Wednesday, March 9, 2022

            Peace is a word we often encounter in the Bible.  Some form of the word peace is mentioned more than two hundred fifty times.  It is sort of a counterpart to the often- repeated command “fear not.”  If we are not in fear of someone or something, then we are at peace.  Paul tells us that peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  Jesus promised to leave or to give His peace to His disciples (John 14:27).  The Lord’s gift of peace remains with us today as His 2022 disciples.  This coming Sunday, we will begin to focus on Peter’s first letter.  At the end of I Peter, the old fisherman-turned-disciple wrote, “peace be to all of you who are in Christ” (I Peter 5:14b).  It was a simple commendation to wrap up the letter.  Peter also began his letter with a similar greeting, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance” (I Peter 1:2c). 
            The presence of peace throughout the Bible is meant to be an encouragement to God’s people on many fronts.  We are at peace with God through our faith and trust in Jesus who satisfied the justice of God and paid for our debt of sin by His death at the cross.  We are no longer at war with God, at odds with God or separated from God.  We enjoy peace with Him.  And because of that peace, we can walk with Him each day and live in confident assurance that He is unfailingly with us always.    
            We can also be at peace as we serve the Lord.  Following Christ is not easy.  Often, it is demanding, arduous and taxing.  We face a lot of opposition in a fallen and evil world.  Peace is not the absence of conflict or opposition.  Rather, it is the experience of contentment in such times and places.  We can enjoy peace as we do the work God gives us to do.  You may remember in Acts that the Lord assured Paul that He was not alone as he testified to the gospel message (Acts 23 and 26).  If God has given us work to do, we can take great assurance in knowing that He will be with us from start to finish and He will faithfully equip us in what we have to do for Him.  This certainty was true in Bible days and remains true even now. 
            God has lovingly and graciously made a way for us to take His peace into our lives.  Bible reading and prayer are the best ways to seek, to experience and to rest in the peace of God.  We can lay claim to some Bible promises about peace.  We can encounter some real-life people who experienced peace in Bible times.  We can sit in confident silence and solitude before the Lord as His peace descends upon us.  In addition, journaling can be a wonderful way to experience peace.  As you write about your life (the good and the bad), you begin to offer that to the Lord for His peace to be applied.  Occasionally, it can be good to harvest your journal by reading previous writings to see where your struggle was and how God was at work in your life during that struggle.
            Isaiah 26:3 offers us a wonderful verse about peace that we can claim for ourselves at any time.  The prophet wrote, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”  Keep your mind and thoughts steadfastly focused on God.  If you find yourself anxious or fearful, come back to this promise and reality.  Keep an ongoing conversation with the Lord—that’s really what praying without ceasing is all about.  And just like grace, God’s well of peace never runs dry and never fails to satisfy those who drink from it.  Have a great Wednesday!  Remember you can share our worship anytime at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis. 
 
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