The difference between a good book and a great book is that the writer could completely pull-in and immerse the readers into the plot. Yes, reading a great book produces anticipation, excitement, and eagerness to know how the story will end. An exceptional book will cause the reader to rearrange their priorities and to have many sleepless nights.
There are many genres of books categorized under Fiction or Nonfiction. With an endless array of books available, even the most discriminating reader can remain devoted to their endless choices of page-turners. Even so, there is a significant difference between reading and studying. Unless you desire to know an individual’s life story or learn alternate ways to live, or seek to improve yourself by gaining new skills, you are most likely reading for entertainment.
The category of Fiction causes us to embrace, “Something invented by the imagination or feigned-pretense” – Merriam-Webster. Fiction goes beyond the reality of pain, sorrows, and harshness in our lives. Prose is a form of written language that usually exhibits a natural flow of speech and grammatical structure. Fictional prose provides comfort by appearing to give the option of possessing a spectacular life. And many times, this is where we get in trouble. With the continual reading of make-believe stories, the line becomes blurred, and our desires soon escalate to chase after a fantasy lifestyle or tangible things based on desire.
Books are not the only venue that offers a fantasy side of life: Mind-altering substances, night-clubs, casinos, the party life, the failure to desire a job, extreme risk-taking, addiction to games, and doing absolutely nothing but living to have fun and good times, are out of sync with reality. This list is not all-inclusive but includes popular activities and lifestyles that prevail in 2020. Because these behaviors and habits have the potential for addiction, they are dangerous and destructive. In a short time, the individual ends up with a burned-out mind and body. Focusing on pleasure-seeking activities never has and never will give one the ability to live a peaceful and productive life.
Do we give up on having fun? We are supposed to incorporate fun into our lives. Even so, we should choose activities that enhance our level of optimal wellness. There is nothing better than having a good laugh or enjoying our favorite hobby, watching our sports team, and spending good times with friends and family, etc. God gifted us with the ability to have well-balanced lives. A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22.
Who among us loves to struggle? I would love for every day to be a peaceful day. And, I am still striving to reach this point in my spiritual walk with God: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, … James 1:2 NIV. Yes, I will be the first to admit, when the tsunami of trials and tribulations hits, I feel my optimism taking a downward turn. Then I begin to pray, but it is also the time that I begin to cry. I had to do some real soul-searching. Am I crying because of the hardship, or am I crying because I am overjoyed that Jehovah-Jireh will work it all out for His glory and His good?
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28.
From yesterday’s Devotional, The Decision to Have Peace, we realize that we must endure the process of change to have peace. And we do not get to choose which character trait, behavior, or habit that needs to change. Our character should reflect the Character of Christ. Relationships are based on God’s command to separate ourselves from unbelievers for a very good reason. It is the believer that will always have to compromise when we are unequally yoked. Unbelievers have no desire to have eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth. If the birthday celebration is held in the club, it does not matter that you will drink a non-alcoholic beverage. Does this scripture describe who we are? “‘Jesus replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37.
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV. Only the Lord of peace can provide us with the ability to live a faith-based and peaceful life, free from all burdens, anxieties, and worries. Our love, faith, trust, and obedience to God take us to a higher level in our spiritual walk. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:11.
The pursuit of peace requires active participation. The Bible is not a fictional book that we can casually read. The diligent study, commitment to memory, and applying the scriptures to our lives along with faith and obedience provides the foundation for spiritual transformation. Pursuing peace is getting rid of our worldly desires, and people, places, and things. Make a December resolution by developing a list of the who, what, and where you are willing to give up for God. Petition God to bless you with the gift of peace. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Loving God with everything we have enables us to enjoy the perfect peace that only God can give. Petitioning God by praying and asking Him to grant peace in your life (Human effort) gives God the “go-ahead” to unleash His power (Divine Intervention).
But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you, says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:1-3
God, we present our list of the people, places, and things that prevent us from obeying you and receiving the abundant gift of peace. We desire to serve you completely because we love you and acknowledge there is no other God but You. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer of petition for peace. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.