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written by Paige Terry Hamilton
encouraging ordinary women to ﬁnd hope in an EXTRA-ordinary God
! There is a gloomy sort of feeling to my home this morning. The children are grumpy. There have been tears, gnashing of teeth, sharp words, and a lack of motivation. It seems as if even the walls of our home feel defeated because of the election results, and we are each trying to battle the tendency to roll around in our miserable self-pity. ! In early morning light, Jon and I talked softly about how the election turned out. He had tossed and turned much of the night, praying and asking for the Lord to give His peace to us. And then Jon shared with me about how God was reminding him of the Apostle Paul who was imprisoned by the Romans, though he had committed no crime. Bound by chains and shackles, Paul wrote a letter to the church at Philippi. Nearly two thousand years later, millions of Christians still ﬁnd encouragement in his words. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)
FINDING HOPE & PEACE
These are not exactly the words one might expect for a man who was chained in a Roman prison to be writing. I can assure you that were I in Paul’s situation, I would probably be sending letters with words like, “Help me! I’m in deep trouble! Someone, ﬁgure out a way to break me out of these chains because I can’t take it here much longer!” ! Roman prisons were not at all like the prisons of our society, where the condemned are given time to play basketball or watch TV, sleep in an air conditioned cell, and receive 3 full meals a day. No, Paul was imprisoned in a cell that likely had little or no natural light. He was constantly chained so that his every movement created a loud clanking noise. He was lucky to receive food or water on a regular basis, and was likely in close conﬁnement to many others as most Roman prisons were very over-crowded. The stench would have likely been unbearable, as personal hygiene was not a beneﬁt given to those held as Roman prisoners. I could go on and on about Paul’s conditions, and none of it would be good for Paul
was in a desperate situation. God’s kingdom is eternal. Now there’s a reason to hope. And yet Paul says, “Rejoice ... ! Yet, if I am truthful, what always.” I really want is for Paige’s kingdom to be God’s kingdom. I It’s hard to rejoice today. The want things to work out my way. I prospect of another four years want my dreams and ideas for the with the same president is just present and the future to be heart-breaking for me, for these exactly what God has in store for has never been a president that I my life. How often does it not fundamentally disagree with turn out the way I hoped or more. And today, I must admit, I planned? And does that mean sort of feel like being in the God’s not good or that His plans depths of despair. for me, for my family, for my ! One of my favorite books loved ones, for my nation aren’t is Anne of Green Gables. In the best for us? Am I so arrogant to beginning of the book, Anne, a believe that I know better than little orphan girl, is taken in by an God? elderly woman named Marilla. After one of her many calamities, Surely not! Anne confesses to Marilla that she is in “the depths of despair,” ! But if that is the truth, to which Marilla answers, “To then why is it that I lose hope despair is to turn one’s back upon when things are hard? Why do I God.” despair when life goes wrong? ! The dictionary actually And when did I forget what Jesus says that the word despair is a verb said regarding the hardships of meaning to lose all hope or life: “I have told you these things conﬁdence. But when I pause to so that in me you may have peace. think about it, putting my hope in In this world, you will have anything other than God alone trouble. But take heart! I have will cause me to begin to despair. overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Marilla was right. ! This morning, more than Today I must ask myself, anything, what I want and what is “Where is my hope?” need is hope and peace, not hope and change. I just want peace. I ! Barack Obama may oﬀer want a perfect peace that passes “hope and change” but truthfully all understanding. I need the I’d be a fool to put my hope in kind of peace that comes only him ... or in Mitt Romney or from God. Ronald Reagan or George ! The Apostle Paul also Washington for that matter. It’s wrote a prescription for peace to foolish to put my hope in politics, the Philippians, just a couple of democracy, socialism, or verses after he encouraged them monarchies. Kingdoms will rise to rejoice. Paul wrote: “Don’t and fall, but the Lord will “sit worry about anything, but in enthroned forever.” (Psalm 102:12) everything,
Paige Terry Hamilton lives in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country with her husband Jon and their blended family of ﬁve children (ages 9-14). They are active members of Calvary Chapel of Lafayette, and enjoy the blessings of being a homeschool family. When not climbing the endless mountain of dirty laundry, Paige enjoys encouraging ordinary women to grow in their faith in an EXTRAordinary God through writing and speaking. You can read more of Paige’s writings on her blog, Paige’s Pages (http:// paigikins.blogspot.com/) Contact Information: Paige Terry Hamilton 337-534-0172 firstname.lastname@example.org
through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever commendable, if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise, dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the peace of God will be with you.” (Philippians 4: 6-9) ! The Peace Prescription is in those words: Give our worries to God. Choose to be thankful. Think on good things. ! When we do that, we will be ﬁlled with the peace of God, which in turn will enable us to rejoice even in the midst of hard times. ! I remember an early November morning four years ago ... standing in the kitchen with my 8 year old son, who was deeply grieved over our newly elected president. I hugged him tightly and said, “I know exactly how you feel, but we are not going to sit around and feel sad that our candidate lost. And we aren’t going to feel hopeless. We are going to trust God because He sure isn’t surprised about how the election turned out.” ! This morning, I’m reminding myself of those words. God knew how this election would turn out, and I feel quite certain that He is not fretting or
worried. God is still in control this morning. He sits on His throne. ! On days like today it is important for me to recall that God just isn’t in control when things are going my way. But He is in control even when things are going wrong. When life is rough or hard or throws me lots of lemons, God is still working out His perfect plan. And what better time to recall that He truly is working all things together for my good than on days when despair wants to set it and life seems sort of hopeless. (Romans 8:28)
Ten Ways to Pray for our President Whether you llike him, voted for him or think he deserves a second term, President Obama is our president for the next four years and needs our prayer support. Here are 10 ways we can pray for him: 1. Pray for him to have God-given wisdom. 2. Pray for his protection. 3. Pray for his relationship with his family, particularly his wife and children. 4. Pray for him to have wise advisors. 5. Pray for him to be humble. 6. Pray for him to have a spirit of reconciliation, as well as that sort of spirit among all people in our nation so that there is not a bitter divide between Democrat and Republican. 7. Pray for him to protect all life, from that of the elderly to that of the unborn. 8. Pray for him to grow in his Christian faith, and for him to be able to attend church regularly. 9. Pray for Satan and his evil forces to be bound during President Obama’s second term. 10.Pray for God’s blessings and for His peace to reign during this Presidential administration. For more ways that you can be a part of praying for our president, consider becoming part of the presidential prayer team. You can ﬁnd out more information at: www.presidentialprayerteam.com
! ! Please join me today in praying for our newly re-elected President, for our Senators, Representatives, and for our nation ... that we may all know the hope and peace found in Christ Jesus.
Blessings for today, and a bright hope for tomorrow,