Friday, April 22, 2011

Do you have peace?

The Bible verses I have been learning in the past few days have all talked about peace. This peace is something I really need right now, with my daughter back in Guatemala, my husband on the road, my oldest son out of work, and my dad's health declining.

The Merriam-Wesbter Dictionary defines peace like this:
1: a state of tranquillity or quiet:
2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3: harmony in personal relations
4a : a state or period of mutual concord between governments b : a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity
5—used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell

4 of the 5 definitions have to do with relating to others. The Bible verses I have been memorizing, however, are about having peace within one's self. I like how Robert Morgan describes it in talking about Isaiah 26:3(p. 98, 100 Bible Verses everyone should know by heart):

The word shalom (Hebrew for peace) means more than a cessation of conflist.  It conveys the idea of wholeness, quietness of spirit, safety, blessing, happiness of heart.

Doesn't that sound like something to pursue in your life?

Isaiah 26:3 says that God will keep us in perfect peace. This peace, this wholeness, quietness of spirit and happiness of heart only comes from Him. In John 14:27 Jesus says, "Peace I leave you. My peace I give to you."

So if Jesus gives us peace, why don't we always feel it? Because there is something we have to do. Go back to Isaiah 26:3 and keep reading. God says that He will keep us in perfect peace IF I keep my mind on Him. Jesus says in John 14:27 "Your heart must not be troubled or fearful."

How do I keep my mind on God?  Deuteronomy 6:6,7 tell me how - by putting God's Word in my heart, repeating it, meditating on it. The more I fix my thoughts on God and His Word, the more peace I will experience in my heart. Robert Morgan says that we need to "manhandle anxious thoughts, turning them forcibly toward Christ and making our minds stay on Him."

I know that this is true from my own life. When I allow anxious thoughts to take over, I do not have peace. But when I stop and pray, and remember God's promises, and meditate on His Word rather than on my own anxious thoughts, peace comes. It's not easy, but it is worth the effort.

How about you- do you have peace?

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