Righteous Longing — He is the only Peace

righteousThis Advent season I have found my heart particularly desirous of His coming. My heart longs for errant thinking and behavior to be made right; for the bitter/rigid heart to be made light; the heart that is low to be lifted up; and the heart that is haughty to be brought to humility. I long to see the Kingdom of my God active and alive in this world! I long to see peace and love shine brightly within the Body of Christ.

I am one of those people that has to shut my brain down at night in order to sleep well. I don’t worry about things, but I am always thinking about the best ways to accomplish what is on my plate the next day; or thinking of a solution to an issue that one of our missionaries is having. But the last couple of weeks I have found that my mind has only been thinking of what needs to happen in order for there to be honesty, integrity and truth at the forefront in this world. God has answered me so clearly – it is His presence and His way that will make things right.

As a Christ follower, I am convicted that my desire should be for Him to be manifest in every situation rather than desiring for the situation to change. I should be pining away for Him in the midst of it all, because He is the one who is my Keeper. I was reminded that when I started in this new role Lloyd and I had to travel across East Africa in 9 weeks – and in that time we took 13 flights!! Across the ocean, across Africa — and we did not have one incident! He is our keeper – our caretaker! He was with us and all was well.

Further, as a Christ follower, I am convicted that I must see every circumstance as His will. That is a difficult one when things are horribly unjust and painful; but, as I endeavor to have the mind of Christ, have thoughts that are in unity with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); He makes it so. I don’t know, nor do I need to know, what God is doing in hard circumstances; but I am assured that nothing can happen in this world that does not pass through His hand. So, as I commit to seek His presence – I will not only know that He will care for me – but that He is working things out for my good and for His glory.

Lastly, I am reminded that we are not yet living in the new heaven and the new earth. In other words — living down here we have to contend with the enemy’s own form of crazy! Satan is loose, he is active, and he is very dangerous. His actions are a terrible distraction for us. Satan uses wickedness and hatred to cause us to focus on a particular situation in order that he might cause us to take our eyes off of our Lord! As a real life example, he is using the media to lull us into a belief that hate, brutality, racism, sexual immorality, greed, and MUCH MORE – or what this world has to offer. We do not have to accept that! We can believe what God has said — He Reigns! We don’t have to fight for holiness — we just have to live in holiness. We must commune and fellowship with God every dayI We must make the choice to serve Him and to live His way. He is speaking to our hearts and guiding us – but we must make the choice to listen.

I know that the troubles of today can consume our thoughts; I too want to see things set right. But I have the GOD sense to know that unless God enters in to a situation, it will never be made right.We can never be tricked into forgetting that our war is not with one another, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness — against our enemy, Satan, and all his demons.  We must remember always that our battle gear is spiritual and is meant to tear down Satan’s work and to bring about in the world lives of obedience –  make disciples.  So — my heart longs for Him — for Him to be present in the current situation — for His will to be carried out even if in doing so I have to experience pain. This world will never know what justice looks like until He is invited in to the process. Lord, have mercy on us all.

At night my soul longs for You, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭26‬:‭9‬)

Living Like an Overcomer

OvercomerNo matter what is happening in this broken world, I am an overcomer. So many things in the last few months have happened to make my heart heavy, sad, broken — it can be difficult to muster the strength to hold on to joy and peace. But — I have chosen to hold on to joy and peace. As believers in Christ the adversity, grief, heartache, woe and injustice that we experience is to be expected. We are not citizens of in this earthly realm; our home is in heaven – we are foreigners here, aliens on a journey. It would stand to reason that we will experience enmity, bigotry, bias, hate. The world will not embrace us nor will its systems treat us with fairness.Sadly, many of us, who are citizens of heaven, have forgotten our place and are treating other citizens of heaven in ways that we should not — but I digress.

As we grieve the things that happen to us on this earth, we can rejoice that we are not alone nor or we forsaken! We have a great High Priest who is acquainted with the troubles that we face. He is limitless in His mercy and grace and He invites us to cast our cares upon Him. We are His chosen children – He loves us and wants what is best for us. You see, the world wants us to believe that all is lost, that our case is hopeless, that the battles will never end, that we are less than deserving of a peaceful life. But God has told us over and over again in His word that this is simply not true. We will overcome!

We can hold on to joy — because our hope does not lie in the things of this world or in the systems of this world – but in He who cannot and will not fail; in He who loves truly and perfectly; in He who is our all! Much like those three Hebrew boys who were in the burning furnace, we have to make the choice to believe that there is One that sees us, hears us and will deliver us in His own perfect time. We have to choose to embrace His truth – He is our peace.

Yes, it is painful; it is unfair; it is discouraging — all of it feels so wrong; but don’t lose sight of the truth that it is not contrary to what our Lord has spoken to us. He has foretold that the trials would come; but more than that He has revealed a future victory that no world system will be able to snatch from us. The troubles of this world can touch my flesh and they can prick my heart, but I will not allow them to swallow my heart and He will not let them cover my soul in darkness. I am very grateful that my life is filled with friendships that include people of all races, colors, religious backgrounds – I am blessed to have good friends across the color spectrum. But even if no one down here values me, I know who made me and I know He adores me. Man can hold me in disdain, but He is exalting me as His called out one. I am an overcomer — and I intend to live like it. Make the choice to believe His truths no matter what is happening around you so that you can experience his peace that man cannot understand. The one who dwells within you is greater than any issue that you might face. Don’t lose heart – in the end, you will win!  Yes! In the end He will reign!

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭33‬)