Tag Archives: peace

What I learned in 2009 – Change is Necessary

Cherish my marriage, change my perspective.  These are hard lessons: humility, peace… some of the things I learned (am still learning) this year.  This is a post I published earlier in the year but it is timely and appropriate.

Happy 2010!

CHANGE:

I was convicted this week that I need to change my perspective on change.

I am a lover of all things old and have a constant longing for “the good ol’ days” which we all know never really existed.

We found old pictures in our storage unit and I was looking through them with this “Aw man, where has all the time gone” sort of lament when I realized all that has changed! All the wonderful blessings we have been given, all the new things I’ve learned and just how far we have come. Matt and I have grown so much in our marriage. We are no longer the insecure, suspicious and frightened kids we once were trying to figure out how to get along with someone in such close proximity. We are now more of a team, a united front, not afraid to disagree or share our disappointments. I know that his love is safe not contingent and not tied to a number of flower pedals or dollars spent.

I am still alive even though I lived in a state I claimed I would only live in “over my dead body” and yet I learned things there, made friends and enjoyed many parts of living there. Beyond that it has given me a greater appreciation for why I didn’t want to live there and makes me appreciate the differences, not taking for granted the place I had always known.

I am older now, not always wiser but I see in both Matt and I a quieter peacefulness that comes with time. We are more contended. I am still always striving but I dont’ have to be running around from this game to that, finding out where all the “cool kids” are. I can spend days at home with my family and be happy. We are also more compassionate and though I didn’t understand this before, passion has become a deeper shade of purple. It’s not a blinking, fleeting obsession it is a strong and solid force that drives our pursuit to be more like Christ and therefore able to love deeper and more fully!

I’m beginning to embrace change. Ask me again next week and I will be back struggling with the facets of change that challenge me and make me uncomfortable but today I am happy for the leaves on the trees and the tall tall pines that are a visible product of change.

As I drove around the lake yesterday with the windows down I could breathe. I could suck in deep breaths of glittering water and cut grass, I could even smell the sun on the bark of the evergreens.

Change- my enemy, my friend!

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Faith First

In Other Words- Who did?

“Peace of Christ guards our heart when we pray with thanksgiving.A thankful heart is a guarded heart.”

Wayne Cordeiro

In Other Words hosted today by In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus visit her lovely blog for more thoughts on todays quote. 

WHO DID?

  

I wish I could say I don’t know how I got here, but I know.  In fact you could say I asked for it.

I cannot move my head to the right or left.  My arms are pinned to my side.  The stench is repulsive.  I have vomited repeatedly to the point that  there is nothing left to expel, yet each time I sip the air my stomach continues to heave in protest.  Yes, I’m in a terrible mess but I asked for it.

I’ve choked and sputtering on salty brine for hours.  Many times today I’ve thought I’d die from suffocation but when I think I’ve breathed my last, air sneaks into my lungs again and I am revived if only to be reminded of one more offense.

It seems ironic.  I thought death would be an easy out but here I am on the edge of death and my life, I can not take though I tried.

Splash!

I could have fought to stay above water but I didn’t.  I figured this was the simplest plan.

Sinking,

                 Sinking,

                                       Sinking.

As I spun and swirled in the brink I caught glimpses of the light above, wiggling in the wake.  The spot closest to the hope of life shrinking fast as I sunk to the depths of the sea.  The smaller that circle of light became the more  apparent it was that my choice was fatal.  Deeper and deeper I fell.  There was no way out and so I relaxed, knowing I’d breathed my last.

Who did this?

My captivity began not here in my living tomb, not as I sunk and the seaweed wrapped around me like shackles and chords. No my captivity began when I said “No, no, no.” 

I furthered my fate when I chose to run and was found out.   In that moment of guilt I exclaimed, “I would rather die than admit my wrong!”

And yet, even now though my flesh stings as the acid eats away at the pigment in my skin and all the hair has burned off of my scalp, I cannot die.  My lungs are heavy and restricted, any moment threatening to give out all together, yet He will not let me die.

Who did this?  I suppose I did. I accept my fault, I now see the error of my ways.  Can God forgive me?

Jonah 2:7-10
 7 “When my life had almost gone,
       I remembered the Lord.
    I prayed to you,
       and you heard my prayers in your Holy Temple.

 8 “People who worship useless idols
       give up their loyalty to you.
 9 But I will praise and thank you
       while I give sacrifices to you,
       and I will keep my promises to you.
    Salvation comes from the Lord!” 10 

Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and the fish threw up Jonah onto the dry land.

**********************

Am I crazy to equate Jonah’s experience in the fish to that of a thankful and a guarded heart? 

Maybe.

I have to admit, I was stumped on this one thinking, “What is a guarded heart anyway?”

The Lord brought me around full circle to the fact that I don’t understand thankfulness either and I don’t believe Jonah did at first.

Jonah ran from God, he attempted to ignore God’s call on his life.  When he got in the boat in the opposite direction from where God had told him to go, the Bible makes it clear that he told the sailors from the start he was running from God.  The storm that slammed into their corner of the ocean was violent enough to make seasoned sailors pray.  They don’t call it having “mouth like a sailor” for nothing.  These men were tough, corrupt and not afraid.  But this experience literally put the fear of God in them.  Jonah’s heart was so hardened, so un-guarded if you will, that even his conscious was uneffected.  He slept as the storm raged.

When the men brought him on deck and drew lots, he was not surprised when his straw revealed that he was the cause.  He then admitted that it was his God who would not rest unless they threw him overboard.  I surmise that Jonah thought it better to die than repent and change his ways.  Once a heart has gone down a certain path to the point of callous it is infinitely difficult to change course.  Jonah had been doing things his way and even though he recognized the error of those ways he was not ready or able to change, using his methods.  When he told the men to throw him overboard I belive he was saying “I’d rather be dead and face my fate than try in my own power to rectify this situation.” In other words my heart is too hard and I’ve stopped listening to God.

As he was sinking to the bottom of the sea, figuring he had done the right thing by ridding the world of such a hardened heart as his, God sent the fish (god of the Ninevites) to carry him safely (ha ha) to his original destination.  Once he expressed his thankfulness to God, while in the belly of the fish and probably still expecting to meet Him momentarily in the clouds, he was miraculously propelled back out of his living tomb to get another chance.

I’ve never put much thought into the last chapters of Jonah but this time it struck me just how deep Jonah’s anger went.  The Ninevites repented and acknowledged God’s sovereignty.  Having just seen the God of Jonah use their fish god as a vessel for His own profit, they turned from their ways and believed.  Jonah, however was not please. In fact he told God, as he sulked under a vine that God provided, if he had known they would repent he would not have given the message.  He hated the Ninevites.

God let a worm kill the vine that sheltered Jonah and asked, “Didn’t you enjoy that vine? Wasn’t it nice until I wiped it out?”

Of course Jonah loved the vine that kept him from direct encounter with the scorching desert sun. I’m sure he was especially grateful after his harrowing near death experience in the sea.

God then reprimanded him in verse nine, “Why then do you think you have the right to be angry at what is good in my eyes?” 

If I’m not crazy, well even if I am, I think this whole thing stems from a heart that was unguarded and thankfulness that was not fully grasped.  Jonah harbored anger in his heart, resentment toward man and it caused him to have the audacity to say no to God and pride that nearly sent him to an early grave. 

God displayed his absolute control by orchestrating Jonah’s elaborate redemption from himself into the ocean, from the ocean into the fish, from the fish into repentance and from a repentant “guarded” heart back into God’s will.

So as the song goes, “who did swallow Jonah”?  Well, you could say God did, the fish did or even hold that Jonah did it to himself but in the end does it really matter?  Unless we repent and stop rebelling against God we will be as living dead with hardened unthankful hearts.. 

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

5 Comments

Filed under Faith First

Weeping Skies

 

“Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Do not let your heart be troubled,
nor let it be fearful.”

John 14:27 NASB

 

Have you ever seen the sky weep?

My memory verses this past couple weeks are in the Psalms. 

Psalm 19 1-4

The Heavens declare the glory of God; The skies proclaim the work of His hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; Night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth; Their words to the ends of the world.

As I sit in my window seat I have a good view of the sky and valley below.  The sky has been turbulent, soggy and gray.  The more I look, the worse it gets.  Clouds roll in, wind rips at the trees.  What’s with that?

Lord, where is your “speech” where is your magnificent glory and peace? I look out again at the pummeling rain and my brow furrows in frustration, loneliness, fear.

Am I forgotten? Lord are you listening?

I feel no comfort in the verses because my answer does not look the way I expect it to look.  I expect the King on his throne evidenced by glimmering stars by night and grand billowing clouds amid brilliant blue skies by day.  Sound familiar?  Others have expected Jesus to take his throne, deliver them from trials and conquer the world.  Instead this is what I see.

Weeping Skies

Slowly the rippled gray clouds creep across the furrowed sky.

They speak of sorrow, they speak of pain.

A thick haze collects atop a once prominent mountain peak,

Her glory disguised, her magnificence squelched.

How then does splendor give such power to a small vapor?

Slowly gray clouds grow heavy and being to tear.

They speak not for the pain they bear,

Yet they speak volumes of the sorrow they share.

Shreds rip free from beneath that billowing mass.

No mountain now, her head is covered in grief.

Proud trees stand aghast.

Her glory disguised under torrents let loose the weeping skies.

 It finally hit me… 

Jesus wept. 

Now I see the sky’s conversation.  I remember Adonai Yireh “the One who sees” and I begin to understand.  He felt the crushing power of grief,  He knew the awesome power sorrow holds.  Jesus, Adonai Yireh.  As I speak the name aloud a cold shudder creeps from my toes to the top of my head then an overwhelming warmth follows.  I know that he knows.  Today my mountain is still disguised but now I realize she still stands beneath the rain.

That is peace, not of the world.  Its knowing that the crushing power of life cannot wash away the mountain when you stand in Christ alone.

Today’s In Other Words hosted by Typing One Handed!

Please visit her lovely blog for more inspiration on true Peace.

13 Comments

Filed under Faith First