Perfect Peace

by Hailee Seiwert

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" Isaiah 26:3

What a beautiful verse!! I read that and my heart cries out, I WANT IT AND I WANT IT NOW (Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka, anyone?!?). Peace is altogether complicated and simple at the same time. When we don't have it, it feels impossible to obtain, but when we do have peace it appears as that immovable, unshakeable, life changing kind of stuff. Peace isn't a thing we can grab off the grocery store shelf when we're running low, it's not available on Amazon Prime, and Jesus even says that the world can't give it. Peace isn't the absence of troubles in your life or emotions in your heart. So what is it?

Peace is the realized presence of Jesus in your life. 

1. Peace is given

“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. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again." John 14:27-28

Peace is a precious gift from Jesus. This great gift came at the high price of life, death, and resurrection. This gift wasn't free. If someone handed you the most expensive gift EVER on the entire planet (no I'm not talking about diamonds and red soled shoes), how would you handle it? I'd like to challenge us as believers, as followers of Christ, as beneficiaries of His great sacrifice to handle the gift of peace like the precious gift that it is. I'd like to challenge us to protect peace in our own lives, to guard our peace with great ferocity, and to seek it out when we are drifting away. 

 

2. Peace is received

"So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace" Romans 8:6

Receiving Jesus is receiving peace, but I've learned that many times we complicate that simple truth. Receiving is not a passive act, but a conscious decision. 

When you chose Jesus, you chose peace, but the choice for peace doesn't end there. We've all felt this, right? Sunday churchin' leaves me feeling happy as a clam, but then Monday morning happens. Heartache happens. Hurt happens. Health issues happen. Peace is chosen over and over and over again as we weather the storms of life, as we climb to the mountaintops and descend into the valleys.

 

3. Peace has an enemy

Actually, at times I think peace has two enemies: satan and our own precious selves. Satan is obvious... he comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Undoubtedly, the enemy will try and steal your peace. He will try and convince you that you can find peace where it doesn't exist (aka anywhere except Jesus). But me? How am I an enemy to my own peace? Here's the hard truth: when we allow our emotions to have more power than God's truth, we oppose peace. A great friend once spoke three words that would change my life, "feelings are liars." I don't know if he knew those words would change my life, but they did. Feeling aren't always liars, but they also aren't always true. 

These words have been hard for me to type, because I've been there. I've lived a life that was riddled with constant and overwhelming emotions. There was a time when I couldn't imagine a world in which I had true, lasting peace. I would let myself be overtaken with what I was feeling, leaving peace in the dust behind me. I would find myself feeling desperate and alone, eventually walking, no running, to find peace again. You would often hear me say things like, "she is making me angry," "this is making me upset." I had to learn the hard way that nothing was making me do anything, I was letting these things control me. No one besides Jesus has the power to make me feel or do anything. Once I learned that, I began to guard my precious gift of peace. I began to choose peace daily, hourly, minute-ly, and sometimes even by the second. I acknowledge now that peace has an enemy or two, but that GOD has the ultimate say. The truth is that WE WIN! Nothing and no one can defeat you or your peace. 

Are you lacking peace today? I believe it is God's will to restore peace in your heart today. Pray with me to receive God's peace in every area of your life. 

Jesus, you are Lord. You are King. I receive your peace in this moment, but also the moments to follow. Instill in me the true value of your peace. Holy Spirit help me to guard and protect your peace in my life. Show me the areas that I struggle most and lead me to repentance. Help me to choose your and your peace day in and day out. I want to follow you with my every breath. Father, let me not be my own enemy in this area. Help me with my emotions. Remind me that peace is always possible. Bring me peace, in Jesus name. 

Prayer's Precious Power

Prayer’s Precious Power

Guest post by Jennifer Stewart-Burton of Jenn Finding Joy blog.

 

We navigated it largely in silence, like a dark shameful secret we were trying to hide in a closet hoping no one would open the door. We fielded the innocent questions of the well-intentioned who wondered why our home was void of little feet at the exact same time that we were enduring endless appointments, tests, hormone injections and procedures.

“It’s so personal,” we rationalized. After all, it’s not like infertility and the gory details of fertility treatments are common dinner party conversations.

It was in the pain of miscarriage that I realized we had needed the support and prayers of our family and friends all along. We were exhausted, then came the grief and in the midst of it, we also had to come clean to family and friends about the secret we’d been keeping. It was almost unbearable. In that time, I realized we had robbed ourselves of the sweet gift of others’ prayers and we had taken away our loved ones’ opportunities to pray over us.

In the days and weeks following our loss, we slowly started sharing our story – first with family and close friends and eventually publicly on my blog. We had no idea what to expect from sharing our story. What we got was support and prayers from hundreds of fellow believers.

Those prayers changed everything.

When our loved ones hit their praying knees and stormed the gates of Heaven on our behalf, a sense of peace and hope came over our home and hearts in a way that can only be explained as coming from Jesus Christ himself. In the moments when I struggled to know how to pray, our friends and family made sure our story was continuously whispered in God’s ear. What a gift!

Do you remember the story of Jesus healing the paralytic after the man’s friends lowered him through a roof to get him to Jesus? If not, check out Luke 5:17-25. In this particular Gospel story, a paralyzed man was completely healed because of the faith of his friends. The man literally stood up and walked home because his friends knew that if they could get him to Jesus, he would be healed.

How’s that for power in our loved ones approaching the throne on our behalf?!

As healing has taken hold in my own life, our prayer warriors have now shifted their prayers to our future. They’re joining us in asking Jesus to grant us direction in the decisions we have to make and peace in His will. They’re believing with us for the miracle child we so long for. There is so much joy and hope in knowing others are petitioning God for the desires of your heart.

Friend, maybe you’re the me of a few months ago – the one hiding and hoping no one sees your burden. Oh how I remember the that weight. I hope that today you’ll realize that you have nothing to hide. You don’t have to carry this alone. I hope that, even if you’re not in a place to go public with your pain, you will think of at least a few people you can allow to go to Jesus on your behalf.

The prayers of fellow believers have changed everything for me, and they have the power to do the same for you.

 


Jennifer

Stewart-Burton

Jennifer is a Jesus-loving wife, dog mom, marketing manager and farmers’ daughter.

She grew up on the family farm outside of Needham, Ind., alongside a human brother, puppy sister and a few cows. She met Jake, her husband of seven years, after graduating from Purdue University. They call Lafayette, Ind., home. The two attend Calvary Church where Jennifer discovered her passions for international missions and women’s ministry. She recently revived her three-years-dormant blog, Jenn Finding Joy, to share the love of Jesus Christ through her and Jake’s story of infertility and loss. Her hope is that God will use their story and her words to encourage others in their own faith journeys.

When Jennifer isn’t working, volunteering or blogging, she can be found at the gym, on the farm or in the recliner with a cup of coffee. She and Jake enjoy beach vacations, grilled foods, and summer days on the boardwalk at Lake Shafer. They are head-over-heels for their nieces and nephews and look forward to being parents themselves in God’s time. Follow Jennifer on Instagram at @jennfindingjoy.


Joy Comes in the Morning: Coloring Through Infant Loss & Miscarriage
12.99

If you have experienced a miscarriage, still birth, or infant loss- this coloring book is for you!  It also makes a thoughtful gift for a friend going through the devastating loss of a baby. 

This collection of designs forms a beautiful and therapeutic tool for grieving. It provides a creative way to express your grief while meditating on the Word of God and filling your mind with truth.

It is a beautiful collection of over 25 inspiring pages designed by artists from Alaska to Hawaii, from East Coast to West! The pages include a variety of styles, ink drawings, and digital creations. Many of the artists have experienced miscarriage or infant loss, and on the back of each page they share encouragement for the grieving heart.

*Also available on Amazon Prime!

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P L E A S E (or Pleaser?)

P L E A S E (or Pleaser?)

Guest Post by Jenny Stecklair of In The Everyday blog and Stecklair Event Co.


And without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
— Hebrews 11:6

What pleases God?  We often assume it's our best self efforts and stellar behavior. We busy ourselves with good things - serving where we can, giving when we can.....but what if I do all of this good and it still doesn't seem like God is "pleased" with me?  Then what?  

In John 9, Jesus and His disciples encounter a man born blind.  "And His disciples asked Him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?'” (verse 2). Do you see it?  They think the same way we often do. This man's life is hard - he was born blind. Someone must have done something wrong and God is ticked.  Why else would this happen?  They are trying to make sense of circumstances that are too heartbreaking to understand. But what was Jesus' reply?


Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’
— John 9:3

No one is to blame. No one could or should have tried any harder. Better behavior wouldn't have guaranteed he would be able to see at birth. There's nothing anyone could do to change these circumstances, or so many others. 

My husband lost his job and we can't make ends meet. Yet another miscarriage leaves me feeling devastated and hopeless. We have prayed and prayed, but my friend still lost her battle with cancer. Why? What more can I do?  What should I have done? If I am living my life to please God, why does it feel like He has forgotten me? 

Maybe we've got it all wrong, and our doubt and frustration with God is the fruit of doing things our way.

What if all the "good" we busy ourselves with distracts us from the greater, deeper work of choosing to believe that He is all that He says He is? 

Could anything please and honor God more than my devotion regardless of the circumstances, choosing to believe He is a REWARDER of those who seek Him?  

Try as I might to please God, He makes it clear to me what pleases Him most – a faith-worth-seeking, pursuing, craving. He's a rewarder of those who SEEK Him. Just Him, the person of Christ.  God the Father. His face, not His hand. Do you really believe that?  Can you really say today in your struggles and hardship that you KNOW God to be a rewarder?  If not, why not?  

The truth is, it's easier to just keep trying and doing; it makes us feel like maybe we have some control. Faith in God and all that He says He is is harder than applying our own self effort. I don't know where you are or what you are dealing with today, but I know He is a rewarder. He is good. So good. More than fair, He tips the scales in our favor blessing us beyond all that we can even imagine.  

So today, be a God pleaser.  Choose Him. Trust Him. Seek Him. Tell everyone you know that He is faithful. He tells us that pleases Him most.  As you do, you will discover the sweet reward or His joy - it will become your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). As you focus on Him and not your circumstances, you will experience a joy so good it could only come straight from the source of joy, God Himself.  

Then do it again tomorrow.  Bask in the pleasure of our Good Good Father, friends.  Amen!


Jenny Stecklair


Writer. Wife. Mother.
 

Jenny was born and raised in San Diego, California.  She has attended the same church, Foothills, since she was 10.  This is where she met many of her closest friends and her husband, Weston. Attending and working at the church, Jenny discovered her love for the Word of God, bringing people together, and planning events. Jenny and her husband recently started having children, which pushed them to get creative so she can stay at home with her kiddos.

They have started a business renting Farm Tables, Benches and Market Lighting, as well as coordination services, for weddings and events. She loves that she gets to do what she loves through the week while being at home with her babies. When they aren't dropping off tables and stringing up lights, Jenny can usually be found at a coffee shop, park or church. In this new season of life, Jenny has learned A LOT about marriage, herself and how much God loves.