Monday, May 29, 2017

Looking for Peace in All the Wrong Places




I am currently reading Guarded by Christ written by Heather Holleman.  I am going through the book as a daily Bible study.  I am about half way through and can already tell this book is going to be a life changer.  In fact, beside the Bible, I believe this is the book I've been waiting for my entire life.  I will share a more in-depth post about Guarded by Christ in the future, but for now, I wanted to share a hard truth I discovered about myself when answering one of the bible study questions in a chapter entitled The Moat:  From Harassed to Harmonized.   The author asked the following question...

"What are (or what have been) some of your 'false resting places' that you believe will bring you lasting peace?"

As I searched my heart, the ugly truth came out, through my pen, onto the crisp page.  A truth that became uglier knowing that I had just written a post a couple of weeks ago, which you can read here, where I shared about the rest we can find in allowing Christ to dwell within us.  I had closed that post with the hymn, Jesus I am resting, resting... in the joy of what Thou art...   

But as I began to list my false resting places, resting places that I believed would bring me lasting peace, like my marriage, my children, friendships, good health for myself and my loved ones, and a content life in general, I realized that indeed I am not resting in the Joy of the Lord, but looking for peace in all the wrong places.

As I pondered my answer, I thought to myself, "Karen, none of your false resting places are ever going to stay the same."  And indeed, they never do.  I was placing my hopes for lasting peace on that which changes.  We are not guaranteed good health at all times.  We are not guaranteed relationships that are always sunshine and roses.   And we certainly are not guaranteed a life free from trials.

 ...Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34b

This revelation about my false resting places did not bring about feelings of hopelessness within me, but feelings of great hope and relief!  I realized that changeable circumstances are not unique to me, but are true for every human being.  Life is ever changing and as such, none of us can depend on people, situations or things to bring us lasting peace.  Oh there is such freedom in this revelation!

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. 
In the world you will have tribulation. 
But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

We can have peace in a God who NEVER changes!  He is our constant!  No matter what turmoil we may find ourselves in, we have the Holy Spirit within us, the Great Stabilizer of our souls, bringing us the peace that surpasses all understanding, guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  He is our ONLY resting place.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

“For I the Lord do not change; 
therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Malachi 3:6

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. 
Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Numbers 23:19

The grass withers, the flower fades, 
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Isaiah 40:8

We have these great promises to find our rest in - our true resting places through one God.

As we think back over our lives thus far, we can see so many personal evidences of our unchanging and faithful Heavenly Father.  

Then I said, “I will appeal to this,
    to the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Psalm 77:10-12

The Benson Commentary explains that the "right hand of the Most High are the years in which God hath done great and glorious works, which are often ascribed to God’s right hand in the Scriptures."

I love this!  "I will appeal to the years that You have done great and Glorious Works for me."  An appeal is an urgent request to a higher court.  We are not appealing to a higher court, but to the Most High God, remembering and reminding Him of the wonders He has wrought in our lives.

This verse was my meditation verse yesterday, just a day after I had an unsettling experience during my routine thyroid ultrasound...

Just to give a quick background, many years ago I discovered a large lump in my neck.  Testing revealed that I had a large thyroid nodule. I underwent two biopsies because the first one did not yield enough specimen to rule out cancer; through the prayers of Believers in Christ, the second biopsy yielded an adequate specimen and cancer was ruled out.  I was then diagnosed with a multinodular goiter and was followed with annual thyroid ultrasounds.  I can honestly say that I didn't worry about my thyroid after that.  I also LOVE my endocrinologist.  She is such a nice person whose manner just puts anyone at ease, especially this white coat syndrome gal.

My annual routine endocrinology appointment was last Friday.  Oddly enough, just a few days before that appointment, I discovered tenderness in my neck over the site of the original thyroid nodule, a nodule that had ultimately shrunk and calcified many years before.  I didn't mention anything at the time of the appointment because I knew I was having a thyroid ultrasound on Monday, and really didn't think much of it.

My thyroid ultrasound was probably one of the quickest I have ever had which is always a good sign, but when she had the ultrasound wand over the tender area, I noticed she flagged it and then said, "When do you see your doctor?"  Um, in my head I'm thinking, "well, this sounds ominous".  So I told her I already saw the doctor to which she responded, "Perfect, that way she can tell you if there are any major changes."  I don't know about you, but I tend to like it when the technicians don't say anything related to your test - like they are supposed to.  lol.

That evening I was experiencing sporadic deep pains in that area, the kind I felt years ago when the initial nodule was growing.  I didn't have any pains yesterday, but now today I am having them again.  I haven't heard from my doctor yet and typically, if there is nothing remarkable found on the ultrasound, I don't hear from her, but the doctor may not have seen my ultrasound results yet...

Soo, yesterday, at the top of every hour when the Psalm verses I shared above would pop up on my phone's lock screen, I would remember the great and mighty works the Lord performed with my initial thyroid  nodule and impending thyroidectomy, but God... through the prayers of the Faithful, brought about healing without any need for surgery.

It brought me great comfort and peace to remember what the Lord had already done, and to appeal to Him once again concerning my thyroid, trusting and believing in His unchanging grace and mercy.

As I exercised my faith hourly concerning my thyroid, I remembered a sermon Charles Stanley shared a couple of months ago where he suggested writing personal Psalms to the Lord for recording our fears, our honest feelings, the Lord's responses and the subsequent joy in the Lord experienced. 

I was indeed doing that throughout the day yesterday and indeed, felt joy and peace in the midst of uncertainty.

Personal Psalms are truly a wonderful way to journal the years of the right hand of the Most High.  Because inevitably, no matter what we go through, God NEVER changes and ALWAYS brings about  joy and peace.

May we continually look to the Prince of Peace as our ONLY resting place to find lasting peace.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me Grace, Testimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home  ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading SpotMaking Your Home Sing Monday Social Butterfly Sundays  Let Us Grow Small Wonder Link-up Winsome Wednesday Growing in Grace Thursday After My CoffeeRewind Friday Fresh Market Friday Moments of Hope Wonderful Wednesdays Christian Blogger Link-Up Tea & Word Tuesday Heart Encouragement Thursday Hearts for Home Messy Marriage Link-up Friday at the Fire Station Link-up Tune In Thursday Faith on Fire Link-upSunday Scripture Blessings Link-up, Warriors of the WordCandidly Christian Link-upSunday ThoughtsWriter WednesdayFaith Filled Friday




33 comments:

  1. So much encouragement and truth. Thanks for sharing your insight.

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    1. Amanda, Praising God for His encouragement and Truth.

      You are very welcome! :-)

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  2. So true - as soon as I recognize that my all in all is only in Him, I can rest. We're not meant to know the future. That's probably for our sake!

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    1. Sue, Thanks so much for joining in the conversation. I appreciate it! :-)

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  3. This was a blessing to me, Karen ~ I love the idea of writing personal psalms to the Lord. Keeping you in prayer. <3

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    1. Hi Alicia, Praising God you found blessing here.

      Thank you so much! I think of all of you often. :-)

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  4. Beautiful post. Will keep you in my prayers.

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    1. Thank you Cathy, on both counts!

      The Lord was gracious and my thyroid ultrasound showed no changes. :-) Praise God!

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  5. Sounds like a great book! I agree, it is easy to turn to false resting places looking for peace and to place our hope in circumstances instead of looking to Jesus and finding rest in him. It is so comforting that he is always the same and no matter what else changes we can find security in him.

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    1. Lesley, It is! I just finished it on Thursday. :-)

      Indeed and Amen!

      Blessings,

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  6. Thank you for sharing your passion for this--your desire to share what you've been learning and your faith in God in inspiring. God bless!

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    1. Lance, You're welcome. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Blessings,

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  7. Dear Karen I pray for you that the Lord Jesus would grant you complete and perfect healing over that area in Jesus name. May the Month of June be remarkable for you and your family.
    Thank you for using your trial and testimony to encourage our hearts to rest in the Lord. I love Isaiah 26:3
    God Bless dear friend
    If you have some time to look over the book I mentioned earlier, please let me know, ok? Otherwise it's not a problem too ;)
    Much Love from Nigeria

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    1. Hi Ifeoma! Thank you for praying. I never heard from the doctor which means my thyroid ultrasound showed no changes! Praise God!

      You are very welcome. All Glory to God.

      Unfortunately, since we last spoke, my schedule has actually gotten busier. Between working, babysitting and my blog, my only free time is Sunday afternoon where I am obeying the Lord and participating in Sabbath rest. :-) Thanks for understanding.

      Blessings from New England. :-)

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  8. Oh, dear friend! I am believing GOD that all is well with your thyroid, with no further complications or issues. Please do let me know what you find out and how you are doing. I SO appreciate you and your precious honesty and encouragement to all of us here. I am praying for you right now and trusting God all is well. Love and appreciate you so much!

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    1. Thank you for praying Cheryl, Praising God that I didn't hear back from the doctor which means there were no new or abnormal findings. All indeed is well. :-)

      I continue to lift you up in prayer too my sweet friend.

      With much love and gratitude.

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  9. May God be with you and may you feel his presence as you figure out how thyroid problems. It sounds like you're learning to practice his presence.

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    1. Thank you so much! All is well with my thyroid. Praise God!

      Indeed, I am learning to practice His presence.

      Blessings,

      Delete
  10. So much beautiful truth here! How often we find ourselves resting—and ultimately relying—on things other than the Lord! This was a great reminder of where I need to find rest. Thanks for sharing your story, too... trusting all will be well. Stopping by from #FaithOnFire

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    1. Laura, Thank you for your kind words and for sharing in the conversation.

      All indeed is well with my thyroid. Thank you so much.

      Blessings,

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. This is so needful. While we should cherish the people God has placed in our lives, we place an unduely heavy burden on them if we expect our joy and peace to come from them rather than from the Lord. He alone can give us true peace. Thanks for sharing. (Faith and Friends Linkup)

    PS: The former comment I made had some omissions (mind working faster than fingers), so I deleted it. Cheers!

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    1. Edith, Thank you so much for sharing in the conversation. I so appreciate it. :-)

      No worries! I do the same thing! :-)

      Blessings,

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  13. I am so guilty of trying to find peace in my heart in too many artificial things, and I'm always left feeling profoundly empty. HOwever, when I get into the Word, get into beholding God, seeking to know Him more, I am filled with the deep indescribable peace of the Prince of Peace!

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    1. Emily, Thank you so much for adding to the conversation. I appreciate you sharing your heart so much!

      Blessings,

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  14. A good study question. I have never pondered that question in quite that way....where I look for peace. I just want peace. Peace of mind. Peace is a struggle because life gets in the way, and there is dealing with things to find that peace. God gives me peace and perspective, but then life gets in the way. And sometimes instead of remembering to turn to him, I get sidetracked, and then the peace is really allusive. As I deal with things in life right now, your post in itself is a great reminder of where to look for my peace, and to remember that worry only takes that peace away. Thank you for sharing. Needed to read your words this morning. :) Appreciated.

    Peabea@Peabea Scribbles

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    1. Pea Bea, Thank you so much for sharing your heart here so transparently. Praising God that this post came at just the right time for you.

      You are very welcome.

      May the peace of Christ rule in your heart today and every day.

      Blessings,

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  15. Yes, the Psalms are such an excellent source of peace, and I always find myself starting there.

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    1. Crystal,

      Indeed and Amen!

      Thanks for visiting. :-)

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  16. The book you've been waiting for all your life is high praise indeed! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week! Always a pleasure to have you!
    Tina

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    1. Tina, You are very welcome!

      Thank you. :-)

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  17. Thanks for the linking up with #TuneInThursday this week, Karen. See you next time!

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    1. Debbi, You are welcome!

      Sounds good! :-)

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Thank you for taking the time to comment.