Day 10: I provide peace | Love Letters

Peace: Inner contentment; serenity.

[Source]

During my second year of college, I did what I never thought I’d do and took a studio class in drawing. Over the course of the semester, I had a rewarding experience as I was challenged to learn various art mediums and concepts.

One of the most challenging concepts to draw was perspective–essentially, the ability to make something look “real.” You give an image a sense of depth by creating the illusion of a three-dimensional view on a flat, two-dimensional surface.

Visually, it’s like going from this:

To this:

With perspective, your image changes depending on your viewpoint–the spot where you (the artist) observe your scene. If I wanted to draw a building, I could walk around it and gain a different viewpoint at different areas–perhaps one spot will show the right side of the building, the other the left, and so on. At the end of the day, I could only choose one spot and draw that, giving only one perspective.

Meanwhile, there’s an entire building my eventual audience won’t see in my finished piece.

In our lives, we might view a current situation we’re in only from one perspective, because that’s where we are at that point in time.

You likely feel frustrated when you don’t like the place where you are now. Maybe you’re being unfairly treated by a “friend.” Or your job is getting increasingly stressful. Perhaps you wish you could relocate to a different place. The scene you’re looking at now doesn’t look so good, and it’s been draining you for quite a while now.

When we enter seasons of waiting, God gives us the opportunity to gain a better perspective. God’s love for you means He wants you to grow, to become a better version of who you were yesterday. Maybe the unfair friend is growing your ability to forgive. The stressful work environment is growing your ability to trust Him and not yourself. The desire to move is growing your ability to have patience–and wait until the best time.

In these difficult seasons when you’re longing for understanding, God first offers His peace. I can’t imagine a person who doesn’t want peace. Oftentimes, when we’re stressed and uncertain, we turn to everything but God. We want an instant sense of security. We keep searching and searching for it, but anything or anyone that isn’t your Heavenly Father cannot give you the peace you long for.

Nothing in this world has the perspective of the entire “building” you’re looking at except God. He is all-knowing, and He knows you can’t figure it out on your own. He offers His help, so you can lean on Him for peace–an inner contentment, or serenity.

When you rely on God for peace, He gives you a satisfaction that cannot be taken away from you.

Peace is the result of an understanding of your own shortcomings and a confidence in God’s care for you. It can look like saying, God I don’t understand this situation, but I know that You have control in it. You have the best for me, and I expect the best from You. I’m excited for what You have in store for me.

And you should be excited. God’s preparing wonderful things for you. Plus, He’s giving you the ability to mature and gain His wisdom in the process.

Instead of moving around, making decisions on your own, and putting pieces together, be still and seek God for the perspective He’s showing you.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

Love Letter 10

14 days of learning God’s love. Learn about the Love Letters here.

Read Day 9

Read Day 11 

 

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Feeling Stuck?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)


Imagine this:

Complete darkness.

You can’t stand, because the place you’re in is too narrow. You can only crawl. You can’t see up ahead, and there’s not enough space for you to turn around if you wanted to. The only direction to move is forward, even though you have no idea where you’re going.

One Way_Blog Featured Image
Photo: Brendan Church

Not ideal? Yeah, I know.

When I was in elementary school, I went to a science museum with my brothers, and we experienced the Touch Tunnel. Eighty feet of pitch-black darkness, and the only way to move through was to crawl. The purpose of the tunnel was to show the significance of sight in our experience of the world.

All we had now was ourselves and our ability to feel our way through a strange abyss.

I may or may not have been afraid of the dark, but one consolation was the employee’s voice that came through the speakers any time we stalled in the tunnel: “Stay to the left, the left, the left…”

(Try not to think of Beyoncé’s lyrics. Okay, now you’re thinking about them. Anyways…)

That was the key to escape: Keep left. There were alternate routes that could lead us off course, but because we listened to the voice, we were out in no time and free to enjoy the rest of our day at the museum.

Looking back, I knew I would escape (of course), but the feeling of being stuck in a cramped place was uncomfortable.

We like our freedom. We like to know we can move around whenever and wherever we want. We like to know we can show up when we want and leave as we please. We like the lights on to see, and we like to turn the lights off when we’re done.

When something comes in and restricts us or takes away what we always had, it’s not only shocking, it can be devastating.

Maybe your top university rejected your application or you didn’t get the job at the only company you could see yourself working. Perhaps you lost a relationship that was dear to you or experienced the death of a loved one. Your finances didn’t improve the way they needed to or an important event you were waiting on got canceled. You didn’t get the score to pass that exam or you weren’t qualified enough for that program.

Disappointments can come in many forms: rejection, betrayal, failure…you name it. Each case leaves the same feeling: You had a wonderful grasp on your future, and now it’s gone. The future fell far out of your hands before you could even reach out and rescue it.

You did your best. You’ve exhausted all your efforts. Now you don’t know where to go.

So, what do we when we’re stuck?

Continue reading “Feeling Stuck?”

Battling Through Uncertainty

My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

Psalm 130:6 (KJV)


Without batting an eye, I can tell you the top three most nerve-wrecking moments in college:

  1. The first day of class ever as a freshman…For me, it was a typical scene from a college movie. A gloomy, rainy day, and I walked into the wrong room for French. I survived, and it wasn’t really embarrassing.
  2. When final grades are posted. Even if you know your grade, something about those email notifications are absolutely unsettling. But you learn to just log in, take a look, and breathe.
  3. Starting your paper the day it’s due. There’s no better adrenaline rush than knowing you have 5 1/2 hours to write a research paper on a topic you haven’t actually researched.

These three instances have something in common: UNCERTAINTY. There was no worse feeling in those moments than thinking: What’s about to happen!? I’ve done all I can, and I have no control in this!

Beyond the classroom, uncertainty hits us in other areas of our lives. Our purpose: Am I following God’s will for my life? Our relationships: What if I don’t get married? Am I going to have solid friendships? Our finances: How am I going to pay this bill? How soon am I going to get another job? It can be completely overwhelming. Yes, God promises He will provide for us, but does that mean He will specifically answer a prayer we’ve been requesting for days, weeks, or years?

Continue reading “Battling Through Uncertainty”

Beyond the Flesh: Thoughts on Forgiveness

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

(Romans 12:16-18 NKJV)


How would you evaluate your interactions with others? shaking-hands_black-and-white

Sin often gets between our relationships, because Satan wants us to live contrary to the way God has called us to live. He wants us to be angry, unforgiving, jealous, and judgmental. Many of these emotions emerge as part of our sinful nature, especially when we face difficult situations, but these reactions are traps that cause destruction, brokenness, and distraction.

Even if we don’t react outwardly in negative ways, our inner heart is still visible to God:

“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10 KJV).

…And somehow, what’s inside will come out in public. Numbers 32:23 says, “But if you do not do so, then take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out” (NKJV).

Of course, God doesn’t leave us hopelessly stuck in our weaknesses–He provides a solution. I love looking at the Fruit of the Spirit, because it sets standards for our character that we should follow:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV).

The Lord wants us to grow and be transformed–to do away with the wrong things we might say or think (see Colossians 3:8). Practicing the Fruit of the Spirit can transform who we are and how we treat others.

It’s important to see the reality behind our human struggles. Ephesians makes it clear that these fleshly battles are spiritual ones underneath:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12 KJV).

There is an invisible battle around us in which the enemy is trying to tear people apart, stealing lives that have potential to glorify God. However, we can choose forgiveness and a Christ-like mindset. When we reject our sinful ways, we are fighting the enemy, opening eyes to Christ, and winning lives for the Kingdom–and it’s all possible through Him.

When we respond in fear of people or focus on the wrongs they’ve done, we can be wasting precious time. Dwelling in the past is a time-waster, a joy-killer. There’s a reason that God values relationships, families, and friendships. There’s great power in just two or three people coming together for Christ (see Matthew 18:20). The more godly connections, the more He shines.

Satan tries to manipulate relationships, because he knows he is no match for the body of Christ. I believe he tries to distract us from our mission and purpose on this earth with these earthly battles. Losing sleep over people is not part of God’s plan. Separation and pain caused by grudges, bitterness and anger are not part of God’s plan. Fallouts and unnecessary disagreements are not part of God’s plan.

The devil is your enemy, not people. 1 Peter 5:8 states, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (KJV).

Although situations can come into our lives without our control, without being our fault, we must remember that God restores. He has the power to replace what has been taken unjustly, and He has the power to provide better things from what has gone away. Don’t allow the enemy to lock you in the past, but also don’t allow him to control your actions in the future.

We have authority in Christ! Guard your heart, and respond with maturity and Christ in mind when it comes to personal conflicts. God has something greater for us to do than be distracted by Satan’s schemes.


Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

(Proverbs 4:23 KJV)

Love Series | Launching 8.1.16

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  

(Matthew 22:37-39 KJV)


Introducing… the Love Series on LizMargaret!

We have a desire to connect with others. And it’s perfectly normal. God created us to have this desire–and to have fruitful relationships with those around us.

In every type of relationship you can imagine, Christ is an example of how we ought to love. It’s quite amazing. Think about it:

In marriage:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25)

We are called into the family of God, as His children:

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18)

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1)

In friendships:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:13-14)

In every example, Christ is the center. Everything points back to gospel. God Himself has modeled love for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Just as Christ laid down His life for us, we are called to do the same for Him. We are called to die to ourselves in our service to Him and to others as He commands.

Yet as we navigate different relationships (friendship, romance, family, etc), we often face pain, disappointment, confusion, betrayal, and heartbreak. Due to our imperfect nature, these feelings may be inevitable, but God’s Word provides endless wisdom on how we should conduct ourselves in relationships and what we should avoid.

When we remain rooted in Christ, we allow His will for our current and future relationships to manifest, as we are led by the Spirit to have discernment in who we allow into our lives and what it looks like to love them.

The Love Series will look at four women in the Bible who show that following God is the only way to live life and treat others as He intended.

Love Series | Overview:

Part 1: Ruth

Part 2: The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Part 3: Anna

Part 4: Elizabeth

These are real women, with very different stories. They exemplify faith as well as human faults. They are forgiven women, friends, disciples, and leaders. Each of them teach us that when the gospel is evident in the way we live, we are set apart from the world, bringing glory to God in our lives and relationships.

Look out for new posts in this four-part series every Monday, starting August 1, 2016!