Well, greetings once again friends. This is Episode 37 of the podcast. The focus of this month’s episode is the spiritual fruit of “Peace.”
May God bless you as we take a look into this important character quality. I pray that you may enjoy the “peace that passes understanding” in your life today!
I am going to begin today’s episode by sharing a short meditation my daughter Kimberly Holback posted recently on social media. I asked her permission to share it, and she gladly said, “Yes.”
I’ve edited it slightly for presentation. Here are her thoughts:
“Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about peace… and the world. Everyone has.
It’s easy to get caught up in the anxiety of it all. We feel like our feet are slipping on rolling sand, we are thrashing around trying to find direction and looking desperately for something, anything to grab onto.
It’s so easy to lose our footing.
Just when we feel like we are balancing things again, another wave of personal challenge or world crisis knocks us off our feet.
But there is peace in the midst of it all.
‘Keeping your peace’ does not mean you don’t care.
It does not mean you don’t see.
It means we keep calm and centered despite it all.
We hold to faith and beauty.
We steady ourselves with routine and connection.
If we get so distracted and paralyzed with anxiety about the things we cannot control, we will miss the people within our reach that we can affect. A kind word or helpful hand goes a long way in bringing peace.
To help ourselves, we need to reach out.
Not with hands that take, but with hands that give, and arms that hold.
I challenge you to see the needs of the people close to you. Be genuine and kind with those you love (and even those you don’t).
The human phenomenon is that when we help others it lifts our spirit too.
Wishing you peace, love, & beauty today.”Kimberly Holback, via Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.holback
Thank you, Kimberly for those beautiful, encouraging thoughts! I appreciate your willingness to share with our GoodlifeNews! Podcast and Blog friends.
The Bible has a lot to say about peace. In fact, Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance (2010) lists 430 separate texts speaking of “peace”!
One of the many names of God in the Old Testament is “Yahweh-Shalom” — “God is My Peace” (Judges 6:24). This is found in the story of Gideon’s call to raise up an army to defeat the occupying army of the Midianites. He was terrified when he realized the identity of the divine personage who appeared to him.
The New Living Translation says, “When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he cried out, ‘O, Sovereign Lord, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!’” (Judges 6:22).
The angel assured him he would not die, so Gideon built an altar and gave it the name, “Yahweh-Shalom”—“God is Peace.”
Turning back even further in the Old Testament, we read in Numbers,
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing: May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”Numbers 6:22-27 (NLT)
If we fast-forward to the New Testament, we read the words of Jesus as he gave some final assurances to his disciples just before his crucifixion and death. He told them, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT).
And, one more text from the New Testament—The Apostle Paul, writing to the believers in Philippi said, “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 everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).
The Bible has many more texts about peace, of course. As I said earlier, there are well over 400 different occasions where “peace” is mentioned.
If we carefully consider the Bible’s messages about peace—as exemplified by the four texts I just shared—we can see an important truth: Although there are different aspects of peace, such as personal spiritual peace within, peaceful relationships with other people, and being at peace with God, ALL genuine peace begins with God himself. The writer of Hebrews speaks of him as “the God of all peace” (Hebrews 13:29).
Personal Spiritual Peace
With that in mind, let’s consider our personal spiritual peace for a moment.
In this world we all experience times of disruption. Some of these incidents are so trivial they shouldn’t bother us at all, but often they cause distractions that get in the way of other more important things. I’m thinking of things like a tiny, nearly invisible sliver that bothers you so much you can’t get anything else done until you GET IT OUT. It’s hard to have any peace at all until that irritation is removed!
On the other end of the scale, I’m sure most of us have experienced major disruptive events that knocked us for an emotional loop and sent us spinning for a long time afterwards. Sometimes we never completely recover from experiences like this. They change our lives forever.
So, when things like this happen, how do we settle our hearts so life can continue and we can be at peace? Here’s a little story from my life many years ago.
My family and I were living in Taichung, Taiwan. I was asked to lead some congregational singing at the start of several religious meetings. Another missionary, Mrs. Smith played the piano for the singing time.
Mrs. Smith asked me to hand her a list of songs ahead of time each evening so she would have time to practice—a perfectly reasonable request. Except, it was not unusual that I would hand her the list just minutes before going to the podium to welcome the people. That meant Mrs. Smith had no time to review the music before the meeting began. She was not happy about that—and rightly so!
On one particular evening the hall was filling with people, and Mrs. Smith was already at the piano providing some music as they found their seats. I had not yet provided her with my list. I hurried down the aisle and held it to her when she finished the piece she was playing.
Frankly, I don’t remember the exact words of the ensuing exchange, but suffice it to say she let me know in no uncertain terms how frustrated she was with me. I voiced some sort of defensive response, but she was quite angry. The time for the meeting to begin was only minutes away, and I felt terrible for causing her to be so distressed. Neither she nor I were “at peace” in that moment!
But, I had to go on the platform immediately. I turned and walked to the door into the backstage area, but I was still emotionally upset by all that had just happened. I knew I couldn’t go in front of that audience and do my job without God’s peace in my heart.
Beside the steps leading up to the stage I noticed a small closet. Quickly I ducked inside that closet and closed the door. There in the dark I prayed a quick prayer.
“Lord,” I said, “I can’t go out there feeling like I do right now. Please remove this angry spirit from me and give my your spirit.”
I am not exaggerating at all when I tell you that I felt God’s peace enter my heart. He took away my bad emotions, and replaced them with himself. It was a moment of divine joy I have never forgotten.
Not only that, afterwards I apologized to Mrs. Smith for causing her distress. She was gracious—as always—and we continued working together until the series of meetings ended.
Peace With Other People
Now, let me extend the point of that little story to our relationships with other people. Living at peace with our neighbors, friends, family members, church family, or anyone else begins with opening our heart for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our heart, he begins producing the “fruit of the Spirit” in all of our relationships.
Paul lists nine “fruits” of the Spirit—the focus of our study here in the GoodlifeNews! Podcast and Blog for the first nine episodes of 2022. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The third “fruit”—peace—is our focus today, of course. Our experience of personal inner peace, and peace with other people, both come as the result of finding peace with God.
Peace With God
Searching for peace with God is a universal quest for every person. Someone voiced the idea that inside every individual is a God-shaped space that can only be filled by Him. Money, lifestyle, advanced education, prestige, status, human relationships, or anything else other than God himself cannot fill this void adequately.
St. Augustine wrote, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in [God].”
The good news about this, however, is that God is ready and willing to move into and occupy that empty space inside of us, and fill it completely with his presence. There is no greater joy than allowing the Great Creator of the entire Universe to take up residence in our heart!
Jesus says, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends” (Revelation 3:20 NLT).
Just imagine! Sitting down at a kitchen table, sharing a meal with the King of the entire Universe, chatting about anything and everything just like any two long-time friends might do. What incredible peace would fill that room! Nothing—absolutely nothing—could intrude to disturb this sacred moment!
Hallelujah! I want that experience. And it is the prayer of my heart that you also, friend, will hunger and thirst for Jesus and the things of God. I assure you, God’s promise is sure. When he does enter your heart he will bring the peace and joy that only he can provide.
Thank you so much for listening today! I pray you have been blessed.
I hope you can join me for next month’s episode. I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the spiritual gift of “Patience.” Watch for it on April 28!
Mark your calendar! Be sure to tune in, and invite someone else to listen with you!
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