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Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to find peace

There is so much uncertainty in the world today.  Our hearts go out to the people of Japan who have suffered such terrible loss and can't rest because of the threat of radiation poisoning from melting nuclear reactors.  Other parts of the world, like Libya and Afghanistan, are ravaged with war.  Economic instability and health concerns also plague many people in our world.

Uncertainty about the future also affects us on a personal level.  Consider the words of Barry Newton:

The details of our future, even what lies just around the corner, are many: How long will my employment situation remain the same? What about health, finances, and family relationships? The list can go on and on...

While at times we might feel like the master of our destiny or a hapless cork caught in a storm swept sea, by peering into Paul's imprisonment we discover our grasp upon controlling our future is neither. In fact, his prison letter to the Philippian church can teach us about living on the edge of a foggy future.

Wearing Roman shackles, Paul certainly was not the master of his circumstances. Would tomorrow herald exoneration and freedom from captivity or would the government take his life? Yet Paul could exude a confidence about the FUTURE which provided him with peace in the PRESENT.

Our situation may not be as dramatic as his, but the fundamental question is the same. What will tomorrow bring?

The key for managing the future involves possessing something TODAY which can be relied upon TOMORROW. Many people try to build a tomorrow by reducing their risk and creating a reliable foundation through insurance companies and investment firms. While the track record of such institutions has tended to be reliable, we have also seen there is no guarantee.

Paul's future planning pierced even beyond the grave. He looked to Christ crucified and risen again [see Phil 3:8-14]. Regardless whether he lived or died, he would win.*

As Paul faced an uncertain future, he was able to write with confidence:

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
- Philippians 1:21

He was confident that he would be able to continue to live and help his fellow Christians (Philippians 1:25-26).  But if he were to lose his life, his gain would be to be with Christ forever.

This confidence in uncertain times can be shared by ALL those who place their trust - not in the things of this world - but in God and His Word!

A certain and blessed future awaits those who: place their faith and trust in Christ who died on the cross for our sins (Acts 16:30-31), who turn from their sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), who confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).  Ultimately, it is sin that makes our "future" so bleak.  But in Christ, our sins are washed away by His blood and we have the hope and assurance of eternal life.

Barry Newton adds:

While at times we might be deluded into confidently perceiving ourselves controlling tomorrow, a sudden car wreck, a health crisis or economic upheaval suddenly exposes our weakness. On the other hand, because of Christ, neither do we face the future with uncertainty. We can know whose we are and where our destiny lies. In this there is peace.

Do YOU have this peace?  You CAN - through Jesus Christ.  Won't you place your trust in Him and obey His will?

David A. Sargent

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