“Peace Be Still”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.  (Mark 4:39, NLT)

“Peace Be Still” (by The Belonging Co)

I don’t want to be afraid
Every time I face the waves
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to fear the storm
Just because I hear it roar
I don’t want to fear the storm
I don’t want to fear the storm

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Oh, peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks

I’m not gonna be afraid
‘Cause these waves are only waves
Oh, I’m not gonna be afraid
I’m not gonna be afraid
I’m not gonna fear the storm
You are greater than its roar
I’m not gonna fear the storm
Oh, I’m not gonna fear at all

Peace be still
Say the word and I will
Set my feet upon the sea
Till I’m dancing in the deep
Oh, peace be still
You are here so it is well
Even when my eyes can’t see
I will trust the voice that speaks

Peace, peace
Over me

Let faith rise up
Oh heart, believe
Let faith rise up in me


Are you feeling lost?  Are you facing a storm, and you just don’t have the strength to stand against the waves?  Are you hurting or worried or afraid?

I speak Peace today…over YOU…your heart, your mind, your circumstance, your worries, your hurts, your grief…all of it.  May the peace of God wash over every part of your life.  May it bolster you when you are weak.  May it soften and open your wounded, sequestered heart.  May it find you in your darkest hour and be a light when you are lost.  May it be a reminder of the greatness of our God, rebuilding your crumbled faith and giving you all of the strength you need to stand and say, “Peace be still!  You are here, so it is well!”

Let me tell you a little something about Jesus:  He’s bigger, He’s greater, He’s stronger, and He did not shed His blood in vain.  He came to Earth so that He could reach out to us in a very personal and experiential way.  He stepped out into the masses and got his hands dirty, reaching out to touch the lowliest of all, a direct response to His great love and compassion for humanity.  He was fully man so that He could have complete empathy for us, yet He was (and is…and forever will be) fully God so that He could be a direct line of supernatural power from God the Father to us.  He came to heal, restore, and break us free from the prison of sin…and through His death and resurrection it was all completed and accomplished.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. 

(Isaiah 53: 4-5, ESV)

So let your faith rise up from the ashes, and let your heart truly and fiercely believe that He has taken it ALL and is using every moment, every circumstance, everything that seems wrong, and everything that feels too big, to perfect His work in you.  In the midst of what feels like a storm, just trust Him, and speak His peace over your heart today.

These waves are only waves.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace.  I am confident, strong, and full of faith because of Your peace.  Amen. 

“The Show Must Go On”

(Revelation 14: 12-13, NLT) 12 This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently, obeying his commands and maintaining their faith in Jesus.  13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!”

My family and I have had a rough week.  It’s just been very stressful, in many ways, and to be perfectly frank…we have been under attack, spiritually speaking.  How many of you know that spiritual attacks most definitely manifest in the flesh?  These attacks can affect our relationships, our finances, our jobs, and even our health.  It’s crazy how that happens!  But thank the Lord we have wisdom and truth in His word and by His Holy Spirit to help us realize what’s really going on!

Being a part of a full-time ministry family, our every waking hour can feel as if we are just absolutely consumed with church stuff.  Fundraisers, events, lessons, music, counseling, outreach, etc.  It’s a busy life for sure…and we do work very hard…because we love it…and because that’s who we are and what God has drawn us to do with our lives.  It comes from a pure, devoted, and loving place in our hearts.  It really and truly does.  But…sometimes we get tired, and truthfully…a little discouraged.  This week has been sort of like that…and we’ve been drained.  You see, we have given our lives, our dreams, our plans, our everything over to God…full, complete surrender…and while it is fulfilling and rewarding in its own way, it is also sometimes wearisome. 

However, all throughout this week, I keep going back to this passage from Galatians 6 (verse 9) which says, So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Truly, now is not the time to grow weary.  The world needs us more than ever.  People need our love, our compassion, and the truth of God’s word to sustain them through all of the chaos that surrounds us all.  The world is shrouded in a lot of darkness right now, and we have to be the light.  We simply must.  And we cannot pierce through this lingering cloud of suffering and turmoil if we are dim and weary. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to tucker out before my time is up on this earth.  I want my good deeds, the things that I’ve done because of my love for Christ and others, to follow me to the end…so that I am able to look in the face of Jesus and be proud of who I was and what I did with my time. 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, when I grow tired, help me to recall the reasons why I do the things that I do.  Give me strength for the days that are heavy and grim, and give me peace for the times when I feel confused and lost.  I want to love and serve You all of my days, so that when I come to my end and I must face You, I can be confident that my days were time well spent.  May it all be for Your glory and honor.  Amen


(Joshua 21: 44-45) 44 The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

Screenshot 2016-05-12 07.22.25

Battles are trying, and they make us weary.  Over the course of our lives and our walks of faith, we face many of them, some of which seem to never end.  In the midst of it, we can begin to feel as if we just cannot continue on as is. 

Personally, I can’t identify with the fellows in the picture above in a literal sense, as I have never physically fought in a war.  I’ve never put on a military uniform, left my friends and loved ones, and traveled somewhere foreign to engage in life-threatening combat.  I don’t know that specific kind of fear and loneliness, and though I will most likely never have to experience it, I do know that as a person of faith in Christ, there is a much different type of warfare I must willfully face. 

In Ephesians 6:12, Paul tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” 

It’s inevitable that we will encounter struggles, but we are not left powerless.  Paul goes on to say, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13). 

We are warriors who are equipped for battle.  All we have to do is brandish our faith, stand firm, and hold onto the promises of God, and at the end of every trial that we meet, just like the people of Israel, and much like the soldiers above, we will receive rest.  We are never done fighting, but we are always victorious, whether we see it or not, because that is the promise!  God is just as faithful to us today as he was and has been to Israel.  If you believe the word of the Lord, then your faith has no room for fear, doubt, discouragement or defeat. 

I am reminded of something that happened with the tribe of Judah when Jehoshaphat was their king.  Jehoshaphat was informed that three different tribes were on their way to wage war against Judah and were already close at hand.  These three tribes formed a huge army and Jehoshaphat became very alarmed.  Using great wisdom and exercising faith in what seemed like a hopeless situation, this king turned to God in prayer and called for a fast across the entire tribe of Judah.  In response to the prayers of his people, the Lord spoke to them and said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…”  (2 Chronicles 20: 15,17)

The people of Judah, instead of cowering in fear, began to sing praises to the Lord, and that is how they marched toward the looming battle ahead.  When they finally came to a place where they would be able to see the approaching armies, they saw only the lifeless bodies of their enemies…not one soldier spared.  Ain’t that just like our God?  You see, the Lord has already gone before us.  He makes the rough places smooth, and he clears a path for us.  Sometimes that path leads us to battle, and we have to jump in and fight, but when we grow weary and are wounded there is rest.  He leads us beside the still waters, where we can drink deeply and regain our strength in him.  His promises are true, and he cannot fail us.    

(Jeremiah 31:2) “This is what the Lord says: ‘The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel.’ ”

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, in my weakness I know that you are stronger.  In every situation, I trust you.  When darkness hangs heavy over my head, I will turn to you and sing your praises because I know that whatever I face, you’ve seen it already and you have prepared my path.  I know that I can be strong because in you I will always find rest on the other side of the battlefield.  Amen.

“Come Together”

(Psalm 65:8)

Those who live at the ends of the earth

    stand in awe of your wonders.

From where the sun rises to where it sets,

    you inspire shouts of joy.

With everything that is on television, in the movies, and plastered all over the covers of every magazine and newspaper that we see on display, it is easy to fall under the impression that we Christians are a dwindling population.  We are under scrutiny, no doubt, and when we look beyond our local surroundings, things look somewhat bleak.  I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have personally felt discouraged at times, in light of the overall decline of morality and of the Christian influence on the world.  It can often seem that for every Godly display of integrity and love, there are ten more instances of failure or of people who are turning from Christ.  Much of what we see tells us that, to the rest of the world, we are a joke. 

I guess if you look at things from a “churchy” or “religious” standpoint then yes, Christians have become somewhat of a travesty.  In many ways, the church has failed it’s God-given mission.  People do mock the way that we seem to have assimilated — how we are no longer set apart, and have melted into the world…trying not to make waves…trying to find a way to fit.  We seem to have forgotten that we must be square pegs, so to speak.  So, when we look around and feel outnumbered, that problem essentially falls on our own shoulders. 

But…beyond what we see, apart from what the world tries to feed into us, the fact still remains that we are NOT a fading flower!  Pew Forum reports, “As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31%) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.”  Just because you cannot see them in the act of worship, just because you don’t know their names, does not mean that there aren’t people at every corner of this earth shouting the praises of our very same Father God.  His goodness knows no end — no boundaries.  His love endures forever!  It crosses over language barriers, it pierces into the darkest places and hearts, and it finds its way into every part of this world.  In world that He created, there is no keeping God on the outside.  Hearts all over the universe yearn to be one with their Creator, and one day they shall. 

21 “…For there is no other God but me,

a righteous God and Savior.

    There is none but me.

22 Let all the world look to me for salvation!

    For I am God; there is no other.

23 I have sworn by my own name;

    I have spoken the truth,

    and I will never go back on my word:

Every knee will bend to me,

    and every tongue will declare allegiance to me.” 

(Isaiah 45: 21-23)

As time progresses, we know that all who live in Christ will face persecution, but we will not be snuffed out or dissolved.  We cannot let the enemy use his wiles to deceive us into thinking otherwise.  Instead, we must guard our hearts and minds, and we have to use our greatest weapon to combat these lies — God’s truth — His word.  Remember also, and be encouraged, that there is strength in numbers.  We can’t allow ourselves to be divided by religious and denominational customs and rules.  Instead, let us try to breach the barriers, to tear down these man-built walls, because where there are just two or three gathered in the name of Jesus, He is there also — with us…for us.  Imagine what the unity of 2.2 billion souls could accomplish.  From the dawn of time, to the end of days, He will be praised and adored. 

So when you feel like this world has gone to pot, when you feel alone in your workplace or home, and when you feel like the world is laughing at what you hold most dear, know that this is a lie from the enemy of your soul.  We are not alone.  We are not few.  We will not be shaken.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, sometimes I need to be reminded just how great You truly are, and that there is no tongue that will not eventually confess that You are Lord.  Help me to stay encouraged in knowing that no matter how spread out we may be, those of us who love and serve You are great in number.  Help us to pull together in unity, across borders and limits, to make Your name and your love known to all.  Amen.

Walk Around Zion

(Psalm 48:12-14 ESV) “12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation 14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”

Sometimes, when we are going through a season of difficulty, it is hard to get an accurate assessment of damage. Our feelings can cause us to feel a sense of loss or injury that may not actually exist. At others times, we have what doctors call phantom pain; felt even in the absence of real sensation.

When I was a young man, I lost some teeth. The doctor told me to expect to have pain for several weeks even though the teeth were no longer present in my mouth. He called it sympathy pain. The bottom line is I was feeling pain that only existed in my mind.

In Psalm 48, the writer encourages the people of Jerusalem to reset their faith by purposefully looking at the structures of the city which had survived attacks. He suggests four activities that would serve to strengthen their faith.

(1) Walk about Zion – This is a call on all persons to go round the city; to take a survey of it; to see how beautiful and how strong it was – how it had escaped all danger, and was uninjured by the attempt to destroy it – how capable it was of resisting an attack. The word “walk” here means simply to go around or surround. The other word used has a more direct reference to a solemn procession.

(2) And go round about her – The word used here means, “to fasten together, to join together with others in a solemn procession moving round the city, taking a deliberate and thorough survey.” In other words, assess the situation factually rather than by feelings.

(3) Tell the towers thereof – That is, determine the number of the towers. See how numerous they are; how firm they remain; what a defense and protection they constitute. Cities, surrounded by walls, had “towers” or elevated portions as posts of observation, or as places from which missiles might be discharged against those who might attempt to scale the walls.

(4) Spread the good news. “Tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”

The Psalmist was sure that once a thorough investigation of the facts was complete, they would break forth in exuberant praise with confidence in God’s future interaction and protection of His people.

Today, Let me encourage you to walk around your blessings. Name them. Rejoice in them. Share them with others so that, they too, may be encouraged by God’s faithfulness.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for your faithfulness. After reflecting on my current state I’m convinced that your hand has saved me and will direct my paths going forward. Amen.

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