Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Peace Like a River

Fruit of the Spirit Series - part 3
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace..." Galatians 5:22

Peace.  Just the mention of the word brings with it a calming sensation….dreams of a beautiful beach scene where no screaming children threaten our serenity, where no demands place undue stress on our emotions, where no one around us is hurting and all is right with the world…

Jesus said He would give us peace.  He also spoke peace to a raging storm.  Then Romans tells us that we are to live peaceably with all men.  And we cannot ignore the admonitions to “hold your peace” mentioned throughout Scripture.  Oh, and then there is the verse I’ll bet you didn’t know was in there.  It’s in Joshua 10:21 and it says this… “And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel.”  It seems to me that in this situation, part of keeping the peace meant keeping one’s mouth shut!    So with all of these references to peace in mind, just what exactly is peace??  And how do we incorporate it and its benefits into our own lives?

Peace.  It’s a deep-seated, calm assurance of soul that only God can give…that is the result of trust in Him and a firm belief that He IS IN CONTROL…that can say, “whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.” 
      When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
               When sorrows like sea billows roll;
               Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
               It is well, it is well with my soul.
“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” (John 14:27).

Peace.  It’s a personal knowledge of Jesus’s saving and sanctifying grace and the ability to sing, “It is well, it is well with my soul!”
                My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
               My sin, not in part but the whole,
               Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
               Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Peace.  It’s the experiential knowledge that God hears and answers our heartfelt prayers.

I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace, Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day, And His glory is flooding my soul!
             Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
           Coming down from the Father above!
           Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
           In fathomless billows of love!

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:26).

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). 

Peace.  It’s knowing when to keep opinions to one’s self or even when to keep one’s mouth shut in order to foster a sweet spirit and an atmosphere of harmony and love.  It’s doing one’s best to live with no regrets…no bitterness…no grudges…between ourselves and our fellowman. Only if we are experiencing the peace of God in our hearts can we successfully live in peace as the Scriptures instruct.

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28). 

“And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves” (1Thessalonians 5:13).

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
“When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).

I’m not sure there is much more to be said on the subject.  And you, dear reader, are probably glad because it would seem this devotional has gone on long enough!    But before you go, maybe you’ll read just one more verse…
 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).

Peace to you and yours today,


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