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A Peace that Surpasses All Understanding

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At some point in life we all experience anxiety in some form or other. I remember as a student worrying about upcoming tests and sporting events. At the time they seemed like the most important events in the world. No amount of study or preparation could relieve the anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. As I got older the worry associated with big tests or sporting events shifted to job opportunities, the health of family members and the birth of children. But it wasn't until I met Jesus that I realized that the all the worry, all the anxiety over these things couldn't change the outcome. Before, the worry would often build to seemingly unmanageable levels sometimes causing the inability to act. With Jesus, I now had a loving lord and savior who cared about these worries and assured me he would see me through. 

Sadly, Jesus is often not the first person I go to with worries and anxiety. It seems like it is human nature to seek advice from others or to even bare our problems alone before we seek God. We don't like to feel weak, and while it is a good thing to seek wise counsel from others, our first interaction on worry should always be the Lord. I have been blessed with peace and comfort in any number of worry inducing situations when I first go to God in prayer. When I labor over these same situations only later going to God I always come to the conclusion of why did I not take this to God first? Pride is so very hard to overcome. 

In Philippians 4:6-9, Paul states how we are to approach worries and anxieties.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by

prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request 

be known to God. And the peace of God,

which surpasses all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds

in Jesus Christ." Philippians 4:6-7

Paul speaks of the peace given by God that surpasses all understanding. I've seen this peace in the passing of my father-in-law several years ago. People who have not met Jesus are often dumbfounded when they see an acquaintance or friend experience a hardship and handle it with a sense of peace that doesn't make sense to them. I would be willing to say that it is that very peace that God gives us that attracts those who may have been dumbfounded. 

I know when something is bothering me if I take that worry to God it will be put into perspective. He will give the peace and comfort only he can. If I try to carry the burden alone it festers. It grows into something it never should have been. I pray that we would always seek God first in thanksgiving, praying for the worries that will arrive in life. We already know the outcome. 

 

 

Posted by Chris Taylor with 1 Comments

Victorious

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"O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?"

 1 Corinthians 15:55

There was blood everywhere. The ground was covered with dark, red blood. You could see it staining the rubble, the broken pieces of what was once an Egyptian church. This was the news the day after Palm Sunday. Two churches bombed, 44 killed. I have no frame of reference for this, but I'm imagining a unbound fear runs freely. I've heard Easter services are cancelled.

And I wondered about this victory

A few months ago, a different bomb went off in the lives of a family I know. A phone call told me a young man I cared about had died, an overdose the cause. There was an overwhelming anguish in my spirit. And then memories; he knew Jesus, he was baptized, he was loved. I told myself, "He is safe now."  And while I know there is victory, it's hard to say it. It's too early to see it.

It can take a long time for our hearts to catch up with our heads to catch up with our souls. Graciously, God is patient with us. We know Jesus has won. He has utterly vanquished the sting and permanency of death forever. We know this, and yet, death hurts us deeply. It's violent separation can be unbearable. 

It is for this very reason, this separation from our loving Creator God, that Christ died, crushing the eternal sting of death, giving us the victory to live in this day. That's the victory - with Christ, there is no more separation, there is no more death for those who call on him as savior and friend.

So while our hearts catch up with our heads and catch up with our souls, we can cry out, stand up to our fears, and move on in our grief, because Jesus Christ won. He is our Victory!

 

Posted by Janna Lynas with

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