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Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

Thomas Jefferson gave us this bit of wisdom:

 https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/brevity.html

Note how the following authors demonstrate this most valuable of all talents:

  • “It is good people who make good places.”—Anna Sewell, Black Beauty
  • “Trials come to prove and improve us.”—St. Augustine
  • “Change always comes bearing gifts.”—Price Pritchett

Conciseness contributes to effectiveness, agreed?

In Romans 15:13, the Apostle Paul wrote a magnificent but concise blessing for the Christians in Rome. He brought together five key concepts of our faith—hope, joy, peace, trust, and power—in just thirty words or so, depending on the translation:

Whole books have been written to expound on each concept. But since this is a blog post, not a treatise, I’ll try to keep it short—and concise!

HOPE

Our Christian hope is not wishful thinking; it is confident reliance on the sacred certainties of our Heavenly Father.

Paul calls him our God of hope because of his glorious attributes manifested in our lives—his omnipotent power, gracious mercy, continual patience, lavish kindness, and absolute reliability—to name a few.

And with statements of faith we can bolster our hope—statements such as these:

  • “God is kind and good, wise and powerful. All his attributes are always at work for my benefit.”
  • “God is accomplishing purpose in these circumstances, just as he always does.”
  • “He will bring me through this situation, and I’ll be a better person for it.”

JOY

Joy is not the absence of all misery and the presence of every whim; joy is found in the presence of God.

Sound silly? Talk to an old saint who has walked with Jesus many years—who’s felt the Lord’s presence surrounding him, heard God’s whispers in his heart, and experienced his guidance and provision again and again. 

This saint will tell you: the pleasures of this life don’t begin to compare to the soul-delight of intimacy with God.

PEACE

Peace is not found in circumstances; it’s found in a Person, the Prince of Peace. The better we know him, the better we know peace.

Tension decreases as we affirm:

  • He is completely trustworthy.
  • He knows everything; he’s in control of everything.
  • He takes pleasure in blessing us with all that we need.
  • He is with us to comfort, strengthen, and encourage.
  • Even in the midst of difficulty, we can experience his peace. In fact, it’s a promise.

TRUST

It’s God’s part to work all things for good; it’s our part to trust.

The question becomes, What can I do to grow in trust?

The answer: express gratitude. “The foremost quality of a trusting disciple is gratefulness”[1]

So thank God, even in the midst of frustration, disappointment, heartache, and pain. “There’s a good God leading, working all things into good. It is safe to trust”[2]!

POWER

The power to thrive does not come from within ourselves; it comes from the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do circumstances appear impossible to rectify? Think on the power of God. He scatters the stars in space. He breathes life into every creature. He provides everything necessary to sustain our little planet.

It’s that kind of absolute, unlimited power that will see each of us through every crisis until we’re home with him.

And so, in one concise verse Paul majestically highlights five pillars of the abundant life.

When we embrace the hope, joy, and peace that God offers, when we trust in him with expectancy and resolve, when we pray for his power to be released in and through us, our lives and outlook will become radiant and alive[3]!

Doesn’t that sound like a glorious way to live?

Scriptures for further reflection:

Hope–Psalm 145:8-9; Daniel 2:20; John 5:17; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:28; James 1:2-4

Joy–Psalm 16:11; Psalm 71:5-8

Peace–Deuteronomy 32:4; 1 John 3:20b; Jeremiah 31:3; Philippians 4:19; Deuteronomy 31:8; Isaiah 40:29-31; Philippians 4:6-7

Trust–Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 9:10; 28:7; 112:7; Colossians 2:7; Psalm 110:4-5; 1 Peter 1:6-7

Power of the Holy Spirit–1 Corinthians 8:6; Psalm 8:3; Job 12:10; Psalm 46:1

Notes


[1] Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, 24.

[2] Ann Voskamp, 1000 Gifts, 155.

[3] The last clause is based on Touchstone’s revised version (1995) of the J. B. Phillips’ translation for Romans 15:13.

Art & photo credits: http://www.azquotes.com; http://www.heartlight.org; http://www.canva.com; http://www.pxhere.com; http://www.dailyverses.net; http://www.rawpixel.com; http://www.canva.com; http://www.pxhere.com.

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Northern Cardinal

 

For several weeks this spring we enjoyed a special visitor to our home, a male cardinal.

At least once each day he perched on the window sill above our front door.  His head would cock from side to side as he considered his reflection in the glass. Then he would flutter upwards, sometimes as high as two feet or so, his wings batting against the window.

 

DSCF9641

 

No doubt he thought the reflection was another cardinal, and he wasn’t about to allow an interloper to move in on his territory!

Every morning I heard his fluttering wings against the glass and stood to watch his proprietary dance.

What if he hurts himself, I thought. Too bad I can’t communicate with the little guy, and let him know his fight for territory is unnecessary.

 M-m-m-m.

We humans ARE capable of receiving communication.  And God has graciously given us his Word–full of infallible wisdom–so we don’t waste time and energy on worthless pursuits.

Too often, though, I am like that little cardinal, fluttering my wings in a frenzy of self-gratification, or questions that have no answers, or worthless contemplation of what ifs.  The results are as unproductive and meaningless as territorial rituals with a nonexistent rival.

Unlike that red bird, I can understand instruction, but sometimes I fail to pay attention.

It’s not as if God hasn’t clearly explained through many scriptures the way to peace and contentment. Some are embarrassingly familiar:

Do not fret…Trust in the Lord and do good…Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this (Psalm 37:1-5).  [So, it boils down to this:  Am I going to believe that God will do what he says?  Am I going to lean into him and trust?]

“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  [That principle applies to gifts of time and effort as well as monetary.  And just how often does the giver experience more blessing than the receiver?  Almost always!]

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and you minds in Christi Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). [Note to self:  Focus on your all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God.  He is bigger than any problem, any need.]

Instead of beating my wings in a flutter-frenzy, I want to take inspiration from another activity cardinals are known for:  singing!

I lift my voice in praise to you, my God and King!

Your majesty and greatness are beyond comprehension,

yet you care for me.

You extend your mercy to forgive,

your grace to provide,

your wisdom to direct,

your strength to uphold.

Everything you do is right.

May my heart be steadfast

to trust you and follow your Word.

Turn my heart toward your ways

and away from worthless pursuits.

If I’m serving and singing, I won’t have time for flutter-frenzies!

(Photo credits: http://www.planetofbirds.com; http://www.coldhandswarmearth.blogspot.com.)

 

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The First Course:

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

(G. K. Chesterton — 1874-1936. Columnist and author extraordinaire;  called the best writer of the twentieth century.)

The Second Course:

“The unthankful heart…discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!”

(Henry Ward Beecher — 1813-1887.   Congregationalist minister, known for his support of the abolition of slavery.)

The Third Course:

“Thanksgiving gives effect to prayer, and frees from anxious carefulness by making all God’s dealings matter for praise, not merely for resignation, much less murmuring. Peace is the companion of thanksgiving.”

(Author Unknown – Quoted in Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary on the Whole Bible, Philippians 4:6.)

May wonders and mercies surround you this Thanksgiving Day, bringing you peace and happiness!

(photo credit:  www.blog.familywize.org)

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