Friday, January 24th, 2014
THE PEACE OF GOD
Jeremiah 29:7 – And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. (NKJV)
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. This word describes so much more than simply the absence of war and conflict. The basic meaning of the word shalom harmony, wholeness, soundness, well-being and success in every area of life.
- Peace can refer to tranquility between warring nations.
- It can be the settled feeling of a nation that was at war with itself (civil war) but is now experience prosperity and rest.
- Peace can be seen as wholeness and harmony in our human relationships, both inside and outside the home.
- It also takes on a purely personal sense of well-being, like being free from anxiety and being at peace with our own souls.
- Shalom even describes the original peace that God placed in the heavens and earth; the total well-being of God’s entire creation.
THE DISRUPTION OF PEACE
- Adam and Eve’s disobedience introduced sin into the world and disrupted creation’s original harmony.
- Adam and Eve’s sin destroyed the harmony and peace they had with God.
- Their sin crushed the harmonious relationship they enjoyed as husband and wife.
- Adam and Eve’s sin even destroyed the harmony between man and nature-men had to work by the sweat of their brow and woman would now experience pain in childbirth.
So now we live in a world that no longer know peace and is no longer peaceful. Most people no longer strive to live peaceably with one another. DRAMA IS NOW THE NORM and ironically is preferred above living a stress-free peaceful life.
- Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would reign as the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6-7).
- At Jesus’ birth, the angels proclaimed, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, PEACE, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
- When we believe in Jesus Christ, “we are justified by faith and have PEACE with God.” (Romans 5:1)
But just knowing Christ came as the Prince of Peace does not mean that peace will automatically become a part of our lives.
WE MUST WALK IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD TO ACHIEVE REAL PEACE!
Just like Adam and Eve lost their peace by disobeying, we can have our peace, and keep it, by our total submission and obedience to God.
It is very true that the Bible says that peace will not inhabit the earth. But the Bible does say that peace can rule in our hearts!
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 NKJV)
Our key scripture in Jeremiah above gives us instructions and blessings.
It is saying, Even though you may be in bondage, seek the peace of God. Pray for it and God says when you live IN my peace-you will HAVE peace.
I pray for each one of you that the peace of God which passes all understanding will find its home in your heart. I know that many of you reading this right now are in a battle and peace seems to be evading you.
I want to leave you with a promise and blessing that God gives to those who don’t get anxious about life. Read it with me today – and believe!
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV)
Shalom!– Pastor Steve
Key Verses: Matthew 25:31-36
Prayer Point: teach me to share what I have with others who are less fortunate
TODAY’S PERSONAL PURSUIT
Jennifer is married to Dylan Phillips (11 years) and they together have three boys and a girl – Weston, Jayden, Shaylee and Brinxton. They were married within 7 months of knowing each other. She always said she wanted “a career and one child, ha! God had a different plan!” They have been attending LFC for 12 years. Dylan’s grandparents attend here and that’s how he was originally introduced to Living Faith Church. He then decided if he was going to be a good husband and father he needed to get in church. That’s how Jennifer was introduced to LFC. They together lead LFC’s AS-1 marriage enrichment class. Jennifer was the first teacher/facilitator of Dave Ramsey’s course called Financial Peace University-she is still on the teaching team. She was a co-developer and leader of the nursery ministry and still teaches the upper age group of nursery aged students. One of her first volunteer positions was being a youth sponsor. Jennifer is an all-around servant-leader.
Jennifer: Sharing our testimony!!!
Most people that know us know that we have dealt with some major financial struggles since the economy and housing market crashed in 2009. We lost a home, had vehicles and equipment repossessed, and at times were not sure how we would keep our lights on. God showed us favor all the way, providing every need, but it hasn’t always been easy. He also showed that filing bankruptcy was not the way out for us. Knowing that, we regained composure and slowly and diligently began to pay off loans and debts and began to run a debt-free business. After 3 years of striving, a few setbacks, and some Dave Ramsey classes we were so close to having no debt at all. We just had one BIG thing hovering over us from losing our home which was a Line-of-Credit of $120,000.00. We would periodically get letters in the mail that said amount due in full. I would chuckle and throw them away thinking there’s no way we will ever be able to pay that off. I guess in my mind I thought it was going to go away so I ignored it. In the past two months God has brought this debt out to us like a sore thumb and we were really feeling the burden of it. Dylan said let’s call and offer them a settlement. It seemed like such a scary thing to me. What if they want it all? That’s as much as a house! I called a few days before Christmas and with God’s grace we were able to work up a settlement of ONLY $8,000.00!!!! That sounded great but after talking to my accountant learned that we would have to pay taxes on the remaining balance of $112,000. That would put us liable to the IRS for about $30,000, and you all know owing the IRS is not the way to go. As days and conversations went by we learned of a Mortgage Debt Relief Act that was established in 2007 that would allow us to settle the loan without paying taxes. This relief act was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2013. So here it was one day before, on Dec. 30th and we were given a gift of $5,000. This person said God had already been telling them to bless us with this. So with the help of that on Dec. 30th we settled this massive loan for only $3,000.00 out of pocket and no taxes!!!!! What a relief!
I shared that to say that I have fasted and prayed for this loan to be taken care of for the past 2 years and not a thing has changed until now. Dylan and I have lived for and served God faithfully for 11 years. We have always prayed and asked for direction but not always took the time to listen to what and where God was directing. We would quickly do things the way we imagined, or what was easy and convenient. I have learned that to pursue God you have to “sloooooowww” down in this busy world, pray, and seek his direction, dig into his word, hear his voice, and then this might be the hardest part of all, but wait on the Lord. His timing is amazing!!! The lady I dealt with on the phone said we likely got this settlement because it was the end of a month, the end of a year, and the holidays. All of those things were working for us. And God is never late. He knew we needed to do this before the expiration date of Dec. 31st and he knew what we could afford!
Are you pursuing? (Proverbs 2: 1-6) My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding-indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
I hope this encourages anyone who may be waiting on a prayer.
God still works miracles!! – Jennifer Phillips