From Grief to Joy

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I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Jesus (John 16:33)

What “things” is Jesus talking about–that he told them?


Christ had just shared the news that he was soon to be betrayed and arrested, falsely accused and convicted, and then brutally executed. Furthermore, as these events unfolded, most everyone listening to this unwelcome monologue would run for their lives.

Yet He told them these things so that they could have peace.

Peace!?


Absolute worst case scenarios don’t usually include serenity.
But Jesus knew the WHOLE story: 72 hours later He would be alive again and the disciples’ grief would turn to joy.

It’s likely you’re already familiar with the story, so I’ll get to the point.

Isolation is cured by authentic community.

The disciples were cowering behind locked doors for fear of arrest, until the risen Christ Himself came knocking. Isolation changed to authentic community the second someone turned the bolt!

Once united, these former frightful believers in Christ soon turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)!

I bet, like me, you’ve experienced everything from rock bottom grief to over the moon joy. Here’s the good news: Christ said one day it will ALL be joy,
because the Prince of Peace overcame the world and started the most authentic community EVER!

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

Mother Teresa

It Will Keep

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

People who’ve spent time in submarines, deep under the surface of the ocean, speak of a “sea cushion.” Below a certain depth, the ocean is as smooth as glass–no matter what happens overhead.

This illustration leads me to ponder the unshakable peace that can be found in God’s holiest servants. Each of us can probably think of a believer who trusted God and remained faithful to Him through the most perilous of circumstances. Which begs the question: How does one rest in God while the storm rages?

Rest is not a hallowed feeling that comes over us in church; it is the repose of a heart set deep in God.

Drummond

That’s it! The life that is hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:1-3).

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

This reminds me of a godly woman who used to live in my little town. She was twice widowed and mostly confined to a wheelchair, yet had the sweetest Christian spirit! Most days, she never ventured outside her home, but friends and neighbors still lined up to see her or called her on the phone. People were drawn to this friend of God who had the peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7).

One day, I was visiting with Ms. Frieda, as we called her, when her phone rang. However, she continued to speak with me as if nothing was happening. As the phone continued to ring, I said, “Go ahead and answer, Ms. Frieda, I’ll wait.” But she continued to ignore it and said the most amazing three words: “It will keep.”

Today, no matter the disturbance on the surface, may we rest under the sea cushion of Christ. And despite the inevitable distractions, may we respond like Ms. Frieda.

It will keep.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/13/it-will-keep/

Peace that Isn’t Pitiful

body of water
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“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Have you ever attempted to bring peace to a difficult situation and failed?

This happened to me once with a room full of squirming kindergarteners.

I was a brand new elementary music teacher determined to prove my worth.  Those little guys didn’t know who they were dealing with!  Man, was I wrong.

I attempted to quiet down the class room using a call back:  “Tootsie Roll. Lollipop.  I was talking now I’ll stop.”  The children were supposed to repeat after me, ONCE, and then get quiet.  The trouble was, several little tykes wanted to be the last one standing.  So they just kept saying it over and over.

I spoke peace, but peace did not prevail.

Jesus, however, has a better track record.  He not only speaks peace to a situation, He creates it.  Awakened once in the back of a boat during a fierce storm, he told the wind to stop and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”  And the wind died down completely and there was a miraculous calm (Mark 4:39).

The application here is obvious.  If the Prince of Peace speaks calm to your situation, He actually has the power to make it happen.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

Peace That Isn’t Pitiful – Part Two

For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7

I’ll just throw this out there: I come from a family of worrywarts.
My dad was a floor pacer, my mom a hand wringer, and my three brothers and I followed suit.

Through the years, one could have easily surmised when I was most stressed; hopeful scripture verses were taped to almost every flat surface!

Here are a two of my all time favorites:

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.

Psalm 94:19

There was a time in my life–during grad school–when I could have recited these two verses if woken from a deep sleep at gun point!

But these days, as a middle-aged fussbudget, I’ve learned to turn down the fear faucet. There’s still a drip…drip, but nothing like it used to be.

The turning point came one day when the opening words of 2 Timothy 1:7 finally sunk in: “God hath not given us a spirit of fear.”

You caught it too, I bet. God doesn’t do fear.

He is never afraid, and he doesn’t cause us to be either. God is a peace monger, pure and simple.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Jesus – John 14:27

So, the next time you feel powerless, unloved, or out of your mind, please remember this: it’s not coming from God.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/08/peace-that-isnt-pitiful-part-two/

To read “Peace That Isn’t Pitiful – Part One,” click the link below.

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/davidsdailydose.org/244

The Miracle in the Rain

“I will be glad and rejoice in Your love,
for You saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.” Psalm 30:7

It was raining steadily as dozens of cars crept through the student drop-off line at my school. Some students prepared for the weather, wearing rubber boots and carrying umbrellas, but others did not. One little girl, in particular, was reluctant to get out of the car in just her tee-shirt and shorts. From the school doorway, I could see her and dad going back and forth.  Finally, I saw him say, “Get OUT of the CAR!”
The dejected youngster exited slowly and began to make her way down the stairs to the building below–head down and arms folded. By the time she reached the door, she was soaked, her clothes polka-dotted with rain. I said, “Good morning, young lady!” But it was too late; she promptly burst into tears.

Several children waiting to go into the building noticed the commotion. Turning to look in unison, they seemed about to take a step back. But then, the most amazing thing happened. One child stepped forward, and then another, and another. The drenched and distraught 2nd grader and I were soon surrounded by smiling students, one of whom exclaimed, “Group Hug!” Quickly, everyone encircled the two of us in a tight ball, frozen in place for a good five seconds.

When everyone let go, a miracle had occurred! The sopping wet youngster was no longer sobbing. She dabbed her eyes with a tissue, offered by another student, and chose to face the day.

As a Christian, it is comforting to believe God knows the troubles of my soul and sees the pouring “rain” on this life’s journey. He is a God of love who helps us love one another. A group of children and a little wet friend just reminded me of this.

black and white clear cool dew
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A Little Girl and God

smiling girl sitting top of vehicle
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Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14

My wife and I used to teach Sunday School at a shelter for abused, neglected, or abandoned children. One particular morning we encountered a sparkly eyed five-year old with a perpetual grin.  When we started the Bible story, about Jesus and the little children, she seemed particularly attentive. So I asked her, “Have you heard about Jesus?” She said no. Still sensing a connection, I gently probed, “Have you heard about God?” “Oh, I know God,” she said. “We take naps together!”

I said something like, “Oh, you do?!” and then continued with the story. But the rest of the day I tried to wrap my mind around what this sweet little girl said about God–“We take naps together!” I pictured a home, chaotic and out of control; a prison where a frightened little girl hid in her room to escape the negligent adults who were supposed to be her caregivers. She’s hiding in the closet (or maybe under the bed) sobbing uncontrollably, but then God Himself comes and comforts her until she falls asleep. And THIS is what she calls “taking naps with God.”

The miracle of God’s little slumber party friend was still on my heart when I said my prayers that evening. I started by thanking Him for looking out for her and for letting me in on the secret. But then, I just couldn’t hold it:

“God, do you take naps with big people?”

Peace that Isn’t Pitiful

body of water
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you  I do not give as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

Have you ever attempted to bring peace to a difficult situation and failed?

This happened to me once with a room full of squirming kindergarteners.

I was a brand new elementary music teacher determined to prove my worth.  Those little guys didn’t know who they were dealing with!  Man, was I wrong.

I attempted to quiet down the class room using a call back:  “Tootsie Roll. Lollipop.  I was talking now I’ll stop.”  The children were supposed to repeat after me, ONCE, and then get quiet.  The trouble was, several little tykes wanted to be the last one standing.  So they just kept saying it over and over.

I spoke peace, but peace did not prevail.

Jesus, however, has a better track record.  He not only speaks peace to a situation, He creates it.  Awakened once in the back of a boat during a fierce storm, he told the wind to stop and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!”  And the wind died down completely and there was a miraculous calm (Mark 4:39).

The application here is obvious.  If the Prince of Peace speaks calm to your situation, He actually has the power to make it happen.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3