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“For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” (Ephesians 2:14)

This past Advent season we spent out time examining the names given to the baby in the manger by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6). Although I’ve heard this passage many times, and spoken on it several times as well, this year I was given insights never seen before. That’s one of the amazing things about the Bible, for those of us who study it. The most familiar passages can constantly bring new meaning to our lives as we open our minds to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit.

The last Sunday in December we were reminded that Jesus is our Prince of Peace. Peace is something that eludes a vast majority of the world’s population. Some are entangled in conflicts that eventually take their lives either through violence, disease or natural disaster. Others are engaged in conflicts of the soul, struggling with emotional or mental illness, various kinds of addictions or the hidden bruises of abuse.

Jesus IS our Peace. The word peace in Isaiah 9:6, is the Hebrew word SHALOM. SHALOM goes far beyond what most of us think of as peace. SHALOM peace, goes far beyond the superficial peace of prosperity, lack of conflict and good health. SHALOM peace goes directly to the very depths of the soul.

The real beauty of SHALOM peace? It’s unaffected by our circumstances. The day before I wrote this article, a dear friend of mine lost his wife (temporarily) to cancer. One day they will be reunited with their savior. It was amazing to watch her over the years. The disease ravaged her body, but her spirit remained at peace in the arms of her Lord and Savior. Renee was an inspiration to us all.

That brings up another aspect of SHALOM peace. In its essence, SHALOM peace naturally overflows to those around us when practiced gracefully. SHALOM peace isn’t concerned about political correctness, homophobia, intolerance or racism. The goal of SHALOM peace is to bring unity.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians states, “For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.” (Ephesians 2:14)

The disciple of Jesus Christ knows peace even during those times we are misunderstood, falsely accused, or ‘labeled’ because we know that our validity isn’t dependent on what others think, but on how God views us. ALL people are created in his image. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. That’s why he sent Jesus to be our reconciliation to him, and to have a ministry of reconciliation to others.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for our precious Prince of Peace who stands by me in the most difficult of situations. Help me to live SHALOM peace in my own life so that it may spread to others. Amen.

By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God. Romans 5:1 (CEV)

Have you ever been in a lake on a windy day? When you are on the surface your body is jostled about be the waves. But dive down deep and the world becomes still. Almost eerily still. Sometimes you don’t need to go very deep to experience the calmness below the surface, but the deeper you go, the more unaffected by the surface you become.

That’s peace. The inner peace we all seek for our souls. Within the heart of every human being there is a desire to be at peace with the heart, the seat of emotions. When that peace is gone we seek earnestly to fill the void it left behind. The thing is we are all born with that void. That deep longing to belong, to be loved, to be accepted, to be…at peace.

So from a very young age we begin the journey. At first the peace we seek is elementary. We want our diaper changed, our nap and our bottle. Then, repeat.

As we get older our demands become more pronounced. We want toys, we want friends, we want ice cream for breakfast. We want, in essence our own way. The desire for our own way is the foundation for our search for peace. The Bible has a word for that demand for our own way: pride. Sounds like harsh word, but in our most honest moments we have to admit it’s the driving force for our search for peace. We’ve been duped into believing that peace comes when we are satisfied and we are satisfied when we get what we want.

Satan’s initial revolt against Jehovah God was summed up in two words, “I will”. We’ve been saying the same thing ever since in more subtle ways.

I will be treated like a king/queen by my spouse.”

I will be treated rightly at my job.”

I will be allowed this spot in the parking lot.”

I will be promoted before the guy that started last week.”

I will have the latest toys and gadgets.”

The problem is, as long as we look to ourselves and those around us for the peace of our heart we will never enjoy the peace we seek. We’ll be like the boat on the surface of that lake, being tossed by the waves.

Peace of the heart, the inner peace buried deep within the soul can only come when we have peace with our God. That kind of peace only comes when we have come to the Father, confessed our sin (regardless of how small WE think it is), and repented (changed out attitude). Then, as we grow deeper, as we go deeper into a relationship with Christ, we gain more of the peace that so often evades us. Just like the swim at the lake, the deeper we go into Jesus, the less the wind of change will affect our peace.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. I confess to you that although I’ve known about you, I’ve still struggled to find peace. My guilt, my demands for my own way, the mistakes of my past continue to haunt me. Forgive me for trying to find peace on my own. Let me go deeper in you and find the peace that only comes through you. Amen.

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August 2022
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