April 17, 2012

This Peace

       {photo via pinterest}

, n. [L. pax, paco, to appease.] Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquility; calmness; quiet of conscience.

The loss of peace is not someone else’s fault.

Peace that is easy come, easy go, has its root in the wrong place.

The kind of peace that lasts beyond a single momentary quiet time is not fickle. It does not get its feathers ruffled with frustrations of the day. Stress does not overwhelm to the point of hindering its work. Bitterness and annoyances do not burrow deep when this peace has its way.

Now, I do not claim to have attained this. In fact, far from it! Often, some person will do something or say something and it will instantly make me upset! Even something as simple as a flippant comment or look will put me on the defensive and I allow it to stew inside for far too long. Here lies the problem, that robbing of peace occurs because of me. It is no one’s fault but my own, or your own, when that inside calm is stripped away.

This peace calmed the storm on the sea, it sustained the martyrs of history, it is mentioned time and again in the letters of the Apostles. This peace is only given through the God of peace. It is not caused by something outside, but rather, by Someone inside.

  “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 14:27

Amy Carmichael said this, “If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery: if stupid people fret me and little ruffles set me on edge; if I make much of the trifles of life, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Did you catch that? Miss Carmichael went as far as to say that when we allow the dramatic to take hold, we do not understand the love that sent Christ to the cross. How silly it is when we allow the small things of this life to whisk away lasting, sustaining rest! After all, doesn’t God’s word assure that “Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them?” The book of Isaiah also promises, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

Love His Word and keep your mind steadied on Him and the result will be that quiet, restful spirit that can confidently sing amidst the fires of this world, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul!”

Yep, I want that.


"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there."   -  C. S. Lewis

April 7, 2012


{via pinterest}
I have been trying for months to write this post and even now I fear that all of what needs to be said won't be properly expressed. My apologies for the length of this, I will try my sincere best to keep from rambling, though every last ounce of what's on my heart needs to get out.

One word has plagued my thoughts and mind for months. I have toyed and flirted with it, as many Christians do. I've pulled it out from its cobweb box only to shove it back into the darkness of mediocrity. But I can no longer avoid it. It has haunted every quiet time, every sermon, every deep thought and self-examination.

It is surrender.

Having grown up in a Christian home, I attended numerous camps where this "issue" was preached on and preached on hard. I heard the word riddled through sermons any given Sunday and once in a while someone would casually mention it in conversation. I always said that I had surrendered, that I was willing to do whatever God wanted. To a certain degree, I was surrendered the best I knew how, at least, to the last point I had realized. Now, however, my life has taken a few tumbles and I find myself lying face up at the bottom of a hill...and my only option for the future is this consuming surrender.

I have come to the conclusion that surrendering to God is more than just a one time, "Whatever you want, God." It is a conscious moment when everything that is your life is gathered up and literally placed into the hands of the Father. It is a definite, certain, and continuous giving up of control to God, who is already in control anyway. I find myself constantly cleaning out the rooms and hidden places of my mind and life, sweeping out the dusty corners and often tearfully handing over pieces of me to the One who handles it best. He knows better than I. Always.

Yet I struggle. We struggle. The whole of Christianity wrestles with surrender every day.

Doesn't God call His children to be living sacrifices? The very word 'sacrifice' denotes that it is not a life of fluff and fun. God has never promised anyone a life of self-gain and worldly pleasures. When the Saviour asks you to give up your matching dishes, your pinterest board full of pretty things, your ideal future (you know, the story-book married life with a perfect family in a picket-fenced house with a wrap-around porch), will you say yes? What if He asked you to give up those little phrases and adages that associate you with the "cool" world? What if He pointed His finger to the worst place imaginable and said go? Or perhaps the hardest of them all, what if the Lord directed you to people you don't particularly like and said, "Now, love them as I have loved you."

I cower inside even as I write these words because I know that all of this is what God has called me to do. He has called me to take up a cross. Yes, a cross. It'll be heavy and uncomfortable. It'll be too much to bear and painful at times. However, the cross of self-sacrifice and dying to me comes attached to His life. As self dies, it points to a way of living and a future more abundant than anything I could ever formulate for myself!

Christ gave it all for you and for me. Every part of Himself was poured out as a holy, perfect sacrifice on our behalf. Such a shame it would be, if the children bought with His blood would refuse to sacrifice for Him. This feeble, unworthy life of mine would be such a small offering in comparison to His. How could I not give everything to Him? After all, I'm already bought by Him anyway

A journal entry from a while ago sums it all up, I think.

February 19, 2012
"I have been pouring through the Bible desperately seeking God's will and direction and He keeps bringing me back to this. Do you know what I've discovered? I've found that God does not call His followers to a life of mediocre, lukewarm service to Him. In fact, the very idea of such makes Him sick. God calls those who claim to be His to a life of sold-out, radical abandonment to Him. Where He points the finger, I should jump in ready response to go. What He tells me to give up, I should gratefully place it at His feet.
Well, Beth, can you be His disciple? Can you lay all you had figured and counted on for your life on the altar of sacrifice for the One who sacrificed it all for you? Is it worth it? Can all your hopes, dreams, and plans for your future be crucified and as a completely empty vessel can you honestly say, "Fill me, use me, mold me!"

Does the Bible not say, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother...yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple?" This service to God, does it not require, "Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me?" 

This living for Christ requires one thing - dying to self. And...that's hard."

“To be a follower of the Crucified means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.” — Elisabeth Elliot