Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:33
Shortly after dropping his son off at school one day last year in India, Isaac Paulose’s car was stopped by a motorcycle gang. The thugs began beating him with bamboo logs and a chain, then they rode their motorcycles over him and threatened to kill him if he continued sharing Christ. Isaac’s wife, Elizabeth, said, “Initially, I was very troubled and in a state of shock after seeing Isaac in this condition, but later the Lord gave me peace and strength. It is our privilege to suffer for the Lord, and we will continue to work for the Lord.”
This brave family is continuing to serve Christ amid the dangers.
What Elizabeth said is true for us in every alarming situation we face. At first, we may be in a state of shock. After all, we’re humans and we have natural emotions and reactions. But when we walk with Christ, He quickly comes into these situations with His peace and strength.
Only a true follower of Christ can understand how we can have peace in every situation because of Him.
The world can create trouble in peace, but God can create peace in trouble.
“Christian Leader in Madhuy Pradesh, India Run Over by Motorcycles, Sources Say,” Morning Star News, March 8, 2020.
Andrew Wommack 2021 🔥 POWERFUL SERMON: “Your Suffering Has Come To An End”
Two are better than one . . . If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. Ecclesiastes 4:9–10
“It can be an affliction more harrowing than homelessness, hunger or disease,” wrote Maggie Fergusson in The Economist’s 1843 magazine. Her subject? Loneliness. Fergusson chronicled the increasing rates of loneliness, irrespective of one’s social or economic status, using heart-wrenching examples of what it feels like to be lonely.
The hurt of feeling alone isn’t new to our day. Indeed, the pain of isolation echoes off the pages of the ancient book of Ecclesiastes. Often attributed to King Solomon, the book captures the sorrow of those who seem to lack any meaningful relationships (4:7–8). The speaker lamented that it’s possible to acquire significant wealth and yet experience no value from it because there’s no one to share it with.
But the speaker also recognized the beauty of companionship, writing that friends help you accomplish more than you could achieve on your own (v. 9); companions help in times of need (v. 10); partners bring comfort (v. 11); and friends can provide protection in difficult situations (v. 12).
Loneliness is a significant struggle—God created us to offer and receive the benefits of friendship and community. If you’re feeling alone, pray that God would help you form meaningful connections with others. In the meantime, find encouragement in the reality that the believer is never truly alone because Jesus’ Spirit is always with us (Matthew 28:20).
If you listen to the news, no doubt you’ve heard scary stories of political upheaval, global threats, and natural or man-made catastrophes. Although people around you may be fearful and stressed, there is no reason a child of God should feel this way. For Christians, the Lord is a refuge and very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
While today’s passage describes a variety of disasters, the writer’s intention was certainly not to cause fear. Rather, these words are a reminder of our Father’s supremacy over everything that happens, His protection of His people, and the ultimate victory that results in His kingdom’s rule on earth. In light of this, we are told to let go of worry and efforts to protect ourselves—and instead trust Him. Our comfort and security are found not in frantically running around, trying to make sure we are safe, but in knowing God. Whatever trouble we experience, He is sufficient to help us through it.
The key to courageously facing the future is confidence in the Lord. He’s your shelter, strength, and help in trouble. To increase your trust in Him, read through the psalms, looking for words and phrases that affirm His protection, steadfastness, and care.
“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.” (Psalm 17:8)
There are 12 references in the Bible to God’s “shadow,” understood as a type of His invisible but very real guiding presence. The reference in our text above is the first, and there are three other references to this beautiful metaphor—the “shadow” of the wings of God. Psalm 36:7 assures us that men can “put their trust under the shadow of thy wings,” and Psalm 57:1 that we can take refuge there “until these calamities be overpast,” and then we can “rejoice” there (Psalm 63:7).
The Lord’s presence is like “the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” according to Isaiah 32:2. The same prophet quoted God as saying that “I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand” even as He formed the heavens and the earth, while hiding us “in the shadow of his hand” (Isaiah 51:16; 49:2).
Then there is the wonderful promise of Psalm 91:1: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” He can also be “a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall,” bringing down “the heat with the shadow of a cloud” (Isaiah 25:4-5). Similarly, He is “a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain” (Isaiah 4:6).
The last reference speaks of “the anointed of the LORD” (that is, of the Messiah, Jesus Christ), assuring God’s people that “under his shadow we shall live among the heathen” (Lamentations 4:20). These are all “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4). Hidden under the shadow of God is indeed a good and safe place to be in times like these. HMM
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. —1 Peter 4:11
To please God, a person must be just an instrument for God to use. For a few seconds, picture in your mind the variety of wonderful and useful appliances we have in our homes. They have been engineered and built to perform tasks of all kinds. But without the inflow of electrical power they are just lumps of metal and plastic, unable to function and serve. They cannot do their work until power is applied from a dynamic outside source.
So it is in the work of God in the church. Many people preach and teach. Many take part in the music. Certain ones try to administer God’s work. But if the power of God’s Spirit does not have freedom to energize all they do, these workers might just as well stay home.
Natural gifts are not enough in God’s work. The mighty Spirit of God must have freedom to animate and quicken with His overtones of creativity and blessing. TRA005-006
Lord, deliver us from our dependency on natural gifts. We hunger for effectiveness in Your work, but too seldom turn loose to let Your power flow through us. Amen.
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. —Psalm 42:1
Too many want the Holy Spirit in order that they may have the gift of healing. Others want Him for the gift of tongues. Still others seek Him so that their testimony may become effective. All of these things, I will grant, are a part of the total pattern of the New Testament. But it is impossible for us to make God our servant. Let us never pray that we may be filled with the Spirit of God for secondary purposes.
God wants to fill us with His Spirit in order that we should know Him first of all and be absorbed in Him. We should enter into the fullness of the Spirit so that God’s Son may be glorified in us.
I try to bathe my soul in the writings and the hymns of the devoted saints of God….I wonder why we ever stoop to read or sing or quote anything but that which is elevated and divine, noble and inspiring. FBR153-154
When the Holy Spirit comes, He lifts our minds to new ideals and gives us conceptions of things so much in advance of our present experiences that we long for higher ground. WCC096
During my life I have been faced with many serious problems, but the most difficult thing I have ever faced was when I had to take my wife to a nursing home, and my daughter and I said goodbye to mother and wife. As we closed the glass doors behind us, she pulled on them, trying to open them and we heard her calling, “Open the door, I want to go with you!” But there was no handle on the inside.
My daughter and I tried to comfort each other. It couldn’t have gone on any longer. We could still see her coming home that time in the police car. Somewhere along the way she had gotten lost and couldn’t make herself understood to the people around.
The most difficult period was in the beginning. At first you don’t realize what is happening; you are surprised by changes in behavior. Then you are amazed by attitudes and reactions which until then you had never seen. In the course of the illness we had tried everything. We tried to bring help in, but she wouldn’t accept it. Sometimes she became aggressive, and then of course, no one would come back. Wietske was no longer Wietske; she had become another person.
When my daughter and I arrived back home we both sat and cried. We agreed that our loved one did not deserve such a goodbye. And we remembered the many times goodbyes were said in a dignified and warm manner. But at this goodbye there were no speeches, no flowers, no encouraging words. Was this how a faithful career as an officer in The Salvation Army was to end?
Of course I missed her. I visited her often. So many things were fading away. Sometimes we would sing the songs of years gone by. There was only one song she still remembered. It was our favorite song, and we sang it two or three times. The Dutch song seemed to be engraved on her heart. “Lord I Am Thankful That By Your Grace I Am Your Child.” It broke our hearts to hear her trying to sing it, and yet, somehow, it comforted and encouraged us.
After all, one of the most essential truths of Christianity is that it is our faith that keeps us going. For a Christian doesn’t live to die, but dies to live. Life with a capital L—a life in which there will be no more goodbyes.