Tag Archives: Isaiah

Perfect Peace

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You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Isaiah 26:3-4

About a month ago, I was cramming every nook and cranny of my roommate’s car full of the many items I deemed absolutely necessary to bring back to college.  Now, one month later, all those little things have a place, I have finished my homework for Monday, and I am thinking back to that week before I left for college.

Although I was incredibly excited about coming back to school, I was also apprehensive about the many different situations that I had predetermined could maybe-potentially-possibly go wrong. Does anyone other than me do that? After a few conversations about my worries with my parents, my mom looked at me and said,

“Breanna, you are not guarding your mind. You are allowing every little thing to slip in. You need to get back control of your mind.”

She was absolutely right, and it woke me up to just how much I had let my guard down in my mind. My thoughts were all tangled up and repeating themselves over and over in a pattern that was not helpful.

I decided that week and as I made the long drive back to school, that I was going to be diligent in guarding my mind–in setting it on the Lord and His truth, rather than my misconceived notions of reality.

I love the verse at the top of this post. I love that the word “steadfast” is used to describe the mind.  Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines steadfastness as “very devoted or loyal to a person, belief, or cause : not changing.” Why are the people in this passage’s minds steadfast?  Because they trust in God.  And because they put their trust in God, they have a perfect peace.

I’ve been experiencing that peace this semester. Peace like I have never known in my life.  There are plenty of reasons why I should not be peaceful right now.  I have more classes, activities, work hours, responsibilities, and homework than I have had during any previous semester.

But I’m not focusing on the little problems or stress that can come with my schedule.  Rather, I am choosing to take it a day at a time, moment by moment, thinking about trusting in the Lord.

One of the unexpected blessings of this semester has been waking up at 5:30 or 6:30 every morning to go to work in the cafeteria. My job is to set up different food bars for the day, and  I have an hour to an hour and forty-five minutes every morning before the sun comes up of quiet. It is in these moments, that I often start to feel anxious as I consider the tasks that lie ahead for the day. But it is also the time, that God is using to teach me to trust in Him more and let His truth penetrate my mind and my heart.

When the panicky, stressful thoughts arrive, I am combating them with praying the armor of God, praying for friends, reciting verses that I have memorized, singing praise songs, or not thinking anything all together. And with it comes a perfect peace. It doesn’t always come in that moment, or that hour. But without fail, the more time that I dwell on the Lord, on His character, and His promises, the things of this world fade away and His perfect peace remains.

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Lift Your Eyes…

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Just take a minute and read the passage below.  And I don’t mean skim it.  Dig into it.  Read it until the words sink in for you tonight.

Isaiah 51: 1-8, 12-16

Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the Lord: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies; But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment;  the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations. […] I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor,who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the Lord your God,who churns up the sea so that its waves roar — the Lord Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand —I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, ‘You are my people.’

~

Tonight, I was feeling a little down and opened up my journal about to write about my doubts, insecurities, fears, etc.  The song Mystery by Charlie Hall (check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaSv0W9eyHI) was playing in the background.  Just as I was about to write out my first fear, the words…

Celebrate His death and rising, lift your eyes proclaim He’s coming, celebrate His death and rising, lift your eyes, lift your eyes

…rang out loud and clear from my speakers.  I did not even write one fear or doubt down on that paper.  I was immediately convicted that I needed to look up and focus on Jesus and all that He has done for me, rather than into my own self and my own issues.

My smile was huge.  Because Jesus was once again reminding me that I had taken my eyes off Him.  No wonder why everything was starting to seem so out of balance.

Friends, there are a lot of little, petty things that can block out Jesus from being in our sights 100% of the time.

But did you read that passage above? Those earthly things will pass away. They are TEMPORARY. But His salvation will last forever.

-What little things of this world are blocking your view of Jesus tonight?

-What is getting in the way of you letting them go?

Praying for you, dear friend, on this journey.

Lift Your Eyes

Recipes for Disaster and Success

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It has been quite a while since I blogged. The time has come for a new post.

Today I found myself digging through one of my journals written over the past few years.  In it, I found a journal entry I had written while at college.  It made me smile as I thought back to what I was thinking during that time.  It certainly isn’t written beautifully, but it adequately describes the lessons I was learning and still am.  So I wanted to share it with you.

I wrote it in the form of two recipes. One for disaster which contains many of the mistakes I had been making. And the other for success.  As you read my silly little journal entry, ask yourself which recipe you have been following lately. How is turning out?

Recipe for Disaster

1.  Separate God’s Word and prayer from your day-to-day life.

2. Blend very little sleep and a full class load together. Liquify.

3. Add too many activities.

4. Combine the above group with a lack of planning out your schedule. Add in loads of homework that leave you exhausted and that you let pile up to await your return home from your many activities.

5. Try to be a people pleaser and let your perceptions of what they supposedly want sprinkle through your batter.

6. Make sure you do not add even a little down time. If some manages to slip in, make sure it is mindless rather than meaningful.

7. Add lots of thoughts about other people to spice it up and give you some good heartburn.

8. Pour out this mixture onto wax paper and cut into hearts. Batter should be difficult to scrape out and lumpy.

9. Bake in your heart and mind until you feel you have broiled them sufficiently.

10. Should come out charcoal black.

Now you have two choices…

Put them right back into your heart and mind and repeat the vicious cycle or try…

A Recipe for Success

1. Read the word and pray daily!! Or multiple times a day! Or memorize it and recite it to yourself. Be in prayer often.

Exodus 34:29, 33-35

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw his face was radiant.

Isaiah 40: 6-8

A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of God stands forever.

2.Time Management. A little bit of sleep and a full class load can work, but make sure you blend them together well. Lack of sleep should be  used sparingly. Remember What your source of strength comes from and Who your ability to think is derived from.

Psalm 31:10a, 14-15

My strength fails because of my affliction and my bones grow weak…But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands.

Our strength will ultimately fail. We need to stop trying so hard on our own. We are not invincible. So…we need to trust in the LORD who knows where we are and what we are doing. Where we have been and where we are going. And Who has been there every step of the way.

3. There is nothing wrong with activities. But we must do them for God’s glory, which means that we do them to the best of our ability as an act of worship to the King. This cannot be completed without following the previous steps.

Psalm 90:17

May the favor of the LORD our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us-yes, establish the work of our hands.

May the work of our hands be God’s work in us and through us. May what He is doing inside of us pour out of us.

4. Throw out worries about what other people think or problems you feel you must resolve. You’ll never be able to fix everything, so let it go!

Galatians 1:10

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

We are here to glorify the King and not men. Life becomes a lot easier when we finally realize this.

5. Thinking about what other people have or what they are doing is in no way productive to you. Other people do not get to dominate your thought life or your whole heart. This only leads to discontent, jealousy, bitterness, self-doubt and a whole lot of other awfulness that is just not worth it.

Aren’t we glad that God loves us the way we are? I absolutely love these verses in Proverbs. We should spend our time becoming these women (Sorry guys reading this, this was a journal entry written to myself so this one only talks about the ladies) rather than dwelling on others.

Proverbs 31

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm,  all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships,     bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household  and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

6. The result? Well, your heart will be cleared out and you will be on your way to living a life of freedom, full of the goodness of God and overflowing with His love and hope. Make sure to enjoy with a side of trust.”

Anyway, parts of this entry were a little silly at times, but there is truth to it that I wanted to share with you. I hope a part of these recipes encouraged you.

Remember to trust in our everlasting God today!