Coming Out The Other Side


By Reverend Paul N. Papas II
1 March 2011

Life is like a highway is what a recent piece of mail said asking us to join them as they journey down the road of inspiration, achievement and personal growth. This opening seemed to be worthy to spread around to many in this country.

I have experienced that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. It seems that an awful lot of vinegar is being used by recent news makers all over the world today.

There are still people helping people today get through the bad times. People who have been rejected by friends and family and finally themselves have found new hope and even recovery at clubhouses across the state.

People of all ages found themselves in situations they could not explain. They did not seem to be themselves. They lived in boxes, buses, and abandoned building after having a house, a spouse, and children. Yet they could not really tell you how they ended up where they did.

One day they stopped by the corner of Positive Boulevard and Spirit Avenue and found an advocate waiting for them. This clubhouse advocate through time helped many come in out of the cold and helped them manage their medical condition of a mental illness. By focusing on what they could do the advocate brought them fellowship, a sense of belonging, and respect for themselves bringing them to the other side of life.

Oftentimes drug or alcohol abuse combines with their medical condition of a mental illness as a way of dealing with life as they are experiencing it. A clubhouse advocate understands and can help bring them through to the other side of life where they can live on their own and work.

The clubhouses offer a variety of programs, services and assistance. While independent they collaborate with each other and various other recourses and agencies to assist as many people with a medical condition of a mental illness as they possibly can.

Each person has their own abilities no matter what their perceived disabilities might be. It is more productive to focus on what you can do than what you can’t do.

It is not possible to change the past, but you can have a hand in the future.

The clubhouses have helped an untold number of people with a medical condition of a mental illness become productive. Their support continues for as long as it is needed and wanted.

Although it takes money to run a program, it really requires a commitment to help people come out the other side.

I have had the pleasure of a few St Patrick’s Day parties at the clubhouse in Marlboro called Employment Options, Inc and believe they are a good example of what can be accomplished by helping people come out the other side. You can find more information about them at http://www.Employmentoptions.org.

I hope to meet you at the corner of Positive Boulevard and Spirit Avenue.

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/coming-out-the-other-side/

How To Overcome Troubles In Your Everyday Life?

overcome troubles

March 15, 2021Author: Nehemiah Zion

Is there a way to overcome troubles? Before we get too troubled to deal with it. Trials and temptations will come and they will feel like winds and storms and waves of the sea.

Most people who pray or go to church, do it because they are afraid and not because they love God. There is no true understanding of why they believe in God. Such end up living carnal lives, go to church only to appease their fears inside.

Non-believers make peace with evil spirits they encounter because they do not know what they are dealing with. There are enough true stories of those who create space in their courtyard (trees, pots, etc.) or inside their homes for evil spirits to reside.

When we do not deal with the problems of life because of fear, we enslave ourselves and get burdened greatly. It affects our overall functioning in the long run. We end up getting depressed, increasingly anxious and disappointed with ourselves.

What can we do to overcome troubles?

God tells us to test every spirit, whether they are of God or not.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

We are daily dealing with people at home, work, neighbourhood and wherever we go. The devil uses non-believers and distracts believers to behave erratically often. How we stay on the rock, Jesus, will enable us to navigate the problem effectively.

When evil spirits attack directly or through a person, we use the authority God has given us to rebuke them in Jesus name.

And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. (Acts 16:18)

What happens when people behave unseemly? We need to use wisdom and lean on God’s leading through the Holy Spirit. Trusting in the Lord, we must dare to speak the truth in love.

Whatever trouble invades us, big or small, requires us to pray and wait on God as He directs our steps daily.

Draw near to God. People are troubled, and need help. Give your life to Jesus to serve Him daily. To be available for His glory. Jesus is coming soon, Praise God and Amen!

AUDIO Are You Asking For Trouble?

By Rev Bill Woods

As a kid, I remember when I acted up, my folks seemingly let me have a choice:  “Do you want a spanking?”

    – Often, I must not have chosen correctly because the choice was taken away from me.

    – Marty always asked the girls, “Do you want to do it with a spanking or without a spanking?”

Usually it became apparent as to what was acceptable and what was not acceptable.

God had to spank the Israelites often and Israel never seemed to learn!

The Israelites borrowed trouble when they refused to honor God’s instructions.

    – God had protected them, led them and fed them.

      – God had promised to prosper and bless them in their new home, but they complained and  refused to follow God’s Plan.

        – When they refused to follow God, Israel borrowed trouble they didn’t need to have………

          – The results were devastating!  ………………………………….

When they finally reached the land God had promised to them they found themselves standing across the Jordan River looking into the Promised Land “flowing with milk and honey,” but now they weren’t allowed to enter and possess the land.

God had promised He’d give them this land, but instead of trusting God to fulfill His promise they sent 12 spies (the CIA, “Canaan Investigation Agency”) to check what obstacles they would face. 

  • The spies returned: 10 gave a bad report, (“Impossible! Too hard!”) and 2 said, “Let’s go!”
  • The result was they’d have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all the “chickens” died off!

They didn’t rebel against God just once — it happened over and over again always with the same results — TROUBLE!

  • Like a moth to a light.

Today, God promises us if we obey Him, He’ll care for us……………….

    – Many balk at that idea and the results will be devastating.

Deuteronomy 1:26-36 — “But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God and refused to go in. You complained in your tents and said, ‘The LORD must hate us. That’s why he has brought us here from Egypt—to hand us over to the Amorites to be slaughtered.’  

    Where can we go? Our brothers have demoralized us with their report. They tell us, “The people of the land are taller and more powerful than we are, and their towns are large, with walls rising high into the sky! We even saw giants there—the descendants of Anak!”’
    “But I said to you, ‘Don’t be shocked or afraid of them! The LORD your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt.  And you saw how the LORD your God cared for you all along the way as you traveled through the wilderness, just as a father cares for his child. Now he has brought you to this place.’  

   But even after all he did, you refused to trust the LORD your God, who goes before you looking for the best places to camp, guiding you with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.  When the LORD heard your complaining, he became very angry. So he solemnly swore, ‘Not one of you from this wicked generation will live to see the good land I swore to give your ancestors, except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see this land because he has followed the LORD completely. I will give to him and his descendants some of the very land he explored during his scouting mission.’”

Psalm 106:15So he gave them what they asked for, but he sent a plague along with it.”

How does this apply to our lives?  Most of us seem to want to borrow trouble.

    – Usually we’ve asked for it when it comes.

      – There’s an old saying: “Don’t trouble-trouble until trouble-troubles you.”

In spite of that saying most of us seem to ask for many of our troubles.

WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE RUN FROM GOD

  • Jonah learned this the hard way:

Jonah 1:1-3: The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
   But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish.

The story

    – God called Jonah to go preach at Nineveh.

  – Jonah didn’t want to go and caught a ship going the opposite way. (Poor Choice!)

    – The ship Jonah boarded was caught in a storm

      – Jonah was cast overboard.

        – Jonah paid the price.  3 days in the belly of a fish!

Think how much trouble Jonah could’ve saved himself had he obeyed God in the first place!

   – Some of you have business with God, but you’ve been running the other way.

    – You’re ignoring the Holy Spirit’s pleadings to make things right while there’s still time.

      – You think God’s asking too much and you’re not willing to pay the price!

        – HINT:  Obeying God is certainly not as costly as not obeying God……………

2.  WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE PITCH OUR TENTS TOWARD SODOM.

We can learn from knowing the story of Abraham’s nephew, Lot – Genesis 13:10-13 —Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)  

   Lot chose for himself the whole Jordan Valley to the east of them. He went there with his flocks and servants and parted company with his uncle Abram.
   So Abram settled in the land of Canaan, and Lot moved his tents to a place near Sodom and settled among the cities of the plain.  But the people of this area were extremely wicked and constantly sinned against the LORD.

He felt pretty independent until trouble came and he was attacked

Genesis 14:11-12 The victorious invaders then plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and headed for home, taking with them all the spoils of war and the food supplies.
   They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned.

Lot dwelt in Sodom – Genesis 14:12 But one of Lot’s men escaped and reported everything to Abram the Hebrew, who was living near the oak grove belonging to Mamre the Amorite. Mamre and his relatives, Eshcol and Aner, were Abram’s allies.

You might think Lot would’ve moved someplace safer for his family, but he stayed in Sodom because he couldn’t leave those ungodly ties he’d established.

Finally, God had to take things into His Own Hands.

  • God decided to judge and destroy Sodom because they were so wicked.

We need to take warning!  Our Nation is flaunting the same sins that destroyed Sodom!

Lot was lingering in Sodom, because he’d gotten too comfortable with his worldly goods he’d settled down.

God decided to destroy these 2 wicked cities, Sodom and Gomorrah once and for all.

  • Angels were dispatched to move the Lots to safety, but Lot’s family wasn’t eager to leave.

Genesis 19:16When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the LORD was merciful.

Lot and Mrs. Lot had gathered so much worldly treasure they’d lost focus on what was really important.

    – God sent angels to lead them to safety but Mrs. Lot was so attached to her temporal belongings that she couldn’t discern what was really happening.

She turned back towards her worldly goods and became a pillar of salt and lost her soul.

The lesson: hold on loosely to anything that would challenge your love for God.

  • Nothing is worth losing your soul in Hell. 

Mark 8:36— And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul? 

  • People like Bill Gates and his crowd will learn ever so soon!

3. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE TOUCH GOD’S ANOINTED

King Balak of Moab was afraid the Israelite people would destroy his land if he let them pass through on their way to Canaan.  

He hired Balaam to curse the Israelites so he could defeat them.

  • Balaam came and God said, “No you cannot curse My people.”
  • But the reward was so tempting!

Balaam tried everything to get around God’s orders because he wanted the payment Balak had offered him.

  • Balaam whined and fussed at God.  Finally God said, “Go!”
  • Balaam was about to learn  a lesson.
  • What resulted shows us that Balaam was dumber than an ass!

Numbers 22:31-34 — Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him.
   “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the LORD demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.”
   Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”

  • How astute!  Where do you suppose he got that idea?
  •  Balaam couldn’t outright curse God’s people so instead he taught them to compromise……

4. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE BREAK A VOW TO GOD

Ecclesiastes 5:5It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.

    – Solomon should’ve known better, but he fell into temptation’s trap and lost his soul.

      – Maybe you’ve made promises to God that you’re not keeping.

       – Satan will help you justify why it’s OK to break that vow but God still expects you to honor your commitment to Him……….

5. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE TRY TO HIDE THINGS FROM GOD

Proverbs 28:13 — People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

    – Adam and Eve tried to hide their sin — they hid in the Garden.

      – Achan tried to hide his sin.

GUY TRYING TO HIDE FROM COPS AT DESERT HOPE…………

        – Is there a pet sin you’re trying to hide from God?

          – WON’T WORK!

6. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE FORM AN UNEQUAL YOKE

2 Corinthians 6:14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?

    – Believers with unbelievers

      – Righteousness with unrighteousness–It’s always the one with convictions that compromises to meet the more liberal.

        – Christians must sometimes change friendships if their present friends are pulling them away from God…………….

7. WE BORROW TROUBLE WHEN WE LEAVE THE FATHER’S HOUSE

Luke 15:11-16To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
   “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.
   About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
   He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

    – No man helped the prodigal

      – No place to eat but with the pigs

When I broke my hip I talked to a lady in the ultra sound room at the hospital who decided to quit attending ALL churches because none met her expectations……………..

    – That’s playing right into the hands of the enemy.

      – He wants you to isolate yourself from God’s people.

Preacher pulling a burning ember out of the fire……………

Near the end of 2008 a friend asked me why I wasn’t discouraged — she was surprised that my voice still seemed so “up and positive!”

    – She knew the Church I pastored was in a financial low — behind on bills enough to stop my salary,

      – That we lost our house in foreclosure.

         I’d gone through back surgery, then broke my hip a week later.

            – Been robbed of much valuable possessions.!

You could say, “2008 wasn’t so great.”

   – That was a bad year — a lot hasn’t really improved since then, now we’re beyond that stuff and into 2021.

      – “In 2021 in the past we’ll not delve.  It’s a brand new start we’ll level the devil.”

No, I’m not discouraged.

    – I think we’ve got the Devil’s attention and he’s worried about our trusting Jesus in every

      Circumstance — whatever you’re going through, just hang in there and be faithful to God.

John W. Yates shared this letter from a missionary who’d gone into the jungles of New Guinea:

   “Man,” he said, “it’s great to be in the thick of the fight, to draw the old Devil’s heaviest guns, to have him at you with depression and discouragement, slander, disease! He doesn’t waste time. He hits good and hard when a fellow is hitting him. You can always measure the weight of your blow by the one you get back. When you’re on your back with fever and at your last ounce of strength, when some of your converts backslide, when you learn that your most promising inquirers are only fooling, when your mail gets held up and some don’t bother to answer your letters, is that the time to put on your mourning suit?

   “No Sir! That’s the time to pull out the stops and shout hallelujah! The old fellow’s

getting it in the neck and he’s giving it back. And all of heaven is watching over the battlements: ‘Will he stick it out?’ And as they see who is with us, as they see around us the unlimited reserves, the boundless resources, as they see the impossibility of failure with God, how disgusted and sad they must be when we run away. Glory to God! We’re not going to run away. We’re going to stand.”

I’ve had people tell me, “You’re sure a tough old bird!”

    – That’s not really so — It’s just I serve a really tough old God!

      – A God who’s faithful and isn’t ignoring what we’re going through and will reward our faithfulness in His good time..

I’m not asking for trouble!

    – I want to live for God and serve Him with all my strength and ability.

      – Why don’t you make that same commitment?

It will be more than worth it all when we see Christ in Eternity!

LET’S EACH ONE SEE WHAT GOD WANTS TO DO WITH US AND TRUST HIM TO STAND BY US!


PODCAST ARE YOU ASKING FOR TROUBLE?

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/8650440


The updated version of Rev Bill Woods’ book “There Is Still Power In The Blood” will be available soon.

Prisoners of Hope

To be incarcerated physically I’m told is difficult to deal with. Locked up for hours per day, cut off from loved ones and surround by darkness and evil. Do you know that many of us are in prison in our minds. What about you? Are you in an emotional prison right now? You may not have thought about it that way, but if you are holding unforgiveness or bitterness toward someone who has wronged you — whether it was five, ten or thirty years ago — that is an emotional prison.  

God’s Word promises that if you’ll step out of that prison and become a prisoner of hope, He will restore back to you double for your trouble! That means if someone wrongs you, instead of getting negative and bitter, your attitude should be, “they just did me a favour. They just qualified me for double!” That’s the attitude of a prisoner of hope.  

Today, lock into an attitude of victory that says, “I won’t be defeated! Things may look impossible, but I know God can do the impossible. I may have been treated wrongly, but I’m not worried. I know God is my vindicator. It may be taking a long time, but in due season, I know I will reap if I just don’t give up.” Stay strong and in the place of hope today, knowing that you will come out with double! Hallelujah! 

“Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.”(Zechariah 9:12, NKJV) 

Let’s Pray 

Yahweh, today I choose to release those who have wronged me. Father, I refuse to live in an emotional prison, please change my mental location. God, I know You are my vindicator and redeemer. Make me a prisoner of hope and I receive Your promise today that You will give me back double for all my trouble, in Christ’s Name! Amen

https://godinterest.com/2021/02/18/prisoners-of-hope/

4 things to avoid getting near to in everyday life

January 12, 2021Author: Nehemiah Zion

What’s near you? Or who and what are you near to? As children of God we know we are to grow in intimacy with God. All who love God are near to Him. What is near to you?

Here are 4 things that are near to us we need to be careful of;

Sin

If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:7)

Sin is near the door. Besetting sins (Hebrews 12:1) need to be overcome. Secret sins need to be overcome. It is sins nature to find us out (Numbers 32:23). Mobile phone tech has brought sin closer than we could have imagined. It is essential to curb it’s use.

Death

Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. (Psalms 107:17,18)

There are two kinds of death; those who die in Christ and those who don’t. Who will die in Christ? Those who are born again, born of water and born of Spirit. What happens when you die in Christ? You rest from all your labour (Revelation 14:13)

Trouble

The morning is come unto thee, O thou that dwellest in the land: the time is come, the day of trouble is near, and not the sounding again of the mountains. (Ezekiel 7:7)

What to do when trouble is near? Believe in God’s word and keep your peace (John 14:1,27). You trouble trouble, don’t let trouble trouble you. 

The Day of the Lord

For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.(Obadiah 15)

There are two kinds of believers in church – One who will be left behind in the day of the Lord, and at the same time, another who will fly away with Jesus on the day of Christ (Philippians 1:10).

In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, everything will be changed forever. Let’s wait upon Jesus (Hebrews 9:28), our sweet love. Maranatha, praise God and amen!

Your Troubles Won’t Last Forever

Breaking news – your troubles will come to an end. Hallelujah! In this life, God warns that we will have trials and tribulations. The good news is that He also promises to deliver us from them all! Now, He doesn’t necessarily say that He will deliver us instantly, or the way we expect, or on our schedule.  

When things don’t happen the way you expect, it can be tempting to get discouraged, down and despondent. When you feel like trouble is surrounding you, that’s when you have to dig your heels in as the saying goes, and say “I’m not going to give up, because God promised me victory!” 

Today, if you are going through a dark time, keep moving forward! Remember, it’s always darkest just before dawn. That difficulty didn’t come to stay, it came to pass as the Bible says. Please stay in faith and keep praising and thanking God for delivering you. Set your hope in Him, stir up your faith, and keep believing, because soon you will see the victory God has prepared for you! Hallelujah! 

“Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NLT) 

Let’s Pray 

Yahweh, thank You for giving me the strength to overcome every trouble I face today through Your Spirit. Father, I set my mind on You. I set my hope on Your love, knowing that You are paving the way for my victory all the days of my life, in Christ’s Name! Amen. 

https://godinterest.com/2021/02/19/your-troubles-wont-last-forever/

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?

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