Peace or Panic?

Peace or panicMy morning devotional spoke especially loud to me today. Last week was one of those weeks that felt like one thing got piled on top of another and the pile started to overflow. By Friday I was tired and stressed out—because rather than choosing peace and resting at the feet of Jesus, I allowed myself to become frazzled. I have a bit of Type A personality and I’ll try to do everything, and do it perfectly. But I know that the feeling of being overwhelmed is not a spirit that comes from God. If we are not careful, the enemy will use busyness to distract us away from the One who matters most—Jesus.

In a world that often makes us feel like we have to “do” so much to be good enough, it can feel strange to stop and rest. We get so busy “doing” and doing is not a bad thing, but sometimes we also need to focus on just “being.” Being sons and daughters of God. We need to take those moments to rest at the feet of Jesus because He is our life source.

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I hope this devotional encourages you in the way it did me:

We face so much stress and pressure today. We never seem to have enough time—pressure. We want to do well as a wife and a parent—pressure. We are called to be good stewards of our finances—pressure. We strive to be effective managers of our home—pressure. How do you handle all the pressures of life? Do you experience peace or panic?

In sisters Mary and Martha, God gives us a classic study in opposites. Jesus went to their home for dinner. Martha welcomed Him in, but then she became distracted by all the preparations. Busy in the kitchen, lots of details on her mind, anxious that everything go well, Martha was a whirlwind of activity. Was she at peace? No!

How did her stress show? Martha was stirring the pot in the kitchen, but she was also in the family room. There she accused Christ (“Don’t you care?”) and accused Mary (“She’s left me to serve alone”), complaining about the burden of dinner. Martha is bossy, blaming, distracted. She’s “yarping”—which, you’ll notice, is “praying” spelled backward!

In contrast to this hurricane of hyperactivity, we find Mary…

  • resting at the Lord’s feet while Martha is restless
  • worshiping while Martha worries
  • remaining at peace while Martha’s panic level rises
  • sitting while Martha is stewing
  • listening while Martha is lashing out

What was Jesus’ response? He commended Mary for doing what is most important —spending time with Him.

Would an outside observer see Martha or Mary in you as you deal with schedules, commitments, and pressures? Do you need to make any changes?

Devotional from: Walking with the Women of the Bible, by Elizabeth George. 

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As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” ~Luke 10:38-42 (MSG)


hannah

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All rights reserved.

*Photo credit

My Joy to Honor Him

My joy

I had a muddled view of God throughout most of my teenage years. I believed in Him, but I had no clue how deeply He loved me. Because of some of my life experiences, a part of me even thought that I had to earn His love.

I was often viewed as the “responsible girl” who made all the right choices. I was very much of a “people-pleaser” and a perfectionist. And while the face I presented to the world might have been one of a girl who “had it all together,” the truth is—I did not.

On the inside I was confused and hurting. I yearned for love and affirmation, but I often felt like I didn’t measure up. I tried to earn acceptance by doing the right things and striving to be beautiful in the eyes of the world. I was living with a “you have to earn it” mentality, rather than living under God’s grace.

When I was 18 years old, God got a hold of my attention in a gentle yet very noticeable way. I realized that while I believed in Him, I wasn’t following Him with all of my heart—I wasn’t following His path for my life because I was trying to do things my own way. My heart was unfulfilled, and I longed to be satisfied. It was during that season of my life that I chose to fully surrender every part of me to the Lord. I stopped chasing after an illusion, and I decided to start trusting Him.

About 13 years have passed since that time, and my feet are now planted on the path of life. I have experienced the joy and peace that comes from allowing Jesus to be Lord of my life.

I no longer believe the lie that I have to earn His love. Instead, I believe that His love is unconditional and never ceasing. I know that He loves me just as I am. I know that His grace is always enough for me. I know that He is faithful and trustworthy. His promises are deeply rooted in my heart and no one can steal that away from me.

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God transformed my mind and my heart. I went from being a girl who believed that I had to “earn” God’s approval, to becoming a woman who thrives in God’s unconditional love and grace. God healed my heart with His love. God calmed my fears with His love. God crushed the lies with His love. God gave me hope with His love.

And now it is…

My joy to honor Him. And not because I have to. But because I get to.

When I think about how God chose to pour out His love on this world by allowing His only Son to hang on the Cross and take our place, I can’t help but want to honor Him. He’s my King and I love Him. It’s not a chore to honor Him—it’s a privilege. My life has been changed by His love and I trust that He knows what is best for me. His Word, the Bible, is full of truth and wisdom—and it’s not meant to be a book of rules. It’s meant to point us in the direction of Him and His love. He desires to bring good to our lives. And if He asks us to stay away from something, it’s out of His great love for us. He doesn’t want us to choose the things that He knows will harm us.

Jesus said this to His disciples shortly before His death:

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”

~John 15:9-11 (NLT)

True joy comes from abiding in God’s love. And we can have joy at all times, because unlike happiness, it doesn’t depend on our circumstances. Obedience to God is not always easy. Sometimes it means that we will look very different than the rest of the world. Sometimes we will loose friends because of our faith. Sometimes we will be stretched beyond the realms of our comfort zone.

But remember all that Jesus experienced during His ministry here on earth. He was mocked, He was rejected, He was betrayed…He was crucified. And He endured it all for us. He understands it all, and if we remain in Him, He will help us every single step of the way. His love will give us the strength we need to endure the bumps in the road.

Understanding God’s love changes everything. It changed my heart. It changed my thoughts. It changed my perspective. It changed my attitude. It changed my actions. It changed my entire life because it gave me ‘new life’ in Him. God continues to renew me, and as He does, day by day…

It is my joy to honor Him. 

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

~Galatians 2:19-21 (NKJV)

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hannah

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood

Intentional Prayer: Part 2 {Praying For Your Spouse}

praying series blog

Earlier this week I began this 4-part series on Intentional Prayer. The first two parts are geared more towards the married crowd and those who have kids, but I will be finishing this series next week with two areas that everyone should be able to connect with. Just a heads up, so stick with me!

Here’s Part 1 if you missed it —> Intentional Prayer: Part 1 {Praying For Your Children}.

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Today we are diving into Part 2 which is about praying for your spouse. This plan is designed to guide you through praying the “Fruit of the Spirit” for your spouse over the course of one year.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:22-23 {ESV}

There are nine “fruits” this verse talks about, so the idea is to focus on praying about one “fruit” per month. I have included a simple prayer to go along with each fruit/month. Since there are only nine fruits and twelve months, the last three months repeat three of the fruits that I think pertain the most to marriage {even though they all really do}—The prayers for these three months are geared specifically as strengthening your marriage.

I have organized everything in a chart, and there is a printable version of it below so that you can use it as a reference throughout the year. Use it in whatever way works for you but here’s one idea:

Start keeping a prayer journal if you don’t already do so. Dedicate a certain part of your journal to Spouse/Marriage. Cut out the chart below, and then each month paste the card of the month into the Spouse/Marriage part of your journal. Underneath the card, write down things God reveals to you as I pray throughout the month, ways you see your prayers being answered, bible verses that pertain to that month’s fruit, and so on. You will probably be amazed at how God moves through your prayers. 

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A Year Long Guide To Praying The ‘Fruit Of The Spirit’ For Your Spouse

January

[Fruit: Love]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help _______ to experience your love in a real way and allow that love to flow through him/her for all the days of his/her life.

July

[Fruit: Faithfulness]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Give _______ a passion to live purely in all areas of his/her life and develop a character of integrity within him/her.

February

[Fruit: Joy]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Fill _______ with an everlasting joy that comes from being filled with Your Spirit.

August

[Fruit: Gentleness]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help _______ to extend the same grace towards others that You extend toward us.

March

[Fruit: Peace]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Allow _______ to experience the peace that passes all understanding which comes from trusting in You through all seasons of life.

September

[Fruit: Self-Control]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Lead _______ to live a disciplined and balanced life spiritually, emotionally and physically.

April

[Fruit: Patience]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Supply _______ with the patience needed to endure hardships, trials and times of waiting.

October

[Fruit: Love (in marriage)]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Teach my Husband/Wife and I to love each other passionately, unconditionally and in a way that leads us to a deeper intimacy with You.

May

[Fruit: Kindness]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help ________ to be slow to anger and quick to show kindness and compassion to all.

November

[Fruit: Peace (in marriage)]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Remove any seeds of quarrelsome and bitterness in my marriage, and help us to live at peace with each other.

June

[Fruit: Goodness]

Prayer: Dear Lord, Equip _______ to do good works for Your Kingdom, remind him/her that Your plans for his/her life are good and protect him/her from the evil he/she faces along the way.

December

[Fruit: Faithfulness (in marriage)]

Prayer: Give my Husband/Wife and I the strength to stand up to the temptations of this world, and guard our hearts and minds in you so that we might enjoy the blessings of a pure marriage.

{PRINTABLE VERSION}

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Do you have a prayer request? Visit the Prayer Pocket to submit your request. 

Many Blessings,

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(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood