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Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Gift for You

A Gift for You



Jesus has given us a gift- the gift of peace.  This is what He said as He left us this gift.  “My peace I leave you: my peace I now give you.  Not as the world gives do I give this to you.  Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  (John 14:27)   Again and again throughout the Bible we find many scriptures that promise us that this special peace is ours, and that God has us covered. We are not to be afraid or to worry – just trust God.


When I first read Jesus’ words promising this gift of peace to believers, I hoped that a bundle of peace would just drop on top of me and I would automatically feel calm, cool and collected.  But that didn’t happen!  Even though trusting in God has brought me a lot of peace, I still worry about many things. I want to trust God all the time and not just part of the time, but when things go wrong I still react with fear. I believe, Lord help my unbelief.  Perhaps you are like me and don’t enjoy all of God’s peace all of the time. And being anxious and fearful even part of the time is miserable enough to make us want to learn to trust God and enjoy His peace all the time!     


So my question is, what do we need to do to stop being anxious and fearful?  How can we trust God all of the time instead of just part of the time? What is our part?  Scripture says to “Seek and we shall find” (Matthew 7:7) so we can search the Scriptures and ask God for answers.  


We read in Exodus 33:12-14 that Moses was worried and fearful about how he would be able to do the job that God had commanded him to do.  God had asked Moses to lead the children of Israel across the desert to the Promised Land.  A big undertaking!  And Moses was afraid and worried.  Who would go with Moses to help?  What route would he take across the desert?  What supplies should he take along?  How would the people get water to drink in that vast dry desert? How would the people believe him and follow him out of Egypt in the first place? Would Pharaoh let them go? He was up tight and anxious and asked God to map out all of the details for him in advance.  But God didn’t do that.  God answered Moses with these words: “My Presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”  (Exodus 33:14) 


God did not answer his many questions. The fact that God was with Moses was all that he needed.  And what was true for Moses is also true for us. As much as we would like to know all the answers to our problems and how everything will turn out, all we really need to know is that God’s Presence will be with us wherever He sends us.(Isaiah 41:10)  We keep our eyes on Him and not on our troubles.  If things don’t work out the way we want, we have to stay calm and trust Him to show us what to do.  Gods’ timetable and His ways are not ours. In the end God will work everything out for good.  (Romans 8:28) 


If we learn to lean on God and remember that He is always with us, we will have peace.  And if we come to Jesus with our problems we will find rest.   Jesus asks us to come to Him.  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble and you will find rest for your souls.  (Matthew 11:28-29)  And Isaiah 41:10 says: “Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you, with the right hand of my righteousness.” So we will enjoy our gift of peace more when we learn to lean on God and develop a childlike attitude of faith.  Rest in the arms of the Lord and let Him manage your life.


Psalm 63:7 reads:  “For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice.”  Joyce Meyer writes about being under the shadow of Gods’ wings in her book “Be Anxious for Nothing.”  She says that a shadow is a shade, a protection from the heat or the sun. The shadow also has borders around it between the light and the shadow.  We are either in the shadow of something or we are not. 


She continues that as long as we choose to remain under the shadow of God’s wings, we will be comfortable and protected. But we can choose to walk out from under those wings. When we drive down the highway, as long as we stay within the dividing lines between lanes and obey the signposts along the road, we are in much less danger of being involved in a accident.  In the spiritual realm, the “lines and signs” that keep us on the way of the Lord and out of danger are obedience and trust in God. As long as we place our trust and confidence in the Lord and try to obey Him, He will keep us under the shadow of His wings. 


Another thing we need to do in order to enjoy a peaceful life is to learn some self control.  It’s impossible to have a peaceful life (the good life) when we don’t control our emotions. One of the gifts of the Spirit is self control.  Galatians 5:22-23 reads:  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control …”  See, it’s in there as one of the helps (talents) that we receive when we believe in Jesus. So God has already given us help (a talent) in managing our emotions.  It may be difficult but we need to learn to use what we already have and ask God for more help if needed.


You may be saying; “Wait a minute!  When I am upset I can’t control my emotions!”  I have a difficult time controlling mine too.  But scripture says that we can!  “By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.”(Luke 21:19)  And the King James Version of this verse reads, “In your patience, possess ye your souls.”  This scripture is saying that with patience we can “possess our souls” and not panic and not fly into a rage.  We can ask God to help us win this battle and He will be there with His help and strength.  


Scripture also says: “Be anxious in nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication make your requests known to God, and the peace of God which passes understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”(Phil.4:6) This scripture is telling us that whenever a problem comes up not to worry but instead to pray.  To always replace anxiety with prayer.  “Cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)


We also lose our precious peace when we get angry. Scripture says: “When angry, do not sin: do not let your anger last until the sun goes down.  Leave no foothold for the devil.”  (Ephesians 4:26-27)  One of the ways that we lose the peace that Jesus gave us is by not forgiving people who have offended us or angered us.  We will get angry but we are told not to sin when we do.  We are not to let the sun go down on our anger – in other words we are not to stay angry and hold resentments.  We are to quickly forgive and move on. 


We are to go to the one who made us angry (or who we made angry) and do what we can to make things right.  If we are unable to do that we are to forgive them in our hearts and never hold a grudge. Never gossip about them to others or harm their reputations.  God will be there to help us forgive even if we have to keep coming back to Him for help. 


Each time we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to “forgive us our sins as we forgive others of their sins” (Matthew 6:9)   Since God has forgiven us of our sins He commands us His children to forgive also.  We will never have the gift of peace in our lives if we hold onto unforgiveness.  In fact holding on to unforgiveness will make us miserable.  Do not give the devil a foothold by holding onto unforgiveness.  


We have been given this wonderful gift – the gift of peace.  But part of our peace gift may still be wrapped up and un-opened.  Most of us are only enjoying part of our peace part of the time.  We learn that it may take time and practice to trade our anxieties for prayer.  And it may take patience and endurance (Luke 21:19) to gradually develop a childlike attitude of faith in God.  It may take time to learn to rest in the arms of the Lord.  And prayer and effort to learn to forgive.


 Let’s be patient with ourselves as we keep on learning to use our gift. Let’s cast all our cares on God and turn our back to our old worrying ways. We have been given this marvelous gift of peace - so let’s not let it go to waste.  If we had been given a million dollars we wouldn’t leave it sitting on the shelf.  And our gift of peace is worth much more than a million dollars.  So let’s start enjoying what we have!  






Some of these ideas were taken from Joyce Meyers’ book, “Be Anxious for Nothing.”








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