March 4, 2009

 

Peace-full

Renee Swope

“You will keep in perfect peace, [her] whose mind is steadfast,
because [she] trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

Devotion:
One of my favorite things to see is a rocking chair on a front porch. Looking at it makes me feel peace-full. I don’t have a rocking chair, or a front porch, but I sure would like to!

Worry is the opposite of peace-full. It leaves me peace-less!

There are times when I don't even realize I'm worried. My mind is wired to think a lot so I get used to the constant flurry of motion in my brain. Worry will start to slowly creep in, and then before I know it, there's a stirring in my heart, my neck is tense, my mind won't shift gears and little concerns have kicked into full-blown worry.

Author Linda Dillow says, "Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere!" So much for my image of peace-full! Oh, but she is right. Worry, like a rocking chair, gets me nowhere! And when I stop worrying, I realize I've wasted valuable time and mental energy thinking about something I can't change when I should've been talking to God - since He’s the only one who can change things.

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul tells us how we can find peace to replace our worries. He reminds us the Lord is near and tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)

In the NIV translation, verse 7 reads, "…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I love the promise that God's peace could transcend my need to understand! Sometimes that’s my biggest problem; I wouldn’t be so worried about what God is doing if He'd just explain why so I could understand better.

But God doesn’t say He’ll give us understanding in this verse, He says He’ll give us peace in the midst of not understanding. And that’s what I want. I want God’s nearness to be my good and trusting His sovereignty to be my goal. According to the Word, all I have to do is:

1.      Stop worrying – press the pause button on my consuming concerns.

2.      Start praying – open my mouth and tell God what I need.

3.      Start thanking God – remind my heart of God’s faithfulness by thanking Him for what He’s done.

Now that is doable! So why is it so hard to do? Why do we naturally do the opposite? I think it's because we listen to the enemy’s whispers: Do not be calm about anything; instead worry about everything. Tell God what He should do and take control if He doesn’t listen. Before we know it, our concerns are consuming us and our worries are robbing us of God’s promised peace.

But we don't have to live that way. God promises to provide just what we need – to keep us in perfect peace, as we put our trust in Him and not in our worries. So, today when our concerns consume us, let's choose to stop and empty our hearts of our worries, talk to God about what we need and thank Him for His faithfulness and provision. It's amazing how "peace-full" comes when we stop worrying, start praying and begin thanking God for what He has done and will do.

Lord, thank You for the promise of Your peace that comes when I put my trust in You! When worry or concern threaten to consume my thoughts, help me remember to stop, pray and thank You so that my heart will remember how faithful and capable You are of taking care of me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

Related Resources:

Visit Renee’s Blog for more ways to experience God’s peace in the midst of your worries.

Beyond the Shadow of Doubt message on DVD by Renee Swope

An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell

 

The D6 Conference – Are you worried about your kids? Join Renee Swope and Proverbs 31 Ministries at this groundbreaking conference to help parents and churches raise spiritual champions for Christ.

 

Application Steps: 

Make a list of your concerns and tell God about them. Next, make a list of anything you can think of that God has done to provide for your needs or other’s needs. Thank God for them.

 

Ask God to give you a peace that transcends your need to understand as you commit to trust Him instead of your worries.

 

Reflections: 

How much time do I spend worrying? How much time do I spend talking (praying) to God or reading my Bible so He can talk to me and calm my concerns?

 

Does my desire to understand and figure things out cause me to worry?

Power Verses:

Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (NIV)

 

John 14:1, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (NIV)

 

© 2009 by Renee Swope. All rights reserved.

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.proverbs31.org