own life? Certainly this is a debatable question, with good thoughts on both sides.
While I believe we can plant seed to ourselves while planting seeds to others, I had a thought as I watched the safety presentation on one of my recent flights.
If the oxygen masks drop, we are instructed to put on our masks first, then help others. This might sound selfish, but after a moment you realise that your ability to help others is limited when we have not taken care of ourselves. Is there an area of your life that came to mind immediately?
From this thought, I surmise that we can help others come to peace while we are in crisis, but the crisis in our own lives must be dealt with quickly. If not, our reserves will be depleted, leaving nothing for ourselves and nothing to give.
Fortunately, we have a never ending well to drink from. This is a beautiful and poetic picture of a source for replenishing peace. It is a beautiful picture, but it is so much more than a picture. It is a promise.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)
The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, will teach us all things and this includes how to maintain peace. If peace is the need, we know the first place to look, The Scriptures. It is there; sometimes we must follow hard after it to obtain it. Doing so will build a reserve that will carry us through the hardest of times, with grace enough to share with others.
We have all experienced the loss of a loved one. I have experienced this kind of loss many times in the past 10 years, near devastating loss that sickens me still. What a decade. I will feel the effects of the losses for the rest of my life, I suspect. I am not alone, certainly in Christ – nor am I alone with you. We comfort one another in our losses through shared faith. I will tell you that comfort “in the moment” does not always feel comforting, but somewhere in our souls, the reminder that others care deeply is therapeutic, almost immediately.
Recently, I was encouraging a friend that I have watched go though some large trials over several years. I have watched victories, then watched them seemingly trampled by new trials. I hurt for and with her. She made an interesting remark. “My things are not big like the things you have been through.” Her remark reminded me of something important. We have grace for “our things” but not necessarily grace for the trials of others. Her things seemed huge to me. I was reminded of another truth: Our trials are ours and God will work them for our good. Unimaginable at times, but God said it; it has to be true. Romans 8:28 for each of us!
No one would argue; if you were to compare the level of my trials to the trials of my friend and could trade her trials or my trials for your own, you’d likely choose to keep your own trials. God has equipped you to meet the challenges of the trials in your own life. He has given you sufficient grace for your struggles, but not for mine. Likewise, I do not have grace for yours.
It is common to compare our lives to others. Doing so is probably natural. Keeping comparisons and judgements about the lives of others has to be bathed in truth. We can forget that few things are as they seem.
One glance through Instagram or any other social media can remind you of this. If people’s lives were as beautiful as shown, the world would not look like it does. Homes that appear perfect are often riddled with dissent, without love, without His Love.
People living without Jesus live in houses; it is Jesus in our houses that turns them into homes.
When I am feeling edgy or agitated, I grab a stack of my Scripture cards that speak truth to me. When reading their truths does not settle me, I read them aloud before the Lord and tell Him that these truths do not feel real to me today. He knows me; He knows that I believe them, that I am but dust. He made us to have feelings. He cares about them, even when our feelings betray us. He also has the power to guide our feelings to truth, and peace. (His peace, the kind the world cannot understand nor take away.)
In the coming months, I am going to address peace several times because it is a need today. I will be interspersing these short thoughts with discussion of character traits of a gracious woman.
“A gracious woman retaineth honour: (Proverbs 11:16a)
Also, I am going to try something new; let me know what you think. At the end of each “essay” I am planning to share some thoughts about something that is on my mind. It may be relative to the subject I just spoke of, but not necessarily so. It may be thoughts on the home, ministry thoughts, politics, thoughts about raising children, home decor, a recipe or hospitality.
If there is any topic you’d like my input on, please write, either in comments or by email. When I address your thoughts, I will not include your name.
MAKE ART FOR HIS GLORY! CREATE AND SHARE!
“Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.” (Exodus 35:35)
My grandchildren think I am great artist. I decided to learn watercolor painting the end of 2020. My daughters told a friend of mine about my interest and she provided me all the materials I needed (and more) in order to get started.
My training has been almost exclusively from YouTube videos, with additional help from books. Without application, training is almost useless. I have looked for a watercolor class in my area, but wasn’t able to find one. Maybe while in India I can. I’ll let you know.
Recently I saw a post on Instagram that I thought was intriguing. There were 2 pictures of watercolor birds. They both looked good to me, but she labeled one as “how I see my artwork” and she labeled the other as “how others see my artwork.” When I more closely examined her work, I saw and understood exactly what she was saying. We tend to be critical of ourselves, of the work we produce. I resolved to use more of my paintings for greeting cards, bookmarks and so on. It does not have to be perfect to reflect love. I think of Colossians 3:23 when I am painting. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
A friend gave me an oil painting she made. Every time, yes, I think every time I look at it, I cannot imagine that she gave this picture to me. I love it! Other friends have given me things they made and they are important to making my house a home. They add warmth and personality to my home.
Last year on the 2nd anniversary of Harry’s death, I painted a red rose, just a few months after I first lifted a paintbrush. I painted it in remembrance of him, and the dozens upon dozens of red roses he gave me since I first knew him. Red roses meant “love” to him. This year I painted another one, thinking that I had improved, but one of my grandchildren told me she liked last year’s painting better. I asked, “Why?” She said because the red last year was darker. How precious.
I will share them with you. Both are the art of a novice, but can still be enjoyed, if only by my grandchildren! They are not an unimportant audience.
Recent posts include 2 essays about my trip to India, one that ended in disappointment.
And the article telling you about a personal blunder that made the trip so disappointing!
Last week I wrote a post about a book I read, and suggest to you, especially if you have a son/grandson pursuing sports as a part of their life choices. Taking a stand has never been more important!
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” We don’t know who said this first, but it has been felt by many.