Kicking Out Worry

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“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 NIV

Is worry the unwelcome guest in your home?

Worry can stress you out, damage your family relationships, and ultimately give you an ulcer.

And the dangerous thing about worry is that it creeps into our lives gradually and makes its home with us before we notice it’s there. It usually enters our front door in the form of two words: What if?

What if I lose my job?

What if I can’t pay this?

What if it’s not benign?

What if my worst fear is realized?

But you don’t have to live with worry anymore. At the root of our “what if” questions and greatest fears is what you and I really believe about God’s character. When our minds play through the various what ifs, the question we are really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

And that is not an attitude, question, or mindset I want dwelling in my home. And I don’t think you do either.

So, it’s time to kick it out the door.

God’s Word tells us: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 CSB).

As you and I give God all of our what ifs and worries He can calm our hearts and remind us that He is in absolute control. Then His peace comes to dwell with us, instead of those fearful thoughts.

When you and I trust God with what is closest to our hearts, we are saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

We are also saying to those around us: “I trust God will work this out in your life and mine,” modeling trust and faith before them.

Give God your concerns today and by doing so, you’ll be kicking worry out of your home and welcoming a new family member: trust.

Lord, my worry factor is directly related to how well I know You. When I truly know You and understand all that You are capable of, I can’t help but trust You. Grow my faith and my relationship with You so I can know You intimately.  There is no more room for worry in my life. Only trust.

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Kicking Out Worry – encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books. For more on her books and ministry, or to see if her coaching services can help you write your next book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Every mom is concerned about her children and teenagers. But when does legitimate care cross the line into fear and worry, which Scripture commands us to avoid? 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom will start you on the path to worry-free parenting and a positive relationship between you and your kids.

Join the conversation: What characteristic about God is most helpful to you when you start to worry?

Are you Testing God or Thanking Him?

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

Some years ago, my new acquaintance, ‘Melissa,’ and I met for the first time at the hotel registration desk, because we were to be roomies at a conference that weekend.

A few minutes later, as we pulled our luggage into our hotel room, Melissa realized her purse was missing. She quickly called the front desk.

“No ma’am, we do not have a purse here,” the gentleman told her.

Tears filled Melissa’s eyes and she turned to me. “What will I do without my wallet?  How will I get back through security at the airport?”

“It’s time to pray,” I said as I bowed my head. “Help Melissa find her purse!” I cried to the Lord. “In fact, we thank you in advance.”

Melissa snapped, “I don’t approve of that.”

I looked up, alarmed. “Approve of what?”

“Thanking God before he answers. I won’t do that.”

“Well,” I said. “I love to thank God in advance, to show I’m trusting him…”

“No! You are being presumptuous.”

A knocked sounded at the door and Melissa swung it open as she continued to reprimand me. “I will have no part in a prayer like that.”

The bellhop held up her purse. “Does this belong to you?”

Melissa turned and stared, dumbfounded. “Yes, where did you find it?”

“It slid into one of the potted plants next to the front desk.”

Melissa quickly pulled out her wallet to find nothing was missing.

I quietly thanked the good Lord, for answering my prayer even as I prayed it. I understand not everyone jumps onto the same prayer bandwagon as me, ‘the prayer lady,’ but let’s consider: is it wrong to thank God before he answers?

Look no further than Philippians 4: 6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I believe this is important, because our prayers should not be a way we test God. Our prayers should be an expression of trusting God. For this much I know, even if God had not answered my prayer for Melissa, he would have helped Melissa make it through her travels without her purse. So my thanks is an expression of trust, no matter how God answers.

My prayer was not a test to see how much God loved Melissa. His love for Melissa is a given. Neither was I testing God to see if he would obey me. No way. My prayer was simply a request to the one I love, the one who loved me first.

What request do you need to ask God today? Thank him, even before he answers. For after all, he hears you, he loves you, and he is moving in answer to your prayers even before you pray.

Thank you God! And thank you Melissa. I’m glad God answered my prayer, and I’m glad you found your purse.

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15 NASB

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Are you Testing God or Thanking Him? – Insight from @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher
of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

The Potluck Club: In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn’t until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.

With charming, down-home characters, humor, poignancy, and a recipe in every chapter, The Potluck Club will keep readers hungering for more.

Join the conversation: How has God come through for you with an answer to prayer?

Joy! The Pathway to Peace

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel

If there were a power verse for joy, it would be this one:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4 ESV

When doing a word study on rejoice, I found this meant: REJOICE (lean in and delight in God’s grace) at ALL times, I repeat, REJOICE (choose to be glad and joyful because of ALL God gives us)!

What a command! But God gives the “How how-to” in verses 6-7.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ESV

God doesn’t want us to be anxious, worried, and loaded down with cares. As we ask, request, and petition God, the confidence comes in believing we are giving the circumstance to the only One who has the real power to answer—the Almighty God—the King of Kings! And as we make this transaction, God gives us a gift back—peace that is beyond comprehension!

This week, use this joy builder: pray over worrisome situations using a name of God. Here is a favorite exercise I use for releasing anxiety and to imagine this exchange of our worries for his peace:

Imagine your greatest stress is placed into your right hand, wrap your fingers around this anxiety, now lift it heavenward; open your fingers and present it at the foot of the throne of heaven. Leave your care there but keep your hand open. Now think of all the traits and names of God, which name of God would be best to hang your heart on to find hope, joy, and peace. If you struggle to pick which trait, choose the name or trait of God that would be opposite of your stress. For example, if you care is your anxiety, trade it for the peace of God, then when you get home, look up all the verses about God being peace and giving peace. String your favorite verses together, put your name in the series of verses, and personalize God’s Word to your life.

To keep the peace, Paul’s last instruction is to guard your mind and thought life—keep doing this—and the God of peace will be with you:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

Now dwell on these things, all day, every day. And start each day and each season of life willing to give your greatest fear and anxiety to God and receive his radical peace.

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Joy! The Pathway to Peace – insight from @PamFarrel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel is an author of 48 books, including Amazon bestseller Discovering  Hope in the Psalms: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman and her newest book releases today (!!): Discovering Joy in Philippians:  A Creative Bible Study Experience (coauthored with Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher). Pam and her husband, Bill are international speakers, relationship experts and  Co-directors of Love-Wise.

If difficult days have ever left you discouraged, Pam’s brand-new book: Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience, will help you engage creatively with God’s Word and establish habits that lead to greater joy and peace.

Join the conversation: What are your favorite names of God?

God’s Got This

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.                                                                                                                               Proverbs 16:20 NASB

My friend, Allison, sent me a text message upon learning that her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was surprised by her reaction.

“God’s got this,” she wrote.

Not a “Why him?” or “Why did God allow this?” Not even a “What if…?” She showed only an unswerving trust in the One who can handle all things.

I want that type of unquestioning faith in the face of uncertainty. Like Allison, I want to be able to think or say “God’s got this” when the unexpected or unthinkable comes my way. And I realize I have the ability to display that kind of trust in God because I’ve been given the same thing that Allison has been given: God’s trustworthy Word.

I’m encouraged that God is intimately aware of all my ways and His Word tells me that He knows my thoughts (and concerns) before I even think them (Psalm 139:1-4). That assures me He is already working on the matters that concern me most.

I’m also glad God knew that His creation would be prone to worry, and so He had the Apostle Paul address that habit of ours in Philippians 4:6-7:

“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” (NLT).

Any time we find ourselves in a situation we can’t do anything about (which is why we worry in the first place) we can trust that God is Who He says He is, and that He can work out that situation far better than we can.

Today, when I begin to worry that God hasn’t “done something yet,” I have to remind myself that He is God. He doesn’t need my help. He doesn’t need my stress. He desires my trust. When I acknowledge that He is God, and I am not, and that His plan is always better than mine, that is when He gives me peace that guards my heart and mind.

The next time we begin to worry, we can ask ourselves “What am I believing about God that isn’t true? Do I believe He is true to His Word? Do I really believe He can take care of this?”

And when we can answer those questions with the statement “God’s got this” we can experience His peace.

Lord, help me to trust You with every ounce of my being, every day of my life  so when the unexpected or the unthinkable comes my way, I am already assured that “God’s got this.”

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No matter what…”God’s got this.” Thoughts from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, When God Sees Your Tears, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: In the last time you struggled to trust God, what incorrect belief about Him could have been influencing your heart?

When God Doesn’t Intervene

 by Linda Evans Shepherd @lindaShepherd

A mother of a disabled child invited me to coffee one day.  She confided, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you, to find out how you’ve handled all the emotions and heartache of being a mother of a disabled child.”

Later, as we sipped our lattes, she confided, “I’ve prayed for healing for my child and my child is still paralyzed.” Her eyes filled with tears, “How do I process my disappointments?”

How I related to this mother’s angst.

In a Christian culture where we expect God to answer our every prayer, immediately, it’s hard to know what to do when our prayers seemed to go ignored.

We even wonder: doesn’t God love me?

I too have faced this question, as I tried to understand God’s silence to my own angst regarding my daughter’s disabilities. “First,” I told my friend, “God does love you, and I know he has answered many of your prayers.”

“Yes,” she confided.  “But not all of them.”

“I get it,” I said.  “I prayed that one day my daughter would walk again, but God didn’t answer that prayers until the day she walked into eternity.   How glad I am she’s completely restored now and can walk with Jesus.  But I had hoped that one day Laura would walk, here on earth, with me.”

My friend nodded.  “I totally understand.  So how did you process this disappointment?”

I said, “I had to remind myself to count my everyday blessings.  And to not discount the answered prayers we did have.  For example, I’d prayed daily that God would restore Laura’s brain, after half of it was destroyed in a violent car crash.  Then came the day, the doctor put a new picture of Laura’s brain on the light board for me to see.  I stared at a picture of an intact brain before jumping out of my chair to say, ‘This film does not belong to my daughter.’”

“That’s when the doctor said, ‘Your daughter’s brain restored itself.  We didn’t know a brain could do that.’”

I told Joan, “God had restored my daughter’s brain! So though I didn’t get every answer I ever prayed on her behalf, including some pretty major petitions, I could see that God was moving in my daughter’s life.”

I asked Joan, “Do you have blessings you can count?   Do you have miracles regarding prayers you prayed over your son?”

Joan nodded, “Lots of them.”

I told her, “Then keeping counting them.  As for me, I had to realize that real ‘faith’ is actually ‘trusting God no matter what. Like it says in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (3:5-6 NKJV).

Joan wanted to know:  “But when do we stop asking for our children?

I replied, “Never.  We are the moms, and we will ask for our kids as long as we live.”

Joan agreed, “I’ll never stop asking either.”

I confided, “Neither did I, not until the end of Laura’s last day on earth.”

As I look back at the 28 years my daughter lived as a disabled person, I have to say how glad I am that I got to be her mom. It was a privilege. I counted a lot of blessings and even saw healing miracles, including the healing of my own heart. In that regard, I learned how to love in deeper ways, and I learned how to keep pushing into prayer even in the impossible.  And finally, I learned how to trust God.  For ‘faith’ equals ‘trust’ and ‘trusting God’ results in ‘peace that passes understanding.’

What a miracle.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.                                                                                                                                      Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

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When God Doesn’t Intervene and Faith meets Trust – @LindaShepher on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids.  She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America.  You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.

Join the conversation: How do you process God’s silence when your prayers go unanswered?

A Skeptic and a Prayer Warrior

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

A hit and run accident in a Paris taxi confirmed the prayer warrior and revealed the skeptic. Sadly, I was the skeptic.

My friend Lisa and I had just spent two-weeks in Moldova on a mission trip. On our way home, we had the fun blessing of spending two days and three nights in Paris to do some sightseeing.

After landing at Charles deGaulle Airport and picking up our bags at the carousel, we bought our museum passes and bus tickets at the tourism desk. The nice lady there warned us to make sure we used only official Paris taxis and pointed us toward the taxi stand.

Our taxi driver – who did speak a little English – loaded our bags and we got settled into the back seat for the ride into the city. About 20 minutes later, as we cruised down the four-lane highway, we felt a jolt and heard that ugly metal on metal sound. Lisa began to pray fully trusting God would protect and provide.

With rush-hour traffic continuing to pour past us, we stopped and our driver rolled his window down to talk to the offending driver. They decided to get the cars off to the shoulder and talk again. We limped across four lanes of traffic only to discover the other driver had simply gone on his merry way.

Our driver got out to access the damage. Back right quarter panel – smashed. Right rear tire – busted. He returned to the driver’s seat and announced he had to get off the highway and change the tire. He would call us another taxi. I immediately began to worry about whether or not this little drama could be an elaborate ruse to rob two naïve American tourists.

We thumped off the closest exit and pulled over to the side. The driver opened the trunk and deposited our luggage on the sidewalk. Seriously less than a minute later, we spotted another taxi coming at us down the street and Lisa waves it over. “How convenient,” I think skeptically, wondering if this was all a setup. “Wow, God sure answered our prayers quickly,” Lisa declared.

We show the new driver the address of our hotel and he loads our luggage. With every turn on an unknown Paris street I’m praying “Lord, protect us.” Lisa is praying, “Lord thank you for providing this second taxi.”

Later Lisa and I compared notes on the event. She told me what she had been thinking and I told her what I had been thinking. I felt a bit spiritually weak for not trusting in God’s provision.

My immediate reaction had been worry and fear. Lisa’s immediate response had been prayer. When Lisa turned to prayer, she gave her worry to God and anticipated His power, protection, and provision. So Lisa experienced God’s peace that can’t be naturally explained. When I prayed, I clung to my anxiety and robbed myself of the peace God offered.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.                                                                                                                                                   Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Kathy HowardAbout the author: This post is adapted from Kathy Howard’s Bible study. Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing. Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

Join the conversation: Are you a prayer warrior or a prayer skeptic? We would love to hear about a time when God proved Himself faithful to you.

 

Prayer in a Time-Warp

by Linda Evans Shepherd

A couple of years ago, I stepped out of my busy life to jet across the country. I was on my way to see my mom as she recovered in a nursing home from a fall. When I walked up to the nursing home’s double doors, a security guard buzzed me into a time zone not quite identifiable as ‘standard’ time.

When I arrived in Mom’s room, her eyes lit up.  “Linda!” I leaned in for a hug, noticing the simplicity surrounding us, a necessity because of the home’s problem with theft.

Just outside our room a resident shouted at the top of her lungs, “Yi, yi, yi, yi, yi, yi, yi!” While another resident, a former entertainer wailed unidentifiable show tunes as she beat time on the wall to music only she could hear.

“How do you like it here?” I asked.

“It’s okay.”

Every morning when I returned, I felt the jar of the time warp.  One morning, as I sat with my mom at breakfast, an elderly man rolled up to a nearby table where he beat his fists in time to his chant, “I want scrambled eggs!” He only stopped when this requested plate appeared before him.  Then he mumbled a flurry of four-lettered words as he shoveled the eggs into his mouth.

The little ladies at my table all shook their heads.  One of the women leaned in to explain, “I don’t live here.  I’m waiting for the bus to Memphis.”

“I see,” I  said.

She pushed her wheelchair closer to the table. “Don’t get in my way when it comes, I’ll run you down.” Oh my goodness.  I had entered a heartbreaking wrinkle in time.

That night, as I walked toward the double doors, I listened to the cry that seemed to drift from every room, “Help me! Please! Help me!”I peeked into the rooms as I passed.  All the criers were safe, though desperate to find deliverance from their nightly confusions.

Could God’s peace be in a place like this?

I found it the next morning when my mother and I were seated at our breakfast table. That’s when I announced, “Time to say grace.”I bowed my head and prayed, “Dear Lord, please bless our food and bless all the dear residents here.  Please also help their caregivers.  Thank you Lord for all your blessings.”

When I lifted my eyes I was startled to see all conversations had ceased.  All heads had bowed.  Even harried workers had stopped in their tracks to honor God. “Amen!” the little lady from Memphis said.  Aides and nurses smiled.  Gray heads nodded as peace walked into the room.

And then I knew.  I may have entered a time warp, but God was with us. It only took the power of a simple prayer to usher in his presence.

If a simple prayer can bring peace to a wrinkle in time, think what prayer could do to bring peace to your complications.

God promises us: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 33 books including When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries, and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids.  She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America.  You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.

Join the conversation: What in your life needs God’s peace? How has prayer brought peace for you in the past?

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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?