Peace and the Grace of God


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Peace. I need it. How can I get it? There are days where everything in my life screams the exact opposite of peace. The struggle is real. The house is a wreck. The kids are running wild. My own emotions are all over the place. There seems to always be something to worry about. I can sense God calling me back to His truth. He is here in the midst of chaos. His grace is available to me at the exact moment I need it. Mo Mydlo says, “The truth is, God’s grace is alive and active in this present moment, and His grace is sufficient for us to handle whatever we must face—not things we think we might face.” I love that quote because my brain can swirl into “what-if” territory faster than you can say “corona”.

I am so grateful the solution to all of my issues can be found in Jesus. My heart desperately searches everywhere for peace, but in my own power I will never find it. Every attempt at finding peace on my own ends up futile. Thank God that our only hope is in Jesus. In the craziness, He is near. His grace is exactly what you need in this exact moment. Don’t let the Enemy distract you with accusations of what you are not doing right or fears about your future. Sink into God’s amazing love for you. Rest in the knowledge that your soul has been resurrected for new life in Him. Move forward knowing His grace will cover you each minute. 

These declarations from Lysa Terkeurst are posted on my mirror for quick, daily reference.

-God is the solution for every one of my problems. 

-God is within me and perfectly equips me to know what to do.

-God is with me therefore there is nothing that I will face alone. 

-Evidence of His constant work is all around me if only I will choose to see it. 

Which truth brings your heart the most peace right now?  Pray it aloud over your situation. 

-Lacey Fisher

 


The Luxury of Peace


“Righteousness and Peace kiss each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

From the time I was born until I was twelve-years-old, my Dad was a student, pursuing his  Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees.  Our family of six lived off of a stipend my Dad received from OSU and some odd jobs that my Mom worked.  Needless to say, money was scarce and we didn’t have much more than the basic necessities.  I dreamed of one day having the luxuries that I witnessed from people on TV…a beautiful home, nice cars, fashionable clothes (instead of hand-me-downs) and money to travel the world.  

When I was actually able to obtain and experience some of the above-mentioned things (although I admit they were SO nice to have and were thoroughly enjoyable) I discovered that they didn’t bring the long-lasting satisfaction and happiness that I thought they would.  And they certainly didn’t help me get through difficult times or quiet the unrest and conflict that my heart, mind and soul often had to deal with.  I desperately lacked peace of mind and peace in my life.

And then…I found Jesus Christ.  And as I began to grow in my relationship with Him, when I was ardently seeking Him in His Word and attempting to walk in righteousness (a right relationship) with Him, He began to reveal to me an entirely new and different world of luxuries. I discovered that these spiritual luxuries, also known as “The Fruits or Gifts of the Spirit” (Galatians 5) are given to us when we accept Christ into our lives and hearts. 

The particular fruit of Peace was such a welcome and beloved addition to my life as I was exhausted from the tumult going on in my head and dissatisfaction from everything that world had to offer.  Oh what a gift…what a blessing…what a divine LUXURY to experience the Peace of God …the “peace that surpasses all understanding” …the peace that helps us to stand tall and remain calm in the face of insurmountable troubles, stresses and fears! 

If you are going through a season when peace seems elusive or even impossible, I pray that you will remember that Jesus Christ is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and as a Child of God, His perfect and luxurious peace is yours if you will but ask.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  And all these things shall be added unto you.  Hallelu, Hallelujah”.

-Connie Hays

 


Where is your peace?


“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

2020 has been an interesting year.  It is probably one that most of us would like to forget, myself included.  We suffered through (and are still enduring) a global pandemic, 40,000,000 Americans lost their jobs, we went through a very divisive election season, and oil (a staple of the Oklahoma economy) plunged to below zero.  

It was May 5th, 2020 and due to the pandemic, I was working from home in a makeshift office.  A lot of people were in my situation.  They were either working from home, or had already lost their job.  As it turns out, May 5th, 2020 was my last day on the job for a company for whom I had worked for almost 12 years.  It was a 4 minute conference call that ended my tenure there.  I should have been worried, panicked, and stricken with grief.  But I wasn’t and I didn’t know why. I would like to say that I did the right thing and prayed right then, but that wasn’t really where my head was.  After a minute or two of surprise, I had to walk downstairs and tell my wife and two kids that their dad didn’t have a job anymore.  I’m not going to lie- I was hurt, but I was okay.  My wife was also okay, my kids were okay, everyone was…..okay.  

Reflecting back, I know that it was the peace of God that had covered my family during that moment and the following months of searching for work and for God’s will.  I never didn’t feel God’s presence and it was the overwhelming sense of his peace that guided us through that time.  And so no matter what you have gone through, endured, or suffered from in 2020, let us not forget those struggles.  It is precisely those moments in our lives when we struggle where God reveals himself to us to let us know that HE is in control, not us.  The pandemic and the struggling economy were not what caused me to lose control of my life.  They caused me to lose the illusion that I was ever in control in the first place.  I feel so much better knowing that God is in control of where my life is heading.  After all, he’s a much better driver than I ever will be.  

A friend told me that God’s word is a lamp unto my feet.  It is not a spotlight that shines all the way down the path to show you where you are going.  We still have to have faith.  Because if you have faith that God is in control, peace is sure to follow.  

-Paul Stuke


The Peace of God


“Peace I leave with you; my 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” (John 14:27).

In my study bible, it says that “peace also known as (shalom), had a much richer connotation than the English word since it is conveyed not merely the absence of conflict and turmoil, but also the notion of positive blessing especially in terms of a right relationship with God” (ESV Study Bible) 

Peace, in my opinion, may truly be the hardest feeling to obtain especially in the midst of a pandemic, political mess and division amongst our nation. But Jesus reminds us that he has already given us peace. He has died for us so that we may have peace. All we need to do is be in right relationship with God the Father and accept Him. He says do not be afraid or let your heart be troubled. Are you afraid or is your heart troubled? I can honestly say that my heart has been very troubled as of late. I have been discouraged, frustrated and even annoyed with what the world has to offer right now, but anytime I spend in his word or teaching a Children’s bible lesson, has brought me peace. It’s amazing how peace really does come over me when I am really focused on Him or reminded of what my ultimate goal is in life. All of those worldly problems are really put in perspective when I am still and focused. I am not sure how to obtain peace at every moment of every day, (if you have that answer, please let me in on your secret) but I encourage you to slow down this Christmas season and focus on our eternal reward.

-Jessica Durrett 


The Presence of Peace


“For I am the Lord your God

who takes hold of your right hand

and says to you, Do not fear;

I will help you.” (Isaiah 43:1-3)

My husband and I have three sons, and our youngest is 3 years old. He’s still at that sweet age where there’s lots of handholding. Sometimes we reach for his hand when we are walking and we don’t want him to get lost. Other times, he grabs our hands so that he can enjoy swinging or jumping as we walk. However, if there’s one time we can count on him holding our hands, it’s when he’s falling to sleep. Why? Because he wants to know we are close – that we haven’t left him. Our hands represent our presence. Through our presence as parents we offer our love, guidance, safety and protection to our little guy. And so the Lord offers his presence to us, His children. I like to think about peace when life is calm – when I can read it on a Hallmark card or hear it in a yoga instructor’s voice.  However, I need peace, when I’m in the middle of a storm. Life’s storms feel like rising water, rushing rivers and blazing fire. And to that, God gives us…Himself. His presence. His peace. And our identity. We are His! He’s got us, no matter what our circumstances. He remains the same. He remains with us. He knows us. He loves us.

-Alicia Clark


Where ya looking?


You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)

Your body follows your eyes. This is what nearly every gymnast will tell you when they talk about the importance of keeping their eyes in the right spots within any given competitive event. For example, the balance beam is about 4 inches wide, which means a gymnast better not be looking at the judges when she is trying to stick a roundoff dismount.

The same is true in life. It’s sure easy to fall off track and lose all sense of hope and peace when we think about COVID-19, racial division, political upheaval, ice storms and so on. If our eyes are fixed on our hardships, guess what we are going to dwell on? When fighting the Philistines, the whole Israelite army was focused on their gigantic problem – Goliath. Yet, the young, shepherd boy was not fazed upon his introduction to Goliath. Why? His eyes were fixed on God. 

This is a great reminder for us as we prepare ourselves for Christmas in the middle of a pandemic. The writer of Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). I pray you will do just that. Fix your eyes on Jesus and let Him remind you of His perfect peace – the same peace Gabby Douglas experienced in the Olympics, the same peace King David felt on the battlefield and the same peace those shepherds realized as they sat in the presence of their newborn King!  

Questions for Reflection

  1. Where have your eyes been focused lately?
  2. How does the nativity story give you peace in the midst of chaos?
  3. What is one step you can take this week to better fix your eyes on Jesus?

 

-Ryan Fisher

Advent of PEACE
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