Thursday, April 18, 2013

Peace In The Midst Of Terror

As I sit here rereading this devotional for the day I am also listening to the memorial service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. I am mindful in listening while reading that there are some at this service who are rallying to keep going because that is all they know, and there are some who deeply recognize that even in the greatest of human tragedies that there is a God who is sovereign and loving and good, a God who gives peace to those who know Him and hope to those who look to His protection.

Peace is truly a gift from God, and Scripture tells us that He is that only source of true peace. This world has nothing to offer in regards to this true peace. Scripture tells us in John 16:33, “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.” The law, law enforcement, and judicial systems are given to protect us from those who don’t abide by the law, and our law enforcement officials will do their best to bring to justice those who perpetrate crimes on others such as happened Monday. But the law cannot change the heart, and it cannot prevent evil.

But for those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ and received His free gift of salvation there is the promise that God will change and conform their hearts, and that they can truly know His Peace even when everything else seems to be upside down.

Last night I had the privilege of teaching Romans 8:26-30 which includes the powerful encouragement that when stuff like happened this week happens and we might not even know how to pray, that God’s Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf and takes our burdens and concerns directly to Him. And even in this, we know from Scripture that God is One, and that God the Father already knows these things and, according to Psalm 139, He is intimately acquainted with all of our ways.

We also read in this section of Scripture the assurance that our God works all of this ugliness and everything else together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We read that from before we were born that God knew and planned for our eventual glorification in Christ and all that He accomplishes in between

And then there is verse 31 which we will start with next week. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Yes, I am hopeful that those who were responsible for the bombing will be brought to justice. But more than that, I am hopeful that as believers reach out to others that these others might also come to know that there is a God who loves them and who wants to give them a fullness of forgiveness and an eternity of glory and full and complete victory.
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (4/18)

Peace is my continual gift to you. It flows abundantly from My throne of grace. Just as the Israelites could not store up manna for the future but had to gather it daily, so it is with My Peace. The day-by-day collecting of manna kept My people aware of their dependence on Me. Similarly, I give you sufficient Peace for the present, when you come to me by prayer and petition with thanksgiving. If I gave you permanent Peace, independent of My Presence, you might fall into the trap of self-sufficiency. May that never be!

I have designed you to need Me moment by moment. As your awareness of your neediness increases, so does your realization of My abundant sufficiency. I can meet every one of your needs without draining My resources at all. Approach My throne of grace with bold confidence, receiving My Peace with a thankful heart.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much is he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’” The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little….Each one gathered as much as he needed. Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. Exodus 16:15-20

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 guide your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus….And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7, 19

Let us then approached the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

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