Peace and Contentment

Who today, can write of peace and contentment, first-hand?
This post was meant for the series Contentment and was the most difficult of all, so it did not make it in that series. However, we thought it would fit well as a chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity. In seeking to share what I know, and what I have discovered from God’s Word, this may have been the one I needed the most. It is one thing to write what I have learned, second-hand, but quite different to share it from experience. I wanted to do more with this post. I do not do the subject of peace justice. Except I write a book, I cannot cover it all. So I pray the Lord’s blessings for what we offer here.

I know the peace that is “the fruit of the Spirit” of God (Galatians 5:22). I can share no other peace than what God has given me through His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). It has been tried and I have many times been lacking; not because I do not have peace, but because it is not a natural trait. It will always be tested while we live in the midst of chaos.

Here, we will pose some questions and attempt to answer from the Word of the Lord.

How do peace and contentment relate to each other? There is no Biblical reference that combines these two. Since we have written many other posts on contentment, we will document what we know of peace, seeing that the two are similar, understanding that one compliments the other. If we have the peace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, we will be content in His peace.

The Source of Peace
The question is not, “what” but “where and who is the source of peace?” Peace comes from the Lord, our God, who originally created all things for peace in His kingdom.

He is still the source and the giver of His peace.

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6:26

“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

We are “led forth with peace.” Isaiah 55:12

He has “made a covenant of peace, an everlasting covenant with His people.” Ezekiel 37:26

“He keeps in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on Him and trusts in Him.” Isaiah 26:3

“Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. Isaiah 26:12

He promises His people a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; Isaiah 32:18

Peace is associated with His light. Isaiah 45:7

He creates “the fruit of the lips; ‘Peace.’” Isaiah 57:19

He extends peace to His people “like a river,” Isaiah 66:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

He reveals his “abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6

HE IS THE GOD OF PEACE   

 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”  1 Corinthians 14:33

 In letters to the early churches, the apostle Paul included greetings from the God of peace Romans 15:33, Romans 16:20, 2 Thessalonians 3:16

He is “the God of hope that fills believers with joy and peace.” Romans 15:13

As the God of peace, He established the everlasting covenant through Christ. Hebrews 13:20 and sanctifies and preserves His people until Christ returns. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

PEACE OF GOD
The peace of God “rules in our hearts,” Colossians 3:15

 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

 PEACE FROM GOD
Paul spoke of “grace and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ to the saints and brethren“ in Romans 1:7, Colossians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3.

John spoke of “grace, mercy, and peace, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

PEACE WITH GOD
There is only one reference to peace with God, which comes by faith, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE
There are many references that associate peace with righteousness.

The most familiar may be Romans 14:17

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The Psalmist speaks of peace that comes by righteousness. Psalm 72:3

“Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10

“the righteous flourish; with abundance of peace.” Psalm 72:7

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17

 And “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:18

Hebrews 12:11 says that “chastening yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Paul instructs Timothy to “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22

WISDOM AND PEACE
Peace is the result of wisdom.

“For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Proverbs 3:2

“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17

The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, James 3:17

GOSPEL OF PEACE
Paul speaks of “our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 and “the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace! Romans 10:15

GOD’S LAW AND PEACE
Those who love God’s law have “great peace: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165

Great peace comes from the Lord as we are taught by Him. Isaiah 54:13

Gracious Father of grace and peace, we thank you for giving us your Son that we may be brought to you in His peace; that we may live in peace with you and Him through the power of your Holy Spirit. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may live in this peace, content with whatever you have chosen for us as you prepare us for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Artice: The Peace of Christ at Christmas
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What We Will Leave Behind

As Jerry and I continue to age, getting closer to the end of this life, we seem to think more of the next life than this one. We are more in preparation than ever before. This brings me to the consideration of what we will leave behind when we exit this world. As we share this list, we ask that you not be put off by the first things, but bear through until the end, as we hope you may be blessed to see what the Lord is doing in our last days.

The first things are concerned with the physical life that we now experience. There are other things not listed, but enough is enough.

Uncertainties and perplexities

Regrets

Pain ~ Choosing a below-the-knee amputation almost twelve years ago, Jerry has had continual soreness and pain in that upper leg. Other health issues have prevented seeking remedies for this pain.

Unhealed wounds and everyday change of bandages. He has been receiving treatment for a diabetic ulcer on his foot since the first of last year.

Bloody sheets and shirts, He is on three blood-thinners that cause unusual bleeding from his arms and chest at any time during the day or night.

Bills and pills

Sin and the evil of this world

Spiritual warfare

Sorrow in losing loved ones. Grandparents, parents, brothers, twenty aunts and uncles in my own family and their spouses, two nieces, and cousins on both sides have gone before us, plus friends. The most recent event was the loss of our four-week-old great granddaughter in February.

The most important things we will leave behind are things the Lord has given in the middle of the chaos. These far outweigh the first things we have listed. These we will also take with us. These are eternal. There is much more than what we list here.

God’s Word (1 Peter 1:23)
As we wrote in our last post. God’s Word is eternal. We are birthed by it spiritually, and live by it ~ it is forever in us, written on our minds and in our hearts. We grow by it. It grows in us and bears fruit now and for eternity. His Spirit, who inspired the Word to be written and preserved it for us, leads us by it. As Jesus said, “My words are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). We speak these words now, and they bear fruit for eternity. What we have spoken and written here will remain for God to use for His own glory when we are gone. It will not return to Him void but will accomplish all for which He sent it.

God’s Presence and Power (Hebrews 13;5)
God was here before we came. He will remain to continue and finish His work in all His children.

God’s Love (Ephesians 2:4-5)
The love that penetrated and permeates our heart, soul, mind and strength is being passed down to family members, members of the Lord’s family and to others. (1 John 3:1-2)

The Joy of the Lord (John 15:11)
His joy is an eternal joy. He gives it here. It spreads and never ends.

God’s Peace (John 14:27)
His peace was brought to earth through His Son, Jesus Christ and has continued by the power of His Holy Spirit in His people. This peace will be ours here and eternally, but not ours alone; we have our portion as part of the family of God which will bring us into His presence.

God’s Blessings (Ephesians 1:3)
He showers His abundant blessings upon us during the difficult times that spill over onto any who know us.

Patience and Perseverance (James 1:2-3)
All that He gives is experienced in and through all that we endure while here on earth.

Our Testimony  (1 john 5:10)
We leave behind the witness of all the goodness that we experience in the middle of the trials and adversities. (Psalm 107:8)
The Lord, as He is preparing us in this life for eternity with Him, witnesses of His grace and power in all that we encounter.
All that we endure here will pass away. Finally, with all the dross removed, the proof that we belong to Him shines forth for His glory.

Gracious Father, we thank you for the new life you have given us in the middle of this life ~ new life that enables us to focus on our goal ~ eternity with you. We praise you for the “overwhelming greatness of redeeming love” (Andrew Murray’s Humility) that captures us and keeps our hearts and minds centered in Christ, who is our life. Continue to fill up the spirit, soul and body of each of your children with the inheritance that is ours as joint-heirs with your Son, leaving an imprint on those who know us and believe the witness that you express through us. Thank you for leaving your impression on every generation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Riverbeds

Trinity-River

Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
coming down from the Father above;
Sweep over my spirit forever I pray,
in fathomless billows of love.”

 This is the chorus of a hymn that I sang as a child.  Recently I began singing it again, and couldn’t get it out of mind for a long while.

The thought of the hymn led me to John 7:37-39.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive; for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”

W.D. Cornell knew what Jesus meant by these words, and must have composed this hymn Wonderful Peace (sheet music) with this text in mind.

The world and God’s people are in need of such peace as Jesus gives.  It is a peace that comes from the Father through Jesus Christ, in the power of His Spirit and His Word.  It is a peace that passes understanding, that keeps the heart and mind in Christ Jesus. It is the peace of God.  (Philippians 4:7)  He is the God of peace. (Hebrews 13:20) He is the very God of peace, Who sanctifies us. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) Peace is from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (2 Timothy 1:2) Christ is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14)  Peace is a fruit of the Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22)  And the work of righteousness shall be peace. (Isaiah 32:18) Great peace have they which love His law. (Psalm 118:165)  Peace is to the brethren, with love and faith. (Ephesians 6:23)

When I read of such peace in His Word there is the same sense in me that was in the writer of this hymn.  When I come to Christ in obedience to His word, in prayer, praising Him, trusting Him, loving Him, asking for this river of living water, He is gracious to give, as He has promised.

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” (1:7)

The fullness of God is waiting to be poured out into waiting and willing hearts.  I pray for this greater love and peace that washes over us conforming us to the image of Christ, His Son.  His fullness is not ours alone, but to make us riverbeds over and through which He reaches His people. He, by His Spirit and the washing of the water by the word, provides a channel through which His grace and love can flow unhindered.

“Jesus calls us o’er the tumult of the world’s wild, restless sea.
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth, saying, “Christian, follow me.”

I pray that He would make us channels for His Spirit, and fill us to overflowing with praise, prayer, and the proclamation of the love of Christ, that others may know His peace—for His glory and our joy.

“Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us;
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
1 John 3:16

(From Waiting is Not a Game ~ Articles of Faith 2007)
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