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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Resurrection

What causes you to think about a departed loved one? The photo that's always there but sometimes catches your eye and heart in a special way? A certain sound that reminds you of their voice? Just the mention of their name, even if someone else is being referred to? A certain song that they loved?

God can use this guy to bring peace? Yes.
My brother-in-law Jason loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Whenever one of their songs comes on the radio, my wife Shanel thinks about him. The same with me. Their music reminds us of him. And when I hear any of their songs I think to myself, "I'll see Jason again." God uses the Red Hot Chili Peppers to trigger anticipation in me. And I'm very glad He does.

God knows the pain that comes from loss. He'll see over 150,000 of His children die today, and over 150,000 tomorrow, and the next day, and so on. 

That's over 3.9 billion people in the course of an average human life - 70 years. Over half of the world's population will die during your lifetime. That's a lot of grieving people. But God can provide peace amidst all of this grief.

Trigger Happy?

Do the everyday triggers that remind you of a departed loved one cause you to painfully think to yourself, "I miss him so much." Or do they cause you to joyfully anticipate, "I'll see him again." Are you looking back in pain, or looking ahead for the gain?  

Day by day time carries you farther away from the loved one you knew. But time also propels you toward the loved one you'll know again after the resurrection. It's God's promise of the resurrection that can and should bring you joy and peace, even in the midst of loss. This is the kind of peace that comes only from God. You can't get it anywhere else. In the Bible, Philippians 4:4-7 tells us how we can access this supernatural peace, whether suffering the loss of a loved one, or any other crappy circumstance of life: 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

These words were written by the Apostle Paul to people who knew Jesus. Their personal relationship with their Savior gave them personal access to God's peace. 

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus? Do you know Him? If so, follow the words in the verses above to obtain God's peace.

If you don't yet know Jesus, call out to Him right now. Turn from your sins and to your amazing Savior. He will hear you, and He will come to you. 

Then you will be able to "rejoice in the Lord always," even if the circumstances in your life are horrible.

Then you can "let your gentleness be evident to all," even when some people deserve a very hard punch to the face.

Then you can "be anxious about nothing," even though you should be anxious about a lot of stuff.

Then you can "in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."  Notice that again - "in every situation...with thanksgiving." The ability to give thanks to God in difficult circumstances is one very strong indicator that you have the peace of God.

Then you will have "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding." This peace from God transcends - or rises above - your understanding. That means that you can't understand or explain how you have peace. But you will know where your peace comes from - God.

The peace you will get from God "will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Jesus will protect your heart and mind, even when peace-stealing circumstances and people surround you. 

I have this peace. And I wouldn't trade it for the whole wide world. It's not based on my circumstances. They can and do change frequently, and usually without my permission. And they usually scream, "No peace for you!" 

But the peace I have comes from God. It is based on His stability. Hebrews 13:8 tells us,

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

How's that for solid and trustworthy?

The peace in your life can be consistent and steady if it's coming from God. Or your peace can be thrown around by life's ups and downs, which are almost always out of your control.

The triggers will remain in your life. How will they affect you? Will you be trigger happy, or trigger sad? Lean on Jesus, follow the words from Philippians, and enjoy the peace of God.