Sunday, December 18, 2011


Last week's sermon was from Philippians 4:6-7:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Peace. It's a word thrown around a lot this time of year. Peace on earth, Prince of peace, Joy, Peace, and Love - it's a big theme around Christmas. Do we really know what it means? Do we actually know how to get it?

Luke 2:14 in the King James Version implies that God was sending peace to everyone on earth. But if you read it in the New American Standard it indicates that he was sending peace to those with whom he was pleased. The NIV translates it as on whom his favor rests. The passage in Philippians refers to a peace which we cannot understand.

So, the peace that we should be seeking is one that we can't understand and is given to those who please God.

So, you're not peaceful? Start with these 2 steps.

First, is God pleased with you? Examine your own life, and make sure nothing is holding you back. Deal with conflict in your life, and make sure you're not standing in your own way. To have the Peace of God, we need to be at peace with God.

Second, ask for peace. It sounds simple, but often people skip this step. They go looking for peace. They try to do things to bring peace. They worry that they don't have peace. This, the worrying, may be the worst of all.

Worry is the anti-peace. We cannot have peace if we are worrying about something. I don't mean a passing concern, I mean all consuming worry. The constant thinking about something and trying to work out a solution on your own. Prayer is the antidote for worry. Ask God to help you stop worrying! Remember, God is powerful. He can handle it!

Sometimes it's hard to stop worrying. We can say we "give it to God," but sometimes it's hard to actually let go of that worry. Sometimes we need to literally cry out to God. I remember an episode of the Cosby show where Cliff was talking to Theo about his girl problems. Theo was trying to write a poem to apologize to a girl named Justine. Cliff tells him he needs to beg her, really beg her for forgivness. At the end of the clip Theo is belting out her name, almost in pain calling her. Sometimes this is what we need to do when we call out to God. If we truly desire peace, we sometimes need to be forceful with our request.

This time of year can be particularly hectic, and peace may be a hard thing to find. When you're feeling especially stressed, stop. Take a breath. Evaluate your situation. Make sure you're where you should be, ask God for peace, and expect to receive it. Take time to enjoy the real "reason for the season." God sent Jesus Christ as a gift to humans, so that we may have a personal relationship with him, and be able to tap into real inner peace - the peace that comes from the internal, eternal presence of the Prince of Peace.

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