Feels like a strange concept
some 2000 years after Jesus was born. It seems at times we can get trapped in thoughts that God is not really WITH US anymore. We may feel like he’s just a benevolent being observing our day to day activities, but that He isn’t really involved or concerned all that much with each of us as individuals. These thoughts, like we talked about last weekend, are among those things that try to sneak in and steal our peace and result in hindering us from accomplishing the job God has given us to do.
When I think about meanings behind names, I’m often intrigued by how a given name can really become who that person is in life. When Kathy and I named our children, we were aware of those meanings and wanted to be sure we didn’t “label” our kids with something that might be harder to overcome. This past weekend we looked at what the name Immanuel means – God with Us. This isn’t just a theory to consider or something that happened in just a certain moment of time; this is fact, God is with Us and sent His son years ago at Christmas to repair the RELATIONSHIP with us that was broken.
God is not only with us; He is the ultimate source of our peace! In our own lives we look at the circumstances and wonder HOW CAN I HAVE PEACE? How do I live in the midst of circumstances that are OUT OF CONTROL within the peace of God? Peace IS available to those with whom God is pleased…WE are made right by God when we put our faith in Jesus (it’s not what WE can do for God to love us and give us peace…it’s putting our trust in Jesus who gave up his life to reconnect us with God).
How can we practically LIVE in the peace that God promises us? First, we need to watch for red flags…what takes me down a path of worry, anxiety and stress? The devil will use these issues to steal our peace and try to keep us from faith in God and his sovereign control of all things. No, we won’t be free from all trouble, but we can live in peace within the circumstances and not let the circumstance CONTROL our emotions.
The second idea we can put into practice is to REMAIN in Jesus. By studying the Bible, through memorizing passages that we can meditate on when we are feeling the anxiety build, through prayer and relationship with Jesus we can alleviate our feelings of separation and loneliness which drive our hearts away from faith and trust. Taking our thoughts captive, not only in the BIG areas of life, but in the small seemingly insignificant spaces can build our relationship with Jesus, our focus on Him and not our surroundings! This week when you have a moment when you feel you are not experiencing God’s peace…pray Philippians 4:7 over your thoughts “God your peace guards my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus.” Whenever you feel like trouble or fear are taking over…PRAY this prayer…the Spirit of God will come upon you and give you the peace that you are longing for….your problem may not magically disappear BUT your attitude around that issue won’t consume you…you will feel a sense of peace and calm instead of the stress and anxiety that can overtake you