Peace

It’s something we all seek. But, the fact is our world will never experience true peace—until Christ returns. It is simply not possible by worldly standards. Right now, there are 40 armed conflicts in which each and every one caused between 100 to 9,999 fatalities in 2016. But, the truly horrible statistic is, only four additional ongoing conflicts are (jointly) responsible for 2,882,000 fatalities from the start of conflict to the end of 2016. In both reports the fatalities were both combatants, and civilian. I hate to think about the total number of wounded.i God weeps.

Obviously, we do not live on a peaceful planet. Never-the-less, that does not mean there is no peace on earth. Peace is available to everyone on the planet. Many are not aware of it. Others reject it. Christians know about it, but many cannot find it. The irony is, as Christians we all start our new lives in God’s peace; and then we tend to lose His peace over time. Right now there are many Christians with serious doubts about their standing with God. They are asking themselves, “Am I really saved or not?”

Our human (thus worldly) behavior certainly can cause one to wonder. We start out to do the right thing and it turns out wrong. Sometimes very wrong. Our faith starts out strong and weakens when trials and tribulations assault us. We believe one minute and doubt the next. We get angry, we get downtrodden, we get depressed. Life isn’t fair or fun. It’s anguish, it’s one hurt after another, it’s divorce, it’s cancer, it’s stupid drivers who crash into you, or a thousand other things.

We’ve all been there. There is even a song (I Wanna Feel Like I Felt) that addresses the topic. Here are the lyricsii:

I wanna feel like I felt when His grace first fell on me.

I wanna sing like I sang when I saw how the Lord set me free.

I wanna go back to the place where He saved my soul,

Where I found His love, where he made me whole.

I wanna feel like I felt when His grace first fell on me.

When I first found Jesus, I made my vow

To tell the world of His wonder, somehow.

But the world has a way of changing what it used to be.

I started my battle with a sword in my hand;

But this soldier’s grown weary in this desert land.

I wanna feel like I felt when His grace first fell on me.

There is one more verse that I’ll share in just a bit. In the meantime, I want to tell you this song just about knocked me out of my seat when I heard it performed at a concert by The Cumberland Quartet. I thought it must have been written just for me! But then I realized this is exactly what happens to most, if not all, of us at one time or another.

When it happens it is because we are not living in God’s peace. I believe we can only move into God’s peace when we truly accept (recognize, believe, internalize, and live as God’s child). After all, God chose US! HE does not make mistakes! WE make mistakes.

The instant you accepted Christ as our savior, redeemer, and Lord, we fell under God’s peace. He gives it to us freely. But then, as the song points out, the secular influences of living in this broken world (think about Satan) begins to change things. And unfortunately God’s peace is one of the first things to go. And that makes it, …oh, so much easier for Satan and his minions to have a field-day at our expense.

BUT

God knew this would happen and he gave us very specific words and promises for when it does. Is this not just great, or what!iii

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! [Isaiah 26:3. NLT] (Isaiah speaking.)

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” [John 10:27-30. NLT] (Jesus speaking)

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” [John 14:27. NLT] (Jesus, speaking)

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. [Romans 15:13. NLT] (Paul speaking)

Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. [Philippians 4:6-7. NLT] (Paul speaking)

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons. Neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39] (Paul Speaking)

These scriptures are only a drop in the bucket of scriptures devoted to Jesus’ love, His Father’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s love for man; and, their combined assurances that we will never be lost or separated from God’s household. We are adopted sons and daughters in God’s family. Let that soak-in for awhile. Then read the above scriptures again, carefully. Do you really think God could, or would, ever lose track of you? That his love for a family member would ever falter for even 1-second? Impossible.

And now I will share the last verse of, I Wanna Feel Like I Felt:

Many years have passed since I began

The race for the good and the souls of lost man;

And so many days I feel like I’m on my own.

Then I remember the promise that He’ll never part;

And revival breaks out in the depths of my heart.

So in this dry foreign land I cry out for a brand new song.

What is your new song going to be?

My prayer:

Abba (Dad),

Right now I am lost in your peace. And, I hope never to lose it again. You cover me with your feathers and shelter me with your wings.iv I’ve never felt so secure and loved as I do right now.

I know you are omniscient—a big word for having infinite awareness, understanding and insight. And; I know you are omnipotent—meaning you have unlimited power, force and authority. And, when I think about you this way it is encouraging and comforting. I mean, who/what do I have to fear?

But, knowing I can call you “dad” or “daddy”, …well, that gives me a very different feeling in my heart. It fills me with peace and love. It encourages me to encourage others—because I wish everyone on earth could feel what I’m feeling now—and maintain it. I don’t know when I’ve ever felt quite like this, …in all my 73 years!

Thank you Lord,

Larry


i List of ongoing conflicts. Wikipedia

ii I Wanna Feel Like I Felt. Words and music by Wayne Haun and Depp Britt. © 2000, Christian Taylor Music/BMI (a division of Daywind Music Publishing). All rights reserved.

iii NIV. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervon publishing House. All rights reserved.

iv Psalms 91:4. (Paraphrase).

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