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I pray that the Lord, who gives peace, will always bless you with peace. May the Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

True Peace begins with me, is empowered by Christ and thinks eternally.

This is the phrase that came to me as I was pondering what it meant to be truly at peace. We live in a world where peace is merely spoken of as a wish, a dream, a hope we know deep inside of us will probably never come. We have just come out of the Christmas season in which we speak of “Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men”. We look forward to a new year in which we always hope for life with a stronger economy, more solid relationships and better health.

True peace, the kind of peace God promises us isn’t dependent on circumstances, nor can it be taken from us by other people. True Peace begins with me, is empowered by Christ and thinks eternally. True peace, God’s peace is best exemplified with the Hebrew word SHALOM. SHALOM peace reaches to the very soul. SHALOM peace encompasses the seen and the unseen, the things I can control and the things I can’t.

True Peace begins with me, is empowered by Christ and thinks eternally. While True peace is initiated by God, I must make a decision to make that peace a part of my life. The great enemy of our souls wants us to believe two lies. One is that we can’t do anything to change ourselves. The other is that the only way we can get better is to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and try harder. Both lies have partial truths in them. We must make decisions in our lives that will lead to healthier living spiritually, emotionally and physically. One day Jesus met a young man who was unhappy with life. Jesus told him the best way to gain the fulfillment he sought was to give away all he had and follow Christ, Christ alone. The man had a decision to make. He chose to walk away.

True Peace begins with me, is empowered by Christ and thinks eternally. The false part of the enemies lies is that the outcome depends on us. The outcome never depends on us. If it does we are destined to failure. The power to change our attitudes, actions and reactions can’t come from us. It must come from the power of Christ in me. The Apostle Paul tells us “Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel. (Philippians 4:7) Our minds are guarded from defeat not because of our own power but because of the power of Christ that protects, strengthens and guides us.

True Peace begins with me, is empowered by Christ and thinks eternally. The ‘eternal thinker’ realizes that the trouble of this world, no matter how devastating, is temporary. Everything we can see, touch, hold, hear and taste ends at death. But our heart, our soul lives on eternally. The ‘eternal thinker’ spends his/her energy on things that build for eternity. Jesus says, “I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.” (John 16:33)

PRAYER: Father God, as I move into a new year, let me live a life of true peace. True Peace that begins with me, is empowered by Christ and thinks eternally. Amen.

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. Revelation 2:26

We live in difficult times. Everyday there are new warnings about the upcoming econimic disaster. Political conflict is on the rise with nation after nation being forced into warfare that kills babies, mothers, children. There seems to be no end in sight. While medical science has learned how to cure or treat many diseases, it seems like new ones with deadly results are turning up. And if that isn’t enough, starvation and homelessness in some countries, including the U. S., has reached epidemic proportions.  

WOW! Still with me? What a downer. And in all that list I didn’t even mention the struggles we go through personally, on a daily basis with our relationships, health and finances.

But believe it or not, this post isn’t about defeat. It’s about victory. It’s interesting that when the Apostle John penned the above words in Revelation he was just begining on  a journey in which God would show him absolutely horrific things. Events in the future he couldn’t understand, but that must have torn him apart. But the first section of his ‘revelation’ don’t talk about defeat, they talk about victory, about overcoming.

During these difficult times it’s easy to think about ‘what I’d do if I was in charge’ or ‘the government needs to do this, or do that in order to solve this dilemma. The harsh reality is, our time on earth isn’t intended to be a pleasant walk in the park. This weekend I’m writing from Northern Minnesota. It’s been one of the most pleasant mid-October Weekends I can remember. We walked through beautiful forests and beside crystal clear lakes. As I walked I thought how nice it would be if everyday were like this. But the reality is, in a matter of hours I’ll be ‘back to reality’.

Our journey may be difficult. Sometimes the struggles we bear are our own doing. Sometimes they are the result of abuse or the evil actions of someone else. Sometimes they are the result of decisions we thought wise in the past that ended up taking us down the wrong course.

The lesson from Revelation is this. Times will (not might) be tough while we walk this journey on earth, but for those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, better days lie ahead. Jesus pleads with us to be overcomers here so that once we reach eternity we will be rulers of nations. Now, I don’t know what that means exactly but it sounds pretty cool to me.

So today I will try to overcome the obstacles ahead of me for this day. I won’t worry about the future because my Father will give me strength for whatever lies ahead. I won’t regret the past, because the sins of my past are forgiven and the scars will remind me that Jesus healed me. I will rely on the Holy Spirit of God to guide me through the turmoil I know lies ahead.

Our Father doesn’t ask us to do anything more than to do his will. That will is summed up nicely by Jesus earlier in another one of John’s writings. Love God. Love myself. Love my nieghbors.

(Besides, I read the back of the book. We Win!)

PRAYER: Father. I’m tired. I’m worried about the future and angry about the mistakes of my past. I resolve today to be an overcomer because of your Holy Spirit living in me. Amen.

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December 2022
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