Friday, June 14, 2013

Peace of Heart and Mind

Psalm 139:13-16 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

As a teenager I had areas in which I excelled and areas in which I didn’t. While I found satisfaction in the areas in which I did well, I struggled with myself because of those areas in which I didn’t. I found that I had been measuring myself against others, and that others had become my standard for success. The result of this was seasons of unrest counterbalanced by trying to do better. During my junior year of high school a system for doing better in all areas of life was introduced in an art appreciation class, and I was impressed by its “scientific” claims. I approached my parents and got permission to learn about this new thing known as Transcendental Meditation, which to my surprise really wound up being nothing more than an eastern meditation religion repackaged and marketed for the western market. I went through the whole introductory period, leading up to a ceremony with incense and flowers surrounding a picture of the promoter (an altar). This ceremony culminated with the giving of a personal mantra that I was to chant over and over, supposedly allowing it to bring to a reality all of their promises. But as time moved on I found it to be very empty, and I was right back where I started though a bit more disillusioned.

During this time I was also taking a creative writing class and began to put my hand to poetry. Following is one I wrote which reflects my journey at the time.

Clutching, grasping
Trying to find
That everlasting
Peace of mind.

Thinking, groping
Always hoping
There to find
That everlasting peace of mind.

Giving, Taking
Flying free
Never catching
You or me.

In one ear; out the other,
There to find
Always another
Of that kind
Of everlasting Peace of mind.

The last few lines show the frustration of the search, something that I wanted which would last was nothing more to me than a constant search with only temporary answers. BUT GOD, during my senior year of high school showed me that it didn’t have to be this way. Visiting a church with a friend I heard the pastor speak on Psalm 139 and a God who not only created me, but who knew absolutely everything about me at every moment in time and who loved me and had a purpose for my life. I knew at that moment this is what I wanted. And it was at that time that verses I had learned in a midweek church program years earlier came to a fullness of meaning.

What I came to realize was that by accepting God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as my savior and trusting Him as my Lord I not only would receive forgiveness of sins but that I would be fully accepted by God and that He was giving me purpose for life. The search was over, and a walk for all eternity had begun. God had reached out to me, called me to Himself, and had given me the ability to believe. And since He has given me the ability to walk by faith as He has continued to enclose me and grow me and use me for His service, strengthening me during times of trial and allowing me to share that strength with others in their struggles as well.

There still are those times when I struggle, but in them I am also thankful that my God is not far away. In fact, He has gone nowhere and His Spirit it still residing in me. It is in these times that I turn my heart and mind back to Him, reflect on the truths of the Psalm He used to draw me to Himself, the others truths I have learned, and the years of His faithfulness that I have experienced and observed. It is then that even in times of unrest I can know His peace.

Psalm 139:1-6  A Psalm of David. O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.

Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace….

Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (6/14)

I have loved you with an everlasting Love. Before time began, I knew you. For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope. All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms.

When time was right, I revealed Myself to you. I lifted you out of that sea of despair and set you down on a firm foundation. Sometimes you felt naked – exposed to the revealing Light of My Presence. I wrapped an ermine robe around you: My robe of righteousness. I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. I infused meaning into you mind and harmony into your heart. Join Me in singing My song. Together we will draw others out of darkness into My marvelous Light.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)

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