WEEKLY THEME THREE ~ PEACE

Tam - posted on 06/03/2009 ( 12 moms have responded )

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WEEKLY THEMES ~ Each week we will study a theme, aside from actual Bible verse study we have going on. We are all here to share what God has laid on our hearts or how He has used these themes in our lives.



As we are all currently trying to seek after a closer walk with God and want to be able to share Him with others, it makes sense to me to study the Fruits of the Spirit so we can know that how we live, how we act, what we do and say will be shown in our fruit and that we should pursue Godly fruit.



Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.



Each week we will study a new fruit and learn together how we can use these to God's glory, or how to overcome stumbling blocks to growing these fruits in our lives. I hope you all will participate as you can so we can share and grow in Christ together. One minister (sorry, can't remember who) said they thought of love and self-control being bookends which hold and support the other fruits. To me they are more like dominoes that when they are lined up and you press on love, it knocks into the next and so on until finally they are all there, working together to make a chain and as the dominoes fall they reach out and touch each other at the same time.



*~*~*~*~*



Isaiah 37:12 (NIV) The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.





The headlines today just shout of the chaos around us...one look at the newspaper or a quick glance at the evening news and it's enough to give anyone a case of anxiety.



Which brings us to this week's theme - PEACE.



The third fruit listed in the Fruit of the Spirit is peace. One many people, even Christians, find difficult to cultivate and grow with the ever darkening horizon of the world today.



The key though is trust in God.



But I trust God, you say. And you're most likely right. You trust Him to never leave you and to always be there, but do you well and truly believe that He will never forsake you? I struggle with this on some of the day-to-day stuff and have to stop to remind myself that He is in control and He knows the number of hairs on my head, so He knows what I'm going through and what the world will throw at me. He is bigger than all of that. He can certainly take care of me. Knowing that gives me peace to continue.



I'm not talking about a temporary peace that comes from my own understanding or even the world's version of temporary peace that comes more from numbing the symptoms of unrest than actual peace. Alcohol won't drown out unrest, drugs can only make you forget temporarily, and sex, wealth and entertainment are merely distractions. No, the peace I'm talking about is of divine nature, a gift from our Father rooted so deep inside that it can calm your fears in midst of any storm. This peace comes from knowing that I am His (that we are justified by faith).



Romans 5:1 (KJV) states, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"



And peace was important enough that a good portion of the Bible is dedicated to peace. I believe I read in my studies on peace that almost all of the NT books either start with or end with peace (all but two books, I believe).



And the divine-inspired Word should instruct us on peace. Our precious Lord is our PEACE.



Judges 6:24 (KJV) says, "Then Gideon built an altar there unto the Lord, and called it Jehovahshalom; unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of Abiezrites."



Jehovahshalom translated means "The Lord Our Peace."



Interestingly, most often in the Bible, peace is tied to Jesus. Isaiah 9:6 calls Jesus the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. In Luke, the angels tell the shepherds that the baby in the manger would bring peace to the men on whom His favor rests. In I John 14:27 Jesus tells us about the Comforter, saying, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."



Strong's concordance describes peace as "quietness and rest." It does not mean in the absence of trial or tribulation, but rather that the Peace of God will be with us to help us during those times. It is often through the storms of life that we find the true meaning of that peace. Just like with Joy, God's peace is so much a fact if we just surrender our hearts to Him and hand Him our cares. In fact, Romans 8:6 admonishes us to keep our eyes on HIm, stating "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."



When we are spiritually minded, we seek after God and His law, not the world's. It gives us peace to withstand. Remember, the recent verse we read in Proverbs 3? I believe it was verse 17, but it talks about Godly wisdom and says "her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths lead are peace." It doesn't say lead to peace, but are peace. That says a great deal about our God. He knows when we need it the most, while we are on the path, and He grants it, He doesn't wait until we reach the destination or as we struggle through the storm. That peace is right there, ours for the comfort, as long as we seek after Him



There have been many scientific studies done that will prove this. The most recent I found was conducted by the University of Toronto and showed that believing in God can reduce stress and block anxiety. When you look at the dismal fruit of stress and anxiety (just the physical body signs) we see hypertension, ulcers, anxiety attacks, heart problems/attacks, breathing problems, etc. Each take their toll on the body. Other effects of unrest can cause divorce, substance abuse, suicide, etc. No wonder our God wanted to make sure we knew He was there with peace for us. The fruit of unrest is not good on our bodies (His temples) or to those around us.



When we long for and desire that deep relationship with our Savior, we cultivate that peace and it grow and bears fruit that others see. We can remain calm in midst of crisis. We can keep a cool head when the world around us is falling apart. This doesn't mean that we are perfect or have all the answers, only that we know the One who is and does! When we have His peace, we can cope with the situations thrown at us.



And it seems that as the world grows darker, we are mocked on all fronts--not just daily trials, but in this "one nation under God" we have been increasingly mocked, even attacked and singled-out for our beliefs.



The other day I was reading about a document put out by the government that stated the groups to watch as "domestic terrorists". My soul started to become troubled, wondering at the future.



Then the Lord reminded me that this world is not my home and nothing anyone can do can take away what He has given me. Only I can forfeit it. That as long as I keep faith in Him and His promises, I am marked as His and nothing they can do to me will harm my soul. This life is fleeting, temporary, and while there will be those who mock and persecute, we are blessed in His eyes because of it. I think part of that blessing is His peace.



Just look at Christ when they took him before Pilot. He maintained calm even though He knew what was coming, though the crowd shouted "crucify him" He personified God's peace. He knew that though there would be pain, His sacrifice would take Him back to the Father as well as open the door for us to be with Him to praise and love Him for eternity.



And just as I was preparing for this topic, I found this verse again...



Psalms 119:163-165 (NIV) states: I hate and abhor falsehood but I love Your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws. Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.



Nothing they do to me can make me stumble as long as I keep my eyes on Him and follow HIS law.





So, what about you? What has the Lord laid on your heart about peace?

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12 Comments

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Tam - posted on 08/03/2009

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Heather, it's not easy, but God is right there and He's in Control. As He promised, you are blessed for being a peace-maker. You could have compromised to keep the peace but I think you would have missed out on much from our God.

Honestly, I fear it's going to get more and more difficult (not feel rewarding as you said), but we have to remind each other that our reward is not on this earth. Our treasure is with Him. Not always easy to remember in the eye of the storm, but that's why He gave us such wonderful earthly friends in Him. :)

You hang in there, keep praying and I'll do the same. This world is getting crazier, so more than ever we need to do what is right in His eyes!

Heather - posted on 08/03/2009

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Tam, I came back to this today after a few confrontations about my faith. Our conversation from all those weeks ago was very helpful and reassuring. I copied and pasted it so it will be easier to find in the future. Sometimes being a Peace Maker isn't easy, and doesn't feel rewarding. But it is what God wants from us.

Tam - posted on 06/18/2009

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Awesome verse! Thanks for that reminder. Going to post it on my computer right now!

Heather - posted on 06/18/2009

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That reminds me of the verse in 2 Timothy, that says "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (NIV, 1:7)

Tam - posted on 06/16/2009

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Heather, I know what you mean. We had touched on this in our breaking intimidation class at church and I had never thought of it, but the Holy Spirit really convicted me about it because I had been peace-keeping thinking that I was following the word. After much prayer and thought, I realized that while we should do what we can to be peaceful people, we also should not compromise. You can be bold and strong and also loving. Sometimes it's what the world might call "tough love" but to keep the peace means we compromise the Word, by not telling a sinner they are sinning. You can do it in love and if you pray for guidance God will give you the words. And then, Sometimes you have to raise a ruckus to make peace happen. Sometimes that is all that will get through. Boldness is required, and to be bold we have to truly trust in the God's authority in our lives.

Thankfully, raising a ruckus isn't often called for.

At any rate, this has been pointed out to me a lot lately as I read about "peace" in the newspapers, etc. The fact that UN has a group called PeaceKeepers instead of PeaceMakers really opened my eyes to the difference in how the world views peace and God's version of peace. He did not say "blessed are the peace keepers" He specifically said Makers.

I don't know, maybe rambling now, but it's a personal thing for me that to me is tied into my own faith, in not denying Jesus. Ya know? Which these days is getting more and more difficult for those who don't really read or understand the Word. I think the Lord is opening the eyes of His church so that we'll know and understand and prepare our souls and hearts for His return.

Heather - posted on 06/15/2009

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Thank you for adding the difference between Peace Keepers and Peace Makers. That is huge. I never really thought about how drastically different the two really are. Peace is important, but we still are not to keep peace when people's souls are at stake. We do need to stand firm in our beliefs. That is where I believe gentle rebuke, and love and patience come in. We can correct others in gentle ways, but voicing our beliefs is important.

Tam - posted on 06/15/2009

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Just to clarify, when I said "force" I meant "physical" not like in Star Wars or some new age thing, lol.

Tam - posted on 06/15/2009

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Heather, I wanted to add to your part about peace-makers.

A lot of people get that confused with peace-keeping. We are not called to be peace-keepers. Peace keepers don't rock the boat, they don't stand firm in their beliefs. Intimidation can work through them to pressure them to keep silent. A perfect example would be for abortion. Most Christians don't believe in it (or shouldn't!) but when it comes to speaking their stance--not arguing or fighting, just speaking--they hesitate in order to keep the peace. They will say, "Well, I don't believe in it personally but if you want to that's between you and God." In an effort to keep the peace they mute their beliefs, water it down. This is a passive thing, doesn't require action. We are not called to be passive, except when we are to be still to hear Him. We are called time and again in the Bible to be active.

Blessed are the peace-makers...

When I think of peace-maker I think of a visual. Did you all know that Wyatt Earp's gun was named "The Peace-Maker"? Just the image of a gun being named peacemaker makes you stop and think. Thankfully Earp had the insight to only use it in drastic situations. The thing though is that it was there to help him keep the peace when all other methods failed. There is force behind making peace sometimes that we don't always see, but there when needed.

Being a peace-keeper is pro-active, doing what needs to be done to keep the peace, not letting the waves wash over your head to silence the din.

Tam - posted on 06/15/2009

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Anne, that's awesome. God is our peace in all times, good and bad. He is the calm in the storm and your testimony here just shows that. Thanks so much for sharing your insights. I believe God brought us together so we can share our own personal experiences to help us get a glimpse into His depth and breadth. While there is much we'll not know until we are with Him, I believe He is trying to bolster and prepare his people for the coming dark days and your testimony gives me much hope in Him!

Anne - posted on 06/09/2009

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Being a bit older and having had the history with God and His Honesty, I have a slightly different thought about Peace. I can look back on the MANY times in my 54 years that God brought me through things that if it were not for God's Peace I would have been sunk into a deep depression. You all know about my shoulder problems, but you may not know that I was born with what was considered one of the most involved heart defects in the 50's. I was one of 3 that lived through the "new" procedure to correct my heart. Other than a residual heart murmurer I have been fine since my surgery in 1963. WELL in the fall of 2006 my family DR. who is also a family friend and fellow church member told me I WOULD HAVE A STRESS TEST. Yes he was that firm. I am a little hard headed about some things.lol I had the test. It should shadows where there should not be shadows. It appeared to be a blockage that would require at least a balloon procedure. I remember sitting in the Cardiologists office in one of the examining rooms and be in tears. I started to Pray for God to get me through this, regardless of the out come. The words were hardly thought, or said when the 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philipians 4:6-7 became a reality for me. I had Prayed, God delivered! From that time on until the procedure I NEVER worried about the outcome. Did I know what the outcome was? NO. Was I concerned? NO Did I have the Peace that Passes all understanding? YES!!! Because the Dr was familiar with my kind of defect(Gee I wonder if that was a fluke that I had a Dr. with his background? NOT) I was allowed to go on a planned vacation of 12 days to see our oldest daughter in NC. Even the day of the Heart Cath to find out what the shadow was, the Dr. that puts you out during a surgery commented on how calm I was and only gave me the smallest dose of meds to relax me. Did I know the outcome before hand,no but I knew the one that knew the outcome. The test came out perfectly clean. No blockage of any kind. The DR. said it was because of the way they did the patch, I told him that may have been so but the real reason was that this test had been bathed in Prayer, and what ever the out come of the test had been that the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob was in charge of my life and all part of it. Really Sisters in Christ my life is not one gloom and dome story after, only a story covered by God Grace.

Tam - posted on 06/04/2009

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"Patience would be nonexistent without peace."

How true! I was thinking of it from a anxiety standpoint, but impatience is a by-product of anxiety, isn't it? And then when we let it take a foothold, it becomes ingrained in everyday living so that we are impatient with everyone and everything.

Thanks for sharing that!

Heather - posted on 06/04/2009

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Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.



When I think of peace I tend to think more about how we are to be peacemakers. We are not to argue or quarrel (Titus 3:9). We need to be gentle in what we say and do (Ephesians 4:2). We need to spread God's love in a peaceful way, and let the peace in us show.



James 3:17-18

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.



But in order to share our peace we do first need to have it. The peace that God gives me on a daily basis is just amazing. Peace is so important. Without the peace that God gives us we would constantly worry, never be happy. It would be hard to love without peace. Patience would be nonexistent without peace.



Psalm 122:8

For the sake of my friends and of all the people, I will say, "Peace be within you."



Peace to you, my sisters in Christ. (3 John:14)

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