Tranquility Amidst Turmoil

Author Unknown

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? "Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)


Hope In The Midst Of Tragedy

By Terry Rush
Excerpt from "God Will Make a Way"

If you have ever faced unexpected tragedy you know about the craving for assurances. You, a friend, or a family member may have felt the gaping wound caused by divorce, death, disease, or a disheveled dream. You may be searching for answers that will mend and heal. There is hope.

Someday you will be you again. Things will never be the way they were. After tragedy has struck you are severely wounded. Things will be better, or they will be worse; they will not be restored to how they were. But the good news is that you can carry on as a wounded survivor and face the days ahead with hope of recovery.

Let God work. Don't attempt to advise God as to what is best for you. God will make a way for you. Remember that God's way is not your way. Trust God to do His maintaining, providing, healing, sustaining, and guiding. Lay aside your human expectations so that you can see God's answers. Sometimes when solutions are given, you reject them because you had in mind something different, or something easier. If you are trying to figure out how to make it through one of the roughest times you've ever encountered, you are not in the position to pick and choose answers. Your only hope lies in the Lord.

Make choices. You have more control over the situation than you might imagine. While you do not have the choice to turn back the clock and restore things to their original order, you do have the choice of going under or going up. Which way is up to you. Every situation, every pain, can go one of two ways; it can depress or motivate. It's up to you. When you encounter tragedy you can spend your remaining days saturated in grief - blaming God, blaming others, and blaming yourself - or, learn from the hurt. What you learn of pain will find purpose in helping others who hurt.

Accept God's offer. Anticipate that He will come through for you. You can plan to be "all right." You can intend to let the Heavenly Father handle your private situation with class. The choice is yours.

Acknowledge the pain. He does not minimize your pain. The Lord is not in denial; neither does He expect you to be. God cares. He has not abandoned you. He is right beside you and has been there all along. He hears your sobs and He sees your tears.

Let the healing begin. God is neither handicapped nor weary in the midst of your pain. Nor is He confused or baffled. His strength will deliver you - not barely, but mightily.


"I will go... and if I perish, I perish."

Continued on next video clip

To Protect and Serve

By David Jeremiah
Turning Point

"Our survival isn't the most important issue. Obedience is. Courage. Standing for Christ. Those are the things that matter."

Putting on a badge turns brave police officers into potential targets. Yet they're devoted to protecting and serving. That takes courage. Being a Christian also takes courage. Putting on the badge of Christ targets us for persecution and danger-physical or emotional. We take a stand for Christ, which may invite rejection.

Bible heroes often wore the badge of courage. Esther and her cousin Mordecai were Jews in Persia. When King Xerxes grew disenchanted with his queen, Esther was chosen to replace her. Later, Mordecai overheard an assassination plot and saved the king's life. Coincidences? No. Behind events of history moves the hidden hand of God, placing His people where needed for their moments of destiny.

God places His people strategically, not always comfortably. Mordecai discovered a plot to destroy all the Jews in Persia. Warning Esther, he said she must go to the king (Esther 4:13-14). But that could mean death. Even a queen must be summoned.

Maybe God has placed you in a certain situation so you can be His representative there. Perhaps you have to take a stand that isn't easy.

Esther made a life and death decision: "I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish." Our survival isn't the most important issue. Obedience is. Courage. Standing for Christ. Those are the things that matter.

Ultimately, the hand of God prevailed. The Jews were spared, the plotter perished, and Mordecai was promoted.

Sometimes God puts us in a tight place. But if we believe there are no accidents with God and obey His will in all situations, it's comforting to know He will use us to make a difference.

One person does make a difference. God uses everybody in His plan-no throwaways. You are important. Your example, model, influence, and decisions are vitally important. As you walk before God and take a stand for Christ, you make a difference in your world.

We cannot say, as Esther tried at the beginning, "Well, I can't do anything about it." Yes, you can. You can do what God calls you to do. God can use you if you flash the badge of courage for Him by standing up for the issues you care about. It may not be a national crisis like Esther's. It may be a crisis in your family, business, church, or in your own personal well-being.

Was Esther afraid? Certainly. Courage is not the absence of fear. It's persevering in spite of the fear. Courage doesn't mean I am oblivious to the danger. Courage may mean that I truly understand the danger and fully comprehend what the danger means. But in spite of that, I go forward (sometimes with my knees trembling), knowing that if my cause is righteous, my courage will be reinforced.

The person who waits to act in the moment of crisis until he has all the courage he needs for the entire event will never act. But if he has the courage to take the first step, whatever it is, God will give him greater strength.

Some of you are facing tremendous challenges, but you know what you must do. If your cause is just, if you know the path is right, in the process of moving toward the righteous cause, God will reinforce your courage.

I'd like to close with a special word to young people reading this article. It's often difficult to uphold your convictions when everyone around you is going in the opposite direction. Sometimes Christian young people who truly love the Lord feel like fish swimming upstream. But if you know what is right and do what is right, God will strengthen your courage as you step forward in faith, holding high the badge of Jesus Christ. As you move from courage to courage, you'll be able to face every challenge, succeed on every occasion, and glorify God in every battle. Esther had courage in crisis and, because of that, she is revered by us all.

Dare to be an Esther. Dare to wear the badge of courage and to stand up, stand up for Jesus.