Monday, February 22, 2016

Devotion 2.23.16

Lutefisk.  Ever heard of it?  It is fish prepared in the old ways of the Norwegians, often described as an oddity.  It is a piece of fish that is aged, dried, salted, and prepared in lye.  Yes, lye.  As a Minnesotan Lutheran once explained to me, lutefisk is "that piece of cod that surpasses all understanding."

An equal oddity is the notion of "peace" in general.  Where is that "peace of God that surpasses all understanding?" (Philippians 4:7)  There are times I wonder and ponder on that.  Perhaps we look at "peace" as the absence of conflict, which is a mistaken notion.  As was once expressed to a group of novice administrators, the superintendent said, "There are people who suffer no stress, and they are all six feet underground."  Christ speaks to this as a people when he says, "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not alarmed for this must take place, but the end is not yet.... All these are but the beginning of the birth pains." (Matthew 24:6)

According to several sites, there are currently 10 active wars taking place with several smaller regional conflicts.  The world is a place at war - religious wars, sectarian wars, territorial conflicts among many.  The world is in conflict simply because we are a sinful lot, so the "peace of God" seems elusive. The world also reflects our own inner-turmoil. How much conflict exists within us?  Does that make the peace of  God elusive for us?  Or is it?

Christ invites us to come to that "desolate" place to be with him (Mark 6).  As we learn in Aarons' blessing from God to speak to Israel, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." (Numbers 6)  God's face shines upon us, so do we turn to him to take in that comfort he provides?  We may never feel "peace" in terms of a lack of conflict, but we know that God is there for us to turn to as we seek his guidance in those desolate places in life where Christ invites us to come to be with him.

Pray that we seek God's true peace in that relationship with him through his Son Jesus Christ.

Hope Men's Ministry

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