3 Steps to Peace--Alligators at the door



…in hectic daily living.

What does your average week day morning sound like? Is it filled with soft, shuffling breezes carrying the scent of frying bacon and brewed coffee? Does the gentle sound of children’s giggles waft to you as the dulcet warmth of a hot shower cascade down your back?

Or do you hear the alligators scratching at the door?

Twenty years ago. My kids were scrambling for homework,breakfast frenzies, dogs needed feeding, dragging clean clothes from the dryer (at least they were clean), all the while trying to get mascara even and hose untwisted, the right color shoes and so on. You are up to your neck in alligators five minutes after you awaken. It was nothing like the days when the babies slept until seven o’clock and I just needed to warm a bottle, change a diaper and smiles appeared. How did the frenzies begin and then take over?

I was frazzled and wearing away at the edges. I was also horrible to live with because everything was so out of control that I felt I was buried under piles of tasks with no time to finish even the most menial of them. Or so I felt. I had forgotten Who had created time.

When we stop and think about it, Jesus did not hurry through His ministry, checking His watch or always looking over the shoulders of His disciples toward the next project.  He walked…He sat… He ate… He drank… He taught… He did not freak out.

We never see Him in a rush nor does He get in a panic.  He is the picture of peace and tranquility throughout His ministry.  As we read about Him, there are no “background” noises that are so loud we can’t “hear” what’s being said.  Everything is focused upon Him.  Why should we live our lives any differently?  In fact this is exactly what Jesus teaches us in

 Matthew 6:31-34
31What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. 32People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. 33Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.34”Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. The Message

I love how The Message states that favorite passage better known as Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all else will be added unto you. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions. A more encompassing way to say it is, Steep Yourself In God.
How do we do that when everything is calling our name and distractions are overwhelming?
Of course there is a time and place for work and duty. Boaz spoke a blessing over Ruth, in chapter 2…
                    12   ”May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.”  That would be steeping in God-reality. Settling within his refuge, taking Him at His word. There is where you find a peace and quite that cannot be duplicated, packaged, or found any other place.

Steep yourself in God-reality. There is a place on Kaui Island called the Little Grand Canyon of the Pacific. When you stop the car at one of the look-outs, the quiet engulfs you. The wind may ruffle your hair or collar, but you don’t hear it because of the vastness of space before you. It is so quiet, you feel it obscene to speak in a normal voice, so you whisper and those standing ten feet away can hear you plain as if you shouted. That is how quiet it was when Jesus spoke to the storm saying only three words, “Peace. Be still.” A few minutes of utter silence does something to the soul which no doctor or psychiatrist can do in a month of Sundays. God created that place. He created the healing that quiet gives, and he understands all that we need in order to braid together the frayed ends of frazzled nerves. We get wound up so tight in daily living that we forget how creative and majestic our Almighty God truly is. He knows when the sparrow falls, and He knows when I’ve locked my keys in the car with a huge pot of seafood gumbo on the floorboard…in the heat of summer… in full sunshine. He knows and He cares. He finds a way to fix the problem if I relax and ask Him to fix it. That is a very real, living, wonderful God.

Steep yourself in God-initiative. Remember Who created time eons ago. It was He who created all of creation in six days and then rested. He created the morning and evening, and He created our bodies to recoup our energy, to dust and clean itself during its resting state. Rest is essential to being able to manage time because it gives our bodies a perfectly wound clock-sense. When we ask God to manage our time, more things get done in one hour than we can do ourselves in two hours without His help. He fashioned us and we are to serve Him. What better way to serve the Master than the Master managing our time? What better way to stay focused on a task without being sidetracked by distractions? His enterprises are why we were fashioned. He tells us this in Isaiah 44, "I have fashioned you, and you are to serve Me."

Steep yourself in God-provisions. It is a two-way street. God expects something back. In Malachi 3:10 God says, “Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. And test Me now with this, says Jehovah of Hosts, to see if I will not open the windows of Heaven for you, and pour out a blessing for you, until there is not enough room.” That is an If-you-do-this, then-I-will-do-this kind of statement. He promised to provide enough for today. We are to labor and be ready. I can think of no better example than the widow giving her mite as tithe and Jesus said it was greater than all the gold heaped upon the altar. He knew she would be provided for that God would take care of her even though she gave all she had. He did not send John running after her to give her back her two mites so that she might have some supper than night. He knew her heart. There is so much to learn from that small story. You can read more about that by clicking here.

Consider Matthew 10:39 “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Do you feel like you have lost yourself in Him or are have you lost yourself in the world, in daily frustrations, in a hectic lifestyle?  Do you feel like you are working and pouring yourself out for others and your family but have no time for yourself…much less for God?

If God were to really take care of all your daily, monthly and yearly concerns, how would this change your attitude toward your current responsibilities?

He did say to come to Him if you labor and are heavy laden, that He would give you rest. Are you willing to let Him do that? 
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