VIDEO The Narrow Path To Personal Peace

May 18, 2019 by Dr Charles Stanley

Wars, riots, domestic violence, and international conflicts—it’s clear that the world is not at peace. But our internal worlds don’t have to mirror this external chaos. In this message, Dr. Stanley speaks of Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace and explains how we can find inner contentment and true rest through a personal relationship with Him. Don’t let things like anger, lust, or bitterness steal your peace. Learn how to trust God and let Him calm your soul with His soothing presence.

The Narrow Path to Personal Peace

KEY PASSAGE: John 14:27

SUPPORTING SCRIPTURES: Matthew 5:9 | Luke 9:5 | Luke 10:5

SUMMARY

The night before His crucifixion Jesus gave His disciples an amazing promise: “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).

He wasn’t saying that all their conditions would be serene, easy, and comfortable. On the contrary, He was telling them they would have peace of mind and heart even though their circumstances were painful, difficult, and uncertain. And this is the same kind of peace Jesus promises to all of us who belong to Him.

SERMON POINTS

The peace Christ gives is a settled sense of satisfaction in Him. It’s not dependent upon good conditions but on a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We can be confident that no matter what we face in life, He is with us and in us through the Holy Spirit. And one of these days, whether we die or Jesus comes first, all the troubles of this life will be over, and we will be in heaven with Him forever. Then everything will be made right just as He promised, but until then, we have His peace within us as we live in this world’s pain and trouble.

Christ’s peace is not like that which the world offers.

This age is not characterized by peace, whether external or internal. People are anxious about their jobs, finances, relationships, and situations because the world cannot give them the peace that transcends circumstances. The only thing it can offer is counterfeits, which falsely promise that peace will come when they can have whatever they want. In the days when Jesus lived on earth, Rome was doing its best to keep external peace in the empire by subjecting everyone in two ways—through power and pain. But the peace Christ gives doesn’t come through coercion. The Greek word for peace is eirene, which means to bind or join together, signifying oneness without strife or consternation. Jesus Christ’s offer of peace comes when a person is bound together with Him.

Without that relationship, genuine peace will always be missing no matter how many other good relationships one may have. Furthermore, anxiety and a lack of tranquility may result in physical ailments. Although people oftentimes seek relief in other alternatives, they will never truly find peace apart from Christ.

Jesus is the source of this peace.

Christ’s peace is not something we can work to attain but a gift freely given to all who belong to Him. It’s actually the gift of Himself that is acquired at salvation. At that moment, an eternal relationship with Christ is established, and where He is, there is peace. One of the evidences of this relationship with the Prince of Peace is that we become peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). And the most basic way of doing this is by connecting other people to the ultimate Peacemaker, Jesus Christ.

There is a narrow path that leads to peace.

The world offers a wide selection of ways to find tranquility, but they are all false. Yet this is the path most people choose. They move from one false hope to the next but are never able to satisfy the gnawing need for peace in their hearts.

When Jesus sent His disciples out to proclaim the kingdom of God, He said to them, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house’” (Luke 10:5). This verse is a good reminder for us to pray for those whose homes we visit. Although we may not know the circumstances of their lives, the Lord does, and we can pray that they will receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, and experience His amazing peace.

On the narrow path to peace, there are obstacles that steal our peace.

  • Lustful thoughts. When a Christian is looking where he shouldn’t and desiring something sinful, he will have no peace because of the conviction of sin that comes from God’s Spirit within him. Lust always creates chaos in the heart and soul.
  • Guilt. Peace is fragile and is easily lost when we feel the guilt of our sin. It could be something we said or did that we shouldn’t have, or perhaps something we should have said or done but didn’t. Either way, our peace evaporates under the Spirit’s conviction.
  • Anger. Peace and anger do not coexist. Animosity toward someone stirs up negative emotions and robs us of a tranquil spirit.
  • Bitterness. If we allow past hurtful experiences to fester, we will have no peace because our focus is on the wrong done to us and not on Christ. He suffered more injustice than anyone else ever has but harbored no bitterness, and we are to follow His example.
  • Self-centeredness. If we are preoccupied with what we want or think we deserve, we will have no peace because such thinking is rooted in pride.
  • Doubt. Any time we doubt the truth of God’s Word or His promise to answer our prayers, we can’t have the peace of Christ ruling in our hearts.
  • Unbelief. Those without Christ cannot have His peace because they don’t have a relationship with Him. They may display a limited or conditional serenity, but it is easily lost and won’t last.
  • Jealousy. A preoccupation with a desire to have what belongs to someone else robs us of tranquility and contentment.

How can we experience Christ’s peace?

  • We must believe that He is in control of our lives and our circumstances. Otherwise, we will try to take control, and there is conflict in that struggle.
  • We must believe that Christ’s offer of peace is real and be willing to accept it in spite of our feelings.
  • We must fully surrender our lives—mind, will, and emotions—to Jesus as our Lord. This includes yielding and conforming our character, conversation, and conduct to His will.

Having Christ’s peace does not mean that we will never have any trouble, suffer pain or illness, or feel afraid. But whenever these experiences come our way, we will be able to respond with absolute confidence and certainty in the sufficiency of Christ. He is adequate for every situation and will always carry us through it. In fact, sometimes the most difficult, painful, and trying circumstances can become the seedbed for the awesome peace God gives to us in those moments.

RESPONSE

  • Is your life characterized more by peace or anxiety? What situations most commonly rob you of peace? Where is your focus in those times? Is it on yourself, others, circumstances, the unknowable future, or Christ?
  • What is your level of peace when you are trusting God versus when you are trying to control your life or the lives of others? Who is more qualified to be the one in charge—you or God?

Original here

The “A” Word

May 10, 2019 by Discerning Dad

 

 

Men…we were created in the image of God to be the covering for our families…the rock, the foundation, the supplier, the hunter/gatherer, the fix-it guy, the put-gas-in-my-car guy, the guy who has all the answers for our kids crazy questions….the guy who mows the lawn and pulls weeds.

Well darn…that’s a lot of responsibility.

But do we let our family see us sweat about it? Heck no. Instead, we bottle in our feelings, restrict our positive emotional output and kick the dog when we are frustrated. If the dog’s not available, we kick the wife and kids…. maybe not physically but certainly emotionally.

A man’s hidden paradigm – anxiety – we bury it deep inside and don’t let ANYONE in to see all of it…maybe glimpses, but that’s all. The American culture is to keep anxiety buried (or medicated) so it can’t be seen. I have been (and still sometimes am) that man. The problem is that anxiety isn’t just about being worried. As men we don’t stand around wringing our hands waiting for things to get better.

We usually look for some sort of outlet to divert the need to think about the things that cause us stress…. any distraction. It can be sports, obsessing over a hobby, or maybe burying ourselves in our job. These things are socially acceptable…and the church community generally doesn’t have an issue with either.

On the socially “unacceptable” end of the spectrum, anxiety can also be the conduit that leads to other issues. We were designed to be on this earth and walk in the power and authority of God, but we trade that power and authority for other things.

Fear, Anger, Lust, Control

These attributes can be manifest in many ways…. family abuse, substance abuse, pornography, affairs…. pick your poison. If you are doing something not honoring God, I guarantee you know it. We may be very good at hiding our sins, but we know the entire time, unequivocally, that it is sin. But is this how God instructs us to deal with stress?

So, what does the Word say about how to deal with anxiety?

Let’s look at a scripture that Paul wrote while sitting in an uncomfortable jail cell, probably hungry (hangry?) and thirsty and not knowing what his fate may be at the very next moment…. a perfectly good reason to be stressed out….and probably a bit agitated.

Phil 4: 4-9 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
8 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. 9 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.”

Okay men…let’s break this down.

1. Rejoice in the Lord always …I will say it again, REJOICE! – God is our #1 priority! You are NOT rejoicing in your circumstances…. you are rejoicing in who God is and that He is with you during your circumstances. If you place your problems and circumstances before God, they are an idol in your life.

2. Let your gentleness be evident to all. – RELAX…. This begins very close to you and your circle of influence. At home. With the kids. With your wife. With the dog. Alone in the car dealing with traffic. At work. In public. Stop being defensive. Don’t feel the need to prove you are right. Take a cue from Elsa…. LET IT GO.

3. The Lord is near. Duh…you know this…. or at least you should.

4. Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
a. Bring your situations to God – Pray immediately and let God know specifically what your worries are.
b. Be THANKFUL – THIS IS HUGE! Let God know how much you appreciate all He has done in your life!! Think about this…. How great do you feel when your kids show you appreciation and gratitude just for being Dad??

5. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
a. Our Promise from God for being obedient to verses 4-6!

6. 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.
a. Verses 8 & 9 are NECESSARY!
b. Whatever unnecessary things in life cause you anxiety cut them out…This is necessary and will require for you to do some soul searching. If our current political situation causes you stress, stop watching the news, cut out social media, stop letting people bait you into conversations that get you fired up. YOU know your triggers. Identify them and leave them alone. Think about things that are pleasing to God…. I don’t think our Savior cares too much about Russian collusion.

7. 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.
a. And the God of peace WILL be with you. Wow! Mic drop.

Prayer: Lord – In the midst of my problems I choose to focus on YOU!! Regardless of the difficulties my path may present, YOU are GOD and YOU are MIGHTY, and YOU are SOVERGN. I will trust in YOU and LEAN on YOU for all things in my life. LORD, THANK YOU for all that YOU are in my life, Thank YOU for my family, my existence and the opportunity to REJOICE in YOU. I give my worries to YOU and accept the PEACE that YOU promise in my life. I choose today to focus on YOU and the things that please YOU. LORD, make your path and will clear to me daily. In JESUS MIGHTY name! Amen!

Jordan Lynde
Guest Discerning Dad

 

Original here

One Question, Four Answers

WHICH MOMENT OF JESUS’ LAST WEEK ON EARTH SPEAKS TO YOU THE MOST?

 

Mark 15:16-19 carefully details the mockery that Christ endured at the hands of a battalion of about 500 Roman soldiers inside the Praetorium. After He was falsely accused of leading an insurrection, the soldiers taunted Jesus by putting a twisted crown of thorns upon His head, wrapping a purple robe on His bloody body, placing a fake scepter in His trembling hands, and saluting Him with sadistic glee. Through enduring these various forms of abuse, Jesus as our high priest took upon Himself the shame of innocent victims living in a fallen world. Victims of verbal, emotional, sexual, and physical abuse need to know Christ as not only a guilt-bearing Savior but also a shame-bearing Savior—one who identifies, empathizes, and heals.

—Mika Edmondson, pastor of New City Fellowship in Grand Rapids, Michigan and author of The Power of Unearned Suffering: The Roots and Implications of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Theodicy

 

Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane—“Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39)—is one I think about often, as it reveals much about the nature of prayer. When we pray, we are not asking God to magically do things we want, but rather we enter God’s presence and ask that our hearts and minds be transformed. We’re tempted to see problems in the world as out there, in other people; it’s much harder to recognize the darkness, greed, hate, lust, and anger in our own heart. In prayer, we follow Jesus in asking for our own transformation—not to make us better people, but to make ourselves available to embody God’s love and compassion in the world.

—C. Christopher Smith, editor of The Englewood Review of Books and author of How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church

 

After all Jesus went through His last week on earth, He could have said “OK, Father, I’m done with them.” But that’s not who Jesus is. I find it moving that He took the time to come back to the disciples a second time after His resurrection—and in particular that He decided to give Thomas a chance to touch His wounds and believe. He could have been “done” with Thomas, but He proved Himself again. He did that so there would be a record of it for people like me. I appreciate that about Jesus. He knows us, and He loves us still. His love is never done.

—TaRanda Greene, member of Cana’s Voice and solo vocal artist. Her latest album is The Healing.

 

I can’t imagine being at the table with Jesus in the upper room. After He took the cup and bread, giving thanks, He said six words I can’t shake: “Do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). I kind of think of communion now as part of a progressive dinner party that began in the upper room and ends in the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. We attend the same meal those disciples did; we’re just down the street a little. Believers who come after us attend the same meal, but it’s held at another house. The body and the blood is timeless, and believers get to be there for the finale in heaven. We remember every time, but He remembers as well. It’s His covenant with us, and I can’t wait to find place settings with my name and yours at the ultimate Easter banquet.

—Sarah Harmeyer, speaker and founder of Neighbor’s Table

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/faith-works/one-question-four-answers-holy-week