April 6, 2017

Peace

Peace is not passive. 
Peace needs to be made, kept, and embraced.  We obtain peace from God through action on our part by active faith—choosing to act on the promises of God.

Jesus is our peace, Paul said, for He has broken down the walls life builds between us and others, between us and life.  But walls don’t come down for us until we obey the commands of the Lord.

The first two are simple and lead to success in all the others:

  1. Love God with the sum total of our humanity, and,
  2. Love others as we do ourselves.

Jesus said success in all the other requirements of living with God flow from these two.  Peace and faith are integrally related to each other.

There is a spiritual progression from no peace to much peace:

  • Our confidence in God’s faithfulness to His promises gives us peace when He seems to be paying no attention to us at all.
  • Faith is ours according to the depth of our knowledge of the Word of God.
  • The more we know of the Word of God the more of His peace we enjoy.
  • The greater our availability to the Holy Spirit, the more we will know about Jesus, the church, worship, service, humility, and the Kingdom of God.

We make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit through regular prayer and Bible reading and through an unbreakable commitment to the local church in worship, fellowship, and service.  Faithfulness to God provides peace that passes all understanding.

Peace is not accidental; sometimes it must be made. 
Jesus said those who made peace would be called the children of God.  The most obvious meaning of this is to help peace come to others through the ministry of reconciliation.  Those who foment conflicts among people are not doing the work of the Kingdom.  Believers are called to help bring an end to conflicts by fairness, truth-telling, and by being a friend and good listener.

Peace is not passive; sometimes we need to go get it.
Isaiah said that those who fill their minds with the things of God will have not just peace, but perfect peace.  When peace has flown from our lives we should deliberately go to the Book or to the place of prayer and pour truth about who God is and what He has promised into our minds. With that rehearsal of eternal truth, the peace we need will flood our souls.

Peace is not passive; sometimes we have to keep it.
One of the most ancient of Christian ministries was called “the passing of the peace.”  At a special time in a worship services believers turned to embrace each other with the words, “The Peace of Christ be with you.”  The one who was embraced responded with, “And also with you.”  In the early church this part the worship service was considered so important and so powerful it was reserved for only those who had been baptized into full fellowship with the church.  Perhaps it is time to return to this ancient spirituality.  The personal touch, the kind prayer, the good will in this moment of sharing would surely promote peace within the church.  Church strife could be avoided and the proper focus of each believer could be maintained—loving God and loving people.

On this day, don’t wait for wait passively for peace.  If you don’t have it,

  • Embrace it (go get it.)
  • Make it (speak peace to others.)
  • Keep it (do the work of the Kingdom.)

And watch Jesus tear down some walls.

Scriptures

Ephesians 2:14-18
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 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, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
John 14:27
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.
Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
Romans 14:17-19
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Prayer:
St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Songs of Peace
He Is Our Peace 
Composer: Kandela Groves

He is our peace who has broken down every wall
He is our peace, He is our peace
He is our peace who has broken down every wall
He is our peace, He is our peace.

Cast all your cares on Him for He careth for you
He is our peace, He is our peace
Cast all your cares on Him for He careth for you
He is our peace, He is our peace.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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