LET PEACE RULE

I have been working on memorizing Colossians 3:12-17. Every morning during my devotions I have read and repeated these verses. The other day I was going over these verses for probably the 100th time and one word in verse 15 jumped out at me. That word was “let”. I am sure that the Lord spoke to me and reminded me that in order to have His peace we had to LET him work.

We can beg and plead with God to give us peace; but, when we insist on rerunning in our minds all the possibilities of things that could go wrong and all the things that have gone wrong in the past we will not have peace.  No where in scripture does God promise to zap us with peace just because we asked for it.  In fact Psalm 34:14 and I Peter 3:11 tell us that we are to “seek peace and pursue it.”  Doesn’t that sound like we are responsible for working toward peace of mind?

It is so easy to ask God to give us peace of mind then finish praying and go right back to worrying about all the little details that we can’t seem to control.  Lately I have been convicted through my reading that worry is a sin and just like any sin we must learn to confess it and ask the Lord to help us overcome this sin.  It is up to us to control where our thoughts go.  The Bible tells us that we are the sum total of what we concentrate on (Proverbs 23:7).  Our Heavenly Father even gives us a list of what we should allow our minds to dwell on in Philippians 4:8.  When we start to panic or worry we should ask ourselves, “Is this true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute?”.  These are the things that we should allow our minds to dwell on.  Whatever will bring praise and glory to God will result in the peace that He promises us in His word.

Let me encourage you to ask the Lord to help you to overcome the temptation of the devil to repeat all your worries throughout the day.  Instead make a list of all those things that are good and lovely in your life and start repeating them to yourself when you are tempted to worry over something that you can’t control anyway.  I want to “LET” God give me peace.  Do you?

HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR

I have been reading through the posts on facebook wishing everyone a Happy New Year.  There is nothing wrong with hoping that our friends will have happy times in the new year.  We all want to have peace, joy and good times.  Yet, if we claim to know Christ as our Savior and are desiring to serve him, we must understand that the ultimate goal is NOT MERE HAPPINESS.  Our goal should be that we would desire to know Christ in such a way that we would be willing to share His suffering as the apostle Paul states in Philippians 3:10-14.

This thought process is so foreign to most Americans.  We tend to focus on the “pursuit of happiness” and ignore the fact that true happiness comes from serving God , enduring trials with a trust in God’s perfect plan, and emerging victorious. 

Most of us do not pray for God to bring us trials.  Instead we beg Him to solve the problem and do it quickly!  If we were allowed to go through life with God solving all our problems immediately, we would be no better than a 3 year old who pitches a fit every time he doesn’t get his way!  A spoiled brat is not appreciated when they are small and NO ONE wants to associate with an adult that thinks the world revolves around him!  Yet we set goals for the new year hoping that somehow God will put His stamp of approval on them and make it easy to reach the end result saving us all that bother of working and maturing to be like Him.

May I make a suggestion?  Take the time to look over the past year.  Ask God to show you where you failed, what you could have done differently.  Evaluate what happened over the year.  Where did your plans get changed by your Heavenly Father?  How did God’s divine plan work better than what you thought should happen?  How did God provide for the details?  What did you learn in both the good and the bad times?  Most of the time we don’t learn much in good times.  Yes, we need those fun relaxing times to take our minds off of the stress and give us the good memories to cling to.  Even Jesus took times of rest when He walked the earth.  Yet, it is the trying times that truly shape us and draw us closer to God molding us into a mature Christian that is able to encourage other saints and draw the world to Him.

My prayer for this year is that God will help me to reach the goals He has for me.  That I will learn to trust Him when my schedule changes, when roadblocks are thrown in my path, when life is not a sunny day at the beach.  May I desire to be continually growing to become a mature individual, pleasing God and encouraging others instead of selfishly begging God for a life of ease.

LIFE’S LESSONS Chapter 4

I know it has been 5 months since the last chapter. In this series I have been sharing how God worked to move us to Iowa and have us start a Christian Camp. The last 5 months have been consumed with moving out of Iowa and back to the South. We are now moved so I can continue my story.

God provided the perfect site for us to build Living Water Farms Christian Camp. But, we still needed a place to live. It is a little hard to look for a house to rent or buy when you have no regular income and your house has not sold to at least provide a down payment. So, Larry kept driving 45 miles each way to work on the property and we waited and prayed. One day in August Dave Phelps came to us and offered for us to use his father’s farm house. Mr. Phelps had died and the will stipulated that the house was to go to whatever family member needed it. At that time, no one needed a house. Dave told Larry that we were welcome to live there rent free while we got the camp up and running. It turned out that we lived there for 1 1/2 years rent free and the only thing we paid for was our telephone. Dave took care of the electricity and we used wood to heat the place in the winter.

What a blessing to see how God could provide for our family even though we had no income that we could count on!  This house was only about 3 miles from the camp property so it saved my husband tons of time and gas while he was working on the buildings.  This also gave us a place to keep staff and speakers during the first few summers of camp.

The first summer we held camp was called the “Pioneer Year” for good reason.  We had no electricity or running water.  All the meals were cooked either in my or the cook, Dorland Abernathy’s, kitchen.  Then Dorland and 2 college boys carried it all out to the camp and when they were done, all the dirty dishes came back to my kitchen to be washed.  When the weather was good, they could drive the food right up to the dining area.  Rain caused problems.  In Iowa if you don’t have gravel on the roads, rain turns that black dirt to thick mud which is almost as bad as driving on ice.  We had day after day of rain that year.  Many times the boys had to walk all the food and dishes in through the woods and haul it back out.  Many of the staff have lasting memories of what it was like without gravel on those roads. 🙂

For showers, Larry built an outdoor shower for us to use.  There was a gravity fed black hose going from the 1000 gallon water tank to the showers.  If it was a sunny day and you were one of the first in line, you would have a nice, hot shower.  Otherwise, brace yourself for cold water!  There were so many things that were not done that first year.  But the speakers did their best, the staff worked hard with a smile on their face, and God worked in hearts.  Years later some kids actually said they missed the camp being so rustic.  Not me!  I was delighted when we finally got running water, a water heater for the kitchen and electricity.

What’s the lesson here?  Most of us in America take for granted that our electricity will work.  We can plug in our appliances and they will work for us.  We expect to have hot water when we turn on the faucet and unlimited water to wash whatever we need to clean.  In short, compared to the rest of the world, we are spoiled!  Those first few summers at camp taught many of us what we were capable of when faced with the lack of modern conveniences.  The right attitude and a sense of humor goes a long way to help us overcome in difficult circumstances.  Also, it is easier to keep the right perspective when other Christians are there working beside you to help ease the burden.  Many of the trials that God allowed us to experience in building Living Water Farms were shared by others who had a burden to see the camp up and running.  I believe we all learned to say with Paul “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”  Philippians 4:11b