Unwrapping Christmas • Peace 1/1/23

Jesus offers peace, but not the kind the world gives. What kind of peace does the world offer? I think of “peace and quiet”. We all need some peace and quiet, a getaway. But quiet, though peaceful externally, doesn’t bring peace to the internal part of our being…our mind, soul, and spirit. We are all searching for something that will bring us joy, happiness, contentment…peace. But are we seeking the things that will bring peace? You can have a lot of money and have no peace in your heart. You can be successful and extremely popular but feel empty inside. You can have a great family and still have no peace. Our lives are often filled with the opposite of peace. When you think about relationships, misunderstandings, disagreements, hurt feelings, bitterness, unforgiveness, etc. peace seems unlikely at best. The only true peace comes from God through a relationship with Christ. But you can be a Christian and believe God can do all things, and still miss out on what God wants to do for you. So how do we experience the peace Christ offers?

Scriptures – Luke 2:14; Isaiah 26:1-4; Philippians 4:6-9; Romans 8:35, 37-39; John 24:27

Verse – “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Lk 2:14) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. (Is 26:3-4) “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (Jn 14:27)

Thought – In Isaiah we read that God will give perfect peace to those who trust Him and keep their thoughts “fixed” on Him. When you consider what your thoughts, you mind, are fixed on these days, it may be a myriad of craziness. Some are stressed over financial woes, anxious about political division, sleepless over a son or daughter who is struggling. Maybe you have job concerns, a relational conflict or are just exhausted from trying to be all things to all people. There’s really SO much to worry about, SO much to fear! Sometimes it seems that having peace would be wrong, it would be as if we don’t care about what’s going on around us or in the lives of others if we aren’t wringing our hands and losing sleep. BUT Paul writes in Philippians: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise…. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Ph 4:8-9) The battle is in your mind. Everything around you will change and disappoint and fall far short of your plans and expectations. But you can experience inner peace by continually drawing your mind back to the things of God—a Scripture passage, a promise of God, a song that confirms God’s love for you, His faithfulness, His power. This is a process that you will have to repeat again and again. If you practice, it will become a normal response to whatever comes your way. It’s a peace the world can’t give and a peace the world can’t take away because it’s from God. 

Questions – Who or what most often robs you of your peace?  If you allow troubles to flood your mind, what does the lack of peace do to you? What is your “go to” for fixing your mind on God and drawing yourself back into God’s perfect peace? Have you ever felt guilty for having peace in a situation that others were distressed about? Explain

Response – Make a list of Godly things to “fix” your mind on when anxiety rises, and you are struggling to hold on to God’s peace. Read this list daily so that you will have easy recall when a situation overwhelms you. Include Scriptures, promises of God and songs that are meaningful. Most Christian songs are born out of Scripture.

Prayer – God of Peace, fill my heart with your presence. Thank you for offering peace through Jesus. Help me to do my part in training my mind to dwell on the good and excellent things you have given and promised and not to allow the world’s chaos to determine my peace. In Jesus Name I pray, amen.

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