Archive | Peace RSS feed for this section

What Can We Learn From the Mayo Clinic?

5 Apr

The Mayo Clinic (photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattwthorn/)

I recently spent four days at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and am wondering what we, the church, and we, as individuals, can learn from the Mayo Clinic.

1.  Even though it is large, the Mayo Clinic focuses on the individual.  They are people centered.  You feel that your health matters to people from the moment you enter the door.

Love endures long and is patient and kind.  1 Corinthians 13:4a

2.  People at the Clinic overflow with kindness.  (O.K., there was one person in the cafeteria who wasn’t friendly, but she wasn’t unfriendly either!)

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).  Galatians 5:22-23a

3.  Everything about the Mayo Clinic is designed to bring a sense of peace:  from the colors and lighting to the fountains and flowers.

Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous– with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!  Matthew 5:9

4.  The Mayo Clinic is informative.  You receive a packet of papers after your initial intake consultation that tells you where to be, when to be there, and how to prepare.  If you have any questions, there is an army of volunteers ready to help.

His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church), [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.  Ephesians 4:12,13

Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly Part 8

16 Mar

Praise God for eternal life!

So we do not focus on what is seen,  but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Cor. 4:18 HCSB

We’ve been talking about thinking eternally for the last 7 times we’ve met together here in cyberspace.  2 Corinthians 4:6-18 lead us on a journey from being saved and receiving the light of Jesus Christ within us to learning to think eternally–even in the midst of great pressure in our lives.  We learned that the key is dying to ourselves.

Mike often says, “Susie, what does this matter in the scope of eternity.”  Sometimes we need to take a step back from the situations we are facing and ask ourselves the same question.

  • Stop and think about it when you’re stressed.
  • Stop and let the light shine.
  • In your personal life:  Keep your eyes on Jesus.  Receive light and more light.  Receive love and more love.
  • In your marriage and other relationships, ask, “What can I say or do right now that has eternal value?  Can I give grace and thereby create a greater capacity in that person through that eternal act?”

Thinking eternally brings peace.

 

Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly Part 7

14 Mar

Be renewed.

Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.  For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], 2 Cor. 4:16,17 Amp.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 2 Cor. 4:16,17 MSG

What a charge to us!  Don’t give up.  Don’t lose heart.  Don’t grow weary.  Think eternally.

In comparison to eternity our afflictions are momentary and light.  God’s glory is eternal and weighty.

We are renewed when we think eternally.  We need to live one day at a time, not two days.  God provides day by day like He did with the manna in the desert.  Sometimes we try to store up provisions, both physical and spiritual, but we have a daily moment-by-moment walk with Him.  this takes the pressure off and we don’t feel like we’re in that tight place.

Renewed means made new again, especially in freshness.  In Spanish there’s a saying, “Fresco como una lechuga.”  It means fresh as a lettuce.  How we love it when we are fresh!  God freshens us as we gaze at Him.  Freshness flows through us to others when we think eternally.

Thinking eternally brings peace and joy.

 

Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly Part 6

12 Mar

The light comes out in our words.

We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written: “I believed and therefore have I spoken” — we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise us up also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that, through the thanksgiving of many, the abundant grace might redound to the glory of God. 2 Cor. 4:13-15 KJ21

We’re not keeping this quiet, not on your life. Just like the psalmist who wrote, “I believed it, so I said it,” we say what we believe. And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive. Every detail works to your advantage and to God’s glory: more and more grace, more and more people, more and more praise! 2 Cor. 4:13-15 MSG

I like the boisterousness of the Message version of these verses.  We’re not keeping this quiet, not on our lives!

If we die to ourselves and stop being egocentric we will be able to have an attitude of faith.  We will be able to walk by faith and not by sight.  (2 Cor. 5:7)  Faith is being available to God’s faithfulness.  Having faith that 1) We have the treasure of Jesus Christ in these earthen vessels, 2) That He is with us in times of trouble, and 3) Dying to ourselves is the key to thinking eternally, we can shout out, “I believed it, so I said it.”

Verse 15 says that all things are for our sakes.  What does this mean?

  1. All of these problems and pressures we’ve looked at in 2 Cor. 4:8,9 will work change in us if we allow them to.  The enemy sends problems to squash us like grapes and God works them for good in our lives. (Rom. 8:28)
  2. The grace of God spreads to more people through our problems.  As we experience problems, believe in Him, and speak of our belief, the light comes out in our words and God’s grace is spread to others.

Are you willing to look at problems as opportunities–both for you and for those in your life?

Eternal thinking leads to peace.

 

Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly Part 4

8 Mar

We do not lose hope.

We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 2 Cor. 4:8,9

One mistake we can make when we receive Jesus is thinking that having Jesus in our hearts is a guarantee of a trouble-free life.  We forget that we have an enemy.  We forget that we’re in a war.

  • To be pressured means to be pressed like a grape or forced into a tight place.  God does not do this.  He leads us into wide-open spaces.
  • To be perplexed means to to be in doubt, to not to know which way to turn, to be at a loss with one’s self, to not to know how to decide or what to do.  We’ve all been there, haven’t we?  I talked to a Christian woman at school yesterday who just found out that her husband has been having affairs for 11 years.  “I don’t know what to do,” she cried, “I just keep reading the Psalms.”  God does not cause us to be perplexed.  He gives us the ability to think clearly.  BUT WE DO NOT LOSE HOPE.  Because Jesus Christ is inside us and he is powerful beyond measure.  I remember speaking to a niece who was struggling with depression.  She went to the doctor and was given a checklist to fill out.  She finally reached a question that said, “Have you lost hope?”  She put the checklist down and waited for the doctor to return.  She told him, “My belief system does not allow me to lose hope.  However, I am having a difficult time motivating myself to do anything.  I do need help.”
  • To be persecuted means to be harassed, troubled, or mistreated.  God is not the source.  God is with us.
  • To be cast down means to be thrown down to the ground.  God does not do this.  He lifts us up in His everlasting arms.  We are not ruined.

In the last devotional, we looked at the power of God inside these earthen vessels.  Our earthen vessels experience trouble.  When the enemy tries to steer us into a narrow place we need to think with God.  When we feel trapped we can make ridiculously stupid decisions.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Thinking eternally brings peace.

Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly Part 3

6 Mar

We are like these flowers: here today and gone tomorrow.

Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power  may be from God and not from us. 2 Cor. 4:7 HCSB

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. 2 Cor. 4:7 MSG

Two days ago, we began looking at 2 Cor. 4:7.  Let’s camp here a little bit today.  We carry around the precious message of Jesus Christ in the unadorned ordinariness of our daily lives.  This clay jar is fragile.  1 Peter 3:7 refers to us as the weaker vessel.  We are the most fragile of the fragile.  The fragility of this body is obvious to all.  In 2 Timothy 4:6, Paul refers to his death as a departure.  One meaning of that is to take down ones tent and move on.  When we take down our tents we will receive glorified bodies and live in the presence of God forever.

Now an earthen jar is useful, but not terribly glamorous.  That is so the power of God can be seen.  This power, huuperbole, the pre-eminence of this power is inside of us and goes beyond what we can imagine.  As God’s vessel, we bring the message, but it is God who humbles the proud, leads the guilty to have hope in him, and converts the heart!

This CONVERSION = REVOLUTION.  It is the biggest miracle of all.

So God uses us, lives are changed through His nuclear power, and then we pick up our tent and move on:  to life everlasting in the presence of Jesus.

Thinking eternally brings peace.

 

Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly Part 2

4 Mar

More beautiful and bright!

Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power  may be from God and not from us. 2 Cor. 4:7 HCSB

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. 2 Cor. 4:7 MSG

In part 1 of  Thinking Eternally, Living Fearlessly we looked at how our lives brighter and more beautiful as the light of God, in the person of Jesus Christ, and Paul speaks here of missing the brightness because of the ordinariness of our unadorned, every day lives.  I want to say to you today that you probably don’t see the brightness and beauty of your own life.  But we do.  You can’t see the beauty in your own life because you’re caught up in the day-to-dayness of caring for toddlers, doing the wash, trying to get the bills paid, or doing your homework.  You, better than anyone else, know the places where your flesh reacts.  You know the thoughts you just had about your boss; you know that you caved in to the temptation of gossip or grumbling yesterday.  And because you know yourself, you can’t see yourself.  You can’t see the eternal work that God is doing in you.

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Phil. 1:6 Amp.

God has begun a good work in you and is continuing in that good work.  That means that you are becoming more of a finished product all the time.  You are more beautiful.  You do shine brighter.  We can see it.  We, your loving sisters and brothers in Christ.

Thinking eternally brings peace.