The Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study this morning had us diving into four specific verses. So I am going to share what I posted to the OBS blog and then go a bit deeper after that.
From the OBS Blog:
O- Both my thoughts and external factors interrupt me. I have such an active brain! And I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old….And I have a husband….so interruptions here happen all the time. But we get by.
B- Each of these verses speaks of peace. When we gather in the name of Jesus, we find His peace. And we find opportunities to build each other up, encourage each other, and hold each other accountable. Which verse speaks loudest to me? Good question! Colossians 3:15-16, I think, because of how embedded this passage has become in my life over the last 6 years. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” This to me is the image of gathering together to praise our mighty God for what He has done for us through the cross, the empty tomb, through Jesus Christ, His Son! We are called to, as it says in Colossians 3:14, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything in perfect harmony.” I love the ESV for that word, harmony, in this passage. Not unity, not as one, but in harmony. Sweet, musical harmony. Can you hear it? The bass, baritone, tenor, alto, second soprano, and soprano voices blending together singing in perfect harmony about the love and power and grace of God??? Each time I meet with Him, that is what I hear. That is what I want to shout from my soul!
S- I feel like I am already making a habit of gathering together to encourage and uplift, to praise God together. What I would like to do is find ways to be a source of Biblical encouragement daily, at work, at home, at the store, wherever I am. So, Lord, may I be obedient to Your promptings! Show me who I can encourage at work. Let me be a beacon for You, for Your Grace.
Now to go DEEPER:
Let me share the four verses I was reflecting on in the “B” section above:
John 20:19 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.'”
Colossians 3:15-16 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Romans 14:19 “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.”
Proverbs 1:33 “…but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Do you see how each of these passages speaks to peace? And more than that, most of them speak of gathering together. Fellowship. We truly are not meant to do life alone. Fellowship, encouragement, motivation, accountability, and harmony are essential to this journey! (That is my opinion, anyway!) If you don’t have the face-to-face fellowship, find some online! That is the awesomeness that is social networking today. We can feel so trapped and alone, especially if we are unable to move, drive, walk, etc. The church I attend is a Network Church for Life Church in Oklahoma. And I attend here in Illinois! If you do not have a church home, check it out! Here is the link: http://www.life.church/
Explore the churches around you if you can get out and about. If you go to one, give it 2-3 weeks in a row (unless God really speaks to you otherwise) to see if it is a place you can worship. Then stay or move to the next! Ask questions, go deep.
I have to speak to peace now. Peace does not mean freedom from hardship and it does not mean an easy path. Peace means assurance that whatever it is you are facing is surmountable. It means Jesus is walking the path (mountain) with you. We never walk alone, even when we feel like it. So Proverbs 1:33, when it says “without dread of disaster” means that we walk through fire without fear because God is with us. Just as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in the fiery furnace and came out unscathed, that is God walking with us through life. There are situations, sometimes daily, that have the potential to burn us deeply. We get scarred, cut, bruised. And God makes us stronger through it. He purifies us. He teaches us. He equips us to help someone else through that same fire.
So we are not called to a life of perfection, but to a perfect eternity. The hardships we face here deepen our peace and our reliance on God through Jesus Christ. We are called to live a harmonious life with those around us. We are not identical, but our lives will blend together in a beautiful symphony of sound in the presence of the King of kings.
And we walk this life together. Cling to that truth. Someone out there is listening. Always God, and many of us as well.
May you find peace in the fires around you through Jesus Christ. Amen.