Walking in God’s Peace

People all around the world are looking for Peace.  Peace of mind. Peace of heart. Peace from war.

One NBA basketball player literally changed his last name to World Peace.  Then, he attached a reference to the Buddhist religion to it . . . Metta.  People are searching for peace. God’s Word says lots about peace.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  Isaiah 54:10

I’m promising now no more anger, no more dressing you down. For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won’t walk away from you, my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.” Isaiah 54:10 (The Message)

1) Peace with God.

Ephesians 2:14-16   For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross . . . “

Eirene (Greek) – to join; to tie together into a whole.  God’s gift of wholeness; rest

Do you have peace with God?  Do you know that if you were to die today, you would go to heaven?  Last weekend, I attended the funeral for Pastor David Bell, who went to be with the Lord. Even though the circumstances were difficult to deal with, there was a beautiful spirit of peace.

Then I think of Junior Seau, who played in the National Football League for about 20 years. He has fame. He had fortune. He had money. But he didn’t have peace with God. And he took his own life.

When you know God, you know peace. When there is no God, there is no peace.

Are you at peace with God today?

In his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace, Philip Yancey tells the true story of a couple who were not at peace with each other. An argument ensued one day when the husband felt that his wife had spent too much on sugar at the grocery story. The argument was never resolved. They lived together for many years without speaking a word to one another. One day the husband took out a lumber saw and sawed their home exactly in half. He nailed up planks to cover the raw sides and moved one of the halves behind a row of scruffy pine trees on the same acre of ground. There the two, husband and wife, lived out the rest of their days in separate half-houses.

Many of us do that with God. We put a barrier between God’s will and our will. Between where we dwell and where we want God to dwell.

But the Word of God says that we can have PEACE WITH GOD. The eirene joining together of God with us!

Colossians 1:20 says this . . .  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Eirénopoieó (Greek) – Reconciliation

Jesus is . . The Prince of Peace. He not only came to bring peace  . . He IS PEACE!

Having peace with God is a result of having a personal relationship with the Prince of Peace.

What a privilege we have to bring peace to the community where we live . . . Servant Saturday – This Saturday @ 9:30 AM.

2)  Peace from God

Psalm 29:11  The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. 
11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Shalom – (Hebrew)   completeness; soundness; welfare; safety; security

     There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.
One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.
But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why? “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

     In Hebrew, the word Shalom is translated as “peace.” But there is a little more to its meaning. Shalom means total well being. Shalom is not possible if we are hiding anger, wrath, hurt, or disappointment. Shalom, total — complete — well being, comes in attitudes that align with the word of God. Wellness in health; Wellness in relationships!

Having peace from God does not mean there is no crisis or difficult circumstances, it means that – in the midst of it all – there is a total well being of your heart.

3) Peace of God

Philippians 4:6, 7    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Just because someone is at Peace with God does not mean that they are walking in the Peace of God.  Just because you have given your heart to the Lord does not mean that you don’t get anxious about things in life. When something in life happens that you are not crazy about having to deal with, you have a choice – you can either worry about it or have the PEACE OF GOD that He is in control.

     One man was always worrying. He worried about his children, his job, his wife, his health. One day a friend of this man noted that he was extremely calm and peaceful. “Why are you so calm?, he asked. “You always worry about every-thing. What happened?” The former worrier replied, “I just hired a man to do the worrying for me.” “Well, how much are you paying him?” His friend inquired. “A thousand dollars a week,” the man replied. “A thousand a week? You can’t afford a thousand dollars a week.” The worrier responded, “That’s his problem!”

     With the worries and stresses of life, it is not easy to keep our physical, mental and spiritual composure. From Christ’s kingdom teaching in Matthew 6, we learn that we can maintain the right attitude in the midst of challenging times. The message is: Do not worry. You don’t need to worry about food provisions, clothing, or even life. If God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers in the field, how much more will He take care of you?

     Statistics show the following about worry: 40% of what we worry about will never happen. So, why worry? 30% of what we worry about can’t even be changed. So, why worry?. 12% of what we worry about is about criticism, which is mostly untrue So, why worry? 10% of what we worry about is related to our health, which only worsens when we worry. So, why worry? That leaves about 8% of what we worry about that is a legitimate concern. And even if there is a legitimate concern, worry still doesn’t help. Why is worrying not good? The following four things that worrying affects:

     1) Worry affects your trust in God. When a concern arises, we have a choice. We’re going to worry or we’re going to trust in God. You can’t do both. If you choose to worry, then you are making the choice to not trust the Lord.

     2) Worry affects your relationships. When you are worrying about something, you are not yourself and those closest to you notice. Perhaps you are on edge or perhaps you snap at the slightest comment or perhaps you   .   .   .  lose your composure.

     3) Worry affects your health. A great number of illnesses today are a result of stress, anxiety and worry. Nowadays, many people are on various types of medication to help them cope with these problems.

     4) Worry affects your witness. Whether we like it or not, non-believers watch us and when worry gets the best of us, people notice. What kind of picture are we giving them about our faith and trust in God? Our actions speak louder than words.

Duke University did a study on “peace of mind.” Factors found to contribute greatly to emotional and mental stability are:

  1. The absence of suspicion and resentment. Nursing a grudge was a major factor in unhappiness.
  2. Not living in the past. An unwholesome preoccupation with old mistakes and failures leads to depression.
  3. Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change. Cooperate with life, instead of trying to run away from it.
  4. Force yourself to stay involved with the living world. Resist the temptation to withdraw and become reclusive during periods of emotional stress.
  5. Refuse to indulge in self-pity when life hands you a raw deal. Accept the fact that nobody gets through life without some sorrow and misfortune.
  6. Cultivate the old-fashioned virtues—love, humor, compassion and loyalty
  7. Do not expect too much of yourself. When there is too wide a gap between self-expectation and your ability to meet the goals you have set, feelings of inadequacy are inevitable.
  8. Find something bigger than yourself to believe in. Self-centered egotistical people score lowest in any test for measuring happiness.

I encountered a mean, barking dog. He had the look that said, if I live long enough, sooner or later, I’m going to bite you! As is my habit, I tried to entice the dog to let me pet him, to which he of course, wanted no part, and became even more vicious. As I came close enough to see his teeth, I snatched him off his feet, and wrapped my arms completely around him, thus disabling his means of attack. As I examined him, he had this look of distress, almost desperation in his eyes, and it was then I noticed, the huge thorn he had in his front paw. I decided I must remove the thorn at once, and he decided at once I wouldn’t. As the battle eventually I won, I put him down, and imagine my surprise, to find he wasn’t near the snarling, mean dog I had imagined, but because of the miracle of the removal of the thorn, he now was a dancing, prancing, full of love puppy-dog, who seemingly had no care in the world. Thus is the sin in our lives. It becomes a thorn is our paws, which if allowed to, consumes our very being, and eventually, we become barking dogs. Christ says He can remove the sin, if we allow it. Many times we fight the cause, many times we fight the solution, but when it’s finally removed, how sweet it is to know His grace.

Having the peace of God does not always change the crisis, but it will change the way you respond to it.

The Peace of God. This kind of peace is descriptive of the character of God. It is this peace that points a person to God as the true and only source of peace.
Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. If the Holy Spirit dwells in you, then so does peace.

There are times that I have a decision to make and I pray about it. I spend time with my prayer partner, John Murphy. There are times that we have a petition before the Lord for weeks and even months.  Why? Because we just don’t have a peace about it. But then, comes the PEACE OF GOD!  And when I get the peace of God, I know – with all confidence – the right decision to make.

What is it that rules your heart?
Colossians 3:15 – “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
The word “rule” is a key to understanding this overcoming, conquering and dominating supernatural peace of God. The word “rule” was used to portray the umpire or referee who judged the athletic games in the ancient world.
By choosing to use this illustration, Paul tells us that there is a place whereby this peace of God can begin to call the shots and make all the decisions in your life, instead of fretfulness, anxiety and worry. You could translate the verse, “Let the peace of God call the shots in your life…” “Let the peace of God umpire your life and your actions…” “Let the peace of God referee your emotions and your decisions…”

Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.

Declaration:  Lord Jesus, thank You for being Jehovah Shalom, my peace. I realize that You took the initiative to be at peace with me when You died on the cross of Calvary.  I am eternally grateful for what You have done. Today, I desire to walk in Your peace. I repent of my sins. I give my life to you completely. May I walk in completeness, wholeness, reconciliation, rest, safety and security in Your presence. When I am tempted to worry, help me walk in Your peace instead. And may I always have the assurance that Your peace rules my heart.  Lead me in all my ways. In Jesus name, Amen.