We need peace as we navigate the always changing landscape of life. .
We need strength to walk toward the unknowns of the future.
The Bible tells us the Lord will give us both. Psalm 29:11 says, “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”
This is the same Lord described in Psalm 29 as powerful and majestic. He spoke creation into existence; everything came from nothing simply by his voice. He calms storms; nature acts as his symphony. His power and majesty are greater than any other, and he grants you and me peace and strength.
Take a moment today to reflect on the Lord’s power and majesty. Allow the Lord to give you strength and bless you with peace today.
“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18).
Everyone means me too! Having peace with myself is just as important as having peace with others. I was reminded of this by the Worried for Nothing Devotional.
Our days are so much sweeter and our nights are so much brighter when we have peace. Our way to finding true peace begins with our relationship with the Lord. In Matthew 11, Jesus encourages us to exchange our unrest for his peace.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Allow the Lord to help you find peace with yourself today. Finding peace with yourself is the first step in finding peace with others.
“During WWII, Matsuko and her family were among the many Japanese Americans forcibly interred in camps. For three years she longed to return to the farm near Salinas, CA where her husband Hayato’s family had grown strawberries for three generations. It was home.
Finally, the war ended and the Nakamura family returned. But as they stood across the road from their once well kept farm, it was clear all was not well. The strawberry fields surrounding their home were overgrown and the front door of the house gaped wide open.
Thankfully, a kind neighbor saved all the farm equipment, but the house had been ransacked. Almost everything of value had been either looted or destroyed.
Matsuko was particularly distressed that the pillagers smashed all of her mother’s china. Not one plate, cup, or saucer survived intact. She began that same day to sort the broken pieces, putting them carefully back together with glue.
One day her young son, Kato, asked her why she was going to so much trouble. After all, she’d only been able to patch together a few plates.
I must take things broken apart and make them whole again.
“Because of Christmas, broken lives can be put together again.”
This was my thought as I was reading. Because of Christmas, we have the opportunity to take the shattered pieces of this life and glue them back together. The Lord knows of our need, and he was willing to become one of us to help.
“So, the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only son” (John 1:14).
Isaiah was looking ahead to a time of rest and peace for God’s people. In doing so, he says the Lord will provide strength and energy for his people.
Isaiah 40:29-31 says, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will sore high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah reminds us those who trust the Lord will find new strength. They will find their strength in the Lord.
He exchanges our strength for his. The Lord helps us make it through our lives. The good and bad times. The Creator and Holder of the stars gives us strength.
“Look up into the heavens,” Isaiah 40:26 suggests. “Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army: one after another, calling each by its name because of his great power and incomparable strength. Not a single one is missing.”
We draw our strength from the one who will never grow weary. Isaiah 40:28 reminds us the Lord is the Creator of the earth. He is everlasting.
Life is tiring. The headlines we see and problems we encounter zap our strength, but they are no match for the Lord’s. We are promised the Lord will give us his strength. The Lord will renew our strength each day to take on that day’s challenges. His strength never runs out, so hopefully, we will always remember to draw upon it.
He came from the Father full of grace and truth. He was full of mercy and love. His compassion ran deep, and his actions for us were bold. For us, his love was immeasurable, and he did what only he could do.
For us, he carried weaknesses and sorrows that did not belong to him. They were ours, but he carried them for us (Isaiah 53:4).
For us, he was beaten so we could be whole; he was whipped, so we could be healed (Isaiah 53:5).
For us, he was pierced and crushed (Isaiah 53:5).
For us, he was unjustly condemned (Isaiah 53:8).
He is Jesus, and his love for us compelled him to help us by doing what only he could do. He took our guilt so we could have peace.
Many people will be at the store the day after Christmas exchanging gifts. It is normal to receive a gift that is the wrong color, wrong size, or in some cases, just not desirable. Making these exchanges has become part of the Christmas tradition. Stores may even have extra staff to ensure the lines at the return counter do not become too long. Gifts can go back, and we can leave the store with something even better. There are many things in life we may desire to exchange, especially from the past couple years.
Gloomy is a description of many events from the past couple years. From global headlines to personal tragedies, there has been much in the way of bad news. Absorbing it all is burdensome and weary. It leaves us longing for rest just like the Israelites in Isaiah’s day.
Isaiah was delivering the Lord’s message to people amid much gloom and despair. They were toiling physically, probably spent emotionally, and struggling spiritually. Amid it all, the Lord sends Isaiah to bring hope of rest.
In chapter 9, Isaiah reminds the people this gloom will not go on forever. A different day is coming; a rest like none other is coming. Verses 6-7 say, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders, and he will be called wonderful counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s armies will make this happen.”
Though these words were spoken hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, they point directly to him. Israel was on the lookout for a political messiah. Someone who would establish rule and slam their enemies to the ground, but God had a different plan. God was working to establish an eternal rest. This would not be a rest just for the Israelites, but it would be a rest for you and me. This rest would not be temporary but eternal, and on Christmas day, the child that brings this rest arrived.
His arrival was not in a grand fashion, but he sure made a grand difference.
As you read this today, you may feel like the Israelites. Physically, you are toiling and don’t know how you are going to have the strength to continue. Emotionally, you may be spent, and your spiritual life is a constant struggle. As Isaiah says, the Lord offers rest to you. Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30, invites us to exchange all of this weariness for his rest and peace. Allow this exchange to happen. Trade your gloom for peace, your despair for hope in Jesus.
Columnist Deborah Mathis has written about her observations during a particular trip through Union Station in Washington D.C. There was a great deal of movement and noise. Announcements blaring, security guards shouting directions, horns honking, people moving in all directions, and a traveler singing What a Friend We Have in Jesus.
“What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear;
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer.”
Slowly a change came over the noisy crowd. The voice continued:
“O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.”
As the traveler sang, the hubbub of the station was replaced with a calm peace. A man in front of Mathis commented that he was not a Christian, but the peace was nice. Amid current events and all the noise of the world around us, many people are searching for peace. There are a number of places and products promising peace, but it seems those spots only leave the searcher longing for more and wondering if there really is true peace.
The Bible teaches there is true peace, and it comes in trusting the Lord.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
We read in Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
When we trust the Lord, he brings us peace just like he did on a stormy, scary night for a few of his first followers. The night started with Jesus and his disciples beginning the journey across a lake. As they were crossing, a fierce storm came up. The boat was rocked as it began to fill with water. Mark’s Gospel says, “Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.”
The calmness was once again interrupted on the other side of the lake. Jesus and the disciples were met by a man possessed by a legion of demons. This man had not had peace for a long time, and his presence probably created a scary situation for the disciples. Jesus, though, had control of the situation. He ordered the demons out of the man and into a herd of pigs, which went dashing over a cliff into the lake. Calm and peace were once again restored.
No matter the source of the hubbub, Jesus is in control. The same Lord who calmed a storm and cast out demons can give us a perfect peace. Isaiah 26:3 promises, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
It may be the hardest thing we do, but it can also be the most rewarding. It may be made even more difficult by our life experience. Our heartbreaks suffered by trusting other people may have taught us we shouldn’t trust anyone, yet the Bible helps us see we can trust the Lord.
Isaiah 26:4 says, “Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”
Unlike others, the Lord is our eternal rock. He is unshakable, unmovable, and unchangeable. He will not lead us astray or walk out on us, so we can trust him and count on him to be there for us. We can trust him to be there, keeping his promises, and doing what he says he will do. “Trust in the Lord,” Scripture says, and…
You will have peace as the Lord can provided peace in Christ Jesus that goes beyond human understanding.
Your paths in life will be straight as the Lord guides your steps and directs your movements.
You will have a fullness of life that can only be found in Christ Jesus.
You will have an eternal place prepared by Jesus. He says, “I am going to prepare a place for you, and if I prepare a place for you, I will come back to take you with me so you also may be where I am.”
It may be hard, but it is certainly rewarding to trust in the Lord.
Sleepless nights; you’re lying there, tossing and turning. Your mind is focused on the problems of the day; they are certainly enough to keep you awake at night. From the financial struggles of a pandemic to the decision about a new job, it seems the world’s troubles are prowling outside your window just waiting for an opportune time to pounce. Fear and insecurity are the dominant feelings of the evening, but Solomon reminds us they need not be.
He writes in Proverbs 3:
“You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly. You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked, for the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.”
Our trust in the Lord can bring us security. It can bring confidence of knowing he has everything under control. Just look at how he’s handled problems in the past.
The people of Israel were caught between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, so the Lord’s solution was to part the sea, giving the Israelites a dry way across.
When Israel was in the desert with no food or water, God solved the problem by dropping Manna from Heaven and providing water from a rock.
The Lord sent ravens to feed Elijah, Naaman to the muddy waters of a river, …
And a baby to a manger to solve the biggest problem mankind has ever experienced. Mankind separated from God because of sin was the problem, and God’s solution was his son, Jesus. The Bible says, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” The Lord has been a master at problem-solving.
Each problem has been met with confidence, security, and compassion. Each one solved in a way only God could. The same God who took care of these problems is watching over us. He is handling our troubles with as much attention and detail. From the smallest of troubles to the biggest of problems, God solves each one in a way only he can. We only need to trust him.
As the Psalmist says in Psalm 91:
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Troubles and problems are almost a guarantee. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced these types of seasons in life. If we trust him, the Lord’s security is also a guarantee. He will put his master problem-solving skills to work, and those sleepless nights can become restful ones. Psalm 4:8 concludes, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.”
They were afraid. The last hours and days have been anything but restful. Some in the group narrowly escaped fighting and arrest a few nights ago as an angry mob arrested their leader Jesus. They watched as the mob had him tortured and executed. They know his tomb is empty, but they are unsure of how or why. Thoughts of peace are replaced with a constant wondering about the next happening and how to get away from those who are against them. They do not know who is the next to be arrested or even worse, so they are gathered behind locked doors in a secret location plotting a path forward.
The disciples are consumed by fear and anxiety, but Jesus does not leave them alone. John 20:19 says, “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
As the disciples are sitting in an anxious and fear-filled room, Jesus shows up to bring peace. The peace Jesus brings to the disciples is for the past, present, and future. They are surrounded by uncertainty, yet Jesus says they can have peace. And, the peace Jesus brings on this night is the same peace he offers to us.
We live in uncertain times. Some folks struggle with letting go of past mistakes, while others are fearful of the future. To all though, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.”
Jesus offers peace with God. Through his work on the cross, Jesus bridged the gulf between man and God. Scripture helps us understand.
“Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us,” points out Paul in Ephesians 2:18.
He writes in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
And Romans 8:1 proclaims, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Because of Christ, we can have peace with God. Yesterday’s mistakes are forgiven and forgotten, so we don’t need to feel guilty any longer. Just look at what he did for Peter.
Peter boldly stated he would never deny Jesus; he would follow him to the very end, but when pressure mounted, Peter crumbled. He denied Jesus not once but three times, and after the third time, Mark says, “Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.” Peter knew he made a mistake. The Lord also knew Peter made a mistake, yet Jesus brought Peter peace. He was present when Jesus appeared to the disciples, and the Gospel writers tell us Jesus appeared to Peter earlier in the day, restoring their relationship. Peter did not have the power to make peace with God, so Jesus did it for him.
To spite his failures and all that Peter had done wrong, Jesus brings him peace with God. Can you imagine the relief Peter must have felt?
What about you? You know you’ve made mistakes; perhaps you remind yourself of it daily. The Lord also knows you’ve made mistakes, yet Jesus comes bearing the greeting, “Peace be with you.” You and I did not have the power to make peace with God, so Jesus did it for us. To spite the failures and mistakes of the past, Jesus gives us peace with God, and he freely gives it to us. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you a gift,” and that gift is peace with God.
It is in knowing the Lord is walking with us that we find peace for the future. Again, Scripture helps us understand.
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus,” writes Paul in Philippians 4:7.
Notice again Jesus’ words in John 14:27, “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.”
Because of an empty tomb, you and I can have peace even if it is a turbulent time. The world may be swirling around us, but no matter what happens, the victory is ours through Christ. Remember the promise of Romans 8:37, “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” Jesus isn’t leaving us alone to struggle. He is coming along side us and saying, “Peace be with you!”