War and Peace

War and Peace

Psalm 34:11-14 (NKJV)

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

Chaos. Utter chaos. Seriously, just when I think life couldn’t get any crazier, it seems to find a way. I am not alone. I get texts constantly from friends and family requesting prayer followed by their need which usually culminates in a call and desire for peace in the storm, relief from the pain and strength to go on. So I pray for them. I love to pray for them. I feel power when I take their need, plea or longing to the Lord. Lately as I have prayed, I have noticed a shift in my request for them. It begins with a specific need but ends in an outcry of peace. People need God’s Peace to survive this world and reach eternity. Christians must find peace in the Lord to come together as the Body. Believers need the Peace of God to be steadfast and endure individually to the end as is required. How do we pursue peace and perfect it in life under the current circumstances and conditions? Well, our peace is not dependent on such things. Our peace is in the Authority and Power of Jesus Christ alone.

To pursue a life of peace is to follow Jesus. However, do not be misled by modern day teaching and compromised grace. You cannot come to Christ continuing in your own way and immersed in willful disobedience yet still have a peaceful heart. Peace of mind comes from godly knowledge and understanding applied to our life as wisdom. It means that when all hell breaks loose around us, our heart is confident that the Kingdom remains strong. When nothing makes sense, a made up mind will remain steadfast in Jesus. Trust me. The enemy has tried to strip me of peace. He violently attacked my heart and mind with relentless chaos and concerns. It would be a battle to the end of me when all I had left was a mustard seed of faith clenched deep inside my heart. Yet, in all things, I overcame in Jesus Christ. His Grace is always enough for me. His Strength is made perfect in my weakness. I must pursue peace.

Ephesians 2:14-18 (NKJV)

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. 

Jesus Christ is our peace. He perfects peace in us. He died to reestablish our peaceful right standing with God. It is our unity with Christ that begins the peace process in life. He reconciles our life with God as we grow in faith and confident hope leaving our old life behind to engage with Jesus.

Isaiah proclaimed the arrival of Jesus and called Him Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father AND Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His Government and Peace there will be no end. (Isaiah 9:6-7) Jesus is the Prince of Peace. So why? Why all the chaos? Why is life so crazy? Why is sin rampant? Why has love grown cold? Why is everyone at odds? Why the stress? Why the anxiety? Why the fear? Why? If Jesus is our peace, why are we not at peace? I know this is a lot of “whys” but let’s be real for a moment – we have all asked the question. I am saved. I love Jesus. I trust the Lord. I have given Him my whole heart. I strive to live according to His Word, His Will and His Ways. Yeah me, right? One would think my life would be perfect. Without pain, problems and the like. Well it’s not. In fact, most of my biggest battles have been fought after I came to know Jesus as Savior and made Him the Lord of my life. Where is the peace that He promised? If Jesus is the Prince of Peace, why doesn’t peace reign in my life?

Matthew 10:34-36 (NKJV)

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’

What? I thought Jesus was our peace. I thought that was His Mission to bring peace on earth. Well, not exactly. Jesus came to be our peace. His Presence interrupts worldly order. It makes the natural atmosphere quake in His Presence. I regret to inform you that you might be the problem. The “Jesus” in you is stirring up things around you. The enemy hates you just because you are a Child of God. It doesn’t matter how good we are or how peaceful we attempt to be. If he cannot touch you, he is going to stir up everybody and anybody accessible around you. Work gets crazy. People go nuts. Circumstances become ridiculous. Believers begin to experience surreal conditions not because Christ is not present in their life but because He lives in us! We are the problem so now what?

John 16:33 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 14:25-27 (NKJV)

“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

The Peace of God that Jesus bestows on His People is not an outward presence by a holy inhabitation. It is personal. It is for you and I not the world around us. Jesus was honest. He said you will have tribulation. I have overcome the world. He had to leave us in the natural so that His Spirit could come inside us to develop peace of heart and mind that will get us past what we see and experience to what we know about the Lord. The God of Peace will crush satan under whose feet? Spoiler alert – He crushes satan under YOUR FEET. We will overcome the enemy with peace of mind, peace of heart and a peace-filled spirit. No matter what the weapon is – we win. The Lord is reminding us today that peace is not an outer circumstance but inward confidence. It is when our faith becomes hope that will not disappoint no matter how disappointing life seems. It is total trust and dependency in the Kingdom of God maintained by His Presence.

Matthew 11:12 (NKJV)

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

“Si vis pacem, para bellum” is a Latin adage that means “If you want peace, prepare for war.” This is true statement. This is true even when it comes to the Kingdom of God. God is all powerful. He is the strongest force in all of the universe. That doesn’t mean that other kingdoms will not challenge His Power and Authority. The devil has been trying ever since his fall from Heaven to overtake God’s Kingdom one heart at a time. To have the Peace of God in our life will not only require pursing it, but we must fight for it.

Sin puts us in enmity with God and His Kingdom. Righteousness turns the table and now we are considered hostile to this world and its rulers. When Jesus becomes our Savior and Lord, He fills us with His Spirit. As we travel through life pursuing peace and sharing His Love, the principalities and rulers of darkness get all riled up. They are hostile toward the Spirit of the Living God because they know the end. Jesus told us exactly what to expect, but many preachers and teachers today tell of something entirely different. The “prosperity” gospel that doesn’t consider the price paid on the Cross or the Cost to take up our own cross and follow Jesus will never prepare us for the battle ahead. God doesn’t always change our circumstances, but He changes us. He doesn’t remove the consequences but rather works to eliminate the sin which produces them. If someone told you following Christ would be all sunshine and roses, they lied to you. It is pure deception that has plagued the church and tries to quench the end day’s revival that is stirring. If I want peace, I am going to have to prepare for war. If you desire the Peace of God to rule and reign in your life, you must do the same.

Romans 8:5-7 (NKJV)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

The first step in claiming the Peace of God designated for your life is to decide that you will be spiritually minded from this day forward. To look for God, His Love, His Goodness, His Favor, His Presence, and His Victory in every single moment. To make it your mission to remain faithful when all hell breaks loose, the lie of the enemy fills your ear with venomous threats, and if chaos rattles ever door and window that it will be barred with peace. The enemy cannot have you. But he will work to take away your confidence in the Lord and smother your faith with fear. That’s really all he is capable of. We have the power to restrict him in our life and live in the Power and Presence of God which is our peace. He gives us peace of heart and mind when we choose righteousness over sin. We must make up our mind that we desire peace.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” (Amplified Bible)  I have added verses 6 and 7 in the Amplified version for those of you who are like me who although we know what it says refuse to stop worrying and becoming anxious. It is human nature. I am working diligently to crucify that part of me at enmity with God. The part of my being that demands its own way. Tries to regain control. Chooses to be anxious, worry and stress even though the Lord is fully in control. They part of me that forgets or choose not to take every circumstance and situation before the Throne of God. The part of me that lapses into episodes of forgetfulness and is not filled with thankfulness. The Peace of God is available to me, but I must make up my mind that is for me. I must not rely on my own perception or understanding but totally immerse myself in truth, knowledge and godly understanding.

 

Think on these things. There is a whole list of them surely enough to fill up my mind. I must consciously choose to meditate on such things filling my heart and mind with God’s Promises and pursing His Peace even at the cost of my own pleasure.  Peace is what binds us together as we battle for His Kingdom together and keeps us from turning against ourselves. (Ephesians 4:1-6) If only we keep our minds “stayed” on the Lord, this is the place where we find “perfect peace.” (Isaiah 26:3-4) Right standing with God allows His Peace to permeate our life and overflow from it. (Psalm 119:165)

James 3:17-18 (NKJV)

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Faith makes all things possible in our life. To totally trust the Lord with our life and every detail will both wreak havoc and release peace. I do not understand it. I have just experienced it. The battles waged around you is nothing more than the enemy flexing his muscles, puffing out his chest and shouting worthless taunts. He cannot overcome you. The devil has no right to your peace. The only ground that he gains is that which is given over to him. If you want a peaceful mind and heart, it is yours today in Jesus Name. He gave you His Spirit so you would be at peace from now until He comes. You must decide that peace is worth fighting for and prepare for the battle every day. The enemy is relentless but so is God’s Love. His Love beat death and the grave so what do we have to fear? We overcome. We win. He provides perfect peace. It does not necessarily change our position in life. His Love changes us so we can live in perfect peace no matter where we are or what is present in our life – greater is He who is in us! We can live in peace every day, but only if we are willing to passionately pursue it and fight for it! My pastor said last night that if we are only after a reward in Christ, then we are in this for ourselves. It’s true. We must live for a relationship of peace with God and allow His Peace to be our completion. Fight for your peace today. Don’t let the enemy have it. It belongs to you!

Colossians 3:14-16 (NKJV)

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

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