reconciliationThis morning I woke up and thought: the battle belongs to the Lord. I remembered there being a passage in Scripture speaking of this and also that a friend of mine recently was telling me how she has felt spiritual attack in her own life. Also, just a few days ago we all as Americans heard the horrible, heart-wrenching news that another shooting had occurred. 26 lives were ended; then in turn, the life of the shooter himself was seemingly without conscience taken. There are so many families and lives in Connecticut that have been affected by this shocking act. So many, believers and non-believers alike, are asking the question, “WHY?!” Why would someone decide to do this, and especially to children?? I am not about to try and answer this question, yet will say that (in my opinion) it is just more evidence of how much this world is in NEED of JESUS. We live in a broken world; hurt people hurt people. Nothing can be done to bring back the lives of those so violently cut short. But as Christians, there is action that must be taken. God calls us to do what He cannot do alone, because we are his vessels; we are his ambassadors; we are his hands and feet in a place lacking of true love and worth. It may be easy to “rejoice with those who rejoice,” but we must also be willing to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). We can be who God calls each of us to be, here and now, there and then.

2 Corinthians 4:1 says, “…having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.”

It goes on further to say that, “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Not only is He the light of the world, but He sheds his light on us that we may then be the light of the Gospel. I started this blog before church, then the title of the sermon at church was “Becoming God’s Reflection”! There is no doubt in my mind that God never ceases speaking to his people; the question is whether or not we are listening! We are surrounded by death, lies, pain, sickness, and discouraging events. I oftentimes find myself nearly drowning in the thick of it! But then Daniel 12:3 says,

“Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”

How do we shine and reflect the Lord if we have not accepted Him ourselves? Then, if we truly do know Him how can we help NOT desiring that everyone experience the same relationship with Him that we have??

We are his vessels; we embody Christ in our lives. 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 talks about how we are like “jars of clay” and it is from God that we have power and grace. We are mortal; we are bombarded with troubles all of the time; our time here on this earth is short. Yet through all of this, God is preparing us for greater times, greater tasks, and unseen glories! (I don’t even know if “glories” is a word, but it is exactly what I am trying to say!) Nearly every day I am reminded of how what God has in store is more than any human could ever imagine! I hope that the knowledge of this is enough to encourage each of us to look up to Him and to the road ahead. Do not lose heart! These very words are expressed two times in this chapter of Corinthians (I actually just now noticed this!). God’s Word is alive; if we choose to live for Him, we must also choose to spend time in the Word, which is our spiritual food.

So many hold such bitterness and anger, and the desire to avenge wrong that has been done. And I do believe there are times when justice must be served. But many times what has been done cannot be changed; many times no consequence will make all involved feel satisfied with the outcome. In Matthew 5:9 it says,

“God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” To be “at peace” means to be “untroubled, tranquil, content.” How many of you are feeling this peace right now? I know that the best place to be in is one of peace. And I believe only God gives the peace that may reside in the midst of conflict and the craziness of life. His peace exceeds anything we can understand, and will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7). Before we can share this peace or work for the peace, we must first KNOW this peace. There is something special about being (and knowing you’re) in the will of God. The “will of God” is another extremely controversial topic which I am not about to discuss here! But in seeking God, in knowing Him, we either choose to do/follow/obey what we learn or we turn and walk in another direction. Recently I believe God has been filling me with new peace and joy, and I believe it’s because I am choosing to follow Him. When this happens, others see this peace, this reflection of Christ, and as Christians, this should be our aim. Life is meant to be lived for more than just personal gain. Think of others (Philippians 2:3). I’m sorry if now I am just rambling…To make peace means to be reconciled with, which leads me to the next point.

2 Corinthians 5 speaks of reconciliation. Many times in order to be a peacemaker, we need to see reconciliation in two people/relationships; many times we need to be reconciled ourselves. Because of what Christ has already done for us, we have the chance for “the old to pass away” and “the new to come”! We chose since the beginning of time to sin; we chose wrong. Yet God RECONCILED us to Himself through his Son, Jesus Christ, and the best part is once we take this own step in our own lives, we then have the power/opportunity to share this ministry of reconciliation with those around us! As I stated in the first paragraph: “We are AMBASSADORS for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20).

So coming back to how I started this whole thing, the battle belongs to the Lord. This doesn’t mean that we sit around and do nothing; this means that as we keep walking in faith, we will learn and do what God says. If we cannot imagine our lives without Him, why would we want anyone else to face life (and death!) without Him?! 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 says,

“He said, ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you:

‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’’”

See; they did not do NOTHING; they heeded God and took up the positions He called them to. In order to do any of this, we must go to Him; He pursues us (Psalm 23:6) and draws near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4:8). We can trust God because He already knows what is to come; even when we know little, we can trust the One who knows ALL. This prepares us for the battles. All throughout the Bible we find instances where God made people victorious, where He was in control.

No matter the circumstance, God is bigger. He is capable of bringing us beyond the trial/temptation. Seek His face (Psalm 27:8) and choose to cover yourself with His protection every day (Ephesians 6:10-20).

“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.” –Ephesians 6:10