As Best You Can, Live in Peace!

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We are called to live in peace with one another.  Really, we are.  We see so many passages in the Bible about loving your neighbor, doing right, being faithful, being the body, all of these things.

We are even told in the Beatitudes that blessed are peacemakers.  We are told to live in peace with one another.

But sometimes that’s hard, isn’t it?   Sometimes that’s nearly impossible.  That’s why I really like what it says today in Romans 12: 18-21:

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

eiMAAdnKTIn as much as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.  I really love that.  As much as it depends upon you.

Now notice, though, that’s not a “get out of jail free card.”  You (and I) still have to do our part to live in peace with one another.  So, look what it says.  Don’t avenge yourself.  If you’ve been wronged, don’t worry about getting them back.

As a Christian revenge should not be in our vocabulary.

In fact, look what the text says we should do.  We should feed our enemies. Give them something to drink.  And then it says in doing this, we heap coals upon their heads.

So, if we do these things, they will feel bad about themselves, right!  We win.  Well, not exactly.  The job of a coal in the sacrifice is to purify.  When we love our enemies, we show them God’s love. And we help them be drawn closer to God.

In as much as it depends upon us.  That doesn’t excuse us.  It doesn’t let us off the hook.  We still have to be faithful, not seek vengeance, and love.

But know this. You don’t control their response.  You only control yours.  If you have done the right thing, if you have shown grace, if you have shown mercy, and they do not desire for things to be right, you know what?

You’ve done what you can do. That’s all you can do.  Do what you can do.

You only have control of yourself.  So, in as much as you can, live in peace with others.  Do your part.  Leave the rest up to God.  And the results are not up to you.

So you can rest easy.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Seeking Peace

Yesterday at Asbury, we talked about how peace is not a concept that is not able to grasp, nor is a circumstance that change. Peace is a person – Jesus Christ. Peace doesn’t come through these things; peace comes through our relationship and our walk with Jesus.

I was thinking about that today when I was reading some of today’s suggested readings, and I read Psalm 34. Listen to what it says in 11-14:

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

img1The things of faith, the things of peace in our lives really aren’t complicated to understand. They really aren’t.

They can be just really hard to do at times (at most times!). Today, the Psalmist talks about peace. And this is his suggestion to us today.

Keep your lips from evil. Turn from evil. Do good.

In other words, watch what you say. That’s a consistent Biblical command. Our words can do great harm or great good. It’s up to us, based off how we used them.

Turn away from evil. Don’t go looking for trouble. Seriously. Trouble will find you; temptation will find you. It will. Don’t go trying to find it. Stay away from things that you are that are wrong.

Do good. The quickest way to change our perspective, to changer our attitude is do something good for someone else. Serve someone. Give. Care. Be salt and light.

Seek peace. In others seek Jesus. For He is peace. Seek Him. Chase Him. Place your heart upon Him. Nothing else.

And in this, you will find life. See, not complicated to understand. We all know these things. But just hard to do. So, how do we do it?

We pray. We read the Word. We surround ourselves with those that help us be faithful. And keep doing these things. As we do them; as we seek; as we grow, find peace. We find strength. We find faithfulness. We find life.

Today, as you walk with Jesus, you will have more peace. Live out that peace with and before others. And as we do that, we will make a difference in our life and in the lives of others.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

What is Peace?

Christ-Our-Peace-Postcard-2012What is peace? What do you think of when you think of peace?

For most of us, we think of some vague feeling or concept, something that we “feel” that we may not even be able to explain what it is that we feel or experience. We think of the passage where it says that the peace that passes understanding will guard our hearts.

So, for most of us, we associate peace with that “sort of” feeling.

And that is great, but the only problem with associating everything with feelings is what about when we don’t “feel” it. What happens when we don’t have that feeling? Do we still have peace? Or joy or whatever?

I want to share with you something I read this morning. Listen to what it says in Ephesians 2: 14-19:

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers

It says in Ephesians that peace is not a feeling or a concept, but it is a person. Jesus. We are told today that Jesus is our peace. He guards our hearts. He is the one that keeps it all together.

What does this mean for us today? Seek Jesus. If you want peace, don’t seek “peace.” Seek Jesus. Because here’s the thing.

If you seek a feeling, you may or may not get it or feel it. It may not happen. But, if you seek Jesus, if you chase Him, if you are faithful to Him and seek Him, with your whole heart, you will find peace.

You will.

Jesus is our peace.

Peace is not a feeling. Peace is a person. Jesus. He will guard us. He will keep us. He will save us.

Today, don’t chase after that feeling. Chase after that person. Chase after Jesus. And you will find peace. Because He is our peace.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

We All Want Peace

Sometimes in life, we just feel like we don’t have any peace. We can be set by trials, troubles, all kinds of things that can just steal our peace.

Things that can make worry, make us stressed, make us sick, make us miserable. We’ve all been there. We may be there now. We all understand this.

We all want peace, don’t we? No matter where we are, no matter our circumstance, no matter what is going on in our lives, we all want peace.

So, the question becomes, how do we get peace? How do we have real and true peace in our lives?

Listen to what it says in Isaiah 26: 3-4:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

peace-with-god1Those whose mind is stayed on God will have perfect peace.

Here is the reason. Think about what take your peace most of the time. Is it something that is a fact? Or is it an emotion? Or a feeling? Or worry?

Most times for me, the things that take my peace aren’t “facts.” They are things that I feel that may or may not be true.

The reason why we have peace when we keep our minds on God is because when we keep our minds on God, we keep what is true and what is a fact in the forefront of minds.

What is true? God is good. God is in control. God has a plan. God works things out to our good (Romans 8:28). God will even use evil for God (Genesis 50:20).

Things things are true. Even when we don’t feel it. We have to believe it. We have to hold fast to it. We have to keep it on our hearts.

We have to keep it in our minds.

Today, set your mind on Christ. Set your mind on what is true. Hold fast to it, believe it. Cling to it.

And when we hold onto truth, we will find peace. Because we remember that God is good. All the time.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Peace and Quiet

I’m someone that likes noise. Always have, always will. I like background noise. I like having the TV on. I like having Spotify or Google Music up in the background when I’m at church. I go to sleep each night listening to podcasts or to the news.

I like noise. Always have, always will.

Silence makes me nervous. I don’t always know what do do, or probably more important, what to say. I like the noise.

But, there are times, really deep times, really important times, when words fail. When there isn’t anything that you need to say, there isn’t anything that you need to do.

You just need to sit there, in silence, and know that you are in God’s presence, that you are loved, you are valued, and that you matter. Listen to what it says today in Zephaniah 3: 16-17:

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

peace-and-quiet_-(3)It says here that God will quiet us with His love.  There is nothing more to say. There is nothing more to do.  You are loved.  You are.  You are valued.  You are.

The Lord is mighty to save.  He is strong to save.  He loves you.  The sovereign God of heaven, who can do all things, will sing over you.

As parents stands over, sings over, prays over their child, our loving God sings over us.  He quiets us.  He loves us.

In Him, we can have peace.  And we can have quiet.  Because of His great love.

Today, if just for this moment, sit where you are.  And know this.  No matter where you, what you are doing, what you may do, you are loved.  You are.

Let that sink in.  Let it become real.  You are loved.

You can have peace.  You can have quiet.  Because of Him.

Know that.  Today.  And each day.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

God Delights in You

Yesterday when we read in Psalm 18 about how our perspective on the day will determine the kind of day that it will be.  Will it be good, or bad?  A lot of that will focus on the way that we choose to look at things.

Today, we look again at Psalm 18, but this time, we focus on why in the world that God will save us in times of trouble. Why is it, when the perspective looks bad, that we can have hope?  Why can we cling to that notion, even when things look really bad?

Listen to what the word says in  Psalm 18: 17-19:

He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

img_3395God delights in you.  It isn’t just that He’s proud of you, or He loves you, or any of these things.  He delights in you.

You make Him happy. Think about that.  You bring a smile to the face of our awesome God.   You bring Him joy.  You delight Him.

That’s how precious you are to Him this morning.  Now, this doesn’t mean that things will be perfect.  We see in the text that the the Psalmist was in a place of great trouble and great worry.  He was afraid.  He felt as though things were going to end badly. It didn’t look God.

And then God stepped in and saved the day.  Because God delighted in him.

He does the same for you today.  Trust.  Hope.  Believe.  Know.  God delights in you. And He will be there for you, in your moment of need.  Today, we know that to be true.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phone.

Give Us Rest

maxresdefaultDavid Crowder Band is one of my favorite Christian bands ever.  I love their spirit, I love their art, I love their lyrics, and I love their passion for leading the people of God in worship.  There version of one of my favorite hymns, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing is very different, but very good.

One their last album they have what may be my favorite of their songs.  It’s called “Give Us Rest.”  I just love the notion of singing to God, saying, give us rest.  We are tired. We are worn out. We are exhausted.  We can’t do any more.

Oh great God, give us rest!

Is that your prayer today?  So many days, it is my prayer.  As a busy body, sometimes, I just need rest.

Today, don’t just listen to the words of that song, listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Today, there is rest.  No matter what you are facing.  No matter where you are.  No matter what is going on. There is rest.  Really, there is.

Now that doesn’t mean that everything will get better at this exact moment.  It doesn’t.  But, you can rest.

You can put down your burden.  You can lay it aside.  And you can know that the very  God of Creation holds you in His hand.  You can rest today.  Really, you can.  You can rest.

Today, cast your cares upon Christ, because He cares for you.

Rest.  In Him.  Rest.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phone.

He Will Rejoice

We often think of us rejoicing in the Lord.  We think about each of us, giving praise to God through our songs, through our music, through our actions, through all that we are.

We think of so often of us, truly rejoicing and worshiping the goodness of our God, the greatness of our king. We think of all that we want to bring to God, all that we want to give to God. For He is worthy of everything that we could possible ever give to Him.

Everything.

But, today, let’s think on that concept a little different.  Listen to what is says today in Zephaniah 3:16-17:

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

imagesThe Lord will sing over us.  He will love us.  He will quiet us with His love.

It isn’t just that that we will sing our praises to God.  It’s that He will sing over us.  Think about that for just a moment. God loves us so much that He will lift up His voice and sing over us.  What a powerful image.

Seriously. Stop right now and think about just how much it is that He loves you.  He does.  He loves you more than your human brain can understand.  Man oh man, He just loves and adores you.

Don’t forget. Don’t forget that.  He loves you. He will sing over you.  You are His.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Peace

Peace is something that we all want.  We want peace with others.  We want peace with ourselves.  We want peace with God.  We want peace.

And as much as we want peace, it can be so hard to come by.  It can be so hard to find peace with others.  With God. With ourselves. We want that peace that passes understanding.  We want to rest our head on our pillow at night. We want to be at peace with others.

And sometimes, it’s just hard to have happen.  Sometimes, instead of peace, it feels like we are in a war.  And peace is never to be seen.  Listen to the words of Psalm 122: 6-9 today, talking about peace:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Christ-Our-Peace-Postcard-2012In the season of Advent, peace is a major concept.  Jesus is the prince of peace.  He came to bring peace.   Peace to the world.  Peace to our relationships.  Peace to our souls.

And yet we find that there isn’t peace.

So, what do we do?

We work for it.  As best we can, in our lives, we work for peace. We work for peace with others.  Sometimes, yes, we must be the bigger person.  As Christians, that’s what we are supposed to do.

Through Christ, we can have peace with God.  He has paid the price, and you are forgiven.

And, through Jesus, we have peace with ourselves.  Because through Him, we are forgiven by God. So, we can forgive ourselves.

We desire peace. But that peace that we desire, it only comes through Jesus. Today, may we focus on the prince of peace. And may we find that peace that we are looking for.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Calm

We worry don’t we?   We worry about the future.  We worry about the past.

We worry about the things that we don’t understand.  We worry about the things that we do understand.

We worry about the thing that we control.  We worry about the things that we don’t control.  We worry.

Today, in this season of Advent, where we focus on the fact that God has a plan, for salvation, for hope, for redemption, to make all things right, we are reminded.  We don’t have to worry.

Really.

We don’t.  We can be calm.  Listen to the words of Psalm 131 today:

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

calmThere is a simple humility in these words today.  David says, I don’t worry about things that are too great for him. He doesn’t worry about things above him.  God has those things .  Really.  God has it.

Do you believe that today?  God has it under control.  He really does.

David says, he has calmed his soul, because he knows that God has it under control.  He can rest.  He can relax.  He can.  He doesn’t have to worry. God has it.

He can rest in God. He can be calm.

So can you today.  You can rest in God.  Really, you can.  You can rest in Him.  You can be calm.  He has it.   He really does.

Today, rest.  Be calm.  Trust.  God has it.  You can place your hope in that this day, and each day.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.