Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Know that My Redeemer Lives

The Savior I love healed the sick, the blind, and the infirm. He showed compassion for those who were weak, ostracized, or despised. Even an ailing woman who touched the hem of His clock was healed because of her faith in Him. He ate with sinners and treated women as equals. He is a God of love.

The Savior I love fed five thousand people with a boy's offering of five fishes and two loaves of bread, yet after the people feasted until they were full, there was enough food left over to fill twelve baskets. He is a God of generosity.

The Savior I worship forgave an adulterous woman who was about to be stoned and asked her accusers to condemn her only if they were without sin. He forgave the soldiers who crucified Him while suffering on the cross. He is a God of mercy.

The Savior I love calmed the troubled seas, turned water into wine at a wedding celebration, and comforted the broken hearted. He raised the dead. He suffered beyond anything we can comprehend for you and for me. He laid down His life for us and then took it up again, that each of us may be resurrected. He is a God of power.

The Christ I worship has infinite love, goodness, and purity. He asks us to follow Him so that we can be happy. He asks us to love Him so we can find peace.

© Carol Brown

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Peace of Patience

My friend, Suzanne, who has know her share of trials and adversity, calls patience the "p" word because it sometimes seems difficult to not sweat the small stuff and to wait patiently on the Lord when life is difficult. Suzanne had undergone numerous surgeries and faces the challenges of poverty and loneliness with grace, yet some days she admits that she is too critical of herself and others. Although some are naturally patient--like my granddaught Chloe, who is amazingly patient for a two-year old, patience is a quality that each of us can develop more fully and is worth the effort.

St. Teresa of Avila, one of my favorite sages, said,

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things pass away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Patience comes when we allow God to become our strength, our hope, and our peace, even during times of suffering. Although trusting in God doesn't always come easily, when we do, it makes our life easy. I have learned that when we rely on Christ, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

So how do we increase in patience?


Before you speak or act in a negative manner, breathe deeply and ask yourself, "Does this promote peace? Is this a loving thing to say or do?" Sometimes, the most loving thing we can say is, "No. I wish I could but I can't right now." We cannot be everything to everyone and promote patience.


Focus on God's perfect love for you. Focus of the fact that each one of us is a child of God. Picture Him as a loving Shepherd who is nourishing you, leading you beside still waters, and healing you. Picture His loving expression as He holds you in His arms. Remember that He carries you every moment of your life, not just when times are difficult, but every moment of every day.


Give your problems, concerns and worries to God in prayer, trusting that He will carry your burdens and bind up your broken heart. Believe that God loves you more that you can even imagine and that He waits to help you face life's challenges. He longs for you to ask for His help. He stands at the door, waiting for you to knock.

Paul taught, "Be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good for each other and for all" (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, NAB). In Galatians, patience is listed as one of the "fruit of the Spirit": "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law". (Galatians 5:21-23, NIV). In Timothy, the Bible states that "Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life".(1 Timothy 1:15-17, NIV).

May we follow the Savior's example, who forgave His enemies, served those who were forgotten or rejected, and who loved others perfectly. May we enjoy the peace of His patience.

© Carol Brown

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How to Experience Peace of Mind

The thoughts we choose determine whether or not we experience peace. We have the power to choose thoughts of fear or thoughts of love. As we monitor our thoughts, we can decide to eliminate negative, toxic thoughts and replace them with peace-filled, healing ones. This is one of the greatest powers we possess, for our thoughts determine the words we speak and the actions we perform. We are what we think.

As we monitor our thoughts, we become observers and managers of them. We then can choose to eliminate negative thoughts before that overwhelm us and replace them with positive ones. For example, if I find myself criticizing a situation or person, I replace those judgmental thoughts with loving ones. I pray for those whom I have allowed to offend me. I look for the strengths in others, rather than weaknesses. I celebrate the divine in everyone I meet, remembering that we are all children of God, who loves us with immeasurable love.

Just like it's easier to pull a weed when it's small, it's easier to remove negative thought patterns when they first begin. If you find that toxic or unpleasant thoughts are disturbing your peace of mind, replace them with thoughts of gratitude and love. I have learned that when we foster loving thoughts, it dispells our fearful ones.

In his book Anatomy of the Soul, Dr. Curt Thompson shows have we can rewire our minds by transforming our thinking patterns. A psychiatrist, Dr. Thompson shares many ideas that help us do that. Here are a few of them:

Meditation "The practice of meditation....puts us in position to be open to God's search of us. It enables us to be aware of our bodies and how God may be speaking to us through them." Psalms 119 says, "I meditate on your precepts and consider yours ways....Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds."

Prayer "Meditation naturally leads to prayer. Paul admonishes us to be devoted to prayer (Colossians 4:2); not only should we long to pray, we should be aware that it, too, will require hard work....Prayer in turn leads us, like the psalmist, to answer God with our prayers of petition and praise as we become aware of the depth of his love and beauty."

Fasting Dr. Thompson says that fasting "puts us deeply in touch with our bodies" and helps us realize how often we use food to "shut off distressing emotion triggered by implicit memories."

Study Dr. Thompson suggests that keeping a written prayer and reflection journal is helpful, along with enjoying the beauties of nature and various expressions of art.

As we pray, meditate, study, and serve, we discover the mind of Christ. Consider Paul's words: "The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6). "The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit within?...Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2).

I have discovered that when I observe my thoughts, replacing fearful ones with peaceful ones, my life is transformed. As I reflect on God's infinite love for me, I can better radiate that love to others. As I feel His love, I want to share His love through service and kindness, which is a wonderful way to experience peace of mind.

© Carol Brown