Friday, June 12, 2009

6/13- Calvin and finding peace

(Jail in Philippi where Paul stayed- taken by me last November 2008)

Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

“There is no peace, says the Lord, for the wicked.” (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21)
“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11b-13)

(Calvin Commentary on Philippians 4:11,12) In what state I am, that is, “Whatever my condition may be, I am satisfied with it.”Why? because saints know that they please God by their satisfaction. So, they do not measure sufficiency by having many things, but by the will of God. They can understand God’s will by looking at what takes place, for they are persuaded that their affairs are regulated by his providence and good pleasure.
12. I know both how to be abased. Paul is saying he has a mind adapted to bear any kind of condition. Prosperity is likely to puff up the mind beyond measure, and adversity, on the other hand, to depress. From both faults he declares himself to be free. I know, says he, how to be abased—that is, to endure humility with patience. is made use of twice, but in the former instance it is employed as meaning, to excel; in the second instance, as meaning, to abound, so as to correspond with the things to which they are exposed. If someone knows to make use of present abundance in a sober and temperate way, with thanksgiving, prepared to part with everything whenever it may be the good pleasure of the Lord, giving also a share to his brother or sister, according to the measure of his ability, and is also not puffed up, that person has learned to excel, and to abound. This is a peculiarly excellent and rare virtue, and much superior to the endurance of poverty. Let all who wish to be Christ’s disciples work towards acquiring this knowledge which was possessed by Paul. But in the mean time let them accustom themselves to the endurance of poverty in such a manner that it will not be grievous and burdensome to them when they come to be deprived of their riches.

There are many reasons, in Calvin’s view to have peace. There is a peace that comes from knowing God. Believing in God brings meaning to right and wrong- for God is the final judge of what is good. If God is in control, then we can rely on Him and His good judgment, and it is not up to us. If God is in control, the political election of the president, the governor is not nearly as important as the election of the saints. Our emphasis does not need to be on changing the world, but serving God and glorifying Him in the world. As we do that, the world will change. We can pray to this sovereign God knowing there is peace (Phil. 4:6,7). Paul wrote Philippians in prison. He spent time in prison in Philippi and sang while there.
There are so many without peace today in America. It shows in the epidemic of depressions, broken homes and hearts, restlessness in work and moving (the average American moves almost every two years). The more we move and are restless, the less peace we will have. Coveting is another word for always believing "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence." So many have forsaken the idea that we can replace worry with prayer; that there is a real good in finding contentment where we are.

Prayer: Lord, our hearts our restless until they find their rest in you. Give us peace within, O Lord, that our world will have more peace without to the honor of your name.

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