And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Regaining Peace of Mind

The last several days, weeks for that matter, well, all year, has been a time of struggle. I guess you can’t be “The Persevering Pastor” without the practicality of having to persevere. I will spare the details for right now, but looking back I am thankful, although in many moments I was wrought in utter despair.

The last few days we have had busy schedules, and saw the passing of Praying Grandma. Three weeks ago I did not even think we would have a Christmas beyond the simple things previously purchased. But God has worked awesome things. More on that later too.

But at present, there is coming a clarity to me that must have accompanied the disciples when they woke Jesus to calm the stormy sea. Why oh why can I not learn this lesson, the mind stayed upon Christ is at perfect peace. I must find my joy in the thoughts, promises, and especially the Word of God rather than on my circumstances, He then brings the peace. This is an act of faith. By turning to God to see His faithfulness and promises is a step of faith. We may say with the father of the demon possessed boy “I believe, Help my unbelief”. And we should. I am thankful for the past year of pain now. God has proven Himself God in ways I had forgotten. I have wanted to grow, and growth comes through the need to persevere.

Perseverance is not only in pain. James says to count it all joy when we suffer various trials. In my way of thinking, affluence can be a trial. Now it is not even in the same category as our brothers and sisters whom are persecuted. But I look at it as a trial in the sense of “Whom do you serve”, and “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven”, and the lukewarmness of Revelation 3 that leads to wretchedness.

So the verse above teaches us that peace comes from God, and we can't be at peace without our minds (and hearts) upon Him. Like Paul, let us lay aside the encumbrances that ensnare us. Take time, are you in His peace? If not, why? The blood of Jesus was shed for that peace, let us glorify Him by abiding in Him.

So looking ahead to 2010, my greatest resolution is to get back to that time from which I have departed. It was a time of great growth through the seeking the glory of God in everything. Accompanied with this was unceasing prayer, scripture memory, and meeting with brothers and sisters to excitedly share the awesomeness of God in our lives.

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8

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