John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
From Panic to Peace
“So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (NKJV0
Here I am, lying in bed, staring at the ceiling. No sleep. Body still, mind racing. Panic building.
I forgot to contact Pat today. She’s so sick and probably needed me.
Did my daughter realize she hurt my feelings with that comment?
What if I don’t make my deadline?
I should have exercised today.
Why does life seem darker at night? Not just literally. It’s as though Satan and his minions are just waiting for me to be alone so they can begin the battle for my mind.
Recently I began to meditate on Philippians 4:6a: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything” (NLT). Did the Apostle Paul really mean not to worry about anything? Is that even possible? Isn’t worry just part of human nature?
Yes, worry is part of our human nature. Unfortunately when sin entered the world, emotions like worry did too. However, our fallen human nature always clarifies what being separated from God looks like. And it often looks like fear.
As God’s beloved children, we are called to faith, not fear. Faith says, “God is in charge of my life; I will trust Him, even when circumstances might suggest He’s not there. I believe God loves me and knows what is best for me.” Faith always crowds out fear.
My heart longs to live in faith; however, at times this is difficult. But here’s the key: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
If I haven’t made time to hear from God through His Word, I find my prayers being more of a monologue of fear-based worry.
But when I make time to listen to God, I’m reminded of His promises and I become familiar with His voice. As a result, my prayers really do change from panic to praise. In bed at night, a dialogue evolves (no longer a monologue). When I turn to God with my concerns, I can hear His response. As John 10:27a tells us, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them …” (ESV).
God’s Word reminds us to put the kingdom of God first and the things we need will be ours (Matthew 6:33, ESV). In other words, when I devote myself to God first, all the rest will sort itself out, and this brings peace.
What is most pressing in your life right now? Whatever that is, put God’s Word there instead. Replace worry with the truth of God’s love and power. Then we can trust that God will do as He says: “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed” on Him (Isaiah 26:3a, ESV).
As I think about God’s promises, panic turns to praise, praise turns to peace and peace turns to sleep. I begin to understand what Paul meant when he said, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:7a, NLT).
It is possible to experience God’s peace. When we learn to cast our cares on God and trust Him to handle them, faith replaces fear. Worry sees problems, but faith sees the God who can handle the problems.
God’s Word changes how we cast our cares. When we choose to cast them onto Him instead of into the air, we’ll find comfort in His promises. Then maybe we can finally get a good night’s sleep.
Heavenly Father, thank You for watching over me at night. Forgive me for the times I have worried. Help me to be devoted to You and Your love, not my circumstances. Instead of tossing and turning at night, I want to remember to turn the pages of Scripture in my mind. I want to rest in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The Peace Strangler
By: Gene Marklund, 1.cbn.com
Mary was a struggling young businesswoman who was brought up in a Christian home and had a deep faith in the Lord. She began to feel an emptiness and loss of connection between her, her church, and her Lord. She struggled for months and could not find an answer to what seemed like a tall brick wall between her and God. Maybe she was too busy. Maybe her life was too hectic and the stress of her job requirements, competition, late hours at the office, and social activities were just getting to be too much.
So, she decided to take a break. She would go visit her Grandmother in the mountains of Tennessee in a little town near Gatlinburg, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Besides, she was due a vacation anyway.
She loaded up her car and drove to Tennessee. It was good to see her Grandmother and Grandad again, to sit on the front porch on that old porch swing and enjoy the hills, trees, blue sky and peace that nature brings. The second day of her visit, her Grandmother sat beside her on that porch swing, patted her lightly on the hand and said, “Dear, what is it that is bothering you?”
“I don’t know Grandmother,” She replied. “I feel empty. And the closeness I used to feel with the Lord just isn’t there anymore like it used to be. There is no time for anything for myself and I don’t know what to do about it. How did this happen?”
Her Grandmother looked out and surveyed the surrounding countryside, took a sip of her steaming hot coffee and said, “It’s very simple, dear. You’re too busy. That old enemy, the devil, has used his strategy on you.”
“What are you saying? I’m living right. I’m not out sinning and carrying on.”
“I didn’t say you were, honey. That’s not the strategy of the strangler of peace. His strategy is much more subtle. More sneaky, but very devastating. Devastating to your life, your peace, and ultimately to your soul.”
“You see, we live in a world of noise,” she continued. “Our televisions take up half a wall in our homes and broadcast 24/7. If we’re awake, and even in our sleep, they broadcast into our ears, through our minds, and into our hearts. What are we allowing to stream into our consciousness? In our cars, we have AM and FM radio, CDs, iPads, and various other devices — and now, satellite radio. Noise inescapable. How wonderful and marvelous are all these devices bringing streams of noise which enter into our ears, through our minds, and into our hearts. And just in case we might have a peaceful moment as we walk from our home to our car, we have another miracle device which masquerades as a telephone that we plug directly into our ears, sending noise straight through our minds, and into our hearts. And yet we cry, Why can’t I have any peace in my life? Why can’t I ever hear from the Lord? The answer is simple … noise. The cares of this life. Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote,
‘Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.’ (Romans 8:5 NIV)
Dear, I would like to introduce to you an old concept that is foreign in our world today, a concept which many people can’t conceive of. That concept is silence. Yes, silence. There is a reason why Jesus made the statement,
‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.’ (Matthew 11:15)
How can we ever expect to have peace or hear from the Lord if we constantly dunk our heads into the cauldron of noise, that cauldron of news, weather, sports, and music? Now, make no mistake, I love all those things as much as you do but sometimes we’ve got to take a break, pull our heads out of the noise, and be still. Be still And listen. Listen to the silence which is available to He who has ears to hear.
Try to sit still in total silence for 10 minutes. Just listen to the silence. Do you want to have peace? Do you want to hear from the Lord? Here is your starting point. Now I’m going to leave you and go inside for a while but you sit here and just listen with your ears to the silence around you and the Lord’s spirit within you. And be at peace.”
Mary found her peace, and a new and vibrant relationship with her Lord, right there on the old porch swing at her Grandmother’s house.
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” So in the last hour of his life, Jesus is helping you not be anxious. “Let not your hearts be troubled.” The peace he has in mind might include global, national, political, intra-ethnic or inter-ethnic peace. Those aren’t at the front of his mind, though, and I know it isn’t because of what he says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled.”
That’s what he has in mind. Of course, there are a thousand fruits. This is the root of a new world order, but on his mind is: “You look troubled. Your faces look trouble. I love you. I don’t like it when you look that way. I don’t want to leave you that way.” It’s that simple. It’s that precious. It’s that personal. It is. He says, “Heart — don’t let your heart be troubled. Not your globe, but don’t let your heart be troubled. Neither let it be afraid. I want you to be fearless, Peter. I want you to be a rock.”
“The peace that Jesus gives is not circumstantially based. It is peace in bad circumstances.”
“Not as the world gives.” How does the world give peace? It does. The world gives peace with retirement accounts. The world gives peace with health insurance. The world gives peace with bomb shelters. The world gives peace with safety nets in the society. The world gives peace with police. The world gives peace of mind in a hundred ways, which I’m thankful for and I’m glad they exist. And Jesus says, “I’m not giving that way. That’s not what I’m doing.” “What do you mean, Jesus, that you’re not doing it that way?”
And Jesus responds, “I’m not giving you the kind of peace that can be taken away when the police go away. I’m not giving you the kind of peace that can be taken away in India no matter what. That is not what I’m about.” How do I know that he means that the world’s peace of mind is circumstantially based? Like, get health insurance, get a nice retirement account, live in the right neighborhood, get the right locks on your doors, and then you can have some peace of mind.
“That’s not what I’m giving you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. I’m giving you peace so that when the locks come off, the police go away, the mob comes, and your cross is on the horizon, you’ve still got it.” I know he has all this in mind because in John 16:33, he says the same thing, only he makes it explicit: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
The peace that Jesus gives is not circumstantially based. It is peace in bad circumstances, in tribulation, in no health insurance, and in police breakdown — in societal breakdown. It’s in these things we have peace — the peace that passes all human comprehension. Why did Paul call it that in Philippians 4:7? What does that mean? That means human beings can’t grasp it, and they can’t make it happen. God makes it happen.
Does he give us any clue as to how? Yes, he does. He calls it, “My peace.” “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.” “I gave you my joy,” meaning, “I love the Father. I delight in the Father. The Father loves me. Come on in and have our love — our joy. I have a peace with the Father that is unrivaled,” Jesus says. “My peace is unrivaled in the universe. Would you like some of mine? Come on in.”
How do you get in? How do you get into the peace that Jesus enjoys with the Father? There’s no sin between the Son and the Father. The Son looks on the Father and he sees infinite original righteousness. The Father looks on the Son and sees infinite reflected righteousness. They love each other infinitely. They delight in what they see.
How are you going to get in on that? Because he says, “Let us go. I’m going to the cross tomorrow, and I’m going to purchase your forgiveness. I’m going to satisfy the Father’s wrath against all your unrighteousness and I’m going to provide a completed righteousness, so that if you would rest in me, trust me, you will now not just have a peace that I make, but a peace that I have with my Father. I’m making a way for you into the very experience, by the Spirit reigning in your heart, pouring out the peace that exists between the Father and the Son. I’m going to pour it out into your life, so that now you will have my faith and my joy and my peace.” We have a great Savior and a great salvation.
“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Don’t let it be afraid. Trust him.”
Right now, you can receive Jesus’s faith. Jesus was totally confident in his Father, in his cross-work, that Satan would be defeated, and all his saving work would be accomplished. And he invites you: “I’m showing these things to you so that you can believe with me,” and receive his joy, displayed most fully by enduring the cross to show the world, “I love the Father that much. I’m satisfied that much in the Father.”
And you can come on into this infinite, this Vesuvius, this volcanic love between the Son and the Father. Come on in. Receive this. Spend the rest of your life swimming in this ocean. If this sounds unusual to you — like you’ve never even heard anybody talk about inviting you into the very love that the Son has, the Father has, the joy between them, the peace between them — just enjoy the next thirty years of discovery. It’s very deep. It’s worthy of all your life.
Don’t walk out of here saying, “Oh, that’s heavy. They do heavy stuff at Bethlehem.” We don’t do heavy stuff. We swim. We just frolic in mystery and talk about it a little bit. Nobody knows anything, comparatively speaking. Receive his peace. “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives.” Don’t let your heart be troubled. Don’t let it be afraid. Trust him.