Our concept of peace is basically the absence of trouble, whereas Shalom means everything which contributes to the wellness of people’s lives.
This dialogue sermon between Dr. Matt Hook and Dr. Marty Fletcher delves into the psychology of fear and anxiety through the lens of the scriptural text, “perfect love casts out fear.”
Someone living with an anxiety disorder (or any medical condition) that makes being in loud, dark areas or separated from family unendurable does not feel welcomed. This is not a commentary on the theology or religiosity of the “turn up the volume and dim the lights, no children allowed” movement. The concern here is how the Body of Christ meets those who would dare join in for worship.
Some years ago, another friend lost her sister to suicide. She wrote to ask, “Do you think it is possible that the enemy has kept me down and in such a battle for the last year or two so he could keep me from being there for my sister?”
This is how I answered that question.
In the context of National Suicide Prevention Month, consider these words on being the salt of the earth.
Joy flows from the same well as grace. And it begins with repentance and renewal. If I’m going to learn Christ and embrace the new life he offers, I have to let go of the old life, the lower existence. And a key piece in learning Christ is learning to walk in forgiveness. This is the difference between reacting and responding. To put it plainly, I have to learn to discipline my emotions, especially the emotion of anger, so it doesn’t create opportunity for sin in my life.
We have a hope, and it is not rooted in our circumstances; it is rooted in the plan —in the very identity—of God. For those of us who struggle, who live under gathering clouds, it is not a promise that God will answer all our questions. It is promise that He will not change on us. God’s character is eternal, his promises are safe, his nature is to love and his plans for us are good. “What is of God will last. It belongs to the eternal life. Choose it, and it will be yours.”