REPURPOSED

Do you ever feel like you prepared for one thing in your life but that didn’t work out and you are lost now.  What do you do?  Is your training worthless?  Did you follow where you thought God was leading, only to find that your path was blocked?  Did God make a mistake?

Well, the answer to the last question is an unequivocal NO.  God did not, indeed He cannot, make a mistake. 

I suggest that when your life path takes an unexpected twist that you find disconcerting or even disappointing, God is preparing you for His purpose. 

watshfield-book-swap-repurpose-phone-booth-in-england
Phone booth and postal box in Watchfield, England

When we were in England, we saw the quintessential examples of English life – the postal box and the telephone booth.  The postal box was still used for its originally intended purpose.

However, just as in the U.S., the telephone booth was a thing of the past.  As we noticed throughout the country, England has a history of preserving things rather than demolishing them. There were houses that were well over 500 years old, still in use and still as they were centuries ago, at least on the outside.  Given that culture of preserving things, in the village of Watchfield, England, the telephone booth was not removed, it was simply put to another use.

english-phone-booth-close-up
Sign showing new purpose for outdated phone booth — a book swap location!

While the phone connections were removed, shelves were installed and the antiquated phone booth became a Book Swap location.   In fact, the booth probably had more business with people depositing, taking and returning books than it had before its “repurposing”.

When it appears that God fits you for one task and then that assignment changes, from a human perspective, we become discouraged and sometimes we even question whether we misunderstood what God wanted us to do in the first place.

I know because it is exactly what I experienced.  I believed that God wanted me to be a teacher, specifically an elementary school teacher, when I went to college.  After two years in ElemEd, I had less than a stellar grade in “Games and Rhythms”, a course that all the students took to get “an easy A”.  I was active in music, both instrumentally and vocal, but for some reason I was almost flunking this course. 

I spoke with my guidance counselor and he suggested that, perhaps, God was telling me to change my major.  After considering that Math, Science and History were not realistic options for me, I changed my college major to English secondary education.  In this drastically harder curriculum I had a grade level of 3.8 (out of 4, not 10). 

I believed that God had a purpose for this curriculum change but that conviction was challenged when I could not find any teaching position upon graduation.  Instead, I found myself working as a secretary/administrative assistant in banking and the law for the next 11 years. 

Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day.

1 Chronicles 16:23

Did I misunderstand what God wanted me to do?  Was that wasted time?  It certainly did not help me as a secretary but that doesn’t mean that they were wasted years.

I suggest that God used all of that training in various ways through the years.  In working with children in youth clubs at church, in leading vacation Bible school events with young children, in teaching older children in Sunday School, in developing youth programs at various churches I have attended. 

Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

Psalm 105:2

The digression from education into an office environment proved providential also – in each position that I held, my employer noted my abilities and suggested that I attend law school, even where there was no law school in the immediate area.  Eleven years post-college, I did attend law school and a 30 year career as an attorney followed.

When the phone booth no longer is relevant, it is time to repurpose and it becomes a well-worn book swap.  If we leave our spiritual eyes open, He will lead us.  He will not leave you stranded … He loves you and He desires for you to be useful in His kingdom.  He uses every event, every experience, every class … He uses everything in your past to pour into your future service for Him.

Why?  Because He know exactly what His plan is for you. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

He not only has a plan, He wants us to tell others about what He has done in our life through His plan: we are to be witnesses to others about His grace and love.

saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in Him.”

Hebrews 2:12-13

God knows exactly who He is going to put in your way so that

  • you can recount your similar experience to support and encourage that person in their walk with the Lord. “Tell of all His wondrous works.”  
  • you can recount how He worked in your life when problems seemed insurmountable so that you can counsel the other person with the knowledge that God does not change, He will work on their behalf just as he did for you. “Tell of his salvation from day to day”
  • you can recount the blessings that He has brought to your life. “I will tell of your name to my brothers”

Repurposing is not bad – it is one way that God equips us for the walk that He has predestined for us.  In your “waiting time”, don’t give up.  He is teaching you something even as you are waiting for “the” assignment.  In fact, that waiting period may well be just the assignment that He has for you.  Thank Him for it and see how your attitude and appreciation for the work and for your Lord grows day by day.

Here Damaris presents the song “I know the plans I have for you” from her album The Heart of God.

 

Lord, I pray that I would be patient and confident in Your guidance and love for me, even in the waiting periods of life.  I pray that even when I would do the work that You would have me to do, it would be all for Your glory through the power of the Holy Spirit and for the praise of God, the Father Almighty.

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT, Post 10, PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER

PEACE – TRANQUILITY OF ORDER

PART ONE

For the most part, the world thinks of peace in negative terms such as the absence of hostility, or perhaps the absence of tension.  As with the other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, the Biblical view of the term is quite different.

 

Augustine of Hippo defined peace as “The tranquility of order.”  In the context of this definition, he said there are three applications of this type of peace:

Peace with God – or the spiritual order

Peace on earth – or the relational order

Peace of God — or the psychological order.

 

What does Scripture say?

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

Galatians 5:21-22.

 

Martin Luther said that the word “peace” in Galatians 5 means that the Christian is at peace with both God and man, Luther going further into how we should conduct ourselves, saying:

 

Christians are to be peaceful and quiet. Not argumentative, not hateful, but thoughtful and patient.

 

In his book, The Holiness of God, Dr. R. C. Sproul states:

 

For the Christian, the holy war is over: the peace has been established.  Access to the Father is ours.  But we still must tremble before our God.  He is still holy.  Our trembling is the tremor of awe and veneration, not the trembling of the coward or the pagan frightened by the rustling of a leaf.  Luther explained it this way: “We are to fear God not with a servile fear like that of a prisoner before his tormentor but as children who do not wish to displease their beloved Father.”  We come to Him in confidence; we come to Him in boldness; we have access.  We have a holy peace.

R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, Tyndale House Publishers, © 1998, p. 153

 

Both the Greek and the Hebrew word for peace have the same meaning — confidence and rest in the wisdom and sovereignty of God more than in your own.   The opposite of peace is anxiety and worry.  The world’s counterfeit of true peace is indifference, or perhaps apathy, having an “I don’t care” attitude.

 

According to Strong’s Lexicon, there are a number of words in Hebrew that refer to peace and its various definitions.  The Hebrew word with which we are most familiar is, in English, shalom.

Image result for shalom

Its transliteration is shalowm and it is pronounced shä·lōm’.

 

This Hebrew word means:

  1. completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
    1. completeness (in number)
    2. safety, soundness (in body)
    3. welfare, health, prosperity
    4. peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment
    5. peace, friendship
  2. Shalom embodies the concept of completeness, wholeness, harmony and fulfillment. It is unimpaired relationship with God and man and fulfillment in one’s undertakings.    The source of Shalom peace is God.

 

Looking at its use in the Old Testament:

 

  • It referred to a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within the soul. To a people harassed by foes, peace was the primary blessing. In Psalm 122:7, shalom is translated “security” where it is said:

“Peace be within your walls and security within your towers.” 

 

  • Shalom was the common friendly greeting, used in asking after the health of anyone; also in farewells. Genesis 29:6 “He said to them, “Is it well with him?” They said, “It is well!” This phrase literally meaning “Is there peace to him?” This is again exampled in Judges 6:23 where Scripture says:

“But the Lord said to him, Peace be to you. Do not fear, you shall not die.”

 

  • Peace from enemies, thus implying prosperity, was the great desire of the nation and was the gift of God if the people walked in His ways. Aaron’s blessing to the people of Israel was dictated by the Lord and it is found in Numbers 6:24-26. We frequently hear it in benediction at the end of our worship:

The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

  • In Leviticus 26:6, God makes promises to the people of Israel for peace if they follow his laws:

“I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid.”

  • In Isaiah 26:3-4 we have the promise:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” 

This verse actually says in the Hebrew: “you keep him in peace peace
whose mind is stayed on you”.  Also note the reason for this peace, in verse 4 we read the Lord God is an everlasting rock.  Talk about a good foundation for peace!

How does this apply to my daily life?

We certainly are not done considering peace and what it means as a part of the fruit of the Spirit that indwells the believer.  But for now, I would ask that you read the Bible references above in your own Bible, translations and paraphrases.

 

  • Consider what the Old Testament people desired for peace and what God says will come if they obey His commands.

 

  • Consider what you desire for peace and how it might reveal itself in your life through the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Consider having peace peace … perfect peace. Let this thought comfort you during this week. Ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to do this, even before we go into consideration of peace in the New Testament.

 

Here, Damaris sings the song “I Sing Peace” taken from her album The Heart of God.  Enjoy listening to her as you consider having perfect peace this week.

 

 

Blessings to you and I pray that you will continue to walk with me as we learn about the fruit of the Holy Spirit and as we mature in our transformation into Christian believers who speak and act as Jesus did and who share in the passions that Jesus had for the lost sheep and for the worship of His Father, the Almighty God.