Stop for a minute and think – when do you feel most at peace?
Is it when you are in a quiet spot, alone with your thoughts or maybe surrounded by people you adore? Are you peaceful thinking over the day as you snuggle into bed, or maybe the beginning of the day when you are full of zeal for all you’ll do? Does peace come during a particular activity or after tackling a task? Thinking of these peace moments, was God involved? Did He interrupt to give you that peace? How did He intercede?
One thing I bet we all can agree, peace definitely doesn’t envelope us when we are anxious, fearful or in conflict, but it is during these times that we need it most.
“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”. John 14:27
Jesus tells us that peace is a gift from Heaven. As a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), peace is a quality we can emulate due to our connection with Christ. Think of it as a blanket from above, with the Holy Spirit tucking us in and shielding us from concerns, uncertainty, fear… and if we accept this gift, it is available in all circumstances, today, tomorrow and forever. WOW! Pause and cozy up with that statement again.
Jesus continues to say “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Here is the catch. Before you can accept the gift of peace – beautifully wrapped with a satin bow – you have to believe in the toll, the hard work and the sacrifice that accompany the gift. If you believe that the Prince of Peace died on the cross for you, was raised from the dead and sent his Holy Spirit, you can receive His gift of peace inside of you in all circumstances, today, tomorrow and forever. But if you don’t believe in the empty tomb, then just as Paul told the Corinthians, your faith is useless. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”. 1 Corinthians 15:14
So what can a Christian believer do when she is living a God-fearing life, looking more and more like Christ each day (sanctification Romans 5:1-5), but is Halted? Where can she turn when she doesn’t emulate peace, when she feels afraid, fearful or worn-out? How does she grab this gift of Peace? The best way I’ve found to be directly connected with Christ is daily reading of the Bible.
- As I write, we are living the week after Resurrection (Easter) Sunday. A great place to start are the glorious encounters Jesus had with over 500 faithful yet surprised friends, as well as the conversion of Saul. Pause and soak up how you would feel if your intimate friend of the past three years was standing right in front of you (John chapters 20 and 21, Acts Chapter 2 and 9).
- Above, Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world, another area to research is scripture of God being the God of all Comfort, his compassion and/or his ability to heal. As you become closer to Him, you will be more apt to turn to God in good times, troubled times, while in pain, when you need strength, hope and/or encouragement. When you are overwhelmed, and feeling very little peace, lean into God’s patient endurance for His comfort, compassion and healing touch: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort”. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
- Jumping between the Old and New Testaments of the Bible is another great way to better know your Heavenly Father. I recently learned that due to their obedience and faithfulness, God created closeness and relationship with His chosen people, gifting them the Aaronic Blessing: “The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27
So often we fly through the day, not noticing the little details and definitely not stopping to smell the flowering lilacs. Why is it so difficult to be still? Go back to the peaceful moments you jotted down above, how can you have more of these? Because it is in these moments of pondering, our taking the slow road home, and our disconnect from technology, that we have open eyes and ears for our Big Daddy in Heaven. It is in our “wait” of our prayers being answered that He is growing our faith. The world can give us amusement, accomplishments and accolades, but only Heaven can provide contentment and deep and lasting peace.
Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, he appeared to his disciples. Three times Jesus said “Peace Be With You” (John 20 verses 19, 21 and 26). Why do you think he greeted them this way? I used to think it was his way of saying hello, almost in a sly – looks who’s back in town way! Now I better understand the excitement, awe and joy they must have felt to see their buddy. And Peace…He joined them in their anxiety of what was to come, their fear of the Jewish leaders and the overall conflict of their life…and literally breathed the life of the Holy Spirit onto his believers. To this day, Jesus knows us exactly where we are literally and mentally, and meets us there.
Because I so desperately want this peace to flow out of my loved ones, as we are headed into a month of Mayhem*, my little hostess gift to you is a spoon-feeding of two verses of peace scripture each day. I created this seven months ago when I was going through a bout of sleeplessness (you will read about it next month) and have shared it with a number of friends since. Go through it four times to peacefully arrive at the end of the month, or keep going for the year. Each verse will draw you back to the Lord’s blanket of peace. (Please add to my list by sharing your favorite peace scriptures in the response section below).
Please pray with me: Lord, You have so many wonderful names, and I believe you to be all of them. You are the God of Eternity, a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble, the Father of compassion, the Lord who heals …and my God of Peace. Thank you for your love and grace. Heavenly Father, I desperately want your peace to envelop my life in all circumstances, today, tomorrow and forever.**
Your Path to Peace:
Day One: Philippians 4:8 (bonus read 4:9-13) and Psalm 29:11
Day Two: Isaiah 26:3-4 and Psalm 34:14
Day Three: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Exodus 20:17
Day Four: Isaiah 32:17-18 and Philippians 4:7
Day Five: 1 Peter 3:10-11 and Romans 15:13
Day Six: John 14:27 and Romans 12:18
Day Seven: John 16:33 and Judges 6:22-24
* Mayhem – the crazy month of May that crams in as many end-of-school concerts, shows, activities, exams, work deadlines and charity fundraising events before travelers leave for vacations!
** Message me for scripture reference of these names.