by Cindi Runyon
I’ve been hearing something really wonderful over the last few weeks. Christians friends, pastors, family members, some of you have been looking forward to the harvest to come after this pandemic! How exciting!
As a church – especially this one – we are always ready to welcome God’s new children into the body of Christ. We are all willing to help, to teach, to involve, to pray for these new children of God. Right?
We seem to be expecting a harvest. But we have a problem.
Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Matthew 9:37
We are told in 1 Peter 3:15 Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
So here is our problem: Many times we, as Christians, don’t seem any better off than those who don’t know or follow God at all.
Are we just as afraid, angry, sick, worried, full of doubt and fear, troubled by the times, upset with our co-workers, family, spouses, children, etc?
First, we are in good company.
WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE OUR SOURCE OF PEACE
The disciples got tossed about in the boat and in the terror of the moment FORGOT that Jesus was their source of peace. So when the storms of life frighten us in the craziness and chaos happening around us – we too forget Who holds our peace.
Matthew 8:23-25 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
It’s very human to lose our focus on Jesus.
The disciples had Jesus in the boat with them and they were terrified. They had the Source of Life. The Prince of Peace right there, and yet they worried. But they DID run to Him! They woke Him up in a panic to get help. While we do NOT have Christ just a few feet away from us taking a nap, we DO have His Holy Spirit with us at all times.
But first we must recognize that we need Him. And to do that, our focus must be right.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. ~ Philippians 4:6-9
FINDING PEACE TAKES ACTION!
If you read Philippians 4 above, you might notice that it’s full of commands. We have work to do!
- Don’t be anxious
- Present your requests to God with thanksgiving
- Think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
THEN will the peace of God which transcends all understanding guard y our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We must choose to trust Him. And then we must obey God by turning toward Him. To do that, we have to turn away from our own fleshly desires.
Friends – We must remember how to get back to our Source. Our source of peace. And we must be able to point others to it as well.
I love scripture, and clearly the whole Word of God is dedicated to telling us WHO He is and how He rescues us and blesses us with every good thing.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Colossians 1:13-14 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.
FINDING OUR SOURCE IN GOD NOT IN THE FLESH
Our main focus in this is not to recite what we know in our heads, but to take a clear look at our Source and begin anew to go to Him for peace in this troubled time.
Romans 8:6-7 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
It comes down to what we set our minds on – what is important to us.
Name some sources people might go to for comfort:
- Social Media
- Screen time
- Personal Gain
- Personal Pride
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Romans 8:6-7
- Sin is focusing on what your flesh wants – and it leads to chaos.
- Righteousness is focusing on Christ and Truth – and it leads to life and peace.
- If you are looking for comfort for your flesh (See the list above) – the chances are it will lead to sin.
- Turn instead to your Source of peace.
ALTER YOUR FOCUS
- From flesh to spirit.
- From me to God.
- From sin to righteousness.
- Trust Him with the future.
- Do what He says in His Word
Trust and Obey (the Hymn)
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way. When we do His good will – He abides with us still. And with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there’s so other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
So let’s work on remembering to stay away from sin and run to our Source of Peace.
Here’s a tool box of scriptures to help!
- James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people!
- I John 2:1 My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the Righteous One.Psalm 34:14 Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it.
- Romans 14:17 …for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit…19 So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.
- Psalm 37:37 Watch the blameless and observe the upright, for the man of peace will have a future.
- Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Psalm 85:8 I will listen to what God will say; surely the Lord will declare peace to His people, His godly ones, and not let them go back to foolish ways.
- Psalm 119:165 Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble.
- Psalm 120:1 In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.
- John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
- Psalm 4:8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.
- Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace.
- Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Matthew 9:37 Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.
- And Paul said to the Romans: But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?
- 1 Peter 3:15 …but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
- Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
- Job 19:25 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
MY PRAYER OVER YOU ALL
Colossians 1:9-14 For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you.
We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.
He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.
1 Peter 3:15 …but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.
- Remember your Source
- Stay Grounded in the Word
- Stay Focused on the things of the Spirit
- Avoid sin – anything that goes against the things of God
- Ask Him for help
- Remember you are not alone. Reach out to church family.
- Give allowance for weakness and remember
- If you can’t find peace – go help someone else
NEXT WEEK – Confidence in Christ: Finding Our Source of Love & Acceptance