And the Peace of God..

Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

To rejoice in the Lord is first of all to experience God’s grace to us, and then it is to delight in God’s grace to us. And his grace to us delivers us from our slavery (addiction) to sin so we can now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. By his grace we are crucified with Christ in death to sin and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And his grace trains us to renounce (say ‘No!’ to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts (worldly passions) and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return.

[Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Peter 2:24]

And we are to let our gentleness (fairness, reasonableness, justice) be known to everyone. But gentleness does not equal weakness. Jesus was meek but he was not weak. And gentleness does not involve lying to people so as not to hurt their feelings by telling them the truth. This word is really about being fair and just with people, not about compromising the truth in order to make people feel good about you or themselves. For remember that the message of the cross of Christ is an offense to those who are perishing. So be fair, be just, but be honest, and never tell lies to anyone.

And do not be anxious (worried, fearful) about anything, no matter what it is. For worry has never changed anything yet for the good. And worry just makes you miserable. And worry is the opposite of faith. And we are to be people of faith who trust the Lord completely with the circumstances of our lives. And we especially are not to fret and worry over things we aren’t even sure exist, in reality, or that ever will really take place. There is so much fearmongering going on these days, trying to get us worried about just about everything. We have to just give it all up to the Lord.

Now, we will have trials that will come along to test our faith. We will have tribulations. And if we are truly following Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands, and if we are living for the Lord and not for the flesh, we will be hated and persecuted, even by pastors of what are called “churches,” and even by others who profess faith in Jesus Christ, and even by members of our own families, and/or of our own households. And we know this because Jesus said it would be so. And he said that if we follow him with our lives that we will be hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted.

So, we should not let those kinds of situations unsettle or undo us. Now, we will be hurt by them, for we are human, and we are compassionate people, and we love others, and so it will pain us when others, especially those closest to us mistreat us and do not love us as they ought. And we should make attempts at reconciliation where possible, but if not possible, then we just have to turn those situations over to the Lord and trust him to work in our own hearts and lives and to do the same with those who oppose us and who attack us and who do hateful and mean things to us.

For we can’t control what other people are going to do to us or say about us. Yes, we can set boundaries for ourselves, and to some extent we may be able to protect ourselves from some harmful situations, but when we are walking with the Lord and we are obeying his commands, and so we are out there sharing Christ and his gospel message with others, and when we are speaking the truths of the Scriptures to our fellow professers of faith in Christ, then we do, in a sense, open ourselves up wide to be hated and persecuted, but so did Jesus, and we are to be like him.

So, when we come up against opposition and persecution and others treating us with disdain and hate and abuse, we need the counsel of God and his word in knowing how to respond. But then we just need to surrender it all over to the Lord and trust him to work in our lives and in the lives of those who oppose us. And we must not fear those who treat us like we are the enemy. We must put our absolute faith and trust in the Lord and in his sovereignty over our lives, believing he is working all things for our good. And the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

Master, The Tempest is Raging!

Lyrics by Mary A. Baker, 1874
Music by Horatio R. Palmer, 1874

Master, the tempest is raging!
The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness,
No shelter or help is nigh;
Carest Thou not that we perish?
How canst Thou lie asleep,
When each moment so madly is threat’ning
A grave in the angry deep?

Master, with anguish of spirit
I bow in my grief today;
The depths of my sad heart are troubled—
Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish
Sweep o’er my sinking soul;
And I perish! I perish! dear Master—
Oh, hasten, and take control.

Master, the terror is over,
The elements sweetly rest;
Earth’s sun in the calm lake is mirrored,
And heaven’s within my breast;
Linger, O blessed Redeemer!
Leave me alone no more;
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor,
And rest on the blissful shore.

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will,
Peace, be still!
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea,
Or demons or men, or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies
The Master of ocean, and earth, and skies;
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, be still! Peace, be still!
They all shall sweetly obey Thy will,
Peace, peace, be still!

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