Sunday, April 25, 2010

Looking for Peace?

You can't go anywhere anymore without people talking about world peace.  I hear it and I see that peace symbol just about everywhere I go.  We just want everyone to get along for goodness sake!  And that is a great thought, isn't it?  Especially in today's shattered economy.

The only trouble I see is that folks are looking for peace in all the wrong places.  They think we'll find world peace if we would all just agree on everything.  Let's get real - is that ever going to happen on this earth?  I think having our own opinions and beliefs and standing up for them is what makes us so human.  Some people try to find peace through activities, people pleasing, religion, hobbies, position, overlooking things that are clearly wrong in order to avoid confrontation and even treaties. 

This world does not offer the peace that we are all so desperately looking for.  We're looking for a needle in a haystack the size of Texas if we think we can find peace from the world's ways.  Really.  Because if we were totally, bare-boned honest, we'd say that the peace we're all looking for isn't something that can be fixed by a treaty, an activity, another person, a religion, a position or overlooking evil.  Peace is only found when we realize our need for and receive the Truth of Jesus Christ.  

God put that feeling of unrest inside of us on purpose!  He did that so we would seek Him.  In our efforts to do that, we find that it's easier to try to fill that emptiness up with things that we can see and with our own efforts.  That doesn't seem to be working out so well for us! But God says it is by grace through FAITH that we are saved.  We cannot please God unless we have faith that He is who He says He is.  (Hebrews 11:6)  The peace the world is looking for will never be satisfied without humbling ourselves and realizing that God is God, and we are not.  We must bow our knee to the authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ!


The world is closer than it thinks...you'll notice the "peace sign" that has been  manufactured is just about there.  The only problem is, it's upside down and broken - just like their manufactured attempts to find peace on earth.  Flip it right side up and straighten it out and they will find that peace...in the Cross of Jesus Christ! 

I pray that if you are struggling with unrest in these difficult times, that you will seek the peace you can only find in Jesus.  I pray that He will fill you with hope, joy and indescribable peace as you seek Him and His peace, and not the world's dead end ways to manufactured peace.  

Jesus said in John 14:27 "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 do not be troubled or afraid."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Heart Update

It started as a pain between my shoulder blades on Thursday night.  It kind of felt like I had some sore muscles or something.  I went and taught my cycle class and felt fine until I was on my way home.  The pain traveled from between my shoulder blades all the way around to my chest and then started creeping up my neck and into my jaw.  By the time I got home, I could hardly talk and I began to get dizzy.  The pain was very intense.  I called 911.

After taking me to the ER, the doctors agreed to admit me for more tests.  By the next morning, they discovered I'd come down with inflammation in the lining of my heart.  They call it pericarditis.  They think it is caused by a virus, though they are not sure.  I've had a rough few days, but am doing better.  The doctors put me on steroids to ease the inflammation so the pain is pretty well under control.  I am still very tired, though and I'm having a lot of palpitations.  I will be going back to the doctor today and I believe they are going to put me on a heart monitor for 24-hours to monitor the frequency and duration of the palpitations. 

I appreciate so much all of the notes of concern and especially your prayers!  You have no idea how much it means that people are on their knees before the Lord concerning my condition.  I pray that I will recover soon, but I'm taking my time getting back into the full swing of things.  Even just a trip to the grocery store wears me out and I need a nap when I get home!  It's crazy for a lady like me who is usually like the energizer bunny!

I pray God will use this time to draw me into a deeper relationship with Him, most of all.  I will keep you posted on everything.  He is in control and I have nothing to fear!

You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you." Psalm 118:28

"My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever." Psalm 73:26

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Seeing God

When I was training to be on Survivor, I remember finding four leaf clovers all the time along the trail as I was running.  I felt like it was a little encouragement from God as I was training and preparing for what would be one of the most grueling challenges of my life to that point.  I've always loved four leaf clovers, but not because I think they make me lucky or anything.  It's because they remind me of something very sweet....

When I see a three-leaf clover, it reminds me of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - all together, in unity.  When I see a four leaf clover, it reminds me of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and a true believer in Christ who is linked up with them - together in unity.  It's just special.  I love it.

I knew when I went out to my camp in China that God would probably show me a four leaf clover or two on my camp.  I even told some of my tribemates about it - and explained why it was so special to me.  Yeah, they probably thought I was a little nutty, but who cares?  I was sure He would show me one at some point. 
Well, about four days into our adventure, I was walking a back path behind the camp with Denise and we were looking for snails (yes, to EAT!). I looked out of the corner of my eye and found a four leaf clover!  I was soooo excited!  But then it got even more exciting when I realized there wasn't just one, not even two or three - but thousands of them!  It was an entire large patch of four-leaf clovers!  I couldn't even catch my breath I was so excited!  I told Denise "God gives us far more than we could ever ask or imagine!" and then I picked eight of them and ran back to camp to show everyone what I'd found and to give them each one.  

I  gathered them around.  They asked if I'd found food.  I said "No, but I found something better!"  OK, oops.  You should never say you found something better than food on Survivor, but I digress....

I reminded them of my search for a four leaf clover and told them how I'd found an entire patch of them.  They all took the clover I'd picked for them and as I looked on, they all popped it in their mouth and said "Hmmm...not bad..."  Ouch.  For a moment, I was kinda hurt I suppose.  Nobody seemed to understand my excitement!  Almost immediately, though, I felt the Lord calm me down and remind me that the experience was for me, not to take it so personally.  

The producers called me aside and said "How did it make you feel when your tribe ate those clovers you picked for them?"  "Well," I said "It's okay.  I understand that was between me and God - but I'm happy I could provide them with a spring salad!"

I was telling this story to a friend at lunch today.  As we walked out of the restaurant, I walked over to a patch of clovers I saw from a distance and looked down and sure enough - there was a four leaf clover.  I was so excited!  Then...not a moment later...another one.  I hardly had to look.  I just love how God speaks to us through His nature.  

If you're excited about something and you can't understand why everyone else isn't jumping up and down with you, please don't lose heart.  Maybe it's just for you and God?  Either way, I pray you will see Him in everything around you today. He's there - and He wants to show you that He's with you and He loves you! 

Matthew 5:8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

What Goes Up Must Come Down!

Our puppy, Oliver, keeps running as fast as he can to the top of the stairs and then he is too afraid to come down! It reminds me of the first time I went skiing - I thought the chair ride to the top was so much fun but then my husband grabbed my hand and jumped off (with me!) at the top and I realized I had to ski down!! I was terrified. I ended up taking off my skis and walking down the hill sideways. Needless to say, I never went skiing again. I hope Oliver gets over his fear quicker than I did (or didn't!) haha.....

Powerful Declaration!

In Security

I wasn't surprised when I heard Beth Moore's latest book is called "So Long Insecurity".  I suppose the reason it didn't surprise me is because God seems to always use this woman to speak truth into my life and this insecurity thing has been a real issue with me from the beginning of my life.  I heard someone say once that we are all insecure, but some of us are better at pretending that we aren't than others.  I wonder how true that is?

I do know that when I focus on what God thinks of me, I'm much more secure. His love for me never fades, isn't conditional and I cannot fail His expectations of me.  He knows every thought, every sin, every fear, every insecurity...and yet He loves me deeper than anyone else ever could.  How amazing.

I was listening to an old 1970's song by Don Francisco yesterday and I felt as if God were speaking it directly to my heart.  I had to listen to it over and over again and let the lyrics sink in.  The words were so encouraging...and I could so relate to them.  I kind of wish someone would re-do this song with more "up to date" music because I know a lot of people who could benefit from hearing this song and meditating on the truth in it.  Here are the lyrics to "I'll Never Let Go of Your Hand"....

I know what you've been hearing
I've seen you hide your fear
Embarrassed by your weaknesses
Afraid to let Me near
I wish you knew how much
I long for you to understand
No matter what may happen, child
I'll never let go of your hand

I know you've been forsaken
By all you've known before
When you failed their expectations
They frowned and closed the door
But even though your heart itself
Should lose the will to stand
No matter what may happen, child
I'll never let go of your hand

The life that I have given you
No one can take away
I've sealed it with my Spirit, Blood and Word
The everlasting Father
Has made His covenant with you
And He's stronger than the world you've seen and heard

So don't you fear to show them
All the love I have for you
I'll be with you everywhere
In everything you do
And even if you do it wrong
And miss the joy I've planned
I'll never, never let go of your hand


I hope you really took a moment to let those lyrics sink into your spirit.  Our insecurities come when we base our identities on what other people say.  I suppose it could be said this way...

Trust in man = Insecurity
Trust in God = In Security

Today, let's focus on what God says about us...

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down and when I stand up, you know my thoughts even when I'm far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it Lord.  You go before me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!  (Psalm 139:1-6)

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered!  I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, You are still with me!  (Psalm 139:17-18)

The Lord always keeps His promises; He is gracious in all He does.  The Lord helps the fallen and lifts those bent beneath their loads.  The eyes of all look to You in hope; You give their food as they need it.  When you open Your hand, You satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.  The Lord is righteous in all He does; He is filled with kindness.  The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.  He grants the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cries for help and rescues them.  (Psalm 145:13-19)


This is what the Lord says:  "Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts from the Lord.  They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future.  They will live int he barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.  

BUT blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit."  (Jeremiah 17:5-8)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Gutsy for God? We Want to Hear Your Story!

Do you know.... 
  • Someone who took a public stand for their faith in God?Announcing!
  • Someone who led a movement that made a difference in their community?
  • Someone who made a difference in your life through their generosity and compassion?
  • Someone who lives out loud in a way that inspires you?
If so, we want to know about them!  Please...send your stories to us at lnease@leslienease.com and the guy or gal chosen for the story will be featured on our blog each month and in our newsletter and will be sent a Gutsy for God Care Package as a thank you from us (and you!) for what they are allowing God to do through them!

We look forward to hearing inspiring stories!

INSTRUCTIONS:
Send us your Gutsy stories - 200 words or less - to lnease@leslienease.com and attach a jpg photo of your friend (with you if possible!) along with the email.  Make sure you get permission!  The deadline for the following month is the 20th of the current month.  (Next story deadline is APRIL 20).

Got Questions?

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