Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peace, Hope, Believe - Merry Christmas

As I am sitting at the computer, I am looking at our Christmas tree in our living room. It is beautiful. My wife always does a great job decorating it. There are five word-decorations on our tree - Peace, Hope, Believe, and Merry Christmas. These words communicate a lot more than a pretty tree. So, I've decided to write the next four days on these topics. I'll start with peace. Here are some thoughts about the peace that Christ alone brings at all year round, not just at Christmas time.

1. We will experience peace in our personal lives when we stop trying to do so many things ourselves and simply rely on God alone to save, heal, strengthen, protect, provide, and deliver.
2. Ephesians 2:14 - "He Himself is our peace." Let Him break down the walls of hostility in your life.
3. Peace is NOT the absence of crisis but the presence of Christ!
4. When you do not have peace you do anything to get it - including faking it and chasing false peace.
5. You cannot bring peace on the inside by merely addressing what is on the outside - clothing, makeup, surgery, etc.
6. We do not lack peace because we don’t have enough stuff. We lack peace because our relationship with God and those around us lack (or you could say stinks).
7. Focusing on fear brings failure. Focusing on the Father brings faith.
8. Peace is not something we work for – it is a gift given to us.
9. John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
10. The world attempts to have peace through war. Jesus offered with a word.
11. The world offers peace at a huge cost to you. Jesus gives it freely.
12. Jesus' peace is for the sons of peace only (believers). The world's peace (oxymoron) for everyone.
13. John 16:33 paraphrased - "My words bring you peace. This world brings you trouble. My peace trumps this world's trouble."
14. Speak this over your household - let it be your household theme in 2011: "Peace be to this house!" (Luke 10:5)
15. We have peace from Christ but we are to share His peace with others. "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." (John 20:21)

What relationships in your life need peace? What part of your world is divided and in turmoil? What have you been doing to achieve peace that has only led you to frustration and unfulfillment? Let Christ's peace, which transcends all understanding and comprehension, fill you. I pray Philippians 4:6-7 happens to you. Here it is in the Message Bible:

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."

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