Tuesday, 12/7/21 – Pressing on… A Peace that may Plot a Painful Path

A Peace that may Plot a Painful Path

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Paul writes the Corinthians,

When we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within.” (2 Cor. 7:5).

This must have been very puzzling to Paul for he knew God had called him to go into Macedonia. After the Holy Spirit had strongly impressed upon Paul not to enter Asia, he and his companions began traveling through Phrygia and Galatia. At Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but again the inner tug of the Holy Spirit said ‘No.’ They travelled on to Troas and there God spoke to Paul…

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:9-10).

Yet, once there, Paul had times of unrest in his spirit. How so?

If you remember, from the beginning God’s call upon Paul was to include suffering. A believer, Ananias, was privy to this plan. In a vision God told him “This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name.”

Jesus too, the Prince of Peace, struggled with this plan of suffering. Through that hard night of prayer He found peace only in that one plan of the Father, a plan which included pain.

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Peace led Paul, yet it led him through seasons of turmoil. Peace led Christ to the cross of Calvary, and Peace will lead us through this world of troubles. “Pain and suffering are often the catalysts for life’s most profound lessons” wrote ultrarunner and author Dean Karnazes. But when we rest in the purposes of God we can accept pain with joy. Then, in this acceptance, we find peace. Adds Karnazes, “… pain is inevitable. Suffering, however, is optional.”

“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.” (John 16:33).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 10/11/21 – Pressing on… Good Medicine

Good Medicine

Today in Canada is “Thanksgiving Day!” Typically, it is a day for reflecting and feasting on the good things of the earth, of others, and of God. “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” begins Psalm 92, and science has further demonstrated it.

Gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity and build strong relationships.

Psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough asked a group of study participants to write a few sentences each day about things for which they were grateful that day. They asked another group to record their daily irritations and negative experiences.  After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives, they had begin to exercise more and had fewer visits to a doctor than the group who tracked negative things.

Gratitude improves relationships with spouses, co-workers, shopkeepers, anyone with whom social interactions occur – including God!

A thankful heart “does good, like medicine,” wrote Solomon (Prov. 17:22); it is “good medicine,” “good for your health” as some translations put it. But a broken, saddened, thankless heart “dries the bones,” it “saps a person’s strength,” it will “leave you bone-tired.”

A thankful heart’s first “go to” response is gratitude. It’s default world view is that It is blessed! It is a contented heart, a happy heart. It teaches one to appreciate what one has instead of always reaching for the next new thing.

From a dank and dreary prison cell Paul writes the Philippians,

“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:11b-13).

Paul says he had to “learn” contentment… thankfulness. He did! And so can you! Learning is worth the course. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6).

Thankfulness makes one rich! How? A thankful heart has learned that true wealth is not found in having many things, but in having few wants.

The Christian ought demonstrate thankfulness above all. A Christian has Christ and has found that Christ alone satisfies all wants. A Christian has found peace with God. He has surrendered self and is unafraid to die. A Christian knows he is eternal and that his eternity is very good indeed.

Today, be Thankful….”be content… because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” (Gen. 13:5).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

THANKSGIVING BONUS: Click here to link to a special Thanksgiving Worship Special with Christian recording artist Becka deHaan!