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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Day 7: I provide a way out | Love Letters

Path:

  1. A route, course, or track along which something moves.
  2. A course of action, conduct, or procedure.

[Source]

In the midst of challenges, we sometimes feel alone. We might feel as though our prayers aren’t working. That God doesn’t hear us. And that He doesn’t love us.

These ideas are sneaky lies the devil tries to seep into your thoughts. Satan wants you to believe God isn’t listening and doesn’t love you, because he doesn’t want you to turn to God. And so, these difficult moments are the times we must hold onto the Lord even more.

In a battle, the opposing side you’re up against doesn’t want you to win. Your enemy will try any tactics to get rid of you. It’s a huge bonus if your enemy catches you distracted, because that’s the best time to strike. Similarly, the devil–your enemy in this world–will try to get your eyes off God to distract you in order to attack you. Negative thoughts aren’t from the God of love and freedom–they’re from the devil who comes to steal, kill, and destroy you (John 10:10). Spoiler alert: God is more powerful than the enemy, so you have nothing to fear if you follow Him.

God doesn’t passively watch you struggle in life. He actively fights for you. You can’t know the future, and you can’t see things from miles away. However, your Heavenly Father can. Not only is God working on your behalf now–He’s clearing your path of future obstacles you can’t see.

God will not leave you hanging in the midst of the battle. He won’t suddenly desert you, leaving you to fend for yourself. He will provide the path–the course of action, or the route–that will lead to your victory.

Although you don’t see the way out now, it doesn’t mean it’s not coming. I urge you to keep your trust in God and find protection in Him. One way you can practice trust is by waiting on God–instead of rushing ahead and making final decisions without His instruction.

God’s instruction comes with peace. It may not be what you expect, but you’ll know it’s from God if you know Him. God keeps His word. He’s unchanging and acts based on His character, which you can learn for yourself by reading the Bible (His Word).

Take your hands off, and allow God the space to move in your life. He won’t force you–He’ll look for your willingness to let Him work. But whether God has told you to wait, leave, go ahead, or stop, your obedience will be worth it.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

Love Letter 7

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

Read Day 6

Read Day 8

 

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Do You Listen to Others Before You Listen to God?

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

(Proverbs 19:20-21 ESV)


If you are going into a battle, who would you want to come fight with you?

  • Someone who doesn’t want what’s best for you and may even harm you
  • Someone who is fearful and will restrict you
  • Someone who will stand with you and fightsocial media_black and white

The answer is clear–the last person is ideal. You want someone who’s on your side to fight with you. The reality is, in the day to day battles we fight, we don’t always see people’s true colors or intentions–at least not at first. Even with social media today, everyone has an opinion, everyone will have advice to give you, but not all advice is right.

 

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1 KJV).

Proverbs 19:20-21 instructs us to listen to wise advice but also to know God’s Word stands above everything. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone says or plans out if it’s contrary to God’s will. He has the final say every time!

It’s essential that we listen to God’s voice before we listen to the voices of others. People will be quick to tell you what they think you should do–and even base their advice on their own experiences. However, you don’t know if this person is advising you based on their own fears or based on wisdom. Their story is their story. Your story is your story. What happened to them won’t necessarily happen to you. God’s got you covered with a unique plan.

“The Lord of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand’” (Isaiah 14:24 ESV).

This doesn’t mean we should be skeptical of everyone we come across. God needs us to care for each other and build each other up!

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14 KJV).

If someone is living a godly life, you’ll know based on the fruit of their lives. We just need wisdom regarding who we follow–whether that’s online or in real life. God’s Word will always reign true, and His commandments don’t change. It’s OK to take notes from those you admire and to learn from other people’s past mistakes. Discipleship is valuable, and it’s a commandment. Make sure what others tell you lines up with what God tells you. God will give you the discernment–you just need to go to Him first. Learn the Bible for yourself. Check and see what God says about your problem before you try and consult the Web or someone else.

Stay teachable, but know why you believe what you believe according to the Word.


My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:  For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

(Proverbs 3:1-4 KJV)