I missed this sermon by Pastor Russ Austin when Nicholas caught his cold, 2 weeks ago. Last week, I watched my girls’ presentation in children’s church during the first service, then substituted for a missing teacher in the toddler room during the second service. And this morning, too many people in this house are still coughing for me to feel right about taking anyone to church to share their “bugs.” So I’m listening to this wonderful sermon–such a great message for me! Thought I’d share it with you today … just in case you could use some peace, too. 😉
(Direct quotes and Scripture are in quotation marks; all else is paraphrased as I’m sitting here listening!)
The definition of peace: “having order and well-being”
Peace is not about lack of outward activity (doing nothing) and it’s not about appeasement (avoiding conflict.) Sometimes the only way to peace is *through* conflict.
Steps to cultivate peace
“Remove the confidence-destroying power of guilt and shame.” Unconfessed sin leads to always feeling bad about yourself. By confession and repentance of known sin we gain peace.
“A guilty conscience is a source of constant unrest.”
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8-9
Don’t take the message of grace too far. Yes, of course there’s always a way afforded to you to get to God. When you sin, it’s true that you’ve already been forgiven and are still going to heaven. But if you want peace and to sleep and to enjoy relationships and live calmly through rough circumstances, you need to confess and make things right to the best of your ability. We’re not wired to carry guilt and shame–we need to get rid of it in our prayer closets.
“It would be better for you to know less and obey more.” The more you obey, the more powerful the Word is, in you. Your life becomes transformed. Lots of people know a lot and do nothing, and they’re useless. What you *do*matters more than what you *know!*
“Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river.” Isaiah 48:18
“Great peace have those who love Your law. Nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165
*Focus on Christ
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.” Isaiah 26:3
*Resolve personal conflicts
Fix it if you can; agree to disagree.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7
Some of you are in a storm. Your boat is sinking. Is Jesus in your boat? Is He your Lord? Are you doing your best to track with Him through the Word? Jesus rebuked the disciples by basically saying, “I’m in the boat! If it goes down and I’m in it, you were *supposed* to go down with the boat!” The only question we should have in the midst of any storm is, “Is Jesus in the boat?” Wherever He goes, you go. Have peace. God is sovereign. He is in control. If the boat goes down, it’s okay! If it’s not supposed to, He’ll do a miracle and it won’t! What He does is good, and we can be at peace.
A good message for me. I think as our children grow older and we have less and less control over the situations they face and their reactions to those situations, we have an increasing sense of our need to walk in peace! Realizing that Jesus is in control is absolutely the key to this, in my world. I have to remind myself over and over that HE is the one steering the ship–as well as the one in charge of the wind. That’s good news! It’s good news in every area of our lives, because there’s nothing outside His control.
Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Cultivating our lives so our hearts will be fertile soil for Him to grow it in is certainly a worthwhile use of the time we have here!