Friday, January 27, 2012

Perfect Peace

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

Conquering Fear

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