Staying Our Minds On God Through The Most Difficult Days

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All of the noise, chaos and the information overload continues to be overwhelming this morning. Today I think we can agree that we ALL need an encouraging word.

We packed up the MRO Community Center in Atlanta Thursday night. My soul continued to long for caring for our NASCAR family. Heart so conflicted. I struggled with one of the hardest decisions that had to be made in my time with MRO. My mind understood. God’s call on my life to serve others settled at the forefront of my heart. In the end I found rest in knowing It was the good and right decision for so many reasons.

We pulled out of Atlanta Motor Speedway Friday morning and there was such a feeling emptiness in us all. While it would have been much easier to surrender to what I was feeling, I knew my heart would be much better served by running toward and clinging to the rock of my salvation.

I opened up my Bible App since my Bible was under the motor home slide out. I ran hard and fast to one of my favorite passages~ to a verse that has carried me through some of the hardest times in my life. So I thought you might be encouraged by my journey- one that continues to carry my heart.

Isn’t it amazing how God always knows exactly what we need? Thank you Lord.

I know this is long. The sixteen words packed in this are worthy of our attention. Save the post of your do not have time to settle in.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

We don’t know the tune, but these are lyrics to a song, since this chapter of Isaiah begins, “In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah.”

When is “that day”? The impending day of judgment on the earth. Oh my. A terrible day for those who’ve turned their backs on God.

A glorious day for those who’ve put their trust in God.

Beloved, that day is going to come as surely, swiftly, and with far more destructive force than any natural disaster or COVID – 19. But for God’s people, He promises peace in the eye of the storm. And He calls us to sing a song of praise simply because He is worthy of it.

Just sixteen words in this verse, but every one packed with hope. Every word. I’ll try not to wear you out with this, but seriously, every word matters. Look.

You… Isaiah 26:3

This is “the Lord” (CEV). He is only One who can make the promise that’s about to unfold.

If we look for lasting peace elsewhere, we won’t find it. If we think any government in the world can provide it, we are fooling ourselves. Only God. Only, only God.

…will… Isaiah 26:3

Not maybe, not probably, not shoulda, woulda, coulda. He will.

In fact, He “dost” (RSV). It’s a promise that’s already been fulfilled in him and by Him. “I know that everything God does will endure forever” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). “Forever” means eternity in both directions. All the way back and all the way forward. Beyond the parameters of time as we know it.

This is the kind of promise Eternal God has made to His people. I will.

Unfortunately, I make—and break—a dozen promises a day. “I’ll be right there.” “I’m almost done.” “I’ll get back to you soon.” I mean well. But I don’t always deliver. Soon becomes two hours later, two days later. Almost done is worthless until you reach done. When God says He will, He will. Such a deep comfort in knowing this to be true.

…keep… Isaiah 26:3

How I love being a kept woman when God is the One doing the keeping! He will “give” (NIRV) and “guard” (AMP), He will “preserve” (CJB) and “protect” (GW). To keep something of great value, we put it in the safest of places. Like a wedding band, circling a ring finger: close, personal, never out of sight.

This is what God does to keep us: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16). Right here. Touch. See.

…in… Isaiah 26:3

I know, I know. Crazy, to park even for two seconds on the word in. But in high school, in was the end-all, be-all. Everybody wanted to be part of the in crowd, (Sing it with me, if you know it: “I’m in with the in crowd. I go where the in crowd goes. I’m in with the in crowd. And I know what the in crowd knows…”)

Years later, I still want to be in: “in God’s sight” (Romans 2:13), “in God’s service” (1 Thessalonians 3:2), “in God’s love” (Jude 1:21) and “in God’s presence” (Hebrews 9:24).

Please, Lord, count us in.

…perfect… Isaiah 26:3

This word makes perfectionists twitch, but here’s what it actually means: “constant” (AMP), “true” (ERV), “complete” (EXB), and “whole” (MSG). It means finished. It means Thy will be done. It doesn’t mean we get it right; it means God gets it right.

“As for God, his way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31).And his perfect way leads, naturally, to…

…peace… Isaiah 26:3

Some translations make this word perfect by doubling it: “peace, peace” (EXB), “shalom shalom” (OJB). Like squaring a number. Peace to the second power.

“Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord (Isaiah 57:19).

Peace is what everyone wants and few can describe: “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

Exactly so. What is peace? Knowing we are in the center of God’s will. How can we be sure we’re there? “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will” (Acts 22:14). His sovereignty is how he keeps us in perfect peace.

Remember the saying? “God has this!” He still does.

…those… Isaiah 26:3

It’s not very personal sounding, but the fact is, those means us: His followers, His believers, His children, His own. That’s who rests in perfect peace.

…whose… Isaiah 26:3

It’s an ownership word, a possessive word. Those who know God’s peace. Those who have taken the next step—not with their feet, but with their heads.

…minds… Isaiah 26:3

True fact: my mind gets me in trouble. Yes, my heart belongs completely to God, but my mind sometimes wanders down the wrong path. No, not that direction. Not R-rated avenues. Or worse! Prideful places, mostly. Hoping to impress. Wanting to wow.

Left unchecked by the Holy Spirit, my mind can also drift into dark alleys where jealousy and envy lurk in the shadows, and self-pity sticks out its big foot to trip me.

Here’s God’s sure solution:

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2), and while you’re at it, God says, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds” (Deuteronomy 11:18). I study God’s Word and share with others so that we can learn what it means to fix his Word in our hearts and minds. When his life-giving Word is inside there, my thoughts have a safe place to land.

…are… Isaiah 26:3

Like the word will above, are sweeps away any sense of maybe.

…steadfast,… Isaiah 26:3

Outside of a Bible study, I could go a whole year and never use the word steadfast. It’s what writers call a 10-cent word. Not commonly used. We might say “steady” or “faithful.” But steadfast is more delicious.

A steadfast mind that’s “stayed on thee” (ASV) produces “sound thoughts” (CEB) that “cannot be changed” (GW). Now, that’s what I’m talking about. How can we have minds that don’t wander off, don’t wobble out of control? How, Lord?

…because… Isaiah 26:3

Here is the why, the how, the answer, the because.

This is the whole of the Christian life on the head of a nail, driven into the flesh of the One who lived and died and rose again, so we would believe and love and have faith.

…they… Isaiah 26:3

Goes with those, above. They is us. And this is what we gotta do.

…trust… Isaiah 26:3

There it is. The T word. It’s woven all through Scripture. If in my heart of hearts I would stay my mind on “trust” and repeat it over and over, again and again maybe I’d be more apt to reside there in my spirit. Maybe now and again I get it more and more and more right for all the times God has taught me to “write it on my heart”.

Trust is putting down my shield of defense and picking up God’s: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and He helps me” (Psalm 28:7).

Trust means letting God fight my battles: the battles in my mind, the battles in my flesh (Lord, we need a bigger sword!), and the battles in my heart.

And any looming pandemic that might sway us to run hard and fast AWAY from being wise, prudent and trusting God’s unchanging, faithful hand.

For those of us who are in the middle of trust issues, maybe this better is yet, the way in.

…in… Isaiah 26:3

It’s impossible to simply trust. You have to trust in something or Someone: “in you they trusted and were not put to shame” (Psalm 22:5).

Yes, even our tiny word in matters, because it leads us to the object of our sentence. (I can hear my eighth-grade English teacher celebrating). Everything that I have learned points to…

…you. Isaiah 26:3

Yes, YOU, Lord. You alone are: Trustworthy. Sure. Steadfast. Immovable.

Now, check this out: the last word of this verse is the same as the first word of this verse. You. God. The One who makes everything possible. He wraps this truth in his embrace and holds it all together for us.

So much truth in a mere sixteen words!

It took me almost sixteen hundred words to scratch the surface of just one sentence from God’s Word.

Wow, Lord.

Without even trying, I think I’ve committed this verse to heart. How about you? Give it a go.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:up

Now it’s your turn!! 😁

What is perfect peace?

What does it look like, feel like to you?

If you’ve been there, describe it for the rest of us.

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