Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Perfect Peace

Have you heard the news? 

My husband comes home this afternoon and tells me what he heard about the latest financial crisis. 
My dad shows me the latest photo of the hurricane damage, and tells me that the city of Galveston, which was one of our family's favorite vacation destinations years ago, is devastated. 

So we go to Bible Study tonight, and the text we are studying is Hebrews 13. The class has been going through the book of Hebrews, and this chapter just happened to be a very timely commentary for this day's events!

At our Bible studies, we each choose a verse to talk about. Contentment. The Lord is our helper. Jesus is unchanging. Things aren't permanent here, but there is permanence to come. 

"Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. Grace be with you all. Amen."

When I hear bad news (and there is so much of it to be had), I think,  "God will take care of us." This isn't always easy for me, the scaredy cat to end all scaredy cats. Whether it is bad weather, melting polar ice caps (that will just freeze back up in winter), invasive weeds killing the landscape, killer bees, genetic altering, etc. etc. etc. there will always be something to shake us up. Sometimes people seem to be really stupid. Sometimes the government does something we didn't like. Sometimes cities disappear in earthquakes or hurricanes. Sometimes .... sometimes there seems to be nothing we can do. That is why these verses are so important to me! "... for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

This is another one of my favorite promises in the Bible,  Gen 8:22:  "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?

The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrow surging round?
In Jesus's presence nought but calm is found.

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus's keeping we are safe, and they.

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers

It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease,
and Jesus call us to heaven's perfect peace.
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