In today’s always rushing society; peace is something many long for yet never get to the place of experiencing or living in. How can this be? How can so many be missing it and not even realize they are missing it? For those who claim to follow Christ Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27 KJV) This demonstrates that He left peace which means that we already have it! To have it is one thing; to keep the climate of it is another that requires some effort.
Some simple steps to creating a climate of peace are:
Create order. When things are out of order there is no peace. In 1 Corinthians 14:33 it reads, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” (NIV) Reflect on your life for a moment. What areas are out of order? Finances, relationships, boundaries, your health; does the garage need organizing? How about your spiritual life? Is there order there? Any area out of order leads to a lack of peace and changes the climate and not for the better.
Remove distractions. Distractions are time wasters and joy stealers in most cases. They take away your focus, your thinking on higher things and they in essence take away your life. It doesn’t matter what they are; the fact that they are is what must be recognized. Do you need to shut off your phone? Tune out the news? Log off social media? Stop binge watching reruns? Remember these words: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KJV) The full life is awaiting you and when the distractions are removed it’s easier to see the full life and take steps to living it.
Disengage in conflict. None of us in society needs to look far to find conflict; it’s among us at every turn. It doesn’t matter what political or religious idealogies you accept; the fact remains conflict is breeding and any time any of us participate we are in it and lose out because we are simply a tool used by the enemy. Conflict in whatever kind for the sake of conflict serves no purpose other than to distract, to destruct and to destroy when there is no goal of any resolution. We must remember ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;..” (2Corinthians 10:4-6 KJV) When it’s understood that the enemy does not care how conflict is but that it is the opportunity for disengagement changes the entire dynamic. There is too much life to be lived than to give so much to conflict for the sake of it.
Usher in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can enter your life like water as it is revealed in Isaiah 44:3-4. What a refreshing thing to experience when the Holy Spirit enters in such a manner! On the other hand; when we live in a climate that lacks peace; there is no room for the Holy Spirit. He will leave when there is no peace but strife. He will depart. It is known from the prayer of David that the Presence of the Lord can depart while King Saul too experienced it.Usher in the Holy Spirit and do what you can to create that climate of peace- and keep it.
When you begin to reflect upon your life and what the picture of it actually is compared to what you think it is you will be in a better position to create the change. You will be in that power position to create and live in order, you will remove the distractions and disengage in conflict and as you usher in the Holy Spirit your climate of peace will be one that you will do everything you can to keep it. And then you as a result will be in a greater position to hear Him speak in the stillness of the climate; that climate of peace.
Grow in Wisdom ,
The Bible tells us that wisdom is supreme; to get wisdom. This means we must actively acquire it. There is a difference in earthly wisdom and God’s Wisdom so we go to Him. When I finally got the revelation that I was lacking; praying and asking for it became much easier. If King Solomon had enough wisdom to ask for it; then perhaps he was on to something; obviously he was. He asked for it in a dream and God answered!
So what do we do to increase in it?
1- Pray for wisdom. James 1:9 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” I started praying years ago for wisdom and an increase in it with each passing day. My life has changed as a result and yours will too!
2- Read a Proverb each day. There are 31 Proverbs probably not a coincidence. When you read have a notepad near by and journal what the Lord reveals. You will amazed at the end of one year all the Lord has blessed with you. You can even read each one Proverb per day for a month pertaining to a particular topic and glean even more.
3- Read Psalms daily. Now because there are 150 Psalms what I started doing was reading at the start of the year day one Psalm 1 and Psalm 50. Then day two Psalm 2 and Psalm 149; etc. What this has done for me is help me to grow in ways that are different than if I just read ‘one’. Once I get to the middle then I read outward to the end/beginning and then I start again. Remember that when it comes to Psalm 119 that you need to give yourself more time because it’s lengthy.
There is so much that the Lord reveals in His Word and these two books are filled with so much about living, the heart of the Lord and even having a heart to know His heart.
I pray this blesses you and that you too are increasing in wisdom with each passing day in Jesus name.
For more articles and videos about knowing and growing in Christ visit www.julieblar.com
Jesus said in the Book of John, ‘You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (12:8) One can look around and see it clear. It’s also known that 3% of the people have 97% of the world’s wealth so one can infer that the rest of us are poor. I was always told that anyone who has to work to support him or herself was poor. I started wondering what Jesus meant specifically by poor and where are these poor; exactly?
Keep in mind when you venture toward something like this; your eyes will be open and what you see may surprise or sadden you. For me it was both. The poor aren’t those who lack financially; no no. It’s so much more than that. Poor in the Strong’s is afflicted (6035) which I know at some point I knew but never paid attention to. I was this time!
I started seeing it everywhere; the hearts of people. The affliction, the pain; the lack of depth in most conversations. Then became the wonder: how did we come to a place of caring more about phones than people? At what point did people become so disposable? At what point did our conversations become reports of our oh so busy pretend lives that we just simply do not ask the most basic of question: ‘how are you?’ and actually have a heart that means it?
The more conversations I listened to the more saddened it became and was so clear what Jesus was speaking about; and how really poor people were then and- now. He tells the disciples that the poor will always be among them; and that they won’t always have Him. How many of us now have Him yet are the walking poor? One may ask what’s up with that? How; how could it be so that we have traded our treasure for trash- and accepted it?
We must remove the spirit of deep sleep and ask our Father to truly open our eyes to see so that we can discern if we are the poor among them; and then rebuke it. We must start paying attention to the poor among us and now before it’s too late. We are losing too many people and simply because our society is so selfish that it just can’t begin to look beyond the next selfie.
Did you know the suicide rate for Caucasian men is at all time high? They are hated in today’s society by so many; men of other ethnicity’s and women alike. And these men alive today are not even responsible for what men hundreds of years ago did; but yet society in its unforgiving ways can’t seem to recognize that. So let’s just add to the poor among us shall we? And for what exactly? We must begin to recognize that while there are always going to be poor among us; having less poor would be more ideal than falling into the enemy trap of propaganda that only creates more.
You see; the person next to you, you know the one- who looks like everything is wonderful on the outside may just be the one poor one knife slit from death or one bullet away from leaving a family behind. You do not know and you never will if you never pay attention to the poor among you.
It is time that we put down the phones and start looking at the people. They, those precious people right next to you will reveal much if only you stop for a moment; just a moment to look. Engage. Listen. Love. You can help the poor be poor no more; simply by paying attention and recognizing that you are needed more than your phone is by others.
There are many books written on the topic of boundaries; boundaries in dating, boundaries in marriage, boundaries with children. Boundaries abound! While it’s all wonderful and necessary to have boundaries; what about boundaries when it comes to our relationship with Christ? Setting boundaries in your relationship with Jesus must and should be a priority.
When you think of your life what boundaries do you currently have in place? I often ask this of my college students and well; you probably would not be surprised by the answer. None. I ask them what boundaries they have in place with their cell phones, sex before marriage, their time; and I’ve been told they don’t really have much time to think about such trivial things and here is where the problem will continue. Those young adults turn into 40 somethings; and still with no boundaries. And by the way; do you have any boundaries with your cell phone? Do you own it or does it own you?
If we have no boundaries in anything in life; then what impact will it have? Obviously we can see the impact in how we are treating one another and being treated, the divorce rate, the singlehood rate; the rate of abortion and everything else is evident of clear boundaries and some may say lack of respect for self.
As we examine boundaries in our relationship with Christ what boundaries do you have in place? Do you set aside specific time daily for reading scripture, studying scripture, meditating on His Word; prayer? Or it is just go and serve in the building? Now in no way am I coming against serving by any means although what tends to happen is a scenario such as this:
People enter into a church and because there is such a need they serve. It’s wonderful as there is a need and people are pleased to meet the need. Then the need grows and the people are needed more; and because they believe they are called to serve it continues only to the downfall of the relationship with Christ. The relationship with Christ for many turns into a complaint session of how tired they are from serving. As such instead of growing closer to the Lord they grow further and drift away. Christ is left there alone while people resent Him when in reality if only they had set boundaries with Him they would not be in such a position in the first place. They would have both; the healthy relationship with Christ and be serving.
It all begins with Christ and our relationship with Him. Period. We must start there because there will always be a need. Always. There will never not be a time in life when there is not a need for something. If you do not have boundaries in place then won’t you simply get tired and who’s fault will it be? It’s time that we set in place boundaries to protect our relationships with the Lord because if we don’t how can we expect it to grow? Remember that you will not possess what you are not willing to protect!
So how do you do it? How do you set boundaries in your relationship with Christ? As I was reading John 21:15-17 I was drawn by the fact that 3 times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter answered 3 times yes. Each time he did the Lord gave him a responsibility. The one thing that Jesus never asked was about his skills or education; because obviously He knew what was most important. Love.
Through that I recognized that there are many ways to demonstrate love for another; and the Lord demonstrates His love for us as well. So how do you do it? What are ways that you can demonstrate your love for Christ? Set boundaries. It’s quite simple when you actually sit down and apply it. What are all the other things in your life that you are willing to protect? Make your relationship with Jesus the most important and the results will be there. Answer the questions truthfully and you will be able to develop the boundaries that are most suitable for you and your relationship with Christ.
1- How much time am I spending with the Lord now?
2- How much time would I like to be spending with the Lord?
3- What am I giving more priority to that isn’t adding to my life?
4- What have I allowed others to make a priority in my life that really isn’t?
5- What am I willing to rearrange or remove in my life to build and maintain my relationship with Christ?
What you will find is that just as Christ asked Peter if he loved Him; the answer was there along with the proof. Peter went from denying Christ to being all in with love and passion for Him. 3k people gave their lives to the Lord to begin the Book of Acts and God used Peter to reach the non-Jews. Peter also held prayer meetings, kept regular hours of prayer and followed through with his love for the Lord.
You see; his priorities changed and through that there has to be boundaries in place. If there were none there would be no consistent prayer meetings or anything else. Anyone would have free reign to enter and take charge; and that’s what has happened all too often in the lives of Christians. They have good intentions; but so what? Imagine if all Peter had was good intentions and no follow through; where we would be today?
It will require an in-depth introspective look at your relationship with the Lord; no different than a marriage. What do you want in place? What do you want your relationship to look like? What are you willing to accept or not accept? What do you want it to be filled with? If you are not paying attention to that and setting those boundaries in place- someone else with an agenda will use you. It happens all the time to unsuspecting Christians who don’t have those boundaries in place. They get tired and you my dear brother and sister; are worth more than that. And Jesus is. And so is your relationship with Him.
It’s time to reflect on the boundaries not in place or maybe those that need some revising; and set them in place. It’s time to ensure that your relationship with the Lord above all is protected and that your relationship will be all that it is supposed to be for His purpose.
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While many talk about peace during this time of year; it is possible to live in peace every day of the year regardless of season, holiday or current events. It is a matter of purposing to do so.
When I became a Christian I had no idea what to expect; none. I didn’t really even know what it meant to be a Christian I just wanted something more than what I had- which wasn’t much. And so I became a Christian yet much in my life didn’t change. I did go to church every week yet for 18 years still had no peace. I Still didn’t the victory that I thought would come by default for being a Christian. I see many falling into that same trap. There is no peace and for many no wonder why.
If you are a Christian living by default to a world system there is no peace. If you are a Christian living by default in a church system; there probably isn’t much peace there either. Peace will only come through Jesus Christ; not through any man made system of any kind. It can’t. John 14:27 tells us, ‘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.’
Getting, keeping and living in peace will require action. Action to get it, action to keep it and action to live in it. Society will do everything it can to take it, keep it; and prevent you from living in it. The world system is quite contrary to the Word of God and nothing of it produces fruit; only busyness. And busy friends is simply ‘bound under satans yoke’.
Take an inventory of your life today. Examine carefully what level of peace you truly have and make the necessary changes with the Lord to live in that level of peace He desires for you. Inventory your life. Examine the following in your life:
1- Clutter. Do you own your stuff or does it own you? How much is it robbing you of living because it’s always surrounding you; reminding you of the past, more chores; or whatever else. How much of your thoughts is the clutter stealing? Ask the Lord to reveal to you what items you need to give, what He may have you sell; and what items you have that need to be prayed over. You may have some items that you did not annoint that are bringing no peace and you need God to reveal those items to you. You must purpose to be on the offense in keeping your peace and not allowing any attachments of stuff steal it from you.
2- Your relationships. What we allow in from other people will have an impact. Are you allowing in trauma and drama? Are you creating ungodly soul ties or godly ones? Is gossip entering into your life? What boundaries do you have in place that you live by that bring peace? Remember if you aren’t setting boundaries then anything can enter and that means the enemy has legal right. Close the door to unhealthy relationships that aren’t producing fruit. Pray the following in Jesus name: “Father in the name of Jesus I ask that You distance me from the people in my life that I need distance from. I ask that You bring the relationships in my life that I need for this season. I ask that You increase my discernment and sensitivity to Your Holy Spirit during this time. I pray that as people are moved out of my life that they are blessed in the name of Jesus and I thank you for the peace that comes with this. I pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.” What you want to pay attention to is when people are transitioned in and out of your life that you thank the Lord for answering your prayer. You may be tempted to freak out over a period when it appears no one is in your life; although it’s the Lord answering your prayer and bringing the peace that you ultimately are seeking. It’s a blessing!
3- Your Order. God is a God of order. The enemy is all about chaos and disruption. When your life is out of order it’s because something internally is out of order. Ask the Lord to reveal to you where you are out of order and He will. Perhaps your sleeping patterns are out of order which is causing you to spend less time with Him. He is of order and when you are in order your level of peace will increase along with your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Ask in Jesus name, ‘Father in Jesus name please forgive me for the areas of my life that are out of order. I ask that You reveal it to me in a way that I can understand what is out of order and what my steps are to restoring order. I thank You for the peace that will come with order in accordance with Your Word. I pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.’ Remember that disorder cannot bring peace.
4- Your living within in your means. Current society is setup for failure. The world system is corrupt. We don’t need to examine that as one can look around and see it. The question is are you living within your means? The enemy has mastered the art of tempting people to live beyond their means. For many the increase in job title means increase in salary and of course; an upgrade in vehicle, home, and debt. A larger home, more vehicles and bigger wardrobe does not equate to peace. It never will. Ask the Lord to reveal the areas of your life where you are living beyond your means and as He answers what is revealed will forever change you. ‘Father in the name of Jesus please forgive me of all my sins. I come before You asking You to reveal to me the areas of my life that are outside of my means and that it’s in a way I can understand. I ask that You show me how to live within my means and provide a solution that will bring the peace in You that I desire. I thank You for all this in Jesus name. Amen.’ You will find that the excess of shoes, purses, tools; books, ATVs, watercraft; and 7.00 per day coffee isn’t as necessary at all and that you actually have more than you think without everything else.
5- Am I living my purpose? Living the purpose God has for you will bring peace. It brings clarity and will change your life without a doubt. One easy way the enemy ruins people lives is by giving them a false identity. A false identity denies anyone from living the real purpose that God has in store. In Jeremiah 29:11-14 it’s clear, ’11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listento you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…’ If you want peace in your life go before the Lord and ask Him what He created you for. It’s much bigger than you can ever realize. ‘Father in the name of Jesus I ask that You forgive me of my sins. I come before You because I know Your word is true in Jer 29;11 that You have a plan for my life. I ask that You reveal that plan as I come before you and please do so in a way that I can understand. I thank You that You chose me before the foundation of the earth for this plan and I thank You that it will be revealed to me. I ask for an increase in faith to receive it. I ask for an increase in hearing and that all distractions, hindrances, obstacles and lies are removed from me and my path that would prevent me from understanding, knowing and following Your plan. I thank You that You have made it so easy to seek You and I pray all this in Jesus name. Amen.’ There is more involved in getting the full plan and operating in it; although moving in the direction toward it will bring more peace than living the false life given by a false god who is not of peace.
Living in peace with the Lord requires purpose. It does not and will not happen by accident. The enemy knows the tactics and how to operate in them and sadly; he does it better than most Believers. If you want the fullness of His peace moving in you, to you and through you; then purpose for it. Purpose to get before Him. Purpose to make peace in Christ your protocol and your personal code of conduct. When you do you will enter into a new way of life and one that can’t be taken away from you.
For more about growth in Christ please visit www.julieblair.com
Dr. Julie prayed at age 5 that Jesus would be her escape and when she was homeless at age 15 by the hands of her adoptive parents she knew God had bigger plans. She now helps others get out of the bondage of the enemy to live free in Christ. Her television and radio programs ‘Living in Forgiveness’ airs around the world to approximately 3 billion daily. You can watch a new episode tonight on the UANetwork at 9:30pm CST. Stream live at www.uanetwork.tv or check your local tv listing.
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Looking around society there is so much angst and things to be unhappy about. The political climate in America is not a funny joke, the church has lost it’s power; families are splitting at higher rates and the racism and hatred of one to another seems to be increasing at an all time high. Some may ask what is going on and others how to fix it; while still others get mad and angry. As such keeping your joy must be a priority. There are fail-proof ways to keep your joy that are rather simple.
It’s been said that joy simply put is Jesus Others You so by putting this in motion you will keep your joy from season to season without fail.
1. Forgive. Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to genuinely do and not doing it only breeds all things that steal your joy. In Acts 3:19 we are told to ‘repent and seek forgiveness, so that times of refreshing may come.’ (NIV) Within this the identifying factor is what takes place after repenting and forgiving. It’s the refreshing may come. By living in forgiveness not only will you continually be refreshed you will also be operating at a level it keeps the door shut to the ploys of the enemy. Bottom line if you want to keep your joy start forgiving.
2. Take Every Thought Captive. The moment you think on things you need not think on; is the moment that the enemy takes over. It’s something as simple as worry, doubt, dread, or even lustful thoughts that can ruin a moment, a day; a year or even your life. The Word gives us instructions for how to train our minds and in fact we are told to ‘renew our minds’ which is a clue that it obviously can be done. Proverbs 23:7 tells us ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.’ It’s hard to have and keep your joy if you are thinking only on the things that steal it!
3. Tame your Tongue. This one is probably the most challenging; especially when social media is so readily available to share all your opinions that you ultimately may regret later. Psalm 34:13 tells us essentially how to speak in these simple words: “Keep your tongue from evil, And your lips from speaking deceit.” (NIV) If only our politicians could grasp this concept! The words you speak will bring either life to death to you and those around you so make sure you take the steps to keep your joy by speaking life.
4. Surround Yourself with the Right People. The people you surround yourself makes all the difference. If you want to get where God wants you to be; then most likely it will require a change. See; it’s hard to go and grow in the Lord when surrounded by people going nowhere. It’s said no more clear than this: “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Pro 13:20) If you want joy go with the company that has it and will do anything to keep it!
5. Say Bye to Bitterness. Bitterness is spiritual poison that rots the bones. No wonder why Hannah in the book of 1 Samuel didn’t get pregnant until after she dealt with her bitterness! Her bones were rotting! Bitterness breeds and will only leave you empty; and most likely alone. Let it go and be restored in joy. If you aren’t the bitter one but those around you are; then ask yourself why you accept less than what you are worth and get your joy!
6. Remove Distractions. Life is full of distractions. Sports, television, social media, politics; can all become distractions if you aren’t careful. If you truly look at every minute of your day where are they going. You only have 1440 of them to spend and if they are going to distractions most likely they are sucking your joy right with them. Don’t let the distractions become your priority as your relationship with Christ will suffer as a result. Remove the distractions and take authority of your time and life and you will be amazed to how much you can live.
7. No more Negativity. There is enough to be negative about in life and the moment you accept it; you will feel it. Negativity is known to breed into the mind and hence the emotions. Negative people speak and do negative things. Think about that; how many happy people purposely go do negative things and how many negative people find enjoyment in positive things? When you remove the negative you may be left with a gap so ask the Lord to fill you with joy; overflowing with abundance. Life is too short to follow and accept anything negative as it’s an open door for the enemy to wreck havoc in all the other areas of your life.
In the end; whether or not you have joy is based upon the choices you make. There will always be an opportunity to not be joyful; but only if you allow it. As you become aware of what and who in your life brings what then you will be in a better position to close or open those doors. It’s truly up to you though and it starts with a focus on Jesus Others You.
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