Tag Archive | peace

The Roaring Lion, 1 Peter 5:8

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If Buddy ever roared like a lion, I’d go check my hearing, because we all know that a little, 19 pound dog is not going to roar. He’s going to bark, growl, snuffle, howl and “talk,” but not roar.

The Apostle Peter warned believers in his letter, 1 Peter 5:8, to be on the alert, not to be passive about evil.

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Searching the internet, there were multiple claims that lions do not roar to frighten their prey into paralysis, as is commonly believed. I did find that the below website, http://www.Reference.com, had the most compelling reason:

“Lions use their roar as a way to remind other lions that they are in control over an area.” (https://www.reference.com/pets-animals/lions-roar-68fa05e474d85126)

As Christians I believe that we too often let down our guards and then wonder why Satan is able to “zap us” and cause us harm in life. We forget that, although Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross (Colossians 2:13-15), He has not yet returned to claim His kingdom. At this time, Satan is being permitted to rule over the entire earth.

“The Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking on it.'”–Job 1:7

My NASB version of the Bible has some apt descriptions of Satan in its Concordance:

“accuser, adversary, deceiver of the world, devil, dragon, enemy, evil one, father of lies, god of this world, liar, murderer, ruler of the demons and ruler of this world.”

We must question what we hear in the media, what thoughts come to mind and what other people around us are saying. People may not be telling us the truth: It might be deliberate or because they are just wrong, they are deceived themselves, or they are presenting opinion as fact. Before I turn on the radio, I pray some variation of: “Lord, please help me discern truth from error, and fact from fiction. Help me know when someone is trying to deceive me or just making a mistake. Help me know when someone is presenting opinion as fact. Help me now when I am being told the truth or not. And help me to tell others the truth and not mislead them.”

And even the health books I read, the authors claim to have the whole truth about the healthiest way to eat is, with the scientific facts to back their claims up, yet directly contradict one another: grains are bad, grains are good; wine is bad, wine is good; coffee is bad, coffee is good; beans are bad, beans are good, etc.

Jesus claimed to be “the way, the truth and the life.”–John 14:6

When we stay in God’s Word, we are entering into Jesus’ protection from lies. He is a good Shepherd Who sleeps in the doorway of the sheepfold to protect the sheep from the wolves who want to enter into the flock and kill the sheep (John 10: 1-18). Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthian 11:14, warned us that Satan “disguises himself as an angel of light” in order to deceive us and lead us astray. Only by knowing God’s Word can we discern when someone is twisting Scripture or lying to us, telling us something is OK to do or believe when it isn’t.

I am not blogging about Buddy and God because I think I know it all, but these are things I, myself, need to remind myself of and am mulling over in my mind.

There is so much slander and deliberate lying in the media and by government officials nowadays. One must be constantly questioning what is being said–or consider what is being concealed and not said.

I was thinking about what I’m hearing recently and feeling afraid, not at peace. I wonder if people who hate this country or Capitalism or Christianity will gain more power and destroy our economy, our livelihoods and our freedom. I am letting the roaring of Satan frighten me. Yet Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross: The devil is now a toothless lion; He cannot have my soul, but he can still be very dangerous if I let him pounce upon me or tear me with his claws, but if I can stay out of his reach, I should remain safe.

And out of Satan’s reach is by staying close to my great shepherd, Jesus.

So when I get scared, I remind myself that Jesus GIVES me peace as a gift. I don’t manufacture it myself. It’s a gift He gives when I ask for it.

“My peace I leave with you; My peace I GIVE to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”–John 14:17, emphasis mine

And also have to remind myself that God is sovereign over all history and people. There is nothing out of His control:

“Who works all things after the counsel of His will.”–Ephesians 1:11

So please ask Jesus to grant you His gift of peace if you are afraid. He loves you and will take care of you, if you are in His flock. And, also, please ask for discernment every day, because no matter how smart or sophisticated we think we are, some people are very devious–or just very wrong.

Love from Dawn and her beloved Buddy

***

If you aren’t in Jesus’s flock, why not? My main regret in life is not coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus ten years sooner. I would’ve avoided so many dark and depressing days in my 20s with His guidance and love in my life. Why not sooner, you ask? So that I would never forget that there is nothing to return to before I came to Christ. Knowing God loves you and experiencing His presence is the greatest gift anyone can have. Why not ask Him to forgive your sins and invite Him into your life, to be your Lord and protector today?

 

 

 

Happy As a Dog, Isaiah 36:3

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Buddy always greets me with joyous rapture when I return home. And he is always excited to take a “walkie” although we frequently walk the same route once or twice a day. Unless something frightens him, his normal state is to be either contented or happy.

The prophet Isaiah wrote:

“The steadfast in mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.”–Isaiah 36:3

I believe that dogs are happy because they aren’t fussing or ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. They live in the present.

God always encourages us to be thankful (contented) and to live in the present.

Not to ruminate on the past, to let it go:

“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.”–Isaiah 43:19  Why?

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered nor come to mind.”–Isaiah 65:17

Because one day we will not remember our current earthly lives. You’re not only going to leave everything in the past behind–but not even remember this present life. So why keep holding onto that old baggage that’s distressing you? Drop it now. You’re not taking it to heaven (or the new earth) with you.

And, what is worry? Fretting about possible negative events in the future.

Does a dog ever sit around and think, “Good heavens! My owner may die tomorrow and I won’t get treats and walkies and belly rubs anymore? I may get chucked out of the house and have to lick spoiled tomato sauce out of old, rusty tin cans in the garbage dump to survive.” Heck no! He’s focused on what you have hidden in that napkin in your coat pocket after you returned from eating out.

Jesus says, because we can trust in God’s love for us: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him…For everyone who asks receives…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him.”–Matthew 6:8, 7:8, 7:11 from the Sermon On The Mount

In summary, you can trust God for your present and your future. Forget the past and move on because you have a wonderful future ahead of you.

“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create, For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness.?–Isaiah 65:18

God created you to be happy as a dog.

***

Ironically, while working on this post, something popped up that distressed me greatly. God brought it around for my good (Romans 8:28). Thinking about what I am blogging about helped to calm me down and deal with the situation much more rationally. God is good. What timing!

Never claimed I was perfect, just blogging about what I am thinking about or dealing with at the time.

Much love from Dawn and Buddy.

Finding Rest: Matthew 11:28-29

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When we visited Ocean Shores last summer, I wore Buddy out, walking along the beach. He found rest amidst the grass. However, it was inadequate to protect him from the strong wind that afternoon.

I don’t know about you, but at times I want to run away from the nastiness that’s being spewed since the last Presidential election. But, unless I want to hide in a cave for the next four years, I have to deal with it. Jesus has been my hiding place to run to and find rest.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”–Matthew 11:28-29

Preachers claim that Jesus is referring to a team of oxen: A young ox is yoked to the experienced, older ox who plods along, focused on plowing a straight line. When the newer ox stops goofing around, trying to go his own direction, and yields to the older ox, he finds that the yoke becomes easier.

I find anger, fretting, fear and frustration very taxing emotionally. It’s like a slow poison that damages your health and soul. Jesus promises that when we focus on Him, we’ll find rest. When we allow Jesus to direct our lives, we will find we’re happier and our soul feels lighter.

Jesus has a better path for our minds to travel in.

“Do not FRET…”–Psalm 139

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and DO NOT CURSE.”–Romans 12:14

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone.”–Romans 12:17

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God…”–Romans 12:19

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”–Romans 12:21

“Do not FEAR for I have redeemed you…you are precious in My sight…”–Isaiah 43:1, 4

“Do not WORRY about your life…”–Luke 12:22

“My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”–John 14:27

As you can see in John 14, peace is something God gives to you. You cannot create peace within yourself nor obtain it from the world we live in. Ask Him to give you peace in your heart and by faith trust Him to have given it to you and thank Him for it. When the world and angry people around you start to make you feel stressed out, turn your focus toward Jesus and follow His way: praying for your enemies/opposition and trusting Him to work it out. Focus on His attributes. He’s the great Lord of Hosts, the Omnipotent God. Nothing is too difficult for Him to handle. (Jeremiah 32:17)  He’s in control at all times. He laughs at the nations. They are but dust in His sight. (Psalm 2)

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.”–Isaiah 26:3

 

 

Looking Behind: Philippians 3:13

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Buddy is distracted by something behind him, so he stopped during our walk, planted his feet and didn’t move forward.

Over the past few years I’ve heard several women in church claim that they cannot, or are having difficulty, forgiving someone. These women I’ve met rarely, if ever smile, and appear to be unhappy most of the time. One woman even hindered her husband’s ministry.

I have a saying: When you keep looking behind you, you’ll trip over your future. It’s difficult to walk forward successfully when you’re looking behind all the time.

I’m not writing this to condemn anyone. I certainly know how difficult it is to forgive; there’s not anyone I know of, including myself, who hasn’t been harmed by someone in life to one degree or another.

What I want to share is how I have been able, with the help of the power of Jesus Christ, to forgive those who’ve done me harm. Memorizing these verses below has been very helpful to me. (I’d also like to state that I’m not a trained psychologist or therapist. This works for me. I’m not advocating going off any medication a trained professional has prescribed for you.)

1. “Finally…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence or anything worthy of praise, DWELL on these things.”–Philippians 4:8

We cannot control what thoughts pop into our heads. But we can control what we choose to dwell on. Reject movies replaying the past. You’re only allowing the other person to continue to harm you by replaying those hurtful images. If an angry, vengeful, distressing, or hateful thought pops into your head, you have the choice to dwell on it or cut it short. Ask the Lord to help you identify wrong thoughts and assist you in redirecting your mind toward healthier thoughts and images. This is a process. Don’t become discouraged when you find you’ve been dwelling on something for several minutes or more. A lifetime of bad habits isn’t broken quickly. It may take months or years to learn to break bad thoughts and redirect your thinking. After years of practice, I still find myself sometimes running too long with negative thoughts. When you’ve discovered you’ve dwelt on something too long, the enemy will say, “See, it doesn’t work after all” or “You’re a failure. You cannot do this.” No, you cannot on your own but

“I can do all things through Him (Christ) Who strengthens me.”–Philippians 4:13

Ask Jesus to assist you. Remember that “nature abhors a vacuum”. You have to replace those thoughts with something else.

2. “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,”–Philippians 3:13

Apostle Paul could never have been an effective minister of the Gospel if he’d been dwelling on his past history of persecuting Christians, hunting them down and handing them over to be jailed and/or killed before his conversion. He refused to dwell on his past and focused on his mission of bringing the news of salvation and building up the church. For me, dwelling on the past only makes me feel angry or hurt or discouraged. When in these emotional states, I cannot feel happy and energized and creative. I’m only permitting myself to be victimized again. And I refuse to allow that person to continue to hurt me while they’re likely enjoying life and not even giving me a second thought. It’s illogical.

“Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new,”–Isaiah 43:18

Whatever God commands us to do is for our good. Please ask him for the faith to trust Him with your future.

3.  “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered nor come to mind.”–Isaiah 65:17

This verse was my breakthrough verse for me. If you’ve ever seen a version of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, then you’re familiar with Marley’s ghost. As a ghost, he dragged his sins behind him as locks and heavy chests linked to ponderous chains wound about his body. I picture the hurtful events in my life like those heavy chests. When I dwell on the past, I’m chained to the past, dragging a big heavy weight through life.

Or, I often picture the past hurts like heavy suitcases I’m holding onto and carrying around in each hand, weighing me down and making it difficult to walk forward. If I truly believe I have a future in Heaven and eternal life with Jesus Christ, by faith I can drop those suitcases or cut that heavy chain, because, if I’m not going to remember this life in the future, why drag it around with me now? Why allow myself to be weighed down by the past when it’s only temporary anyway?

That’s not logical.

I know emotions aren’t logical. But often, if I’m feeling despair or self-pity, what am I dwelling? My emotions are reacting to what I’m thinking about.

4. “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”–Jesus, Matthew 5:44

I’ve found this very helpful. I cannot hate someone if I’m praying for their soul or asking God to help them make better choices. It’s NOT helpful if you’re asking God to smite them or harm them in some fashion. I love what one of my non-believing friends said, “It takes too much energy to hate my ex-boyfriend.”

Again, note the verse above is a command by Christ and not a suggestion. Please think about that.

“Love never fails,”–Apostle Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:8

I’m not saying it’s easy to forget the past. But don’t be Marley’s ghost. Ask God for the faith to walk forward, “forgetting what lies behind.”

And please be patient with yourself. The freedom you’ll discover is worth it.

*All Scripture verses are from the NASB version.

 

How to Pray Psalm 23

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It occurred to me, when posting a few minutes ago, that perhaps not everyone reading my posts understands how to pray through a passage of Scripture.  I’ve found a method that our pastor’s wife taught me during Bible study very helpful. I was a Christian for nearly 25 years before I knew this technique.

I highly recommend memorizing Psalm 23; it’s short and you can recite it quickly anyplace you feel comfortable doing so. The below is from the NASB version. I prefer it because it is very poetic and supposedly the best word-for-word translation, but not always the most easily understood.

You recite a portion of Scripture then pray on it. The below is not what I say every time or it’d be a stale, rote prayer. This is just an example to give you an idea of how to do it, not something to recite.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Thank you, Lord, that You are leading and guiding me through this day. Thank you that You promise to meet all my needs so that I don’t have to worry. You love me and care about me. May I be wise enough to listen to Your voice and follow You and Your path.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures;” Thank you, Lord, that You will only lead me to green pastures. When I need rest, You force me to lie down and take care of myself. You don’t make me lie down in the mud, but where I’ll be refreshed.

“He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;” Lord, thank You for providing me with a quiet place to rest. I don’t calm my soul. You take responsibility for restoring and calming my soul. It isn’t something I can grunt out in my own effort. You calm my spirit.

“He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Lord, You will never lead me to do evil. I can always count on You to guide me in the right path. When I start to stray, You will warn me and encourage me back onto the path that’s best for my life and Your glory. If I get stubborn and insist on wandering off, You’ll discipline me and get me back where I belong, following You.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;” Lord, when life sucks, I’m not stuck there. You promise to lead me out to the other side and to be with me the entire journey. I don’t need to fear evil because You’re with me. I’m not traveling this path of life alone.

“Your rod and Your staff, these comfort me.” You are able to guide me back onto the right path with Your staff and You can protect me from my enemies with Your rod. Anyone who wants to harm me has to deal with You.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” (The table here is a mountaintop of good grass the shepherd leads his sheep to. He prepares the table by pulling out the noxious weeds and anything that’s harmful to the sheep before allowing them to graze.) Lord, You’re leading me to a place of safety and protection. If I follow Your will according to Your Word, it’s going to take me to a good place.

“You’ve anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” Thank you for this beautiful day, the love of my family, that I can see, hear, taste, feel, etc… (Express thankfulness for your blessings.)

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Thank you, Lord, that I don’t need to fear death. There is not a moment You’re not with me and I will dwell with You forever when I leave this life. I can count on You to help me when I mess up and turn it around for good (Romans 8:28) because of Your loving care.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I highly recommend the book, “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23,” by Phillip Keller to get a better understanding what King David had in mind when he composed the psalm.

Have a glorious day.

 

 

 

If you’re weary: Matthew 11:28

Buddy.Resting.In.Sunlight

Buddy is enjoying some rare sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. He is peaceful and at rest, relaxing near the back door, because he isn’t worried about his safety. He knows he’s living with people who love him.

When we keep our focus on Jesus, we too can be at rest from our anxieties and fears, because He loves His children.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (NASB)

Please note that Jesus GIVES you rest if you ask for it. You don’t work for it, don’t earn it. But you must come to HIM. And you learn from Him by reading the Bible.

There’s a reason it’s the most banned book in the world. Because through it we discover how God’s power can operate in our lives.

This Labor Day weekend, I hope you find rest for your souls in Jesus.