Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Thursday, December 18, 2014
"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Peace is one of the last things that Christ left His disciples before ascending to heaven. His peace is a position. Worldly peace is the absence of strife, fear, war, doubt, worry, etc. That peace cannot totally exist.
All throughout His earthly ministry Jesus faced opposition from rulers, religious leaders and people who did not agree with His message. Yet, Jesus was always at peace.
Before I became born-again, peace was the one thing i wanted most in my life. No matter the day, hour or minute I was in a state of rage. Until...I cried out unto the Lord to heal me and take away the anger. Now I had peace within me. I was in a place of peace.
All during the church age men and women of the faith faced life and death situations in which they were asked to renounce Jesus as the Messiah or face death. In fact the early church, because of persecution, was forced to flee their hometowns and in doing so took the gospel message to other cities and towns thereby spreading the gospel. What if they had simply chosen to bow down to the pressure and stop telling the world about Jesus?
I marvel at the feeling of exhilaration I get when telling someone about Jesus or answering questions about my faith. A settled peace comes upon me because, this is what I want to do. Thinking on it from that angle, this being what I want to do, now I see why Jesus was so at peace.
God's word provides me with great comfort because there are no mysteries. If the Almighty says something is going to happen, well guess what? It is going to happen.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor the son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
WOW!!! I could end it there. G O D I S F A I T H F U L
There a days when I struggle in my flesh to find peace in a world that does not know peace. But, my inner man trusts in the One True God. David sought the LORD when the Amalekites raided their village and took the families of the soldiers captive. Despite David's own men wanting to stone him.
First Samuel 30:6 tells me "David encouraged himself in the LORD."
The world looks at Christians as divisive and uncooperative. And that's ok. We are set apart from the people and ideals of the world that go against biblical cannon. Yet, the peace of God, flows through those who are called His own. My souls longs to be in His permanent presence and when that day comes i shall finally understand the peace that surpasses all understanding and keeps my mind and heart in Christ Jesus.
The last four days have like a roller coaster ride. Unfortunately, I don't like roller coasters. Can you imagine how I feel?
First Peter 5:8 'Be sober, be vigilant; because your advesary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.'
This scripture has been at the forefront of my mind lately because I have been battling my flesh and at times the word of God.
You may be thinking "Why is there a picture of an empty chair?" "What does it represent?"
Two very good questions. I shall go on.
On the second sunday of every month a group of people from my church go to a local nursing and visit some of the residents. Actually, this is a ministry we have had for several years. Whereas before we would go into the nursing home and have a short service (we would sing a few songs and give a message.) But now we go from room to room and speak with those who will have us and talk about whatever they would like to talk about. This particular sunday i wanted to visit a lady whom we have not seen for almost three months. Ms. Eileen, the resident in question had not been feeling well since October. During our visit then she was not feeling well and stayed in her room to rest up a bit and did not want visitors. No problem. I was hopeful that we would see her in November. Fast forward to November and Ms. Eileen is feeling even more under the weather and did not come out her room all that much in the preceeding weeks. There is some worry on my part but not a great deal. When we first started going room to room and talking with the residents Ms. Eileen would always be sitting in the chair above waiting for us to get off the elevator happily awaiting to hear about days (in between visits) and us hers. Most of the time we talked about families and church and general world events.
If i remember correctly, August, no September, I had the chance to ask her about her eternal salvation and share the gospel message. Ms. Eileen assured me that she was a born-again believer in Jesus and I was happy to hear that.
This past Sunday I found out from lady who lived in the same area with Ms. Eileen, that she had passed away a few days prior to our return. My heart sank a little and I found it difficult to move. I just blankly stared ahead and mumbled "thank you." From that moment the intensity of the war increased. Satan tried to convince me she was not born-again. He told me that i was wasting my time coming to the nursing home and reaching out to people who were all but forgotten about, by their own families.
Silently I prayed and I asked God to comfort her family and help them find peace in all of this. Ms. Eileen had no children of her own but she talked about other kids within her family and how she loved them as her own. She loved talking about life and her friends her in the nursing home with her and how they enjoyed their "golden years" together. There was no sorrow in her voice but an acceptance. Ms. Eileen did not live bitterly. Several times we would pray for her family, friends, sister and even the staff at the nursing home. Her thoughts were never about herself and the only time she asked for prayer was for some pain she was having in her back.
I fought back some tears because we still had many residents to visit and I did not want to be in a daze. It was hard to accept her passing, but I know she did not suffer. For the next 40 minutes we continued on with the Lord's work and Satan remained steadfast while trying to get me off track.
Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:16
My faith in God will see me through these next few days and subsequent visits to the nursing home.
I cannot let anyone or anything deter me from what He has commissioned me to do. It is God who searches and knows the heart of everyone. God knows its intricacies way better than I ever will. All I can do is remain steadfast in the Lord, and remember that the war we fight is for the eternal souls of everyone we come in contact with.
I look forward to seeing whom God will place in the chair next.
(See you in part 2)
Friday, December 12, 2014
I stayed at a friends house last night and his mother and I got to talking during a commercial break while watching The Big Bang Theory.
Celeste told me about an interview she caught a few minutes of on a show. The person being interviewed was Dolores Hart a former actress who gave up the glitz and glamor of Hollywood to become a nun.
Ms. Hart was asked a question about evil. Celeste, said her response stuck with her because she thought it was 'thought provoking'.
Ms. Hart said "Evil, is the absence of love."
I paused upon hearing this and found it to be 'thought provoking' indeed.
How true. Because of sin in the heart of man, evil will always win out...unless the love of God breaks through. It is the love of God displayed on the Cross of Calvary that can change us. In a way i agree with Ms. Hart's statement. But, i would say "Sin, is the absence of love, which results in evil acts."