where i’m finding peace…
Remember when I said I’m not good about reading and studying the Bible? It’s amazing what can happen when you hit the point of utter desperation. Experiencing a kind of hunger for something… anything to bring peace. The Word is what is doing that very thing for me right now. Yea, God! Here’s some of where I’m feasting…
I’ve been reading a lot in Daniel 9. Daniel’s prayer on behalf of his people and Israel. The parallels are incredible.
“O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. “O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city—the city that bears your name—lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. “O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.” Daniel 9:17-19
We are not promised an easy road as Christians. In fact, we are promised hardship, suffering and plain old crappy times. The books of James and 1 Peter are basically devoted to showing that. Hard times are inevitably around the corner for all of us and for some of us, smacking us in the face right now. It’s nice to know there’s a “guide” to get us through, huh? and that we’re not the first ones to experience the struggle and suffering. Oh and it could always be worse, right?
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
I’m learning that my words carry a heavy weight and can have lasting consequences. As if I didn’t already know, right? But I’ve been reminded of how to use my words to best glorify and not cause harm. To encourage healthy conversation rather than gossip. To encourage speaking truth in Love rather than out of anger and bitterness. It’s hard, but required.
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and saltwater flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” James 3:9-12
Things to pray for:
- Church unity and future direction
- A spirit and desire for prayer and unity of among our staff, perseverence
- Leadership decisions, wisdom and boldness
- My own freedom from the bondage of pride and insecurity
- My brother (alcoholism/DUI sentencing)
- Cox Family / Others Involved