Sunday, September 29, 2013

More From "The Air of Heaven", from the section on "Faith, Hope, and Love"

While I'm searching for the right avenue to publish, I thought I'd start the week by sharing an excerpt from one of my favorite songs from the book. It speaks of how the Christian heart yearns to reach the lost. I pray it blesses you.

Heart Cry
by Betty Baker Bailey

Tell me, sister, how can I reach you?
Life lasts just for a little while,
But eternity’s forever.
There is One who gave His life for you,
To give to you a forever.
His love makes all of life worthwhile.
He is the Sacrificial Jew.

Refrain:  He died that we might live.
He suffered that we might be whole.
He gave what we could not give,
To rescue our eternal soul.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Seven Simple Steps to Peace and Joy in Troubling Times

1.       Acknowledge – This is an extremely important first step and the key to all others. Recognizing God for Who He is sets our priorities in proper place. I like to start the day reminding myself that He is the ultimate supreme Being, not just my personal God, but God of all there is. Literally, I say to Him,

“You are my God and God of all there is.”

or something to that effect as I start each day. It is my way of affirming His authority over my day.

2.       Submit – If you haven’t turned your life over to Christ, now would be the time. If the Prince of Peace isn’t your leader, stop to think who you are following. There are only two sides: His and the devil’s. There is no peace in hell.

          Even if you are saved it serves us well to affirm our submission to Him daily. Like acknowledgement, it says we honor Him first in our hearts. After I acknowledge Him, I tend to follow with:

“I submit fully to You and Your will for my life.”

4.       Commit – Affirm or re-affirm your commitment to Him. If you haven’t done this, you should. Simply stating to Him that it is your desire to be committed to His will in your life will get His attention IF you truly mean it. Be prepared, though, because He will put you to work. (Working for Him is a great source of blessing and peace.) I like to say,

“I am fully committed to serving You as it pleases

5.       Practice – Continuously seek His will and guidance throughout the day. If you are sincere and faithful, you’ll be surprised at how He’ll lead you. It’s perfectly acceptable to start with the little things:

                   “Lord, what do I do about . . . ?”

for example. The trick is to stay at it. Persistence gets the prize here, because God answers those that keep asking until they get an answer.

6.       Praise – Start every day and end every night with it. To put it practically, praise is our pump’s primer. When we lift Him up, we open the valve, so to speak, to His joy.

          I often wake up singing the songs I’ve written or reciting praise Scripture. For this I suggest memorizing short pieces of praise. In my experience, songs often work best, because it is easier to remember them. However, the 23rd Psalm is easily committed to memory, as is the first of 103rd.

                   “The Lord, (You are MY), is my Shepherd . . .”

          In hard times it is even more important that we praise Him. I cannot stress it enough. Praise Him while you’re suffering. Praise Him when disaster seems imminent. Praise Him when hope seems fleeting. As we lift Him up, He fills us up and we are at peace amidst the storm.

7.       Pray – Prayer naturally follows praise. We start with adoration and gratitude, and then lay our requests at His feet. This isn’t the same as “Practice” because practice is about continuously seeking His leadership. So, we practice the attitude of prayer, but come before Him in dedicated prayer.

                   “Merciful, Heavenly Father, how I adore You . . .”

If you are earnestly looking for peace, the only place you’re ever really find it is in Him. But we can’t have peace with Him until He is Lord of our hearts, minds, and lives. That said, it matters not how distressing the times are if we are in Him, because He is God of the times as well and fully able to carry us through.