Tag Archive: fasting


Praying for Peace And It Does Not Come

  • I’ve been a committed Christian for over 40 years.
  • I’ve served in vocational ministry for over 30 years.
  • I’ve earned a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry.
  • I’ve preached over 1,000 sermons.
  • I’ve memorized hundreds of Scriptures.
  • I practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, solitude, and fasting on a regular basis.

You’d think that with that spiritual pedigree, I should always experience God’s peace or at least when I lack it, should immediately regain it through prayer, quoting scripture, etc.

Not so in my experience.

One of my all time favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

That verse, as do many others, implies that when we feel anxious and lack peace, if we turn to the Lord, cast our anxiety on him, pray, and yield our wills to His, then emotional peace should readily follow.

When I’ve done these things, sometimes I have regained His peace. At other times I haven’t. Not only have these experiences perplexed me, but when I faced difficult times with our oldest daughter’s rebellion and chronic illness with our youngest daughter, no matter how hard I prayed and quoted scripture, peace would sometimes elude me.

When peace didn’t come, an accusing voice inside me would add to my misery by suggesting that something must be wrong with me.

Maybe I didn’t have enough faith (so I would try to muster more of it).

Perhaps unconfessed sin was in the way (so I’d confess any unknown sins that I may have somehow missed).

Possibly I didn’t pray correctly (so I’d reframe my prayers).

Mostly these techniques failed. So I soldiered on, figuring something was still wrong with me.

My neatly packed theology hit a brick wall. It was like when Neo in the movie The Matrix said, “Something was just not right, something was missing, something was lacking, something bothering me like a splinter in your mind.”

My spiritual coping strategies fell short. I don’t mean to imply that we reduce Christianity to pragmatism. We love and obey God simply because He is God and is worthy of our worship and allegiance. Even so, I finally allowed my honest questions to bubble to the surface.

Why, if I did the right things, did peace not come?

Then… I began to understand how our brain works.

I began reading about the brain and enrolled in a master’s program in neuroleadership (a process that applies neuroscience insights to leadership principles). I began to understand that our brain is not simply like a computer, but also like a pharmacy. It’s constantly releasing chemicals into our blood that profoundly affects emotions like peace, anger, fear, and anxiety.

I’m learning that I can be right with God in all respects, and yet not feel emotional peace in the current circumstance. What a relief to learn that lack of peace does not necessarily mean I’m messed up.

As a result of these new insights, I have begun to see how we can use this incredible gift from God, our brain, for healthy living and productive leadership.

Have you ever struggled with this issue? How are you dealing with it?

This week’s article is written by Charles Stone (www.charlesstone.com), author of the book, People Pleasing Pastors. Submitted by Russ Olmon, President of Ministry Advantage, and Deb Mertin, certified Ministry Advantage coach. For more on this and other helpful subjects, go to www.ministryadvantage.org.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Point-to-Him-crazy-love-francis-chan-F

busylife

Have you ever found yourself so busy working for God that you neglect to spend time with God?

It can be easy to be deceived into thinking that doing religious works is just as good as spending personal time with God. However, you will not grow spiritually if you don’t spend time with God.

Good works will not get you into Heaven; you must have a personal relationship with Jesus. In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said, concerning Judgment Day, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Those people thought that because they did good things in the name of Jesus they could get into Heaven. Instead, Jesus surprised them by saying, “I never knew you.”

Therefore, don’t get so caught up in your good works that you forget to know God. Make it your goal to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).

If all of your good works have made you so busy that you don’t spend any time with God, then those good works have become bad works, because they are replacing your time with God.

Contributed: Christ Notes

Giving Up During Holy Week

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week, leading up to Easter. During this time, write down some things that you will totally abstain from during Holy Week:
This is a ritual whereby many people give up something for a period of time in anticipation of a celebration of new beginnings.
Here are some things you can choose from, that you might consider giving up:
Intangible:
Winning an argument
Talking negatively about others
Lamenting missed opportunities
Resentment toward someone
Anxiety about the future
Focusing on your perceived weaknesses
Repeating gossip
Anger and resentment
Un-forgiveness
Hatred
Jealousy
Grudge
Greed
Fear
Doubt
etc.
Tangible:
– Favorite foods
– Drinks
– Meat
– Poultry
– Fast Food
– Favorite TV Shows
– Facebook
– Twitter
– Instagram
– Video Games
– Over-excessive Use of Cell Phones
– etc.
Holy Week is not about giving up something that you enjoy in an effort to somehow please God. You’re to also give up something that’s holding you back. The benefit of such a practice is that you give yourself time to create new habits which will enhance your soul’s expression and bring about great blessings, peace and joy.
 Holy Week
 
Happy Holy Week!

 

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