Beyond the AmbienceDecember 5, 2007
Psalm 91:2 “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
John 16:33 “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Without a doubt, our joy and peace is in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a peace that, prior to our being born of the Spirit, we were unaware that such a thing even existed. Or if we did know of such a thing, we would most likely attribute it to psychological conditioning. It’s not a myth, nor is it a byproduct of pyschological wranglings. It’s a pure and complete joy that doesn’t hings on the physical appearances surrounding us. I know a lot of folks whose mood depends upon optimal economic conditions, optimal social climate, optimal social status, optimal political advancement, and even optimal weather conditions. They allow factors which are completely beyond their control determine for them whether they are “having a good day” or having a “got up on the wrong side of the bed” day. I know of a few who seem to be “angry all the time” because of things which turn out contrary to their liking.
I’m reminded of the first autumn following my move back from Virginia in 1989. I was working for a company in Elkhart and one particular co-worker was a guy named Greg. Greg was a hardcore 49ers fan and fortunately for him, that was a great year for the Niners as they compiled a 14-2 record and went on to win another super bowl. Yet the monday after their first loss of the season, Greg came into work and was so bothered that he didn’t talk to anyone. For two and a half days, he was silent and angry over something of no eternal significance. Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, he was working on the press next to where I was working and he broke his silence. He peered around from behind the press and said “Why should I be in a good mood? Do you think Joe Montana is in a good mood today?” My reply was “He makes millions every year playing football. Yes I think that Joe’s in a good mood!”
While this example is extreme, it highlights a very real problem; that of people allowing circumstances to get the better of them. Tragically many; possibly even a majority of saints wrestle struggle with this as well. All of us have areas where we must learn to let go and let God. All of us have moments when our prayer life is hindered by various factors, we glance at the waves and we begin to let fear creep in. It will take our daily walking with the Lord and abiding in the shadow of his wings if we’re to be more than conquerors. I find myself thinkng on this much as I’m convinced that the bottom is soon to fall out on the status quo. Our own understanding will leave us ill-prepared for the times ahead, but if we place our total confidence in the God who created all that is, we’ll stand when everything around us is coming apart.
It would be advisable for all of us to hide Psalm 91 in our heart and be ever mindful of it. In a nutshell, it admonishes the reader to not be frightened by events transpiring upon the earth. Despite wars, rumors, pestilence, arrows flying in every direction and thousands falling at our side, we’re to look to Jesus and know that he is able to keep us. He is able to save us to the uttermost and no weapon formed against us shall prosper. Even if we’re overcome physically as many will be tried in such fashion, (Daniel 11:35, I Peter 1:7, Revelation 3:10) it’s needful to remember that our adversaries can only pursue us to the grave. Enduring. Holding fast the profession of our faith steadfast unto the end.
Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
This passage shows the importance of loving not our lives in this world. Many are inclined to look at “loving not this world” verses with a legalistic mindset, however, such isn’t the case at all. When we arrive at a place where we truly love Jesus with all that is in us and no longer cleave to the things of this life, it’s liberating beyond words. They can take our collections, confine us in camps, and kill the body, but they cannot touch that which is eternal. Loving not this world will eneable us to focus on the eternal, lay up treasure in heaven, and prepare for the days when we may be called to lay down our lives for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealled in us.”
Last night at work, I had a little fun at the expense of our inexperienced supervisor who’se banking on our plant remaining viable in this age of globalism. The press-up in our department was down and he was observing the repair progress; obviously concerned that parts weren’t being produced. I went over and told him “Don’t get too excited; the ship is sinking.” He didn’t find this comment as humorous as I did, however, it emphasized the temporal nature of this life and the uncertainty of the chariots of Egypt. Indeed our time here is so very short, but eternity is forever. I pray that we all would focus on the eternal and distance ourselves from the gnat-straining over things that have no significance in the realm of the everlasting.
Well, it’s time to go. I have to get some things cleaned up at home and head off to the sinking ship that is American Axle. Actually, the company is doing quite well, however, our plant is gradually losing product lines to Mexico, along with new work being located in Mexico. (I see an empty building in the future.) “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Until the next time (if there is a next time) I wish to all a most blessed day in Jesus.