I was all set to write about "peace" in my usual Thursday post. I was going to talk about how this year I was going to take the chaos out of Christmas and usher in peace. I was going to talk about our Advent Jesse tree being the focal point of this season and not about "Winning Christmas" as Best Buy claims in their advertisements. This was going to be the ultimate of peaceful Christmases. I had even started on my Christmas cards earlier than usual so it wouldn't be a last minute stress item.
I was well on my journey toward a peaceful Christmas season. Then, it hit. Not sure what triggered it, but I found myself in a really bad ocd episode. Ocd is an anxiety disorder and this episode came packed with an extra punch of gut wrenching anxiety. I found myself in bed for a couple of days. My son called me the second day and he was in a pickle and needed a ride. I dragged myself out of bed and went to pick him up. I wound up in a fender bender accident...it was truly an accident (both of us backing out at the same time), then hearing the awful "thud" of striking something solid.
This woman proceeded to get out of her car and started screaming at me at the top of her lungs. She called me all sorts of lovely things. Then a gentleman came out of a store and asked if I'd kindly move my car out of the middle of the parking lot so he could get out (he wasn't about to approach the other woman). I obliged. I got back in my car to move it. That's when the woman began beating on my car and screaming that I was fleeing the scene of the accident. Even after I pulled into an unoccupied space...she was still shouting. So much for the Christmas spirit...
Hours later, after the police had come and ruled it a mutual, no one at fault, accident. I went home and climbed back into bed. I called a mentor friend of mine and she prayed with me and then she encouraged me to read the 23rd Psalm. This was the second time someone had suggested I read it...I felt God speaking.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
What jumped out at me in reading this Psalm is that Jesus was doing all the actions...
He makes me lie down...
He leads me...
He restores my soul...
He guides me...
He is with me...
He prepares a table...
He anoints my head...
Not only does Jesus go before me and do the work...He hems me in and follows me with His goodness and mercy all the days of my life.
The only thing He asks of me is to "dwell"...and to "walk and follow Him". Period.
You see I had been trying, by myself, to achieve perfect peace this Christmas. I was striving and doing in my own power to make this a less chaotic season.
It was all about me when really...IT'S ALL ABOUT HIM!!
The same is true about Peace...it too, is all about Him.
I was trying to seek perfect peace, rather than let the Lord's peace work in me.
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15)
Jesus Christ is the only "perfect peace" that I know of. I have His perfect peace living inside of me...now here's the clincher...I have perfect peace dwelling in me, now I need to let it... "Him" rule.
When it comes to peace...Jesus and only Jesus does the working.
My job is to dwell, abide, be still...
The pressure is off...I don't need to go seeking peace. It dwells in me and so I need to be still and let Him rule with His peace.
My main job is to keep my eyes firmly fixed on Christ and then abide in Him and wait, expectantly, for what He is about to perform.
So this is Advent Season "Take 2". I can't make a peaceful Christmas. Only Jesus can do that. So my fervent prayer right now is that I would:
Be still and know that HE is God. (Psalm 46:10).
I will ask Him for the ability to keep my eyes and mind steadfastly fixed on Him and He will give me the gift of peace.
And even if I don't do this perfectly, because I am a stupid sheep...I get distracted. Thankfully, His rod and His staff are there to guide me back into His presence and into His peace.
In the end, it's truly all about Him...
Dear Lord Jesus, I praise you because you ARE the Prince of Peace. I thank you that you left your heavenly home in order that you might live and dwell in my heart. I thank you for your Holy Spirit who comforts and guides me. Thank you for your promise that you will work in me, if only I am still. Help me to get myself out of the way so that your will be done...not mine. Let me be glad about my weaknesses so that your glory will shine and the world will know...it's not about me...it's truly all about You! In your precious name I pray, Amen.
ps. Thank you to all of you who have contributed so that the children of Redeemer Christian School in Pakistan will have gifts, a celebration, and a hearty meal this Christmas. God bless you!!
GOOD NEWS: Articles of Incorporation were filed with the Secretary of State's office and Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. is now a fully accredited organization in good standing. PRAISE!! Look for more news in posts to come.
NEEDS FOR 2016: 25+ children are on the waiting list desperately wanting to be able to get in the doors of Redeemer Christian School, Pakistan. Only $12/month will sponsor a needy student for a year. We will send you a picture and bio on your child. A child needs YOU!
For more information on RCS/RCF go to the MISSIONS tab above.
If you can help: Send a check made out to Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. and send to:
Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc.
c/o Bev Rihtarchik
103 Silver Lining Lane
Cary, NC 27513
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