Understanding Beyond…

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonablenessd be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learnede and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)

The peace that surpasses all understanding.  A peace of heart beyond our grasp, beyond what makes sense to us.  This is what Jesus offers those who trust in Him.  It is peace that doesn’t rely on circumstances.  Instead, even – especially – in times of trouble, with Jesus we have peace.  We find rest.  We know He is with us through times of uncertainty and anxiety.

Tonight, trust in God.  Rest in His peace.  Let the above passage soak into your soul.  Don’t mull over the troubles we face today but meditate on His Word and the Greatest Truth of God, our Creator and Sustainer.

Sleep well dear friends.  Let God’s love fill you, knowing everything is in the Lord’s hands.

Pinto Beans, Collard Greens and COVID-19

Last night’s family excursion to a nearby Super Duper Bigley Mart was interesting.  The store wasn’t overly busy – certainly not packed.  The mood was calm – not so much peaceful as subdued.  There were no shoppers brawling over the last jar of creamy Jif.

However, at 8:30 on a Saturday night, there wasn’t much on the shelves to fight over.  The bread selection was sparse.  The flour was gone, except for the oddball varieties like quinoa flour that cost $7.00 per 8 ounce package.  Hamburger, hot dogs (except for a few packs of Nathan’s), cheese… gone.  Frozen vegetables?  Fogetaboutit.

Canned veggies didn’t fair much better.  Although the couple in front of us at the checkout managed to load up a cart full of canned pinto beans and collard greens.  I’m thinking new furnace filters may be in order there as well.

We talked with the cashier as she rang up our groceries.  “It was a lot busier earlier today”, she told us.  “It was crazy.  But people were pretty nice.  Nobody got worked up or anything.”  I began to feel a little better about humanity and all the hoarding we’ve heard about.

“Well, I guess there were a couple of fist fights out in the parking lot earlier.”

So much for feeling better.

Here in America, we were okay for the most part with just hoarding paper goods, respirator masks and water.  But then we received the unbelievable news.

Tom Hanks tested positive for coronavirus.

If America’s favorite human being can get COVID-19 then, surely, we are all vulnerable.  Our reaction?  We did the only reasonable thing we could as a society.

We bought up all the frozen vegetables, boxed pasta and flour we could find.

We cleared the stores of peanut butter faster than store employees could say “but we have plenty of crunchy in the stock room”.

Like a plague of locust, we descended upon the canned good aisles of our markets, leaving the shelves bare of all but the off-brand canned pinto beans and collard greens.

Ok.  Lest I go too far out in the weeds, let me stop and reel this in a bit.  COVID-19 is serious.  Limiting exposure to large crowds etc. is the wise, prudent thing to do.  Stocking up to be prepared is also smart.

My 13 year-old son unwittingly put this whole thing in perspective for me as we stood in line to check out.  “Dad, is this just like the Great Depression?”  (Oh, where are my grandparents when I need them?)

“No, son”, I explained.  “This is nothing like the Great Depression.  There is plenty of food in this store.  Nobody should worry about going hungry over this.  This is more like the Great Inconvenience.  You may have to wait a while to get exactly what you want to eat, but there is plenty to eat.  In the Great Depression, people went hungry because they couldn’t afford to eat.”

Again, I am not making light of what is, in it’s face, a frightening unknown.  The Corona Virus Pandemic will – indeed already is – change how we do things.  The impact on lives will be great and permanent.  There’s the health impact, economic impact… how we go about our daily lives and leisure time will be forever changed in some ways.

But there is one constant: God will not change.  “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6, ESV).  And, despite the maelstrom that swirls around us, God is still in control.

What we all need to do as followers of Christ is remain faithful.  Trust fully in God.  Rest in Him.  Prepare?  Absolutely.  Be wise?  Always.  But be ready to help a neighbor in need.  Be ready to follow the lead of the Lord.  Pray.  Pray.

Pray for those who contract this virus.

Pray for those whose jobs put them at risk of coming into contact with COVID-19 (medical workers, rescuers, police, airport employees, etc.)

Pray for those who face difficulties through this pandemic (quarantine, loss of income, etc.)

Pray for our leaders, for wisdom and guidance.

Pray for one another.

And, friends, it’s ok to keep a sense of humor about things.  Being cheerful in faith will do those around you far more good than being dour, sour and fearful.  Be glad in the Lord!   Stand fearless in faith!  Remember all the Lord has done for you!  And show the world your unshakable faith – be salt and light!

In other words… keep doing all the things we as Christ followers should be doing anyway.

And, to the lady at the store last night pushing the cart weighed-down with bottles of Diet Coke: what are you thinking?  There’s still plenty of Coke Zero on the shelves.

(c) 2020 by Chris Courtney.  All rights reserved.

Please feel free to share this article with anyone who could use a boost.  And please be sure to visit our website: http://www.bouvillediarist.com.



This picture is in the public domain in the United States because it was published (or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office) before January 1, 1925.

I wish I could crawl into your brain.  I’d love to worm my way into your lateral prefrontal cortex and convince of the hope you have through Jesus Christ.  I wish I could say the magic words to make your soul explode wide open with faith and joy.  I wish I could make you understand that we don’t need to understand all that’s going on in and around our lives.

There are times aplenty when I wish someone could crawl into my frontal lobe and do the same for me.

But, the truth is, no matter how strong and wonderous our brains may be, none of us is omniscient.  None of us can know all the whys and why nots and ifs and whens of life.  We simply are not God.

However, we can have the mind of Christ.  That doesn’t mean our thought processes are even close to on par with the Almighty.  (Even if I could, I definitely wouldn’t want the responsibility!)  What I mean by “the mind of Christ” is how we process what we perceive, where our focus lies, how we choose to see the world around us.

Consider this:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:1-11 [ESV]

What is Paul saying?  We are called to see the world the way Jesus sees it.  He didn’t fear the future.  He didn’t wonder if He was on the right track.  He didn’t second guess His every move.  Jesus followed the Father as the perfect example / personification of love.

Jesus did nothing out of selfish ambition.  Rather, His thoughts and actions were in lock-step with the Father.

If we can do the same – not merely as individuals, but as the community of believers, the body of Christ – we will find the answers we seek.  We’ll discover our worries are in vain.  We’ll be changed – transformed – into the people God created each and all of us to be.

Concerns of self-interest shrink when we live for others.  Our burdens are lighter, our joy full when we approach life as Christ did – with no condemnation, no worry, no doubt, no confusion.

It’s all about following the example of Jesus Christ, right down to how we think about our lives, ourselves and others.  Before you begin to worry, think about all the Lord has done.  Before you begin to doubt, look at His beautiful creation and consider the Creator.  Before you are overcome with anger or jealousy or bitterness, think of all you have been forgiven for.  Then apply these thoughts to your approach to life.

Live peacefully.  Love completely.  Believe with abandon.