Category Archives: Peace

Slow Down for Peace

DailyBannerHeader_Day17

Whew…the last few days have been b-u-s-y.  They’ve been good days…but busy days.  And I haven’t had a chance to sit and write. So now I’m really behind on this writing challenge, and it looks like I won’t make the full 31 posts for this series.  And really, I’m ok with that.  Because every day I have to make choices about how to spend my time.  And sometimes writing on this little blog just doesn’t make the cut.  And that’s ok.

I’ve lived too many days in the hurt of the hurry.  Running around with an impossibly long list of things to do and accomplish…with a schedule so packed with activities and projects that I felt like I was spinning.  Too much stress and not enough sleep and sacrificing the important things on the altar of the urgent things.

For too many days.

And I can still very easily fall into a very hectic pace if I am not intentional about slowing down and making intentional choices about how to spend my time.  And when the days are busy, when I’m in a “busy season”, I have to be even more intentional and purposeful with my time or my soul begins to pay the price…and my family begins to suffer as a result.

Our culture is very fast-paced…we’re always late for something somewhere, always hurrying from one thing to another.  But in all that hurry to keep up with the urgent things of each day, I’m afraid we sometimes neglect the important things.  And I think maybe a red flag that this is happening…that our pace is too busy and our soul is too hurried…is when peace is missing from our days.

When we’re so busy doing that we don’t spend time being, our souls ache and peace becomes elusive.

It has taken me a very long time to learn how to slow down.  I’m still not really great at it.  But I am learning to be much more sensitive to those warning signs in my soul when my pace becomes too hurried, when my doing exceeds my being.

Slowing down the pace and making space in my day to be with Jesus…that brings peace to my soul, even in the middle of the busy days.

I like this verse from 1 Timothy 2: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

1 Timothy 2:2

This is the kind of life worth pursuing: a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. What a prayer for today, and for every day!  I have a feeling that if I pursued this kind of life every day, my pace would slow and my focus would shift and all those urgent things that keep pressing in and demanding my time and energy wouldn’t drown out the most important things.

 

So today I’m making intentional choices…choices to slow down, to care for my soul, to fellowship with Jesus, and to have peace.  Writing a little blog post made the cut today, but it may or may not make the cut tomorrow.  I may write every day for the rest of October…or may not.  I may end up with only 20 days instead of 31…or only 17…and that’s ok.  🙂

 

For more posts in this series, click here

Fear Not

DailyBannerHeader_Day16

Today…just this verse:

Daniel 10:19

You are greatly loved.

Pause for a second and just let that sink in…let it sink down into the marrow of your bones.
You. Are. Greatly. Loved.

So don’t be afraid.  There is no reason for fear.

Instead, be strong and courageous.

Remember…He loves you.

And that love, that great amazing love of God that is deeper and wider and longer and higher than you can fathom…that love gives you courage and peace, no matter what you may be facing today.

So fear not. Peace be with you.  You are loved.

(Want to print this verse and hang it up as a reminder?  Just click on the image above and you can save it and print it (for personal use only) 🙂 )

To see more posts in this series, click here

The Enemy of Peace

DailyBannerHeader_Day15

Day 15. (Well, technically it should be day 17, but I’m still a couple of days behind 😉 )

I’m finding that it’s getting harder for me to figure out what to write.  One topic for 31 days in a row is not quite as easy as I thought.  But I’ve learned a lot, and I am still peeling back layers of understanding as I continue to study and search for peace.

So far, I’ve found that peace comes from these things:
Righteousness
Fellowship/Intimacy with God
Trusting God
Meekness
A Love of God’s Law
The Presence of God
Jesus

If these things bring peace, and I know that this is what brings peace, then why do I so often struggle to have peace?

I believe the enemy of peace is wrapped up in one little word: sin.

Billy Graham wrote it this way:
“We have seen that the most terrible, most devastating fact of the universe is sin.  The cause of all trouble, the root of all sorrow, the dread of every man lies in this one small word: sin.  It has reversed the nature of man. It has destroyed the inner harmony of man’s life. It has robbed him of his nobility. It has caused man to be caught in the Devil’s trap.
….It is a tornado on the loose.  It is a volcano gone wild. It is a madman broken loose from the asylum.  It is a gangster on the prowl.  It is a roaring lion seeking its prey. It is a streak of lightning heading toward the earth.  It is a guillotine cutting off the head.  It is a deadly cancer eating its way into the souls of men. It is a raging torrent that sweeps everything before it.”

Sin brings everything that is opposite of peace.  It is the enemy of peace in my life.

Worry
Pride
Selfishness
Jealousy
Envy
Self-Centeredness
Gossip
Bitterness
Selfish Ambition
Greed
(and so many more…)

All are enemies of peace.

1 Peter 3:8-12 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.  For ‘whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.  But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.’

Psalm 35:14

Those verses that Peter is quoting come from Psalm 34.  From the Old Testament to the New Testament all the way to today, people have desired and continue to desire to “love life and see good days”…but so often we go about achieving it in the wrong way.  Sin poisons our intentions and our desires…we seek peace and life and good days, but we seek it in things that end up causing us strife and stress and worry and fear.  We fill our days with so much stuff, with mile-long lists of things to accomplish and do…we pursue careers and achievements and power and prestige and success…we seek after the latest cool gadgets or the nicest clothes or the biggest houses.  We pursue lots of things in this life.  And they’re not all bad things in and of themselves.  But often I think in the process of so many pursuits, we lose sight of the most important pursuit…and we lose sight of the purpose of it all because we lose our focus…and peace gets lost along the way.

God’s way is the only way that brings true peace.  God’s way is the only way that brings truly good days (even on the “bad” days). And God’s way is the way of righteousness…righteousness through Jesus, through obeying His Word and through intimacy with Him.

We have to seek peace and pursue it.  This implies an active faith…a faith that spurs us to DO good…a faith that calls us to BLESS others.  The things Peter mentions – unity, sympathy, love, tenderness of heart, humility of mind – these require action on our part…we have to pursue them.  Because our hearts wander…sin creeps in and wages war on peace and on righteousness and on our relationship with God.

Sometimes we don’t even realize it’s there.  Sin sneaks into the hidden corners, the places we ignore.  It comes when we’re busy, when we’re distracted, when we lose focus…when we’re pursuing other things.  It comes through apathy, when we’re coasting on auto-pilot, or when we’ve switched over to survival mode.  We can justify sin, call it by other names, but the result is the same: lack of peace.  Instead of peace we feel discontentment, fear, worry, stress.

And if we stop long enough to pay attention, we can recognize the warning signs in our souls.  The missing peace.  The discontentment.  That little red flag that tells us something isn’t quite right.  That lack of intimacy with God.

Our souls crave intimacy with God.  Peace comes from that intimacy.  But sin is like a wall that separates us from that intimacy…it’s like a poisonous fog that blinds us to the reality of God’s goodness and love.  We have to fight sin if we are going to pursue peace and righteousness and intimacy with God.

Jesus already paid the price of our sin on the cross…we can have victory over sin in our lives, we don’t have to allow it rule. Instead, we can let peace rule, we can let God rule.  Like Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”  But we have to let it rule.  We have to intentionally pursue peace, intentionally pursue intimacy with God, intentionally pursue righteousness.

Psalm 139:23-24 should be my daily prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Test me and know my anxious thoughts! Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

Psalm 139:23 - Search me, O God

Search me, O God

Sin is the enemy of peace.  I have to be willing to take an honest look at my heart and allow God to show me any sin that is hiding there.   I have to actively “turn away from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Ps 34:14).

But this requires slowing down the hurried pace of life…setting aside all those things that pile up in my days, all those other pursuits that take my focus away from God, all those things that distract me from  my relationship with Him…and taking time to care for my soul and invest in my relationship with Jesus.

Sin is the enemy of peace.
Today I am taking a deep look at my heart and my soul, and allowing God to reveal to me anything, anything, that offends Him…anything that is poisoning the peace in my life…anything that is hindering intimacy with Him.

Today I am pursuing peace.

 

For more posts in this series on Peace, click here

And the effect of righteousness is PEACE

DailyBannerHeader_Day14

In all my reading and studying about peace this month, I have definitely noticed a correlation between righteousness and peace.  Several verses point to it, but none quite as clearly and directly as Isaiah 32:17 :

Isaiah 32:17

“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.” Isaiah 32:17

The effect of righteousness is peace.  The result of righteousness is quietness and trust.

You can’t get much clearer than that.
And I can’t really think of any more words to add, so I think I’ll just let this verse speak for itself today. 🙂

(But if you’d like to print this verse, just click on the image and it will take you to the image file…just right click and save it to your computer and feel free to print and enjoy!)

For more posts in this series on Peace, click here

Perfect Peace

DailyBannerHeader_Day13

I’m barely squeezing this post in today…and I’m still a bit behind on the Write 31 Days challenge…

But I just wanted to share this verse for now:

Isaiah 26:3 – “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Isaiah 26:3

Perfect peace…is a matter of focus and trust.

Keep my mind stayed on God, keep my heart fixed on Him, and trust Him…and He will keep me in perfect peace.

Perfect peace.

But there are so many distractions, so many things that pull my attention away from the One who can give me that peace.  There are worries and doubts and fears and invade my thoughts and my heart…busyness and to-do lists and a hurried pace blur my focus.  And then I wonder why I can’t find peace.

I need to slow the hurry and hush the worry.  Instead I need to focus and trust.  Fix my mind on Jesus.  Trust Him.  Always, and in every moment.  Focus and trust.

Focus and trust.

 

For more posts in this series, click here

Go in Peace

DailyBannerHeader_Day12

I have gotten a bit behind on this Write 31 Days challenge…but I’m just going to keep going and eventually maybe I’ll catch back up 😉

For the next couple of posts, I just want to share some verses I’ve found as I’ve been reading and searching for verses about peace.

This little gem is tucked in the middle of Judges:

Go In Peace_Judges18_6

“Go in peace.  The journey on which you go is under the eye of the Lord.” Judges 18:6 (ESV)

I want to be careful to give this verse some context, because it’s actually in the middle of a chapter, a series of chapters, where God’s people are not exactly walking on a path of righteousness or following God’s law.  Judges 17:6 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”  It’s a slippery slope when we start doing what we see as right, instead of what God says is right.

In chapter 18, five men from the tribe of Dan are sent out on a mission of their own making…to get land by very treacherous and vicious means.  These men come across a priest, and they ask him to “inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” (Judges 18:5)  The priest responds to them with ambiguity, telling them what they want to hear…that they can go in peace, that they will succeed.  But he is a priest surrounded by idols, infected with apostasy; he is in it for the money and prestige, and is willing to be a priest for the highest bidder.  He says words that sound good, but apostasy, a total departure from God’s law, has infected this priest and the entire tribe of Dan.

But I still think there is something important in this verse. Because if this priest really understood and believed what he was saying, maybe he would have said these words as a warning to the tribe of Dan…and maybe it would have spurred him to destroy the idols that surrounded him and turn back to God.

Because what he says is true.  God sees every step we take…He knows the path we are walking, the journey we are on…it is ALL under His watchful eye.  But just because He sees doesn’t mean He approves.  The only way we can “go in peace” on this journey is if we are walking with Him, fellowshipping with Him, following Him every step of the way, obeying His Word and listening to His voice.

Joshua 1:7-9 (ESV) says, “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Doing things God’s way takes courage and strength. But it is the only way to truly succeed, the only way to truly have peace on this journey.  We don’t have to be afraid…we can have peace…because God is with us wherever we go.

Proverbs 3:1-2 says, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”

For someone who is obeying God’s Word and walking with Him, these words are great words of comfort.  Keeping God’s commands brings peace.  Obedience brings peace.

God sees every step we take on this journey…He knows the path we are walking…it is ALL under His loving watchful eye. Peace on the path comes from obeying His Word and walking hand-in-hand with Him every step of the way.

He is with us wherever we go.

To see the other posts in this series, click here

Making Space for Peace

DailyBannerHeader_Day11

 

Sometimes you have to make some space for peace.  Because life is busy, and the to-do lists are never ending, and there’s always something pressing in and weighing down…and sometimes the way to find peace is to seek it out….to push all that’s busy and crazy around you aside, to slow down the pace and make room for peace.

That’s what we did today.

We took a little trip to Panola Mountain State Park near Atlanta, about a 1.5 hour drive from home, for a little “family adventure day.”  We hiked a little, had a picnic lunch, played on the playground, went out on the lake in a paddle boat, and just had fun together.  It was a beautiful, peaceful day.

There’s just something about getting outside and surrounding myself with nature…there’s something about exploring creation and breathing fresh air…it’s like a balm to my soul.  I love it.  It’s one of my favorite ways to infuse some peace into my days.

To see more posts in this series, click here

The Most Important Kind of Peace: Peace With God

DailyBannerHeader_Day10

My dad gave me this book the other day: Peace With God, by Billy Graham.  It was first published in 1953.  Over 60 years ago.  And yet, the words found within these aged and worn pages point to a story that God has been writing since the very dawn of Creation.  It’s a story of hope and love and redemption and forgiveness…a story of how to have peace with God.  And really, that’s the most important kind of peace of all.  It’s what all of mankind is seeking…it’s what we all need…whether we realize it or not.

Peace With God by Billy Graham

Billy Graham writes, and I agree: “I am convinced that there is a great hunger of mind and thirst of soul on the part of the average man for peace with God….All humanity is seeking the answer to the confusion, the moral sickness, the spiritual emptiness that oppresses the world.  All mankind is crying out for guidance, for comfort, for peace.”

The world has grown in power and in knowledge…we’ve crammed our heads full of facts and information…we have access to just about anything we’d ever want to know, right at our fingertips. And yet….our hearts remain empty, our lives are anything but peaceful, and nothing seems to satisfy.

Why are we still empty?

Billy Graham writes, “Because the Creator made us for Himself; and we shall never find completeness and fullness apart from fellowship with Him.”

We were created for fellowship with God.

And we will never find real peace apart from a relationship with Him.

The entire message of the Bible – the whole amazing Story of the ages – the one God is still writing into hearts and lives today – is the message of Christ and His offer of peace with God.

Woven through the fiber of every generation…all throughout all of history…is this incredible amazing story of God’s unrelenting love.  It’s a story of grace and redemption and forgiveness…it’s a story that bigger and better and more powerful than any other story…it’s the greatest and most important true story of all time.

Here’s that Story, in a very condensed form:

God created the world.
God made man in His own image.
God and man had perfect fellowship.  They walked together and talked together.  Man had perfect peace through an unblemished relationship with God.
But then man sinned.
The penalty was death.
Man began to die.
Fellowship with God was broken.
A great separation was caused between God and man.  It was a rift so deep and wide and dark, that nothing man could do could ever cross the divide.


But God still loved.
Even from the moment sin entered the world, the plan for redemption was being penned by our loving God.
For ages, man struggled to be right with God.
Sacrifices were made, blood was shed, to cover sins and restore fellowship.
But man still fumbled and stumbled along.  Sin stained hearts, destroyed lives, led to death. The world was broken. Humanity was cursed.
More sacrifices were made.
Man still sinned.
God still loved.
Man continued to sin.
God did not give up.

Then came Jesus.

Jesus was God’s Son. God incarnate.  Perfect peace personified.
He came to Earth as a man.  Lived as a man.  But he did not sin.
He loved people, and He taught people, and He worked miracles, and He did the impossible.
He flipped the whole hopeless story of man on its head.
Sin’s cost was death….but Jesus offered life.
Man’s situation was hopeless…but Jesus brought hope.
A war had been waged since the fall of man…but Jesus offered peace.
Peace with God.
But peace with God required sacrifice.
Jesus sacrificed His life in order to make a way for us to have peace with God.
He was crucified on a cross.
His innocent blood was shed.  He was the final perfect sacrifice.
He died.
He was buried.
Three days later, He ROSE AGAIN!!
He did what only God could do.
He made a way where there was no way.
His resurrection was the final nail in the coffin of the curse of sin and death.  Sin was once and for all defeated.  A bridge was built across that great rift between God and man.


Jesus made a way.
Now He offers salvation and forgiveness to ALL who will believe and trust in Him.
By His blood, through His sacrifice, we can be made right with God.
Through Jesus, we can have the most important kind of peace there is: Peace with God.

 

Colossians 1:19-20: [speaking of Jesus] “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

Billy Graham writes, “The world will never know peace until it finds it in the cross of Jesus Christ.  You will never know the peace with God, peace of conscience, peace of mind, and peace of soul until you stand at the foot of the cross and identify yourself with Christ by faith.  There is the secret of peace.  This is peace with God.”

It’s the greatest Story ever told…the hope of all mankind…the door to real and lasting peace:
The Cross of Jesus Christ

For more posts in this series, click here

Psalms of Peace {a trio of printables}

DailyBannerHeader_Day9

Well…it happened.  I missed a day in this writing challenge… 😦

I did not post anything yesterday…so I’ll catch up today 🙂

I’ll start with a few free Peace printables!!

The Bible is filled with verses about peace.  These three are from Psalms.  I designed some little graphics with them, using my own photos, and then made them into printables so I can print them, hang them, and memorize them.

I want these truths in my heart…ingrained into the very fiber of my being…

“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace”
Psalm 37:11

Psalm 37:11

“Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.”
Psalm 85:10
(I love this one…poetic and beautiful…reminds me that righteousness and peace are intimately connected.)

Psalm 85:10

“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
Psalm 119:165

Psalm 119:165

If you’d like to print your own, here are the links to the PDF files:
(Just click the image you would like to download)

Psalm 37:11

Psalm 85:10

Psalm 119:165

I’m working on another post for today, and I’ll post that one soon!
(then I’ll be all caught up…whew! 😉 )
But I hope you enjoy these printables, and that you will join me in memorizing these verses and committing His Word to your heart.

To read more posts in this series, click here

 

 

Peace Offerings

DailyBannerHeader_Day8

(So…technically it is October 9th as I am typing this, but I have yet to lay my head on my pillow so I’m still going to count this as my Day 8 post for this 31-day challenge.  It’s getting harder and harder to write every single day…but I’m hanging in there… 😉 I’m not sure if this post will make a whole lot of sense…it’s just where I’m at in my search for understanding peace, and my thoughts are a bit jumbled…but here ya go: )

The Old Testament has quite a lot of verses about peace.  Peace is spoken of as opposed to war or conflict.  People often wish one another peace or greet one another with words of peace, like in 1 Samuel 25:6: “Peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all you have.”

But the verses that have intrigued me lately have been about the “sacrifice of peace offerings.”  I don’t know how I missed this before…probably because I usually skim through the passages that detail all the sacrifices; I usually get lost in all the rules and procedures and bloody animals, so I just haven’t taken a lot of time to really study the sacrifices.  But the past few days, I’ve been taking a closer look, trying to get a better understanding of what these “peace offerings” really were.

So I’ve learned…there were five different kinds of offerings that God’s people were required to make: Burnt Offerings, Grain Offerings, Peace Offerings,  Sin Offerings, and Guilt Offerings.  Four of these (all but the Grain offerings) required an animal sacrifice…required the shedding of blood…including the Peace Offering.

Each offering had a purpose, an emphasis, a reason.  I can’t say I completely understand all of it…it is still a bit complicated to me, even as I read commentaries and notes about them all.  But this chart that is in my ESV Study Bible gave me the basic emphasis for each offering:

“Burnt Offering – underscores prayers of petition or praise

Grain Offering – pleasing aroma; often mirrors emphasis of the offering it accompanies

Peace Offering – fellowship with the Lord by having a communion meal

Sin Offering – atonement of a committed sin; metaphor of purification

Guilt Offering – atonement of a committed sin; metaphor of compensation for wrongdoing”

It was the peace offering that caught my attention.  Specifically, that it said its emphasis was for “fellowship with the Lord.”

So I dug a little deeper…read a little more.

The peace offering is detailed in Leviticus 3, and then again in Leviticus 7:11-36.

The notes/commentary in my Bible at the beginning of Leviticus 3 says this: “The Peace Offering.  This offering achieves and expresses peace or fellowship between an offerer and the Lord.  The ritual as a whole symbolizes a communion meal that is held between the offerer, the officiating priest, and the Lord.  In OT times such meals were a means of affirming a covenant relationship (Gen. 26:28-30).  Generally speaking, then, this offering was a time to remember and reaffirm the covenant relationship between the Lord and Israel.”

I’m not going to go into any kind of a deep theological discussion here…mainly because I honestly don’t know enough about any of this well enough to intelligently discuss it. 😉   But I’ve been mulling over some thoughts based on what I’ve been reading about this peace offering…and I think there’s something there that is key to understanding real peace.  So here are my humble little thoughts for today:

 

Fellowship with God = Peace

 

From the beginning of Creation, fellowship with God has brought peace.

But from the fall of man, that fellowship has been broken.

In the Old Testament, sacrifices restored that relationship.  Peace offerings restored fellowship.

Fellowship brought peace.

When Jesus came, when He made the ultimate sacrifice, He paid the final price for our peace.  Peace with God…the greatest kind of peace there is.  Fellowship with God was once and for all restored.  We can have a relationship with Him…we can know Him…we can live each day in communion with Him.  And that fellowship…that is what gives us peace.

But we don’t always feel that peace.  We don’t always let that peace rule in our hearts.  Because life and sin and worry and doubt gets in the way.

We don’t spend time with Him…we don’t talk to Him…and then we wonder why we don’t have peace.

We don’t need to sacrifice animals anymore to restore our fellowship with God.  Jesus took care of that.  But I wonder if there is something in my life today…something that is standing between me and genuine fellowship with God…something that needs to be sacrificed as a sort of peace offering, to restore my fellowship with God today?

When I’m feeling like my life is in chaos and peace is elusive, maybe I need to ask myself: is my relationship with God what it ought to be?   Am I aware of His presence in every moment of my day?  Am I listening to His voice?  Am I reading His Word?  Am I talking to Him?  Am I fellowshipping with Him?

Because fellowship with God will bring peace.

I’m still thinking through all of this…working through it for myself…trying to listen to what God is telling me and showing me.  But I think maybe there is something there…something really important to understanding peace in my own life.  So I’m going to keep reading and digging and seeking….and keep intentionally making Christ the center of my life, and keep drawing closer and closer to Him, because He is the source of all peace.

31 Days of Peace

To read more posts in this series, click here

%d bloggers like this: