God is for you!

What worries you? What anxieties run through your mind at night? What fear keeps you awake, rehearsing a way to avoid it? What unknown do you dread? You long for sleep as an escape from your anxious thoughts, yet it evades you. Your mind will not quiet. You toss, you turn, you fear, you worry, you doubt, you cry to God for relief, you don’t know what to do, you wonder if God even cares.

Well, pay attention. In the midst of all you don’t know, know this: God is for you. God is cheering you on toward a good finish. The many fears and worries that threaten your peace and security will not interfere with God’s power and desire to bring good to your life. These fretful unknowns are your enemy, they bind you with anxiety. King David, held captive by a literal enemy, said, “This I know, that God is for me, in God I trust; I am not afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me.” Psalm 56:9,11

God is for you, trust God’s good intention and ability to cause all your enemies to retreat. Let this truth settle your mind. …and the peace of God, which passes all understanding shall rule your heart and your mind. Philippians 4:7

With you on the journey,

Debby

Converting war to peace

Elisha’s protecting army

Boy, that Elisha, what a piece of work! He makes iron float, knows the secret plans of Israel’s enemy and chariots of fire protect him. God gives him knowledge of the enemy’s plan to raid Israel and he warns them so that the attack is averted. There is no bloodshed. He is a man of peace. (2 Kings 6)

When the enemy King learns that it is Elisha who is ruining his plans to destroy Israel, he sends an army to seize the prophet. Ah, but Elisha is not afraid of their number because he has eyes to see God’s army protecting him and the other prophets.

By miracles Elisha leads the ‘blinded’ enemy army to Israel’s headquarters. When the King of Israel wants to kill them, Elisha says, “No. Give them a great feast.” So they treat the captured army like royalty. At the party’s conclusion, the enemy army returns to Aram, their king and never attacks Israel again.

Elisha sounds like Jesus. “Turn the other cheek, bless those who curse you, pray for your enemies.” Such a strategy makes no sense in our world; but God’s ways are so different than mankind’s. Acting this way would put us at such risk. Reason cautions, “don’t do that, can’t do that, you are too precious and important.”

Today, let’s practice this, let’s participate in God’s crazy strategy for living. Let’s pray for our competition, bless the one who cuts us off in traffic, sacrifice our interest to serve our neighbor, our co-worker, our spouse or children.  I trust such behavior, practiced by a large community, would convert war to peace. God would not have modeled it, if it were not the case.

Your call to liberate the world

image from www.acus.orgDear Elle,

I continue to think about Jesus’ mission statement. I realize I am speaking the obvious, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, consider again – It is Jesus’ intention to reestablish justice in this world.  He meant it when he said, “I have come to let the oppressed go free.”

With the fall came unhealthy fear; and such fear requires vigilance and self-protection. Fear makes you greedy and causes you to live from a place of deprivation. There may not be enough to go around so you must provide for yourself, you must make sure you are not taken advantage of, you must insure your safety and the safety of your own. You live in dread. Instead of friends and partners, you see threats to your well-being or competitors for the limited resources of this world; others are objects to eliminate or use in order to take care of your perceived needs.

This is the soil from which oppression grows; using power to stave off the realization of the expected fear. Individuals, corporations, countries, cultures, religions all are victims and perpetrators of this fear. And Elle, apart from the grace of God you and I are ruled by this fear.

The antidote to this fear is remembering the goodness of God and remaining in a trusting reliance on this goodness. You are totally safe in the keeping of your Father in heaven. You need not clutch and grab. You can live open hearted and open handed. You can share what you have with those who have less because God will supply all you need.

All you need, not all you want. This means that you may go without some things you think are necessary to your well-being. God is not as concerned with your temporal comfort as he is your eternal character. His love and wisdom will use all that enters your life and all that is withheld from your experience as the means of shaping you into the image of Jesus Christ. Therefore, with God’s grace, you can rejoice in and bear both the supplies and the lacks of your being.

Living in the abundance of God’s goodness will prompt you to grow in union with the will and intention of the trinity. You will begin to care about what God cares about; cry over the things that break God’s heart; work for the causes that allow his peace and justice to be experienced in the people, places and powers of this world. In the freedom that union with God’s will allows, I urge you to labor for justice and liberty for all of God’s creation.

Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to know which “fights” for justice are yours to undertake. Most likely you will not be called to liberate the world, but you will be called to work for freedom in the world you inhabit. You can’t do it all, but do what you can for God’s will to be realized, support Jesus’ mission to let the oppressed go free.

With you in the journey,

Debby