We live in interesting times. One simply cannot turn on the news or scroll through social media without a gut-wrenching feeling anymore. I remember a time, not so long ago, when the most aggravating thing you would see on Facebook was a selfie of a teenager posing with a duck-face. Boy, those were the days.

Now, social media has become a battlefield of ideas, beliefs and emotions. Relationships are being severed over political posts and personal overreactions are run amuck. Social media outlets are now the weapons of passive aggressiveness; they have truly become a display of our school yard tendencies.

The news stations aren’t any help either. There is a news outlet to suite everyone’s taste, and what is being spread by these outlets is just more divisiveness and suspicion. Our culture has devolved a mindset of, “I am right, you are wrong, and since you do not think like I do, I hate you.”

I am not ignorant to the fact that there has always been this way of thinking some level, However, I have never witnessed it this as loud and vicious as it is today.

Recent studies say that anxiety, depression, and loneness are at an all-time high, I do not doubt it.

In the recent months we, as a society, have become unhinged. As a local pastor, I have meet and counseled with many people on all these topics –– from anxiety to politics. Anger, hate, bitterness and frustration has become an epidemic in these few months.

The Bible tells us in the Book of Hebrews that, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”

The only practical way for us to live out this scripture, which we who are Christians are commanded to, is to have a quiet and peace-filled soul.

One of my favorite scriptures in the entire Holy Bible is the 23rd Psalm. In fact, I have made it my life verse –– a text that I have memorized and try to live by every day. The 23rd Psalm reminds us that God has an expectation for our lives, and that expectation is peace. Not a lack of conflict or troubles, but a peace in the midst of troubles and chaos. With the Lord being our Good Shepherd, He leads us and we are to follow. And He leads us into good places; In paths of righteousness and besides the still waters. This, of course is a figure of speech, a beautiful illustration of the quite soul.

May I ask you a question? Can you say you have a quiet soul? I must admit, that in the past my soul would not have been seen as quiet. In fact, there were times that my soul was tightened with anxiety and stress; so much so that I was no good to anyone, let alone God. It wasn’t until I began to learn and study the scriptures that I came to realize where true peace came from and how to have a quiet soul.

Just the idea of having my soul described as quiet is so appealing right now in the midst of social conflict and a world gripped with fear. A quiet soul is powerful; it is intimidating to the world that is experiencing unrest; it is liberating.

The key to having a quiet soul is found in an obscure passage within the text of in the Old Testament. It is found in the Book of Zephaniah, Chapter three. Zephaniah was a prophet who preached about the coming judgment and world chaos for those who rebelled against God. Yet, in the third chapter, God spoke to His followers and gave them encouragement and hope, in the midst of world chaos.

The scriptures say, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

Friends, a quiet soul, one who has peace and calmness, only comes from God’s love. If you are a Christian, one who has believed on the Lord Jesus, repented of your sins and put your faith in Him alone that quiet soul is yours. It is a gift from God the Father.

My daughter is greatly afraid of dogs. And when a dog approaches she draws closer to me. In fact, there are times she even tries to climb up on me because she knows that her daddy is her protector and loves her so much.

Do you know, and I mean really know, that God loves you? I know we can read it and hear it, but can you say without a doubt that God loves you? How do we know it? We know it by His word, the Bible. How do we put it into practice? By faith. The more I contemplate and meditate on this thought, the more I pray about this thought and the more I read the Bible, the more I know it to be true. It ceases to be mere theory and becomes practice. I have to tell you, the more I spend time with my Heavenly Father and think about His love for me, the more my heart becomes quiet and my soul finds peace.

Do you feel overwhelmed with the stress of what is going on in the world? Is your anxiety growing every time you jump on social media or turn on the news? Dear ones, it is doing you harm. You need to unplug and reconnect with God. Your soul needs quiet. The people around you need peace. And in turn you may just encourage them with your strength that only comes from the Father.

I pray you have an amazing weekend. Please spend time in your Bible, reading, praying and truly experiencing God’s Love that is available to you today. May God richly bless you.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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