2020 brought tumultuous times to all of our lives! “2021” seems to be no different. The loud, disorderly, confused, excited noise we hear each day is bombarding our minds and spirits! The last few weeks have found me calling out for God’s peace and mercy.
I love vocabulary and the meaning of words. When looking up the meaning of peace, I found it is defined as the freedom from disturbance, quiet, causing mental calm, tranquility, serenity, and freedom from dissension or dispute.
Anyone need that kind of peace? Where might we find it? Definitely not in this world! Then, where? True peace comes from God and God alone. Isaiah tells us, “that God will keep us in perfect peace if our minds are stayed on Him.”
Focusing on God, trusting Him, reading and meditating on His Word brings genuine peace. Ephesians 2:14 says, “Christ is our peace.” His very presence is the presence of peace within us. A person who has genuine, godly peace can endure an avalanche or tidal wave of hardship, difficulty and tribulation. Why? Because they have been given inner peace, a peace that surpasses human understanding. This inner peace does not come from pleasant circumstances, nice events, good things others may do, money, fame, or good deeds. Instead, it is based on the fact that the Holy Spirit, our all-powerful, omnipotent, never-changing God, lives within us.
Does this mean we will never feel the effects of a world without peace or the storms of life raging all around us? No, quite the contrary! Jesus Himself declares in John 16:33 that “In me you will have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Therefore, we can know that the peace God bestows on us at salvation is complete, adequate, and sufficient for each day we are here on earth.
Focusing on God, His Word, and being in His presence is a self-discipline. That self-discipline is about developing good, healthy habits. It has been said that it can take 66 days of repetition to form a habit, while others say a single repetition can form a habit. I believe the self-discipline of focusing on God, His Word, and spending time with Him is a life-long habit. That habit is not acquired in fifteen minutes here and there! Maintaining our focus and self-discipline towards God brings His peace into our lives. This is a big, daily challenge! Why? Because our enemy Satan wants to do everything in his power to distract us away from God, His Word, and His peace in our lives.
The life lesson in my blog today is about one of my favorite Bible characters – Peter. Peter was just a common fisherman in whom Jesus saw great potential. Yes, he was impulsive, but when Jesus gave him the name Peter, The Rock, Jesus knew he would grow into his name.
Jesus knew that Peter’s faith and trust in Him would grow day by day into a peace that would become the cornerstone of his life and testimony. Too often Peter focused on the problem instead of the problem-solver, Jesus, his Savior. Just like Peter, we do the same.
In Matthew 14:22-23 we find Peter and the disciples in a boat tossed about on a stormy sea. In the fourth watch of the night, they see someone coming toward them, walking on the water. They were troubled, thinking it might be a ghost. They cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered Him saying, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
Jesus said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat and found himself walking on the water towards Jesus. The wind was boisterous; he was afraid. That split second he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. He cried out: “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When they got back into the boat, the wind ceased. (Matthew 14:22-33)
Understanding and being fully aware of God’s peace in my own life has been an ongoing, growing experience. Many times I have found myself walking on the water towards Jesus. Then, without warning, I was overwhelmed by the waves and the circumstances around me. I had taken my eyes off of Jesus and consequently began to sink. Praise the Lord, my Savior reached out His hand and ever so gently lifted me into the boat where He was, the place of perfect peace, His all-encompassing, enveloping peace. Thank You, Lord! Thank You!
Where do you register on the peace monitor? Would it be a “1” for low or non-existent, somewhere in between 1 and 10, or a “10”, totally at rest and peace?
True, perfect peace can only be found in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. That will require discipline and time spent in God’s presence and in His Word. As we surrender the fears, anxieties, cares and concerns of this world over to our Lord, He pours over us His amazing peace – an everlasting peace, a peace the world cannot understand.
God’s promise to us that know Him is, “He will keep us in perfect peace, if our mind is stayed on Him, and we’re trusting Him as our everlasting strength.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
My prayer for each of you today is that you might be drawn into the very presence of the true peacemaker – Jesus – and that His peace would cover and envelope you like a warm, soft blanket! Shalom!
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.