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Peace

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“Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15, New English Translation).

So many people want peace in their lives, but it seems elusive to them. We do not live in a peaceful world and many do not live peaceful lives. That lack of peace is taking its toll on our emotions, our relationships, and perhaps even our health.

Peace has been described as “a state of tranquility or quietness of spirit that transcends circumstances.” What are the peace-stealers in our lives? Worry. Fear. Frustration. Disagreements. Conflict. Hatred. Bitterness. Resentment. Shame. Regret. Busyness. The list could go on, but these are some of the things we frequently battle in our daily lives.

Looking for a Solution

What is the solution? How do we find peace?

A friend recently shared how she took her troubles to the Lord in prayer, handing her problems over to Him. Then as she finished praying, she found herself picking them back up and taking those same problems with her again. She took them to God but did not leave them with God. I think we’ve all done that—perhaps more times than we’d care to admit.

The Steps to Peace

We allow circumstances to steal our peace, but there is an antidote. Philippians 4:7 promises a peace which comes from God that exceeds our understanding. We can’t explain it, but it’s real. His peace will guard (protect) our hearts and minds. As we read Colossians 3:15 (above), we find that this peace comes when we allow the Lord to control our heart. When He is in control, then we aren’t. We give up that option. Also note those three words at the end of the verse: “and be thankful.”

To further add to our search for peace, let’s look at Isaiah 26:3. “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (New Living Translation). We add two more elements, trusting God and fixing our thoughts on Him.

Now let’s add the final steps in the peace process. It’s found in Psalm 62:8. “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (NLT). God listens to our cries and becomes our refuge, a place to shelter in the storms of life.

Our steps to peace now look something like this:

  1. Relinquish control of the situation to God.
  2. Cultivate a thankful spirit.
  3. Trust God completely.
  4. Fix our thoughts on God, not our circumstances.
  5. Pour out our heart—tell the Lord what we feel.
  6. Make Him our shelter, our place of safety.

The Source of All Peace

Life will bring times of confusion and trouble. The enemy delights in weighing us down with negative emotions which rob us of peace. But God, our Prince of Peace, will walk beside us and bring the calmness and serenity we desire in our lives. He is the source of all peace.

Prayer: Lord, help me to relinquish control of my problems, my thoughts, and my emotions to You. On my own, my life is without peace, but You are the source of all I need. You are my place of safety, my shelter in the time of storm. I put my complete trust and hope in You.

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22

There is the story in the Talmud of a poor man who had no wagon or donkey to carry his heavy bundles.  He had to carry the load on his back and walk many miles with his burdens to the village.  A wealthy man with a large wagon rode by.  Seeing the poor man struggle with his burdens, he stopped and offered the man a ride.  The poor man was more than grateful to have his burden eased.

After traveling some time, the wealthy man noticed that his companion was sitting with his bundles still upon his shoulders.  “Why don’t you put your belongings down?” asked the wealthy man.  “There is plenty of room in my wagon to lay your burdens down.  Are they not heavy?”

“Indeed, they are,” sighed the poor man. “But you have been more than gracious to offer me a ride and I do not wish to take advantage of you by weighing down your wagon.”

We read this story and think how foolish the man was.  But how often do we come to the Lord with a need or with something that is troubling us.  We spend time in prayer, asking Him to meet us and we thank Him for hearing us, and for meeting our need. Then we get up and go about our daily chores, still carrying a heavy burden on our hearts, wondering and worrying about how things are going to turn out.

I had a copy of a poem which I carried around in my Bible for years. Somewhere, I misplaced it, but as near as I remember it went like this:

“Tis wonderful surely to carry your burden with a smile and a shrug that seems gay

While you push back the heartache and carry the sorrow when it seems that there’s no other way.

But I’ve found that no sorrow or heartache or trial is too great for my Saviour to bear

So, I take them and give them to His precious keeping and thank Him and leave them there.

And wonder of wonders the heart that was breaking, the pain that was hurting, the trial

Are no longer my burdens but His and my portion is gladness and joy and a smile.”

God hears our prayer the first time we ask Him, and there is nothing wrong with asking Him every day until we receive our answer.  But in between our prayer times, we need to leave it with Him and trust Him to do what is best for us.

Prayer:  Thank you, Jesus, that we can bring our burdens to you in prayer and know that You care and that you will give us the answer we need according to Your will.  Help us to leave our burdens at your feet.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

The New Living Translation reads as follows: “I am leaving you with a gift and peace of mind and heart.”

Can you imagine how Jesus must have felt as He looked around at these men He had loved and worked with.  There were so many things He wanted to share with them, but the time was growing short.  In the New Living Translation, in John 14:30, He said, “I don’t have much more time to talk to you.”

Over the three and a half years they had traveled together, He had tried to prepare them for the time when He would leave them, and they would be responsible to spread the message of His love to the world.  Earlier this night, by washing their feet, He had demonstrated the need for humility and that they should become as servants to one another.  As they sat around the supper table, He had revealed that one of them was a traitor and would soon betray Him to His enemies.

In John 13:34, He gave them a new commandment, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”  In Chapter 15 He reminded them that He was the Vine and they must abide in Him in order to bear fruit.  He also spoke of the Comforter which He would send to give them power for the work He wanted them to do.

He knew that they had not yet grasped the fact that He must die in order to bring redemption to the world.  In chapter 14, He reminded them that He was leaving, but that He was going to prepare a place for them and one day they would join Him there.  They questioned Him as to where He was going and once again, He spoke of going to the Father and that once He was gone, if they were to ask anything in His Name, it would be done.

In Chapter 17, Jesus prayed that they would never forget the things He had taught them, and that they would be faithful to fulfill the ministry for which He had prepared them.  He also prayed for all those who would listen to them and believe on Him through their word.

What a wonderful gift Jesus was leaving His disciples – peace of mind and heart.  That same gift is ours today if we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and accept the teachings of His Word.  His Spirit will fill our hearts and minds with peace.

Prayer:  Thank you Lord for the wonderful message you gave your disciples before you left them, and that the teachings also apply to our lives today.  Thank you for the gift of peace you gave them and have given us as well.

Devotion by Anne Johnston