Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Lessons from Job~ May 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:55 am
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“Job was blameless-a man of integrity.  He feared God and stayed away from evil.”

(Job 1:1 NLT)

Job was an incredibly blessed man.  He had good fortune, good health, and a large family to share his inheritance with.  By the world’s standards, he had it all.  When the Lord allowed satan to take all these “things” from Job, he still refused to blame God.  In one day, Job lost all his animals, crops, farmhands & servants; so basically, his livelihood.  Before this harsh reality could even set in, the news came that all of his children had been struck down.  Yet in his grief, Job responds, “The Lord gave me what I had and the Lord has taken it away.  Praise the name of the Lord!” (VS 21)  He knew that all he had did not belong to him but to the Lord.  Even when he was stricken with extreme illness and his own wife told him to forget about integrity, curse God and die, Job remained faithful.

“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”

(Job 2:10 NLT)

From the outside looking in, Job had every reason to forget God.  He went from being “top dog” to barely existing.  BUT…

How hypocritical would we be if we praised God when things were good but doubted His existence in times of trouble?  God is the same all the time; are we not the ones who are fickle?

He is always good, we are prone to sin.

He is full of justice and mercy, while we sometimes seek revenge.

His love for us is the same on the mountain top as it is in the valley and we hinge our love on our circumstances.  We allow our feelings to dictate our relationship with God, but this is not faith.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for and it gives us an assurance about things we cannot see.”

(Hebrews 11:1)

So whether we find ourselves in a season free from struggle or if we are in the midst of a battle, we should remember that our perspective is limited at best.  God is and always will be in control.  So do not allow your faith to falter like a wave that is tossed to and fro every time life throws you for a loop.  Instead be “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:3 NLT)treebywater

 

~Focus on God~ April 22, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 6:40 am
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London to Brighton Veteran Car RunIf you have turned on the news lately, you have seen countless acts of violence in varying degrees.  A mad ex-boyfriend shoots at his ex and takes down a couple others in the process.  Marathon runners are struck down by explosions moments after celebrating a major accomplishment.  Even schools are no longer safe from acts of terrorism.

When someone attacks our nation, whether on a small scale or as a whole, we have a choice to focus on the evil that they are doing or we can choose to see the good that it brings out in others.  By giving attention only to the evil-doer, you are giving them what they crave which only adds fuel to their fire.  Besides, what difference does it make which terrorist group they belong to?  Or what their childhood was like?  Do we really want to know how their minds work?! However, if you take the talks away from the who, what and why that caused the attack and turn the news feed into stories of victory, then the good trumps the evil.

If you are like me, the constant negativity in the news is just too much to bear.  I would much rather hear the stories of what good is coming out of the horrible situation.

Tell me more about the ordinary spectator who becomes a hero in an instant as they shield another’s body with their own.

Show me images of first responders who are running in while everyone else is running away.

Replay stories of the victims and the history of their lives rather than that of the attackers.

I was reading in Psalms the day after the second Boston bomber was captured.  The non-stop news coverage was exhausting.  All the reporters were going on and on about how now we can find out why they did it, if they were a part of a bigger scheme and so on.  I was growing increasingly frustrated.  Then I read these words:

“The wicked conceive evil;
they are pregnant with trouble
and give birth to lies.
They dig a deep pit to trap others,
then fall into it themselves.
The trouble they make for others backfires on them.
The violence they plan falls on their own heads.”

(Psalm 7:14-16 NLT)

There you have it folks.  Why should we worry and fret over the evil that runs rampant throughout our world when we are already guaranteed the victory.  We will suffer here for a little while, but the Lord will have the final say.  He will crush the enemy and all his evil works will be turned back onto him.  Those who do evil will be repaid the same and those who love righteousness will be rewarded.

So while the majority of media outlets focus on the bad guy, you focus on God and the good that He brings out in people during times of tragedy.  Don’t let the negativity consume you and make you bitter.  God is still at work even amongst the devastation but it’s up to you to look for and be the light amid the darkness.

**EDITED after initial post**

Ok…so I’m reading “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young and I have to share this excerpt as it relates to my post from this morning. This is God or “Papa” speaking:
“Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies.  Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes.  That will only lead you to false notions about me.  Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”
Seriously, just wow.