August 31, 2010
May She Rest in Peace
Isaiah 26:3-4 (ICB) "You, Lord, give true peace. You give peace to those who depend on you. You give peace to those who trust you. So, trust the Lord always. Trust the Lord because he is our Rock forever."
Friend to Friend
We often associate the phrase "rest in peace" with death and the loss of a loved one. In fact, these words of comfort are often spoken at some point in most funerals I attend or are included in the inscription on many headstones.
Today, I want us to associate the words "rest in peace" with life instead of death.
Yes, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sin so that we can rest in peace when we die, but God also gave His one and only Son so that we can rest in peace every minute of every day. Does that sound like your life? Would the people who know you best describe you as a peaceful person? As I ask myself that question, the words "not so much" come to mind.
The Mayo Clinic once stated that the illnesses in 80 to 85% of their caseload were caused by stress. An article in a leading medical journal entitled "Is Stress the Cause of All Disease?" said that at the beginning of the century, bacteria were the leading cause of illness but today stress has replaced bacteria.
We all long for an inner calm - especially in the valleys of life. We all want, pray for and pursue peace. At the point of desperation, some people pursue peace by numbing their pain with alcohol, drugs, sex … food … success … the list is endless. Remember the old country song that says we look for love in all the wrong places and on the wrong faces? The same can be said about peace.
Some people tend to believe that peace is simply the absence of problems, valleys and trials. Not so! Peace is a calm confidence that the Lord of the mountains is still on the throne - no matter how deep the valley may be. Peace recognizes Jesus walking on the water as He calms the crashing waves and stills the howling winds in your life. Trials become opportunities to trust God when peace reigns in a heart. That kind of peace can only be found in God.
Notice that I did not say we can find peace in church membership, in doing good things, in giving large sums of money to a charity or ministry, or even in being a really good person. Peace is a gift. When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we enter into true peace.
Romans 5:1 (NCV) "Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ."
We cannot bargain for or earn peace, girlfriends, but we will experience peace when we are willing to move away from our sin toward the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, in a personal relationship. Then, and only then, will His peace become our peace.
When John Paton was translating the Bible for a South Seas Island tribe, he discovered that they had no word for peace. One day, a native who had been running very hard for several miles came to the missionary's house, flopped down into a large chair and tried to catch his breath. "It's good to rest my whole weight on this chair" the runner said. Paton thought for a minute before replying, "I'll translate peace as the result of resting one's whole weight on God." Exactly!
We hear from so many women across the world who would give everything they have for just one minute of peace. I know the list of trials and storms is long. I honestly do not know how some people get out of bed each morning to face the trials and hard times in their life. I understand that the problems we deal with every single day can weigh us down; but I also know that every problem can be given to God. When we surrender the weight of our trials and pain to Him, we will experience peace. As we allow God to carry the weight of worry, the burden of anxiety and the penalty of every sin in our life, peace will reign and leave no room for the deadly trap of stress. Today, girlfriend, I pray that you will rest in Peace.
Father, it seems that anxiety and doubt are constant companions right now. This valley seems so deep and so dark. By faith, I choose to trust You, my Shepherd. I am so tired, Father. Will You please carry me? I cannot see what is ahead. Will You please guide me? I am discouraged and ready to quit. Will You please be my strength? I love You and want to please You with my life. Empower me to be all You created me to be.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
Memorize Hebrews 13:6 and ask the Holy Spirit to let the truths of this verse sink into every corner of your heart and soul:
Hebrews 13:6 (NIV) "So we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
As you spend time with God today, read and affirm the following commitment in your heart and life:
- I recognize God as the only source of true peace.
- I now completely surrender my valley to God.
- I confess any known sin and turn from it.
- I choose to rest in Him.
Let's go a little deeper today. Complete the statements below as you make a new commitment to God. Record it in your journal. Date it and sign it. When the next trial comes - and it will come - go back and read the decision you made today, and while your circumstances may have changed, God is the same.
I have tried to find peace in_____________________________.
The valley I am facing today is __________________________.
Until today, my response to this valley has been to _________________________.
I now turn it all over to God and choose to rest in Him, the Shepherd of my every valley.
Need help? Summer vacation is almost over! Get ready for the new school year by reading Mary's book, Escaping the Stress Trap. You will discover a step-by-step plan found in Psalm 23 that will help you walk in peace.
Join women from across the world in Mary's Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Sandpaper People is the current series and will help you discover ten ways to deal with the "sandpaper people" in your life - you know - the ones that rub you the wrong way. When you enroll, you also have access to all of the 2010 studies. Check it out!
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