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The Lenten Journey 2018: Coping with Turmoil

“Coping with turmoil!”
Isaiah 26: 1-11 NIV
2_24_2015_Velma Grant“In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down- the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor. The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desires of or heart. My soul years for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the Lord. Lord, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them. ”

          The last several years have been years of natural and man-made destructions, upheavals, rumors of war that have affected people across the globe in a negative manner. Global warming, the threat of nuclear annihilation from certain world leaders, political instability within the United States of America (and other countries) are all events that culminate in a certain level of turmoil for any individual or nation.

          Not only do individuals have to contend with public turmoil from external forces, there are also events that culminate in private turmoil. Those private turmoil include family dynamics, job related issues, debt, and etc. that eventually affects the mind and body of the average person and produces stress related diseases. Turmoil produces chaos and makes it very difficult for people to be hopeful and maintain faith in God. In other words, turmoil produces an atmosphere where it is difficult to have or maintain a sense of peace.

          The prophet Isaiah lived in a time of great turmoil, and unfortunately for the Israelites, he continued to be a herald of bad news because of his predictions of continuing turmoil in the future. Despite the present and impending turmoil, it was important that the prophet also convey to God’s people that victory was still a promise that would be fulfilled. Since Yahweh would triumph victoriously on Israel’s behalf, there still needed to be a reason for joy and a reason to hold steadfast to peace.

         For Isaiah, teaching others to focus on a reality that is exceedingly better than their present troubles is a much better coping mechanism than resorting to despair and hopelessness. The greater reality is that one can still focus on joy even while experiencing adversities and the challenges that accompany life. The turmoil faced by the people of Isaiah’s time was temporary, and likewise the earthly calamities faced in the 21st century are only temporary and do not negate the divine victory that is on the horizon.

In reading this text we learn that the best ways to deal with turmoil, life and the challenges of life are to remember that:

(1) It is important to keep our minds and focus on God,
(2) The greater reality of God’s victory supersedes temporary setbacks,
(3) God’s victory is on the horizon (if God is victorious then God’s children will also be victorious),
(4) God never loses control over life or political events. “Don’t wait until the battle is over, shout now!”

Let us Pray: Dear God, we ask this day that You keep our hearts and minds focused on Your promise of eternal joy and peace. Fill us with the faith that will help us to be steadfast even when the winds of fear, make us afraid and hopeless. Help us to focus on the victory and to hold steadfast to peace as we continue our journey to the cross with our Savior, Jesus Christ. Peace!

Pastor Velma E. Grant, M.Div., Th.M.
Payton AME Church, Valdosta, Georgia
Instagram – @revpreacher
Facebook – @Rev.Velma E Grant
Twitter – www.twitter.com/RevVelma
Email – vegrant1@gmail.com

Beloved, please share your prayer requests and your praise reports in the comment section on this site. As always, encourage our guest bloggers who are striving to continue to be a blessing this Lenten season!

Go to www.vashtimckenzie.com for more information about Selah Online!

You can register for Selah Online at bit.ly/Selah2018 today. You promised yourself you’d do something special or restorative or inspiring or instructive this spring….right? Selah Online is a digital resource that is sure to be a blessing.

This initial series is taught by Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, preacher, professor and media consultant. Each lesson will be sent to your email inbox starting April 9th for four consecutive Tuesdays. I’ll meet you at Selah Online! Join us and share with others!!!

selakhjjiu

Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie



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