The Battleground and the Peace Treaty We all Need

peace

 

The battleground holds secrets. Wind and rain unearth things best left buried. The battleground turns into a hiding ground, and more time is spent reburying things found rather than standing strong.

 

This battleground could be a physical battleground, but more often than not, it’s the battle in the mind.

 

It’s a battle that rages for peace. It reveals hidden things that I don’t want to address. The enemy reminds me of my failures and asks, “Are you sure God really forgives you?” He is an accuser and his weapons are accusations, shame, and deceit.

 

The wounds from these weapons are insecurity, doubt, and condemnation. I lie bleeding in the shadows and struggle to find healing. My peace is stolen and I spend more time negotiating with the enemy than I do standing firm in the truth of God.

 

What if we were to stop giving the enemy so much power in our life? What if we quit negotiating or arguing?

 

There are two common responses in conflict: denial and blame. The innocent victim who denies any wrong doing. And the counter-attack, which says, “Well, you . . .” and blames the other for the wrong doing. Isn’t it easy to do this with our enemy? He throws a grenade and it explodes with a reminder of our failures. Do we play the innocent victim or counter-attack?

 

What if there was a way to diffuse the situation and still retain your peace?

 

The next time you’re faced with a reminder of your failure, take a moment to remember your failure and then re-remember the forgiveness God poured out to you. Sometimes we don’t like any reminders of our shame and failures, and so we hide them from others and ourselves.

 

This places us in a glass castle. It’s dangerous and not safe.

 

It leads to pride and works and hate. It robs us of compassion for others and gratefulness for forgiveness.

 

The story from Luke of the sinful woman bringing her expensive alabaster jar to anoint Jesus’ feet and then wiping them with her hair is a beautiful picture of the power that remembering brings to our lives. Our hearts soften in remembering our forgiveness.  A tender heart is one that knows the depth of its forgiveness.

 

A tender heart also knows peace.

 

When the enemy hits you with accusations, remember rather than fight. Remember and reject the condemnation.

 

Remember that God has forgiven you. Remember how he turned your darkness into redemption. Feel the forgiveness again. And as you feel the pain of remembering and remind yourself of God’s forgiveness, peace will flood your soul.

 

Application

 

Read Luke 7:36-50

 

Write the following on a 3×5 card:

I,(Your name here), hereby declare peace in my heart and mind.  When the accuser wounds, I will acknowledge the pain and re-remember the forgiveness God granted. I will walk in peace in my mind and my heart, knowing that God forgives so that I might know peace.

Sign your name and hang it up in a prominent spot.

 

You see, the risk a glass castle on a battleground brings is separation from the power of God in your life. God calls your name and when you stand firm in the peace he gives you, which comes through remembering his forgiveness, you become strong in your vulnerability.

 

Listen to Stars.

 

 

 

 

Why Your Story of Refuge is Powerful to Me

you matter

You Matter

 

Your story matters. It matters more than you think. It matters because without your story, I wouldn’t know that I’m not alone.

 

We conquer because of the blood of Jesus working in our lives and because of the God-stories we tell. Each time you experience refuge living, forgiveness and pardon, and blessedness, you have an opportunity to share your victory with others.

 

Silence before God grows our faith, but silence before each other stifles our growth.

 

Your Words Matter

 

We are to remember and tell of God’s faithfulness in our lives. It’s because of God’s refuge that we can sing and it’s for the benefit of other believers that we do sing.

 

I need to hear your song of God’s faithfulness. You need to hear mine. We need each other. God knows this, which is why he created community. The devil knows this too, which is why he plays with our pride.

 

Our pride keeps us from making God our refuge. And when we refuse God’s refuge, we struggle on our own, risking our deaths, and stealing victory from each other. Our pride keeps us from declaring God’s love and faithfulness in our life.

 

We are not meant to struggle on our own. We are meant to run straight to God, stand firm with our eyes fixed on him, and let him fight for us. When we refuse his help, we rob ourselves of his life-giving and life-sustaining presence.

 

Where You Hide Matters

 

It’s in his refuge that we find peace and comfort and once we know them, we are able to share that peace and comfort with with others. I need your story. I need to hear of your harrowing experiences and how God miraculously showed you grace and mercy.

 

There’s something powerful when our ears hear words declaring God’s love and faithfulness. Did you know that I’ve been told I’m just not popular enough for a literary agent? Did you know that rejection is always hard for me and that every word I speak or write becomes fuel for the devil to take cheap shots at me? I have to live in refuge with God or else I would never live at all.

 

It’s because of hiding in him, that I have the courage to keep writing words. It’s because of his refuge that I find forgiveness for my selfish ambition. I find refuge, strength and my song because He is my refuge.

 

Draw Near to God

 

He wants to be yours as well. He sees you. The Lord knows your ache, but wants you more than anything else. He cares about a relationship with you and your circumstances can drive you deeper into that relationship. Or they can draw you away from Him.

 

If we draw near to God, he draws near to us. And sometimes in this world where we’re surrounded by people, we are incredibly alone. Achingly alone. That’s why I need your story. I need to know how God ministers to your heart. The church needs you.

 

Today, will you tell someone about the benefit of making God your refuge? Would you tell someone about your struggle in making him your refuge and the peace you felt once you did? And then tell me, too? I would love to hear your refuge story.

 

Application

  • Tell someone how God provided for you in the refuge either face to face, email, or postal mail.
  • Ask to hear someone else’s story of God’s faithfulness in their lives.
  • Here’s a song for your heart: Overcome by Jeremy Camp

 

With grace,

Jessica

 

Ps. I write to encourage ordinary people to experience God’s transforming power. God’s grace isn’t bound by our past, our despair, or our shame. Broken, messed up people are welcome. If you enjoyed this article, would you consider subscribing to receive these weekly encouraging notes in your inbox? Your email is safe and your time is sacred. I count both as a gift. Thank-you!

 

 

 

 

Where is Your Refuge?

God is our refuge

 

Our world is in distress. It’s like I can hear it gasping for breath and flatlining as disaster after disaster overtakes. Yet within the disaster is a unifying, rallying cry of the human spirit. Collectively, we turn to the One who holds our hearts in his hand.

 

God is my refuge. He is my safe place, my rock and my salvation. He lifts my head when I cannot hold it up. I run to him and he hears my cry. He is my God and my Savior. Is he yours?

 

Do you turn to him when the world collapses? Or do you turn to your strength? When I face insurmountable odds, I’m reminded anew how weak I am and how strong he is. Fire. Flood. Health. Disappointment. Heartache. Failed relationships.

 

Life doesn’t make sense, and sometimes God doesn’t make sense. However, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that runs to him, he reveals himself. The mystery unravels and new depths of God’s truth is deposited in our hearts.

 

He is our rock and our refuge, but we have to run to him. When literal storms come we head for shelter, and when emotional storms come, God is our best shelter. Sometimes his rescue doesn’t come in the form of removing us from the situation, but comes in the form of refuge.

 

He is our shield and our defense. We align our lives with his and find comfort and rescue even when our lives fall apart. I don’t understand why we’re facing so much natural devastation. It could be that the earth is crying out, the rocks are praising him, and the seas are roaring because we’ve failed to praise him. But I refuse to explain the reason for the multitude of disasters this world is experiencing, because God’s ways and thoughts are not mine.

 

But what I am willing to explain is this: God is for us not against. He is just and kind. His heart beats passionately for us and he is the safest place for us.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a prayer for all of us facing life changing circumstances. Today I wanted to give you the prayer in a printable form so that you can see the reminders of God’s love before you. I know what it’s like to need those visual reminders of God’s goodness because sometimes the circumstances seem so large.

 

Please click the link for access to a printable pdf:

Prayer for Devastating Times-2

 

Praying for all of us,

Jessica

xoxo

 

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