When I was little I wanted to be a ninja. I saw Enter the Dragon and I was convinced that when I would grow up, I would make a living by punching and kicking people into submission. My brother, Silviu, had seen the same movie and, as a ten year-old, walked a mile down the road to the nearest Tae Kwon Do studio, and signed up. I, on the other hand, wanted no part of walking two miles a day, five times a week. My plan was to obtain my ninja skills through a type of visual osmosis.  It is many years later, and I’m not the one who can break bricks with my forehead.

Delivery pizza places, microwaves, and cell phones have catapulted us into an Instant Society. We want it- whatever it may be- and we want it now. We don’t have the patience to put in the time and the work. We want the results without the process. The process is tedious. It’s mundane. It’s painful. It’s frustrating. It makes us anxious. It’s the motivation for Facebook statuses like, “Thank God I get off at 4, I’m about to hurt somebody.” Can a job where you have the time to post Facebook statuses be so bad that it would cause you to want to hurt someone?

I’ve heard many people complain about their walk with God and how they’re just “not feeling” Him. “It’s like He’s not even there anymore,” I’ve heard someone say. What I’ve noticed, nine times out of ten, is that the same people complaining about their stale spiritual state are the same people who haven’t read their Bible in weeks. Some of them haven’t been to church in weeks. A lot of them don’t have a small group they attend regularly. A lot of these people spend more time with nonbelievers than Christians. And when it comes to excuses, they say that they just can’t force themselves to read the Bible if they don’t feel like it. The reason they haven’t been to church is because they had to work – as if Sunday is the only option-or they don’t like their church. And as far as small groups are concerned, they just don’t see that as a priority. Nobody has to walk far to find an excuse.

Apostle Paul refers to the Christian journey as a race. For anyone who has ever run enough to be tired, you know that the moment you become tired, your initial reaction is to stop running. But I’ve never seen anyone win a race and not be tired. I’ve never seen anyone make a last-second buzzard beater from the sidelines. Never once in the history of mankind has a woman taken less than three hours to prepare for an important event that includes four types of forks. But I always meet Christians who want to walk closer with God and reap more blessings without running. They want to win by walking.

I’m not advertising legalism. I’m not saying you should read your Bible everyday for an hour and say three prayers by lunchtime and listen to at least two sermons a week. I’m saying that God wants to have a closer relationship with you. A relationship is a two-way road. Where else would you find out about your Savior than in the book that’s about and by Him? How could you have a relationship with someone without talking to Him? Scripture tells us that we grow in Christ from glory to glory, day to day, little by little. It’s not an overnight process. Paul told the Galatians not to grow tired in doing good because they will reap in due time. The author of Hebrews tells us that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Jacob wrestled God all night and would not let Him go until he got his blessing. Elisha followed Elijah in spite of much discouragement; he received a double portion of the power of Elijah (his last miracle was done after his flesh died). The theme here is persistence. We are responsible for putting ourselves in position for God to transform us. Rarely does God transform someone who watches three hours of SportsCenter a day, or every Housewives marathon. And I’ve yet to hear a testimony that includes God’s revelation during a four-hour Facebook binge.

I’m not talking as someone who’s way ahead. I’m talking as someone who is fighting the good fight as well. I’m talking as someone who just received a degree with a letter from the program director that says that in order for me to become a successful writer I must be persistent and use my rejections as motivation and not as a source of depression. I haven’t even told them of my rejections, yet they seem to be fully aware. So how much more, when our life in eternity is at stake, should we be diligent? How much more difficult is the fight going to be if we’re fighting for all the marbles? If we truly believe we are at war, why are we surprised when we encounter obstacles on our way to a fruitful relationship with Christ? My pastor once said that if we never run into the devil, it may be because we’re both going in the same direction.

My brother can break bricks with his head because he was willing to walk two miles a day, rain or shine, hot or cold. Jesus said that we can do greater things than He. But He never said it was going to be easy.

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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

When I saw the headline, it caught my eye: “Take a deep breath before you read this news.” So, of course, I read it. The article was about stress and my, oh my, It seems like I live in the stress capitol of America, at least according to a recent national study. The Bay area’s stress comes from 15.5 suicides per 1,000 people, a 12.3 percent divorce rate each year, an 11.2 percent unemployment rate and an average commute time of 28.3 minutes, among other factors.

Then there’s the global ranking by advertising giant JWT, which puts the United States right at the top of its ‘Anxiety Index‘ with 72 percent of its people anxious about life. That’s about on par with Egypt, which just had a revolution. By contrast, just 55 percent of Australians and 35 percent of the Chinese are anxious.

Clearly, regardless of where we reside in America, we all live in a stressed up country. Perhaps it is the materialism of our society. We work hard to catch up the Jones family down the street and just when we get there, they refinance and leave us in the materialistic dust. People seem to never be satisfied. They want more and more. Maybe they are focused on finding “things” that become more of an ego massaging collection rather than a source of true peace.

I suggest that only a dedication of a life to Christ can bring true, peace, joy and satisfaction. The Bible clearly says it is so:

  • Psalms 29:11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.
  •  Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
  • John 14:27 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.
  • Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
  • Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,? meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
  • Philippians 4:6,7 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.?7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
  • Thessalonians 3:16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.

The joy of life, the means of satisfaction and the source of all peace is not found in the mall, but rather as we draw from the well of all peace, the peace which passes all understanding……. the peace that comes from living a vibrant life  comes from knowing Jesus, the Christ in a real and personal way.

Trust Him and your well will never run dry and you too will have a peace beyond all understanding.
(a thought on life from John Grant )

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