Sunday, January 22, 2023
By Angela Gaffney, Small Group Leader
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27 (The words of Jesus)
There have been times in my life where I’ve wished I could have the play by play before the game even begins. This way, I would know the obstacles ahead of time, be prepared for what I need to do, and know that the outcome will be great.
I would wish for these things because of the nervousness and fear of the unknown.
When I played college basketball, a teammate of mine went to our coach and told her that I could sing. Thereafter, my coach shared that she wanted me to sing the National Anthem acapella in center court before every game. While I felt honored that she would make such a request, I was overcome by nerves, doubt and fear.
What if I messed up? What if I couldn’t hit the high note? What if my teammates or spectators thought it was horrible? What if I looked like a fool out there? What if I didn’t live up to the expectations of my coach?
We’ve all had situations where our nerves have taken over. We’ve lacked trust in ourselves. Lacked trust in the process. And we focus our attention on ourselves and all the “what ifs”.
When, instead, we should be focusing on Him.
In this scripture, Jesus is calming the hearts and minds of his disciples. They’ve questioned about where he is going, and why they can’t just follow him. They want to have the game plan ahead of time. They want to know the way. He assures them by saying “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (14:6) “Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (14:19-20)
I wish I had the sense to know this at 18 years old, and truly understand the truth that Jesus lives in me, and the Father lives in him. He will provide all I need, to see me through, in everything he calls me to do.
My coach asked me to serve in a way that honored a gift God had given me.
We are called to trust in our Father as we serve and do His good work. This trust takes effort on our part. We must build our relationship with Him, live in His word, apply His word to our everyday lives, and count it a privilege and blessing to do His work, even when it may feel challenging to do so.
I remember standing center court one game, palms filled with sweat, my heart beating out of my chest, and my nervousness sitting right in my throat waiting to interrupt my voice at any moment. Let’s just say it wasn’t a great performance. I cracked at the high note and felt like a complete failure.
Many years later, I learned about putting my trust in God when I was asked to sing at a family member’s funeral. I was singing a song I’d never performed, and the nerves were taking over, as always. But this time, I prayed and turned it over to God, asking Him to guide my way. I performed well because of Him, and because my focus was on serving Him instead of it being about me.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (14:27)
God shows up in our big moments, and in every small moment too. He calls us to trust in Him, to know that He lives in us, and that we are provided His peace, guidance, and love through the Holy Spirit.
“God, I am grateful you call me to do your good work. Please speak to me, help me to know what it is you need me to do today and provide me the tools to do it well. I promise to continue trusting in you, studying your word and living the life you call me to live. In your name I pray, Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.