TAKING AS CHRIST DID

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. Taking as Christ did this sinful world as it is…

 

Taking as Christ did. In this passage of The Serenity Prayer we are asked to take our world as Jesus Christ did. We’re to surrender to God’s will in and for our life. We are to accept the things we cannot change and see that our hardships can be the pathway to Peace if we will accept them with the right heart attitude.

Walk in courage. As we walk in courage, not fear or resentment, God will give us the needed wisdom to make right decisions and to carry the burdens we are to bear. One day at a time, maybe even one moment at a time, we may have to endure hurtful people and difficult situations.

Look to Christ. We can look to Christ Who Scripture says, never trusted himself to man because He knew their fallen state. He took His assignment and for the joy that was to come, endure even the worst death a person could die — crucifixion on a Roman cross.

Follow Jesus’ example. As Christians we are to follow in Jesus’s footsteps, being willing to sacrifice our lives for Him. Our sacrifice may not mean physical torture or death like millions experience every day around the world. But every time we sacrifice our selfish desires, accepting the path put before us, we can know that God sees our heart and efforts and will honor them with His grace to make it through.

Surrender. When Jesus accepted His assignment and came to earth in human form, He demonstrated the ultimate act of surrender and love. He surrendered His authority and power for a time so that He could live as we do. He wanted to experience the temptations, pain and suffering that humanity does. It is here His sacrifice takes on its full meaning of hope. When Jesus took our suffering He cleared our pathway to a direct relationship for us to have with the Father through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ surrendering and taking the world as it is allows us to surrender and receive God’s amazing grace and love.

Prayerfully listen to this powerful worship song by Hillsong. Contemplate taking on the heart attitude of Christ, surrendering all selfish desires… lay them at His feet and He will draw you near.

ACCEPTING

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.

 

Hardships are simply a part of life. We can’t avoid them but many of us have found a way to numb ourselves through them. This pretty much defeats the learning purpose they can provide for us.

Some people don’t believe that God uses hardships.  All through the Bible God allowed trials to help people grow. Whatever the end result, God uses difficult situations for our good and for His glory.

Does this mean that God causes bad things to happen? No. Satan, who rules the kingdom of earth, is allowed to bring difficult situations in our life, but only after permission is given by God, the Father. The biblical story of Job is evidence of this. At the end of his life God blessed Job with 10 times more than what he lost.

Whatever the source of our hardship, it’s up to us to accept them. Accepting a hardship isn’t an easy task. The are many emotions involved when we’re struggling through a situation. If we look to Paul and see how he handled his “thorn in the flesh” we can be encouraged.

 “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations… At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)

God cares more about our character than our comfort. He wants us to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ, no matter what it takes. The more stubborn and willful we are, the more prideful and self-pitying we are, the longer it may take. How many times must we go around the same mountain?

Submission to the circumstances can bring about peace. Just like the earlier portion of The Serenity Prayer states, we must come to a place of accepting the things we cannot change. Not accepting them doesn’t change them, but it can and will change us into a miserable person to live with.

Peace is a promise of Christ. Let’s be determined not to let life trouble our hearts and turn us into miserable people. When we look to Jesus in times of struggle and heartache He will give us the peace that passes all understanding!

Center your heart with this lovely song by Hillsong Young and Free.

ONE MOMENT AT A TIME

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we’re studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time…

The Third Act of life

Having reached my 60’s I’ve lived more of life than I have left to live. So the brevity of life is a serious issue. I’m much more aware of the amount of time that I’ve wasted over the years and I don’t want to lose any opportuinities to do what God wants me to do.

These are evil times, so make every minute count. ~ Ephesians 5:16

In the verse quoted above the Apostle Paul warns us that our world is an evil place and can easily distract us from what is most important. No one is going to monitor our time for us. It is up to us to guard how we spend the precious moments we’ve been given every day.

The Social Media Time Suck

The era of radio and television were seen as such a waste of time for the adults who had grown up without any media at all. Television was and still is a huge time waster for many. However, there was never a bigger amount of time being wasted than what we’re experience in this Social Media driven culture of today! I’ve caught myself preparing a Social Media post for my ministry accounts and found I’ve lost almost an hour of my morning!  What’s the solution?

Be Intentional with Your Time

Guarding my time and slowing my pace of living starts at the beginning of each day. Rising most days between 3-4am gives me a good 4 hours to prepare my heart, mind and body.  This allows me time for yoga/meditation/prayer time, devotional/Bible reading, walking the dogs, and a healthy breakfast before time to walk to the bus for work or whatever I need to do that day.

Choose Your Energy Source Carefully

I believe in having strong boundaries on my inputs. Refusing to watch of listen to mainstream media/news sources not only protects my time for better uses but keeps my mind in a healthier state. During my bus commute time I try to make good use of that time by listening to a sermon podcast or some inspirational music to get me energized for my day.

Time Marches On

It’s been said that time waits for no one. And as I stated last month, the older we get, the faster time goes by. Our years are made of months, weeks, days, hours and moments. By turning that order around, being more aware of the time we have and making sure we use each increment of time wisely, we will be less likely to look up and have regrets later in life.

This moment is all we have. Let’s try to use it how God wants us to.

Still your heart and mind. Listen for God’s voice. Contemplate just this moment as you listen to a beautiful worship song by Lifepoint Music.

 

ONE DAY AT A TIME

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These posts will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

 

Life is short and it’s getting shorter by the day!

When we are young it seems like time goes by so slowly. Maybe it’s because we are anxiously waiting for important rites of passage: attending school, becoming a teenager, driving a car, graduation, college, etc.

Time seems to pick up speed.

As adults time is fleeting. Our days, weeks, months and years fly by at a speed that seems to match our age. When we’re 30 time flies by at 30 mph. And when we’re 60 life speeds up to a whopping 60 mph! The older we get, the faster time goes by.

Multi-Tasking steals our time.

I think we lose time because we’re multi-processing too much. Eating breakfast in the car on the way to work instead of simply enjoying the morning drive. Checking email messages on the SmartPhone while watching your children on the playground instead of playing with them. Listening to voicemail messages while taking a walk instead of listening to the birds singing, appreaciting the fresh air and sunshine.

Count your time.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12
In the above Scripture Moses challenges us to rethink how we live our life. He wants us to make the most of our days since they’re so few. When we come to a full understanding that life is short we will be better stewards of our time. The more conscious we are of time will make us better at using the time we’ve been given for an eternal good.
In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus encourages us not to worry about life, clothes, food, or money. He takes it a step further and tells us not to worry even about tomorrow. He wants us to take each day as it comes trusting that God will be with us no matter what it may bring.
Deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. ~ Matthew 6:34

Enjoy this awesome new video! Josh Wilson’s song will help us live One Day At A Time and not borrow from tomorrow with worry and stress today.

WISDOM

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are studying this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These columns will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

wisdom: knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action, discernment or insight; knowing what is right and doing it.

Feelings are our worst enemy.

When we come to the decision point described in The Serenity Prayer asking to know the difference between things we can change and  the things we can’t change; often our emotions blur the process. Our feelings often keep us attached to people, things and behaviors long after we should’ve let them go.

Where can we get the wisdom that we need?

Scripture tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10) So if we start by having a holy reverence for God we’ve made a good first step. James tells us that if we need wisdom to ask for it. (James 1:5) It seems pretty basic and simple. Our biggest challenge is to put aside our pride and ask!

How do we know we have wisdom?

There are several characteristics of wisdom we can look for in our life.

…the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. ~ James 3:17

Let peace be the ruler of your heart.

When we’re at a decision crossroad, we can filter our process through the character qualities James teaches us. We can be gentle, showing no favoritism, yielding to others when necessary. Walking in mercy, compassion and sincerity we can prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us with the peace ruling our hearts.

When in doubt do without.

For many years this has been my life motto. When shopping for groceries, buying a car, or taking next steps with important decisions… I stop and check the peace in my gut. If I don’t have a peace I won’t go forward. If there is any doubt at all, I will wait. It’s better to wait than to rush and make what could be a costly mistake.

The Spirit of Wisdom.

As Christians we have within us the power of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit that created all things is available to guide and direct us in our daily lives as we follow the peace.

As you listen to this beautiful worship song, take a few moments and prayerfully meditate on God’s wisdom and grace that is available to you for the asking.

SERENITY

In The Serenity Prayer column each month we are dissecting this well-known prayer phrase by phrase and applying it to our life today. These posts will be published the first Friday of each month in 2019.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

serenity:  a state or quality of being serene, calm, tranquil, peaceful; having an inner calm in the midst of the ups and downs of life; involves learning to be content with the things in our life that can’t be changed. (Serenity’s opposite is agitation.)

Human beings aren’t naturally serene creatures. We don’t have to be taught agitation. It seems to come with the inner selfishness which is built into our nature. I certainly lean more towards agitation with most things in life. That’s why we need God’s help!

Our lack of peace is directly related to our thought life, worry and ingratitude. The Apostle Paul teaches this in his letter to the Phillipians:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Now brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worth of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.              ~ Phillipians 4:6-9

It’s to us to decide what we’re going to think about. No one can control our thoughts but us. When we look for good we will usually find it. The opposite is also true.

Stressing over situations and people that we can’t change only makes more stress. If we can settle into life as it is, finding a way to be content, we can trust God will work all the good and bad for our good.

Let’s lean into God and put Paul’s teaching into practice. Then the peace of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will put a guard over our hearts and minds, and ultimately our life.

Take a few minutes to contemplate Christ’s peace with this beautiful worship song by Bethel Music.