When Will We Have Peace?

Now may the LORD of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The LORD be with you all! I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. The grace of our LORD JESUS  CHRIST be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16‭-‬18 NASB1995

The SOURCE of Peace: “Now may the LORD of [THE] peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The LORD be with you all!” Peace, TRUE Peace,only comes from the LORD. People ask, “When will we have world peace?” “How do we achieve world peace?” The answer is simple. World peace will only happen when Jesus returns. Until then, how can we have personal peace? There is only true peace with God. Individually, we can have objective peace within ourselves through Jesus Christ. He purchased our peace with His sacrifice.

The Peace of God (verse 16) is a sense of tranquility and calm in the heart, “when you feel all smooth inside.” Without His peace, we are in a constant, internal state of war. The Triune God is the only source of peace, the serenity of the Trinity. Through Him, transient worry becomes transcendent peace.

“The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace.”
Psalms 29:11 NASB1995

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
John 14:27 NASB1995

In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.
John 16:23 NASB1995

When do we have this peace? When we fully accept and rely on Christ, we can have it continually, as a constant in every circumstance; through all, in all, for all. Peace is not found in a place or circumstance, it is found in ONE person, Jesus Christ, through all and in all.

So how do we go about securing this Peace? By appropriating His Presence – His Presence is our peace. “The steadfast of mind will find perfect peace.” We secure it by walking in the Spirit – the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5). Reading and meditating on the Word, and with thankful prayer – Philippians 4:6-7(8-9) basically says `don’t worry, be thankful! Release the worries and capture the good, the blessings, and receive unexplained, unassailable peace.`Above all, look for the Second Coming; the Return of Christ. We know that it all comes together then! He IS coming, and He is bringing PEACE. Where there is depth, there is peace…. it is not on the surface!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:22 NASB1995

“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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:6‭-‬9 NASB1995

Should I feel quilty that I am at peace, knowing how stressed out and worried people around me are? We have our “special forces” in the form of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe we should feel guilty because we have found peace. Our peace can be the example, the beacon, of God’s love to those around us. If we radiate peace, they will ask how we have achieved it, leaving us the opportunity to share Christ with them. In light of everything going on in the world around us, I expect we’re going to be seeing lots of opportunities to share!

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:1‭, ‬4 NASB1995

Foundations for Good

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in His Holy Temple; the LORD is on His heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; His eyes examine them.”
Psalm 11:3‭-‬4 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/psa.11.3-4.NIV

The very foundations of our world are being destroyed as we sit back and watch. Morals are in the gutter. People are standing on the streets chanting “Up with Satan”. Children are being murdered with society’s blessing. Men and women are marching to celebrate perversity, and dancing naked and nearly so in the streets. Politicians lie with impunity, and live a blatant double standard. Eugenics is alive and well in these United States. Racism is promoted as being “progressive”. Corporations push transgenderism on our children through toys and clothing lines. Christians are persecuted and murdered in many countries. “Entertainment” is actively anti-Christian.

Where do you stand? The very foundations of Christianity are being challenged and watered down to suit the enemy’s agenda, while we – at least, for many – stand by and watch.

“When all that is good falls apart, what can good people do?” (Max Lucado)

I’ve already run for dear life straight to the arms of GOD. So why would I run away now when you say, “Run to the mountains; the evil bows are bent, the wicked arrows Aimed to shoot under cover of darkness at every heart open to GOD. The bottom’s dropped out of the country; good people don’t have a chance”?
Psalm 11:1‭-‬3 MSG

https://bible.com/bible/97/psa.11.1-3.MSG

Run straight for GOD. Don’t pass go; don’t collect $200. Don’t pause for breath. Stand firm in His arms!

Speak of the devil…. Nah….

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,”
Ephesians 6:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.6.18.NASB1995

This verse hit me. The enemy of GOD and all His Children. The leader of the fallen angels. The devil. Satan. Lucifer. Old Scratch. He’s out to get us. Me. You. Any and every person. He only wants to win, and he can’t do that when we pray. I really like the way The Message presents the verse.

“Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
Ephesians 6:13‭-‬18 MSG

https://bible.com/bible/97/eph.6.13-18.MSG

We are not on our own anymore! When we accept the Gift of Salvation from our LORD Jesus Christ, it’s like painting a bull’s eye on our backs. But see, here’s the thing. Satan may have painted on that bull’s eye, but we have a mighty shield to protect us! Not only has GOD assigned His angels to watch over us, but we have the Holy Spirit on our side. We have GOD’S Word and we have prayer. How’s this for a mental image: if you are leaning against GOD, your back is against Him and the enemy can’t even see the target! If he does get in a shot, we know it can only penetrate us and do damage if we aren’t protected.

Bottom line: Pray. Pray while driving to work or school. Pray while cleaning the house and cooking the meals. Pray (silently) for the person in the store or restaurant who is helping you. Pray before you go to sleep and pray when you wake up. Pray while walking. Pray while waiting. Mess up the enemy’s day! Go through your day with a high hedge of protection from the LORD.

It doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen. In fact, it will spur the enemy to try all the harder to hurt you and discourage and destroy you. So why pray? It will keep your mind where it belongs, on Jesus, and on what is to come – not what’s happening here. It’s the only way to live.

I Can’t Keep Up

I’ve been texting with my “little” brother this morning. He’s sending pictures of their place. The garden and greenhouse he built for them. My attempts are so feeble compared to his. It’s not that I don’t want to do better and have better, I just can’t keep up. There was a time when I could. My body has betrayed me, and I hate it. I look at my yard, and I can see how I want it…. and that’s where it remains. In my mind.

Then I opened my devotional by Max Lucado to today’s selection. Tears came. God knew I would be upset, and He arranged this for me to read today. It’s in God is With You Every Day, for May 22, titled Your Best Days. He tells the story of a little boy trying to keep up with his family in an airport, until he plops himself down on his bag and shouts, “I can’t keep up!”

That’s how I feel. “GOD, I can’t keep up!”

Max Lucado goes on to say this: “Sometimes the challenge is just too much. You want to keep up. You try. It’s not that you don’t. Life has a way of taking the life out of us. When you run out of fight,remember that the promises of God are your to claim. God’s Word dares you to believe that your best days are ahead of you. God promises you a Promised Land.”

Thanks, Max. I needed that today. My Promised Land is coming. I know that, and I need to be reminded sometimes. It may not be on this earth, but someday, I’ll have a garden that defies anything I can imagine now. Remember that. Whatever your dream is. Your Promised Land may not be on this earth. Are you confident that you will reach it? Are you a Child of the King, to claim your inheritance?

“You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your GOD gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
Joshua 23:14 NIV

https://joshua.bible/joshua-23-14

What I Deserve…

Satan is devious. He wants us to question God and rebel against Him, but if we forget God, that’s even better. He wants us to succumb to the lusts and pleasures of the flesh. He knows how dark and depraved our human nature truly is. BUT he doesn’t “make us” do things – he can’t force us to do anything, ever … it is OUR choice. “But God,” made us ALIVE. We DESERVE death, but because of God’s Mercy we have LIFE instead of hell and damnation. 

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love.
Micah 7:18 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/mic.7.18.NASB1995

But GOD Who pardons our sins and rebellion, Who is limitless, unending, and Who loves us in spite of who and what we are.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But GOD, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of GOD; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which GOD prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1‭-‬10 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/eph.2.1-10.NASB1995

Compare: Buddha’s dying words, which were to “strive without ceasing” to the dying words of The CHRIST, Jesus, whose words were “It is finished.” By Grace and through Faith in JESUS we can receive Salvation …. Both of these are gifts of and from God; there is nothing we do can earn them. Because He died…. it was never because of anything I could say or do. No justification.Just like the thief on the cross, it is always just because “the Man on the middle cross told me to come.” We are HIS workmanship; we are HIS Masterpiece!

But GOD demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/rom.5.8.NASB1995
All you have to do is take His Hand…..

And GOD…..

“But when the fullness of the time came, GOD sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, GOD has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “ABBA! FATHER!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through GOD.”
Galatians 4:4‭-‬7 NASB1995

https://bible.com/bible/100/gal.4.4-7.NASB1995

For His Name’s Sake

For the sake of Your Name, LORD, Forgive my wrongdoing, for it is great.
Psalms 25:11 NASB2020

https://bible.com/bible/2692/psa.25.11.NASB2020

For HIS Name. Not my name. His Name.

In 50 years (or probably less), no one outside of a few family members will remember my name, or any of my so-called achievements. I won’t be in any history books, and there won’t be any statues or streets named for me. No holidays to remember my life. My reputation and my relationships won’t be of any consequence. That’s okay. I’m not looking for fame.

Here’s what is important. GOD’S Name. His Name is eternal, and immortal. His Name is Holy. David is asking God to for his, David’s, wrongdoing for the sake of the Name above all names, the Name of God Himself. When we call ourselves Christians, everything we do reflects on God, reflects on the Name of God. Going forward, maybe we should be more concerned about the way people see GOD’S Name in us, rather than how they see our name.

Should We Work?

There are several reasons to work: to provide for yourself and your family, to do good for the world, and to give God Glory. Whatever kind of work we do, as Christians, our work should always be done well. As we near the end of this earth as we know it, there are some who believe that we (followers of Christ) can just sit back and wait for Jesus to return. Don’t fall for it! Paul gave very specific instructions on this.

“Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”

2 Thessalonians 3:110-‬13 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.10-13.NLT

There were people in the church in Thessalonica who had become undisciplined and were not working, and instead, were being busybodies and stirring up trouble. All sin being equal,  then being a gossip or meddlesome is no better than being murderers and thieves! At the time Paul was writing this, Greek philosophy was prevalent in this society. The thoughts of Aristotle and Plato and the immaterial v. the material world. “Work” was for slaves, and the leisure life was for slave owners and those who could pay others to do their work. There was also the erroneous belief that the world was about to end anyway, so why bother working? Paul makes a point to remind them how he supported himself while he was with them, and he was very clear that if a person was able bodied and hungry, don’t give them food, give them work!

“For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.”
2 Thessalonians 3:7‭-‬9 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.7-9.NLT

Paul’s example is of servant leaders who labor for the good of others. He practiced what he preached. When our motivation is to give God Glory, work is not a burden. He also wrote this to the Colossians about work.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Colossians 3:23 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/col.3.23.NLT

Paul has couched this letter in no uncertain terms: he starts in verse 6 with the word command. These are his (our) “brothers and sisters”, fellow Christians, the people who make up the church. Those among them (us) who defy this instruction are not to be associated with, but are to be warned. Shamed, NOT shaming. The goal is always restoration to fellowship and the LORD’S table.

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. ….. Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.”
2 Thessalonians 3:6‭, ‬14‭-‬15 NLT

https://bible.com/bible/116/2th.3.6-15.NLT

Many thanks to Pastor Jay Risner of Faith Bible in Edmond Oklahoma for his sermon “A Busy Body or Busybodies “.