Monday, September 24, 2012

Peace...Part 2

So this week we have a special speaker at Rock Island First Nazarene. Norm Moore. Gifted speaker, amazing heart for the Lord. We would drive great distances to hear him, so to have him at our home church is a gift. I don't know what he spoke of Sunday morning - I was with the kids learning more about choices, sin and God's Epic story. But last night our focus was on Isaiah 9:6b

 "and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, PRINCE OF PEACE."

Don't you just love it when God is talking with someone else about the same things He keeps whispering in your ear? Ya me too. It really is amazing to me to know and see God work like that. The following is my breakdown but not an outline, or a word for word account. It reflects what God is speaking to me as I process thru the seeds that were planted.

So Pastor Moore lead off with these questions: 1) Is there peace in your heart? 2) Is there peace in your mind? 3) Is there peace in your home? 4) Is there peace in your church?

"Peace I leave with you, MY peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" John 14:27

1) Peace in my heart - are things settled correctly between God and me?
2) Peace in my mind - who's voice do I hear?  Do voices from my broken past and lies of the devil drowned out the truth my heavenly Father speaks to me now?
3) Peace in my home - Well, there are people who live there besides me. They think their own thoughts, make their own choices, and have their own ya, peace at home is sometimes problematic.
4) Peace in my church - Again, its a church filled with people. You've heard the saying "where two or more are gathered there is conflict".  The same types of people you have at your church, we have at ours. We are human. We are flawed. We are a group of people trying to figure out how to journey together toward deeper relationship with God, but we are not perfect. Sometimes we forget that we are all part of the same body - and no part was meant to function alone. But our love runs deep, for God and for each other.
Then Pastor Moore transitioned to what I will call peace breakers, peace stealers, peace inhibitors. It's not pretty. The bolded words are his, what follows is my application of what he said.

Unconfessed Sin - actions, thoughts, attitudes. Where there is unconfessed sin there is not peace.
Unsurrendered will - when I usurp my authority, plans or priorities over Gods there is not peace.
Unforgiveness of self and others - when my hard heart says to my stubborn mind that my sins against God or others sins against me (or the ones I love) are too big for the cleansing, healing, restoring power of the Blood of Jesus Christ - there is not peace.
Grudges and the desire for vindication or revenge - when I hold my desire to "settle things" over God's ability to handle things in His way and in His time, there is not peace.
Selfishness - When my desire for my way above the needs of others or the desire of God determines my actions, attitudes, conversations and thoughts, there is not peace.
Pride - When my ego prevents me from apologizing, or accepting anther's apology, there is no peace.

Pastor Moore also had us practice saying a few phrases "I am sorry. I was wrong. I don't have to have my own way. Please forgive me."

Jehovah Shalom - the God of Peace; Jesus Christ - the Prince of Peace.
The God of Peace does His part - He has extended Himself to me and He is Peace.
The Prince of Peace - Well, He wants me to do my part.

I can choose if my heart is troubled.  I can choose if I am dismayed. I can choose if I allow things to creep into the depths of who I am and become peace stealers, peace breakers and peace inhibitors. This may require me to offer some sincere apologies and seek forgiveness of God and others. This may require me to reconcile with God the truth that some people will never admit their fault or offer an apology - and yet I must still forgive. It's not about releasing them. It's about releasing me, and stepping back into the stream of peace - true peace - that only God can provide.

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