P E A C E

I had a wonderful opportunity this last weekend to speak to a lovely group of girls. They were learning about the fruit of the spirit and I was asked to share a little about peace. I am really noticing God’s leading in this area {working with teens} lately which has me very excited. I thought I would share with you a little of what I talked about. 
Peace.
“It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. “ –unknown  
Most people think of peace as the lack of conflict. Then you have world peace, which basically translates to a world free of war.  It is a more outward/outside us feeling of peace.The Bible talks more about an inward peace. It is a peacefulness that is actively affecting our life from the inside.  An inner peace.  When studying this, I found that there are four parts to peace.
Peace as an active role:

Psalm 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.


Having peace is something we need to actively pursue.  We need to do our best to get along with everybody. Throughout our day we will come into contact with different people, different situations. Don’t involve ourselves in petty arguments, create conflicts, and create drama.  If you really want peace, you shouldn’t create conflicts with others. Peace isn’t something you find once and that’s it you have it; you have to pursue it continually.
Don’t dwell on negativity. Surround yourself with positive people. It may be easier for some than others depending on your nature. I am naturally an optimistic person. I see the positive in things first. My husband on the other hand is naturally pessimistic. He sees the negative first. Doesn’t that mean he can’t be at peace? No, I think it will take more effort on his part to pursue it.

Peace that affects decisions:

Colossians 3: 12-15Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love breed peace. When you are doing all those things you are being a peacemaker.  You are creating peace.
You may still have differences in opinions, but you can still put those differences aside and work together.  If you love each other you bring peace.  Love brings people together, hate drives them apart.

I suspect you have relationships that will have problems. You have friends, family, maybe boyfriends, and someday husbands. The problems that come up may not even have been caused by you.  It is how we handle them that matter.

All relationships take work. That is where the pursuit of peace is necessary as well as a continuous effort.  Forgive and love them by showing them compassion, be kind to them even when they are unkind and hurtful to you. Don’t think of yourself as better as them, but speak to them gently. {Don’t use harsh words.} Be patient, broken relationships take time to heal. Forgive them, and when you have opportunity show them love. If you do all the right things, you can be at peace with where you are. 
It can be hard sometimes when dealing with the heart.  Verse 15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” The things that affect our relationships are usually the same things that affect our hearts. It is easy to let our heart decide how to handle a situation and act on our emotions, rather than letting peace guide our heart. When a conflict comes up, we need to ask ourselves, “How can I respond that would end this peacefully.”
Peace with contentment:               

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
It is hard to have peace if you aren’t content with what you have, with who you are, and with what you do.  If you are constantly comparing yourself to someone else, wanting something more, you won’t ever have peace. You want that big house with the nice things with the big closet to hold all those trendy clothes and shoes that you see all those pretty models wearing right? Have you heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy?” Comparison is also the thief of contentment, and contentment ,in a way, is being at peace with what you have.
If you’re not, you will always want more and nothing will satisfy you. Being content doesn’t mean we have to stop having goals, or have great desires. But if we have those and aren’t at peace with what we already have, then we won’t ever really have peace.
It doesn’t mean we won’t be without our share of problems.  We will certainly have those. We may struggle with finances, school, relationships and the like. But, if we have Christ in our life, we have the Holy Spirit to comfort us and guide us, and we can be at peace knowing that God is in control and He has a plan for us.

Peace with knowing God:

Philippians 4:5-7 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.
God is in control. Most of us here probably know this, but how many of us find ourselves taking over from time to time? It is especially easy when things are going good, to just say,” It’s okay, I got this!” When something good happens, it is probably not because we really did anything, it probably happened despite anything we did. God is working all around us.  Let go and let God.

How many of you ever worry? What do you worry about? It would be easy for me to find things to worry about. I have a husband, kids, a house with bills and one income! Not easy. In fact, too many times by the end of the week we find ourselves just scraping by. We have things break down on us all the time. We’ll just get something fixed and something else will break. Of course it will be the week we just happen to have some extra money. See God providing?

God tells us in Matthew 6:25-27 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Worry, a lot of times, takes the form of fear.  Did you know “Fear not.” Is one of the most used phrases in the Bible?  Over a hundred times, God tells us to not be afraid. We spend so much time worrying about little things and big things when we can be at peace with God knowing he is in control. God takes care of His children, we don’t have to worry.  Even by worrying we are showing our lack of trust in God.
We can have peace with God in another way. By accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and asking for His forgiveness, we have peace knowing that we have been forgive. We find rest in Him who gives eternal life. We can live each day at peace knowing the things of this world will pass away. The struggles, the brokenness, the conflicts that we have to endure are not forever!  
If you still seem to be at odds with ourselves or with others, pray. Ask God to help you find peace in a situation. If you seek God’s will in everything you will be able to feel God’s peace about it.  Keep your thoughts and trust in God, and you can find peace in the midst of chaos. 

The days I pray first thing in the morning about my day ahead, asking God to equip me throughout the day to have the energy, mindset, and love a mom should have, those days go the smoothest. I am not tired, and even though we have slight hiccups, there is this feeling of ease. I know it isn’t me. This is all happening despite me. They days I get busy and try to do it all myself, things go wrong, I get frustrated, and I feel overwhelmed.
 
Know that when you put your trust in Jesus, you will find peace in the midst of chaos. Psalm 46:10 says to “Be still, and know that I am God;” and we should. It reminds me of the Keep Calm Carry On posters. Keep calm and know God and know peace.
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