faith

How to Have Peace {Bible Reading Plan}

 

What do you think of when you think of peace?

Is it ten minutes of silence with no children pulling at your pant leg or screaming at one another? (Oh, I remember those days. They will pass, I promise.)

Is it a life with no drama or problems? (Well, that may never pass, I promise.)

Or is it an unshaking, constant, steady, unmoved place in your soul that nothing can destroy? Is it a deep sense that everything will be okay?

That’s what peace is to me. A deep sense of okay-ness. Peace settles deep inside me and tells me that Jesus is with me in the storms, and they will pass, and when they do, God has something good.

The disciples learned something about Jesus’s ability to sleep through the storm. They were terrified, but Jesus wasn’t. Do you remember the story?

The boat rocked violently back and forth and the waves threatened to capsize the small dingy.

The storm had taken the disciples by surprise. A few hours earlier the sun had shone in a cloudless sky. Now they found themselves yelling for Jesus to wake up.  How could he sleep through this storm?

After a few desperate pushes on his arm and cries for help, Jesus’s eyes opened to frantic faces of his followers and accusations.

“Jesus, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38).

The rabbi slowly rose with a deep sigh. He spoke to the storm and calmed the sea. But the wind wasn’t all he rebuked that night. .Mark tells us:

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:39-41). 

I’m so disappointed with those disciples. I’m not so shocked by their fear of the storm, but it really bothers me that they were just as terrified that Jesus could command the elements. It seems that nothing pleased them. And they dared to ask, “Don’t you care if we die?”

I can’t believe they asked that!

But before I point my finger too long at those skinny fisherman, I must check my own heart.

Have I ever become upset when trouble came my way?

Have I cried out for help demanding Jesus to change my circumstances rather than trust that his Presence would get me though–that he loved me that much?

And have I been upset when his answer to the problem didn’t look like I wanted?

Of course I have.

But I have to wonder what the disciples wanted him to do if the calming of the waves freaked them out. Why wake the Messiah if you don’t believe he can stop the waves? Did they want him to teleport everyone to shore?

What did they want him to do?

Your answer is as good as mine, my friend. We will never really know. But I do know this:

  1. The storm didn’t catch Jesus off guard.
  2. He can rest even during turbulence and life threatening situations. He does not fear.
  3. We can carry that peace and assurance through life’s storms because he loves us. He calls us to this faith–this trust.

 

Jesus not only rebuked the winds, he rebuked the disciples“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The Greek word translated often as “faith” is the word Pistis. It can mean faith and believe, but the majority of the time this word is in the present tense implying ongoing activity. Faith is not a one time event. It’s trusting everyday.

So, Jesus asked them, “Don’t you trust me?”

Oh for greater trust of the One who created the waves and wind and can calm them. Click To Tweet

I hope that during the next storm in my life I will just snuggle up in the stern with the sleeping Jesus and hold on tight.

I pray I’ll simply trust that he does love me, no matter what, and he cares for me, and we’ll ride out the storm together.

How to Have Peace (2 Kinds, One Way)

There are two kinds of peace, but there is only one way to reach both.

Peace #1

The first peace we must attain  only comes through our realization of a need for a savior. It’s very simple. It’s a prayer away. Something like this:

“Jesus, I need you. I’m a sinner who desperately wants to be right with God. Forgive me. Redeem my mistakes and my sins. Take over. Help me trust you. Be the king in my life.”

The Bible promises in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Saved? What does that have to do with peace?

Everything.

This is what is so cool about Scripture and words and digging deep into their meaning. Without getting too technical and losing you in the weeds of Hebrew and Greek/ Old Testament and New, the ancient word often translated as peace in the NT was a word related to the Hebrew word “shalom”. That word might look familiar to you.

Shalom means peace, but it also means wholeness, prosperity, and being complete. The word “saved” sometimes means made whole too. It also means to be delivered.

Nobody saves us from ourselves or completes us like Jesus. No one can make us whole like he can. He saves us from the wrath of God–the judgment we deserve. He restores our peace with God. And he makes us whole.

 

Peace #2

The second kind of peace is the peace we talked about in the beginning of the article. A sense of calm.

Anybody can have peace when everything is going as it should. When the kids are sleeping; the bills are paid; everything is good. But true peace resides even in turbulent circumstances. And that peace again is only found in Jesus.

We won’t experience it if we’re yelling at God.

We won’t achieve it when we’ve decided to take wheel.

There’s only one action that can really grant us this peace, and that’s trusting God.

“For the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace . . . ” Gal. 5:22

The Spirit does not reign or produce fruit in hearts who struggle trusting God's goodness and grace Click To Tweet.

 

John MacArthur  explains peace this way:

Close to the meaning of the Hebrew word shalom is the word used by the Kekchi Indians of Guatemala, who define peace as “quiet goodness.” The term they use conveys the idea of something that is active and aggressive, not just a rest in one’s own heart away from troublesome circumstances. The biblical concept of peace does not focus on the absence of trouble. Biblical peace is unrelated to circumstances—it is a goodness of life that is not touched by what happens on the outside. You may be in the midst of great trials and still have biblical peace.

 

The Word of God can help us experience peace as we begin to let it work in us. Come study peace, quiet goodness, with me this week.

Bible Reading Plan

 

 

Sneak Peek and Printable Prompts

John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

  • How has Jesus overcome the world? How does that help us? Have you ever felt peace during a turbulent time in your life? Write it down.

1 Peter 5:7:  “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

  • Write down all the things you are anxious about in a journal. The write a prayer giving them to God. Close the journal, and put it in a drawer. He has your worries.

Philippians 4:7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”

  • What are you thankful for?

Jeremiah 29: 11-12:For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper (shalom) and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (addition mine.)

  • How does this verse change your view of life if you truly believe this is the nature and character of God towards those who love him?

Psalm 119:165:Great peace have those who love your law,  and nothing can make them stumble.”

  • What does this promise about Scripture? How does it give us peace?

Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

  • What’s the secret to peace? What do you need to trust God with today? Write a prayer.

John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

  • Jesus does not expect anything in return for the gifts he gives us. We simply have to receive by trusting him. Have you received his peace?

 

Get the printable!

 

Some Practical Daily Tips for Peace

I came across this blog by Henrick Edberg, Positivity Blog.com . 

It’s not a Christian specific blog, but he has some really wise tips to help maintain peace in our day. He gives more, but here’s five I found particularly helpful.

  1. Don’t make mountains out of mole hills.
  2. Unclutter your world.
  3. Be 10 minutes early.
  4. Breathe.
  5. Remember: There’s a day tomorrow too. Edberg writes, “Sometimes you have a bad day. Or life interferes with your plans for the day. And so you don’t get what you had planned or hoped for done. The best way to handle such a situation is – in my experience – simply to kindly tell yourself that there’s a day tomorrow too and that you can get it done then. Beating yourself up is on the other hand not a smart or helpful strategy.”

My thoughts:

  • Mountains out of mole hills? Anybody? Anybody? Do you do this too? I usually do this when I’m stressed. Pray for eternal vision–big picture vision and wisdom.
  • Unclutter! He suggests taking 5 minutes to clean your desk. Ya’ll! This is the best piece of advice I’ve seen in a long time. It helps so much!
  • Be 10 minutes early. Just try it.
  • Breathe. Breathe in a rose and blow out a candle.
  • Tomorrow. The sun will come up another day, and if it doesn’t, it won’t matter. 🙂

Henrick also wrote a great blog about 7 Habits of unhappy people .

It might help you in the peace department too, if you’re unhappy.

Daily Broadcast, Join Us!

Join my daily broadcast on Facebook. (Just follow me.) It’s live at 8:20 AM ET. Come on over to my kitchen and sit around my table for some soul nourishment as we dig deeper into each “bite” for the day. You can watch them later on YouTube too if that’s better for you.

 

Digging Deep to Live PeaceFULLY!

Andy

 

PS. If this was encouraging, and you don’t want to miss any Bite of Bread reading plans and posts, subscribe today! You’ll receive a 22-Day Devotion on Psalm 119 called Finding the Beauty {Full} in God’s Word.Just click here to dig deep to live fully. 🙂 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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