“He will settle disputes among many peoples and provide arbitration for strong nations that are far away. They will beat their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nation will not take up the sword against nation, and they will never again train for war.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
We live in a day when chaos seems to reign more and more. We may be 80 years from the last armed conflict that could truly be described as a world war, but the world seems to be at war everywhere we look. For those who live in areas where this conflict is part of the rhythm of daily life it is exhausting. When will it end? We don’t know that, but we do know beyond a shadow of doubt that it will.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
The fruit of the Spirit. Even if you’re not a Jesus person you may have seen the phrase before on a piece of kitschy artwork in a store that tries to market to Jesus people. Even if you would consider yourself thoroughly secular in every regard, you have to at least admit it’s a pretty good list of attitudes or mindsets or character traits or whatever else you want to call them.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Have you ever been in a place of turmoil? Of course you have. We all have. We’ve all been there multiple times. Sometimes turmoil is an almost daily affair. And in these times when life is topsy-turvy what is it that we most want? Peace. We long for peace. We need peace. We want life to feel like a scene from a Bob Ross painting. How do we get this?
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Where’s your mind? Ever been asked that? It was probably asked sarcastically when you said something that was possibly suggestive in some way. Or perhaps you were not paying as much attention in some sporting event as you needed to be and your coach told you to get your head in the game. Our minds are amazing things. The amount of information, they can process effortlessly and their ability to analyze complex data to find patterns is jaw-dropping. But sometimes it’s hard to keep them focused, isn’t it?
In this second part of our series, Hard Sayings, we looked a bit more closely at the hard saying from last week that following Jesus is hard. Here we have reaffirmed for us the difficulty of remaining faithful over the long haul, but we also get a bit of a reprieve: The rewards are pretty good as well. Keep reading to see how this unfolds.
A Difficult Journey
When was the last time you did something that was hard, but which left you feeling like you’d done something worthwhile? That’s a really good feeling, isn’t it? You work hard, make some sacrifices even, and come out on top. Like you, I’ve done this kind of thing a few times, but probably the thing that stands out the most to me was learning to play the drums. I started when I was in seventh grade. I had played the trumpet in sixth grade, but then I got braces. Braces and the trumpet do not play well together. Drums didn’t hurt. I started taking lessons almost immediately from a teacher in my neighborhood. That teacher moved. I found another one. I didn’t like him at all. Found a third teacher who was great and stuck with him all the way through high school and into college. And I practiced. Much to my parents’…and probably the neighbors’ too…chagrin, I practice a lot. Then I got to college. I took more lessons and played with the percussion ensemble. In fact, I played a lot, not only with the various university ensembles, but I also started playing with different bands including getting to tour and cut a cd with a rock band of some friends when their previous drummer quit. Read the rest…