Peace Like a Frog

by Linda Rooks @Linda_Rooks

One day while pulling weeds and overgrown vines in my large Florida backyard, I squeezed through the hedges to grab a vine and spied a small frog clinging to a leaf. Instead of jumping down and hopping off to find a calmer location where the plants were not being jostled and shaken, he didn’t budge.

For the next hour, I continued pushing past the frog as I pulled on vines and drug them back through the hedges to deposit them in the trash can. But despite the disturbance I was making, the frog didn’t move. Seemingly unfazed by any potential danger, he sat peacefully and unflustered on the side of the leaf.

I was surprised at his cool composure. Why was he so calm in the midst of so much chaos around him?

With my hands busy with the task of pulling out the vines, my mind was free to ponder things like how a frog could stay so peaceful, and I realized God’s provision of a suit of camouflage made him feel safe. His reaction to danger was to “hide” in God’s provision for him. The frog was able to be quiet and at peace in the midst of the mayhem going on around him, because he knew that while remaining still he’s invisible to predators. He’s camouflaged. He’s hidden.

The frog inspired me to think about my own reactions in life, for when uncertainties surround me and life seems chaotic, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

But when life gets out of hand and we don’t know how to untangle ourselves from the chaos surrounding us, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 ESV) Like a frog that doesn’t move when danger lurks, God asks us to be still.

For when we are still, we can find that hiding place in the arms of our loving Father. When we quiet our minds and rest in His care, He can give us His peace that transcends understanding. (Philippians 4:7) In Psalm 32:7, David says, “You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (NIV) And Psalm 91:4 tells us, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart“ (NIV).

When we’re still and look to God in our troubles, we can recognize that God has the answers for us. He is our security, and He is our refuge.

When we look at nature, we see how God protects all His creatures, sometimes by giving a frog the protection of camouflage, sometimes by giving a porcupine prickly spines or a bird the ability to fly away. For each of his creatures, He is a loving creator.  But for us, His people, He is also a loving father. God’s amazing love is our protection. He is our hiding place and our refuge. When we’re scurrying around trying to find answers, He stands with His arms out to us, telling us to come to Him. He is faithful and has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He himself is our protection and refuge.

When you feel fear stalking you, when your mind swirls around with fears, imaginations, and unanswerable questions, when fear creeps up on you and is about to pull you under, remember you have a hiding place in a God who loves you with an everlasting love. His protective camouflage will hide you from the enemy’s snares. And under the shadow of his wings you can find refuge.

Peace Like a Frog – insight from @Linda_Rooks on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

linda rooksAbout the author: Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her book Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation continues to bring strength and healing to those who need an encouraging friend in the midst of marital breakdown. Her new book, Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated, will release in February 2019, to offer practical guidance for those who desire reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband reside in Central Florida where their ministry to marriages in crisis has helped many couples reconcile their relationships.

Join the conversation: When has God been a refuge for you?

De-clogging Our Minds

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

I had a little wrestling match with my vacuum cleaner recently. It was doing that wimpy-clean thing—you know, where you have to get down on your hands and knees and hand-feed it every little fuzz ball? If I’m going to do that, I might as well not have a vacuum cleaner. I could just pick up every little piece of fuzz and throw it in the trash myself—cut out the middle man.

A vacuum that’s lost all its “suck-ocity” is not worth much. So I got down in the floor, got the thing in a headlock and looked inside to find the problem. Oh, I found a problem alright. Several.

The first was a little piece of sock. Then there was that string. And while I call it a string, I think it might better be described as a length of yarn that could’ve been an entire sweater in another life. There was a hunk of the bathroom rug the size of a Chihuahua—and I hadn’t even missed it. I was also surprised to find what I thought was a loofa. But then I realized it was just a whole bunch of those little plastic fishing-line-like connectors that attach price tags to things. Who knew they could find each other inside the dark recesses of the vacuum cleaner and form their own little solar system? No wonder the machine didn’t want to work! How did all that stuff even get in there?

At least it gave me a little reminder. When we let our minds suck up the wrong things, we can’t expect them to work the way they’re supposed to. There’s a lot less wrestling with our minds when we’re emptying out the clogs and filling our minds with the kind of thoughts that truly feed our spirits and grow our faith.

Negative, evil thoughts will find each other in the dark recesses of our minds. And they multiply. The next thing you know, you find yourself with a solar-system-sized problem in your thought-life.

There’s so much garbage available to us. On the Internet, TV, movies, magazines—it’s accessible at every turn of the head.  If we let our minds suck up trashy junk, we shouldn’t be surprised when we have a hard time staying alert to walking out our faith-life well.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8-9 what we’re supposed to continually feed our minds: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (NIV).

There’s a lot less wrestling with our minds when we remember to fill them with the right things. Less wrestling, more peace. As a matter of fact, that passage doesn’t merely say that we’ll experience great peace, it tells us that the God of peace Himself will be “with” us. It’s vital to our faith-life that we remember that His presence makes all the difference.

And personally, I’m also going to try to remember to clean out my vacuum a little more often. Especially since this last time I was unclogging it, even though we’ve never had one, I’m pretty sure I also found a gerbil.

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

De-clogging our minds – thoughts from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is still wondering if coffee can actually ferment. She is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant for Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown, mostly-coffee-drinking children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: How do you keep your mind de-clogged?