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Posts Tagged ‘2 Thessalonians 3:16’

Pursue Peace

September 28th, 2016

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Peace is well worth pursuing.

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today urge you to “pursue peace.”

The value of peace is inestimable. “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:16 NIV. Tranquility is too valuable to live without. Those who lack peace most know its irreplaceable value best. There is peace of mind. There can be peace with your past and about the future. There should be peace in your marriage, home, and relationships. There is peace with others. But peace with God is the most essential and most cherished. ”Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV. When peace with God is lacking, peace within yourself and with others is absent altogether, or at least diminished.

Let’s look at peace with others. What you cannot do is guarantee that every difference with others can be resolved mutually. Jesus understood that people, far from perfect and living in a fallen world, will give and take offence. In a strained and problematic situation, you must accept that sometimes the best thing you can do is just to not add to the situation further. However, your part of the problem, whether small or large, must be settled righteously. First, resolve in your heart that you have done everything you know to do, and commit that you will do anything God asks you to do.

The Bible’s wise counsel is: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 NIV. The steps for, “as far as it depends on you,” are fairly straight forward, but rarely pain free. Recognize how you have contributed to an offense. Ask God and the other party to forgive you. Make amends as they are needed. Forgive without waiting to be asked. Allow God time to work in hearts – yours and theirs – for restoration of the relationship as time and grace will allow.

Regrettably, we all contribute to a few of such circumstances. At times, you may have little inclination to either give or seek forgiveness. Unforgiveness and resentment will only bear bitter fruit in your heart and painful relationships in your life. When you feel hurt, accepting God’s terms for healing might take time and prayer, but will certainly require humility. Sometimes you will want to, “fix it,” but often cannot. As God works grace and forgiveness within you, allow God to work in other hearts as well, in His time and theirs.

Be wary of storing hurtful memories when feeling wronged or misunderstood. “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy.” Hebrews 12:14 NIV. I think the simplest understanding of Jesus’ teaching is this: whenever and wherever your desire for peace is refused, don’t leave with less than the peace and blessing with which you came nor carry their spiritual and emotional baggage as you leave. Read Matthew 10:12-14 NKJV. Peaceably, go your way with only good will. “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11 NIV. Peace is well worth pursuing. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to value God’s sufficiency of grace when received or extended.

Christian Communications 2016

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Clocks and Calendars

August 24th, 2016

Worry and hurry suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda.

“The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT.

My thoughts and comments today are about “clocks and calendars.”

So much of our daily lives and activities seem to be governed by clocks and calendars. God operates within His plans that are timeless and eternal. Timing is everything. The right thing at the wrong time is no better than the wrong thing at the right time. Sometimes, I am off schedule, earlier than was necessary or later than is useful. However, God is always exactly on time – His time. Maybe you are in a circumstance where you think that God is late, that He should have done what you asked much sooner. Be assured; “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8-9 NIV.

Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, was seriously ill. Martha, his sister, asked Jesus to come, but for reasons known only to Jesus, He delayed several days before coming to Bethany. Read John 11:1-45 NIV. Understandably, Martha was distraught. In her view, Jesus had done the wrong thing. While Jesus delayed, Lazarus died. Martha was heartbroken. The situation seemed irreparable. By her view of events, Jesus was too late. Is God ever too late?

You have probably had similar emotions when God hasn’t worked when you expected or in the way you anticipated. Disappointed, hopeless, and upset, Martha saw an opportunity missed. Jesus saw an opportunity whose time had finally come. “Lazarus’ sickness . . is for the glory of God.” John 11:4 NKJV. The glory of God is rarely achieved in the manner you anticipate or on the schedule you had hoped.

There is never a wrong time for God to do what is His will to do. God’s timing is flawless. Jesus’ schedule is completely aligned with His Father, always and completely. “The Son can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also.” Read John 5:19-21 NIV. That should be your goal as well. At God’s time, in God’s way, and for God’s purpose, God’s will is best accomplished.

Your dilemma is not a project for God to complete but rather a process for your faith, trust, and obedience to develop and strengthen. “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV. You may not prefer His process, but His process is best. God is more concerned with doing right what He plans for your life, than He is about getting it done how and when you think it ought to be. His vision and purpose will be fulfilled.

 Worry and hurry usually suggest the urgency of a wrong agenda – your agenda instead of His. Persuading God to accept your clock or calendar will be futile and frustrating. Be assured as was David, “The Lord will work out His plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT. Beware of your insistence and impatience. Grow your confidence and expectation as you welcome God’s timing on every occasion. “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV.

Today, I pray for you to trust God for the calendar and moments of your life.

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Christian Communications 2016

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A Serene Peace

May 11th, 2016

“May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV.

Peace is the crowning presence of God in and around your life.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a serene peace.”

Peace is priceless. Peace with God, peace with others, and peace of heart and mind are beyond price. A Scottish friend of mine often used an Old English word, “dispeace,” by which he described an unsettling lack of peace in one’s heart and mind. The Bible refers to peace with God, peace from God, and the peace of God. Peace first begins with a heart that is right before God. The Psalmist wrote, “Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:37 NKJV. Similarly, Paul write in the New Testament, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Read Romans 8:1-4 NIV. Peace is never about what is absent. Peace is always about what is ever present, God’s Word and character.

From years earlier when I was a young pastor, I remember a story my Dad told that clarified Biblical understanding of peace for me. A wealthy individual offered a worthy sum to any artist who could best portray on canvas the concept of peace. Numerous, beautiful oil paintings of a variety of tranquil scenes were submitted for the competition. Among those was the most beautiful painting in which the artist had masterfully pictured a placid, flowing stream across a verdant meadow, blue skies above, and a backdrop of contentedly grazing wildlife and livestock with sunbathed, majestic hills in the distance.

The last picture to be judged was a rugged coastline with crashing waves beneath stormy skies with harsh winds and driving rains. Hardly anyone noticed the artist had painted the tiniest nest high above the pounding waves, where sheltered from the winds in the upper reaches of the rugged cliffs was a small bird serene, undisturbed, and at rest. The title was one word, “Peace.” Peace is much more than the absence of disturbance. Peace is the crowning presence of God in and around your life in every circumstance.

As a pastor, I have seen many people in the midst of terrible difficulty who displayed inexplicable peace. I am writing my thoughts today after a phone call from longtime friends, a mother and son mourning the tragic, accidental death of their younger son and brother. I expected to encourage them but in their words and tears I heard their peace and rest in God’s faithful, loving care in spite of their present pain. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV. Perfect peace. In that verse, the only requirements for His peace are yours and my steadfast mind and unwavering trust. Develop an unwavering trust.

The most common greeting of the Apostle Paul in his letters to the New Testament churches was always, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:7 NIV. Because of grace we are given transcending peace. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV.

Today, I pray for you that mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. Jude 2 NIV.

Christian Communications 2016

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Nest amid turbulent waters

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Transcendent Peace

October 26th, 2012

“Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15 NLT.

Hearts and minds rest in transcendent peace when trusting steadfastly in God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “transcendent peace.”

Ours is a troubled world in search of peace yet ignorant of the source of its trouble. “Wars and rumors of war” exist, as Jesus said there would be. See Matthew 24:6 NIV. But the most consequential lack of peace is not global strife among nations; rather, it is the turmoil and absence of peace in one’s heart. Peace is an illusive objective, whether of nations, men, or the human heart.

Peace in one’s heart is only possible when Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is welcome there. See Isaiah 9:6-7 NIV. Jesus said, “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 NIV. Paul reinforced the same truth, “Through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1 NIV.

Many people mistake the absence of trouble for peace. Emotionally, those may feel the same at first. Spiritually, they are not alike at all. Peace is so much more than a lack of trouble. The Hebrew understanding of peace, “Shalom,” describes “the promise and possession of everything needed for well-being.” Peace is secure in the heart that is secure in the Savior.

When you permit any circumstance to trouble you, peace is disrupted but only seems gone. God’s peace will not leave you; His peace is within you, but someone or something was permitted to influence you to disbelieve in God’s abiding peace. At such moments, you may allow lesser things to disturb your peace and persuade you it has gone. Many things push peace aside – worry and anxiety, fear and dread, irritations and hurts, and questions and doubt grab your focus and misdirect your thoughts and emotions away from peace.

Or you can, “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15 NLT. The peace of God serves as an umpire who rules on the incorrectness of anything that disturbs your heart or mind. My friend, Campbell, taught me an old English word, “dispeace,” that describes times and places where God’s peace is lacking and will direct me where God’s peace abides. When Christ’s peace rules in your heart, His peace serves to overrule all that would disturb peace. Isaiah discovered, “You, [Lord], will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You . . And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard and keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Isaiah 26:3/ Philippians 4:7 NIV. The heart and mind rest in transcendent peace when steadfast in God.

Jesus taught that peace is not something the world can give; then neither can it take peace away. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give [peace] to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV. I love Paul’s benediction to Thessalonian disciples was, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NIV. That is God’s intention for you as well – at all times, in every way. But you have a role in having a heart of peace. “Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace . . Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall see God.” James 3:17/Matthew 5:9 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you would be an ambassador of God’s peace.

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