Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
Crosfigell

Remedy for Perilous Times

It works every time.

O Lord, grant me the skill to sing your praise, for the bustle of this world is perilous.

  - Anonymous, Early Welsh

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.

 
- Habakkuk 3.17, 18

These are perilous times, if only because they are uncertain times. The economy is shaky. Terrorists are more ubiquitous than ever. Dangerous nations seek dangerous powers for nefarious ends. The fear of pandemic broods over the world. Even the very political foundations of our country have become unsettled and unsure.

With so little good news to cheer them, people tend to focus inward on themselves, and to grab for every fleeting pleasure or diversion they can, to help them get through the day. The bustle of this world, focused as it is on things, busyness, entertainment, and self, can never quell our fears nor bring our souls to peace. People are crying out in their hearts for peace, but there is no peace.

Fleeting pleasures are just that – fleeting. Diversions divert only for the time we engage them. Then it’s back to the reality of our perilous world. Cool things and favorable conditions cannot satisfy the deep longing of the human soul for lasting security, peace, and joy.

As believers, we have the power to soar above the bustle and peril of our day. We who know the Lord and are growing in His salvation can rest in His joy, no matter how perilous or uncertain the times. And we are called and sent into our own Personal Mission Field to embody and proclaim the Kingdom that has no end, that sparkles with righteousness and peace and joy, and which no peril can prevent, no bustle obscure, and no uncertantiy undo.

This is not a good time for the Church to be weak and irrelevant. But, alas, that’s where many believers and their churches find themselves. Sure, we have big numbers and high visibility. But what difference do these make? Are we filling the hearts of our neighbors with hope? Is our joy, such as it is, infectious and alluring? Have we staunched the flow of moral decency out of the country’s social and cultural veins? Are we challenging and exposing the lies of unbelief on the right hand and the left? Are believers leading the way to the high ground of neighbor love?

Have we made Jesus the central figure and focus of all our days?

Churches are signs and outposts of the Kingdom of God, and believers are its citizens and ambassadors. Yet for all our numbers, and all our fervor of activities, we don’t seem to be making much of a Kingdom impact in the world. What good has all our abundance of preaching and programming accomplished, when it comes to advancing the rule of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit?

But we must not despair, we must not lose hope. Each of us possesses the key that can open a door through perilous times to peace and joy. To paraphrase a resolution by Solzhenitsyn: Let worse things come, if they must, “only not by me!” We will neither fear nor despair. Instead, we will praise the Lord, come what may. Praise, thanksgiving, rejoicing in our salvation, boasting about Jesus at every opportunity – these are the disciplines that prevent us from slipping into fear, doubt, and compromise with the world.

But these are not disciplines merely for Sunday morning or our quiet times first thing each day. These are disciplines to practice throughout the day, both in private and in public. The first Christians turned their world upside down by practicing Jesus as King in every area of their lives. They loved one another, shared of their possessions, cared for the weak and needy, encouraged the downcast, and made the Good News of Jesus the subject of their daily conversations. True citizens of the Kingdom of God, the first Christians lived as its ambassadors in lives of thanks, praise, and witness – so much so, that their neighbors attached the name “Christ-ones” to them.

The bustle of this perilous world is not going away. It swirls around us and threatens to overwhelm. But we may rise above the perils of our age and be a beacon to our neighbors of lasting hope and unshakeable peace and joy.

If we want to keep from caving in to the world’s pressure to conform, or from tumbling into the morass of despair, let us practice praise and thanksgiving as a spiritual preventive and moral rallying-cry.

A rising tide of praise and thanksgiving lifts all the storm-tossed boats of this perilous age. Lift your own soul through praise and thanks throughout the day, and you will lift the souls of all around you.

For Reflection
1. What can you do to bring more praise and thanksgiving into your daily life?

2. How can you encourage your fellow believers to more consistent praise and thanksgiving?

Psalm 25.1-5 (Festal Song: Revive Thy Work, O Lord)
I lift my soul to You; O Lord, in You I trust.
Let me not come to shame, nor let my foes o’er me exult.

All they who wait on You shall never come to shame;
yet they to shame shall come who stand against Your holy Name.

Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

Give me grace, O Lord, to rejoice in You and in Your salvation at every opportunity, so that I can…

The Christian’s vantage point
Christians look at time differently from their unsaved neighbors. Our vantage point is more robust, hopeful, promising, and fraught with power. Our book, Vantage Point, can show you how to begin living more toward the City to Come. Order your free copy by clicking here.

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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