Heart Thoughts - Grace, Mercy, Peace

          Over the past 24 hours, there have been three situations that I've felt impressed to pray for.  The first is a brother and his household whose ministry has come to a standstill.  Their place of meeting has been lost, and with it, the means of carrying out a very distinct part of that ministry and outreach to the community.  It has been devastating to all, particularly his young daughter.  The second involves a church fellowship in my area where thieves, as thieves always do, came in the night hours and stole six HVAC units, valued at $60,000, leaving this fellowship not only without a means to heat their building, but also without the resources on hand to replace them and an insurance company that seems reluctant to cover the cost of replacing them.  The last involves a young college student, away from home for the first time, learning to navigate the path between childhood and adulthood, while seeking to discover the reality of the God she has always believed in.  She struggles with depression and discouragement.  I want to pray for each situation and the people affected by them, but the question is, how do I pray?  I find the answer, as always, in Him and in His Word.

    In I Timothy 1:2, Paul breathes this simple yet mighty prayer over young Timothy as he embarks upon the ministry path the Father has called him to.  He says, "To Timothy......Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."  Some might say, "What kind of prayer is that?  We need concrete answers and help.  Grace, mercy, peace, all well and good, but how do they pay the bills, provide shelter, meet our need?  Haven't you something more for us?"  Something more.  In our blindness, we cannot see that there can be nothing more needed than this that Paul seeks, and He gives, than that, the full manifestation of His grace, mercy and peace be in our lives. 
   Grace, by which He blesses us with all, not part, but all, the riches of heaven and His Kingdom.  When we speak and pray grace unto people, we speak and pray all of Himself and His Kingdom upon them.  Mercy.  When life collapses, when everything is against us, when we feel we can't take one more step or breathe one more breath, it's then that the mercies of God must wash over us.  When the enemy and his darkness seek to swallow us up, it is then that the mercy of his light and life surround and keep us.  As a friend once said, sometimes the most powerful prayer we can make is to simply cry out, "Lord, have mercy."  Mercy, as always, triumphs over judgement.
Peace.  Here in Northern Virginia, there is a dentist who advertises "sedation dentistry" for those who fear the pain of a dental procedure.  Sedation is the answer of the world to pain.  Drugs, alcohol, sex, pleasure, distraction, it will use all to try and sedate us against the pain of life.  It gives a false peace that lasts only till the next "visit."  We sedate the pain, but it's never healed.  The peace that God gives goes to the deepest part of our souls.  It brings His rest to the heart and mind, and with it, life, light, and joy.
     Grace, mercy, and peace.  His grace.  His mercy.  His peace.  This is what I will be praying for the above situations and people, because when we have these, we have Him.  When His grace, mercy and peace are upon us, He is upon us, and in us.  They are real, they are living, and they are ours.  We then live in and from a place of grace, mercy, and peace.  This is the fruit of being in Christ.  This is also what I pray for you today, that His grace, mercy, and peace be upon you and yours.  When they are, it means that He and His life are within you, and so, there is nothing that can stand against that life.  The reality of the need, whatever it is, will be there, but overcome by a greater reality, Himself.  Then we begin to understand the truth of His words, "If God be for us (and in us), then who can be against us?

Blessings,
Pastor O
  January 2018  
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