Solace :: By John Lysaught

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Do you get troubled sometimes? A little worry here and there? A drop of stress when things aren’t going your way? Ya, it happens to all of us at one time or another.

When we get distracted from our focus on Christ, we lose the solace we have in Him. There is no room in our minds for both stress and peace; and no matter how hard we try to do so, there is no way we can be at peace and worry at the same moment. It is a conscious decision to let our minds be occupied with stress and worry or to be filled with the peace and assurance of the grace given us through Christ for the forgiveness of sins through His spilled blood for us on the cross.

It can be difficult for some to overcome the stress and worry in life. It’s not impossible though; we can live free and have peace in our hearts and minds through our Lord and Savior, for we know through Him we are saved and adopted into the family of God. It isn’t hard to do this; it just takes a little effort on our part to overcome this spirit of stress and worry in our search of solace in the ways of our Father.

Our Father doesn’t want us to live with stress or worry, but to have freedom in Him. And that freedom is good and gives us peace in Him through Christ. We need not worry about this or that or be concerned about the things we cannot control.

When we come to junctures in our lives and find ourselves falling into anxiety, worry, or stress of something that we really have no control over, the Bible tells us to cast our anxieties to Him (1 Peter 5:7;  Phil 4:6). We do this because God cares for us and wants us to rely on Him for peace and resolution, not ourselves or others.

But do we always run to God when we don’t have peace in our hearts? No, we don’t, but we should.  Think back to the last time you were stressed out about a situation; where or to whom did you turn to first? Did you turn to God or did you turn to something else like the world or ungodly people? Where you turned to first shows where your trust is. If it wasn’t our Father, then we showed that we don’t trust Him as our first resort, but maybe our last resort.

I’ve done it. I’ve turned to other means than God; and only when they failed did I turn to God as my last choice when, in fact, He should have been my first choice. It took some time and lots of heartache and failures before I learned to put my trust in Him first and only.

There are some who do this but run out of patience with God because He didn’t answer quickly enough, was silent, or they didn’t like the outcome God gave them and then turned to the world and the ungodly for advice or resolution of their issues. This is bad because then there really wasn’t a trust in God and His ways or His timeline.

The world? The world offers worldly peace that isn’t God-centric but is worldly-centric. The world’s solutions may help or resolve your anxiety and stress, but at what cost? Is it only temporary peace, or is it trading one stress for another one because in the world there is a give and take to what it gives? The world and those of the world don’t and can’t care for you, or take care of you, like our Father can. Their solutions are temporary and are opposed to what our Father can do for us, if we can only trust in Him and His ways for our lives and the directions we need to move forward.

There isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t face a challenge to our peace through our Father. We, as Christians, were never promised a life free from worry and stress or trials and tribulations, but our faith gives us the hope that we can and will be able to overcome them through God to face these events so we can have peace, even during the storms of life.

Sometimes, it feels as if there are storm clouds over our heads or on the horizon, determined to envelop us to bring gloom and doom to our hearts to knock us down in our faith. The storms will come, and they will barrage us with everything they can, but we can stand and get through them with the peace God offers us.

That peace, my friends, is that regardless of what occurs or what is coming our way, we can trust that our Father, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Alpha and Omega, will stand with us, will be at our side, and will provide shelter for us during these storms of life.

Stressful things happen in our life that are hard and test our faith. Nothing happens to us that God does not know about nor is outside of His will for our lives. Pain and suffering, anxiety and worry, they will come to us. Death in the family, lost jobs, financial hardships, etc., are all part of this thing we call life.  Some will have more difficult hardships than others, but it is what we do with those challenges and hardships that is important to our Father.

Our Father wants us to turn to Him. Not as a last resort, but as our first reaction. To do otherwise is a disservice to God. God is not a god of last resorts. He is the first Person to turn to. Why would our God, who gave us and sacrificed for us His only Son for our sake, later abandon us to the wayside when we face trials and tribulations? He won’t.

I don’t know what situations are out there, and you may say, “But John, you don’t know what I facing, you don’t understand.” You are right; I don’t and others might not as well, but what I do know is that God is the Great I AM. He is a God of love and justice and grace. He will not abandon His children. He will not turn His back to those that love Him. He is for us and not against us.

Romans 15:13 says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

We must believe that God, the God of hope and our solace, will give us a peaceful heart when we believe that He is for us and is in the middle of a crisis, or worry, and of stress, to help us through them.  Even those times when it seems like He is silent or distant, He is there and is with us.

To have this peace of God in our hearts, we need to constantly do two things: read the Word and pray; and by doing so, He will be manifested through those two things. We shouldn’t be praying and reading the Word only when we are facing something; we need to do so at all other times.

Prayer and study of the Word should not be a reactive exercise of our faith, but we need to do so to be proactive in our faith; so when troubles and worries come, we have the means to address them because we will know what the Bible says, and we will have a strengthened relationship with God. Study and prayer will not make God distant in our lives, but they will increase our trust in Him that whatever happens to us is for the sake of our good and is in line with His will for us. We can have solace in knowing this.


Spiritually Stagnant? :: By John Lysaught

Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

How is your relationship with our Father in Heaven? Take a moment and consider it. Are you thirsty and hungry for Him? Or are you stagnant in your walk? This is a very personal but important question for you to ask and evaluate for yourself.

This question isn’t about your state of being saved, for when you came to Christ, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit into God’s family as an adopted son or daughter, but it is about your sanctification (being made holy) in your growing walk with our Father, so you can grow in your faith and strength in Him.  It’s about how thirsty you are to learn more of Him and His ways and how to better yourself as a believer in the blood sacrifice of Christ to cover your sins.

Matthew 5:6 tells us that if we thirst or are hungry, we will be filled. Our walk in and towards further righteousness is a lifelong journey, not a one-time thing for us. We are not to take one drink from our Father and let it go, but we must always seek Him out to quench our thirst. We need the sustaining power of our Father to maintain and grow us in righteousness and sanctification, so we don’t stand idle in our walk with Him but increase in our own holiness each day we are alive and breathing.

To act otherwise denies our opportunity to grow in our Father and to further our holiness in our seeking of a more mature standing in our walk with Him. There is an innate yearning in our souls to want more and to learn more but do we act on this or are we just content to live our lives as babes in God, to not grow and mature so we may do our Father’s will in our lives and to touch others with the glory of God?

We lead such busy lives now that we can forget about drinking from the well of living water. We get tied up and tied down to the things of this world so much that we neglect our own increase in sanctification to such an extent that we can forget who we are in Christ and the access Christ provided us to the Father through His death and resurrection on the cross.

Each believer has the potential, and the capacity, to grow in our faith. It really doesn’t take that much effort, but it does imply that we have to work at this. We cannot learn to be woodworkers by staring or standing by a pile of wood; we must dedicate ourselves to learn the craft and practice the craft so we move from being a novice to be a master woodworker.

Therefore, you can’t just stare at the Bible or leave it in your nightstand drawer and hope that through osmosis you will gain more knowledge. Nor can you not practice a full prayer life and hope to hear from our Father. It takes conscious effort to make good habits, and the habit of seeking more of the Lord is a routine we should all desire to have.

Some may be offended at me for saying the above, and that is fine with me, but if you are miffed by me saying you must increase on your part, maybe it is a conviction from God to seek Him more diligently each day and not just on Sundays. By seeking more of our Father, we will not decrease in our holiness, but will increase, rendering us more in-tune with Him and better disciples of His to do the work He wants us to for His Kingdom.

He can’t force you to holiness; it is a choice you must make on your own. You can’t stand and expect to be dragged down the road of righteousness – you must make the effort to walk to get to the destination you are seeking.

Standing idle in our faith is not what our Father wants from us. He wants us to believe in the death of His Son, of course; but with that, He wants us to follow Christ, not watch Him. 2 Peter 3:18 tells us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. It doesn’t say to sit on the sidelines and watch. It says to grow, to increase, which is how we develop a closer relationship with Him.

To grow in our faith and hope, we must put forth the effort to do so. We can’t sit and do nothing; we need to delve into the Word to let the Holy Spirit work in us to gain the incorruptible knowledge that God has put into words for us to understand His ways and the wisdom He gives us through the Holy Bible.

Find the time to search the Scriptures. Set aside time to read HIs Word. Join a study group to learn from more mature believers or to mentor immature believers. Even during this time of trouble with the COVID-19 virus, seek out others who are likeminded. For example, I hold a men’s Bible study twice a week via Zoom so we can all meet virtually to spend time in the Word. Don’t let this time of tribulation stop you from seeking the knowledge and wisdom found in the Bible.

Take this opportunity of having to stay home to get to know our Father more. Turn that television off and open that Bible to increase your holiness through Christ. Mediate on the Word and spend more time praying.

Each day is a brand-new day; it has never happened before. Yesterday is behind us; and with each new day comes a renewed hope in our faith. Because it is a new day, we have the opportunity to renew our minds to focus our day on God. Tomorrow may not happen for us, so we need to live each day as if Christ will be here tomorrow to take us home with Him.