Preaching to My Own Heart – Peace

“The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5b-7)

Do you want to be filled with peace today? Then remember that God is near. He walks before you continually; you are surrounded by His presence. Anxiousness will only invade your heart when you take your eyes off of your Heavenly Father and forget that He is intimately involved in every detail of your life. “What does an unused prayer look like? Anxiety. Instead of connecting with God, our spirits fly around like severed power lines, destroying everything they touch. Anxiety wants to be God but lacks God’s wisdom, power, or knowledge,” (Paul Miller, A Praying Life). You cannot will yourself to have peace. Peace is the sense of calm that comes over a heart that is resting in the promises of God. He desires you to draw close to Him, to ask for what is on your heart, to cast your burdens on His infinitely broad shoulders. Remember the great things He has done for you so far. Like the old hymn says: count your blessings, name them one by one. Let each memory of the goodness of God mold your heart until all your fears are overwhelmed by the gratitude rooted in remembrance of all that He has already done. Our God is called Faithful and True. He is steadfast, deserving of all your trust and affections. Have confidence in Him. Believe Him. Your peace depends on it.

Let the mighty tide of His everlasting love
cover the rocks of my sin and care;
Then let my spirit float above those things
which had else wrecked my life.
{Valley of Vision}

Praise Song of the Day: It is Well with My Soul

To learn a little bit more about the “Preaching to My Own Heart” series, check out this post.

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Embracing Helplessness

I am, by nature, a “fixer.” If someone comes to me and shares about their troubles, I naturally tend towards dishing out advice in a three step plan to solve the issue. This is, usually, grounded in a love for people and a desire to help, but negatively I can base my sense of worth and identity on whether or not I have an answer or how well-received my answer is by the listening party. Recently, I have been surrounded by people I love who are enduring loss, sickness, or hurt. I have been utterly humbled as I have recognized my lack of ability to fix their “problems.” I am finding that, more often than not, I don’t know what to say or what is the right thing to do to communicate love in the midst of their suffering.  However, I am realizing that that is actually a sweet grace, a gift of God for me, to recognize that I should always be aware of my lack of ability to do or say anything of worth apart from Him! This is pushing me to pray like never before. I am learning that I have to just show up, whether that is physically in their home, or through a text or call. I am humbled to have to have to cover every word and action in prayer as I try to serve in some small way but remain constantly aware of my own insufficiency. The longing of my heart is that, in those moments, I will be the hands and feet of Jesus to them, but I am totally reliant on the Holy Spirit to succeed in fulfilling that desire.

I have been reading A Praying Life by Paul Miller, and in it he talks about the Christian’s critical need to recognize their own helplessness apart from Christ in order to have genuine, dependent prayers. It is only when we recognize our own helplessness, our own weakness, that we find the true channel to grace. He talks about having a godly distrust of ourselves, in which we recognize our tendency to try to do life on our own without God’s help. Maybe we are good at recognizing our need for God in the really “big” things, but the day to day stuff? We act like we have that under control. We got it. That is, until we don’t. It is often when fail miserably in a critical moment that we realize that we didn’t actually have things figured out all along. Nothing is teaching me about my need for real-time, every-day grace like being surrounded by the suffering. It is driving me to the foot of the cross, where I am once again reminded that I have access to the throne of grace and the greatest and first service I can do on behalf of those I love is pray. I will pray for what they are going through, and I will pray that the Spirit uses me to be an encouragement to them in whatever practical way I can. Today, and every day, the cry of my heart is,”Abba, I need you.”

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong