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Simple Peace

"God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there. There is no such thing." - C.S. Lewis

In studying the peace of Christ more fully and closely over the past weekend, it has come to my attention in a earth-shattering way that I have no idea what it means to be completely at peace. For far too long, peace was nothing more than a word I tossed around while teaching or preaching to those who I felt did not understand it. However, what I have come to realize is that the one who was tossing that word around did not have the slightest grip on what peace actually entails.

READ Philippians 4:4-9

Over the weekend, Dan Winkler lead a study on the "Peace of Christ" found in the book of Philippians. Our study centered on Philippians 4:4-9 and he put in front of our eyes five commands given by God if we claim we desire His peace:

1) Rejoice
2) Be Known For Gentleness
3) Don't Worry About Anything
4) Let Your Requests Be Made Known To God
5) Meditate On The Things Of God

So, in reading and studying that list, here is what I found...
1) I, too many times than I care to count, have sought out reasons to be angry, sad, frustrated, and disappointed than reasons to be joyful. The God of all love, mercy, grace, and peace looks at me, His child, and says to rejoice... and yet I look at Him like He has no idea what I am going through and continue to wallow in my self-pity and angst. It is high time that I realize how fortunate I am and rejoice in the life my God has given me the opportunity to live!
2) Unfortunately, I can immediately think of many times when I could have been a help or a relief for someone in a stressful situation only to add to their stress with my lack of reasonableness or gentleness. Think about how you respond to those in your life who bring genuine concerns or issues to you... do you respond in a way that brings peace to their situation? or do you add fuel to their fire? When someone comes to you complaining, do you help calm their emotions? or do you cheer on their poor behavior? Be known for gentleness, calmness, and a spiritual word at all times.
3) Worry is a part of who we are... humans worry, it is a part of our mental, emotional, and even spiritual structure. However, as it is written here, we are not to continually live in worry. The idea, as Dan Winkler presented it, was "I cannot keep concerns out of my mind, but I can keep them from taking up permanent residence and taking my thoughts captive." While I may not be able to stop every ounce of worry from ever appearing, I am well within my power (through Christ) to maintain ownership of my focus.
4) TALK TO GOD - I could end my thoughts here, but I won't... God desires a real relationship and connection with His children. I completely grasp and understand the idea of staying connected to my children, but I am shocked and amazed that my Heavenly Father desires that same connection with His children. Throughout the entire Bible, we are given example after example, explanation after explanation, that God wants to be a part of our lives. Stop now and talk to God... stop making excuses and allow Him into every aspect of who you are.
5) As I look at the list of positive things to focus on found in Philippians 4:8, I pause because I know that not everything that enters my mind is found on that list. The idea presented here is simpler than I even realize... God wants for me to live a life worthy of my calling and these things will help me keep that focus. When I think about what God has done for me and the life He has given me, it will continually lead me back to thinking on these things. Therefore, it really is as simple as remembering who you are and whose you are.

Close your eyes... Talk to God... Revisit your value and your values

READ Romans 5:1-11 and rejoice (v.11) in the peace given by God through our Lord Jesus Christ (v.1).

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