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Receiving God’s Offer of Peace

Have you ever seen a person who is in the midst of a major life crisis and even though the world seems to be crashing down around them, they are full of unexplainable peace? Or have you experienced that yourself? I have! Saying farewell to all anxiety and worry and being in a continued state of peace is something we can have. It’s available to us through Jesus. We just need to know how to access it and receive it.

When I pray for people I often ask God to let His peace guard the person’s heart and mind in Christ Jesus. On its own this is a totally legitimate prayer because God offers us His complete peace and wants us to fully receive it…to walk in it daily. Jesus says, “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.” John 14:27

But there is another specific verse where I get that phrase, “guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus”, and the first part of the verse gives us a part to play in obtaining that unexplainable peace of God. It’s in Philippians 4:6-7:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”

First….“Do not be anxious about anything”

We really do have the choice to not be anxious about what is happening in our life. Anxiety is the opposite of what God wants for us—peace. Anxiety and peace do not co-exist together. We truly can make a decision to not give away our peace, as we put our trust in God, no matter what the circumstance.

Second….Prayer, Petition, Thanksgiving

In every situation (not just sometimes, every time) present your requests (not demands) to God. Do this with thankfulness, by talking to God and offering over your petitions to Him. There is something powerful about continually offering up thanksgiving to God. Not only does He deserve our worship through thanksgiving, but it changes our attitude in a positive way.

And Then….The Peace of God

So, we’ve made a decision to not dwell in the land of anxiety. Then we’ve had a conversation with God about how thankful we are to Him, and we told Him our requests…what we would like to have happen. We’ve given it over to Him, trusting that He will do what is best. Then, supernaturally, God pours His peace into us. Not only is His peace in us….it is guarding our heart and our mind.

Like Jesus said in John 14:27, the peace that He gives is not a temporary peace that you can conjure up every now and then when everything in life seems to be running smoothly. Jesus’ peace is the peace that can only come from God, to us, and into circumstances where you wouldn’t normally feel peace at all. It’s a peace “that passes all understanding” because it’s so difficult for people to understand how you can have peace in the midst of “that” (insert your life crisis here). Therefore, it is a peace that glorifies God because it only comes from Him.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You, God.” Isaiah 26:3

So…

+Are you ready to make a decision to walk in God’s peace instead of anxiety and worry?

+Are you mindful of having a thankful heart as you pray and make requests to God?

+Is it easier for you to live in anxiety than peace, because anxiety has become a “comfortably uncomfortable known” and it can be scary leaving that behind to walk in into something new, even when the new thing is better?

Prayer

God, I desire to walk in the complete peace that You offer me. This week, please help me to trust in You with every detail of my life. Help me to make a choice to let go of anxiety, to be thankful as I make my requests known to You, and to leave all of my cares in Your trustworthy hands. Amen.

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Not to Worry….

 

Is it just me, or does it bug you when people make up corny Christian acronyms that are supposed to be catchy but really they just make non-Christians think we’re a bunch of dorks? One of those acronyms is PUSH… “Pray Until Something Happens”. Have you heard of that one? Even though I think the acronym itself is a little corny, the concept behind it certainly is not. In fact, it’s powerful. Pray until something….happens!

If you’re human you will surely go through many experiences in your lifetime that cause severe worry. Financial woes, sickness, fears and “what ifs” can all lead to worry. Chronic worry causes high stress, anxiety, fear, doubt and physical illness, to name a few things. And it cripples our faith. Continual worry cannot co-exist with strong trust and unfettered belief that God is in control, that God is good, and that He knows your situation and will help you. If we truly believe those things, there is really no room for worry. And even when we are feeling weak, we still have the power to make a choice to trust God rather than making a god out of worry. No one can serve two masters.

I have a lot of issues with fear…which at times leads to excessive worry. God has brought much freedom in that area for me, but there is still more freedom to be gained. Last week, as I was intensely upset and worried about some choices people I love are making, I was racked with worry. I knew I needed intervention from God in the midst of my worry. Then I read this from Philippians 4:6-9:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (The Message)

From these verses I see a couple of things. First, we have a choice. We can default to worry….or we can take what’s behind “Door #2”. Instead of stewing in a pot of worry, we can choose to take action. Namely, we can pray. Pray until something happens. While we are approaching God with thanksgiving and asking Him to intervene, while we are focused on Him, God will “settle us down”. The NIV version says that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The peace of God really doesn’t make sense sometimes, does it? How can I be at peace when there is major turmoil around me that I “should” be worrying about? But when you choose to trade worry for trusting that God is in control of the situation, it makes sense that God’s peace is what you receive in return. I would rather walk in peace than worry any day, wouldn’t you?

In the second half of the verses, we are encouraged to think on good things, the best, the beautiful, things to praise….this helps us to have an attitude of thankfulness and to keep our minds out of negativity, which often leads to worry.

Here are a couple more scriptures that I have been meditating on lately about trusting God, and not worrying:

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I (God) am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

So…

+ What have you been worrying about? Make a decision to give it over to God as you continue to pray and trust Him with the outcome. Receive the peace He wants to give you.

+ When you are feeling intense worry, fear, anxiety or doubt, ask God to come into the midst of it and dissipate it. I do this all the time and God has never failed to dissipate it. Try it!

+ As we continue our daily 30/30 prayer times, let’s be mindful of cultivating a habit of praising God and praying the moment we begin to worry.

Prayer

God, I am so thankful to know You and to know that You are always with me and that You are in control. Even when we blow it, You work everything for good (Romans 8:28) because You are good. This week, help me to make a choice to pray instead of worry. Teach me how to give all of my worries and anxieties over to You, and to receive Your peace in exchange. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Help me to do that God. Thank You for caring about what I care about. Amen.