• Shelly Bandelman

Culture of Joy and Peace

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

This week’s blog is to Christ followers. Do you ever feel like you just don’t fit in with the culture of the day? Well guess what!? You aren’t supposed to. You are supposed to fit into a Kingdom culture that is dramatically opposed to the cultures of the earth. That’s right, we, Christ followers are called to follow Christ. We are called to love our neighbors. We are called to love our enemies. We are called to love our God.


Our culture on earth is a mess. This world is a mess. Jesus knew we would have a messy world. He even said, "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...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 14:27 and 16:33


Jesus has overcome the world! The world would like to paralyze us with fear, but Jesus has a better plan. Jesus brings peace in the midst of turmoil. Jesus brings hope in the midst of despair. Jesus brings joy in the midst of sorrow.


The last few weeks have been rocky in the Bandelman world. Our family is currently split between two continents. I barely missed a deer and hit a bank! Brian and Isaac were attacked in a riot on the streets of Kampala! Embassy disappointments are trying to steal our joy. It’s been crazy, but God is so amazing!


Last week, I swerved to miss a deer and spun out on wet pavement. All four sides of Brie’s car (currently our family car) ricocheted off a muddy bank as it spun several times before coming to a final stop, tipped sideways on the bank, and facing the opposite direction. The only damage was a flat tire I discovered the next morning after I had driven it home, and a missing bolt on a flap under the bumper! I know angels moved my car. Twice I felt the it about to flip, but a force pushed it back down! I know what that force was!


Shortly before the deer stepped in front of me, I had spent a few minutes seriously warring in my prayer language as I drove to Costco. When I stopped praying I wondered who I had been battling for. I am pretty sure it was me! Use your voice! Pray! I cannot stress it enough. Even when you don’t know why, or you don’t get an answer, pray!


There is currently major unrest in Uganda. Elections always bring tension, but this election year the tension has escalated with the uprising of a young political figure challenging the old guard. Lockdowns, arrests, and an economic crisis due to COVID have ignited a powder keg of anger and violence.


A few days ago Brian and Isaac were leaving Kawempe Worship Center to go home. Things were peaceful when they went into town that morning, but riots broke out after they arrived. Their normal route home was blocked by a police barricade so they took a side street. A few blocks up the winding street they were stopped by burning tires and an angry mob. Brian’s door was wrenched open, thugs punched him in the mouth, took his iPod and 40,000 shilling ($10). Isaac hurt his hand defending Brian, and the two were able to escape with a few stitches, a dented door, and a broken tail light.


That wasn't an easy message to wake up to when I am 9,000 miles away, but peace reigns in our hearts. Riots happen. Cars get wrecked. People are mean. Businesses close. Jobs are lost. Sickness and death abound. There is NO END to the troubles we face in this world. But God has a plan. He has already made a way.


“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Jeremiah 8:10

Cling to the Word when the world is caving! Don’t let the culture around you strip your purpose. We are of a far greater Kingdom with a far greater calling. Don’t quarrel and fight with those who walk in darkness. Walk in JOY and PEACE!





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