Illustration results for serenity
Staff Picks of Free Sermons and PRO Church Media
G. H. Morling in The Quest for Serenity- "A valuable study of the Gospels could be made, noticing how many times Jesus gave some of His greatest teachings in circumstances where he had simply been interrupted. How different this is from us; we hate to be interrupted. To Jesus, the importance seemed to lie in the person whose path had crossed His own. Things don’t just “happen” in the providence of God. The interruption may well be our highest task at that very moment.”
Perhaps your list would be something like the one found in The Book of History, from an ancient Chinese religion. It has a list of the Five Happinesses which include: long life, riches, soundness of body and serenity of mind, love of virtue, and an end crowning the life. That's not a bad list.
ILL. An old legend has it that a wealthy merchant of the 1st Century who wanted to meet the Apostle Paul encountered Timothy, who arranged a visit for him with Paul who, at that time, was a prisoner in Rome.
Stepping inside the cell, the merchant was surprised to find a rather old man, physically frail, but whose serenity & magnetism challenged the visitor. They talked for hours. Finally the merchant left with Paul’s blessing.
Outside the prison, he asked Timothy, "What is the secret of his serenity & power? I have never seen anything like it before." "Did you not guess?" replied Timothy. "Paul is in love."
The merchant looked bewildered. "In love?" "Yes," Timothy answered, "Paul is in love with Jesus Christ." The merchant looked even more bewildered. "Is that all?" Smiling, Timothy replied, "Sir, that is everything."
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve ...
I was weeping in the most bitter contritition of my heart, when I heard the voice of children from a neighboring house chanting, “take up and read; take up and read.” I could not remember ever having heard the like, so checking the torrent of my tears, I arose, interpreting it to be no other than a command from God to open the book and read the first chapter I should find. Eagerly then I returned to the place where I had laid the volume of the apostle. I seized, opened, and in silence read that section on which my eyes first fell: “Not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not is strife and envy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” No further would I read, nor did I need to. For instantly at the end of this sentence, it seemed as if a light of serenity infused into my heart and all the darkness of doubt vanished away. - Augustine
Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.
"God grant me the serenity to delegate tasks when necessary, the courage to say no, and the wisdom to know when to go home."
PEACE FOR SALE
For thousands of years, feng-shui practitioners have used the sound of running water to dissolve negative energy. Modern psychologists describe the constant gurgling [of desktop waterfalls] as "white noise" that drowns out distractions. On the basis of such notions, the same companies that ushered in aromatherapy are now cranking out Zen-inspired relaxation tools, dubbed "calming pools" and "serenity ponds." Over the past two years consumers have bought into the idea that burbling rock gardens are effective stress relievers. Americans purchased ...
Unfinished Flower Beds! (09.19.05--Grace Walks!--John 17:17)
When we purchased Beech Springs years ago, we arrived in a valley that was purposed by trees, trees and more trees. There was little lawn because the trees shaded it out. The trees fenced in the house and driveway so that there was scant room or resource with which to do much in the way of landscaping. That was to my liking, however. There would be little need for tiller, spade and wheelbarrow here. I could focus on making wood and the necessary improvements that were needed inside the house. Puttering with flower beds and the like was so tedious and, as opposed to making wood and other tasks like it, were slow in demonstrating any visible progress. That is, of course, until the elms in the immediate area began to succumb to disease. Suddenly spaces were opened; spaces that beckoned my wife and pled, “Plant a sunflower here or nestle a poppy there!” It wasn’t long that a Mantis tiller and a wheelbarrow appeared on my gift list.
I have often thought how like those flower beds you and I are as we daily walk in grace. It takes work to get us ready for growth in grace. And, sometimes, the results aren’t so immediately visible. But, over time, the work and effort pay off. The flowers bloom and fade and come back again the next year that much more brilliant and bountiful.
Phillips Brooks, . . . was a very busy pastor, yet he always seemed relaxed and unburdened, willing to take time for anyone in need. Shortly before he died, someone asked him the secret of his strength and serenity. In a heartfelt response, Brooks credited his still-growing relationship with Christ. He responded, “The more I have thought it over, the more sure it has seemed to me that these last years have had a peace and fullness which there did not used to be. It is a deeper knowledge and truer love of Christ. . . . I cannot tell you how personal this grows to me. He is here. He knows me and I know Him. It is the most real thing in the world. And every day makes it more real. And one wonders with delight what it will grow to as the years go on.” (Our Daily Bread, October 14, 1994)
God promises to “sanctify” us “by the truth” (John 17:17) in our daily walk with Him. That is, He will make us holy, set apart and cleansed through Christ Jesus. He doesn’t tell us that it is a work completed overnight, however. It is something that is ongoing like my wife tending those flower beds. As the faithful gardener He digs, weeds, tills and transplants in the gardens of our hearts. Then, when day is done, we are known to Him perfectly as we continue to grow in our knowledge of Him. It won’t happen overnight nor should it. Some of the best Flower beds are those which are never completed.
NOT MY JOB
The names in this story have been changed out of respect for their privacy. Julie W told her family's story in a magazine article.
[My daughter], Allison, came home for the weekend. She opened the door, didn't speak, and dropped her duffel bag. Smudges of mascara circled her eyes. I whispered a "God-please-no" prayer.
"Come tell me about your classes." I patted the sofa. She muttered,
"Gotta take a shower."
As she clomped upstairs, I analyzed the recent changes in her: complaints of not having any money, rarely answers the phone, weight loss, pinpoint pupils, and a "who gives a rip" [facade]. I searched her purse and found a leopard-colored pipe and the unmistakable sweet odor of pot. My heart fluttered wildly like a bird stuck inside my chest.
She plodded down the stairs, hair in a towel, wearing the same wrinkled clothes. Be still and talk in a sweet voice, I told myself. You must convince her to stop. "We need to talk, honey."
"Not now. I'm tired."
"I found your pipe."
She stared at me with death-row eyes. "Chill, it's not that big of a deal."
The tightness in the den suffocated me. I needed air. "Want to walk?" I asked brightly. "Like we used to?"
I knew I could talk some sense into her. "Honey, please. You've gotta stop." I grabbed her hand.
"Mom!" She jerked away.
"We have a strong family history. You don't want to..."
I never got to finish the sentence. Allison stormed out of the room and within minutes was headed back to college. I knew what I had to do--abandon everything in my life and start to worry/fix/control full-time.
I began spending most days by the phone. I evaluated Allison's reactions, gestures, and comments. Thoughts circled my mind like buzzards: What if she never stops? What if I never see her again? What if she overdoses? Or goes to jail?
I lured Allison into therapy by promising we'd go to an Italian restaurant before visits. Her first appointment day arrived. She played with her spaghetti, and I couldn't eat. "So, what do you plan to say to the counselor?" I asked.
"How should I know?"
When they called her name at the office, I hurried in to make sure the counselor understood. Allison refused to sign for me to have any information. I considered eavesdropping, but too many people were around. An hour later, she walked past me as I paid.
"What'd you talk about?"
Our therapy/lunch charade continued that way for a few weeks. Then Allison's sister informed me she was still using. She denied it, refused to see the counselor, dropped out of college, and stopped answering my calls.
I was convinced if I forgot about Allison, even for a second, or enjoyed anything, something bad might happen. Several months later, after another night of little sleep, I glanced in the mirror. I could have passed for the addict: dark circles under hopeless eyes.
I called my friend Linda. Her son, also an addict, had been sentenced to state prison. "You can't imagine all that's going on here," I said.
"Come over for coffee," she urged.
I wanted to stand guard at home but knew she'd listen and understand.
"Hey, girlfriend." Linda hugged me. I didn't touch my coffee as I blurted the saga. Linda didn't sweet-talk. "You need help."
"You haven't heard the whole story," I argued. "I'm fine--my daughter, she needs help."
"You're addicted to worry and control," Linda said. "I've been where you are." She stretched out on the sofa. "The only one you can control is yourself."
The possibility that she might be right terrified me. "It took me years to realize that I'm not in charge. God is," Linda admitted. "By worrying, you're telling God he can't handle things. Go to Al-Anon with me." I'd heard of Al-Anon but didn't see how it applied to me. But I agreed because I was in awe of Linda.
I didn't open my mouth during the meeting. Every word spoken sounded like my own thoughts:
"I worried myself sick about my alcoholic husband."
"My peace comes only when I let go and let God."
Then the speaker said, "To change, you'll have to leave behind some familiar lifelong habits." But how? This is who I am--what I do. "An alcoholic can't drink, and those of us in this room can't allow an ounce of worry. For us, it's every bit as dangerous and addictive. Worry robs our serenity."
I didn't think change was possible. Not for me. But I knew one thing for sure--I was destroying my life. That night at home I got real. "Help me, God. I can't do this without you." I began to ask God for help each morning. I whispered, "Not my job," as worry, fear, or control tried to needle back in.
Two years after that first Al-Anon meeting, Allison and I met for an impromptu lunch. She'd gone back to the same therapist. On her own.
"You can't imagine how easy it is to study when you're not high," she laughed.
"Nope, I guess not." I blinked back happy tears.
"When you didn't fix my problems, it scared me. A few times I had to dig change out of the seat of my car for gas money. Some days," she paused, "I didn't have food." My throat felt warm with pride. She'd done it on her own. "I'm making A's. And look," she handed me her checkbook. "I have money again."
Recovery defies logic. It means doing the opposite of what feels natural. When I took care of myself and my addictions, Allison did the same.
Citation: Condensed from our sister publication Today's Christian,© 2008 Christianity Today International Julie W., "Not My Job," Today's Christian (July/August 2008)
Everyone needs a hero. For the mother who told this story it was her friend, Linda. Then she turned to God as her ultimate hero. We all could do with someone to help us work through our troubles. We need a victorious warrior to fight our battles. No one knows that better than God himself.
From Mark Haines' Sermon "Our Mighty God"