Skip to main content

The Gift of Peace Within

I was sawing wood yesterday and thinking about lots of things.  Recently I asked the Elders to release me from full-time and allow me to work part-time and hire my son to be an assistant to me in order for the church's teaching needs, and pastoral needs to still be met.  The other choice was to retire, step away from ministry altogether and let the church get on with the task of finding another Pastor.  As I cut wood I found myself thinking about all sorts of things in relation to this.  Most people were happy that I chose to stay on and not retire, but there were a few who did not.  I care about people...and yet most of the thoughts I had yesterday were negative.  Did I do the right thing?  Should I have done more?  Emotions surface - sadness, self-pity, regret, guilt - to name a few.  

There is a word that I was introduced to years ago in reading Henri Nouwen.  It is the word Nepsis.  Nepsis means to be "alert, attentive, watchful, especially in relation to our spirit and soul".  The early church fathers talked about Nepsis as a way to watch over our thoughts and heart...what are you thinking?  what are you letting occupy your heart/mind?  where is God in relation to your circumstances and your thoughts about them?  These are Nepsis items.  The problem of thinking negatively and allowing emotions that are negative to come into our hearts is that they are bit like the mouse on the treadmill...they keep us going and going without getting anywhere at all.  There is a real danger in avoiding this kind of sober watchfulness.  It is that we fall prey not only to the emotional roller-coaster of our mind, but we also fall prey to the enemy who wants us "stuck".  
It was Peter who wrote in his epistle:  1 Peter 5:8 
 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

My prayers are to settle "into" the circumstances, not try to control them.  The ancient fathers prayed in Latin:  "fuge, tace, et quiesce" - "God help me to live in solitude, silence and peace within".   For me, it meant stopping the mouse on the wheel in my head and taking some time to focus on God's purposes being fulfilled in the life he has called me to.  
We have limited ability to control our circumstances and no ability to control the thoughts, desires, and feelings of others - both for or against us.  What we do have is God's Spirit and the joy of living in the reality of the words Paul wrote to the Philippians:

Philippians 4:6-9
6  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
9  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  


Yes, think on these things and be at peace.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome to Advent 2011 - Day 1

Advent is a wonderful opportunity to take time to "ponder" Jesus and the Incarnation.  It is not for "fast food" devotions; but rather, a time for "thinking" about all that God has done in sending his Son - Jesus, our Savior, to the world that ultimately would reject him!

Each day we'll read some scripture...then I'll share some thoughts on the passage and invite you to "comment", so that we can all gain from a wider community of God's people.  Please feel free to "comment" at the end of each post.

Finally there is an encouragement to pray, asking God to make the Word spoken more real in our hearts than we can ever gain from our intellect alone.

TODAY:  We read Isaiah 43:14, 18-21

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: … Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? … For I put water in the desert and r…

Wondering Out Under the Stars

A Reading:

Colossians 1:9-20 (NIV)
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether th…

The Messy Church

The First letter to the Corinthians is what I started reading a couple of days ago.  I'm just about done with it, and it is a picture of the "Messy" Church.
The Corinthian believers, like all believers in that first century, were newly established in their faith.  They probably were a mixture of both Jewish converts and Gentile believers.  Corinth is a port city in lower Greece, and had a reputation for being a city of perversion...sort of "whatever you want, you can get it in Corinth". In fact, to "Corinthianize" was to commit sexual immorality.  It is in this cultural setting that the church in Corinth comes into being.
The church struggled...division, sexual immorality, along with incest, eating foods that were dedicated to idols/gods, marriage's in struggles, freedom vs license as well as freedom vs. law, men and women in pure relationships, abuses in worship, trouble with use of gifts of the Spirit, and doubts about the resurrection...what a…