Perfect Peace

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We have so much in our lives that can steal our peace and rob us of joy.  Difficult circumstances, unexpected outcomes, and overall hard times can come in and prevent us from experiencing the abundant life that Jesus has come to give us. (See John 10:10).

Last Thursday we got news that our neighbors across the street suffered the tragic loss of their 8 year old daughter. No former medical issues, no idea anything could or would happen.  One minute she was finishing her jujitsu practice, and the next minute she had collapsed.  They rushed her to the children’s hospital, but there was nothing they could do.  Ella Armstrong was gone, leaving behind a mom and dad and three siblings.

What do you do in situations like this? If it were me, what would I be like today? I’ll be honest, I’d be wrecked.  But for each of us and for families like the Armstrongs, truth and promises like those found in the verses above will help sustain us and get us through difficult times.

So how do we put these verses into practice?  

First, “perfect peace” is what is offered to those who trust in the Lord. So the first step is to trust Him.  Remember that even in the face of unbelievably difficult circumstances, God’s love and care for us never changes.  I’m not saying that’s easy to remember in the face of tragedy, but it is where peace is found, so we must pray and find a way to trust Him.

Second, our thoughts must be fixed on Him. You’ll never get over the heartbreak of a difficult circumstance by thinking about the circumstance.  You must focus your attention on God; His love, His grace, His mercy, His goodness, and His sovereignty.  We do this by reading and meditating on His Word.  Find promises like those in these verses and remember that God is faithful, and His word is true.

In this perfect peace, we will find a deeper trust in Him.  We will see Him for who He is, “our eternal Rock!”

So whether your facing the loss of a dear loved one, your facing difficulties in your job or marriage, your struggling with rebellious children, or life just doesn’t seem to go as you have planned, remember, there is peace available to us. Trust Him and fix your mind on Him, and He will meet you in the difficult places and walk with you through them, for He cares for you.

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

Advent Devotion 15 – Advent and the Tragedy of Newtown

Today’s Reading – Luke 13-16

As I sit here this morning, I have the images from yesterday’s tragedy in Newtown, CT running through my mind.  It is early and everyone is asleep except my six year old daughter who sits next to me on the couch as I type this devotion.  I can tell you that in light of yesterday’s events, my daughters are being held tighter today. All of us recognize how dark and depraved our society can be, but events like yesterday’s tragic school shooting where 20 children ages 5-10 lost their lives, remind us just how deep the evil can be.

In the midst of tragedies like Newtown, where do we find hope? Though we cannot fully understand they “why” in situations like this, God gives us tremendous hope through His word in times like this.  The following is an adaptation of John Piper’s article following the 9/11 tragedy.  His original article can be found here. Continue reading