Finding Peace in a Chaotic World

035I wish every day could be like this.  I actually had a little time to think this afternoon and soak in the blessings of the day.  So many days of my life are rush here, rush there, with barely any time to notice even the simplest things around me.  But today, for a moment, I am still.

I’ve been looking at the multi-colored leaves on one of the trees in my yard outside my office window.  The sun hits the leaves in just the right places to make them twinkle and glisten in its light.  Their vibrant colors are amazing!  The breeze on the trees is causing shadows to dance on my walls.  The squirrels are rushing around carrying large nuts in their mouths as they prepare for the winter months ahead.  A layer of dead leaves is forming on our grass we tried so hard to grow all summer, so that now we can barely even see it’s there.  I’m literally inhaling the sunshine with the deepest breaths I can humanly conjure, as it has been so scarce in the last few weeks.  Its warmth is such a blessing.  Fall is here in full force!

72145_1604152033233_7759821_nI’m sure you’re all saying, “Well, it sounds like Lori took her meds today!” (Just so you know…I don’t take meds to be happy.  Some wish I took meds not to be so happy, but that’s another blog.) Nonetheless,  I’m not always so gushy or descriptive, but today, is different.  I have made a purposeful decision to focus on my blessings instead of all of the world problems and current headlines.

It seems that the last few weeks have had headlines full of bad news.  You may already know I’m a real estate agent. Recently, there have been several incidents of agents being attacked and/or even killed while simply doing their jobs.  It has the industry up in arms about how we can protect ourselves and prevent these things from happening again.

Last week I got a note from a friend asking me to take a class to get my concealed carry license.  It was funny that she would invite me, as I had seriously been considering carrying a weapon in light of all that is going on around me.  Jim and I had many discussions as to whether we would take the class or not.  I’ve never really liked guns but I am realizing that the way our society is going, it might be inevitable for all of us to own and carry protection devices of various kinds.

In addition, we are hearing one report after another about the Ebola scare and how it has entered the United States putting us all at risk.  People are buying protective gear and taking great precautions to make sure that they remain safe in the midst of such scary circumstances facing our nation.

As I read the news or even scan through my Facebook posts, I am struck with the realization that this world is scary.  There are perils around every corner that could take us out at any given time.  We are human.  We will live and then we will die.  One cannot predict the day or the hour, but there will come a time when each one of us will leave this earth.

As all of this negativity bombards us at every turn, we can begin to feel distressed. But the fact is, each and every day, we might be faced with fearful situations that we feel are out of control, or maybe I say out of our control.

As Christians, we have a hope that goes beyond our fears.  It is a hope and peace that supercedes anything we can imagine.  The only requirement is that we call on God in those times of fear and doubt.  We need to purposely focus on Him and seek His strength for each day.  He is faithful to meet us where we are and bless us.  Blessing us might not mean taking us out of our circumstances or removing that which causes us distress.  However, He does promise to be with us through everything that comes our way when we call on Him. There is no gun big enough or no hazard suit safe enough to give me the peace that my Lord gives me when I put my trust in Him for my safety.

As I purposely focused on God’s goodness amidst all of the chaos around me this week, He reminded me once again of His Word in Psalms 91.  I hope you will take the time to reflect on this scripture and ask God to give you a peace that surpasses all understanding with whatever you are facing today.

Psalms 91 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

68803_1604141232963_1214277_n

 Be blessed, and don’t forget to go out and be a blessing!

A Glimpse of Heaven

CCC GradLogoFN rgb USE THIS ONEMost of you know that I recently attended a speaker’s conference in Asheville, North Carolina.  Participants were asked to blog about their experience for the Christian Communicators blog.  Here is what I wrote…

http://christiancommunicators.com/2014/10/15/a-glimpse-of-heaven-by-lori-kempton/

God Speaks In Mysterious Ways…Even Through a Motorcycle!

I’m always looking for the God lessons in life’s ordinary situations.  However, this week, I didn’t have to look very hard.  It was very clear to Jim and I that God was literally speaking to us through our circumstances.

Jim is sitting on the back porch patiently awaiting the call that the scooter is ready for pickup.

Jim is sitting on the back porch patiently awaiting the call that the scooter is ready for pickup.

Over a month ago, we purchased an older Honda Silver Wing scooter for me to ride.  When we bought it, we knew it didn’t run right, but knew the problem shouldn’t be anything big.  The bike had run well for our friend’s wife until her death about three years ago.  It had a sale price we could afford and we decided to take the risk.  So we bought the bike and immediately had it picked up by the Honda dealer to repair.

It was there for over four weeks until this Thursday when we finally got the call, it was done!  It was about an hour away from home so we had to schedule time to pick it up.  Not to mention, neither of us had ever ridden a motorcycle on the road and the class we took to learn to ride was over six weeks ago.

We were watching the weather and decided that Friday seemed to be the best bet to pick it up.  It might be a little cooler, but shouldn’t be too bad rain wise.  As we started out to pick it up, rain that had not been on the radar earlier popped up and it literally rained the entire way to our destination.  On the way, we both wondered if we should turn back or keep going.  I said a prayer and kept asking God to clear the way.

As we were almost there, it seemed like we came to a “clearing” in the midst of the storm.  We got excited to think that maybe it was going to end.  However, everywhere we looked, there were still storm clouds all around us.  I decided to pull up the weather map to see what our future held.  As I looked at the map, I could see a huge storm all around us with this little bubble of clearing that we were clearly in.  However, the part to the west of us was only a small line.  Being able to see our circumstances from an aerial viewpoint, even though it seemed that our future was bleak, I knew in just a few short minutes the storm would be over.

Mentally preparing for the long ride home.

Mentally preparing for the long ride home.

It didn’t really work that way, though, as we picked up the bike, it was continuing to rain.  We were fearful about Jim having his first ride on wet pavement.  To add fuel to the fire, the salesman told us, “Be careful out there.  The pavement is very slick as a result of this weather.”

However, we both still felt this was the time to get the bike home, so we continued on.  We tested it out in a nearby neighborhood and by the time we were assured it was running and we had a full tank of gas, the streets had dried up and we were ready to head home.

We needed to stay on back roads as Jim was inexperienced and didn’t want to ride on the highway the first day of riding.  Our GPS wanted to take us to the logical way, the highways—the fast and easy path—not knowing the dangers it held for a novice rider.  Realizing the path we must take for our own good, we pulled over, reset the GPS to not go on highways and continued on.   Having a firm direction, it got easier but there were still several detours diverting our route along the way.  A one hour trip had quickly turned into a two hour trip and we still had one-half hour to travel before making it home.

I knew Jim had to be tired, so I pulled my car over into a restaurant parking lot to pause before continuing our journey.  It was not a good choice of places to stop…there were what I call thugs all around and people with obvious mental disorders wandering aimlessly through the parking lot.  We quickly chose to get back on the bike and head home.

sunshine aheadAs we turned the corner heading towards our last fifteen minutes, the sun shone brightly ahead.  As it was shining brightly before us, behind us another storm brewed.  Ignoring what was going on behind us, Jim lowered his sun shield on his helmet and headed home, full speed.

The bright sun lit up the stormy skies behind us with a majestic glow.

The bright sun lit up the stormy skies behind us with a majestic glow.

This might seem like an ordinary stormy day.  But for us, it felt like a God thing.  It was as though He was saying to us all day, “Jim and Lori, there will be storms that seem to never end.  But persevere anyway.  You won’t know when they are going to end, but please trust Me when I say, ‘It won’t be long now.’   I can see your circumstances from an aerial view and know you will be out of the storm very soon.”

“You may grow weary and think that you can’t go any more, but stopping along the path I have ordained for you will only allow fear to set in and others to distract you from your purpose.  Keep moving My children.  Trust that I have your back and only want the best for you.  Don’t listen to those who caution you that this might not be safe.  If it is the path I have for you, I will watch over you and protect you through it all.”

Yes, the trip took us two and one-half hours instead of one.  There were a lot of detours and even some scary moments along the way.  Taking the road less traveled can often be a harder way to go.

From now on when I feel that I can’t keep going, I will pull up the mental picture in my mind of the storm at my back and the sunshine on my face, telling me to keep going.  Keep traveling towards the One who gives you strength and lights the way.

Thank you, Lord, for watching over us and for speaking to us through our storms in life.  Might we ever praise You for all that You have done to keep us safe while we travel, trusting You, on the path that You have ordained for our lives!  You make even the darkest storms seem bright!

Psalm 16: 9-11 (NKJV)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. 10 For You will not leave my soul …,  11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV)

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

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