• anxiety,  Bible study,  faith in action,  Reflections on Scripture

    Holy Week Reflections: Peace

    What does it mean to have peace in this world?

    In the days before Jesus went to the cross, he sat with his disciples and told them that they would deeply mourn him soon, but one day they would see Jesus again. At that time, their “joy would be like a river overflowing its banks!” [John 16:24, MSG].⠀
    He went on to tell them: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (v. 33, NIV)⠀
    Another translation says that they can be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. ⠀
    While Jesus didn’t promise his disciples or us a pain free life, he did tell us that he will give us his peace. He gives us his truth. He gives us light in the darkness of this world. And he foretells of a complete joy that we will one day have when we are with him again.⠀
    Friend, whatever trouble, darkness, sorrows, or trials you are facing right now? I’m praying that you would be unshakable and assured. ⠀
    Know that our God is with you, and he grants you the ability to have a deep-rooted peace as you trust in him. The pain may still be there, the fog may still darken the path ahead, and the circumstances may not change, but he will be with you every step of the way. ⠀
    Take heart, because he overcame this world. He overcame the sting of death on our behalf, and one day we will have fullness of healing and joy with him. In the meantime, we can pray for peace.
    – – –

    Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

    “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete….

    A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  -(select verses from John 16:16-33, NIV)

     

    More about finding or praying for peace in this world:

    A prayer for the anxious one [asking God to be close to us]

    Choosing brave in the hard things[about making hard decisions and asking for God’s guidance]

    Manna and Morsels [about taking things one day at a time, and savoring wherever God has us right now]

    To the one struggling in silence [about the God who sees you, knows you, and loves you in your pain]

    Climbing through fog and walking on water [about surrendering control and learning to trust God, even when we can’t see the way ahead]

  • Bible study,  faith in action,  Reflections on Scripture

    Holy Week Reflections: Welcome

    Yesterday, on Palm Sunday, our area had a severe storm watch. In the midst of thunder storms and whipping winds, I read through the four accounts of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I love seeing the similarities in those tellings, but also the subtle differences.⠀

    One part in the passage in Luke 19 (ESV) jumped out at me in particular:⠀

    “As he was drawing near… the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.”⠀

    When the Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to quiet or discipline his disciples, do you know how he answered? ⠀

    “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”⠀

    Wow.⠀

    This Holy Week, I don’t want to be quiet about what Jesus has done. I am marveling at the ways God fulfilled prophecies and shook up the hardened hearts of the people through Jesus’ miracles. I am filled with gratitude for the depth of pain he endured on my behalf so that I could have life. I am burdened for those still living in darkness, unaware that he rose from the dead; I want others to know with that resurrection, we have the hope of redemption in our lives today. ⠀

    I want to welcome Jesus into every corner of my heart and life that needs his healing touch. I desire to offer praise to him for the mighty miracles he’s still doing in our lives today. In the midst of our storms and hard seasons, do we welcome him in for healing or push him away? Do we sing praises of his good work or do we forget what he’s done for us when life settles down again? When others tell us to quiet down, do we stay steadfast in sharing truth or do we leave it to the rocks to cry out on his behalf? ⠀

    Today, I’m praying that wherever you are, you’d know that this miracle-working Savior is able to cleanse, heal, and redeem every area of sin, pain, and hurt in your life. Will you welcome him into it?

    – – –

    They brought [the colt] to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

    “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
    “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

    Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

    “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

    -Luke 19:35-40 (NIV)

    [Read all four passages here: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John