Does Peace Reign?

What a heart check for a Wednesday morning.

What is gripping my heart and thoughts this mid-week day? The pressure of finances? Approval from administration at work? Worries about my students and family? Dread over a busy week?

Or is peace and thanksgiving setting my heart free? Instead of strangling my joy with worries and “what ifs”, am I casting my cares on God while trusting that he cares for me… and for those I care about? Am I letting the peace that comes for Christ rule my heart, and doing so with Thanksgiving?

Do not sit down in despair; hope on, hope ever. There is one who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats in pity for your woe, and his hand omnipotent will bring you the needed help. He, if you are one of his family, will bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart. Do not doubt his grace because of your tribulation, but believe that he loves you as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness. — Spurgeon

Peace

The world gives peace only when there is no fear. When there is no fear, a person is at peace. However, this verse implies the opposite. Followers of Christ are at peace, so they need not be afraid. Peace in Christ does not mean the absence of frightening things or trouble, but peace in it.

Jesus gives his followers his peace. This is the death-defying peace of the Divine Son of God who sweat drops of blood a few hours later at the prospect of his sacrifice on the cross. The peace that asked for that cup to pass, but desired the will of the Father over being spared from suffering. The peace of the One who was the Man of Sorrows, who was acquainted with sorrow, who bore our iniquity and griefs. The peace of the One who endured the cross because he had set the joy before him. The peace of the Son with the Father.

This is no ordinary peace. It trusts the will of the Father, even unto death. It focuses on the joy of God’s promise, not the situation. Even more than all of that, it is peace with the Father. This peace of a heart is possible only for one no longer under condemnation, but under God’s banner of love as his child.

This moves my heart to pray for the ability to believe and practice this peace. May I be able to say whole-heartedly with the Psalmist:

“I have set the Lord always before me;

because he is at my right hand,

I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad,

and my whole being rejoices;

my flesh also dwells secure.

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,

or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;

in your presence there is fullness of joy;

at your right hand are pleasures

forevermore.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭16:8-11‬ ‭

Abide and Rest

Mondays can be busy days. Or maybe they only seem more busy because it’s the first workday after the weekend. Too often the temptation can be to give in to the tyranny of the urgent and dive willingly into the rush that offers no real rest or relief… at least it is for me.

So how welcome this reminder is to dwell, to stay, to abide, to find rest in the shelter of the Almighty. The One who gives work and gives rest. The One who does not call for a frenzied rush, but endurance in doing good. The One who, for the believer, has already assigned eternal favor and the worth of being his child. The One who, in his matchless power, is working all things out for the good of those who trust in him.

How different would each hour be if his children (including this one) abided in his love and shelter, even while out working in the world? How different would it be if his children anchored their soul in the bedrock of eternal hope instead of striving and trusting in the efforts of man, including themselves?

Sunday Song: I Will Sing of my Redeemer

The book of Psalms is a great gift. It teaches us to remember, to trust, to cry out, to rejoice… in song.

When troubles, worries, temptations, and frustrations take hold, when I can’t see past tomorrow’s responsibilities or today’s failures, when I’m gladdened with deep joy and contentment, my soul needs most to remember Christ’s great sacrifice on my behalf. And from that remembrance, my soul and body must join together and sing.

By God’s grace, arranged and played by Katie

Thanks and credit to Marianne Kim who inspired the introduction.

He Hath Said: Spurgeon on Hebrews 13:5

“He hath said.” — Hebrews 13:5

If we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt will not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear is there which shall not fall smitten with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God’s covenant? Will not the distresses of life and the pangs of death; will not the corruptions within, and the snares without; will not the trials from above, and the temptations from beneath, all seem but light afflictions, when we can hide ourselves beneath the bulwark of “He hath said”? Yes; whether for delight in our quietude, or for strength in our conflict, “He hath said” must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case, but you may not know of it, and therefore you miss its comfort. You are like prisoners in a dungeon, and there may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the door, and you might be free; but if you will not look for it, you may remain a prisoner still, though liberty is so near at hand. There may be a potent medicine in the great pharmacopoeia of Scripture, and you may yet continue sick unless you will examine and search the Scriptures to discover what “He hath said.” Should you not, besides reading the Bible, store your memories richly with the promises of God? You can recollect the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets; ought you not to be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so that you may be able to quote them readily when you would solve a difficulty, or overthrow a doubt? Since “He hath said” is the source of all wisdom, and the fountain of all comfort, let it dwell in you richly, as “A well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.” So shall you grow healthy, strong, and happy in the divine life. – C.H. Spurgeon, Morning, February 21

Learning to be content: Spurgeon and Paul

“These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education.

But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.

Paul says, “I have learned … to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave-a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree.

Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented with learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.

-C.H. Spurgeon, Morning, February 16