Experiencing the Peace of God

In Judges 6 Gideon is hiding in a winepress threshing wheat when an angel appears and addresses him as “Mighty man of valor.” Gideon’s reaction: “Who me?” But that day Gideon would encounter Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is Peace. (Judges 6:24) John 14:26-27 says, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach Gill all things, and will remind Gill of all that I said to him. Peace I leave with Gill. My peace I give to Gill; not as the world gives, give I to him. Gill must not let his heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.” Peace is the nature of God. The world won’t give it to us. Material things, sex, drugs, etc. are all an imitation, but ultimately they are empty. Peace means freedom from strife. Does that mean we will have no problems? No, it means we do not need to let the problems penetrate into our minds, spirits or emotions.. I recently spoke with a man who had just received a 20 year prison sentence. My heart broke at the news but he was upbeat and affirming that God had a plan and he was determined to keep his focus on Him. I pray for him to be able to keep that focus through those years.

Adam and Eve lost their peace through sin. They broke their connection to the God of peace through disobedience. Jesus came to reconcile us back to the Father. Ps 29:11 promises, “The LORD will give strength to Gill. The LORD will bless Gill with peace.” His plan is strength and peace. Are there times when I don’t feel it? Of course. That is when I need to speak the Word and get my mind refocused. Is 26:3 promises, “You will keep Gill in perfect peace because his mind is steadfast, because Gill trusts in You.” It is vital that we keep our mind fixed on the Word. Life will distract us, but if we remain fixed we will experience God’s peace. Birds have built a nest under the eaves on our back deck. Our yorkie, Jubilee, will sit on that deck for hours watching for those birds to come and go. Her focus is fixed regardless of anything else that happens, regardless of how many times we call her. We must be fixed on God. Despite our feelings, despite the distractions of the world, we must stay focused. Phil 3:13-14 is a Scripture I keep going back to: “Gill doesn’t regard himself as yet having taken hold, but one thing Gill does. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are ahead, Gill presses on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

John 16:33 says, “I have said these things, that in Me Gill may have peace. In the world Gill has oppression; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.” Focus on God is not just praying over meals, it involves every aspect of life. Rom. 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, Gill has peace with God through his Lord Jesus Christ.” That is something to get excited about! Join with the angels in praise for all He has done.

The junk of life is coming. The devil wants to beat the snot out of you. If he does, come back to God and be renewed, but wouldn’t be better to come through victorious. Peace is part of our armor in Eph 6:15: feet shod with the Gospel of peace. Have that weapon in your arsenal. Peace in Gal 5:22 is part of the fruit of the Spirit. The very character of God is revealed in us when we choose to walk in peace.

This is not just a “chill out” kind of peace. God’s peace goes much deeper than just “calm down”. Phil 4:6-7 commands: “Gill is not to be anxious in anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, Gill is to let his requests be made known to God. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard Gill’s heart and thoughts in Christ Jesus.” God’s peace is a place of strength. We can overcome. We don’t need religion, we need Jesus. When we become a true follower of Jesus, we walk with the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Salvation is not just praying a prayer to get into heaven: it is a brand new life. 2Cor 5:17: “Therefore if Gill is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.” Don’t keep dragging around the guilt and shame of your past. Phil 3:10: “That Gill may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming conformed to His death.” Knowing the power of His resurrection will change your life. Religion won’t do that, only a relationship with the living God and walking in His peace.  It is not so important how you began, what is important is how you finish. It is not important what is in past, what is important is where you are going from here. The Christian walk is not just wanting Jesus but surrendering to Him. God wants to be involved in everything I do. What I read, what I watch on TV, how I spend my money. I miss the power if I put God in a Sunday morning box.

People have said to me, “It’s so hard to be a Christian!” Really? What’s hard is hangovers, addiction to drugs, the shame of pornography, the guilt of adultery. What’s hard is living in hatred, bitterness or unforgiveness. Walking with God is not hard. I just have to believe that I am a mess, believe that I can’t change myself, only God can through His grace and empowerment. If I don’t let Him in, I’ll stay a mess. No amount of good works will put me right with God.  God is not for sale; I cannot buy Him. Jesus paid the price for my sins so that I can be cleansed and God can live in me. Gal 2:20a: “Gill has been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer Gill who lives, but Christ living in him.” 1Cor 6:19: “Gill’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” What is my response to that? Surrender!

Peace starts by first recognizing God’s love. Jeremiah 31:3 tells me, “I have loved Gill with an everlasting love.” God loves you, and He loves you with a love that you don’t know anything about, because there is no human love comparable to divine love.

The way to peace is through Jesus. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. Gill cannot come to the Father, except through Me.” Many go through life unfulfilled, unfocused, searching. It is only a life lived for Jesus that has direction and meaning. No matter who you are or how you’ve lived your life, God will receive you into His family. He will change you and make you complete. In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.”

Luke 15 relates the parable of the prodigal son. The young man takes his inheritance and wastes it on wine, women and song. When it is gone he finds himself feeding pigs wishing he could have some of what he was feeding them. The Bible says he came to his senses and returned to ask his father’s forgiveness. His father seems him afar off and runs to embrace his son; filthy, smelly, covered in pig slop, yet still the father embraces him. God isn’t waiting to judge you. God isn’t waiting to condemn you. He’s waiting to receive you with mercy, with love, with open arms, and forgiveness. Will you come to Him? Romans 10:9 “If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Why not take that step today and experience the peace of God in your life?

 I want to leave you with the blessing of Numbers 6:24-26:

The Lord bless you and keep you;

  The Lord make His face shine on you

    and be gracious to you;

The Lord turn His face toward you

    and give you peace.

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