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Jesus once said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it. Matthew 7:13-14

I continue to be amazed at the dichotomies in the Christian life. We are told to follow this itinerant preacher who came on the scene from virtually nowhere, spent a few years here on earth and then was brutally murdered. His 12 closest followers all met the same fate, as did 1,000’s since then.

Who, in their right mind would agree to a proposal to follow a life in which you will have no pillow for your head, you’ll be ridiculed, and live in constant danger of death.

Yet, as the Psalmist writes, His will is where I want to be. If I follow his will completely I will stare adversity in the face. If I follow his teachings I will be labeled intolerant, out of touch with reality, and a whole lot of other social labels.

Still, regardless of all the external realities, He offers a peace and joy that nothing else can measure up to. His way will not be the easiest. His way will not be the most popular. But his way offers me something the world can never give me, nor take away. Peace. So, as Job said, ‘Even though he slay me, yet will I trust him’.


At first it may sound like the whole prosperity gospel thing; Name it and Claim it! You know, the idea some hold to that all you have to do is claim it and God will give it to you. God wants you to have what you want, what your heart desires. The reason you don’t have is you don’t have enough faith; you haven’t claimed it!

Sounds great if only it were true. God does want you to succeed. God does want to give you the desires of your heart. But only when those desires match his desires Desire is fickle. Desire is deceitful. Desire can trick you into seeing all the ‘good reasons’ to have something. But desire forgets to include God plans become frustrated.

Take Jonah for example. He was called to go to his worst enemy and preach the gospel. There was no good reason for him to do so. His life and his principles would be compromised. Heading the other way made perfect sense in his heart. Desire triumphs!

God had other ideas and when Jonah aligned his heart to God’s an entire city was spared. When you draw near to God and allow his Spirit to control your desires, your success is guaranteed. Not because you got what you wanted, but because you got what he wanted. He never promises us an easy time on earth, but the things he has planned for us for eternity will make the struggles of today seem minuscule.

God’s idea of success is opening your heart to complete submission to his will.


Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. Romans 5:1-2

One day a King summoned two artists into his palace. He commissioned them to paint a picture depicting peace. The picture that best depicted peace would be hung in the castle and the artist would become famous.

Both men returned to their studios to paint their depiction of peace. Soon they were summoned to show their creations to the King. The first artist painted a beautiful picture of a pristine lake at dusk. The reflection of the trees was perfectly silhouetted in the glassy water. A deer and fawn drank quietly in the foreground and a campfire betrayed a young couple camping on the far side of the lake. “This, said the king, is peace.

The second painting was quite different. It was a picture of a stark mountain with a waterfall pouring into the valley below. Lightning exploded from thunderclouds above and windswept rain pelted the barren cliff wall. Hidden, almost unseen, behind the waterfall was a single green shrub. Within the shrub was a nest with a bird peacefully and safely riding out the storm.

At first the king was puzzled, even disgusted at the picture. Then, a smile came to his face when he caught the true meaning of the picture. “Ah, yes,” He smiled, “This is the winner. This is peace. For peace is found in where we find security in the midst of the storm.”

When life hands us turmoil and hardship it’s easy to focus on the problem and how to avoid the pain. We may seek comfort in new jobs, new relationships or drugs. We may even seek peace in religion. The problem is, peace doesn’t come from our surroundings. Peace comes from within. When we are at peace internally, outward circumstances have little or no effect

peace with GodOften we look for peace in unfulfilling places. The only peace that lasts is peace with God. Paul tells us that because of Jesus we can have peace with God. Some may say, “I’ve tried the God stuff and got no peace.” Often we confuse peace WITH God and peace OF God. Peace WITH God is positional and completely reliant on the forgiveness we receive through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The peace OF God is conditional. The peace of God is what we experience with we are walking close to him and following the guidelines for life as written in his Word, the Holy Bible. One cannot live for self and experience the peace of God. But if we live all out for Jesus we can experience peace in the midst of storms.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I know all about your love but sometimes life throws me a curve-ball. Help me draw close to you in the midst of life’s battles. Show me your peace. In your name I pray. Amen


As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Psalm 119:143 (NLT)

20140825_073143My family and I love to camp. One of our favorite spots to spend a few days is in extreme northern Minnesota. Just miles from the Canadian border, we are without electricity except for our camper batteries, have no cell phone signal and are 50 miles from the nearest hospital. We enjoy taking the boat out, playing games, taking naps and just getting away from all the stress of the ‘real world’ in our hidden paradise.

The only connection we have with the world outside is a weather radio that we listen to each morning so that we know what to expect weather-wise in regards to going out on the lake or taking hikes through the forest.

Last summer, on the day before we were going to leave, we listened to an ominous forecast on our weather radio. Severe weather was bearing down on us from the west. There were reports of damaging winds, funnel clouds and torrential rains. Maps we had with us verified that we were in the path of the oncoming storm.

Knowing the storm was at least an hour away, we made sure to put away anything that might become destroyed and packed away everything we could in preparation for the oncoming storm as well as our journey home in the morning. Then20140824_195154 we climbed up on a rock and watched the sunset and approaching clouds.

We were nervous. The unknown frightened us. We made contingency plans for the possibility of having to evacuate the camper due to severe weather. Fortunately, the worst of the storm went south of us and we got nothing but plenty of loud thunder, bright lightning and heavy rain.

The oncoming storm reminds me of stress. Stress is, I believe, really as symptom of other emotions. We become stressed when we worry about financial struggles. We become stressed when we are discouraged about the doctor’s report. We become stressed when we fear the consequences of poor choices or relational breakdowns.

We see the storm clouds on the horizon. We know the possibilities of disaster even though, in reality we are uncertain of the exact outcome. We take every precaution we can and then do the only thing left: wait.

When the uncertainty of life bears down on us and we are unsure of the outcome or whatever it is we face, we have a place where we can go for cover. That place of refuge is God’s Word and his many promises to us.

Sometimes, when people are stressed they look for temporary fixes. That’s why airports often have bars close to the gates. Alcohol doesn’t take away the fear, but it deadens it for a while. For some new relationships, shopping, taking a trip or watching porn is an escape. There can be all sorts of things you can do to try to deaden the impact of stress on your life. But they are all temporary fixes.

Dealing with stress

  1. The next time you are stressed, take some time to reflect on exactly what the basis for your stress is. Is if fear? Is it guilt? Is it worry? Is it procrastination? What is the cause of stress in your life.
  2. Secondly, go to God’s word or, if you are unfamiliar with God’s word or don’t know where to start, find someone who can help you in this area.
  3. The third step to dealing with the storm of stress is to give over whatever is stressing you to the promises of God.
  4. Lastly, seek Godly wisdom on how to deal with the storm. Sometimes it’s just a matter of waiting to see what happens, like we did in our camper that night. Other times there may be things you need to do like confess a sin, re-focus your lifestyle, ask forgiveness, etc.

True joy comes when we rest in the promises of an all-loving, all-powerful God whose desire is for each of us to live in peace. Jesus said “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27(NLT)

PRAYER: Jesus, I thank you for the many promises you have given us through your word, the Holy Bible. I thank you for the fact that you know exactly what I’m going through and for the promise that you not only know the outcome, you will walk me through it. I give this stress over to you based on the promise of peace you have given me. Amen.


I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25 NIV

It seems like we are deluged with pictures and stories of the horrific famine that is ravaging parts of our world. The pictures and stories anger us. They rip our hearts out and make us question why. Why does God allow this? Why don’t we do more to stop the carnage? Why are those people who withhold assistance allowed to continue to do so? Why….?

Latest estimates tell us that roughly 1/3 of the world will go to bed hungry tonight. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies from hunger. Want a better perspective of that gruesome thought? This Sunday while you sit in your comfortable 1 hour church service, 17 people will die of starvation.

These statistics are staggering. It may be of some comfort to know that comparatively few people die of starvation in the U.S.A., but it’s of little comfort.

Harsh as those statistics are, there is another statistic that’s even more staggering. It’s a type of starvation that will never make the news. Those who suffer from this type of starvation often suffer alone. Its effects are rarely noticeable. Some who have noticed have openly chastised these victims for their plight! Not only do they suffer from the starvation, they are blamed for their condition. Such is the plight of those who suffer from starvation of the soul.

Disease and starvation of the physical body is easily seen, but those who suffer from starvation of the soul, suffer in silence. They live in a world where nothing seems to go right. Relationships fail. Attempts at success are met with failure and on those rare occasions when they do succeed there is no one there to cheer them on. All of us long for someone to slap us on the back occasionally and tell us we did a great job. Soul starved people long for that but rarely see it.

The people of Israel knew what that was like. They had all the assets of the God of the Universe at their fingertips but never figured out how to make it work. They tried and failed and suffered the consequences. But there was hope. Jeremiah tells them that someday God would revive them, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

That refreshment comes through Jesus. Regardless of how deep your pain is, Jesus is there to comfort. No matter how dark the bruises of your heart, he is there to pour the soothing oil of his grace over them.

Jesus came to refresh us. It’s really a pretty cool word picture. The word would be better translated as ‘satiates’ (full to the top) or ‘inebriates’. You read that right. ‘Inebriates’. The same word we use to describe someone who has turned over control of their bodies to alcohol or drugs.

Each of us struggle in some aspect of life. It may be in our relationships. It may be with our jobs or our thought life. The bruises of an abusive past or the ghosts of our abusers may haunt us. Jesus came to refresh, to encourage, to make us so drunk (if I can be blunt) on his love and forgiveness that the pain of our starvation is filled and we can approach each new day filled to contentment.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I pray for those who are struggling physically. Let us not forget their plight or fail to meet their needs as best we can. But I pray as well for those suffering from starvation of the soul. May they find contentment and filling in you. Amen.

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