Peace Amidst the Panic :: By Holly Spate

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

Jesus spoke these beautiful words. He gave each of us these precious promises. But, are these words of truth words that we truly live out in our daily lives? Do we truly take them to heart? Do we truly put feet to them and walk them out in our own lives? Are we living examples of these truths to those around us?

I’ll admit, I struggle with simply “letting go and letting God.” My heart can be torn in so many directions. My mind can race with worry about the future. I can easily forget to walk in faith because of what I see in the news. I know the truth, but I don’t always rest in the truth. I strive to have peace in the chaos, and joy in the journey, but many times fall short.

The beautiful words Jesus conveyed are not always front and center. I can get off task. I can battle my emotions; and at times, my emotions win. I can easily forget to focus on Him and those things worthy of my attention that He desires my heart to focus on. In other words, like most Christians, I struggle. I struggle to find a consistent place in my mind, heart, and life where I can be at peace…complete peace. I’ve had peaceful experiences and have been at peace when things weren’t going as planned in my life, but I haven’t yet mastered the art of being at peace in all circumstances.

I would love to be in the frame of mind Paul was when he wrote this verse:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).

There’s a peace in knowing I’m saved. There’s a joy inside my heart when I think about a bright, eternal future. There’s a sense of deep gratitude for my family and all my blessings. When I take it all in, I’m fairly content. But, I’d love, like the apostle Paul, to honestly say I’m content in every situation. Yes, I’d like to genuinely be in that place consistently, but I’m just not there… yet. I’d like to have peace no matter what, but I still struggle.

And now, with the corona virus reaching what appears to be the entire globe and affecting people far and wide, we need more than ever to be even more mindful of the promises God’s given and the peace He has promised. Everything we go through in this life will either strengthen the peace we have or shake it to the core.

No matter what season we’re going through in our lives, as believers, we can continue in a place of peace because we are safe in the arms of our heavenly Father who is in complete control of our todays and tomorrows. The peace He brings enables us to truly live in a state of peace regardless of the chaos and darkness all around us.

It is His peace which passes all understanding that enables us to shine God’s love and light in the darkest night. It is His peace which brings strength to a soul that’s weary. It is His peace which calms the heart and brings hope in uncertain times. It is His peace which enables us to step boldly into the unknown in full assurance that we never walk alone. It is His peace, when put into practice, that is a witness to those around us. And, it is His presence which reminds us to hold fast to truth and to the beautiful and amazing promises He’s given to all who have put their trust in Him.

Let’s never forget that when the whole world seems to be spinning out of control, our great and Almighty God is forever on the throne. Nothing escapes His attention… nothing is outside His control. We can experience the peace we’ve been promised if we will continue to turn our eyes, minds and hearts toward the Savior.

In the midst of the darkness and uncertainty in our world today, holding to God’s peace is crucial. Remembering His commandments is critical. Resting in His promises is essential. Keeping His Word close to our hearts is imperative.

Life can be a rollercoaster, but, as believers, we can experience persistent peace and have thankful hearts because God is the One leading. Thankfully, He is never surprised at what comes our way. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His love never fails and He promises to carry us and provide calm as we live out each day.

He is our blessed hope. Let’s cling to Him, shine for Him, spread the good news about Him, and find our peace in Him. And, while doing so, let’s never forget that His best for us as believers is still to come!

spate.holly@gmail.com

Stand Strong and Remember :: by Holly Spate

I wanted to share a short piece God put on my heart to write several months ago.

Here it is:

In the little moments, be mindful.

In the raging storms, be hopeful.

In the uncertainties, be faithful.

In the chaos, be restful.

In the triumphs, be joyful.

In the tragedies, be worshipful.

In all things, be thankful.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

I hope that piece brings joy to your heart and reminds you of the mindset we’re to have as ambassadors for Christ. And as we remember how we’re to live because of Christ, I believe it’s important for all of us to remember this fact:

Fear Paralyzes; Faith Frees.

We’re seeing a lot of fear causing panic and paralyzing so many in society right now. The coronavirus is affecting people across the globe and has seemingly overnight turned the whole world upside down. It can be unsettling to see such rapid change before one’s eyes and the complete halt of all “normalcy” in cities, states and countries.

As believers, it’s important for all of us to be praying. James 5:16 reminds us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Matthew 18:19-20 states, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Jesus himself spent much time praying. He said, as is recorded in Matthew 6, the following concerning how we should pray. He stated, “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Not only should we follow Christ’s example by praying, it’s equally important that we put on the whole armor of God so we can be equipped to shine His light to a darkened, confused world. Let’s put our faith into action, cling tightly to our Savior, and be reminded of His promises.

Let’s never forget… nothing is a surprise to our heavenly Father. He knows the beginning from the end. He holds the whole world in His hands, and He expects His children to trust Him in all situations. God is always with us. He promises to never leave or forsake us… ever. He promises to give us peace and joy despite circumstances.

Praying the verses that follow will bring much encouragement and that the remembrance of God’s Word will strengthen your faith so you can be free, shine bright, and stand strong!

hspate@verizon.net

Remember…

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (Psalm 119:165).

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13).

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (Psalm 118:6).

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25).

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).

“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. ‘Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened’” (1 Peter 3:14).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).

“Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice” (Psalm 112:5).

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

“‘If you can’? said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes’” (Mark 9:23).

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Romans 1:17).

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11).

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:44).

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11).

“If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15).

“It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13).

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).