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Peace in Troubled Times
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Submitted by Apostle Kelvin Pendleton, 2/28/2003

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Phillipians 3:10)

Blessings be upon you in the name of Christ.  I greet thee and I salute thee for your great works for the almighty God, the Alpha and the Omega, the one who gave His own son to die on the Cross so that we might live.  As I was just asleep, a song was playing in my dream.  The words are as such..."I've had some good days, I've had some hills to climb.  I've had some weary days, and some sleepless nights.  But when I look around, and I think things over, all of my good days outweigh my bad days, and I won't complain.   See sometimes the clouds hang low, and I can hardly see the road.  I ask this one question Lord, why so much pain?  But you see God has been good to me!  Better than this whole world could ever be.  So I'll just say thank you Lord, I won't complain.  He dried all of my tears away, turned my midnight into day, so I'll say thank you Lord, and I won't complain."

It's a very beautiful song that reminds us that we are not alone in our sufferings.  The bible tells us to be prepared to suffer because of our choice to follow Christ.  But through it all, we must remember that God is still good!  It grieves my heart and my prayers are lifted up for you all as I beseech God to build hedges of protection around you.  It is my desire that none of you are affected as you do your works for God.  We pray for this, but at the same time we must expect things to happen.  Let us examine what the apostles went through as they began to spread out to teach about the gospel of Jesus.  Stephen was arrested and stoned, Paul was tried, etc.  They were doing awesome works, but still suffered in the process.  So I want to share some scriptures to encourage you all as we pull together to pray for one another and bear each others burdens.

First,  2 Thessalonians 3:13 - But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

Though we look at things happening around us, and are going through sufferings and struggles, don't be discouraged and keep your head up.  One of my most familiar quotes is, "You can't keep your eyes towards the hills from which cometh your help if you have your head hanging down. All you can see is the ground and you miss the fact that your help cometh from the Lord."  Through these end days which we live in, we must be encouraged and stay strong no matter what we go through.  We must examine ourselves daily.  Often we will find nothing that displease God in our lives, but we still suffer.  But let us consider our dear brother Job who suffered to glorify God, and was blessed accordingly for being real with God and realizing his sufferings are nothing compared to the love of God.  Job had some choice words and choice questions, but he realized in Job chapter 42, "2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. 4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. 5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."  And what did God do for Job after that?  It's not that his blessings appeared out of no where, or and angel brought him possessions, but God caused people around him to bring him blessings.  So if you be not weary in well doing my friends, challenge God to cause people around you to give unto you to supply your needs.

Now, secondly, in reference to all the things happening around us...Luke 21:9 - "But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by."

I prayed that God would touch our world leaders, especially our own here in America, so that we would not rush to war and fight among nations.  But God reminded me of what we read in the old testament.  There were wars that God commanded so that something could be provided for His people.  To get possession of the promised land, they had to fight giants.  David had to lead armies.  And then there were the armies that carried out God's judgment against another territory.   Therefore, though some of these wars are indeed unnecessary, there are some that must happen because of God's judgment.  We are living in the last days, and if some of these wars did not happen, then the bible would not be fulfilled.  But Jesus encourages us by letting us know to not be troubled or to not be terrified.  Now why is it that He would say that knowing what would happen around us?  Because we being God's children, He will take care of us.  Even if we were affected or we end up loosing our lives for Jesus' sake, look at what we gain in heaven?  Hallelujah!  He sent us a comforter, so let us rely on that comforter, the Holy Spirit, to comfort us.

So it brings me to the main scripture I want to share with you found in the 4th chapter of Phillipians.  4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Let us meditate on this passage, as we think on things to bring about peace in our hearts, peace in our minds, and peace in our spirits; the kind of peace that passes all understanding.  That means, the kind of peace where nothing bothers you.  A war can break out but you still have peace.  A building can burn down, but you still have peace.  We can loose things which belong to us, but we still have peace.  That people are looking at you expecting you to cry, but you smile because you still have peace. People can talk about you, but you still have peace. You can be persecuted, but you still have peace. It's the peace that people don't understand why you are not upset, why you are not angry, why you are not hurt, but rather you still glorify God, you still praise God, you still lift up His name on high, you still have PEACE! Hallelujah.  God promised that He will be with us, if we can just focus our minds on things that would bring us peace.  Challenge God to keep His promise, by you first taking the action to follow the instructions Apostle Paul left for us as he wrote to the church of Phillipi

So just as he wrote to the church of Phillipi, I know write to you so that we can all come to agreement, that we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.  One of the ways it happens is when we learn to be content; no matter what happens, and no matter what state we are in.  Pray without ceasing, Fight the good fight, Finish your course; Run and complete your race.  Dare to believe, dare to achieve, and dare to receive.  Selah. 

Exceprt from epistle sent 2/28/2003 to the international community of God's Grace Ministries.