FINDING PEACE IN THE CHAOS
Ps. 46:1-3, 10 (NLT)
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if the earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! (When our world is falling apart) Be still, (calm yourself, rest) and know that I AM GOD!”
2020 for almost all of us probably feels like the most unsettling, chaotic time you have ever lived through or ever experienced. There is tremendous cultural chaos, confusion, anger, uncertainty, economic hardships for many, and every day we are bombarded with lies, distortions, misinformation, and so much information from so many voices screaming that you are constantly wondering, “Who can I trust?” For many, it has left them reeling and overcome with anxiety and turmoil.
It feels like madness doesn’t it? It feels like the lunatics are running the asylum and everyone around us has lost their minds! As a result of decisions and edicts handed down to us by governors, mayors, and doctors, your personal world has been turned upside down, your life routines have been radically altered, and life feels tumultuous, strange, and off-balance. The clamoring, obnoxious noise of the lunatic, protesting criminals and fools splashed across our screens every day, causes you to forget that almost every city, town, and neighborhood in America is quiet and full of law-abiding citizens.
I would like to offer you some very real, meaningful, practical solutions for finding and bringing real peace into your life and your family, even as the chaos around us remains. I believe it is possible, and imperative to do so. Jesus promised us that in this world we would have tribulations, but to take heart, for he has overcome the world and its lunacy!
These have been a tremendous help and blessing to me. I trust they will be for you and your family also.
1. God is not subject to the market forces of this world! God is not subject to the whims of man or the forces of nature. God Himself, with His infinite, almighty supernatural power is simply able to overcome every possible obstacle as though it didn’t even exist! God is over and above everything, subject to nothing!
Think: Jesus walking not just on water, but on the roaring crashing waves of a torrential, frightening stormy sea! God miraculously alters nature to suit His desires. Think: Moses and the burning bush that God burned but didn’t turn to ash and was not consumed! It was on fire, but not destroyed! Think: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walking around in a raging, burning furnace of fire, yet not a hair on their head was singed, nor an eyelash melted off, nor a thread of clothing burned! When they walked out of the fire they did not even smell of smoke! Think: Daniel in a hungry, starving den of lions walking among them all night, as they purred like kittens! Think: Moses at the Red Sea! God makes water stand up on its own, nothing visible holding it up as 2 million people walk through, not on mud but the dry sea bottom!!
Are you starting to get the picture here? Our God does miracles, and He can and will intervene for us His children. Do you believe that? Is your hope fixed, not just sort of hoping, but fixed on His unfailing love, faithfulness, and supernatural power?
Remember this verse “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt him!!” Have you ever pondered what that means? To magnify something means to make it larger in your mind’s eye! Just as a magnifying glass makes letters bigger on a page, easier to see. We all tend to have such a puny, tiny view of God. This must change if we want to have peace! Real lasting peace! “Thou will keep him at peace whose mind is stayed on Thee!” We need to make God big in our thoughts and minds and make the noise of this insane world small. Turn their volume button off!
2. Focus your eyes and your heart like never before in your life on God, on His eternal word and promises, and find all your refuge and strength in Jesus Christ. Dive deeper into God!
How many times are we just like the disciples in the boat as Jesus walked on the stormy seas? We believe Jesus can walk on them yet when our storm comes, we are scared to death of the waves. I certainly know I have been in some horrific storms God has allowed to come my way. At times, I was so afraid that I could not possibly get through these stormy, chaotic circumstances crashing into my life. Cling to Jesus now, more than ever before. Turn up the intensity of your prayer life and your reading of God’s Word. Bolster your faith! Dive deeper into God.
The last several years of my life have been without a doubt the most difficult, arduous, tumultuous, frightening, uncertain, and unsettling times of my entire life. What did I do? I went deeper into God. I continued to rise very early every morning, going out on my hour prayer walks, pouring out my heart, my worries, my burdens, my requests, and my thanksgiving to the Miracle-working God of the universe. I pray with my wife another 15-20 minutes every single day, crying out to God for His blessing, asking God for every single need and requests we have. I’ve added an additional routine that every night before I go to bed, I sit by Kathy, read a Psalm, and then pray with her again before we go to bed. This makes God’s truth the last thing we hear, and we bring our thanks and request before Him. I know a dad who started going into his children’s room each night and reads some scripture to them and prays with them before they go to sleep. This is so wise! I am telling you, I have seen God answer prayer in these last several years in stunning and miraculous ways!! God hears and answers fervent prayers. God’s eye is on those who fix their hope on His lovingkindness, and His unfailing love.
Phil. 4:6-7 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything, Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
3. Enjoy wonderful, spiritual fellowship with your wife and children and Christian friends in your home. It can be so meaningful and brings such peace and encouragement.
I know many have been thrown off not being able to attend an actual church service. As I share this, keep in mind I am a man who pastored churches for 32 years, and was in a church service up to 3 times a weekend over many of those years. I am loving this new solitude and sweet fellowship with my wife.
Recently, God put something special on my heart. Every Sunday, early afternoon, I pour a special cup of cherry juice, take a couple of pieces of bread and I put them on a special plate. I then set them on top of my cowhide on the coffee table in our living room. The cowhide reminds me that the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. I sit with Kathy and I read a different gospel passage each Sunday. Isaiah 53 last week, Col. 2, Eph. 1, and so on, reminding us both of what Jesus Christ the Lamb of God did for us. Then I pray and thank the Lord for His body and the blood He shed for us, and we eat the Lord’s supper together. It has been wonderful. I urge you, do this with your family each Sunday. It is such a blessing!
Also, don’t let these stupid COVID regulations keep you from having dear Christian friends in your own home and enjoying wonderful Christian fellowship together or a meal. I am so blessed to be able, through mentoring men, to have such wonderful fellowship, either by phone, email, or having them over to my Disciple Shop! No edict will ever stop me! Here is my special word from God to me. You have no idea how apropos this scripture is for me! It thrills my soul, it is my reality!
Acts 28:30-31 (NLT)
“For the next two years, Paul lived in his own rented house. He welcomed all who visited him, proclaiming the kingdom of God with all boldness and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ (with great freedom and without hindrance). And no one tried to stop him!”
4. Turn off the noise of fools and idiots!! Banish them from your world!
Imagine for a moment that outside your house every single day is the chanting, obnoxious sound of rioting, looting, protesting idiots, and fools! Would anyone in their right mind invite those kinds of fools to come over to their house and cause that kind of commotion every single day, if they didn’t have to??? That is exactly what you are doing by spending time on Facebook, social media, and the newscasts in your area. I mean the fools and idiots are everywhere in those spaces.
Remember this verse? “A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, But the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.” Proverbs 27:3 (NASB) I’ll tell you my secret: I can’t even stand to look at Nancy Pelosi, or the Cuomo’s, or any of the rest of the fools and idiots!! I will not tolerate for one moment fools and idiots in my life!! Honestly, many need to take a serious break from Facebook. There is so much insanity, vitriol, stupidity, and folly there. In fact, what Mark Zuckerberg did was create a mega-phone for fools, primarily. Again, speaking the blunt truth, many of your so-called Christian friends on Facebook are also among those fools. The stuff they spew in your comments section or their own FB page is idiocy and provocative garbage, and it weighs you down and creates such turmoil in your spirit by reading any of it, or trying to interact with the fools! Banish them from your life!!! Stand up and banish them from your life! And ye shall be free at last!!! Turn the idiots off in your life, and you will find greater peace and tranquility!!!!!
5. Get outside in God’s spaces, in the natural world He created!
Many of you are feeling completely disoriented because you can’t get into your coffee shop, or go shopping without a mask, or eat at your favorite restaurant twice a week. When I was a kid, we never went out to eat. We never just went to a mall to walk around and look at stuff. Americans have such a skewed view of reality and what matters. During this time of craziness, I have added another daily walk at a lake trail near my home. It has been a wonderful new routine to just go walk, look at all the wildflowers, the birds, hear the sounds of God’s creation, and get this: not have to hear hardly any planes flying over my head, because no one is flying!! I love it! It is so refreshing and peaceful. Every morning, very early, I go into my backyard, and prayer walk under the stars and the night sky. The same stars Abraham gazed at, the same constellations that have been there for thousands of years, unchanged. Do you know what’s extra special about it? All the wicked are asleep and I get the whole world to myself!!!!
6. Count your many blessings, not your potholes!
When I was a kid going to church with my parents, we sang a song that went like this: “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God has done. Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings, see what God has done.”
This song has become a spiritual practice of my life. You would be amazed at the blessings in your life if you started to count them. I will always remember the COVID stimulus check, you know why? My 14-year-old air conditioner unit finally broke beyond repair. I called around looking for the best value and with almost the exact amount of funds the government sent, we were able to pay for a brand new, better AC unit than we ever had before! I keep a couple of leather journals on my desk. I fill them with records of God’s special blessings in my life. I keep many records of God’s answers to my prayers. I write them down. If you don’t write them down, you seldom remember them, and the ocean of forgetfulness makes you think hardly anything good has happened in your life. You lose track of the many, many blessings in your life.
DO NOT FORGET WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU!!! Whatever you are not intentionally remembering and appreciating, you are taking for granted.
7. Do not obsess over the wicked, and all the craziness of our times. God will destroy the wicked in his due and perfect time!
Psalm 37:7, 9, 12, 17 (NLT)
“Be still, calm yourself in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. For the wicked will be destroyed but all those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. In a little while, the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them they will be gone. The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance. But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming! For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Day after day the Lord takes care of the innocent and they will receive a reward that lasts forever. They will survive through hard times; even in famine, they will have more than enough. But the wicked will perish. The Lord’s enemies are like flowers of the field, they will disappear like smoke!
Oh man, I love this passage of scripture! It fills me with such joy, peace, encouragement, and perspective!!
Friends, I promise you if you do the things I have shared with you, you will find and experience some wonderful peace and encouragement amidst all the chaos!
Please listen to these messages below, they will bring you great comfort and encouragement.