This week is quite significant for many reasons. Yesterday was Palm Sunday that is the official kick-off to “Holy Week.” Which you may recall was when Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Growing up I always liked this weekend because Palm branches would be handed out at church which we then made a cross with it to keep around the house. At the time I did not understand the significance of the tradition nor how important Holy Week is. Friday is of course the day when we remember the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins when He was nailed to the cross. And smack dab in the middle of the week between Jesus entering Jerusalem and subsequent death on a Roman cross, is the Jewish celebration of Passover is on Wednesday which is the remembrance of when the Israelite people were spared when the angel of death “passed over” their homes in Egypt because they put the blood of a scarified lamb over the doorway. Besides the religious significance, this week according to the Surgeon General “is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment.” As I turned on the TV this morning, news report after news report warns that the USA is facing the worst week of the Covid-19 outbreak. As we have been “social distancing,” (which I have to say I cannot stand hearing that phrase, I prefer “physical distancing” but I digress), the most repeated thing that I have asked, or have been asked, is “how are doing in quarantine?” So, I will tell you, I am doing good. Like so many, it has been (3) weeks now that we have self-quarantined. In these difficult and confusing times, it’s been comforting to be with my wife and (2) daughters, facing this together. Each of us have been “finding our new normal.” I have commandeered the dining room as my work space, while our daughters have each found their own place to attend classes online. One blessing of being quarantined with my family is enjoying having lunch together and then 3 pm coffee time with my wife. I think the most interesting change is that I am now the one hitting Costco, Kroger or Walmart just trying to find the essentials. As I got ready yesterday and folded up my bandanna with some of my wife’s hair ties to create a makeshift mask, I felt a little like this guy…
Hahaha! And I am happy to report that yesterday I hit “pay dirt!”
The media has created such a frenzy with non-stop coverage of empty shelves, the number of infected and sadly the death toll. There is without a doubt a reason to be concerned and take precautions, but we need to not allow our lives to be driven by fear! I was reading this YouVersion Easter reading plan called ‘Risen’ by Ray Johnston, and he had this great insight:
“Fear is the darkroom where negatives develop.”
Fear will cause us to act irrationally like hording toilet paper and can open the door to the enemy’s attack. After I came home yesterday from Winco with my precious paper products, mind you I have not had paper towels in 3 weeks…talk about first world problems…I then gathered with my family to stream the church service. And the ironic part, the sermon was called “Overcoming Fear” by Jimmy Evans. This timely message was all about God wanting us to have peace, not fear! He shared that:
“Fear is a prophet spirit from hell, sent to give us a negative report about the future that will upset us and cause us to make a fear-based decision that God will not honor.”
That is so, so powerful! How many fear-based decisions are being made right now? The enemy loves to use fear as a weapon against us but 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) tells us:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
Jimmy Evans also said that:
“God never uses fear! He uses peace!”
That got me thinking about the Jewish celebration of Passover this week and the word that they use for peace… “Shalom,” which as you may have guessed, is the inspiration of this post. I asked a friend of mine who has a lot of knowledge about Judaism what is a trusted definition of the word Shalom and he said:
“The basic definition is peace for sure. But that peace, is a peace that goes beyond just peace with others, but peace with self, circumstances, emotions, etc. More like the peace of a new born babe in his/her mother’s arms. Like that. Where things may be happening but finding that security in God.”
What a powerful image right? We can find peace in God like a baby has in its mother’s arms.
This past February, my wife and I went to the XO Marriage Conference and heard Dave and Ashley Willis talk about “Finding Peace in Marriage Conflicts.” They shared this great definition for Shalom:
“Breaking the authority established by chaos.”
That is what I believe many of us need to do! We need to break the authority that we have allowed chaos to have over our lives. Satan is the author of confusion and it is only when we take captive our thoughts that we can have True Shalom. 1 Corinthians 14:33a (NLT) reminds us…
“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” (“of Shalom” – see the Tree of Life Translation).
I just reading John chapter 14 in which Jesus comforted His Disciples about the end times. He book-ended the chapter with an offer of peace. John 14:1 (NLT) start off:
““Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.””
I love the comfort found in John 14:1. This image reminded me of my many times in detention back in High School where the Dean had me write over and over “I will not _____ .” (Fill in the blank with whatever my offense was that day). Hahaha! I hated this punishment, but you know there is something about repetition that helps us learn the lesson. The same is true for our Life…Jesus gave us the key to ANY situation…“Trust in God, and trust also in [Him].” There is no better cure for anxiety than praying to the ONE who can comfort, heal and provide for us!
He meant this so much that at the end of the chapter, Jesus made this statement:
“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
So the question is, do you want to trust in the nightly news or the ONE who created you? The ONE who is your true provider! Jesus will provide much more than what your physical needs are, He with give you “peace of mind and heart!” All you need to do is ask Him for it today.
Pray…Stay Safe in Quarantine…and of course wash your hands!
★★ Want to dig deeper? ★★
Here are a couple of articles about the Meaning of Shalom:
Check out this sermon called “I’m Still Scared” by Steven Furtick.
Here are additional posts on fear, doubt, and anxiety that I wrote over the past (6) years if you are interested in reading more on this topic…
- ★ Thought for the Day – Mastering Fear ★
- ★ Thought for the Day – Crippled By Doubt ★
- ★ Thought for the Day – got fear? ★
- ★ Thought for the Day – Who’s Chasing You? ★
- ★ Thought for the Day – Annihilating Anxiety ★
- ★ Thought for the Day – Fair-Weather Faith ★