“Where do you find hope, and in what shape or form does it rest?
I say to you now that absolute and genuine hope is found only in Christ Jesus. He is never far way and always within your grasp. He expects you to seek Him, but when you do He is quickly found. Only upon your discovery of Christ will you recognize the desperate condition of your soul, and through glorious and supernatural revelation comprehend that it was this living Hope who graciously discovered and delivered you.”
~ Cheryl Zelenka-Author
From upcoming book Facing Storms.
When fear is present, peace is absent. Fear robs our peace of mind, weakens our resolve, disturbs our rest, and even causes us to question the presence of God. Fear is an emotion that will hinder our walks with Christ unless we learn to face it and overcome it with the grace of God.
In Isaiah 26:3 we read how God keeps those whose minds are steadfastly transfixed on Him in perfect peace. When we take all thoughts captive and trust God with our well being, fear departs. Our faith in His power will remove our insecurities, wobbly uncertainty, and unstable nervousness.
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
Because God knit each one of us together, He understands our nature and individual weaknesses. He lovingly calls out, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV). It is His desire for us to rest in His peace. God longs to give us rest. Faith requires trust, and peace is the fruit of that trust in God.
Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6. When He walked the earth as the Son of Man, He told us that in this world we will have tribulation. But He also told us to be of good cheer since He had conquered the grave. This fact alone should produce peace in our hearts. The battle has already been won. Eternal peace is our guarantee, but peace while on still on earth is also available. In fact, we are told to pursue it!
“Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14 (NKJV)
How then do we pursue peace? Through Christ and Christ alone! With supplication and petitions we enter the very throne room of God and while in His very presence, we witness a mediator who intercedes on our behalf both day and night, for He never sleeps. By knocking on His door and seeking Him out, He will accept our offer of fellowship and dine with us. While in His company, He fills us with a hope, inexpressible joy, and comforting peace. Trusting in His love for us produces peace.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)
Psalm 23 speaks of how God provides peace even when we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. With our eyes focused on Him, not concentrating on our problems, He leads us beside still waters and makes us lie down in green pastures for a peaceful rest.
When we walk in the Spirit of God, the fruit of the Spirit will be very evident in our lives. Peace, not fear is a component of this fruit. We must crucify our flesh, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 (NKJV). By doing this, God blesses His people with peace.
“God incarnate is the end of fear; and the heart that realizes that He is in the midst… will be quiet in the middle of alarm.” ~ F.B Meyer
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NKJV)
“And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” Daniel 10:19 (NKJV)
“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 (NKJV)
“It is good to remind ourselves that the will of God comes from the heart of God and that we need not be afraid.” ~Warren Wiersbe
Expectations. What we project on others; expecting them to behave, say, do as we think they ought to; which results in us being disappointed, upset, offended and angry when they do not behave as we want them to.
So often, we think that other people should be like us. We assume that they have the same perceptions and way of thinking that we do and become frustrated when it becomes apparent that they do not think like us. I was thinking of Martha and Mary in the infamous Luke 10:38-42 story. Jesus and everyone in His entourage descends on Martha’s house and this throws Martha into a frenzy of preparing food to be hospitable for everyone who walked through her door. I can understand Martha at that moment. I would probably do the same, except that maybe, I now have the option of ordering pizza. But, if Jesus walked through my doorway, I would worry if the house was all clean for Him, if my floors had been mopped or if they are sticky. And, I would definitely rope my husband into helping me make everything acceptable for Jesus.
So, I can understand Martha’s frustration with Mary. Of all the times to go and do nothing, this was not it! The injustice of having to do everything and not being given help to do it. I wonder if Martha was upset at Jesus for showing up and expecting her to do everything without help especially since He was encouraging Mary to sit and do nothing. Perhaps that was why Martha directed her question at Jesus, to ask Him to say something to get Mary up and moving. I can only surmise. But, Jesus did the opposite and instead, basically told Martha to do the same thing as Mary. Be still and know that He is God.
Martha had been projecting her expectations on Mary, thinking that she should respond to Jesus’ arrival in the same manner as Martha did. She wanted Mary to do what she thought was the correct thing; doing based on her own ability and capacity. Martha probably figured that she had to do it all if it was going to get done at all and if she was not doing it, who would feed Jesus and His entourage? She had forgotten that Jesus is more than capable and able to make miracles happen. Martha was relying on her own ability and expected that Mary do the same thing, rather than to lean on and draw from Jesus’ strength and ability to get things accomplished. Which was why she was frustrated and flustered.
She had also forgotten that Jesus did not ask her nor expect her to do what she was doing.
Jesus, being the Son of God, was more than capable of feeding them all if He had to and by doing things in her own manner and by her own ability, Martha might have forfeited herself from being part of a miracle Jesus could have and might have performed right there in her house. She had thought that it was expected of her to do as she was doing, perhaps because society and good manners dictated it; but not only that, she had expected her sister to be like her and to behave in the same manner.
So often, we act like Martha, doing things because we thought we should as Christians because of others’ expectations, and then we think that others should do the same as us (I am not referring to sin here, or being disobedient to the Word of God) and when it does not happen in the way we expected, we get frustrated and upset. Or become self righteous. Instead, we need to find out what the better way is and do that, lean on Jesus and rely on His abilities rather than our own and rest in Him to know that He is God and more than able to accomplish that which He said He would do in our lives. Let us not get all riled up, frustrated, offended and upset because we have chosen to do things in our own abilities or based on other’s expectations and are now expecting others to do the same when they have chosen to go a better way.
Like Mary, let’s sit at His feet constantly, waiting for His direction, and His timing instead of working ourselves up in a frenzy and possibly missing out on a miracle that He would have done had we just waited on Him.