September 27, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Peace Be with You
And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9b (NIV)
Life is not easy. In fact, many times life is down right hard. When it seems to be going smoothly, a curve ball comes our way and we are caught not wearing a glove. Usually at that moment, we cry out, "Help me. I am out in left field and have never played this position." We immediately want the peace of God in our situation but what we really need is to experience the God of Peace daily so we will be ready when the storms arrive. There is a difference in experiencing God's peace and experiencing the God of Peace.
In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul left us with great instructions on how to experience the God of Peace. Get your Bible and read along with me.
Philippians 4: 4-9
Rejoice Always. (Verse 4)
Find something in your current situation to be happy about. It can be something as simple as the next breath that God allows you to breathe. Then return to that thought when your mind leads you to destructive and negative thinking.
Let your gentleness be evident to all. (Verse 4)
Show courtesy to someone. Do a random act of kindness for the clerk at the grocery store. Hold the door for a mother with a toddler and a double stroller. Let a senior adult go in front of you in the restaurant line.
Don't be anxious for anything. (Verse 6)
Oh, this is a hard one. We live in such an instant gratification society that we are not accustomed to waiting. We even think it is incredibly rude if we have to wait. When you feel anxious, say a short prayer.
Present your requests with a thankful heart. (Verse 6)
It is so easy to ask for what you need and thank God in advance for the answer He will provide. I know as a parent, the more gratitude my children show, the more likely I will agree to comply with a request they make.
Watch your thought life. (Verse 7)
Our thought life is where the enemy makes the most advances in his hold on us. We need the God of Peace to guard our hearts and minds. I love knowing that His peace will transcend all understanding. We can have a peace during difficult times that the world will not understand but desperately wants. When asked, we can testify to God's greatness.
Practice what you learn (Verse 9)
We are responsible for using the knowledge we have. If you learn something new in a sermon or Bible study, allow God to use it to strengthen your walk with Him. He will then empower you to encourage others by what He has taught you. We must share what we learn. As the old song says, "Pass it on."
Remember that the God of peace is with you always, making the peace of God possible.
My prayer for today:
Dear Father, I want to know you as the God of Peace. Forgive me for crying out for peace only in crisis. Help me to know you and experience your peace daily in the everyday routine of my life so when a crisis arises I will be ready for it.
Make a list of three concerns in your life.
Make a list of three things that you can be thankful for in these situations.
Make a deliberate choice to redirect your thought path when it becomes negative.
What is the first thing I do when I face conflict or adversity?
Can others tell when I am having struggles in my life?
Where do I seek peace?
Peace I leave you with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled nor let it be fearful. John 14:27 (NASB)
For He himself is our peace...Ephesians 2:14 (NASB)
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NABS)
Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NASB)
Who Holds the Key to Your Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
Unwrapping His Presence Tape Set by Renee Swope
A Woman after God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
Originally published Monday, 27 September 2004.