Stormy Seasons

Life seems to have seasons that are stormy, despite our best efforts for stability, serenity & certainty.  Stormy seasons can include:  getting laid off from a job, a marital crisis, a literal tornado, health accident or diagnosis and LOADS more.  If we’ve invited Jesus into our lives as storm prevention insurance, there’s a good chance that we’ll be disappointed.  I say this because Jesus never promises us that walking with Him will prevent all storms.  Indeed, walking with Jesus can make for some stormy times in life, both in our interior and exterior.

The exterior stormy seasons happen for lots of reasons, but thankfully Jesus gives us peace on the inside that can be greater than the external storm.  Sometimes we have seasons in our lives where our guts feel stormy:  when we’re unsettled, hurt, disappointed with God, wrestling with temptation, feeling discouraged, depleted or depressed, etc.

I’m thankful that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and that there is no storm, internal or external, that Jesus cannot calm.  Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, no matter the season of life in which we find ourselves!

Is There Peace?

Once Jesus rose from the dead, I think the disciples maybe had less anxiety for a few reasons. And maybe we could pick up a few pointers that could be helpful, since anxiety could be a challenge for a few of us.

  • Jesus raising from the dead changed the game because death didn’t get the final say – and nothing is impossible in our lives!
  • Jesus is in the future – this helps me to relax knowing that Jesus is timeless
  • Jesus is about the individual & not only the masses – the Prince of Peace was intentional to seek out individual encounters to resolve questions, doubts & reconciliation.

Who Is Sitting With You?

Feeling unsettled or lifeless? Are there places in your thoughts or emotions that are restless or even numb? There have been a few things for me lately that have left me feeling not so peaceful nor lively. I was talking with Holy Spirit about these issues in my prayer time & He reminded me about Romans 8:6 wheee the mind set on Holy Spirit is life & peace.
So I’m inviting Holy Spirit to sit with me in those areas of my thoughts & emotions that are rattled & lifeless. Because I know that God’s Word is true, I anticipate that I’ll have more peace & life in these places of my soul because of the Holy Spirit’s presence 🙂
You’re welcome to let Holy Spirit sit with you!

Peaceful Rest

I love this picture because it shows me what it looks like when a baby is entirely settled, sleeping & trusting. We caught this moment last month when I was in Cambodia at one of our nightcare centers, with my Saving Moses work. This little treasure was fussy to start, but became increasingly relaxed in my arms until he fell asleep. And I’m. It sure that there’s not much more soothing to my soul than holding a sleeping baby.
In contrast, without our nightcare centers, these sweet little treasure wouldn’t have a safe nor serene place to sleep. He would likely be exposed to many inappropriately adult situations & his night would probably be a staccato of noise, interruptions, instability & maybe danger.
Let’s take this picture to heart, celebrating God’s genuine love that gives all of us rest & peace in our souls 🙂

Rest On All Sides

Rest On All Sides

At the end of last week, I returned from a whirlwind trip to Bangladesh for Saving Moses. In our short time there, we accomplished loads of stuff because I think that a person should do everything to maximize their time. Upon returning home, I find myself more than a little spent. I feel puny, my sleep is messed up, my emotions are everywhere & I can’t seem to quiet my brain.
Thankfully, I was able to join our entirely glorious Sunday School class yesterday where we took a deep dive into 2Samuel 7 – a chapter about David wanting to build a temple for God. The first verse of the chapter says that David had “rest on every side.” One of the ladies in our class observed how wonderful this would be to have rest everywhere in our lives! In our discussion, we camped on this idea for awhile & it was amazing!! As I thought about this, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that this rest was available to me not only on the outside, but on the inside as well – rest on every side.
So let’s allow the Holy Spirit to give us rest, maybe more than any place, on the inside with our emotions, thoughts, desires, etc

Civil Discord

I appreciate that “civil” is the adjective used to describe discord. Unfortunately, it seems like the discord in the US, at the moment, is uncivil & hostile.

This challenges me to think about one of Jesus’ beatitudes where He says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

If we are genuine followers of Jesus, then let’s endeavor to let our actions & words generate peace rather than hostile division. May we more firmly adhere to following Jesus than letting our flesh facilitate hostile discord 🙂

Still Motion

It seems of late that I’m always going somewhere – AZ, CA, NC, PA etc & it feels like I’m in perpetual motion. This is good because I get to share about the daily & supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit. On the other side, I find myself desiring that peace from being still & knowing that God is. With all of the traveling & stresses of work, home, schedules, family etc, we would be wise to learn about carrying peace on the inside.  In Job 20:20 it says, “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires.”
Here are some ideas about carrying some quiet in our heads wherever we go:

  • remember to give your anxieties to God
    turn to God as a habit & not just in overwhelm mode
  • let those unexpected cancelled events give you some pause space – don’t fill your schedule to the gills
  • life has seasons, ebb & flow & we would be wise to go with the flow
  • it helps me, on occasion, to sit in my car for a few minutes, with no phone or music & just be still

Carry some quiet in your heart wherever you go!

Clutter & Chaos

I’m a taxi service for three wonderful children & I’ve had this honor for more than 10 years. So I’m kind of immune to my car being messy, full stop. I’ll not paint any sordid pictures for your imagination, but let it be enough to know that I’m endeavoring to train both my kids & me to be more orderly. Seems to me that we live in a world filled with clutter & chaos such that it could quietly seep into our thoughts & feelings to contaminate & confuse, leaving us unraveled & ineffective. 

Let’s keep the Prince of Peace front & center in our hearts & thoughts. Just because there’s chaos in the world doesn’t mean that it gets to dislodge Jesus’ preeminence in my living 🙂

Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Heating Up or Chilling Out??

  
   Since we talked yesterday about Jesus putting out fires in our lives, it seems fitting today that we would talk about staying chilled & frosty. Various times of the year seem to have lots of stress & pressure – December frequently far exceeding my red zone capacity. So seeing Jesus chillin’ in a freezer by a gallon of ice cream helps me to remember to offload some steam & it reminds me to make choices about stress & worry. 

Some helpful things to remember that Jesus said:

“Come to Me all you who are heavy laden & I will give you rest”

“My peace I leave you, not as the world gives”

“In this world you will have tribulations but I have overcome the world”

Be Gentle

  

Celebrate!!!! No puking & no migraines – YAHOOO!! I’m starting to get back into working out & in typical Sarah fashion, I want to go from 0-Mach 3 in a split nanosecond. This strategy has backfired on me in the past & resulted in some less than desirable outcomes. So on this go around, I’m being more patient & gentle with myself & voila, no migraines or puking!
I’m taking this lesson to heart for other areas of my life as well – less harsh, rigid & impatient with my family, work, friends, decisions, responsibilities, etc. 

Maybe when we are gentle with ourselves, we let God’s love massage it’s way into our hearts with healthy transformation, at God’s pace 🙂

Peace or Piece

The other day, one of my kids accidentally shot me in the eye with a rubber band. I wasn’t injured but I was most definitely not happy & immediately proceeded to give this offspring a piece of my mind – not a high quality piece, to be sure. I gave this person a piece of my mind but I had no peace of mind. 
Sometimes there’s good value to venting some thoughts & emotions. But let’s be clear that the peace we often seek is more often a consequence of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit rather than an outpouring of our fleshly feelings & words. Have a happy Wednesday!

Hot Topic: God’s got it!

Sometimes life is stressful:  bills, decisions, planning, obstacles, expectations, future, work, relationships, etc.  I find that in my life, there’s kind of an ebb & flow to this stuff – seasons that have more stress & pressure in contrast with less stressful seasons.  No matter if you’re totally stressed out & you feel like you want to jump ship or if you’re in a really chilled time, enjoying a less pressure season, God’s got it:

  • the wisdom to help you make decisions.
  • the resources to supply various needs in your life.
  • the peace to calm your anxious mind.
  • the solutions to various problems that you may be dealing with.
  • the relationship help that you need for various hot spots.
  • the healing for your broken heart &/or physcial body

God’s got it!!  Your needs can never outstrip God’s provisions.  Your problems can never exceed God’s answers.  Your brokenness can never overwhelm God’s healing.  God’s got it!  So let’s continue to align our lives with Jesus’ words in Matt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you!”

God’s got it!!

And don’t forget to check out what Saving Moses is doing in December – it’s A-Mazing!! 🙂

4 Brief but Insightful Thanksgiving Observations

Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be overflowing with joy & peace 🙂
As we think about gratitude today, consider a few thoughts to pass along:
*being grateful increases contentment & likewise being whiny increases dissatisfaction
*if you want to come through difficult seasons well, gratitude is an essential ingredient
*when you begin thanking God for being so good, it quickly becomes difficult to stop
*turkeys are tricky birds to bake #nuffsaid
Happy Thanksgiving dear friend!

hot topic: Ferguson Protests

Most of us are aware of the decision of the Grand Jury yesterday with the case related to Michael Brown’s death, along with the resulting rioting, demonstrations and violence.  I’ve been thinking and praying about this for quite awhile & I’m extremely concerned about what is happening in St Louis.

  1. I’m concerned because there has obviously been a problem that’s been growing there for quite awhile and Michael Brown’s death and the resulting Grand Jury decision is possibly  the match that has ignited such a violent outburst of anger and frustration.
  2. I’m concerned because our nation has had a tumultuous journey in resovling ethnic conflicts.
  3. And I’m concerned to my core because the idea that violence can solve injustices has never proven to be a constructive road for progress and resolution.

mlk-2 When you look at history in the last century, some of our best leaders who were catalysts for constructive change in very unjust situations include:  Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.  As we commit to pray for Ferguson and the construtive resolution to this area, let’s consider the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr:  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate;  only love can do that.”

May Jesus help us to bring peace where there is strife, love for hate, restoration for destruction and reconcilation for isolation.

 

hot topic: Israel, Gaza, Palestine & Hamas

If you’ve been watching the news of late, you’ve probably heard about the recent escalation of tension between Israel & Palestine.  Over the last month or so, the hostilities in this region have become increasingly deadly to the point that Israel is considering the use of ground forces to move into the Gaza strip.  Regardless of your political opinions or persuasions, let’s join together & pray for peace in this region.  Indeed, all of the Middle East seems to be in a state of tremendous upheaval & in desperate need of prayer.  Please join me with a few quick actions:

  1. pray that the leaders in Israel & Palestine will have wisdom
  2. pray for the general population to say “yes” to peace & “no” to violence
  3. pray that each person may have the grace & power to forgive others for the pain that they’re experiencing
  4. pass along this blog to your friends to increase the awareness & prayer level for this very strategic area in our world

A Piece of Peace

A shooting spree in the LAX airport? I was in Brazil a few days ago when I read about the guy who went on a shooting spree in the LAX airport. Knowing that I’d be traveling home soon, I can’t say that the shooting spree thing gave me great tranquility. Hmmmmm
But as I’m traveling today, with lots of responsibilities in front of me when I land, I’m opting for a piece of peace rather than slice of stress, remembering that Jesus is my Prince of Peace & He’s got the whole world (including all of my world) in His hands. We can trust Jesus to direct & protect our steps, so let’s chose the piece of peace ,)

catching your breath

Well, I’m not sure if I’ve managed this week or if this week has managed me.  At this point, it kind of feels like I might be a victim of this week’s crazy, busy & seasonal madness but there’s a chance that I can still win ,)  

If you’re also feeling the similar seasonal pressures and demands, hopefully the thoughts below can give some peace:

  • God loves you and nothing can increase or decrease that love
  • Jesus, the Prince of Peace, still calms storms, heals hurts & provides essentials
  • there is no hardship or struggle that is bigger than God
  • not everything is mission critical ,)

pandemonium, pressure and peace

It seems to me that in almost every Christmas season, there comes a time when all of the pressures, activities, demands and general busy-ness shifts into the frenzied and frantic zone and the chaos threatens to swallow me into a abyss of cluttered insanity (sorry for all of the adjectives).  In the midst of all of this, I find my heart getting really still and quiet, seeking to create some serenity, calm and peace.  Even now, I have a few unexpected moments of quiet and while I’m writing this, I find myself letting go of some of the season’s stress and receiving some much needed divine peace.

So my friend, please be sure that with all of this season’s demands and expectations, don’t neglect to take those essential moments to be still and celebrate our Prince of Peace 🙂

Stay calm

My dad had all kinds of insightful one-liners. He used to say, “Sarah, you have to pick your nervous breakdowns” meaning that I needed to be selective about what I would get upset about. I’ve found this to be super helpful. Just now, I ordered a whopper with extra pickles & the cashier thought I said no pickles – easy fix that doesn’t need a level 10 melt down. Another area is when I’m running late for an appt, I find myself getting stressed out. So I talk to myself & ask if getting upset is going to add value to the problem of being late – usually not. Lets get upset about things that are important 🙂
Like my dad says, “you gotta pick your nervous breakdowns” ,)