(1) Kirsten Strawn

4 Ways to Perfect Peace

4 steps to perfect peaceGod is a God of perfect peace, not confusion. He offers us His love and His peace through His presence. The question is, how do we obtain more of His presence to experience more of His love and peace?

First, we must desire to be complete in Christ and conformed into His image. Originally, God created us in His image. Yet when sin entered the world we became corrupt and separated from Him. The good news is when Christ died for us our old nature died and we became a new creation when we surrendered our life to Him. Daily we are conformed into His image as we die to self to live for Christ.

The second way we receive the love and peace of God is to be a comfort to others. Through our struggles God comforts us through His Word, the Holy Spirit, and His people. There is no greater joy than to take the focus off of self to minister hope, healing, and comfort to those who are suffering in a similar way that we once did.

The third way to receive peace is to be around like-minded people who are seeking after the Lord to know Him, follow Him, and serve Him. Being with people who support us in prayer, encouragement, and godly counsel ensures more success at living according to God’s ways. This allows us to experience the love of Jesus through His people to produce more peaceful relationships.

Finally, to experience God’s peace we must seek to live at peace with the people in our lives to the best of our ability. What does this look like when we encounter difficult people? Ask God for wisdom to understand their pain, perspective, and personality. With a humble heart we seek to clarify, not argue. With a thankful heart we edify, not criticize. With a generous spirit we give, not take. With a desire for their well-being we protect, not destroy. We seek to speak truth in love, not to deceive through empty words to placate.

God desires for us to experience His peace. By resting in Him, meditating on His promises, and spending time in prayer we reflect His perfect peace to His people.

How are you experiencing God’s love and peace?

Promise from God:
Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corin. 13:11).

Pray with me:
We praise You, Lord, that You make us complete in Christ who dwells in us to conform us into His image. Thank You that You are a God of comfort and compassion who comforts us so we can comfort others. Thank You that in the body of the church we can find like-minded people who follow after You. We seek to live in peace to the best of our ability so that there is nothing to separate us from You. Search our heart to reveal any sin of bitterness, pride, or fear that may hinder us from Your perfect peace. Today we long to live according to Your ways that we may experience Your love and peace more abundantly. In Jesus’ name we trust You for this, all for Your glory and praise. Amen.

Weapons of Warfare

weapons of warfareA spiritual battle wages war in the heavenly realms of this world wanting to pull us away from God. Fortunately, God gives us the arsenal to do the battle against our Adversary, the Devil, and his demons.

According to God’s Word we discover that we have the power to conquer the enemy.  Every time  we encounter arguments, destructive thinking, and temptation we can resist through the powerful Word of God. Yet, we must know it to proclaim it.

Our weapons also include the Holy Spirit that gives us internal power to overcome Satan who lurks around like a roaring lion wanting to lure us into temptation. He wants to render us ineffective by whispering lies of doubt, fear of rejection, failure, and self-sufficiency. Besides deceiving us through music, media, and movies, he uses people to cause conflict.

The good news is that Jesus died to conquer death and destruction of the enemy by pouring out His blood. We are covered, cleansed, and purified when we accept His sacrifice to pay the penalty of our sin.

Not only is there power in the blood of Jesus that gives us spiritual life, but we have power by professing His name. Call on the name of Jesus when You face trials, temptation, and danger. Jesus will rescue you! By His name we overcome the enemy and those spiritual strongholds that have us or others believing lies of destruction.

Memorize God’s precious promises to live a powerful and victorious life without regret, with heavenly purpose, and to please Him. God has mighty plans to give you hope, to prosper you with peace and joy beyond belief. Let us not forget the wonderful weapon of praise, thanksgiving, and the privilege of petitioning our loving Father through prayer. Remember God has graciously given you weapons of warfare, use them wisely to conquer the enemy of this world to proclaim your power in Christ.

Promise from God:
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corin. 10:4-5).

Pray with me: We praise You, O Lord, that You are with us and for us as we do battle against the evil of this world. Thank You for the mighty weapons of our warfare. You have given us the Word of truth that pierces the heart like a double edge sword. Thank you that we can conquer the lies of the enemy by holding our thoughts captive to the truth of Your Word. Thank You that by the power of Your Holy Spirit we can conquer our fleshly desires to follow You without regret. Thank you for the weapon of Jesus’ blood that purifies us of all sin to conquer death and give life. Thank you for the power of Jesus’ name to cast down demons, spiritual strongholds, and saves us in times of trouble and temptation. Lord, help us today to meditate on this powerful promise. May we memorize the truth of Your Word to live the victorious life You have planned and purposed for us. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray. Amen.

Saying You’re Sorry

saying youre sorryHow often do you say you’re sorry and mean it? For me, sometimes I have resorted to saying I’m sorry to fix the friction in my relationship. I hate conflict. So I confess, there are times that I have apologized to bring harmony back to my home.

The problem with an insincere apology for the sake of tearing down tension, stonewalling, or withdrawal is that it’s a temporary fix. An unrepentant heart will repeat the offense.

The solution is to sit before the Lord and ask Him to search your heart. When He reveals your sin realize that you have broken the heart of your heavenly Father who adores you. Your sin nailed Jesus to the cross regardless of that other person’s offense.

Our sin against God should produce in us a godly sorrow. We should grieve, mourn, and wail our sinful thoughts, selfish motives, doubt, fear, bitterness, and lack of compassion for others. These sins are offensive to God. We break God’s heart when we take our salvation for granted, justify sin, and cause people to stumble.

True confession is taking responsibility for your sin, saying I’m sorry to God and the person you’re in conflict with for the purpose to change. To change behavior requires recognition of a sin committed against God and a desire to never hurt Him again. With conviction comes a godly sorrow that leads to confession and renouncing that thought, motive, or behavior by casting it down by the power of Jesus name, not justifying it.

Instead of false pretenses and peace faking, let us truly repent of our pride to be reconciled with God and those in our sphere of influence. Let us be a people who humble ourselves before God and others to confess our sins to be healed once and for all. Otherwise, our worldly sorrow of saying we’re sorry to temporarily bring unity will lead to long-term death and destruction. With our lying lips we participate in evil. Let us not be hypocrites, but be humble and desperate for God’s righteousness displayed in a repentant heart.

Promise from God: For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death (2 Corin. 7:10).

Pray with me:
Lord, thank you for Your forgiveness when we mourn over our offensive ways. We realize that our sin not only separates us from You, but we hurt Your heart when we turn to the ways of this world as a hypocrite. By taking our salvation for granted we become a bad testimony to those who are watching. Forgive us for not following Your Word, for turning to false idols, for our selfishness, stubbornness, and justification of our sin. Lord, we confess our worldly sorrow of saying sorry, but not truly mourning our sins committed against You. We understand that our unrepentant heart will lead to eternal death and destruction. We need Your power to change our thoughts, motives, and behavior. We grieve our double mindedness and confess our fear and doubt, our pride and self-centeredness, our greed and apathy. Change our hearts, O Lord, to be aware of our wicked ways that we may be a people who please You. Create in us a contrite spirit of godly sorrow to have a pure heart that will save us. Make Your power known as others witness our humble heart, our bold confidence in Christ, and compassion for others that will lead them to repentance. Break our heart for what beaks Yours in Jesus name we pray. All for Your glory and praise. Amen.

When have you said I’m sorry without meaning it?

Faithful Father

faithful fatherWhether you came from a safe and secure family or you were abandoned and abused, you have a heavenly Daddy who loves and adores you.

Often people who I come alongside as a Faith Coach are reluctant to believe they are loved by God. They ask, “If God loves me, why would He allow this horrible thing to happen?”

After expressing empathy, I explain that one of our greatest gifts is freewill and the ability to choose. We are never forced to become a robot controlled by a heavenly Dictator. Instead people are given a choice to follow a Faithful Father or a deceptive Devil. Those who choose to believe the lies of this world and follow the evil desires of their flesh will go down a path of destruction and commit evil deeds toward others.

Our heavenly Daddy waits patiently for us to choose Him. He already chose you over His own Son who willingly left the glory of heaven to pay the price for you to become part of His family. We are chosen, adopted, and given an inheritance of a heavenly home if we choose to believe.

Jesus came to demonstrate the Father’s love as God Himself came in the flesh to pay the penalty for our wicked wayward ways. He cares about you. Every good and perfect gift comes from your Papa in heaven.. He is a Faithful Father who protects, provides, and is always present with you.

God will never abandon or abuse you. Instead, He may gently guide you back to the safety of His loving arms as your heavenly Daddy disciplines. He wants to teach you to trust in His love. He wants to heal your heart and give you the hope of an abundant life with a glorious future. As His child, you are co-heir to the throne through Christ who came to give you eternal rewards when we surrender to His ways.

Promise from God:
“I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty (2 Corin. 6:18).

Pray with me:
Heavenly Father, we thank you that You adopted us into Your family to be Your children. It’s amazing to think that as King of kings, Lord of lords, and Almighty God that You love us so much that we are heirs to Your throne. You have chosen us. You have blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. Help us remember to act like Your sons and daughters, a prince or princess in Your sight. As royalty may we remember our identity in Christ and reflect Your heavenly glory. You own the heavens and the earth and You long to give us the desires of our heart as our heavenly Daddy. As Your children we want to follow, honor, and respect You to demonstrate our love for You. Since You care about us intimately, we take every need before Your throne room of grace. We trust You to meet our needs believing You want to provide, heal, comfort, and reveal yourself to us and those we pray for. Thank you that You want the best for our lives. We surrender our circumstances to You in Jesus name. Amen.

How has God demonstrated His love to you through His protection, provision, and power in a difficult circumstance?

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