Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Receive PEACE

Have you ever received a gift? Have you known someone who died and bequeathed you with money, property, or anything else? A last will and testament might begin with the words.....I leave my silver and china to my daughter Emma. Hopefully the person receiving the bestowal would gladly receive it with wonderful remembrances of the giver. 

This Christmas, instead of waiting until death (and I pray she lives a long time), my mother-in-law gifted the women in her life with treasures from her past. She gave some of her jewelry to her granddaughters and granddaughter-in-law. She blessed me with a pitcher, a platter, and six glasses made from depression glass (glass made during the Depression Era); it had belonged to her mother. She desired to leave us with her valuables before she passed. 

Jesus did the same with His disciples at the Last Supper or Feast of the Passover when He knew He would die (John 13-14). He began by washing their feet and setting the example of servanthood. Then He shared with them why He came to earth and what He wanted to leave them with when He left. He wanted to leave them with peace, His peace that passes all understanding. He knew they would face many challenges and become fearful. He knew they would need the kind of peace that only He can give. So He promised to give them His Holy Spirit and, in turn, His Holy Spirit would comfort them and bless them with peace. This is want He said to them:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled; nor let it be fearful.” John 14:26-27 (NASB)

Jesus gives that same peace to His modern day disciples as well. It’s written in the Bible which is His Word for all His people. It has stood the test of time and it is truth. The Old Testament prophesied of a child that would be born, and His many names would include Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Later His birth was confirmed in the New Testament and the angels then sang of the peace that had come to earth (Luke 2:9-14). Jesus lived a life of peace among chaos and He then offered that same peace to His disciples at His last supper (John 14). 

My hope is that you’ve received and experienced His peace, at least once in your lifetime, so that you know it is real and available at any time. Life may not always be peaceful, but we can stand firm among our chaos, wearing the shoes of peace that Jesus wore. Remember He passed on His peace to all who would believe on His name and receive in His name. 

Below is a story of how He offered me peace when anxiety overwhelmed me after encountering difficulty. I hope you can relate with your own experiences and allow Him to turn your distresses into peaceful moments. 

Several nights ago as I lay in bed distressed over my situation, God breathed His peace into my awful situation and immediately my panic disappeared. Just as quickly as my computer files (everything from class notes to original writings) had disappeared, so did my panic. 

You see, earlier that night, I experienced trouble with the internet while on my computer. After talking through various trouble-shooting options with a tech on the phone, I discovered that my trouble only intensified. When I opened several documents, I saw blank pages. I continued to open other writings in my folders and everything was blank. Suddenly I remembered that I didn’t have all my files backed up and my stomach churned. Could everything that I worked on and saved for three years be gone? This was my worst nightmare as a writer. How would I recapture all those words I had previously penned?

As I sat up in bed almost hyperventilating, wanting to scream and throw up at the same time, God quickly reminded me who He was and is and always will be—God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Prince of Peace. I lifted up my mantra of praise saying, “My God is bigger than all my problems, my God is bigger than all my troubles, and He cares for me.” A peace slowly infiltrated my lungs and as I breathed Him in, my heart stopped its racing and my palms quit sweating. Somehow I believed my God could revive my writings. But then I said to myself, “What if they can’t be retrieved? What then?” Immediately I remembered the words spoken by Simon Peter to Jesus, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

The situation from which Peter spoke was a tough one. Jesus had been speaking to a crowd of Jews and He ruffled some feathers. He called Himself the bread of life and said that whoever ate of this bread would have eternal life. Some heard heavenly words, but others heard blasphemy. Because of His hard teaching that day, many withdrew from Him. They simply gave up! That’s what I felt like doing that night—giving up—until I repeated the words of Peter saying, “You have the words of eternal life.” Peace rained down from heaven and I ate of the bread of life. I began to believe that no matter what happened, God would supply me with His words again. 

Now don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t as easy as it seems. I fought a battle. I vacillated from panic to praise to peace and back to panic. But I chose to believe my Savior and stand on His promising words of life. My peace maker rescued me. My Prince of Peace delivered me from the anxiety that raged within me, and eventually He rescued all the words on my computer that He has given me over the years. 

Do you struggle with stress and trouble? Does fear and anxiety come at you like a flood? We have a Savior who bequeaths us with a gift—the gift of peace. Allow the peaceful words of the Savior Jesus Christ to fill you with a peace that passes all understanding. Then stand in that peace believing the words of the Prince of Peace. His words are below. As you read them, hear with your heart what the Lord desires to give you. Receive the peace of the Lord.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)  

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)

Lord God, my Heavenly Father, my Savior Jesus Christ, bless right now the person reading this post with your peace that passes all understanding. May she/he come to know that your peace is available at all times of the day and night. It is the inheritance of a child of God, a believer in Christ Jesus. For it is in Your precious and holy name that I pray, AMEN!

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