Tag Archives: peace

Down and Out? Look Up!

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Have you ever had a series of days when nothing seems to go your way? Trouble after trouble keeps piling up? Days and days that you’re supposed to be counting it all joy, but the only question you have is, “How? How can I count it all joy? It isn’t!”

I have.

While putting up my gheenoe for the winter, I ripped a hole in my left calf on the trailer’s tail light holder and will be in wound-care for six weeks.

A couple of days later, I drove through some unknown, unseen something that made my lungs shut down immediately, so I’m on big drugs just to breathe again and wearing masks to avoid further damage from the mold and dust of dying leaves.

Then I went for another oil change at Walmart. I know–pure stupidity, but I thought I’d give them one last chance to get it right. I checked their shelves, told them I’d seen Motorcraft Synthetic Blend 5w 20 in stock, and asked them to change my oil with it. They did the deed in record time–30 minutes–and charged me $75. They said, “The price of oil musta went up.” I paid it, looked at the receipt when I returned home and discovered they had put Mobil 1 in my car.

And running in the background of injury, illness, and emotional distress is an ongoing battle with TVA allowing the guy who bought the lot next to me to cut down a live tree on my shoreline so it won’t fall down on his dock which hasn’t even been built yet. To add insult to injury, TVA is allowing him to ignore the rule that requires owners to build their docks 10′ inside their own property line. For the record, that would place his dock on dry land, 60′ from the water’s edge. He has no waterfront property, but he will cut down a live tree, build his dock, and park his 22′ pontoon in my backyard with TVA approval.

Count it all joy? How! I started counting my blessings.

1. The wound-care staff is warm, friendly, and really good at their jobs. I enjoy going there, and they will heal my wound.

2. Even though my lungs are ultra-sensitive to environmental changes, my doctors have me on meds that allow me to live a normal life and immediately deal with life threatening situations.

3. I’m all for giving people a second and third chance, but at least I have oil in my car and the money to pay for it until I decide where to go for the next oil change.

4. And I’m so blessed to live in my own home on a beautiful lake with wonderful neighbors who call to check on me if my blinds aren’t open when they pass by.

Counting my blessings changed my perspective. Then just this morning, Sarah Young’s JESUS CALLING reminded me, “Instead of wondering about what is on the road ahead or worrying about what you should do if…or when…, you can concentrate on staying in communication with ME [Jesus].”

Peace began to replace my inner turmoil. After breakfast I walked Jethro by the lot next to me that has already been cleared. I looked up to see a grapevine that had doubled back on itself to form the sign of the fish. And I was reminded once again that God is my ever-present help. He is with me always in all ways, and with Him, I can handle anything life throws my way. He promised.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

The Key to a Peaceful Life

 

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Have you ever wondered why people write what they write, or what event prompted their writing about it? The psalms always peak my curiosity like that.

This week as I studied Psalm 91, I discovered it was written in celebration of God’s defeat over the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites which occurred during the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. The story is told in 2 Chronicles 20 and provides the key to living a peaceful life in spite of life’s trials, troubles, and battles. Here’s what happened.

Jehoshaphat, an ancestor of Jesus Christ and king of Judah from 872 – 849 BC, was a king who mostly did what was right in God’s eyes. Mostly. But like us, not always. In his case, he didn’t worship other gods, but on occasion he made alliances that did not garner God’s approval.

As we look at his story, we discover that at this particular time in his reign, he found favor in God eyes. When Jehoshaphat was told that a vast army was on the way to conquer them, he gathered all the men, women, and children of Judah and Jerusalem and proclaimed a fast. The people came together for a “national day of prayer.” All the people sought God’s help while Jehoshaphat recalled God’s faithfulness to them and cried out to the Lord, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

While they were praying–I love that phrase. It’s found several times in the Bible–the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel, an inspired Levite, with a message from God.

“Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. The battle is not yours but God’s. March down, take your position, stand firm, and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Isn’t it nice to know that the battle is the Lord’s. All we have to do is be still and let God handle it.

When Jehoshaphat heard that the Lord would deal with the approaching army, he bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people fell down and worshiped the Lord. Some of the Levitical priests were so thankful, they stood up and shouted their praises.
Early the next morning, Jehoshaphat told the people of Judah and Jerusalem to “Have faith in the Lord, and you will be upheld.”

As a man of faith himself, Jehoshaphat appointed singers– not warriors suited up and armed for battle–but singers with their vocal cords tuned up to sing to the Lord and praise Him for the splendor of His Holiness before the battle began.

Did you get that? BEFORE the battle, they sang and praised the Lord. Before they knew the outcome, they thanked God because they trusted Him to provide the deliverance He promised them. That kind of trust only comes from being still in God’s Presence and acknowledging His sovereign will.

And while they were praying [there it is again], praising, and singing to the Lord, the Lord set ambushes; and the Moabites and Ammonites destroyed each other.

When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert, they saw only dead bodies. It took three days to collect all the plunder from that vast army. On the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah (means praise) and praised the Lord; then returned joyfully to Jerusalem, and went straight to the temple of the Lord to thank and praise Him.

After that, their enemies all around them feared the Lord; and the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace because God gave them rest on every side.

Would you like to have rest in all areas of your little kingdom? Then place your unwavering faith in God, lean on His promises, and do what He tells you to do.

“Don’t be afraid or discouraged… The battle is not yours but God’s. Take your position [in Him], stand firm [in your faith], and see the deliverance [from the problem] the Lord will give you. Go out to face [your problem], and the Lord will be with you [to do battle for you].”

That’s the key to a peaceful life. When you know that God is ready, willing, and able to answer your prayers–maybe not in the manner you imagine because He isn’t limited by your imagination–and you’ve learned to trust Him, then ask for His help and thank Him ahead of time. He will answer your prayers, too. Even while you are still praying.

Now go read Psalm 91. It will make a whole lot more sense to you now that you know the back story. And, praise the Lord for giving you peace in the midst of your daily battles.

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