Monday, November 14, 2011

Transition in Our Lives

"Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way:  Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.  “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing." John 21:1-3
Can you imagine what Peter was feeling after the death of Jesus? Can you think about the difficulty it was to loose the “teacher” and beloved friend? They traveled, they were discipled, they ministered, they were all in a close relationship with Jesus  and then came the day when Jesus was gone. Everything changed. Life was not the same anymore. Life had turned up side down. Now what? What do you do when life as you know, suddenly changes and you are forced with the "now what?"  Well, what often happens, we may go back to the old and familiar way of doing things just like Peter, whom goes back to what he knows, the former life, the life of a fisherman. He goes to the default – fishing. That was the old life and with the transition of having this new life, he goes back to the old ways. We too can be like that. Our lives change. It may be the death of a spouse, moving to a new city, broken relationships, changing jobs – it could be any time in our lives when we are in transition. What would be the most common thing for us to do? It would be to want to go back to our old familiar ways. That is taking a step backward, to go to the “comfort zone” instead of moving ahead. It was a time for the disciples to not go back to their old life, as it was before Jesus. It was to move foreward in God’s Kingdom to another unknown but to move forward using all they learned with Jesus, then minister to others. It could be grief, it could be discouragement, it could be any of those emotions that could propel us to go backward to the “old ways”. We are to see these transitional times as opportunities to move forward into a new chapter of our lives. Let us build upon the old and not return to the foundation. Jesus had a better plan and that was like in Matthew 28 where he tells the disciples to “go” and to tell others the good news. Notice that Jesus did not tell them to go back to their old lives and live in complacency. That would mean that everything they learned and experienced was not to be used. It is like taking a class on how to use the Word Document on your computer and you know how to use it and apply it. Then as you finish the class, you go back to using a manual typewriter because it was familiar to you. This is a lesson we need to learn as it applies to our own lives. We are not to go back to our “old ways” and become complacient. We are to always move forward and keep doing God’s work, even when it is not familiar and we are in transitions of our lives. Let us not settle for the familiar but begin to always strive for newness and doing things built on our experiences with Jesus. In Hawaii, there is the saying, “Imua”, which means to “move forward”. That sums it up. We are to move forward and not go backward. Let’s learn this lesson from Peter.It was a good reminder for me today, not to stick to the old familiar ways, the old behavior patterns, the old mind sets and the comfortable way of doing things that were familiar. We are to take off those old comfortable shoes and put on new ones that may take awhile to wear in, but they are new and they are going to last. We need to always be improving and learning – so we can endure and finish the race! Imua!
Question: Are you in transition and want to go back to the "old and familiar"?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wearing Peace

 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." John 14:27
 In Chapter 14 of John, Jesus begins to comfort his disciples when they realize that He is leaving and his words address the disciples' concerns and even fear. Jesus reassures them all that He is not going to abandon them, but when He leaves to be with the Father, that another is going to come and it is the Holy Spirit. He calls Him, the Advocate, and "The Advocate" gives us truth and guides as a counselor. When we get to Acts 2, we will see that at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit (The Advocate) comes upon the Disciples in power! But Jesus is reassuring them now, not to worry and not to be troubled or afraid. We too can become like that in our daily lives. We can get caught up in the troubles that may surround us, but it is the Holy Spirit that will guide, correct and will give us the most wonderful gift of all, Peace! Like in Ephesians, there is the full armor of God and the armor has the “shoes of peace”. No matter what situation we are in, we can be walking with those little pink fuzzy slippers of peace on our feet. If we are not in a state of peace at all times, then the enemy has stolen it! Yes, think about it, the joy of the Lord should be our standard operating system. If we are not in the state of joy, then the enemy has robbed us of our peace. This is what we call an oppression. I think of the earthquake victims in Haiti and when our mission team went there, the people that had nothing were still filled with the joy of the Lord. The missionaries reported of the most anointed worship sessions and people were praising God and singing love songs to God, even in the middle of their crisis. The enemy was not able to steal their peace! We should be the same, for that is the gift that Jesus left with us...perfect peace.
Question: Are you in a state of peace now? If not, what has stolen your peace?