Tuesday, January 29, 2013
I used to suffer from SAD, seasonal affective disorder. When the gloomy winter days appeared, with days and weeks of smog and snow, I felt depressed, exhausted, and miserable. As I focused on the grey skies, the cold weather, and the snow-covered streets, I was sad and unhappy.
Then I discovered the power of meditation and gratitude.
As I learned how to meditate, I recognized that I was choosing negative thoughts that caused me to feel unhappy. I also realized that I was overlooking the beauty around me and focusing on things that I perceived to be negative.
Now, I realize that some are medically depressed during winter and need light therapy and sometimes they need medication to help. But others, like me, become unhappy because of the thoughts they choose to rerun in their minds.
Today, I am as happy in the winter as in the summer. I rejoice in the gift of snow and in its exquisite beauty. I savor each cold day, as I enjoy hot soups, a warm fireplace, and central heat. I thank God continually for these blessings.
I rejoice when I see the coral clouds and the slivers of iridescent golden light of our desert sunsets. I appreciate the blessings of living in a place with changing four seasons which delight the senses. I enjoy the winter blizzards as much as the first blooms of spring, the explosion of flowers during the summer, and the amazing beauty of autumn leaves. I am richly blessed.
We all have winter seasons in our life that require us to focus on the positive if we are to be happy. Illness, financial reverses, loss, and other trials can distract us from remembering how truly blessed we are. As we release negative thoughts and notice the good things in life, we can find peace, even when life is difficult.
May you find peace today and always as you focus you the blessings and beauties of life.
© Carol Brown
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
In this noisy, chaotic world, we need to find spaces of silence. Silence for meditation. Silence for pondering. Silence for listening. Silence for peace.
Mother Teresa in "No Greater Love" said:
“We cannot find God in noise and agitation.
Nature: trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence. The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence.
What is essential is not what we say but what God tells us and what He tells others through us.
In silence He listens to us; in silence He speaks to our souls.
In silence we are granted the privilege of listening to His voice.
Silence of our eyes.
Silence of our ears.
Silence of our mouths.
Silence of our minds.
…in the silence of the heart
God will speak.”
Today, find a space for silence. Breathe slowly and deeply. Discover the peace that exists in quiet moments.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
What storms do you face right now?
Here are a few that my family has experienced over the years:
• Deaths of parents, siblings, and close friends
• Serious chronic health problems
• Job loss
• Serious accidents and injuries
• Torture and rape of a child
• Life-threatening hospitalizations
That’s the short list.
Life is filled with storms that threaten to overwhelm us, capsize our boats, and sink our spirits. The experience of morality is not easy. Yet, even amid the storms, we can find peace. God will either calm the storm or give us strength to endure it when we trust in Him.
I have seen God calm some serious storms in my life. Loved ones have been miraculously healed. Friends and family have appeared to comfort and bless me when I became too weary to carry on. At times God has encircled me in the arms of His love.
But there are seasons when the storms rage even though we plead for Divine intervention. We feel lost and alone. Our burdens become too heavy to bear. During those times, we can either turn to God for strength or we can attempt to go it alone.
Remember Peter, who had enough faith to walk on the water towards Jesus. As long as His eyes were focused on Christ, he succeeded. As soon as he focused on the threatening waves surrounding Him, he sank. Life is like that. Our thoughts and priorities determine whether we find peace or misery amid the storms of life.
If we focus on fear, bitterness or anger, our lives seem hopeless. We feel overwhelmed with each new storm that appears in our lives. When we center our thoughts on the Savior, we discover that He wants to carry our burdens, to heal our broken hearts, and to give us peace even when life is very, very difficult.
Shortly before Jesus was suffered in Gethsemane and was crucified at Calvary, he counseled his disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world" (New Living Translation).
Christ promises that amid the challenges of life, we can be of good cheer because he has overcome the world, conquering death and sin. As we trust in Him completely, we can find peace amid sorrow.
So how do we find this peace?
• Learn of Him. Study his words. Become acquainted with God and make Him your closest and dearest friend.
• Listen to Him. Pray continually, praising God and asking to needful blessings. Listen to His words which speak peace to our souls.
• Remember Him. Throughout the day as you face trials and challenges, consider how he responded to difficulties and follow His example of patience, love, and faithfulness.
• Trust Him. Give me all your cares, worries, fears, and concerns, and trust that He will carry them and carry you.
• Love Him. Bask in His perfect and unspeakable love. Allow Him to enfold you in the arms of His love. Turn your heart, energy, mind, and strength to loving Him, praising Him, worshiping Him, and honoring Him. He is alone worthy of all of our love, devotion, faith, trust, and gratitude.
During the past year, I determined to know God better. I feasted on His word, sometimes spending hours studying the Bible each morning. I prayed more intently, and I remembered Him throughout the day. Today I feel that I know God more intimately than I ever before. That season prepared me for a significant storm.
This month tragedy has again struck our family. Our youngest son has been diagnosed with a rare, incurable and painful disease. As he, his wife, and we are coming to grips with this difficult news, we can either become bitter or better. Our decision to either turn away from God or keep our hearts focused on Him will determine whether we can find peace amid this mighty storm.
• Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
• Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct (or make smooth) your paths.
• Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
• The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
• What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.
• And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Today as you face the storms of your life, focus on God’s love, goodness, mercy, and compassion. Allow Him to comfort you, to carry to, to make you whole.
© Carol Brown
Posted by Carol at 10:34 AM
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
God loves us so much that He gave His only beloved Son to die for you and for me. His gift is more priceless that we can imagine. God's love gives us hope that we can live with Him again. Christ's love conquered both spiritual and physical death. His love allows us to become like Him if we chose to follow and obey Him. His love heals our broken hearts when we give Him our pain, sorrows, fears, disappointments, and worries. His love is the most powerful force in the universe.
The following actions allow us to access God's infinite love, a love that fills our hearts with peace and happiness:
Prayer When we communicate with God, we can cast our burdens on Him, experience the healing power of His spirit, and find solutions to our problems and concerns. He is the supreme Counselor and the best Friend we could ever have. As we talk and listen to Him, He surrounds us in the arms of His perfect love.
Scripture study The scriptures are God's love letters to us, and when we read them, we discover who God is, who we are, and how deeply he loves us. Consider how John describes God's love: How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
Trust in God As we communicate with God and study His words, we discover that we can trust completely in Him as our Counselor, Creator, and Companion. When we trust in Him, he carries us every day of our lives and directs our journey in life, leading us back into his presence. In Psalm 36, we read, "Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed."
Follow Him God wants to give us all that He has. He asks for very little in return. He asks us to give Him our hearts. When he listen to him and obey him, he immediately blesses us and fills our hearts with peace and our spirits with love. He gives our lives with purpose and direction. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
The world is filled with darkness, disappointment and despair. Christ gave his life for us that that we can walk with courage, compassion, and comfort amid the sorrows of life. He is the Life, Light, and the Truth. He knows you and loves you so much that he died for you so you can live eternally with him. Isn't that wonderful news?
© Carol Brown
Friday, January 27, 2012
As I reflect upon my life, I realize that God has helped me endure challenges that I could not have faced alone. When I meet my earthly father who is in heaven, I want to thank him for teaching me as a little child to trust in Jesus and to love Him. It was a priceless gift! Jesus has helped me endure tests that I could never have endured without Him.
I long for the day when I can kneel at my Savior's feet and thank Him for loving me enough to die for me and for carrying me every day of my life. He is my Rock, my Redeemer, my Light, and My Life. He is Everything to me, and I love Him more than words can adequately express. Each day I seek to love Him more, to trust in Him more fully.
Paul says, "let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Isaiah promises, "You [God] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
Jesus is the Prince of Peace, the giver of peace, the source of peace. He is our peace. David writes, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace."
I love this beautiful song by Laura Story. She expresses what I am trying to say in such an eloquent and tender way. As we endure trials well, they teach us compassion, empathy, patience, humility, trust in God, and they allow us to understand and appreciate all that our Savior suffered for us. We discover that we can find peace even during times of sorrow.
May the Lord give you peace this day and always.
© Carol Brown
Saturday, January 7, 2012
All of us are fearful at times. Fear is a healthy emotion when it warns us of danger, evil, or trouble. However, when we are continually controlled by our fears, Satan can use this as a tool to keep us from experiencing peace, joy, and contentment.
Life is difficult, and the trials can be very hard. Shortly before Christ was crucified, he told his followers that they were suffer tribulation but urged them to "be of good cheer" because he had overcome the world.
Some of the most powerful tools for conquering fear are found in the Bible. As we study God’s word, we learn that He wants us to be peaceful and to eliminate our worldly fears, even when our trials are tough to bear. Consider what He teaches us about ways we can eliminate anxiety, worry, and fear from our hearts:
• Fear not: for I am with thee.
• The Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged.
• Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
• And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.
• But now thus says the Lord that created thee, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
• 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.
• And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
So, how do we conquer fear? We remember that God is always with us and that He will never fail or abandon us. We remind ourselves that we are greatly beloved and treasured by the Lord. If he numbers every hair of our heads and notices when every sparrow falls to the ground, He sees every trial and trouble that we face, and he will succor and help us when we rely on Him. He will even send heavenly hosts to help us when we are in peril or distress.
In the Word, we find seven ways that we can conquer our fears.
1. Believe. As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he says unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
2. Chose peace. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
3. Love God, yourself and others. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
4. Give your fears to God. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
5. Ask God for help. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
6. Trust that God will help you. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.
7. Remember that God is always with you. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
We experience peace when we remember that God is always with us and He will never leave or forsake us. Because He has redeemed us, we are called by His name and we are His. He understands us completely. He loves us unconditionally. We can cast all of our cares on the Lord, knowing that He cares for us. As we bask in His perfect love, He will cast out all of our fears. We need only believe!
© Carol Brown
Saturday, December 31, 2011
God wants us to know Him and trust in Him. He wants us to be happy. As we still our minds and trust in Him, He fills our hearts with peace.
Consider what the Bible says about knowing God:
• Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.
• Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
• Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
• Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
• My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.
• Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
• But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him.
• Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
With Job, I testify that I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the earth.
Friday, December 30, 2011
When we pray to and praise God continually, we find peace. As we focus our thoughts on the Lord during the day, we experience a peace that passes all understand. We do not worry about the future because we trust that God is guiding us. We do not anguish because of past events because we give our hearts to the Lord. We know that He forgives, loves and heals us. He is our Redeemer, our Rock, and our best and most loyal Friend. He will never forsake us!
When we remember our Creator continually, we care more about Him than anything else. We love Him more than anything else. We honor Him more than anything else.
We are never alone with God is with us. Knowing that He is by our side, we realize that we can overcome all things. Because He strengthens us, we know that we can endure any trials or temptations that we face.
Each morning we can reflect on His perfect love for us and on His tender mercies. As we study the word of God and remember the Word, we discover that we can find peace even when life is difficult. We can find peace even when others betray us, when we are sick or tired, or when we feel overwhelmed by the burdens of life.
As we pray, we can ask God to manifest His love to us. We can ask Him to guide us in each decision that we make. We can praise Him for the countless ways He blesses us, provides for us, and protects us. We can ask for His protection and direction.
This week I went alone to a second doctor’s visit. My husband was far away on a business trip, and doctors wanted me to undergo a second series of diagnostic x-rays to determine whether or not I had cancer. As a prayed, I felt perfect peace. I knew that whether or not I had a serious health problem, God was with me. I knew He cared about me and loved me. I prepared for a good result but also knew that if the outcome was bad, the Lord would comfort me.
Happily, the results were positive but this experience taught me that even during difficult times, I can experience peace as I focus my thoughts on my loving Father and trust in His tender care. May you find peace today as you seek to center your heart, mind, and emotions on the Lord. Remember, He said, “I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.”
© Carol Brown