The Truth About Balance

by Edie Melson

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)

I didn’t have to experience the stress of our Marine Corps son’s deployment to know it was going to be struggle. But it did take that experience for me to understand that finding balance during didn’t always look and feel like I expected.

I thought balance was synonymous with moderation. To have balance meant I had to control how I lived my life. If I kept a tight rein on my environment, my diet and my exercise, I believed I’d be insulted from the extremes of life.

But that deployment taught me I was not in control.

It forced me to re-evaluate my entire concept of balance. I didn’t find that much-prized balance until I finally realized I was looking in all the wrong places.

Balance—I discovered—wasn’t an exterior thing, it was an interior thing.

Times of chaos will come, exploding into our lives with ferocity. When this happens, it doesn’t matter how carefully we’ve orchestrated our schedules, environment, or diet, life crumbles. We know this is true by experience, but we also see it in Jesus’ life.

As we delve into the New Testament, we see how Jesus experienced demanding crowds who pushed in, insisting on attention. We watch as he dealt with disappointment when His followers fell short. We even see times when He was faced with the unexpected (in a human sense) death of Lazarus.

But through all this, we also see a perfect example of a balanced life. And it had nothing to do with what was going on around Him, much less diet, exercise, or environment. It had everything to do with allowing God to direct His steps.

So whether you’re facing a loved one’s deployment or something else, I encourage you with the certainty that balance is possible. When we look first to God, we can always find the balance, and the peace that comes with it.

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While Were Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Edie’s book, While My Child is Away,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Where do you struggle with balance in your life?

 

 

Chasing Peace

by Kristine Brown

Chasing fireflies was one of my favorite things to do as a child. Only we didn’t call them fireflies here in the South. We called them lightning bugs. On warm summer evenings, my sister and I would see the sporadic flickers and run to the backyard, ready for the chase. Those crazy lightning bugs were elusive. Every once in a while I’d catch one, but mostly I just chased them around.

Peace is like that sometimes.

I know what peace is. I read verses about it. But for some reason, I can’t seem to find it. I’m always looking, hoping it will just pop up in front of me where I can grasp it with cupped hands. I may get a hold of peace for a moment, but then I let go. I start seeking again and again. In the meantime, worry and stress make their home in my heart.

I’m sorry to say I’ve continued in this pattern, my never-ending quest for peace. Until recently when I read a verse I’ve poured over many times before. This time, God spoke a sobering truth to my spirit. I realized peace is not something to look for. It’s not a hidden treasure to find, or a goal to attain. We already have it.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” (John 14:27a NIV).

When Jesus neared the end of His time on earth, He prepared his disciples. The words He shared with them weren’t just for the twelve, but for all believers. He left an incredible gift to us as well. Jesus gave us His peace.

The same peace Jesus had when he found out his friend Lazarus died.
The same peace Jesus had when the religious leaders accused him and tried to trap him.
The same peace Jesus had when the very people he set free yelled, “Crucify him!”
The same peace Jesus had when he hung on the cross.

I have that peace with me right now, guarding my heart, my mind, and my spirit. What an amazing gift! And if that peace could bring calm to the treacherous situations Jesus faced, imagine what it can do in my life right now.

When we walk through our darkest times, when we’re in the midst of our hardest struggles, we can hold onto this promise. The same peace that carried Jesus through the cross will carry us today.

Maybe you are a little like me, chasing peace around like an elusive firefly. Know this truth, my friend: we can stop chasing. We only need to acknowledge the gift that’s already with us, ready to guard our hearts and minds from the turmoil that drives us into an unending quest for relief. Let’s stop searching, take a deep breath, and rest in His peace.

“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.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

 kristine brownAbout the author: A communicator at heart, Kristine Brown teaches about God’s powerful, relatable Word. She is the author of Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan and founder of the non-profit organization, More Than Yourself, Inc. You’ll find Kristine’s weekly devotions and Bible study resources at kristinebrown.net. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the conversation: What disturbs your peace?

Jesus, Our Peace

by Sheri Schofield

The Sawi people living in the jungles of  Irian Jaya (Now Papua, New Guinea) had lost all knowledge of God’s truth. They thought evil was good and good was evil. Their heroes were those who were able to betray others to their death. In celebration the tribe would eat their victims and use their skulls as pillows.

Into this darkness came Don and Carol Richardson, missionaries of the Gospel of Jesus. They brought medical aid and modern tools to the Sawi. But no matter how they tried to communicate the truth of Jesus, the Sawi saw Judas Iscariot as the hero because he had betrayed Jesus. Don and Carol were deeply discouraged.

The tribe with whom Don and Carol lived fell into war with a neighboring tribe. Arrows and spears flew through the air as the tribes advanced and retreated in battle for months. The missionaries were in grave danger. Don told the tribe that they would leave unless the two tribes stopped fighting.

Not willing to lose the benefits brought by the missionaries, the tribe sued for peace with their enemies and an agreement was reached. To seal the agreement, an infant from one tribe was taken from his mother and passed down a line of all the warriors. Each warrior laid his hands on the child. At the end of the line, a woman from the opposing tribe received the infant as her own. Only now could there be peace. The infant was called “The Peace Child”. The greatest offense possible would be if someone were to kill the Peace Child.

Light broke! Don excitedly told the Sawi, “JESUS was the PEACE CHILD!” Don had their attention now. He explained how humanity had killed God’s Peace Child. The news struck the hearts of the Sawi people, and they came to Jesus in large numbers. It transformed them. Fifty years later, they no longer practice murder and cannibalism, for they have chosen to follow Jesus.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. . . .” 2 Timothy 3:1-5, NLT

Sound familiar? Our nation is rapidly turning its back on God. Many in our society scoff at those who follow Christ. There is now a generation of children who, for the most part, do not even know who Jesus is. We in America are facing increasing violence as a direct result.

We need the resurrected Peace Child! Like the Sawi, we need to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only then can we have peace. It was to buy us peace that Jesus died on the cross at Calvary. His life was the payment to God the Father for our sins. He freely offers forgiveness as a gift. When we accept it, we begin a relationship with God with no fear of condemnation. He looks at us and sees the righteousness of his Son Jesus, the Peace Child. When we belong to his Son, God holds us close to his heart. Forever.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ, for He Himself is our peace. . .” Ephesians 2:13-14a

(The story of Don and Carol Richardson’s work among the Sawi can be found in Don’s book, The Peace Child. The documentary about this story can be viewed on YouTube.)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Children’s ministry veteran Sheri Schofield was unexpectedly called on to save her husband’s life, a battle that took her to the Pentagon, Congress, National Security and the President of the United States. At her website, www.SheriSchofield.com, she shares this journey in her book One Step Ahead of the Devil. Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, will be launched June 1. It is designed to help parents lead their children into a saving relationship with Jesus.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.44.32 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Sheri’s book, One Step Ahead of the Devil, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced the peace of God?