Shalom. May you know the best of God in the worst of times and relax in the joy of his saving grace.
Peace. A funny word and a funny condition when you think about it, we all want it but we tend to imagine it as the absence of things, noise, strife and busyness; yet we then surround and fill our lives with noise etc… and wonder why we don’t feel peace?
Jesus said – My peace I give you.
You’ve probably heard that and thought – that’s nice. But what does it really mean?
Well, I know what it doesn’t mean…
My hurriedness I give you; a pressure to fit too much into your day that leaves you pressured, frazzled and stressed.
You see, I think Jesus was inviting us into a lifestyle that centred our internal life and integrated our mind, will and body with the soul into an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Out of this space and place we find that our internal state remains more or less at peace as we trust and rest in God.
When Jesus was asleep in the bow of the boat during the storm (Matt 8) he was secure in his trust in God that he could make it to the other side. Even though the storm suggested otherwise, it didn’t affect Jesus’ peace, and this peace he spoke into that storm and caused it to settle and diminish.
What things cause your peace to get tossed overboard?
Are they valid? Are they real worries and concerns?
For the disciples the answer was YES.
But was the storm bigger than the promise God gives? Is the storm more powerful than God?
We need to see storms for what they are. Acknowledge the reality of the situation, but remember that God has better things in store and rest in him, trust his purpose and embrace his peace in the midst of the storm.
I hope that this week you retain his peace and grace and that is your response to whatever life throws your way.
Shalom. May you enjoy the time with others as we gather to worship together.
Worship is something both intensely private but profoundly communal. It’s a funny mix of tensions but that is true of our whole life isn’t it?
Because the reality is that events happen to, in, with and around me or you, yet we can have totally different reactions to the same thing. Sometimes that is determined by whether we are a spectator or a participant. As a spectator I can appreciate or empathize with someone, but won’t ‘know’ what it’s like it become an act of imagination. As a participant, I can appreciate what it means for me and identify on a deeper level with other participants, because we can understand what it is really like. It’s true that no one can say ‘I know just what you’re going through…”, because they aren’t you going through it; though if they’ve been through something similar we’re able to connect better.
That’s part of the reason Jesus came as a man. I find it easier to ‘connect’ with Jesus knowing that he comprehends what it’s like to be human. Yet, there is still that God aspect, that perfection that Christ challenges me to emulate, with the help of the Holy Spirit, as I follow Him.
Heb 10:14 says… he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. So apparently I’m perfect, and there’s a high probability you are too. But we’re being made holy. How do I know I’m being made holy? When I can meet with others, respond well and contribute to an atmosphere and attitude of holiness, when I can allow you to rub shoulders with me and not get irritated, when I can not only put up with others differing ways, but welcome the diversity and encourage Christ to be in you. How can you be holy? By doing the same.
Jesus invites us to… Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt 11:29-30 The Message)
When I’m at ease in my skin and at peace with you being in yours and Christ is in charge then holiness will start to flow.
Have a great week and be Holy…
I’ll see you next week. I’m in Tokoroa this Sunday
Shalom. Remember that all things work for good… even if it’s just a lesson learned.
What we learn is incredibly important because it informs and reinforces our belief systems. What we believe is often not always based on what we’ve been informed about.
E.g…. if I saw a dog walking towards me I would likely say hello and greet it warmly, because I’m not afraid of strange dogs, cautious and careful for sure. Someone else might freak out and think they’re being attacked.
Either option is valid and they could both be true, but if a dog approached you and you freaked out, the dog would too. Then it’s more likely to attack! Self fulfilling prophecy in some ways.
In other words, your belief system affects how you see the world and also affects how the world responds to you at times. If you react aggressively or come out swinging if you sense you’re being attacked, then chances are you will be.
A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Proverbs 15:1 NLT
If the world feels lonely at times or against you, often you’re the reason and the solution. Seek out learning and knowledge and grow in the understanding of who you are in God.
Remember God loves you just the way you are. But He refuses to leave you that way, He wants you to be just like Jesus.
Have a great week.
Shalom. Let God be your anchor in the storms of life, your harbour of security in the midst of strife.
They say life is what happens while you wait for your plans to work out. Well that’s been true this week for me. I’d planned my week out in advance and ensured that I had time to do all I thought needed to be done.
Then an old acquaintance died and I was asked to take the funeral. A very honoring and privileged thing to do. Saying goodbye to people on this planet till we meet again in eternity is never easy (note… the best gift you can ever give me is to ensure you’re in heaven with me, so get to know Jesus). In unexpectedand tragic circumstances it can be tumultuous. Taking the service can be taxing emotionally and physically. You want it to go as well as possible, to remember all you need to and in the order it should be done. To comfort those are grieving and to be God’s agent in flesh.
You can always say no but when you sense God says to it you can’t.
This is so true to many other things in life and is something I try to live by… God, do you want me to do this?
Then… do I want to do this?
Whatever life brings your way I pray you find the courage, strength and time to do it and do it well.
Have a great week.
Shalom. May you grasp the truth that you are loved… there is nothing you need to do… you simply are.
I’m constantly amazed at how much Jesus loves us and I’m constantly grateful for that. When I want to change something in myself or see the need to grow I’m reminded how difficult this is. A lot of the time it shouldn’t be, but it is. Why?
Because it’s not easy!
God loves you just the way you are. But He refuses to leave you that way, He wants you to be just like Jesus.
It’s not easy being just like Jesus. Often I don’t want to be like him… I’d rather be able to get angry and petty, to hold a grudge, to feel slighted, to be unforgiving, to gossip, to be human like the soaps on T.V.
But Jesus whispers to me a better way and I find myself inspired and encouraged to grow and grapple, to wrestle and reconcile, to be patient and caring, to respond with grace and mercy.
When I do, I find that these things rise up in me… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
It’s that last one that is often the key to my growth and change and I need to work through the others to reach it easier.
This week is the last week of our Prayer and Self Denial. I’d love to hear about your experience over this time.
May your week ahead be fun and joyful.