Speak Peace

photo copyThere should be a hush, and inward peace, a bell that does not sound when struck inside the heart of every believer.  Yet this is often not the case.  I am a pack leader for cub scouts; I’m supposed to help organize all the dens in our area once a month among other things.  I’m also a soccer coach for seven wonderful little boys whom many come from very broken families.  I’m pastor that oversees twelve to 30 year olds in our church.  I have three children, one startlingly beautiful wife, and a host of health issues to manage.  Yet amidst this chaos I know I am not lost or longing; I am wooed to hush and silence.  There is a beckoning from my first love, a simple word spoken to me that rings loudly.  Let us all let it ring loudly:  Peace.  Speak peace to your souls, oh people of the gospel!

Our garments in heaven are arrayed in white; so that the devils of life, the woes, the hurts, the gashes and wounds have not infused a shard of their putrescence.  The white garment, in all of Scripture, is the rejoicing garment; it is the garment of peace.  The black garment was the mourning garment, the garment of lament.  But we are not robed with black garments because of Christ, but shining, brilliant, white beyond white garments cleaned with the precious blood of Christ crucified.

And indeed, how can it be otherwise that we rejoice in this truth?  For don’t we walk with God, don’t we dine with God and don’t we converse with the Almighty?  Aren’t we acquainted with God on a daily basis, now reconciled to Him through the gospel of peace, akin to Job who beheld God in His glory amidst the travesties of life?  Aren’t we God’s children and don’t we have some special reserve and communion with Him?  Yes Indeed!  We have communion with God, and isn’t He the God of all consolation?

We have communion and fellowship with Christ, and isn’t Christ the Prince of Peace?  We have communion with the Holy Spirit, and isn’t the Spirit thus named as the Comforter?  And if I can go one step further, don’t we see that we are enabled to have communion with the Father, and the Son and the Spirit in and by the gospel?  And isn’t the gospel the word of peace, the actual good news of peace?  So we see, just from a logical progression, that the people of God, the redeemed, the called out ones, the chosen, the royal priesthood, the people belong to the Almighty, ordinarily and rightly have peace within.

Let your busy lives be silent for a moment and listen to the King of peace, the Father of truth, the Lord of it all who has redeemed us into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  Slow down and listen to the whisper who speaks life into your hearts; Peace.  Peace!

Isaiah 57.18-19, “I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips.  Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the Lord, “and I will heal him.”

Fear and Faith

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There’s a fear within me that something is going to happen to me.  My health has been a bit precarious in my life.  My liver function levels have been up and down lately.  I’ve lost so much weight lately due to an inflammation in my intestine as well as complications from my diabetes.  This is the time of year when I’ve experienced all of my trials and pain.  It holds too many memories for me to withstand at times; like a bucket trying to contain the waves of the sea during a storm.  It shows my weakness and need of Jesus, but it manifests in gripping even tighter on my loved ones.  Past trials make me see things clearer; pictures are sharper, memories more cherished, the present more appreciated.

The listening of my wife’s breath as it slowly goes in and out, dripping into my ears like a sweet symphony as the moon waxes through our window.  It is the small steps and pitter-patter of my youngest child running down the hallway, laughing as he plays with my oldest boy who just might be the best older brother in the world.  It’s the grace I see in my daughter’s eyes as she peeks up at me when my voice gets a little too loud and I near the line of going to far and too close to crush her little sweet spirit.  I hold her then, in my arms, longing for more of these moments, asking for promises from her that when I am old and gray, if I make it that far, that she will still let me hold her.  It’s the closing of her eyes when I say I am sorry, that instead of being mad, I am called to protect her and love her.  Her sweetness is my accountability; her grace to me is my motivation.

It’s the smells of Mia’s hair after a shower, all nice and clean, as she asks me to brush it so it won’t be tangled in the morning.  It’s both Noah and Mia running up to me asking me to brush their teeth or Noah grabbing his silky blanket and, almost at age seven, sucking his thumb as he nuzzles his nose and face into my neck at any time of the day.  It’s the focus of my son, longing for validation from me, as he kicks the ball during practice that I coach.  He loves me, I know he does, and wants so badly to do well in soccer, but wants even more for his daddy to say “good job.  I’m so proud of you.”  And I tell him.  And he beams.  And in goes to his thumb.  It’s these moments that are slipping through my fingers quicker than I can imagine.

So I take the time to get down in the dirt with Noah, dressed in our cub scouts uniforms.  It’s these moments that spur me to say “yes” to them and “no” to my own time.  It’s not about resting, it’s about them.  So of course I’ll be Noah’s pack leader in cub scouts.  Of course I’ll be his coach.  And when Mia’s asks, of course I’ll be the loudest who cheers at her gymnastics and of course I’ll hug the hardest after her dance recital.  Of course I’ll run first thing in the morning to get Christian out of his crib, or dance with him in the hallway to old VBS music.  Absolutely.  I’ll be the world to them, because in me, they see my Jesus.  It’s just the way of things.  In me, they see God, judge God, know God, love God, and experience God.  I may have a fear, and though there’s nothing to fear in God, I know God uses my weaknesses for His glory.  So I revel in my children, in my wife that is more than lovely, in the little fingers that grasp mine and the smiles that encompass my heart.

I may fear, but I’m okay.  I may be sick at times, but I’m okay.  In fact, I’m better than okay.  I’m exceptional.  I see things sweeter than most; I appreciate things more than most.  And for that, I wouldn’t change anything.