From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
Grace and peace to you from God our Father Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen!
Dear Lord, be with us in these days -- when we and our nation are in a time of great pandemic as well as disorder, confusion, and, yes, violence. In the midst of the calamity and frustration we face, grant us grace and vision for the immediate hours -- that are to follow. In your name we pray, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You."
1 Corinthians 2:9 "...we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began..."
Let us pray. Please come along with me today:
O God...Today, I will not worry about other peoples' reactions to my convictions. I will not focus on events and reactions beyond my control. I release myself from every hesitancy and fear. Instead, I will focus upon my reactions. I will handle my life well today and trust that, tomorrow, I can do the same. Build in me Christlike conviction and courage. In Jesus' name.
We are all saddened by what is happening in many of the metropolitan areas of our country. I am especially focusing in on Minneapolis where I was partially raised. I lived right down the street from where many of the TV images are presenting the sights of this normally delightful city. Things have changed there as everywhere. All of us, so it appears, need to grow into the twenty-first century, realizing that many things that should have been taken care of centuries ago, we are still dealing with. Often, with a mindset of faith, I tend to think that many of our problems have underneath them a certain presupposition that I would like to address in this meditation.
A note in passing..."What if's" can drive us crazy. They place control over our life into someone else's hands. "What if's" are a sign that we have reverted to thinking that people have to react in a particular way -- for us to continue on our course.
"What if's" are also a clue that we may be wondering whether we can trust ourselves -- AND GOD -- to do what is best for us. These are the tell-tale signs of personal insecurity in our thinking, feeling, and behaving...and they raise a "red flag" when it comes to being dominated by fear. It is one aspect of the "spector of fear" in our lives. Whenever and wherever fear becomes the motivation, there can be no dominant controlling factor of God's love in our lives. So the Apostle John correctly affirms, 1 John 4:13 "...perfect love casts out fear..." God's love and human fear cannot co-exist in the same human body, mind, and soul. What an insight to savor this is -- as we seek to know peace, purpose, and freedom in our lives of faith.
A key factor in true, genuine Christianity has to do with a presupposition of faith. The reactions, feelings, likes or dislikes of other people don't have to control our behaviors, feelings, and direction. We don't need to control how others will react to our choices. As we trust the Lord, we trust ourselves with God's help to handle any eventual outcome -- even the most uncomfortable, unexpected result. Many Christian women and men fear this. With the mighty support of the Scriptures and God's direct help we can trust ourselves to handle it well.
What kind of reaction of others do you fear? Be kind, be loving, be happy, be well, but be yourself...everybody else is taken!
Cordially, in Jesus, Tom