North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    Spring is a time of renewal and can bring refreshing inspirations into our lives. The unexpected inspirations can be the best of all. Years ago, one of those times occurred three days after celebrating Easter with my family. I had military orders to report to an assignment in a northern state. It was a short-term mission of 16 days and I would have access to well over 1,000 military personnel. My counseling ranged from family issues, stress related circumstances, relationships, faith questions, medical, personal and general battlefield stress. Knowing I could help care for more if I went to them, rather than wait for them to come to me, I decided to do some battlefield circulation on the main post where a few operational units were tied to tasks at their work stations.    I stopped into the Joint Operations Center and started talking to a young SGT who commenced to tell me how tasked out she was with the mission and things happening with her family back home. She shared with me how much she missed her daughter, especially having to leave so soon after Easter. I told her I understood and affirmed that she had a duty there and a duty to be here; a challenging position to be in.

    She responded, “You know chaplain, I’m doing better than I thought I would and here’s why. Right before I left home to go to the airport I opened a box of Easter candy that had chocolate rabbits in it. The “Serenity Prayer” was printed on the inside flap. You know the one that says: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference? I simply tore that small part of the box and placed it in my pocket and brought it with me. And occasionally I’ll take it out and read it. It helps me with the concerns at home and it’s helping me to stay focused on our mission here. I’ve got peace about all of it. Thank goodness for Easter candy and God’s promises!”

    I told her how inspirational her story was and to be sure to share it when she sees someone else needing a spirit lifter.

    Even amid the most trying and taxing circumstances, God’s peace can be attained. Jesus’ own words were, “Peace is what I leave with you, it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried or upset, do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Even Christians are prone to becoming troubled and disheartened in life’s circumstances. It’s not easy to live successfully in this world, and it’s impossible to not be affected by the world’s chaotic and superficial ways. But Christians need not crawl around on their hands and knees and tell the world how awful life is and how things are bad all over. You can experience the peace and serenity that Christ desires for you to have. The steps to achieving peace in your life include these six things:

    Think peaceful thoughts. Many people lack God’s peace because they continue to think stressful and fearful thoughts. They think fear thoughts instead of faith thoughts. God tells us He will keep in perfect peace, those whose mind is focused on Him (Isaiah 26:3). We must surrender our tension and fears to God and claim His promises and the peace of God, which is beyond human understanding will guard your hearts (Philippians 4:7).

    See peaceful sights. We must counter the temptation to follow the footsteps of others by watching violent scenes, destructive tactics, and the glorification of death on the TV and movie screens. If we are to live by peace, we must look to Jesus who gives us the peace we seek.

    Hear peaceful sounds. The Bible says faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). So, if we fill our ears with the world’s noise through constant lewd, loud, and languishing music our spiritual nerves will get depleted trying to counteract it. To enjoy peace, we need to temper our listening with wholesome, uplifting music even in the natural setting. Listening to the wind blow through the trees or hearing the waves crash against the sea shore promotes serenity and peace in effective ways.

    Speak peaceful words. The tongue can be destructive concerning peace. A Christian needs to talk about the goodness of the Lord instead of criticizing and finding fault. To experience peace we must speak kindly, remembering that “a gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up. Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit” (Proverbs 15:1,4).

    Perform peaceful deeds. You don’t have to go far from your front door to find needy people in today’s world. Some are sick, elderly, and unable to care for themselves. Peace is a by-product for those who lend a helping hand to others. There’s no excuse for a person, especially a Christian who claims to follow Christ, to not help others. Everyone can comfort someone. Whenever you can, do good to help those who need it (Proverbs 3:27).

    Attend peaceful places. We bring trouble upon ourselves by going to places not intended for us. The free will God gives us can be liberating, but it’s dangerous. We must be wise about where our feet take us. We must be watchful about the places we frequent. Where we go, God should be glorified, not nullified.

    The Soldier I met at the Operations Center attended chapel services and there was a peaceful countenance on her face. Peace, however, is more than skin deep. Peace will affect every part of your life, inside and out. Accept the peace that Christ offers you.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him at: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Apr 15 2018. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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