What are you going to do about it? Are you able to find the strength you need to make it thru? Are you able to find peace in the midst of it? Are you able to have hope thru it? What do you do? Where do you turn? How do you keep going?
In my case the answer is Jesus! He is with me every step of every day! On my own I would be in trouble, but with Jesus all things are possible! He is able to bring a peace that goes beyond all understanding! He is able to calm the storm or calm me based on His plan! He is the way, the truth, and the life! Thanks to Him, I can consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds! Thanks to Him, I can have hope in times of troubles and adversity because He has overcome the world!
Around the world, we see Christians being persecuted, facing adversity, and being opposed! In some countries we see them tortured, some killed, some imprisoned, and some being opposed! Some countries are a bit more subtle but the tone is against Christianity. Some countries seem to be ramping up to be in opposition and becoming more aggressive.
Whatever happens…Whatever is coming…Whatever you are going thru, put your trust in Jesus! Don’t lose hope or allow anyone to rob you of your faith or allow anyone to take your eternity that will be spent with God!
Don’t be surprise when it happens for in 2 Timothy 3, we read:
everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted
–from 2 Timothy 3:12
Whether the adversity is coming at you from those you don’t know or who are far away. Whether the adversity is coming closer to home from those you thought you knew and could trust. Put your trust in Jesus and lean not on your own understanding! Trust Him and ask Him for peace in and through it all! Walk in the joy of the Lord as your strength! Walk in the wisdom that your permanent home will be in heaven with God! Fear Not, Just Believe!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. –from Philippians 4:6
How to Find Peace in Adversity
1. Promote peace … Proverbs 12:18-27
How can you do this?
Promote peace with your words. ‘Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise’ (v.18, MSG). Words are so powerful; they can hurt deeply but they can also heal.
‘Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment’ (v.19). Truthful words are not only cathartic, they also have a lasting impact – they ‘endure forever’ (v.19).
‘Fools blurt out folly’ (v.23b). But ‘a prudent person is reluctant to display his knowledge’ (v.23a, AMP). Knowledge is like underwear – it is useful to have it, but not necessary to show it off! The mere fact that you know the answer does not mean that you should give it. I am always so impressed by the restraint of hosts and helpers on Alpha.
‘Anxiety weighs down the heart’ (v.25a). God wants you to enjoy life, to help others, not to be weighed down by anxiety. ‘A kind word cheers’ up other people’s hearts (v.25b). By an encouraging word you can transform a person’s day or even their life.
2. Live in peace … John 11:45-12:11
God’s got a plan! God’s plan is good! God’s plan is to give you a hope and a future! Today’s devotional speaks to our reading from John as follows…
God is sovereign. He uses even the worst things for good. Supremely, we see this on the cross: the very worst plot ever – torture and murder of the innocent Son of God – was used by God to bring salvation to the entire human race.
This being the case, you can live in peace, trusting that God will use even the worst things that you face in life, for good (Romans 8:28).
Jesus faced evil plots. The motive appears to be envy (a sin the religious are prone to). People were envious of Jesus because he had so many followers and seemed to be more ‘successful’ than the religious leaders. Out of envy, the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin (John 11:47a).
The Sanhedrin was the supreme court of the nation. It comprised seventy-one members including the high priest. The chief priests were the majority and the Pharisees an influential minority. They asked, ‘What are we accomplishing?’ (v.47b). It was a very good question! They were envious of the popularity of Jesus and plotted to take his life (v.53).
They meant it for evil. God meant it for good. Caiaphas (who was high priest from AD 18 – AD 36) prophesied, ‘It is better for you that one person die for the people than that the whole nation perish’ (v.50). God is able to speak through an unwitting agent.
John comments, ‘He didn’t say this of his own accord, but as Chief Priest that year he unwittingly prophesied that Jesus was about to die sacrificially for the nation, and not only for the nation but so that all God’s exile-scattered children might be gathered together into one people’ (vv.51–52, MSG).
Perhaps because he knew of the plot against him, ‘Jesus no longer moved about publicly… Instead he withdrew… he stayed with his disciples’ (v.54). But this was not to be the end of the opposition Jesus faced.
Most painful of all must have been the opposition from Judas. When Mary pours the perfume on Jesus’ feet, Judas objects, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages’ (12:5). This, on the face of it, is a perfectly good objection, but we read, ‘He did not say this because he cared about the poor’ (v.6).
It must have been so distressing for Jesus that his friend and disciple, Judas, was, in fact, stealing money from the gifts made to Jesus and his disciples by generous donors (Luke 8:2–3).
Jesus simply responds to Judas’ objection, ‘You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me’ (John 12:8).
Jesus was certainly not encouraging complacency about the poor. The fact that we will never obliterate poverty in the world does not mean that we should not try – after all, compassion for the poor was central to Jesus’ ministry. Rather, Jesus was turning the attention of his disciples to the significance of what Mary had done.
Whilst all this was going on, plans against Jesus were being formed (vv.9–11). Envy can lead to murder. Not only did they plot to take Jesus’ life (11:53), they also made plans to kill Lazarus as well, because he was leading many people to faith (12:10–11).
The extraordinary thing about this passage though is the way in which we see God’s hand at work through it all. Despite opposition and wrongdoing, God’s ultimate plan was still fulfilled. What Jesus’ opponents meant for evil, God used for good.
3. Pray for peace … 1 Samuel 5:1-7:17
Remember what was said from 2 Timothy 3:12. Pray to God! He hears every prayer! Today’s devotional speaks to our reading from 1 Samuel as follows:
God never forgets a single prayer you pray, even though you may forget. Things may have happened to you today as a result of prayers that you prayed years ago and you have forgotten all about them. But God is still working on them in his timing. Keep stacking up the prayers. Persevering prayer prevails.
Under the old covenant, the ark of God was the place where God was supremely present, and it was the location of God’s glory. Yesterday we read that ‘the glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured’ (4:22).
We sometimes have to wait a long time for the Lord to act and answer our prayers. ‘It was a long time, twenty years in all… all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the Lord’ (7:2). I think we have prayed for a long time if we have prayed for a week, but they prayed for twenty years for their country before God acted.
The path to deliverance often begins when we return to the Lord with all our heart. Samuel said, ‘“If you are truly serious about coming back to God, clean house. Get rid of the foreign gods and fertility goddesses, ground yourselves firmly in God, worship him and him alone, and he’ll save you from Philistine oppression.” They did it. They got rid of the gods and goddesses, the images of Baal and Ashtoreth, and gave their exclusive attention and service to God’ (7:3–4, MSG).
The first thing you need to do in your life when you are seeking God’s presence and help is remove anything that is drawing your attention and focus away from God.
After the return to the Lord there was a need for a period of confession and repentance, which was shown by their fasting: ‘On that day they fasted and there they confessed, “We have sinned against the Lord.”’ (v.6).
Finally, it was Samuel’s intercession and persistence in prayer for twenty years that brought the people of God victory. Samuel said, ‘I will intercede with the Lord for you’ (v.5). They said, ‘Pray with all your might! And don’t let up! Pray to God, our God, that he’ll save us from the boot of the Philistines’ (v.8, MSG). Samuel ‘cried out to the Lord on Israel’s behalf, and the Lord answered him’ (v.9).
They recognised it was an amazing answer to prayer: ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us’ (v.12). They were delivered from the power of the Philistines and there was peace in the land (v.13).