Last week in Bible Study, we talked about things like being set free from sin’s control, becoming a slave to righteousness, not sin and realizing you are a child of God by being chosen by Him and brought into His family. How does that make you feel? It gives me a sense of gratitude, joy, hope and peace! It makes it very personal. He loves me enough to choose me, with all of my scrapes and dents and unworthiness, to be adopted into His family. That leaves me totally speechless. It also gives me peace. I know where I have been, but now I know where I am and WILL be!
Paul was a classic example of persecution, both giving and receiving. We all know the story of Paul, when he was still Saul. Persecuting Christians is what he did. And he did it with passion. Later, after being confronted by Jesus on the Damascus Road and his name being changed to Paul, he did everything possible to be the change and to serve. Yet, he was the one who was now being persued and persecuted.
2 Corinthians 11:23-28
“. . . in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness”
Wow! How easy it would have been to have just quit! Just denied Christ and went on about his life. Except it wouldn’t have been easy at all for Paul. I think it was impossible for him. His life had been changed forever and his life now belonged to Jesus Christ. He found his peace even in his suffering because he knew who he belonged to.
11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul found his peace. What about you? Do you have the peace that only Jesus brings? Can you be content no matter what your circumstance may be? It’s not too late. He’s waiting for you.
In His light,
ADVENT WEEK 2: THE CANDLE OF PEACE
The angels proclaimed “Peace on Earth” when the Baby Jesus was born. Today we wonder as we listen to the evening news, is peace possible? We all need two kinds of peace in our lives. We need inner peace, but we also need peace with others. God addresses both. He tells us what to do to find that peace.
Inner peace begins with a relationship with God, and it continues as we focus on His strength and allow Him to fill us. We can exchange our weakness for His strength in any area of life. God’s Word says, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is focused on You because He trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
Personalize that verse with your own name in it: “God will keep me in perfect peace as my mind focuses on Him and trusts Him.” Inner peace hinges on your trust in God.
If inner peace is eluding you these days and anxiety is spilling over in your life, choose to trust God. You can choose to put your hand in His and draw from His patience and wisdom as you take each step. He will guide you through the maze of life if you ask Him. Choosing to trust God with those blind corners in your life will take you down the road to inner peace. Choosing not to trust Him will take you down the road to stress and worry. Inner peace is there for the choosing.
PEACE WITH OTHERS
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9).
Peace with others begins as we understand that God has called us to be peacemakers in our world. Is there somewhere in your own world where you can be a peacemaker this Christmas? Is there an invitation that needs to be extended to smooth over a fractured family relationship? Is there an apology to be made or a silence to be broken that has stood as a barrier for too long? Don’t miss the blessing God promises in your life as you respond to His call to be a peacemaker in your own circle.
We can help bring peace to our world one heart at a time.