Word of the Week: Peace

Ironically, “peace” is a confusing concept Biblically.

Without any word study at all we observe that Christ at once claims He did not come to bring peace (Matthew 10:34) and at the same time Christ claims He is our peace (Eph 2:14.)

The definition of peace clarifies, citing that peace is:

  • A sense of welfare
  • Being undisturbed
  • Wholeness

When Jesus works, donning a sword, He disturbs our wrong perspectives. He exposes the incomplete pieces of our lives as we try to piece it all together for ourselves.

Peace, on our terms, is all about effort. Striving to maintain welfare, fighting to be undisturbed, and clinging to pieces we want to fit together.

Peace, on our terms, is anything but peaceful.

That’s the kind of peace Jesus didn’t bring.

The kind He did?

When we turn to Jesus as our source of peace, He establishes us without the peace-depleting, stressful effort on our part.

Our welfare is secure as we find our refuge and strength in Him. In Christ, nothing can disturb the connection with God He guarantees. We are in progress, yet simultaneously complete because He is working in us and promises to bring us to completion ultimately.

With Jesus, there is no lack, disturbance, or threat we need fear. We can be at peace because of who He is and whose we are.

Christ’s peace is so much more peaceful than peace on our terms!

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Word of the Week: Still

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’” –Psalm 46:10

Busy, busy. Becky just wrote about our false trust in “doing” through busyness. It’s a tough one to accept because our busyness is a habitual coping mechanism.

No more.

Be still.

This word the Lord uses can also be translated “sink” or “relax.”

Other connotations here include: loosen, let go, cease, abandon, fall limp, become helpless.

This word is for children clinging to things, fraught in their activity, wound up over whatever. It holds the power that a parents’ embrace does when a child is scooped up and put at ease.

Thank the Lord we are children of God.

His tone is steady, calming, and reassuring as He commands as a loving parent would: “settle down. I’m here. I’ve got it.”

God is the perfect parent. There is no unsupported claim in His Word.

When He says sink back on me, relax with me, I’ve got this…He can back it up.

Sink into that. Relax. Whew. Be still.

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Word of the Week: Direct

Earlier this week, Carly shared about trusting in plans. She realized her “planning was not enough” and that she “needed God to…make it come together.”

The verse she wrote about is a challenging one:

Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ” –Proverbs 3:5-6

To not lean on our own understanding is to not depend on manmade schemes and rationalizations over what the Lord teaches. This involves leaving space for His leading and work when we’d rather do it all on our own.

Likewise, to acknowledge Him in all our ways is to recognize, glorify, and seek Him with all our lives and being.

God directing our paths?

This is where I start to beam and where I recognize that the plans I make for my path make a mess.

In this context, the word direct refers to the work of the Lord as He is….

  • Smoothing out
  • Straightening up
  • Setting aright
  • Making agreeable

…our paths.

There’s One Way folks, and we know Him. The path is narrow and it does not change. He has one plan for each of our lives, and He planned it a long time ago.

When we read that He will direct our paths, God isn’t coaching us through a course still being conceived. He’s going ahead of us. Straightening up the messes we spread ahead for ourselves. He’s smoothing out the bumps we trip over when we’re caught up in plotting our own steps. His work evening out the surface keeps us from slipping.

He makes the road we walk more agreeable.

He does go on ahead of us, just as Deuteronomy 31:8 says.

When we acknowledge God and follow the Lord, we walk in the way He prepared for us. We set aside our plans, messy as they are, to enjoy what He has planned out for us.

His plans, despite our mess, He has straightened up, smoothed out, righted, and made pleasing according to the plans He has also prepared for us. His good, perfect plans.

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Word of the Week: Works

Solomon declared that all of his works brought only vanity and vexation. He drew for us the conclusion that none of our works are meaningful under the sun. Later, He encourages us to enjoy what we do for God approves of those who fear Him and keep His commandments.

But in all this, Solomon wasn’t just talking about occupation.

“Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” –Ecclesiastes 2:11

In other translations, this verse is rendered without the word “works.” Some simply say “all that my hands had done.” Other translate “All of my activities.”

As Ashlee suggested in her guest post about trusting in a job, “works” can be defined as many things.

The definition of “works” in this context is a long list, including descriptors like:

  • Accomplishments
  • Achievements
  • Business
  • Arts
  • Activities
  • Actions
  • Labors
  • Practices
  • Yields
  • Things

Things is actually on there.

Our “works” are our “things.” They are what we do throughout our days.

Your “thing” of cleaning house?

Your “thing” of making others smile?

Your “thing” of mastering a lesson?

They all count.

Remember the famous, freeing words?

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

The definition of works here is very similar.

None of the things we carry out on earth earn us meaning, worth, or eternal profit under the sun. Can’t earn those. That’s all the free gift of God in Jesus Christ.

I’m thankful for that. Because if I’m honest, it gets tiresome trying to build myself up creating some great profit or meaning out of the cleaning, the smiling, and the learning. These all have their role under the sun and they all have a place in my life.

But all the “more” I seek is found in Him. All the gain comes in Christ alone. Fearing Him and enjoying what he provides is enough.

So my works can just be things. They don’t have to be more than that. I don’t have to work on my works being more meaningful. What a relief!

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Word of the Week: Cast

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7

Earlier this week, Liz shared about stepping away from anxiety to trust more fully in the Lord. Take a closer look at that word “cast” in this beloved verse.

Here’s what it does not mean:

  • Gently set
  • Hand over carefully
  • Share between us
  • Pass off in turn

What “cast” is defined as:

Giving our anxieties to God doesn’t need to be a process of careful deliberation and slow surrender. Rather, as Scripture instructs, we do well to simply throw our anxieties upon Him. No agonizing required.

What happens when we throw things?

They are instantly out of our reach (assuming we have any aim at all!)

Thrown things are removed, they have no bearing.

When something is thrown to a catcher, we give up our hold on that thing completely. And, in the case of anxiety, its hold on us.

Heave your anxieties at God. Hurl them into His perfect grasp. It doesn’t matter where or when. You don’t need to be cautious about protecting your pride or keeping some part of control. God is not in danger not ashamed of your worries.

He’s got a place for anxiety. In His hands. Which is way better than in yours, weighing you down and keeping you from keeping up with His will.

Cast that anxiety, friends, as quickly as you can. Relief will come.

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Word of the Week: Will

Free will. My will. His will. I will do that. When will…?

I’m not sure we often get through a day without using the word.

At the same time, I wonder if we view it well?

Perhaps its most famous context is this:

Not my will, but yours be done.”

Luke 22:42

As Lois shared earlier this week in her post about trusting in outcomes rather than in God, praying that God’s will be done is challenging. Often, we’d prefer He just do our will so that we know what will happen and can feel good about the outcome.

But there is something special about “will” in this context.

Transliterated “theléma,” this particular reference “will” can be defined as “best-offer.”

When we pray that God’s will be done, we pray that His best offer be accomplished.

This says so much about our Lord.

We know He wants what is best for us, as is the case in perfect love. We know He works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Here we have an example of that perfect love and perfect work driving out our fears about not getting “our way.” His way is not only better and higher than our way– His way is the best option we have.

What comfort that gives as we pray and surrender to Him.

His will is His best and ours, too.

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Word of the Week: Complete

Are you ready to rejoice in the freedom He offers us?

Are you ready to feel free from long to-do lists, insane expectations, and accomplishing everything there is to achieve?

I warn you: this might require a priority or perspective shift.

Here it is:

“And you have been made complete in Christ.” –Colossians 2:10

In this context, “to complete” is characterized as to “fill to individual capacity.”

Being complete is about being full.

You can’t be full if you have no parameters to fill. That whole “glass-half” question doesn’t work without a glass.

filled in him

Complete doesn’t mean perfect or finished. It isn’t determined by our schemes or dreams. Our “completion” is determined by our maker because He sets our capacity. He shaped our vessel. Purposefully, intentionally. And He fills it full.

His to-do list for you is complete when you’ve crossed off just the parts the Lord asks for, just like Dana wrote about in her post about lists earlier this week.

His expectations for you may not be as insane as your expectations for yourself are.

He calls you to accomplish some things, according to His plans. You don’t have to go beyond that.

Don’t worry about the size of your glass. Don’t chase after trophies with wider bowls. He has filled you full according to the capacities He has given you.

Another way to phrase the definition is that what capacities He has given you He has met. To the extent that you need, He has fulfilled, if not exceeded.

You, today, being in the hands of the one shaping, pouring out, and filling up again, are complete. Because He is filling you so perfectly, there is nothing missing, not a single drop, that you really need.

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Word of the Week: Daily Bread

Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”

Proverbs 30:8

Literally, the end of this verse reads something like” feed me with staple food conveniently.” That last part about “convenience” is descriptive of a daily allotment.

In essence, this Proverb says “every day, Lord, give me the basic portion I need.”

If only we were grateful to have only what He gives.

Instead of just our daily bread, we want the super-sized loaf. We’d also like a fridge to store it in so we know it will be good tomorrow. Preferably, we’d like butter and other spreads to make the daily bread more exciting too.

In our world of “more,” receiving just our daily bread looks meager.

But our ration, our measure, is prescribed. It’s preset by the Lord. He never fails to provide for what He has prepared in advance for us to need. Yes, indeed, the Lord selects the extent of our need and guarantees to meet it.

Each day, your daily bread is just what you need according to the Lord’s plan for you.

It might be:

  • The amount of money you need to pay the day’s bills
  • The food you need for the day
  • The loving relationship you need to be full for the day
  • The assigned work you need to use your time well
  • The quantity of rest you need to function this day
  • The 5 words in the verse that led you through the day honorably

This simple system negates our worries.

Do you need it today? You don’t need to control the obtaining of it.

The Lord knows; He planned the need perfectly. He’ll fill it likewise.

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

Word of the Week: Pleasing

A useful tool for getting ahead, building a great reputation, and driving yourself nuts, pleasing others is a temptation.

Personally, I have been facing this temptation rather obviously. The recent struggle has required me to either strive to please a certain person or act according to what God says is right. I’m reaping some very frustrating consequences due to not pleasing said person.

Yet I’m glad for this, thanking the Lord even in the unpleasant.

Galatians 1:10 challenges you and I:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Broken down…

Step 1: Trying

Trying to please people starts with striving and intending. It begins in our hearts when we shape our thoughts in pursuit of getting the approval or acceptance of others.

Step 2: To Please

Biblos.com defines the action:

pleasing def

Pleasing someone requires action (or inaction) in accordance with that person’s wishes. It is acting as they would like you to. Just as a servant would do.

Step 3: People

The first two steps happen in order; we strive to please. It’s this last bit where we make a clearer choice.

Choosing “people” isn’t the better option. “People” means not God.

Our striving, working, and serving are all to be unto the Lord. That is what is best for us and what brings Him glory.

Just as money and God cannot both be our masters, other people and God cannot both be those we submit to. Other people and God have far too many competing purposes, directions, and methods for us to obey both simultaneously. His way ultimately wins out in the end.

Start on the winning side. Begin with the trying to please God. Sometimes (often!) He asks us to do things that will also please other people. It’s lovely. Just be prepared to make the choice when called upon.

As I can attest far too well at the moment: choosing God over man is always worth it, but man doesn’t tend to react well. Thankful the Lord approves, gives grace, and can even work in those “others” who are displeased with me.

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Word of the Week: Trust

Trust. For a little word, it sure is a big one.

Just a few of the things God demonstrates to us about trust…

  1. Trust Makes a Way and Keeps Us In It

Isaiah 26:3 states that:

“(God) will keep in perfect peace

those whose minds are steadfast,

because they trust in (Him).”

Trust that makes a way for a steadfast mind. Trust in God keeps us in God’s perfect peace.

  1. Trust is the Choice to Put That Which Is in MY realm into HIS realm.

trust def

  1. Trust is a Combination

To trust involves making a choice to:

  • Surrender “mine” to make it “His.”
  • Have faith in Him as my security.
  • Be confident in who He is.

A word to ponder and live!

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