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Filling Up on Grace and Peace

Do you ever wish you could stop by a station that had unending reserves of grace and peace? Similar to a gas station, you could pump yourself full of grace and peace, filling up to overflowing with enough of each to power you through every encounter, need and situation. What if you can do that, with the never-ending resource being God Himself?

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)

I also like how the Amplified translation says it:

“May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)

Often we quickly read over this opening greeting from Peter. But recently when I read it again, it stopped me in my tracks. I began to really think about what it says. Grace and peace will abundantly be ours when we know God and His Son Jesus more and more. When we decide to follow Jesus, He gives us the full resources of Himself, but often we either don’t know it, don’t believe it, or don’t fully know how to receive and walk in it. The more we truly know and believe His goodness, mercy, right motives, grace, love, salvation, holiness, tenderness, character, etc., we will increasingly possess more grace and peace in our lives. Those characteristics will be multiplied in our lives. And this will come from the pure (full, personal, precise, and correct) knowledge and understanding of God; that He is good, and He is for us. Therefore we do not have to fear anything that may happen and we can always walk in peace, extending grace to ourselves and to others, as we trust Him. Isn’t that amazing? The truth that when I know and understood the full character and being of God, I can walk with total peace and grace.

We are all in the process of getting to know God more. It is a journey that takes time, just like the forming of any meaningful relationship. I encourage you to keep going this week! Keep seeking God. Keep getting to know Jesus. Keep praying, keep asking, keep reading, keep talking to God. And I know you will find yourself walking in more peace, more grace, and more of every good thing as you do.

So…
+Are you growing in knowing God and His Son Jesus?

+What hinders you from knowing God more? Fear, doubt, laziness, apathy, believing lies instead of truth? Take some time to search your heart and let go of the things that are a hinderance.

+What habits can you begin to cultivate that will help you get to know God more?

Prayer
God, thank You for giving us Your Son Jesus. Help us to know You more in every way. And thank you for Your promise that as we know You, an abundance of grace and peace will be multiplied in us, filling up to overflowing in our hearts and extending to those we meet. Amen.

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Not to Worry….

 

Is it just me, or does it bug you when people make up corny Christian acronyms that are supposed to be catchy but really they just make non-Christians think we’re a bunch of dorks? One of those acronyms is PUSH… “Pray Until Something Happens”. Have you heard of that one? Even though I think the acronym itself is a little corny, the concept behind it certainly is not. In fact, it’s powerful. Pray until something….happens!

If you’re human you will surely go through many experiences in your lifetime that cause severe worry. Financial woes, sickness, fears and “what ifs” can all lead to worry. Chronic worry causes high stress, anxiety, fear, doubt and physical illness, to name a few things. And it cripples our faith. Continual worry cannot co-exist with strong trust and unfettered belief that God is in control, that God is good, and that He knows your situation and will help you. If we truly believe those things, there is really no room for worry. And even when we are feeling weak, we still have the power to make a choice to trust God rather than making a god out of worry. No one can serve two masters.

I have a lot of issues with fear…which at times leads to excessive worry. God has brought much freedom in that area for me, but there is still more freedom to be gained. Last week, as I was intensely upset and worried about some choices people I love are making, I was racked with worry. I knew I needed intervention from God in the midst of my worry. Then I read this from Philippians 4:6-9:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (The Message)

From these verses I see a couple of things. First, we have a choice. We can default to worry….or we can take what’s behind “Door #2”. Instead of stewing in a pot of worry, we can choose to take action. Namely, we can pray. Pray until something happens. While we are approaching God with thanksgiving and asking Him to intervene, while we are focused on Him, God will “settle us down”. The NIV version says that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The peace of God really doesn’t make sense sometimes, does it? How can I be at peace when there is major turmoil around me that I “should” be worrying about? But when you choose to trade worry for trusting that God is in control of the situation, it makes sense that God’s peace is what you receive in return. I would rather walk in peace than worry any day, wouldn’t you?

In the second half of the verses, we are encouraged to think on good things, the best, the beautiful, things to praise….this helps us to have an attitude of thankfulness and to keep our minds out of negativity, which often leads to worry.

Here are a couple more scriptures that I have been meditating on lately about trusting God, and not worrying:

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I (God) am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

So…

+ What have you been worrying about? Make a decision to give it over to God as you continue to pray and trust Him with the outcome. Receive the peace He wants to give you.

+ When you are feeling intense worry, fear, anxiety or doubt, ask God to come into the midst of it and dissipate it. I do this all the time and God has never failed to dissipate it. Try it!

+ As we continue our daily 30/30 prayer times, let’s be mindful of cultivating a habit of praising God and praying the moment we begin to worry.

Prayer

God, I am so thankful to know You and to know that You are always with me and that You are in control. Even when we blow it, You work everything for good (Romans 8:28) because You are good. This week, help me to make a choice to pray instead of worry. Teach me how to give all of my worries and anxieties over to You, and to receive Your peace in exchange. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Help me to do that God. Thank You for caring about what I care about. Amen.