Longing Pt.3 – For More Peace in My Life
Looking for Peace? Most of us are more familiar with tension, stress, and anxiety, rather than peace. Lack of peace is a result of our complex, accelerated and stressed out world. People say…
•I’m ready to throw in the towel
•I am at the end of my rope
•I am just a bundle of nerves
•I am at my wits end
•I feel like resigning from the human race
•I am in over my head
Peace in today’s society is a commodity much desired and rarely found
Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder, and his name shall be called[b] Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Peace – shalom – fulness. Having everything you need to be whole and happy (Jesus – The Prince of Peace)
(Luke 2:6-14 NIV) “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”[d]
Can there actually be Peace on Earth?
Fredrick Buechner said, “Peace is not the absence of struggle but the presence of love.”
A not so silent night. There was no peace in Israel at this time. Gloom, anguish, and contempt were just some of the adjectives used to describe this darkness.
•The word of God had not been heard for four centuries. Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament, written in the fifth century BC.
•The people of God were under the oppressive rule of Rome. Political darkness reigned!
•The nation of Israel was fracturing. The Pharisees, Sadducees, The Essenes, The Zealots – which resulted in the oppressive rule of Rome
•The census was a considerable imposition. Living in Nazareth, Mary and Joseph lived more than 100 miles North of Bethlehem. Yet, there was no way around it. They were forced by legal constraint to make the arduous trip.
•The poverty of Mary and Joseph did not fit the royal son they had. Joseph had no bargaining power. Without family or hospitality, darkness surrounded them.
•Through the hostile forces of Herod, Satan tried to kill Jesus. Herod, so paranoid for his own position and power that he had multiple family members executed, attempts to use the wisemen to lead him to the Christ child—not to worship, but to exterminate. He orders the execution of all the children in and around Bethlehem.
(John 16:33 NIV) “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.”
Internet search for peace of mind – home security, hypnosis, funeral services, perfume, plumbing to insure your toilet
4 Sources Of Tension in Life
1. Unavoidable Circumstances.
Much of life is out of our control
•When things are out of our control – We get frustrated and lose our peace of mind
(Jeremiah 4:20 NIV) “Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.”
Sometimes the pain and problems in your life is nobody’s fault
John 9:1-3 Message – Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” 3-5 Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”
2. Unbearable People.
Have you ever thought…? Life would be great if it weren’t for all these people – You make all of these great plans – people will not cooperate
(Psalms 109:3 NIV) “With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause.”
Never forget 3 Types of People in Your Life. Those:
1. Who helped you in your difficult time
2. Who left you in your difficult time
3. Who put you in your difficult time
3. Unexplainable Problems.
Then there is the whole “unexplainable” part of life – Things don’t turn out right – don’t understand why
(Matthew 27:46 NIV) “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
3 Reasons for life’s problems
1. Sin – Imperfect world
2. Satan – Common Enemy
3. Self – we make mistakes
Problems are God given opportunities to grow – challenges drive us to deeper understanding and maturity. Problems come from the greek word which means “To Throw” or “To Drive forward”
Robert Schuller said, “Impossibilities vanish when a man and His God confront a mountain”
4. Uncontrollable Worry.
(Jeremiah 6:24 NIV) “We have heard reports about them, and our hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labor.”
God doesn’t want you to worry!
The truth is – Christmas season is anything but peaceful for people. We all love this time of year – but produces so much worry, stress, anxiety, and depression.
I find that men and women worry about different things at Christmas Women worry about, Did I buy enough? Do we have enough? Have I done enough? Are the kids going to be happy? Did I forget anybody?
Guys worry about at different things at Christmas – really two How am I going to pay for all of this? And, How long are the relatives going to be in town?
Worrying never solves tomorrow’s problems – Worry only robs today of its peace
I know there’s a lot of stuff here that we’re worried about Some real legitimate, pretty serous things
Health issues, financial problems, family crises, Are my kids going to be all right? Am I going to have a job next year? What’s the doctor going to say?
I Peter 5:7 NIV – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Focus on God, not the problem!
Myth – I can control and fix things by worrying about them / Truth – Worry only makes me miserable
2 Options – Panic or Pray / worry or worship
How you really find peace during Christmas
(John 14:27 LB) “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
1.Receive God’s Extravagant Grace.
You were made to live in harmony with God – When you are not – it causes stress
(Romans 5:1 NIV) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Psychologists will tell you that a main source of stress – guilt – There is nothing more peaceful than a clean slate
Justified – just as if I’d never done it – But you need to accept it – even some Christians don’t
Micah 7:18 NIV – Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
God is eager – it’s the best part of His day – Think about it – total forgiveness – completely clean – That would give peace of mind
2. Run to God’s Presence.
This one is hard to explain – you have to experience it – There is a tangible presence of God
(Isaiah 26:3 NKJV) “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”
Peace is a mindset – but can’t get it through secular meditation – Comes through focusing on what God says about you – Prayer – the Word of God
(Psalm 46:1, 10 NIV) “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble…Be still and know that I am God.”
Back story – 180,000 enemy troops were about to attack Israel
God says – “chill out” – sit still – hurry aggravates worry – Be still “And know” – intimacy not knowledge
3. Obey God’s principles.
(Psalm 119:165 NIV) “Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”
If we’re honest – most of our stress comes from ignoring His principles – What has God told you that you haven’t done yet?
Peace Comes through obedience to God’s word
Romans 8:6 NIV – The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Luke 2:13-14 CEV “Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said: ‘Praise God in heaven! Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.’
4. Rely on God’s provision.
(Philippians 4:6-7 LB) “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.”
•Trust God to take care of things beyond your control
•Quit dwelling on the “What if’s” of life
•Live one day at a time:
•Matthew 6:34 says, Don’t worry about tomorrow, Matthew 6:11, Give us today our daily bread
Peace in today’s society is a commodity much desired and rarely found. Most people are familiar with tension, stress and anxiety than peace. The lack of peace is the result of our complex, accelerated and stressed out world.
Today on this 3rd Sunday of Advent, identify areas in your life in which turmoil is reigning rather than peace.
I admonish everyone of us today to Trust in God’s Provision and Care
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
When we put our care in God’s hands, He puts his Peace in our Hearts
Don’t fall to pieces – Follow Peace – April Osteen Simons