Month: December 2016

We Wait Patiently

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Below is another blog post which started as a devotion in our church series Faith, Food, and Fitness. Once again, where you see “food” first mentioned below, it could instead be any substitute besides the Lord that you use to escape from anxiety—so it might be drinking too much, mindless TV binging, sensual daydreams, etc.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24-25

During the past several weeks we have experienced the season of advent. As we have attended holiday celebrations, we have (hopefully) experienced how much more this season is than just partying and stuffing our faces. During this season we anticipate the coming of our Lord Jesus. It is a time of hope….and of waiting. And as we wait we can reflect on how the Lord uses waiting to build patience into our character.

In today’s passage Paul is talking about present suffering and future glory. Through Jesus, God has done something wonderful, but it is not complete yet. Since all things are not the way they should be yet, it is easy to feel dissatisfied and impatient! And food can seem like such a quick easy fix for those bad feelings —I can feel better NOW. But that kind of hope is a hope that is seen and it is really no hope at all.

Can we just muster up our own will power to be free of quick fixes? No! We must rely on something outside of ourselves. It’s focusing on God and his power that will give us patience. Will we be perfectly patient each day? No. Will God give us the grace to change? Yes!

Be encouraged by Psalm 62:5 that points us to our source: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”

True Peace

I wrote the post below blog as a devotion in a series our church distributed called Faith, Food, and Fitness. The initial focus was on maintaining our weight during the holidays, since the average person will gain a pound or 2 during the holidays and then not lose it during the rest of the year. Anyway, where you see “food” first mentioned below, it could instead be any substitute besides the Lord that you use to escape from anxiety—-so it might be drinking too much, mindless TV binging, sensual daydreams, etc.

My Peace I Give You

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 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. John 14:25-27

Isn’t it strange that the holiday season where we are celebrating the man who is Prince of Peace can bring such anxiety? Is it due to being more concerned about pleasing people than to pleasing the Lord? Or is it caused by having a busy schedule, then feeling tired and giving into the temptation to anxiety? Whatever the exact reason, we don’t want to be pulled into trying to find peace “as the world gives.” Because this can very well include getting rid of the anxious feelings with….food.

In today’s verses Jesus talks of the Holy Spirit who the father will send; but thanks to the Lord we live after Jesus’ resurrection so the Father has sent us the Spirit! And that great Helper keeps reminding us of what Jesus has said in his Word. It is then and only then that we can experience a supernatural release for our hearts from being troubled and afraid.

Instead of food or any other worldly answer we may turn to what the Lord says. As we pray with thanks, we receive the promise that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phillippians 4:7).

So, Who’s the Bully?

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Galatians 6:1

I was enraged to learn that some Christian youths were bullying a young lady in their fellowship group. How dare they! How could Christians do that! Are they even saved?

I wondered why I was reacting so strongly…. then I began to remember something that happened years ago, when I was a teacher. While doing a grammar drill with my fifth graders, I made up drill sentences about fat people. Even though I was not picking on or thinking of any specific individuals, there really was sinful nastiness in my heart. If someone saw me or heard about what I did, I deserved to be rebuked. Would they have been enraged at me…how dare a Christian teacher do that! Or would they have restored me gently?

So, the bullies that I heard about did need to be called out. But the person calling out would need to do it with a certain gentleness that was meant to restore. Perhaps these young bullies were not even aware of the sin they were in…I know I was not aware of my sin when I uttered those grammar drill sentences about fat people, even though I should have known better.

I think these examples illustrate a major truth about rants against sin: the line between people we are enraged at and our own behavior can be a lot blurrier than we admit! How much we need the reminder to not give in to the temptation to erupt into a self-righteous rage and, instead, to restore with gentleness!