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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Experiencing peace with God

 "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you.
  Not as the world gives do I give to you.
  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them
  be afraid. "
                       (John 14:27)

  "Leave me alone! I can't take this anymore!"
  All of us have heard these words of desperation before. Maybe even we have uttered them in a moment of panic.
  Stress!! The stress of raising a family, the stress of holding down a job, the stress of a complicated relationship. Stress, stress, stress!
The world is having an anxiety attack and most of us are desperately trying to get away for some relaxation and a little peace of mind. But, where do you find a peace of mind?
In the sixties, the hippie movement chanted, "All we are saying is give peace a chance." Unfortunately most of the young people experimented with marijuana, lsd, and other mind-altering drugs. The anti-authority, anti-government movement of the 60's did little to achieve peace. Instead there were riots, suicide, murders and protest rallies that ended with arrests and very little peace.
 Instead of being addicted to dangerous drugs, many people turned to the east for yoga and transcendental medidation in search of a peace of mind only to discover that the results were artificial and not long lasting.
 Since the turbulent hippie movement of the sixties, have we learned anything? The road to peace was a dead end, so now where do we find a real peace of mind?
 Nearly two thousand years ago, the night before his crucifixion, Jesus made a promise to his fretful and worried disciples. His disciples were much like us. They dealt with real life issues that were filled with stress. Jesus, realizing in a few hours he would experience agonizing pain after being nailed to a cross, spent the last hours of his life comforting his "stressed-out" followers. He made them a promise that would transform their lives in any situation.
 "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
  Jesus did not say, empty your minds, sit in a lotus position and mediate. No. Jesus did not promise a superficial solution to the anxiety and stress all around them. What Jesus did promise was His peace would guard and comfort their hearts in the midst of stress, anxiety and tragedy. He did not promise to remove all of the trials and obstacles of life. What he did promise was that His peace would give them an, "Inward settled assurance" that He was with them in the midst of the pain and suffering. They would have a conviction, a trust, that in the midst of real suffering, His peace would sustain, strengthen and comfort their troubled hearts.
 Would you like to experience this kind of peace?
The kind of peace Jesus is speaking of is a peace that passes all understanding, a peace that flows from a real relationship with God. When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, your fellowship with God is restored and your broken heart of sin is healed.
 This is the kind of peace that the world needs. Every other pathway will only lead to more stress.
  Jesus has come for stressed-out, troubled and anxious hearts. His peace can be yours. What will you choose today?