How to Find Peace in This Troubled World

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith
and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as
you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
(Jude 1:20-21 NIV)

At my church last Sunday, we had a special speaker who travels to many developing nations and has lived in one of them. He knows what life is like for 2/3 of the people in the world who live on an income of less than $10.00 a day. Speaking from the New Testament book of James, he encouraged us to remember that we are a global family and live in the light of Jesus’s return.

What does that mean? Very simply, this:

  • Instead of hoarding our wealth, we share it.
  • Instead of grumbling, we are thankful
  • Instead of self-protection, we rely on Jesus

As we, directed by the Spirit Jesus has given us, do these things, we will have peace of mind, no matter what is happening around us.

 In this world where sin abounds
 And devil’s work great harm
 There is a place of perfect peace
 It’s found in Jesus’ arm
 There is no pain he has not felt
 No trouble he’s not known
 He intercedes effectively
 Before our Father’s throne
 So let us work with confidence
 Give thanks and not complain
 All may change around us
 But Jesus stays the same
 He renews our energy
 He defeats our foes
 When we submit our hearts to him
 The Spirit’s power flows 
 We find that we are patient
 Slow to anger when stressed
 And if we suffer loss or pain
 We do not get depressed

 We find we are generous
 Money is not our treasure
 We release our goods to God
 And have joy beyond measure
 In this world where sin abounds
 And devil’s work great harm
 There is a place of perfect peace
 It’s found in Jesus’ arm
 Jane Ault
 August 2019 

HOPE for Abused Children

Forget-Me-Nots remind me of God’s love for his children.
This is how he describes his love in for them the book of Isaiah:
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you! “
(Isaiah 49:15)

When I read stories of how children are abused in such destructive ways, I feel deeply saddened. Many of them believe they’ve been abandoned by God. Jesus assures us that this is not so. He loved the children. To him, they are precious lambs. When his followers pushed them away, Jesus rebuked them and told them they, themselves, needed to become like children–humble, trusting, and truthful.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, rescues lambs. He carries them in his arms and protects them from the “wolves” who would deceive and destroy them. He said, ” My Father gave my sheep to me. He is greater than all, and no person can steal my sheep out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29).

He calls those of us who are sheep in his church to come beside him in his mission to rescue the lambs who’ve been deceived and are temporarily held captive. He calls us to bring hope and healing to abused children.

The following poem reflects how a precious lamb might feel when rescued by Jesus. I hope it will encourage you to get ask him how he would want you to get involved in reaching out to captive lambs.

 When you rescued me, Lord!
 it was all because
 Of the love the Father
 Reigning above
 I am His child.
 He will never forget!
 His Spirit within me
 Assures me of that
 I'm no longer ashamed
 I'm no longer afraid.
 The lies of abusers
 I see and resist.
 Your power and love
 Fill my heart every day;
 So no one can ever
 Lure me away.
 Someday, you’ll return
 With a triumphant shout
 And my soul will be free
 No more tempted to doubt
 Never harassed
 And never in pain
 Lord Jesus, I long
 For that glorious day
 Jane Ault

Whose Approval Rating Matters?

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval.
Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed
and who correctly explains the word of truth.
(2 Timothy 2:15 NLT)

For my entire life, I’ve wanted and longed for approval. I wanted to please my parents. I wanted to please my grandparents. (And I had eleven of them to please!) I wanted to please my teachers. I wanted to please my employer. I wanted to please my husband. I wanted to please my children. I wanted to please my grandchildren. Most of all, I wanted to please God.

At least I thought I did. For quite a while, I convinced myself that all of this was true. Especially the pleasing-God part. In his kindness and mercy, God did not immediately confront me with the truth he saw in my heart: I wanted to please others so that they would be pleased with me. I was searching for the worth that perfect performance would bring.

I mistakenly thought that pleasing others meant “making them happy.” I did not want anyone to feel disappointed or sad. And if someone was not happy I thought it was my job to cheer them up. Being a person with high emotional sensitivity, I quickly noticed the emotional climate around me. When I sensed any sign of anxiety, sadness, or anger, my mind started designing a plan to fix the situation.

I discovered some surprising things:

  • Some people feel happy no matter what I do.
  • Some people feel unhappy no matter what I do.
  • I can only make one person happy. That person is me.

Instead of making others happy, something impossible for me to accomplish, I want to serve others in a way that benefits them and does not damage me.

I realize that it’s not my job to make God happy either.

 Whose acceptance do I value?            
 Whose approval do I seek?
 The world sees only outward beauty;
 God sees quality beneath.
 Whose acceptance do I value?
 Whose approval do I seek?
 The world rejects the ones who stumble;
 God restores his fallen sheep.
 Whose acceptance do I value?
 Whose approval do I seek?
 The world discards the old and feeble;
 God upholds those small and meek.
 Whose acceptance do I value?
 Whose approval do I seek?
 The world's applause is for a moment;
 God's honor is for eternity.