Sunday, 12 August 2012

Finding Peace . . .

Do you feel peace?? By that I mean, true . . . inner . . . peace.

I do . . . in fits and spurts, but if I am being totally honest with myself, it often eludes me. I consider myself to be a person of great faith. I love my Lord and Saviour. I pray several times a day as a matter of course . . . and frequently at the spur of the moment. I study my scriptures daily. I look to them for sustenance and inspiration, but still . . . peace of mind often eludes me.

"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

This is a promise from the Saviour. He promised abiding peace to all those who believe. I believe . . . so why is it that I sometimes have a difficult time finding peace?? In some way I think . . . His peace must be very different than the one which believers can find in the world. I believe that Christ meant for our hearts to be anchored in His peace . . . set firmly in the stone bedrock of our faith . . . and in place . . . unyielding and immovable.

And, yet . . . peace for me is often fleeting and only ever rarely a constant . . .

Perhaps I rely on the wrong kind of peace, one that is based on the circumstances of life. Trying to line up everything in my life in a certain order each day . . . like ducks in a shooting gallery. Try as I might, this never happens. I may get some in a row . . . but eventually one topples over and then begins the domino effect. When one goes . . . they all go.

But is that the peace the Saviour speaks of??? I think not . . . His peace says we should not be troubled, but I often am. I worry about things. I don't seem to be able to help it, and the worry is usually to do with monetary things. I worry about how we are going to pay our car tax, and MOT. My Canadian passport renewal is coming up and I worry about how we are going to pay for that. It's really expensive . . . but I can't not do it. I need my Canadian passport. I worry about Christmas, and how we are going to find the money to buy gifts for everyone . . . and the list goes on. Don't even get me started on my feelings about Government and natural disaster . . . when I see a starving child on the telly, my heart breaks each time, I have to turn away because my heart cannot stand to see it and longs to help, but my piggy bank won't allow it.

I know that there is no natural way that I can keep my home 100% safe from earthquakes, or tornados, flooding, hurricanes . . . theft, fire, etc. There is no guarantee in this world that none of these things will visit themselves upon me. And no amount of fear or worry can or will change that. All the money in the world does not make one immune to disaster. Rich people get sick too, and their houses can burn . . . they probably have better insurance if they do though . . .

So where is this elusive Peace that the Saviour speaks of?? I can think of several groups of people that have it, and have it in abundance . . . the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, Hutterites, Amish . . . Immediately when you think of these people you can see that they have one thing in common. A simple lifestyle. They honour their God, avoiding worldly temptations and sin by setting themselves apart from the world . . . simple dress, living plain, eschewing all that the modern world has to offer . . . they are some of the most peaceful and peaceable people I can think of. Old fashioned values thrive in their communities. They are communities that care for and love each other in a deep rooted and simple way . . . and they love the Lord with all of their hearts and fully trust in Him for all things.

But . . . the answer lies not in becoming Amish. I know that. I would miss too much the comforts of modern living. The luxury of being able to get into a nice warm car to get where I want to go . . . being able to turn on the television whenever I want to connect with the world, and what's happening in the world . . . being able to communicate with all of you in the very unique way that I do each day. These are important things to me and I could not give them up . . . or at least I would not want to. Realistically, I just could not live the lifestyle as much as I admire it and long for their peace and simplistic way of doing things.

"If you admire our faith, strengthen yours. If you admire our sense of commitment, deepen yours. If you admire our community spirit, build your own. If you admire the simple life, cut back. If you admire deep character and enduring values, live them yourself."
~Uncle Amos

The secret to peace I believe comes from "Letting go . . . and letting God" . . . in learning to yield to a "Higher authority." It comes from following God's laws and ways . . . in all things . . . you cannot pick and choose which things you will follow and which things you will not. It comes from complete and total submission to His ways and laws. You don't find that by using a horse and buggy, or eschewing buttons and zips . . . or deodorant.

You find it in walking daily with the Lord. Trusting fully in Him for all things . . . and in believing and having faith in all that He promises. In not trusting in the arm of the flesh and relying on ourselves . . . but in learning how to trust and rely fully on Him to provide for us. In learning the difference between "wants" and "needs." (That in and of itself can bring about peace of mind.)That is how to anchor your heart in peace, and in doing so we will actually find it. Peace can be and will be ours. If we do the things we NEED to do . . . the Lord will keep His promises.

“Things work out, it isn't as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out, don't worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in him, if we will pray to him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”
~Gordon B Hinckley

We did not go to the zoo yesterday. We did drive there, but apparently about a million other people had the same idea as we had and so we simply just turned around and came home. Life is too short to be in a crush like that . . . there was certainly no joy in driving around and around looking for a parking space and there would have been no joy in queuing up for an hour to get in. We decided we will go another time . . . when the school holidays are over and during the week, not on a Saturday. Whew!

I did get stung by a wasp yesterday though. That was my only brush with wildlife and one I could have quite happily done without!! We were in a shop and I felt something on my hair . . . I reached up to brush my hair down and bingo! It was a wasp and it stung me on the thumb, which really smarted. It still smarts this morning, but not quite as much as it did yesterday. August and September are wasp season over here. I hate the aggressive little blighters . . . I will be more on my guard now!

We went to a community meeting last night which had been organized by a friend of ours. We wanted to support him in his cause. There was also a member of the UKIP party there and we do support them. This friend has a 15 year old son and about a week before school ended they brought out this program in the local high school whereby they want each child to give the school a digital fingerprint in order to purchase school lunches. There was a letter sent home to inform the parents. They were told more or less that this was happening and if they were opposed then the parents had to contact the school to opt out. It was not a letter asking for permission. I believe this is being done all over the UK. We all know how good children are at bringing letters home to parents. What about the parents who can't read themselves, or who are unable to understand the implications of this? How about asking permission first???

We quite simply believe this is wrong, and that the way they are going about it is wrong . . . the ""powers that be indicate that the data can simply be deleted when the child leaves school, but no promise has been made that it will be deleted, and the techonogical expert that we had there at the meeting last night says that it is technically impossible to do that anyways, not with the numbers of children we are talking about, not without deleting everyone's and then re-doing the ones that are staying. We all know how that works . . . it simply won't be done . . . because it is much easier just to leave them all on the data base.

But . . . it's not about that really . . . it's about whether we want to live in a country where our children are fingerprinted just in order to purchase a school lunch. The whole idea is very "Orwellian" and preposteous . . . what is next?? DNA collecting??? I just think it is wrong . . . if this type of thing is allowed to go ahead unobstructed, within about 20 years or so, the Government would have everyone's fingerprints, held somewhere in a central database . . . the implications of that don't bear thinking about. Look at how much influence the EU has on our daily lives over here in the UK. They determine our law, our grocery and fuel prices, the way our Government can and does govern, the way our police can police, the strength of our military . . . This digital fingerprinting is only the thin edge of a very deep wedge, I believe the EU is behind it . . . and I don't like it, not one bit.

I'll get off my soap box now!

Happy thought to make up for all the bad . . .

"A heart touched by Grace . . . brings joy to the face!"

Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . Cranberry and Cheddar Muffins!

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