Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Christ - I am at peace with God

I am at peace with God...

Romans 5:1,2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Psalms 29:11 The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD blesses His people with peace. 

Psalms 85:8 I will listen to what God the LORD will say; He promises peace to His people, His saints--but let them not return to folly. 

Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they who love Your law, and nothing can make them stumble. 

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. 

Isaiah 54:10 "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, Who has compassion on you. 
June 24, 2010
The Treasure of Thrown Away Food
"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
If there was ever a secret for unleashing God's powerful peace in a situation, it's developing a heart of true thanksgiving. My son, Jackson, knows this.  I came to understand how powerfully he knows this when editing a paper he wrote recently. Jackson hasn't always lived in the safety and security of our home.  For the first 13 years of his life, he lived in a forgotten orphanage in the third world country of Liberia, Africa.

Jackson's paper was about the corruption and greed that caused the civil war in his native land. He did a great job recounting the facts of the story. But the difference between Jackson and most other kids explaining a historical event, is before we adopted him - he lived in the midst of the horrific conditions of this war.

During one part of the paper, he described what it felt like to be naked digging through the trash looking for the treasure of thrown away food.

The treasure of thrown away food.

I can hardly type those words without crying. This is my son.

And yet, despite the horrific conditions of his childhood there was an unexplainable thread of peace woven through his recollection of the story. A powerful peace centered in the awareness of God's presence. 
The truly thankful person is a truly peaceful person. They have made a habit no matter what to notice, pause and choose.

Noticing something for which to be thankful no matter what circumstance they're in.

Pausing to acknowledge this something as a reminder of God's presence.

Choosing to focus on God's presence until His powerful peace is unleashed.

I doubt any of us will find our treasure in thrown away food today. But will we be a noticer, a pauser, a chooser - a person of thanksgiving no matter what circumstance we're facing?
I find this truth about the power of thanksgiving over and over in Scripture. What was the prayer Daniel prayed right before being thrown in the lion's den and witnessing God miraculously shutting the lion's mouths? Thanksgiving.

After three days in the belly of a fish, what was the cry of Jonah's heart right before he was finally delivered onto dry land? Thanksgiving.

How are we instructed to pray in Philippians 4:6 when we feel anxious? With thanksgiving.

And what is the outcome of each of these situations where thanksgiving is proclaimed? Peace. Powerful, unexplainable, uncontainable peace.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus," (Philippians 4:7, NIV).

One of Webster's official definitions of thanksgiving is: "a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness."

I wonder how we might celebrate God's divine goodness today?

I wonder what might happen if we decide in the midst of our circumstances today to notice, pause, and choose something for which we can truly be thankful....

Dear Lord, will You help me to notice things for which I can be thankful in each circumstance I face today?  Will You help me remember to pause and acknowledge this as evidence of Your presence?  And will You help me to remember to choose to focus on Your presence until Your powerful peace rushes into my heart and helps me see everything more clearly?  Thank You for the reality that being thankful truly changes everything. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The peace of God is a promise – and a blessing – something we don’t deserve but that He freely bestows upon us.  I also see that we have a part in experiencing that peace – it’s there for us – for all His children – but I think we can miss out on it if we don’t do our part.  What’s that?  What do WE need to do to experience His peace?  The devotion made a really good point that we need to be thankful – but I think there’s more we can do.  We are admonished “not to return to folly” – in other words – don’t go back to those things that caused you to miss out on God’s peace in the first place!  Don’t go back into a life of sin! Don’t return to the “vomit”(Pr 26:11) of your former life!  Doing so will rob you of His peace.  We need to love His law – His word – those who do will experience His peace.  Are you reading the Word daily?  Is knowing His word a priority in your life?  If you’re not experiencing His peace, try spending daily, consistent time in the Word. And lastly – are you steadfast in the Lord?  Have you purposed in your heart to follow Him and Him alone? Do you choose to trust Him with your life – with your choices – with your circumstances?  When/if you do, then His peace is assured!  Don’t wait for peace to “happen” in your life – do what you need to do to experience the peace God’s already promised!  Be thankful – be committed to following the Lord – be in the Word – and be steadfast in Him – and the peace of God will rule and reign in your heart!  Sharon

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