Staying Connected to God

There is a theme running through different words I’ve read the past few days: staying close to the Father. This encouragement from God through Marsha Burns fits perfectly with my last post on 11.23.20

November 24, 2020

SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS

When you are overwhelmed and undone, take the time necessary to commune with Me. Do this regularly for the sake of sanity. Take a breath and release all tension and stress as you rest in My presence. Come to the place that is above and beyond the worries of the day. Be at peace. 

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

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Peacemakers Needed

God spoke through the prophet Hosea, revealing that His people “…are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

Ignorance is not bliss in God’s kingdom. Not knowing God and not knowing His way of doing things is, by default, opening the door to a world of hurt & suffering.

Right now in the U.S., we are witnessing some of the most turbulent & rancorous times in our country’s history. You don’t have to look very far to find angry, vocal & enraged people expressing themselves in angry & violent ways. This leads people with opposing ideologies to rise up with an equal amount of anger & rage in response. Or – in reaction to is the better phrase. “In response” implies thoughtful consideration. That’s not what we are witnessing.

Somethings gotta give.

Or more correctly, someone’s gotta give…an inch (or more)…toward reconciliation and peace.

Here is one of those deep scriptures, that if you breeze right over it, you miss what God is revealing:

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16

Slow down. Now re-read the verse: where envying and strife is

What happens when envying (jealousy, desire for something that someone else has) & strife (vigorous or bitter conflict, discord, or antagonism) are present?

There will be confusion and every evil work. The New American Standard Bible says it this way, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”

You can see this playing out in social media, in politics, in race relations. The anger & constant strife has lead to increasing rage, destruction and violence. Civility has seemingly left the building!

As Christians, we are not to emulate the behavior of people who do no know God. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that they were, “… still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

You can’t be a light to the world if you are still acting like you live in the dark.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9

We can be at peace because Jesus gives us His peace. Peace is a by-product of trust. We have the privilege of going to God and PRAYING ABOUT EVERYTHING (Philippians 4:6)

We can shut the door on confusion & other evil, destructive influences in our life by staying out of strife and resisting envy, jealousy & selfish ambition.

It is a choice. Everyday. Sometimes multiple times per day. Choose to be at peace. Ask God to lead you away from the temptation to react and be argumentative. Turn off the TV if you have to and avoid strife-ruled people. Then go a step further and ask God to bring peace to your family, your community, our country. This is exercising your God-given ability to be a peace-maker, as all of God’s children should be.

When Fear Threatens

It’s on my heart to speak to anyone suffering from fear, in whatever form it takes: anxiety, worry, terror or dread.

The following scriptures came to my mind today. They are gold to me…precious in their truth because the Lord gave me these passages to fight with when I was going through fearful situations:

Psalm 112:7-8 Living Bible (TLB)

He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. That is why he is not afraid but can calmly face his foes.”

Settle it in your mind and heart that your Father loves you & will take care of you, no matter what. I want to pair this scripture with a well-known passage from Exodus 14 (Good News Translation)

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had escaped, he and his officials changed their minds and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites escape, and we have lost them as our slaves!” The king got his war chariot and his army ready. He set out with all his chariots, including the six hundred finest, commanded by their officers. The Lord made the king stubborn, and he pursued the Israelites, who were leaving triumphantly.[a] The Egyptian army, with all the horses, chariots, and drivers, pursued them and caught up with them where they were camped by the Red Sea near Pi Hahiroth and Baal Zephon.

10 When the Israelites saw the king and his army marching against them, they were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help. 11 They said to Moses, “Weren’t there any graves in Egypt? Did you have to bring us out here in the desert to die? Look what you have done by bringing us out of Egypt! 12 Didn’t we tell you before we left that this would happen? We told you to leave us alone and let us go on being slaves of the Egyptians. It would be better to be slaves there than to die here in the desert.”

13 Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Stand your ground, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today; you will never see these Egyptians again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and all you have to do is keep still.”

You know the rest. If you don’t, click here for the full account of the parting of the Red Sea. Sometimes all the Lord wants from us is to be still, in faith, believing that He will handle whatever is seeking to steal our peace & joy.

Blessings!

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Only one thing matters

“Jesus continued from there toward Jerusalem and came to another village. Martha, a resident of that village, welcomed Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, went and sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach.  Meanwhile Martha was anxious about all the hospitality arrangements.” Luke 10:38-40 The Voice Translation

The New International Version phrases Luke 10:40 this way, “…But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

I have had a lot on my mind lately. Thoughts that take the form of mental notes and lists. The lists become more detailed as new issues come to the fore-front. The issues turn into prayer requests, but because I’m so busy trying to stay on top of everything, my prayers sound more like tentative appeals for assistance rather than faith-emboldened petitions.

Anxious thoughts of work, home and family start to occupy a larger amount of space in my head, and as a consequence, I find myself running from one thing to the next in a desperate attempt to hold it all together.

The Lord knows I’m weakening. He hears my pleas for help and mercy. He knows what I need most, and what I need most is time with Him.

So why do I find it so hard to stop and sit in His presence? I’ve been here so many times before…

My only excuse is that I tend to err on the side of Martha-ism. I say that I want to be more like Mary but the truth is I like being busy. I like planning and preparing. I like to do things…often to my spiritual detriment.

As I said, the Lord sees me and He knows my anxious thoughts. I have been crying out for help and relief. I have spent a sleep disturbed couple of weeks just burdened with things! And then I opened my email this past Thursday and read this:

“What are the things that are leaving you in distress right now? Bring them in heartfelt prayer before the Lord. Run into the arms of your Father instead, your true place of rest and peace.” Brian Simmons and Your TPT Team (The Passion Translation)

I HEAR HIS WHISPER…
“I will be your Sabbath rest”

“Many are restless in this hour. They long for lasting change. They are puzzled over what seems like delay in their advancement. Restlessness comes when you take your eyes off of Me. I call you to rest in My peace and watch Me work. I will be your Sabbath Rest.

“The distractions are many for My chosen ones. Many voices and many activities can confuse your heart, but in Me there is a peace that transcends all understanding. I give to you, not logic, but peace. My peace can never be disturbed and robbed from you.

“The peace of your world comes and goes and is easily troubled. Come into My ocean of peace and I will speak to you the words you need to hear for what is about to come.

“You no longer have a place in the world. Your place is with Me. Step into Me and I will give the place destined for you. My mansions filled with peace and glory await your entrance. There are many resting places in Me. I long to be your undisturbed peace in a time of trouble and rapid change. Come closer to Me and I will come closer to you. The plans I have for you require that you focus on Me and not your shifting circumstances. Confine yourself to Me, as a prisoner of love, and you will be nourished by the eternal.”

Psalm 27:4-6 The Passion Translation

“Here’s the one thing I crave from God, 
The one thing I seek above all else:
I want the privilege of living with him 
Every moment in his House,
Finding the sweet loveliness of his face;
Filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. 
I want to live my life so close to him 
That he takes pleasure in my every prayer.
In His shelter in the day of trouble, 
That’s where you’ll find me,
For he hides me there in his holiness.
He has smuggled me into his secret place 
Where I’m kept safe and secure.”

I SO needed this! I so want this!

This morning before turning on the TV, before starting breakfast for family, before cleaning the house or planning my day, I took time to sit with Jesus and listen to His heart. I gave all my cares and worries into His capable hands and set out to float in His ocean of peace.

What is more needful, more wonderful that that?

So I will leave you with the last part of the Martha & Mary saga, and hope that you, too, will choose the One thing…

“…But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 NIV

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