Years ago “The Lion King” was a huge box office hit. The main character, Simba, was tricked into believing that his father’s death was his fault. Rather than face the consequences, he let fear drive him far away from home. That’s where he ran into Timon and Pumbaa who taught him their life motto: Hakunah Matata. It means no worries. Simba adopted it as His life motto as well until he had to face his past and find peace. It wasn’t until he adopted that philosophy that he became who he was born to be.
What’s your life motto? Is it helping you to become who you were created to be? Or is it keeping you away from it? Every one of us have two fingerprints on our lives. We have the fingerprint of Adam that pulls us toward sin and away from God’s presence. We also have the fingerprint of God which holds our true identity. Each one of us allow one of those fingerprints to define our motto and how we live.
Psalm 34:14 says, “Keep turning your back on every sin, and make ‘peace’ your life motto. Practice being at peace with everyone” (TPT). God desires for every one of us to identify with His fingerprint on our life and to adopt His motto of peace. He is the Prince of Peace after all. This is a great time to put the past behind you and forgive those who have wronged you. Doing that will help you find peace internally and then you can begin pursuing peace with others. It’s not too late to adopt a new motto.
Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash
One of my daily prayers is that God would give me peace in my heart, peace in my body and peace in my home. I believe that one of the ways that the enemy disables our effectiveness is through stress. He knows if he can disrupt our inner peace, he can make us ineffective. If he can wear our bodies down, he can prevent us from going where we’re called. If he can create strife in the home, he can stop us. Remember his goal is to steal, kill and destroy.
Having peace doesn’t mean we won’t be in stressful situations, we won’t get sick or that we will have perfect relationships. Jesus had peace in the middle of a storm to the point that He was sleeping while the boat was about to sink. Having peace is trusting God to care for you no matter what the enemy brings. I believe it is a crucial part missing from so many believer’s lives today. We live in a stressful, fast paced world. It’s time we let the Prince of Peace rule and reign in our lives.
Here are some Bible verses on having peace.
1. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalms 29:11 NLT
2. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 GNT
3. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world. [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]
JOHN 16:33 AMP
4. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Colossians 3:15 NLT
5. I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
John 14:25-27 MSG
Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
I have a friend who recently asked me, “How do you let go?” He’s had a very rough couple of years. It started with one event and it has snow-balled to the point that it has affected every area of his life. He no longer has an optimistic outlook on life. He’s waiting for the bottom to fall out again. You see, every time he thinks he’s hit rock bottom, something else happens and the bottom falls out. This one event has changed not just his life, but who he is. He struggles with bitterness and he’s holding on to resentment. He doesn’t need or want a shallow answer to his question.
I could only share what worked in my life when I had held on to that kind of pain. My catalytic event was different than his, but I recognized the pain and hopelessness in him. I know all too well the mental battle he is facing. It took years for me to let go even after I finally did hit rock bottom. Everything I did for the next few years was done out of a heart that was still holding on to the pain and trying prove that they had made a mistake. I wasn’t living for something. I was living against someone. There is no peace when you live like that.
It wasn’t until I was reminded of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:15. He said, “If you refuse to forgive others, your Father (God) will not forgive your sins.” I couldn’t find peace in my life because I was holding on to bitterness and I wouldn’t forgive. I had to make the mental choice to forgive and to let it go. I had to go through a mindset change because for years I had let that control my thoughts and actions. When I finally let go, the Prince of Peace came in brought balance back to my life. Thoughts of anger and bitterness no longer controlled me. It was still a fight to keep them out though, so I had to be on constant guard against them.
When I did let go of the things that were holding me captive, I found that my hands were free to receive from God. I also noticed that my motives changed and my outlook did too. I was no longer bound to the mindset that bad things were just going to keep happening and I needed to put my head down and deal with if. I now had a source of peace in my life. When bad things happen now, I hold on to the Prince of Peace instead of the pain and bitterness that the situations could cause.
We each have that choice. We can let events define us and change us, or we can cling to the one who created us. I saw a quote the other day that said, “You won’t know the strength of the anchor until you feel the force of the storm.” Too many times we don’t trust the anchor so we let go of it when the storms come. Bitterness then becomes a sail on the mast of pain. The winds of life blow us around until we crash on the rocks. We have to consciously pull down that sail and cut down that mast because ultimately it’s our choice of what we hold on to. I have decided to put my trust in the anchor, the Prince of Peace, and hold onto it instead of my past.
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash
Peaceful. That’s not a word I would use to describe the Christmas season. Hectic is the word I would use. Going store to store to buy presents, looking for parking everywhere you go, going to the kid’s Christmas plays, attending Christmas parties, cleaning house for family that’s coming and so much more. Our schedule is full this time of year, and sometimes we accidentally double book.
When Jesus was born, Bethlehem was just as busy. It was over crowded because of the census. Families that hadn’t seen each other in ages were getting together. There were lines everywhere you went, and the locals were hard at work. Jesus was born into chaos, but the message to the shepherds (and us) is that He came to bring us peace no matter what time of year it is. Just like it did for the shepherds, let God’s peace draw you away from the hustle and bustle, and move you closer to Jesus.
Here are some Bible verses on the peace that God gives.
1. At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
Luke 2:13-14 MSG
2. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
PHILIPPIANS 4:7 AMP
3. May the Lord himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 GNB
4. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
Isaiah 26:3 NLT
5. 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
Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash
Have you ever been homesick? Or maybe you’ve been traveling or have been out and about, and just wanted to get home. Home is where we relax, unwind, and rid ourselves of our cares. It’s where we dress down and are our most true selves. It’s the place that smells the most familiar to us, and it’s where we truly rest. They even say that home is where the heart is. I think Dorthy had it right, there’s no place like home!
I recently went through “How’s Your Soul?” by Judah Smith. One of his first points is that while we are good at having that place called home for ourselves, our soul is looking for home as well. When God created man, he was loveless until God breathed into his nostrils. Judah says that our soul is really borrowed breath from God, and that it finds its home when we use that breath to praise God. That’s why worshiping God makes our soul feel the way it does. It’s when our soul gets to be home.
Think about David for a minute. He was chased by Saul for years. He lived in caves in one of the most inhospitable places on earth. If you’ve read the Psalms, you know that man was homesick both physically and spiritually. He longed for the courts of the Lord as much as he longed for being home. He even said that it was better to spend one day in God’s house than thousands elsewhere (Psalm 84:10). Why? Because that’s where his soul was at home. Even if he couldn’t physically be home, he wanted to have his soul at home.
I believe all of us are the same way. Our soul longs to be home. I think we misinterpret the signals inside a lot of times, especially if our soul has never been home. In Psalm 90:1, David wrote, “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!” (NLT) If your soul is homesick, God is where you’ll find the peace you’re looking for. In Him is where you will find your truest self, and that place where you can rest. You don’t have to be homesick anymore. Spend time with God worshipping Him and loving Him today and let your soul be at home.