Tag Archives: peace

“Answers From A Cross” (New Song #11)

In all this darkness there is a light,

A song from God, sung in the “night.”

“Where is God!” some men demand.

“Where was His, mighty, omnipotent hand?”

Sutherland Springs Texas

Devastation from stormy blast…

Stricken faces—still aghast.

“Where is God…” their whispered plea.

“Doesn’t He care? Doesn’t He see?”

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“How could He care—and look away?”

“Where was His LOVE that autumn day?”

“Oh God, if You are Love; if You are Light…”

“Where was Your shield; where was Your might?”

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“Dear child,” in whispers soft and low—

A Voice, now speaks, so men will know.

“This evil thing that men have done…

Is why I sent My ONLY Son.”

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“Where is God? you ask of Me.

He’s hanging there—for all to see…

Upon a cross… sent by Me,

To die upon that gruesome tree!”

the price of God's grace

“For every scheme and wicked plan,

Formed and fashioned there by man,

The glory of that cross will shine,

And ‘gold’ from grief—shall be mined…

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If in your deepest pain and loss,

You seek your answers at my cross?

Blood met with BLOOD—shall be redeemed!

Every… EVIL… WICKED… scheme!”

~~~

Broken hearts—now wet with tears,

Covered! Cleansed! Conquered here!

Touched with glory from above;

Sealed forever—by My LOVE…

~~~

So love conquers—death and hate;

So Love—never comes, too late!

My cross is victory’s conquering light!

My cross drives back your blackest night.

~~~

Come My child, here, you will find;

Rest for weary heart and mind.

Hope reborn—Dreams anew!

At My cross, Light shines for you.

The answer

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;

I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33John 16:33
English: World English Bible - WEB

33 I have told you these things, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.”

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A Closer Walk: The Idolatry of Approval

I never thought of family as an idol.

I mean how could wanting your family’s love and approval be idolatry?

For many years I longed to be loved and accepted by my family—but loved and accepted for myself.

Unfortunately, it was that longing to be myself that created a great many of my family problems.

I was an introvert born into a family of extroverts so instinctively I felt it. I just didn’t fit with everyone else’s idea of how I should behave.

The others in my household were life-of-the-party types—outgoing people-lover’s who hated being alone.

But rather than loving the stage and it’s limelight, and being the center of everyone’s attention, I often craved solitude. I didn’t fear solitude. Actually, I was serenely at peace with my own company. I loved doing simple, quiet things, which was good, for I often found myself in our house alone.

This sent the message,”What’s WRONG with you? You don’t fit with us unless you are willing to become, like us.”

"Going Along" for approval

“Going Along” is often the price to avoid rejection.

I wanted to feel a part of the group, but the price for their acceptance was to increasingly become someone I was not.

While I blamed my family for their pushing and pulling, badgering and bullying, one day I finally realized, they were not my biggest problem I was!

I had traded who I wanted to be for their approval.

finding peaceEven in my adult years, many times I surrendered who God was calling me to be, for the “love and approval” I thought I could not live without.

It took me a long time to face the truth. Paying emotional extortion is not love, it’s slavery.

I began to see that I could vainly attempt to please my family for the rest of my days, and hope for a few grudging crumbs of approval and affection, or I could accept myself exactly the way God had created me to be, and obey His vision for my life.

I knew what “the price” would be.

I’ll confess, I did everything in my power for years to earn my family’s acceptance first… but in the end I think I always knew that their rejection, and the pain that went with it, would be the price for obeying God.

Inevitably, my choice was no choice at all, God would not relinquish His demand to be my FIRST love. (He made me no apologies for it.) And, I knew my choice would be all on me, no matter what I decided. So, I prayed for the courage to let go of my family’s approval.

It has been painful and difficult living with the price of isolation and no family to connect with, but Jesus has always been brutally honest.

With no apology at all He reminded me,

Anyone who wants to my follower must love me far more than he does his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters, yes, more than his own life, otherwise he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26Luke 14:26
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26 “If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple.

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SURPRISED?

I see you there mourning for what is lost.

(You think, it’s over, all over.)

Child, Am I over?

Have I abandoned you?

(Sometimes, you feel I have.)

But feelings are not facts; no.

I AM here, right beside you.

(Remember?)

“Shammah,” honey, “Shammah.” I AM beside you in your tears, beside you in your confusion and pain. I don’t leave when things get tough. No, dearest.

Lift your eyes, your lovely tear-filled eyes, to Me. I have comfort for you; encouragement for your fear, and HOPE.

I would say, “Trust Me.” but I see your trust for the moment is buried beneath your grief.

(I know.)

But, Sweet Heart, I have heard your prayers! I know you thought My silence was disdain and disapproval, yes? But to listen, truly listen, you must be silent, yes? I have heard you, never fear.

Forgiving and moving onYour Father has not forsaken you though others have; forgive them. It is the only way.

Leave your family to Me.

Meanwhile, let Me lift that chin of yours because, “Yes, I AM the One who lifts your head.”

Your tears are ever before Me. See… I have kept them all!Comfort yourself child, your answers are on the way. Why, before you were done speaking? I was in motion!

Surprised? (You shouldn’t be.) I AM always listening.

(Love does that you know.)

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“…Don’t cry any longer, for I have heard your prayers…” Jeremiah 31:16Jeremiah 31:16
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16 Thus says Yahweh: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says Yahweh; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

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Remembering Jade Cove by Pastor Jack Hayford

Jade CoveAlong HWY 1 in California is a place called Jade Cove, near Big Sur. It was at this place that by the grace of God, I “turned the corner.” I don’t mean a curve on that twisting, perilous highway, but the turn-around at Jade Cove rescued me from something as bad as a car accident.

For several weeks, I had been experiencing a horrible accumulation of pressure—mentally and emotionally. Work had piled up, schedule demands were burning me out, and through a combination of circumstances, I was riding the ragged edge of a potential nervous breakdown.

Some nights I would dream of being chased and then crushed by a massive object relentlessly pursuing and slowly gaining on me as I ran to escape it. Other nights I feared closing me eyes to go to sleep, feeling if I did I would not awaken again; that my heart would stop or my breath cease. I was rational enough to know this wasn’t true, but weak enough in my emotionally drained condition not to be able to break the tormenting thoughts.

Jade Cove

Then I discovered the words of the songwriter. Listen to this, Loved One: “I will lie down to sleep and find peace-filled rest, for You, Lord, preserve me in safety” (Psalm 4:8Psalm 4:8
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8 In peace I will both lay myself down and sleep, For you, Yahweh alone, make me live in safety.

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). And another lyric: “I laid down and slept, and awoke in the morning, for the Lord Himself did sustain me.” (Psalm 3:5Psalm 3:5
English: World English Bible - WEB

5 I laid myself down and slept. I awakened; for Yahweh sustains me.

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I can hardly describe the power of those words of God’s eternal truth from His heart to mine, written in the Bible to become a strength to my weary soul. These words meant even more to me, because I knew they were written by a man of accomplishment—David, a successful king and conquering hero; yet a man who needed release from pressures that threatened his sleep.

God’s words buoyed my soul for several weeks, until that day, while I slowly drove northward, hoping a break in schedule would take the pressure off my brain and the fear from my heart. I stopped at Jade Cove and walked down near the water’s edge to look at the beautiful seascape.

It was there something happened—better yet, Someone. Because as surely as I knew His Word had sustained me when fear plagued my nights, I knew God’s presence had drawn near to deliver my mind. Like fog burning off the coastline, the Son of God lifted the burden I had carried for months.

I share that with you in hopes that you will also receive His Word. “I will lie down and sleep and find peace-filled rest, for you, Lord, preserve me in safety.” Call upon His Holy Spirit to deliver you. I know He will, because He did that for me at a place called Jade Cove, and He did through the power of a man named Jesus.

And He’s there for you right now. You don’t even need to go to Jade Cove. “Those who call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” (Acts 2:21)


© Jack Hayford Ministries

A Closer Walk: Overcoming Dark Storms of Doubt

I was stunned at the size of the doubt-storms that were rolling across the landscape of my life. Suddenly I was being engulfed by dark clouds of questioning God, myself, what I believed about everything.

It is easy to believe in a God of Love when everything in your life is rosy, but when things fall apart? Then you begin to wonder and doubt creeps in.

Why has this happened?

Is it something I’ve done… something I didn’t do?

Or, am I just a victim of chance after all?

In the first days after I returned home from the hospital, I have to tell you, it was God’s silence that made these storms almost unendurable.

How could God be silent when I was in so much pain?

Dark, dark, thoughts paraded through my head daily.

I didn’t want the life I had just been handed. If this was what my life was now to be? I didn’t think I could bear it.

depression The darker my thoughts became, the deeper my depression grew.

It felt as if I was on a long slide into nothingness.

Nothing in my life looked good to me anymore. I felt broken, yes—but worse, I felt broken beyond repair.

This is what depression will do.

It takes you to a place where everything is doused in dark colors and shadows. All brokenness looks irredeemable. You feel completely disconnected from anyone with hope.

Because your hope, has been buried under a landslide of pain, and unanswered questions!

I found myself in a place where songs, sermons, and Christian cliches, could not even begin to reach me.

A severely depressed person sees no hope, because they see no future. Clouds of doubt and fear swallow you whole.

Only one thing was able to pierce my darkness: His Voice.

He whispered, “Life is not over…” and a small glimmer of Light pierced the darkness and found its way into my broken heart.

It was a start.

The dark and The Light began doing battle each day.

His Voice brought hope—but still the dark persisted.

The dark had all my broken evidence on his side.

He drew me outA tug-of-war was going on in my heart and mind; faith pulling one way; darkness and doubt pulling the other.

Strangely enough, it was an ancient song that turned the tide; a psalm of David.

His words from centuries past spoke to me with understanding and commiseration.

My present doubts and darkness were not unfamiliar to him…

“I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path…” Psalm 40: 1-2Psalm 40: 1-2
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40 For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David. 1 I waited patiently for Yahweh. He turned to me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay. He set my feet on a rock, And gave me a firm place to stand.

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David was describing exactly where I was.

And, how I felt.

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RUNNING IN CIRCLES

Don’t let the enemy sidetrack you honey.

See how he taunts you; how he works to provoke you?

You’ve really got him worried Sweetheart.

The Light of God's VoiceJust settle down in Me.

(Abide, remember?)

Don’t let him stir up your inner man.

Don’t let him create chaos in your outer circumstances.

You have this power over him, not the other way around! If he can provoke you; get you running in circles emotionally; he can hinder My work in you and through you.

But you are too smart for him. You know what to do and how to do it! You have come, too far, to let him sidetrack you now.

Don’t you hear it? The music? Don’t you hear what is flowing from your heart and soul? A new song—a new symphony from you to My world!

My feet are on The RockYou thought it was just for My people?

Oh, no. I have much bigger things in mind for you.

Why do you think the enemy torments you so, day and night?

I see. I hear.

But, child… oh, My sweet adorable one… the music!

The music!

Where once there were squeaky notes of discord, ah now… the rhythm and harmony… how I love it! (How I love you!) You are beginning to understand how much I love you. And together—together we are writing new songs for the whole world to sing!

Keep your peace honey. Don’t let him steal it, ever!

It is the prelude to music!

a closer walk“He has given me a new song to sing… many will hear of the glorious thing he did… and put their trust in him.”

Psalm 40:3Psalm 40:3
English: World English Bible - WEB

3 He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in Yahweh.

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Never Losing the Light: Restless In the Raging Storm

You calm my raging seasYou think this storm has been raging way too long, yes?

There have been days when you believed, ” …this will be the end of me.” You looked at your depleted strength, your absent support, your meager resources, and you thought, “I can’t go on like this.”

And still the storms kept coming; kept beating down on you. And, oh how you wanted to just quit and walk away. But, you couldn’t. The storm wouldn’t let you. And, in your soul, where only we two can go, you would turn to the storm, and shake your fist, and curse…

(Yes, I know.)

Weariness does strange things.

Can I tell you something?

Calm my stormI do not condemn you.

(You thought surely I would, yes?)

No.

No, child. I love you, much too much, to pay attention to the tantrums weariness brings.

You yourself know, that a tired child, who is acting up, needs rest.

Are you a better parent than I?

You need rest child.

REST.

Lay down some of that frenetic activity of yours. Choose the things that bring restoration. These storms will not go on forever.

Meanwhile, you listen to your Abba—rest!

You cannot find release from your fears in all this restless activity.

I have your release.

Come…

Bring all to Me.


When the storm is raging“Soon, soon you slaves shall be released; dungeon, starvation and death are not your fate.”

Isaiah 51:14Isaiah 51:14
English: World English Bible - WEB

14 The captive exile shall speedily be freed; and he shall not die and go down into the pit, neither shall his bread fail.

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My Guardians

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 I will send angels before and behind you.

You will be surrounded by My angel armies.

Do not fear little one.

Yes, you are fragile, but My angels have been given instruction to guard you everywhere you go. You know they are real—as real as the air you breathe.

You have encountered their protection in the past and they are on watch 24-7.

Fear not little one.

Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him, and is it not written? Even before you ask, I AM already answering your prayers.

Be at peace.

You are protected.

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For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalm 91:11Psalm 91:11
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11 For he will give his angels charge over you, To guard you in all your ways.

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A Bruised Reed and A Broken Heart

broken-heart2

I have become good friends with my fellow captives from the bible.

Joseph, David, Jeremiah, Jonah, and of course, Job.

I can relate to their frustration, their questions, and their bruised hearts. I, too, have days where I bruise my heart against the stone walls of my captivity; the squandering of my life. It is hard not to question a God of Justice when I look at my chains.

My heart has learned to “hold it’s peace” (most days) as I review my life in this vineyard barren of fruit and dreams, but there are those days (you know the ones) when my heart wails, and my mind rails.

When the injustice of it all overwhelms my hold on a quiet patience.

My mind begins to search for an answer to all this waste… and my heart?

It bruises itself against the stones and iron bars longing for freedom and fulfillment. The dam of passions breaks, and out pours my distress, bewilderment, and yes, my anger with men and God. The only thing that keeps my faith alive on days like this is my belief in a God who cannot lie.

I look to a Heavenly Abba and take refuge in:

A bruised reed He will not break…

My tiny flame of faith finds fresh fuel in:

And smoking flax He will not quench…

And my bruised heart finds its necessary hope in the words:

He will bring forth justice for truth.

There is rest for the restless here; hope for the heartaches, and finally… peace.

The DREAM~MAKER’S Promise:

A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth.  Isaiah 42:3Isaiah 42:3
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3 A bruised reed will he not break, and a dimly burning wick will he not quench: he will bring forth justice in truth.

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A Caterpillar’s Prayer:

Abba (Papa) you see all my internal struggles. All my outward expressions of frustration; the battles I fight within and without. Please help me today to internalize the peace of Your promise while externalizing the expressions of Your love and light to the ones in my life who need me. Help me… not to look at the walls that surround me, but rather to look up, and focus on Your love and faithful promises, that will see me through another day of frustration in this vineyard.