Peace

Screenshot 2020-03-26 at 11.45.39 AM“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” – John 14:27

Hey March…how about a mulligan?

It’s astonishing how much our world has changed in a matter of weeks. February seems like lifetimes ago. Peace sounds really good right about now.

We typically think of peace as the absence of turmoil, strife, and suffering. But that’s not the peace Jesus is talking about.

The peace Jesus offers us is the ability to experience peace in the midst of turmoil, strife, and suffering. It is a peace that surpasses human understanding. It is a peace this world cannot offer because nothing in this world has defeated sin and death. Only Jesus has. It is a peace only the risen Christ can offer.

It is worth noting that when Jesus spoke these words to the disciples, it was after the Last Supper and after Jesus washed his disciples feet. Jesus spoke these words hours before he was crucified. Jesus was modeling the peace he was offering.

Finally, it should be noted that the peace Jesus offers is not a feeling. It is a choice. Jesus commands “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” These are imperatives in the Greek. He orders us to not be troubled in troubling times, and not to be afraid in fearful times. How can we do that? We have to choose the peace Jesus offers.

I am glad this is the peace Jesus offers us because the world I live in has more than its share of turmoil, strife, and suffering.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

Thank you Jesus!

Be Strong and Courageous – I Love This Verse

Screenshot 2020-03-24 at 4.30.57 PM“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” – Joshua 1:9

We love verses like this. It is so very comforting in an anxiety-ridden uncertain world like our’s. But when we hear and see verses like this in the context of all this uncertainty and frightening times, well…it sounds hollow.

I like what this verse promises, but I am not sure how it applies to a world that is as scary and uncertain as our world.

If you’re like that you’re not alone. So, let’s think about why the promise of Joshua 1:9 is true and why it is a game changer.

  1. The truth of this verse is life-changing. When we know that God is with us that there is nothing in the created world that can separate us from the love of God – now that, that is a game changer
  2. The verse has to be read in context in order to gain an understanding of it

This verse does not promises we can go wherever we want and do whatever we want because God’s got our back. The verse right before tells us the context in which we can stand with confidence and courage:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful” – Joshua 1:8

You see that? When we live and act in accordance to God’s book. That’s the criteria. That’s the context. It is when we live according to God’s will that we can stand firm and be confident and courageous even in the midst of uncertainty and anxiety because God is with us.

So, during this time of staying home in order to stay safe, get into God’s word. I mean, you’ve got the time…right?

P.S. – if you’re going to read God’s word, don’t start in the Old Testament. Start with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

  • Read one chapter a day and write down what jumps out at you
  • Write and think about why that particular verse or word made an impression on you
  • Finally, write what God is asking you to do based on what God showed you in his word

In All Things More than Conquerors

Screenshot 2020-03-23 at 8.28.33 PM“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” – Romans 8:37.

In all things…

I like the sound of that. But you may be surprised by what all includes. But I hope your surprise leads to even greater joy and greater peace.

In all things…this certainly includes the Covid-19 pandemic. But that’s not why I find great joy and peace. It certainly includes that, but there is so much more.

Paul tells us that “in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” in verse 37 then Paul describes what he had in mind when he said “all things” in verses 38-39.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in call creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Did you notice the first thing that Paul mentions?

Death.

This is a bad word to our world. But it need not be for Christ-followers.

Because God knew that we would all die a physical death, he provides us with a Savior to give us eternal salvation. Death is as normal as life. Death happens to all of us. But to Christ-followers death is not the end. It is merely the gateway to eternal life with the risen Christ. Death is akin to a comma in a story – there is so much more to come.

So what if death is something we no longer fear? How would that impact our lives now? How much more joy and peace would we experience on a daily basis, knowing that each day is a gift from God for us to enjoy God’s goodness and grace because absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God?

I have no death-wish, but I am not afraid of dying. I will do my part to do God’s bidding while I am here, and I will do my part to steward the health and life God has given me. But death doesn’t scare me. Covid-19 got nothing on God’s grace and goodness!

In all things…Yes, even death, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Doesn’t that make you feel better already?