Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “peace with god”

The Value of You, Right Where You Are

Already, there is this desire to choose.
Are we born with that?  Do we come from the womb defiant at the choices made for us?
Why did God put me here?  Why am I different?  Maybe I am not supposed to be in this family, in this place.
He’s seven and where did he get these questions?
The not-belonging and the longing for something else, something we know nothing about, all those thoughts started in the garden.
Adoption is not all warm-fuzzy and we never thought it would be.  Sometimes, it is such a clear picture of our life in Christ, of God choosing us and giving us family.
But truly, we have to choose that adoption for ourselves.  It’s the one case where we do choose our Parent, but do we ever really get to choose our place?
He’s seven and he is upset about some discipline handed out, and isn’t that when we all question our place?
So he thinks he belongs somewhere else but he doesn’t see the big picture.
Like the children of Israel longing for Egypt.
I tell Ethan that we couldn’t hold him and love him and laugh with him while he was in India. That we’re all different, with different gifts and personalities and talents, different colored skin and eyes and hair, but God has put us together and our family is perfect this way.
I give him a hug and tell him I love him, because that’s what he really wants.
Do you ever question your place?
Do you possibly mistrust the God Who holds your breath, the One Who preappointed your times and the boundaries of your dwelling? (Acts 17:26)
Do you long to be somewhere bigger, better, more important or more satisfying?
Wherever you are, God is sovereign.  Whatever your struggle, rest in His handling of it.  He sees the biggest picture.
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Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
291.  Jacob enjoying the outdoors, and waking up thankful for his bedroom – the deer, the turkeys, the yellow birds at the feeder outside his window
292. our first 7-miler in 7 months
293. hot water and epsom salts, the morning after 7 miles
294. Ethan, the first child up this morning, monopolizing the one-on-one time
295. this verse:
And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
~ Acts 13:39
296. children with eyes to see His goodness and to delight in His creation (Jacob calling me upstairs this morning to see the bird in the window, because he knows I love birds!)
297. Sisters making a picnic
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When You Want to be Free

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. – {Gal 4:7 NKJV}

We always struggle for freedom.  We fight to get out from under the law, and when we find Christ sometimes we still fight.

Fight to be better, do better, live and love better.

We struggle to make fewer mistakes so that our family will be happier.

We live as though the goal in life is to make God love us more, or make our spouse, friends, or children love us more.

What more do we want from Christ’s atonement?

A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and a determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I pray, “Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer— I will walk rightly before You if You will help me.” But I cannotmake myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands ~ Oswald Chambers

I cannot make myself right with God anymore than I can free myself from the bondage of sin.  Jesus paid it all and all to Him I owe.

I’m reminding myself of this constantly, and praying to show this to my kids – that we are not good but God is.  We are not good and we can’t try harder or work more to become good.  There is so much tension in trying to be good.  

I just want to be His.

 


Good Shoes

He comes to steal peace.  To shake the foundations and stir-up doubts, discord, anything to deflect our gaze.  He comes all wily, all destructive and pretending to be all-knowing.

We know better.

And Paul warns us against his schemes, tells us to clothe ourselves and to stand.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. – Eph 6:11 NKJV

How many times have I fallen all limp-kneed and weak-fleshed, giving in to the thoughts and the juicy tidbits of fruit that leads to rot?  I determine to stand, but the whole spirit-flesh conflict is wearing me thin.

I paint my toenails blood red for this picture, because I want to remember what He said here.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— – Col 1:19-22 NKJV

What the enemy really wants is to take Christ’s work and nullify it, remove it from my mind, add it to the list of things I forget daily.  He wants to steal the peace I have with God.

The redemption that brings me peace and settles my anxious and guilt-ridden thoughts, it only comes from the blood of His cross.

And when Paul says that with all the armor we need good shoes, I think he must mean to remind us that the gospel of peace is reconciliation with God.  We are reconciled – holy, blameless, above the reproach of the accuser.  Great peace.

…having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; – Eph 6:15 NKJV

He changes my thinking this morning about this gospel of peace.

I have always read this verse as a call to be ready to share the gospel, shoes on and ready to go.  And surely we ought to be ready for that, but to stand, stand, stand as Paul repeats here…we need good footing.  We need the security and certainty and never-changing-no-matter-what peace with God.

The gospel of peace is His blood bringing us into security, never shaken or taken.

This thought process is not over for me, but I am in a good place when I stand reminded of the blood that brought the reconciliation that brings the peace that stands against the accusations.

Shalom

For He Himself is our peace….  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  ~  Ephesians 2:14;17-18

He came and preached peace.  Not world peace and everybody-just-accept-everybody-else and please be quiet.   But peace with God, which comes only through Him giving us access through the Spirit, to the Father.  Peace knowing that it’s alright between me and God.

It’s one of the buzzwords in my home, but so often I focus on everyone just being quiet and living in harmony and not rocking anybody else’s boat (can you hear the soft music?!).  Can’t we all just get along?  How do you house so many personalities under one roof and maintain peace?   I preach peace, but it’s probably not the same kind as Jesus preached.

He Himself is our peace.  Just to have Him.  And He is not something to be grasped or held…striving and always missing His presence.  Lighting candles and turning on the music doesn’t cut it.  To live is Christ, and He Himself is our peace.  Not just an absence of chaos, but a recognition of my separation from Him, my daily going astray and finding my way back through His grace.  Reconciled through Him, through peace.

And the peace that Jesus preached should be the peace that I preach, in my home and everywhere: be reconciled to God.  Every squabble a chance to inject the peace of reconciliation.  We are one in Him, just as the Gentiles were brought in to the fold by the blood and mercy of Christ.  There should be no enmity among the family of God.  We are redeemed and reconciled to God; we ought to be reconciled to one another.  That ought to be more important than ‘keeping the peace’.

Peace.  Not the absence of chaos, but the closing in on the gap that separates us from one another and from Him.

How do you ‘keep peace’?

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