Peace umpiring in our hearts (depends upon us following and living by the Holy Spirit inside of us (Gal 5:22 producing the fruits of Spirit). We have to yield to, submit to, and walk in the Spirit,dying to ourselves. When the Holy Spirit controls our lives He gives us the power to becomes the sons of God and the ability to choose rightly which way we will go, either to do or not to do these things. We are not on our own, nor do we acquire these fruits in our own strength (for that seems impossible to do) but as we surrender and let Him control our lives then we are able to choose whether to respond to the Holy Spirit like Christ would have us do so, or to react in our flesh to our circumstances. We are to Let the Peace of Christ rule or umpire in our hearts to do as He wills and not our own. We are to Let the words of Christ in all their richness live in our hearts and make us wise. Use these words to teach and counsel. Much is on us to do. These are very challenging scriptures but nevertheless they are there for us to obey. 1 Peter 1:6 says to not to be grieved by various trials (ex: persecutions (many had to leave their homes, their businesses, all they had known, and these things were very big trials for them, but it ended up for good didn’t it? I can’t even imagine in actuality what that would be like and yet we sing songs about letting go, giving it all to Jesus, crying out for His will to be done in and through us. But can we really say that most of us have ever had these experiences. These things happened to the Jews because God had a greater plan than they could comprehend, and that was so the gospel could go forth to other places. We sing, I’ll go where you want me to go, I’ll do what you want me to do. Do we really mean that? So, if this life is our boot camp (training ground to be made fit for eternal life in heaven where there is a pure and holy Father awaiting us, then we are trained by obedience and that obedience is found all through the Bible with commands such as Gal 5:22-23 to walk in the Spirit instead of in the flesh. Let us remember we have been given the power of God to become overcomers, to live sanctified lives, to represent Jesus as an ambassador for Him and show this world what God is like. So we really now have to make the choice as to whether we will obey or not the commands that scripture puts upon us. The Bible says that the testing of our faith is more precious than gold. Not that our faith is more precious than gold, but the TESTING of our FAITH is more precious than gold refined in the fire (because it is in the fires of trials that our faith is proven that the impurities gets skimmed off, old habits drop off, and a change of attitude and heart is produced in us. We then become like the sons and daughters of the living God. So keep hanging in, there because God is refining your faith. The scriptures tell us that if we want to be His disciples, then we must take up our cross, deny ourselves (daily) and follow Him (and His will). This will produce genuine faith that has been proven and authenticated (like a painting that is examined to see if it is an authenticated original or a copy which is not the real thing. What the does the Word say, “Examine yourselves to see if you be in the faith.” Don’t we all want to be found authenticated and found in the faith? Let the peace of Christ RULE in your hearts to bring us to the unity of faith. Linked together. Don’t let anyone disqualify you. Strength of character is never done in isolation. It comes from being around others, and how we interact and conduct ourselves. I find the more you know someone the more you recognized their idiosyncrasies, faults and see that they are just as in need of redemption as I am. Sometimes I am embarrased to be around people because I am afraid they will all see my faults and failings which I have. It is hard to be around some people, but that too is our training ground. Otherwise who would we practice on? People are often just like us, made from the same clay. Reading I Cor 13 is also a good example of what God asks of us to do. Wow! This is a challenging life we are to live, but in the end, if we will do these things (of course we will fail over and over again, but then Jesus promises to pick us up and forgive us, and we start all over again). Like going around the mountain (like the Children of Israel) who didn’t get it right the first, or second or third time around, so they had to keep going through their testings for 40 years. Let’s hope it won’t take us that long and we can pass our tests quickly. When my first husband was sick with brain cancer, I was 23 years old when he came home from work that day. He had a terrible headache and was writhing in pain. All night he moaned so in the morning I called the doctor and he told me to bring him in. In the car he vomited in the street several times before I got him to the doctors. They had to bring out a wheel chair to get him out of the car, as he was a large man, and I could not help him that way. Immediately they sent us to emergency where they found a malignant brain tumor that was the size of an egg underneath his pituitary gland. They operated but found it had in filtered (had fingers that went all through his brain everywhere) so the just closed him up. They did not tell me it was cancer. They used words like infiltrated , so I didn’t really understand what he had till a month later. He was never the same and I was told he could live 12 more years or so. We had a five year old son, Steven, who is now also with the Lord, and I had no support from anyone (except for my dad who came up for the operation and stayed one month with me while Michael was in the hospital for 40 days. No relatives or friends nearby, but I did have the Lord and He gave me some wonderful experiences. I felt hopeless, confused, didn’t know what to do. All I wanted to do was to be used in ministry and teach people to love, honor, be faithful and devoted to God who is so very very wonderful to us all. Well, Michael lived for 3 years and 9 months. He never could work again, so all the college we had put him through was for nothing it seems. He could never drive, take any responsibility for any of the daily things people must do. He could only sit and take little walks. One time got lost and went into someone else’s mobile home instead of ours and they brought him home to me. He had a scar all around the hairline of his forehead which showed, and his hair after cobalt treatments made his hair stand straight up. There were indented holes in the scars where they had done the surgery to remove the top of the scull, so people looked at him when we went out and just stared. Poor darling! I kept crying out, “why me Lord?” “You know how much I have always wanted to be used by you in ministry and cared to do nothing else, so why do you put me through this?” I am afraid I did not pass this test very well, and cry every time I remember that I could have done so much more and loved him so much more, and done so much more to try to lighten his load. This I carry with me to this very day. I failed this test, because I didn’t want to go through this but God is greater than our sins, our regrets and our failures. He forgives us, picks us up and we begin again. How wonderful He is. It makes me cry when I hear the words to the song “Amazing love how can it be that thou my God should die for me.” What powerful words. Well, it was not until he began to hallucinate and see bugs crawling all over the walls and the trailer on fire, and dumping everything out of the fridge onto the floor, and climbing onto our little stereo beside the couch, and then vomiting on the floor in front of the door that I finally had to admit him into a mental institution. One night at home in our trailer I got on my bed and really with all my heart cried out saying “Lord, if you want me to take that man out of the mental institution and live with him the rest of my life like he is, I am willing” that the Lord called Michael home one month later. My test was over. To this very day I still don’t know the reason for the test, but I am sure thankful for a loving God who forgives and doesn’t forsake us when we sin. So He can and will forgive any and all of your sins as well, if we will only ask Him to and really mean it from our heart and surrender to your circumstances and not fight them. His ways are higher than our ways, and His paths are past finding out. Sorry, back to the subject at hand. Let the peace of Christ RULE in our hearts to bring us to the unity of faith the Bible says. Linked together. Don’t let anyone disqualify you. Strength of character is never done in isolation, but comes about by being around others and how we interact and respond to them and conduct ourselves. Peace should be the arbitrator in our heart. What is God’s will in the matter? David always went to the temple when he had a problem to solve, to get a right perspective on things and to “inquired of the Lord”. He sought direction, found God’s will on the matter and was able then to defeat his enemies. I have learned to always go to the Lord first and ask Him for direction, help, guidance, so that I can stay under the umbrella of His will and not get out from underneath it. There is a wonderful comfort in knowing you are in His will and safe and secure from all alarm, knowing He will help you in every situation. He is just waiting patiently for you to ask Him for His help! Even for a break in the traffic! ha ha Say you are playing baseball and the bat has too much pine tar on it (which is over the limit, as the pine tan can only go so far up the bat and you know that), and you hit a home run for your team. Your final hit made your team win the game. But there’s one thing wrong. The umpire goes up and examines the bat and sees that it is not according to the rules (it has too much pine tar on the bat and it goes up too high), so your hit is disqualified and your team loses the game instead. Your run didn’t count because you didn’t do it right. It’s like that in life too. How are we going to respond to situations, people who are unpleasant, rude, uncaring, hits our car, cuts us off in traffic, and a myriad of other things that we go through daily? Will we be disqualified because we didn’t respond rightly? There is too much justification for our sins and excuses for them that can disqualify us as well. The stakes are harder than we realize. Oh that reminds me, when we want to justify something that is sinful we tell ourselves “rational lies” which then we begin to believe ourselves to soothe our conscience, but that is where the word “rationalize” comes from. Being a authenticated Christian with real true, tried and tested faith requires much more than we hear about today. “That which you sow that’s what you will reap.” “If we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption, but if we sow to the spirit we will receive eternal life.” “Many will say in that day, Lord, Lord we did this or that in Your name, but He will say to them, depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” Wow! The Bible is a much much heavier book and the most challenging to obeyed than we hear preached today. We are not told much about our responsibilities that the Word commands and expects from us today. But we need to know what God expects from His children too in order to be qualified and win the great race. We want to hear, “Well Done!” My good and faithful servant, come, enter into your rest.” How wonderful it would be to hear these words spoken to us as we stand before our Almighty Father. All it requires is like the song says, “Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way, but to Trust and Obey!” Don’t lose heart dear ones, we can and will prevail. Love you all! Thanks for reading this to the end. ha ha.!