Peace

No Fear

In this crazy, violent age, the safest place to be is in God. It doesn’t ensure we will never experience physical harm, but that He will preserve us until our calling in life is complete. My prayer has always been: “Lord, preserve my life to fulfill every good work you have for me, until the day when my death will give you the greatest glory and honor.” And knowing He’s always been faithful, I walk in confidence and will not fear evil or death in these evil days.

 

Photo Credit: Lighthouse – Free pictures on Pixabay

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Stop and Consider

Blog_MountainView01

Have you ever considered the vast beauty that surrounds us, not only in flowers, but in trees and hills, mountains and valleys, rivers and seas, canyons and waterfalls? Have you ever appreciated the exquisite uniqueness of each animal that graces air, sea, and land? And does it ever confound you that each of these exist despite the surrounding death and decay? The evils of earth pale in comparison to the beauty which prevails.

 

Photo Credit: Mountain, Landscape – Free images on Pixabay

A Cry in the Darkness

Winter park at nightSometimes silence is the only appropriate response to tragedy. But sometimes our hearts cry out louder than the silence…piercing through the darkness, pleading for an answer. Where is God in the midst of all the hate and killing, the evil and the madness? Where are WE?

If God is good and loving, how can He allow horrific things to happen? We question how we can trust a God who allows darkness to prevail over our lives. But how can we NOT trust Him? The other alternative is to trust ourselves, to trust in humanity—but look what we’ve done to ourselves. How can we trust ourselves when we are capable of annihilating one another? Such evils have come at the hands of men intent on following their own selfish intentions. Yet following God’s ways, we would know and be empowered to “do to others as we would have done to us” and to “love others more than we love ourselves.”

We question what has become of God’s peace and provision. Where is His barrier of protection over us? But we are the ones who have erased the barrier. We’ve told God we’d much rather rule ourselves, even to the point of destruction. We’ve told him we don’t want Him in our homes, in our lives, in our schools…in our world, then we look and wonder why He’s not there when tragedy strikes.

God has stepped into the darkness of our world, offering the hope of reconciliation. In Him, we have the shelter of hope in the midst of our storms. There is no guarantee our lives on this dark earth will be safe. Men bent on following their own ways are constantly penetrating the barrier God has offered to provide.

And yet, in God, there is hope even in the deepest depths of darkness—that we were created something far greater than what we’ve settled for. We were made for a world where there is “no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

In times like this, we cry out to God in words much like those of this prayer by Max Lucado: “Lord…Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence…

“Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene…

“Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.”

(Originally posted on the Eternal Encounter blog in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy)

Sowing Love

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Hatred will only perpetuate hatred. As a seed begets its corresponding fruit, so hatred results in destruction and death. The seeds of love bring forth healing and life.

Source: Two Fires

Photo Credit: Peace | Peace and sunset in the wind flickr.com by Moyan_Brenn

Two Fires

blog_wildfireFire can breed life or destruction. It depends on the source. If it’s come from the intentional igniting of a spark, it can bring warmth and healing. Yet if it roars from the roots of careless ignorance, it’s destined to devour all in its path.

There are two fires raging in our streets. One is a fire of hatred—born in the crucibles of suffering only to birth relentless pain and endless ruin. The other is of love. It rises in the hearts of those who refuse to be overcome by the darkness of evil, bearing power to overcome the destructive force of hatred.

Hatred will only perpetuate hatred. As a seed begets its corresponding fruit, so hatred results in destruction and death. The seeds of love bring forth healing and life.

We have a choice. We can leave a legacy of hate, or a legacy of love. Only one is a worthy legacy.

To choose love over hatred requires change. It means letting go of our hurt and fear in favor of the higher calling. Generations to come will reap the harvest of our choices, for good or for evil. Hate breeds hate; love breeds love. Love, though met with hatred, will ultimately prevail. What will your legacy be?

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy…For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life…” (Francis of Assisi)

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love…we love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:8, 19)

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Wildfire, Fire, Flames, Hot – Free Image on Pixabay …

Where are You, God?

Blog_CityStormyNightwhere are you, God
in the midst of the darkness?
we’re crying to you
in this desolate land

war rages around us
we’re searching for answers
to things
we can never understand

where are you, God
do you see our tears falling?
do you hear our prayers
and feel our pain?

the world is in anguish
our children are dying
the clouds of refreshing
withhold their rain

where are you God?
we’re hurting and hopeless
wounded and broken
and in distress

our own neighbors killing
destroying, devouring
can You bring forth beauty
from our hateful mess?

God, you came down
from light into darkness
born in the shadows
of earth’s darkest night

the forces of evil
releasing their fury
swords bent on destruction
consuming all life

you spoke to the madness
with love and compassion
to ears fallen deaf
in a world filled with strife

brought healing, redemption
though you were rejected
crushed by our hate
while releasing your light

and now you are here
in the midst of our suffering
calling to us
“don’t settle for this”

we’re made for much more
than what we’ve accepted
and this world is not
all that there is

so though earth give way
and mountains shall crumble
and all that we’ve trusted
one day will fail

the curtain’s been torn
between light and darkness
and in the end, light
will always prevail

 

Source: Where are You, God?

Photo Credit: Thunderstorm – Free images on Pixabay

If Tomorrow Never Comes

Blog_SunsetOverMountainsthere is hope
beyond tomorrow
if tomorrow never comes

there’s a joy
deeper than sorrow
light greater than the sun

there is peace
beyond all suffering
and hope beyond despair

there’s life
beyond all mourning
an end to every tear

there’s a future
that’s more certain
than this earth could ever give

beyond death’s
dismal curtain
there’s a promise that will live

the hands
that made the heavens
hold the gift of life

of peace
that is unending
and love that never dies

there is an end
to sorrow
when life ends, we’ve just begun

there is hope
beyond tomorrow
if tomorrow never comes

 

Photo Credit: Sunset over the Mountains  www.goodfreephotos.com

Poem by j.e. fernandez