Monday, April 23, 2012



"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. 28 You have heard Me tell you, 'I am going away and I am coming to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. 30 I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me.” John 14:27-31

I feel like peace is a trait that many of us want and few know how to get. I am always telling myself that peace and harmony is something I strive for. I try to be calm, cool, and collected- until the very instant that something frazzles me and the whole peace talk goes out the door. I let the emotions get to me, the feeling of anger, the feeling of hurt, the feeling of sadness overtakes the idea of peace. These emotions sit in my heart and fester, and suddenly I begin to feel wronged, betrayed, or let down by somebody. I prepare myself for battle, because I think nobody should treat anybody that way, especially not me. They aren’t going to run ME over. Some weeks this scenario happens way too often. I start to realize that peace has not been found and I have made a mess with my words and angry actions that often takes days to clean up.

I have really been struggling with this whole peace thing. I want it, but don’t know how to embody it. I really don’t want to be run over. I want to prove my point, to show that I am not the kind of person that sits around- I am a “do-er”, I will fight fires, and restore the peace in my relationships, in my life, in my heart. 

In John 14:27, we are given a gift from Jesus- the gift of Peace. Jesus is preparing his disciples for his death but he gives them a special “going away present”, one that the world will never offer, Peace. I think Jesus lived in the world long enough to know that we on our own could never find peace. We just aren’t peaceful people. It’s not that everybody is some sort of violent, chaos causing being- but I feel like the natural tendency of our human hearts isn’t to find peace in every situation. It took Jesus Christ to come in and show us what peace looks like on daily basis. When he was misunderstood, mocked, and beat down he said, “turn the other cheek”, “love your neighbor as yourself”, “father-forgive them.”

I think the biggest hindrance to me achieving peace- is that I want to promote my own agenda. I want to serve my purposes. And all of the things associated with my purpose, my goals, my life usually has ME at the center of them (go figure!) You see in the passage above Jesus gives peace- but he doesn’t give it to the disciple’s so they can promote their own agendas. He gives it and explains the big sacrifice he is going to make. He gives the gift of peace so that the disciples could handle Jesus dying a brutal death. That, if you ask me, is not about us at all. It’s about the God of the universe wanting his glory to be shown so that he may reign above all.

Jesus tells the disciples “Let your heart not be troubled or fearful.” I think this is where he tells us to not let the emotions get to us. Yes, we will all be wronged, run over, and beat down. Hopefully it is for the right reasons, like taking a stand for God and our values. The passage doesn’t say “your heart will never be troubled or fearful”. Jesus tell us to not let our hearts be controlled by emotions because He has provided us the peace that he will be with us always.

Some times we must keep quiet so that God can work in other people’s lives. When we are loud, kicking and screaming, it is really hard for people on every side of the situation to see God work. The person throwing the tantrum distracts everyone. We have to have absolute faith that “God works for the good for those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)  It doesn’t say Lindsay works for the good for her friends and family. Alone, I am an un-peaceful person. It’s just the way I was made. God is the greatest love story for every person. So let somebody be nasty, hateful, rude, mean, mocking. It could be apart of their story. Our story, is that we were all at that same point too when we were unsaved. Now that we are saved, we should reflect the image of God.

Let our hearts not be troubled, so that God can provide peace. Let God provide peace so that we are all equipped to deal with the things that are too big for us to handle. Even though, not everything will go our way, not everybody will treat us right, and not every situation will make us look better this is all a part of God’s greater story. You know, the Easter story, the love story, the redemption story. When our perfect savior, died a brutal death and rose again so that we may live again. We don’t have to deal with the minutia, the small things. We just should accept the gift of peace that comes from Christ Jesus alone. So maybe that means biting my tongue, walking away, loving the mean and unlovable. Because Jesus Christ loved me when I wasn’t even worth loving. He died for me, when he knew all of the mistakes I would make. On top of it all, he provides peace along the way for each one of us. Peace be with you today! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Now what?

I hope everyone had a great and relaxing Easter weekend. Easter for me this year was such a break and I enjoyed spending time with family.

Do any of you ever have such a great weekend that you wonder, now what? You experience joy to the fullest, fun to the max, and activities galore. You wonder how life seriously could get any better. For the next couple of days, the greatness of the weekend buzzes in your mind. Work, school, chores don’t seem to be so bad because you are filled to the brim with the memories of the weekend.  Even days far removed from the weekend, I even have a little smile on my face, because I can look back and recall the memories that brought me so much joy. Its like weekends like that are fuel for life. We all need them every once in a while. We all need to be in our element for a couple of days, filling ourselves back up so that we can have motivation for the mundane tasks in life.

This morning I woke up, with Easter still on my mind. Now what? Now that Easter is over what do I do? What the ‘hoopla’ of Easter really mean? More importantly, how do we really let the Easter story live on in your life all of the other 364 days of the year?

This past weekend I have been a bystander in a beautiful story, watching as Christ took my place on a cross and rose again. I wasn’t personally there to experience any of the greatness of the day, however I reap the greatness of the benefits. As we follow Christ’s journey to the cross, it is a story about who we inherently are, and what HE can only do. For many people it can stop there. We were born into sin, we will always have sinful ways, and this is a problem that only the cross can fix.

Maybe if you are like me, you think in death of Christ, there is nothing we can do. We simply, year after year, should watch Christ go to the cross and rise again. We have no control over our sinful ways, it happened last year and it will happen this year. It almost seems like every year, if I had a place in the Easter story I would be a crowd member shouting towards his death. I would be piercing his nails into the cross. 

The Easter story has such bigness about it. It is so much bigger than I am. It is an idea that my mind cannot even comprehend. Clearly, it doesn’t make sense. A sinless man died such a BIG death, being charged like the most rotten criminal of his time.  This man rose again, conquering such death so that we may have BIG lives. And sometimes in the bigness of the story, I wonder where such a small sinner fits in to the greatness of it all.

This morning I was reading in Romans 6 and God spoke to me like only He could.

 1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.  

It’s like Paul had a similar thought process. It verse 1, he asks the same question. Now what? “What shall we say, then?” What shall we do? It’s like maybe he had the same revelation as me on Easter.  I was hit hard with the fact that I am a sinner. I was hit hard with the fact that Jesus died to take MY place, because of all of MY sin. After realizing I am guilty for Christ’s death because of my sinful ways, what do I do now? Will I always be just the bystander screaming towards Jesus’ death? “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” Paul says by no means! “We have died to sin; how can we live it any longer?” If we have accepted Christ Jesus as our savior and believe the story to be true in our whole hearts, we have truly died to sin. We will not be enslaved to sin any longer.

Then Paul begins explaining in Verses 4 and 5 how we really fit into the Easter story on a daily basis.
“We were buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”

This is so powerful for me. It’s like in the story of Easter my place is no longer just a bystander cheering towards Christ death. I am not simply watching it all happen like reading a story. I am free from my sin and no longer enslaved to my sinful nature. Paul defines my place in the story. He says that I too was buried with Christ through baptism so that I may live a new life. When I became a Christian, the old me died.  And if I was truly united with him in his death, I will also be united with him in his resurrection. Verse 11 saysIn the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ Jesus.”

So this is all pretty deep stuff. But it is so powerful and life changing. Because for the story of Easter to live on in me on a daily basis, for it to rock my world the rest of the 364 days, I must have died to my sin just like Christ died on the cross. And just as Christ was raised from the dead, I must live a new life. I can no longer look at the story of Easter from afar. I must LIVE the story of Easter. Every day.

It’s really easy to hold onto my sinful ways. It’s really easy to go to Easter service and be so appreciative for what Christ has done and celebrate Easter like it is means so much to me. But does it mean enough, that I too would reflect the story of Easter in your life? I am convicted here.  Because I love the magic of Easter, I love what it stands for, I love the bigness of it all. But I have to rise up to the challenge. I have to take the next step. I have to move from being a small sinner, to being redeemed through nothing else but the power of Christ. 

Hopefully for you Easter was such a great weekend. Hopefully the story rocked your core and moved you. I hope that you are asking the question, now what? The power of the Easter story should fill every Christian to the brim, overflowing with the greatness of the story. It should make the mundane tasks bearable. I think, that this week I will focus on how the story of Easter lives on in me. Have I died to all my sins? Am I reflecting a new life, just as Jesus Christ rose again? I am encouraged by Romans 6:14.

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

May the grace of God move in me.