peace

The Key to Having Peace, Joy, and Supernatural Strength

 I have found that all too often professing Christians give lip service to the word of God. Why do I say that? Many Christians say they believe God is sovereign, good and trustworthy, but they don’t really believe that. If they did, they would experience the peace, joy and strength that are promised to those who fully put their trust in Him. How do I know that? Because I was one of those people who professed a belief in God but my life belied my words; the fruit of my life then was anxiety, stress, exhaustion, and lack of inner peace and joy. God was a slice of my life, but He wasn’t my life! I have experienced the difference between saying I believe in and trust God, and truly trusting Him and living in complete dependence upon Him. It’s like the difference between an empty cup and a cup that’s not just filled with but actually overflowing with peace, joy, and supernatural strength!

My life has radically changed since I surrendered it to the Lord over 25 years ago. Before that I would have said that I believed in God’s Word and in Jesus as my Savior. However, I didn’t really know God or His word and my life sure wasn’t focused upon Him or upon doing His will. My life was 'me' focused, it was all about doing 'my' will and living for my pleasure rather than 'God focused', about doing His will, and living for His pleasure. That kind of living led me to where such a lifestyle will always and inevitably lead—to stress, worry, and fear because eventually you find out that there are things in this world that are WAY beyond your ability to control! Like job losses. Broken relationships. A poor health diagnosis. Loss of loved ones. And as long as we are deceived into thinking we are in control of our lives and that we know what is best for us, we will be in a state of striving to control what we cannot, and therefore we will be unable to experience the peace, joy, and rest that God longs for us to have. Peace we can have through Jesus regardless of our personal circumstances, and regardless of what is going on in our nation or the world. That kind of peace can only be found by putting our lives into God’s far more capable hands, and trusting Him for every aspect of our lives. 

I discovered the key to experiencing peace, joy, contentment and supernatural strength when I finally came to the ‘end of myself’ and cried out to God, telling Him I was done living my life ‘my way’ and that I was ready to live it ‘His way’. I chose to take refuge in Him and to submit to His authority over my life; as I did, I found that He can be depended upon for He is sovereign, all wise, all knowing, faithful and true, and always at work for my good. When you know His character, you will trust Him fully, and when you trust Him fully, you will experience His perfect peace.

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Isaiah 26:3 Amplified

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This verse emphasizes that in order to experience perfect, constant peace that your mind must be steadfastly fixed upon the Lord. It is not glancing at the Lord every now and then; it is keeping your gaze upon Him. And it is having the confident expectation that God WILL do what He says He will do! It is knowing that God cannot fail, for His very nature is love, and love never fails! (John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:8)

 God has never once failed me since I have put my trust in Him! I have found that as I have kept my eyes fixed upon Him and counted on His faithfulness and His goodness-- even when I haven’t understood His ways-- I have been flooded with His peace. 

 Over the last year and a half my husband and I have faced a situation that we would never have chosen. Had we gone through this same set of circumstances before we surrendered our lives to the Lord, I am certain we would have been ‘basket cases’; FULL of worry, anxiety, and fear. But I can attest that when we learned of the situation, our initial response was, ‘This didn’t catch God by surprise even if it did us.’ Then we prayed together and declared, ‘We can trust the Man Who died for us to give us everything we need!’ (Romans 8:32) And He has! We not only have had peace, but we have also had joy in the midst of this trial. We rejoice in knowing God can be nothing other than faithful, for that is His very nature! It is truly the trials of life that stretch our faith, and reveal what we really believe. I am so grateful for this time of testing and ‘waiting upon the Lord’! We have gained a deeper revelation of God and His totally trustworthy character, and we have grown deeper in love with Him! 

 Our daily ‘bread’ has been His Word that has nourished us. Matthew 6:11; John 6:33

 God has been our refuge and our strength, our very present help, and the Rock upon whom we have leaned for strength. Psalm 46:1 

Our eyes have been fixed upon Him, knowing He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2

 Our lips have declared His praises and made us aware of His Presence, for He inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3

 Our ears have been attuned to hearing His voice giving us His direction as to what we should do. Isaiah 30:21; Proverbs 3:6

 We have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and that blessed are those who take refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8

Not long after I gave my life to the Lord someone asked me what my favorite verse was. I remember telling them it was Isaiah 40: 31. I had head knowledge of the verse at that time, but now I have experienced the truth of this passage that assures us that when we know we have no strength apart from Him, that He will give us His strength and renew us by His power! He has been so faithful to do this for me, and I want to testify to His goodness, and to not only the peace and joy that is found in Him, but the strength that is found in Him as well!

 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become tired or grow weary;
There is no searching of His understanding. 
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who has no might He increases power. 
Even youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired. Isaiah 40:28-31

 Are you experiencing the ‘peace that surpasses all human understanding as you keep your heart and mind on Christ Jesus’? (Philippians 4:7) Have you experienced the joy of truly surrendering your life to Christ, of totally trusting Him and allowing Him to ‘take over’ your life? Are you weary, and do you need the strength that is found in Him alone? 

 Lord, I have been guilty of saying I trust you when in fact I have been putting my trust in myself and in my way of doing things rather than really trusting You. I long to have the peace, joy, contentment and strength that is found when my mind is steadfastly fixed upon you and continually expecting you to do what only You can do. Help me to truly ‘let go’ of thinking I am in control or that my ways are higher than yours, and by your grace at work in my life empower me to completely release my life into your unfailing, loving care! Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief! And give me an insatiable desire to be in your Word so that I might grow in my knowledge of You so that I can know that You are always faithful and true! Amen 

 If you would like to know more about surrendering your life to God and how to be set free from fear, worry and anxiety, please reach out to us at https://www.trueviewministries.org/contact

Written by Julie 

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Be Still and Know That I Am God- Finding Peace in Scripture

Do you ever look at others and wonder how they can have so much peace when the circumstances they are going through seems so daunting?  

I had the pleasure of spending time with a good friend this week and she mentioned to me how transforming it was for her to meditate on God’s Word.  Then she shared specifically how she meditates on Psalm 46:10 and the peace it brings her.  


Here’s the order that she thinks and prays about this verse:

First, begin by saying/thinking/praying: “Be still and know that I am God.”   

Then begin dropping off the last word as you go through it, so it would look like this:


Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I AM. (‘I AM’ is a name that God gives Himself in the Bible)

Be still and know

Be still

Be



Isaiah 26:3

I shared with her how Julie & I will often get so much additional insight about a verse by putting exaggerated emphasis on different words each time we say a verse in our mind or aloud.  

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I am God …

until you have deeply thought about and pondered/meditated on each word in the verse.  You can do these exercises with almost any verse and find additional insights and the exercise will help you to keep your focus on God.  God promises that He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is fixed on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)

Let us know what God reveals to you through His Word as you implement these techniques!

Written by Jamie Shaver



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Planned Adversity

My youngest son is a big hockey fan and loves to play as well.  Last weekend he finished four days of very intense tryouts.  Initially there were only four coaches evaluating and everyday more and more coaches would arrive to evaluate the players, until the last day when there were ten evaluators.  Additional evaluators often led to additional stress.
In addition to the added evaluators; the last two days the organization covered all the windows to the rink and no spectators were allowed in, there was no father to give an approving nod, or mother to motion in “hockey sign-language” to ‘move your feet', instead, it was only the players and evaluators.

A typical ‘shift’ in hockey lasts approximately 40 seconds and then you’re back on the bench recovering, and players rotate seamlessly into and out of the game.  Tyler came home and shared that they were forcing each line to stay out for 4 minute shifts instead of 40 seconds; he talked about how bad his legs were burning, how a lot of kids were ‘giving up’, throwing-up or just gliding around on the ice.  I thought that was an amazing technique to use in tryouts to learn who will give-up early; who is in the best physical and cardiovascular condition; and who may have a negative attitude in difficult situations.  

The next day after Tyler had learned he made the team we ran into the coach, and that’s when he shared that ‘planned adversity’ will be a theme of this upcoming hockey season.  He went on to say that they are looking to develop the most elite hockey players in the world and that goal requires hockey skill along with mental and physical strength.  

What do you think?  Is ‘planned adversity’ a good thing for growth and development?  Is there a better way to make mentally and physically strong people?

Here are some Scriptures to ponder as it relates to this:

planned adversity

 

James 1:2-4, 12 AMP
“Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace].  And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing”… “Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Here are 3 simple things you can do to plan adversity into your child's life depending on their age:
1) Don't bail them out of consequences and situations that they caused by poor choices
2) Make them wake-up for school on their own
3) Have them do chores that are more difficult or time-consuming than he/she may think they can handle
After all I want my kids to be 'lacking in nothing!'

This verse also talks about ‘persevering when tempted’ and I realized that when I have had adversity I was often tempted to give up, or to lie (that I wasn’t really trying or didn’t really want it anyway.)  The times I have had success is when I expected adversity and saw that adversity as a learning experience to become stronger, to exercise my beliefs, to become an “elite” warrior for the Lord and for those lost or less spiritually mature around me.   

Has adversity in your life made you stronger?  Do you currently plan adversity into your life in any way?  

Written by Jamie Shaver

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Increase the Peace- Part 2

In Part 1 of ‘Increase the Peace’ we acknowledged that true peace is from God and that peace comes from believing God and obeying God.  Scripture also teaches that we can have peace in the following ways:

Be Thankful in All Things

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)  I’ve often heard people say they find it difficult to believe that God would ask and expect them to be thankful in all circumstances— finding it hard to imagine He could expect thankfulness in ‘negative’ situations. 

Let’s look at a situation to see how we can be thankful even in the midst of life’s trials. A friend of mine was struggling to get along with co-workers who seemed to be intentionally trying to agitate her.  She felt that she was losing her peace in the midst of the situation. We discussed how she could be thankful in her situation. 

An example of something she could pray in that situation would be: “Lord, thank you for this job that helps my family to pay our bills. Thank you for these people who are trying to agitate me;  their actions make me aware of how much more I need you and to be filled with your love for others so I don’t respond in a way that would displease you and compromise my Christians witness. Thank you for using this situation to make me more appreciative of the humiliation you willingly endured for me on the cross, and for giving me an opportunity to model your love to those who I feel are persecuting me. If there is anything that I am doing that is the cause for their behavior, please reveal it to me so I can repent of it. Please give me the wisdom, discernment and strength to do only that which would reflect your heart in this matter. Amen.”

‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Your Mindset Can Bring Peace

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) God is telling us plainly in this verse not to focus our thoughts on the things of the world. He warns us not to think the way the unbelieving world thinks; not to desire what the unbelieving world says is important; and not to follow secular advice, which can be foolishness. Why?  Because God loves us, and He wants what is best for us. He knows that we will not have peace but death if our focus is on this world’s priorities instead of on God and His priorities. We need to set our minds on the things of the Spirit which alone can bring life and peace.  Here are some examples of how we can do this:

-  Pray

  • Read God’s Word and meditate upon it
  • Study God’s Word
  • Memorize scriptures 
  • Get involved in a mentoring relationship with a person who is further along in her walk with the Lord 
  • Join a small group Bible study
  • Listen to Christian music 
  • Read Christ-centered books/magazines
  • Ask God to replace your selfish, worldly desires with His perfect desires for your life

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

When the Spirit Leads You Will Have Peace

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

When our minds are focused on the things of God, the Spirit of God will lead you in peace.  Peace is an attribute of God’s character and is a fruit that God desires for every believer to have.  You can know the Spirit of God is leading you when you are at peace. The peace of God is not dependent on the outcome or circumstance, but is a character trait of God who lives in the heart of the one who believes in Him and has chosen to follow Him.  This peace transcends all understanding because it is always available regardless of what is happening in the moment.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

The peace of God ‘guards our hearts and mind’.  When we believe, obey, are thankful, and keep our minds focused on God, He will protect our hearts and minds from the kind of thinking that causes us to lose our peace because we will be confident that we can trust God no matter what.  We will be confident that God is in control, and He is faithful and to be trusted at all times. I have found that often restlessness and anxiety is caused by our desire to determine an outcome. What peace there is in knowing that if we obey God, we can always trust Him with the outcome! You can trust the Man who died for you— with everything that concerns you! If you want the peace that God longs to give you, stop striving, stop manipulating, and stop trying to control your life! Instead, relinquish control and put your full trust in God, Who is a wise and loving Father who always has your best interest in mind.  We may not always agree with His decisions because His ways are so much higher than our ways (Isaiah 55: 9), but we can choose to trust His power, His love, His wisdom, and His good and never changing nature.

Make the choice today to believe God, obey God, follow God and keep your mind fixed on the promises of God.  He is a wonderful counselor and the prince of peace Who will never leave you or forsake you. Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all (2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV).

Written by: Jamie Shaver

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"Increase the Peace"- Part 1

Have you ever been around a “peace taker?” Have you ever started out your day filled with peace and joy and then realized by the end of the day you’d ‘lost’ your peace? Perhaps you noticed it was gone after you’d encountered someone who was fearful, anxious, critical, irritating, or someone who did something that offended you.  

The first thing we need to recognize is that nobody can ‘take’ our peace from us unless we are willing to give it away.  

Are you allowing someone to take away from you the peace that God has given to you as a priceless gift?  

What can we do to have true peace in all situations?  God’s Word speaks on this very issue.

True Peace is From God

As a believer and follower of Christ, we can have a peace that the world cannot possess or even understand.  It is a peace that is not determined by or affected by our circumstances. The amount of money we have in the bank; our physical health or appearance; our job status; our marital status; crises in our family, the nation, or the world cannot take away the peace that we can have in Christ. It is a peace that transcends all ‘human understanding’. (Philippians 4:7)  

“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

Jesus tells us that He is giving and leaving His peace with us. He gives it to us and commands us to not let our “hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  (John 14:27) Jesus reveals that we ultimately determine whether we will have peace, regardless of our situation. “Let not” means that we have the ability to control whether our hearts will become troubled or fearful. Jesus knows that when we allow fear to enter our hearts, we will lose faith because fear and faith cannot coexist.  Where there is no faith, there can be no true peace.

Jesus came to the disciples who had locked the doors in fear of the Jewish leaders and declared “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19)  Whatever your situation is, He is declaring the same thing to you today!  We can find ourselves full of fear about so many things, including what a person may think of us; our own or a loved one’s health diagnosis; our co-workers’ or boss’ expectations of our performance; or in a panic due to national or world crises. However, we need to recognize that it is our choice whether we will allow our hearts to be troubled over a situation and to think fearful thoughts. If that it the choice we make, we will be giving away our gift of peace that we have from God.

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Peace Comes from Believing:  

  • That God is Who He says He is
  • That God’s Word has power
  • That God can do what He says He can do
  • That all things are under God’s authority 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Romans 15:13 ESV

“The God of hope” doesn’t just desire that we have peace. He also desires that we have joy, abounding hope, and all the things that He alone can give us that lead to an abundant life! He tells us exactly how we can get these things…it’s “in believing” in Him.  What do you believe about God?  Have you sought to learn about who He says He is as revealed in the Bible, His love-letter to mankind?  The God of the Bible is where peace resides, through His Son, the “Prince of Peace” Jesus Christ!  Do you believe in Him?  Do you believe His Word is truth?

Peace Comes from Obeying

God also tells us that peace comes through obeying His commands.  In His great love for us, God desires for us to have peace and He gave us many commands that He knew would lead us to quiet, peaceful confidence in Him, not in our own abilities.  “The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.”  Isaiah 32:17

Notice in Isaiah 32:17 what God tells us about ‘the fruit’— or the result— of righteous living; it will be peace.  The effect of that peace will be quietness and confidence forever.  What a contrast that is to when we choose to disobey His commands which results in confusion, chaos, uncertainty, and ultimately destruction. 

“The fruit of that righteousness will be peace” (Isaiah 32:17), and “the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  (James 3:18) This is the principle of sowing and reaping.  If you sow in peace, you will reap righteousness, and that righteousness will bring forth peace and steadfast love. (see also Hosea 10:12) 

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”  Psalm 3:1-2

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16

Written by: Jamie Shaver

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?

Surrendered to Simplicity

A little over a week ago we pulled up the stakes of our life in Atlanta as my husband accepted a job offer in Knoxville, Tennessee. We had spent months before this move looking at houses in Knoxville. Our plan was to “downsize”, however every time we looked at a smaller house, I found myself wondering how we would fit most of our “STUFF” in it. Some possessions seemed to be negotiable… but most had sentimental value in my perspective, preventing them from being simply given away.  Our “stuff” presented a problem that was making it difficult to find a smaller house that would comfortably contain it all. After a period of unsuccessful house hunting we decided that we would build the perfect house, smaller than our old house, but bigger than what we truly needed…to house all of our earthly treasures!

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When we arrived in Knoxville, we moved into a small (compared to our former house), 3 bedroom apartment. We selected a few of our possessions and simply decorated the apartment that would be our home for the next nine months or so, until we could build our new home. The rest of our “stuff” was unloaded into two huge storage units. As I watched the movers pack most of our possessions into storage, I was struck by the quantity of items that we had accumulated over the years. The movers packed those storage units like a puzzle, not one square inch was left unfilled… and then we closed the doors. It was strange to me that as soon as the doors were closed that I had this feeling of freedom, reminding me of the expression, “out of sight, out of mind.” Within a couple of days living in the apartment I found that I truly did not miss any of that “stuff”…except maybe a few of my books. I marveled at the way God uses our life experiences to touch our hearts, and to constantly teach us His truth.

As I sat quietly with the Lord during my morning devotional time, I reflected on my perspective before the move as compared to my perspective now. I love that the Lord continues to teach me about what is truly important in my life. I find myself loving the simplicity of our life right now. It reminds me of moves we made when our children were young. For a time when they hadn’t made new friends yet, they clung very close to me as they slowly ventured into their new lives. The closeness during those times is something I still remember and that I loved.  I find myself as God’s child drawing even closer to my Father as I begin this new chapter in my life. This realization– combined with the purging of so many material “distractions” –has brought me to a place of surrender.  And I’ve discovered that with that surrender, there is an deeper connection with my Heavenly Father.

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I realize that my life will begin to fill up again as time presses forward, but for now the simplicity of this time is a welcome retreat for me. It is a time of quiet surrender, a time to get very still and listen to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is constantly whispering priceless truths to me about my life. He opens my eyes, my heart, and my mind to recognize the lessons He wants me to learn. He is sweetly reminding me that there is a time for everything. I am thankful for the years of my life; for the busy times, and all the stuff that comes with those times, because without those I do not think that I would fully appreciate the simplicity of NOW…the surrender of NOW. There is a surrender in the NOW…trading the noise, the busy life, and ‘the stuff’ for the simplicity of a quiet communion with the Spirit. I truly love this place and I don’t want to go back to the “stuff” of my old life.  I want to go forward being very selective about what and how I choose to fill my life. I want to cling to my Heavenly Parent, as my young children clung to me in those new transitions. I loved those times…and I know that God also loves that time with me.

Special thanks to guest blogger Jeanne East, Christian Elementary Education Teacher       

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Fret Not- Finding Abundant Peace in 6 Steps

Fret Not-Finding Abundant Peace- 6 steps to abundant peace

Frustrated that others seem to be gaining what you desire?  Tempted to become angry?    Psalm 37:1-11 offers wisdom so that we may not become angry when it appears that the evil doers are prospering.

1 - Trust in the LORD, and do good. (v.3)

2- Delight yourself in the LORD (v. 4)

3- Commit your “way” to Him (v. 5)

4- Be still before Him (v. 7)

5- Wait for the LORD (v. 7, 9)

6- Refrain from anger (v. 8)

7- Delight yourself in abundant peace (v. 11)

So in looking at the actions that these beautiful verses have to teach us it can be summed up in the following:

God’s Way

First, we must rely on the integrity, strength, ability, and surety of God by trusting Him, and do what is right by His standards.   Then once we trust Him, we must take great pleasure in who He is, and find satisfaction and enjoyment in the nature of God by delighting in Him.  Next, commit our way to Him by entrusting our chosen direction and the outcome to Him for safekeeping.  Then, be still before Him and wait on His perfect timing.   Doing these things will help you to refrain from anger.  Lastly, delight yourself in the abundant peace that comes.  Amen!

I am so grateful when scripture clearly lays out the action steps we need to take to find abundant peace.  Look at how this differs from the way many in the world do things!

“World’s Way”…

Trust in yourself, and get “even.”  Delight yourself in our own desires.  Act now, don’t wait, and show your anger and disgust/frustration.  Even post about in on Facebook, and finally find yourself with no peace, just turmoil and a frustrating life.

Thank you God that you have given us your Spirit to equip us to focus and accomplish on all that you have called us to that we may enjoy the peace that comes through a life that pleases you.

Are you curious to know how much fear, worry and anxiety is impacting your life? Take our free quiz to learn how fearful, worried and anxious you really are?