The Peace of God or A Piece of God

peace-2piece-of-pie-2In his book I AM, Steve Fry says, “Peace is the evidence that we have submitted to God.” Scripture talks about a peace that surpasses all understanding. I can only experience this kind of peace when I completely trust God with everything in my life. This included the good, the bad and the miraculous. Steve Fry goes on to say, “The rule of peace begins when we no longer want answers, but only want God.”

In other words, I cannot just have a piece of peace. This concept is contrary to what I perceive when I think about a piece of fruit pie. If I had baked an apple pie that was setting on the kitchen counter and I wanted some to eat, I would cut a piece for myself and leave the remainder of the pie. A whole pie would be too much for me to eat. This is not how the Lord does things. I find His spiritual fruit pie in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” I notice that Paul says it is “fruit” – not “fruits” – of the Spirit. In other words, I cannot simply cut myself a piece of peace without also having a serving of self-control and seven other things. God serves me with His sovereignty. I must not question what the Lord puts on my plate.

God wants me to understand His rulership and authority over my life. His sovereignty goes beyond my knowledge, and even goes beyond my sense of His presence. When I grasp this concept, I will be able to experience true peace. This peace comes only when I trust God and submit to Him not because of what He does but because of who He is. With this in mind, I want to share some scripture verses that describe the kind of peace available.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are
steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may
have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take
heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body
you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

And the peace of God, which surpasses all
understanding, will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 ESV

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace
at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
II Thessalonians 3:16

As I look at each of these pieces of peace, I see that surrendering to God’s sovereignty is significant to my experiencing the peace of God. I cannot allow my own understanding, or lack of understanding, to allow me to cut out pieces of the whole pie God prepares for me. One piece of apple pie may satisfy my hunger, but my spiritual hunger will only be satisfied when I accept without question all that God hands me. The peace of God comes when I submit to each piece of His personal plans and purposes.

So, Lord, take me into a deeper understanding of your ways. And, Lord, give me your peace. I do not want to settle for just a piece of your peace!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

*Click on images to find the credit for appropriate images.

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I See!

I see” is a statement composed of only two words. These two little words make a complete sentence but they can be interpreted in two different ways. One meaning for “I see” relates to being able to “see” with one’s eyes while another meaning relates to being able to “see” with one’s mind. I can see visually without being able to see with understanding. There is also the possibility of one being blind visually but still able to see with understanding. Today I am searching for scriptures that help me understand what I am saying when I utter, “I see.”

eye-1-mfDo you see this woman?
Luke 7:42

In this scripture found in the book of Luke, Jesus asks Simon if he sees a particular woman. Jesus goes on to describe in detail the woman’s past and present actions and feelings. Simon may have been able to visually see this woman while Jesus not only saw the woman as a person but he also knew and understood her background as well. My Reader, who and what do you see when you encounter a particular person? Your description may be entirely different from mine while both descriptions are accurate from our own perspectives. In his book Cast of Characters, Lost and Found, Max Lucado  shares an experience he had with a friend while in rural Pennsylvania. Both men saw a drifter who knocked at the door of a church where they were holding a conference. Listen to a quote by Lucado, “We both saw the man. I saw right through him. Stanley saw deep into him. There is something fundamentally good about taking time to see a person.” His friend helped the man in need while Lucado simply saw the man. His friend saw the man with a compassionate heart while Lucado merely saw the man with his eyes. I have to ask myself, “When I see people, do I really see them? What do I see when I see them? Do I understand why I see what I see? Do I comprehend why what I see exists? Max Lucado challenges us to “look at the face until we see the person.” I believe Jesus was presenting Simon with this challenge as well. There is so much more for us to see about a person than what the naked eye first beholds.

mirror-2-mfFor now we see only a reflection as in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully,
even as I am fully known.
I Corinthians 13:12

When Paul wrote this verse to the Corinthians, he was not referring to the physical reflection we see in a mirror, but to our spiritual reflection. We will only experience full clarity of vision when we come into the Lord’s presence and personally see the Lord face to face both physically and spiritually. The New Living Translation gives me a fascinating picture of this verse, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” Referring again to Cast of Characters, Lost and Found, Max Lucado interprets this verse as referring to our “trying to see God through shattered glass.” While here on earth with our limited understanding, we simply cannot have complete comprehension. Everything is distorted through the lens of the human eye. I appreciate the imagery Lucado uses because there are times when my life appears to be shattered and my perspective distorted.

Another author who refers to sight as being spiritual revelation is Steve Fry.  In his book I AM, Fry quotes J. George Mantle from Beyond Humiliation and then comments, “Our deepest self is revealed by our attitude towards the cross. Only when we see what sin has done to the heart of God can we be truly grateful for God’s ultimate sacrifice.” (my emphasis) I also agree with the lines of a prayer by Steve Fry when he asks of the Lord, “Give me eyes to see what you are doing even when I don’t understand. Help me to trust you.”

I look forward to the day when I can proclaim “I see!” more accurately regarding people and the Lord. These verses of scripture have challenged my vision regarding both my physical sight and spiritual sight. However, my insight is stimulated even more as I ponder the significance of another verse in the Bible.

eye-of-god-maybe-link-pd

She gave this name to the LORD
who spoke to her:
“You are the God who sees me,” for she said,
“I have now seen the One who sees me.”
Genesis 16:13

I become aware that not only can I see but that God sees! Since God is spirit, He does not see with physical eyes like I do but He still has the ability of seeing me both visually and with understanding. His view of me is perfect without any distortions.

This verse from Genesis is spoken by Hagar when she encountered the Lord. She had been treated harshly by Sarai and sent away. The Lord saw what had happened to Hagar and the angel of the Lord came to her with encouragement and direction. She then gave God the descriptive name of El Roi because of the revelation she has received. He came to her at a specific location and met her personal needs. She went on to announce that she had “seen the One who sees her.” A depth of understanding had been revealed to her and she was able to say, “I see!”

Kay Arthur has a wonderful book entitled To Know HIM by Name in which she describes the names of God through the mediums of words and art. When portraying El Roi, “the God who sees,” she delineates incredible characteristics of our God. His eyes are never shut. He knows us by name and He knows where to find us. He understands us! Since God sees all, He sees our sins and our failures as well as our positive accomplishments. Because He sees with understanding, He forgives when He sees that our hearts are repentant. Kay Arthur says, “He knows where (we) have come from and where (we) are going. He knows what (we) are thinking and feeling in the deepest part of their heart. He sees it all. Right now. At this very instant. You can’t, but He can.”

music 3 mf

I see” is a statement consisting of only two simple words, but they are powerful words. My Reader, what do you see? Are you able to see on more than one level? What do these two words mean to you? Reflect upon these questions as you meditate upon the lyrics of two songs. The first was written by John Newton in 1779 while the second is by Michael W. Smith, a contemporary song writer. Both song writers say “I see” from a spiritual perspective.

Amazing Grace
by John Newton
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

Open the Eyes of My Heart
by Michael W. Smith
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.
Open the eyes of my heart.
I want to see You,
I want to see You.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new