The New Year

"These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace." John 16:33

At this time of the year, we tend to reflect on what happened last year and think of things that we would like to happen this year.

Many start their list with peace. Peace in the world, peace at their chosen profession, peace at home. Even though peace is mentioned 429 times in the Bible, we are not really sure what peace is comprised of, we just want peace. Peace is a very difficult term to define.

If you have someone in a war zone, just having that loved one back to a place where there are no roadside bombs exploding on a daily basis, might be your idea of peace. A young person in the Army might think that putting their feet on American soil and not getting shot at is peace. A single mom or a man who is working two jobs just to scrape by, might think of peace as having enough money to pay the bills each month. Some might think that having the terrorist level taken off of the TV screen speaks of peace. Hurricane Katrinaís storm victims might think of the days before Katrina as peace.

I remember when I thought of peace, as being a quite moment when no one was calling for Mommy, and rainy days with seven young children in the living room, were definitely not my idea of peace. Perhaps you have a special definition of the word peace. Something that speaks of safety and tranquility.

I heard recently that the servicemen and women who have just returned from the war zone have a very high death rate from accidents. It is believed that the reason for this is that they feel invincible. Having come through so much danger, they now feel safe and therefore are not as alert to danger. The Bible labels that, "When men cry peace and safety, sudden destruction comes upon them. So feeling safe and tranquil is not the kind of peace, that passes all understanding.

The world is a dangerous place. Is it really possible to experience calm and tranquility when trouble, sorrow, sickness, wars, tidal waves, and earth quakes surround us? When loved ones are far away and the immediate future is unknown. YES, IT IS!!!!

You say that is hard! Yes, sometimes it is, and the Lord knows that so He has provided a simple solution. Proverbs 18:10 tells us that "the name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower and the righteous run into it and are safe." When you can not muster the strength to fight the battle yourself, you can still say Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. The name that is above all names will not fail you.

Jesus said come unto me all of you that labor and are heavy laden. Isaiah 26:3 says that He will guard and keep in perfect peace those who keep their minds stayed on Him who is the prince of peace. We need to fasten our eyes and our thoughts on Jesus and not dwell on the temporal things, which are subject to change.

We hear a lot at Christmas about the season of peace. A time when even during a war there is sometimes a temporary halt of hostilities. A time when most of mankind remembers that angels spoke of good will and peace.

But peace isnít a season, it is a way of life. And it isnít an outward condition, it is an inward condition. Peace is not based on security, or comfort or lack of hostilities. It is a part of the nature of God, given to us in seed form, when we first trust Him with our life. As we spend time with Him the seed grows and produces fruit.

How do we lose this calm, and tranquil part of Godís nature? Sometimes we lose our calm and tranquility over things that are meant to protect us. Ever get upset because your schedule isnít going the way you planned.?

I think about some of the stories I heard of why some folks were not in the world trade center in New York City on Sept.11th 2001. One man was very upset at his wife because she was late and as a result he had to take his son to school, there by missing the plane that crashed into his office. The plane that killed all of his employees.

One of our sons was scheduled to be in the same block the day the Murray building in Oklahoma City was blown blew up, but the appointment was cancelled the night before. He was upset when the appointment was cancelled and caused him the problem of rescheduling his appointments. But he was not upset the next day, he was praising God for his safety.

Or, how about allowing fear to come into our lives over things that are only meant to keep us alert. Have you seen the little blurb that runs across the bottom of the TV screen that says terror alert ELEVATED. It is true that there is an enemy out there who goes about as a roaring lion seeking whoever he may devour, but it is also true according to 2 Chron 16:9 that Godís eyes run to and fro across the earth seeking someone for whom He can show Himself strong. The idea is to keep our eyes off of the circumstances around us and on to God and His promises.

We should not allow the enemy to send terror into our lives and steal our peace.

My Mother was to be on a flight to Europe shortly after people were killed in a terrorist attack in a Greek airport. Her friend and traveling companion called and said she was to afraid to go, my mother got feisty, she said she was not going to allow a bunch of murderers to run her life. She went and had a great time. Took a lot of pictures, to show her friend. She left me a good example for standing my ground. The apostles Paul and Silas also left us good examples when they were in jail. As did the woman in 2 Kings whose son died. When asked by Elisha how she was she replied, it is well with me.

Always remember that, Peace is a fruit of the spirit. (Gal.5:22) Fruit grows when it is attached to the vine.

What is peace? Real peace is when you do not lose your calm and tranquility even in the midst of the difficult circumstances. Recently in West Virginia twelve miners died, some of them left notes for their families. One note said, it wonít hurt, Iíll just go to sleep, Iíll see you on the other side.

I remember seeing an oil painting that was entitled PEACE. There was a rock with a small cave like hole in it, with waves crashing all around. And in that rock there was a bird sitting calmly on a nest. Not disturbed by all the turmoil around her. That same peace can be ours when we put ourselves in the rock of our salvation. The prince of peace is our peace.

Our peace does not depend on outward circumstances. The peace that passes all understanding comes from trusting God. Knowing that He cares for us and will see us safely to our final destination no matter what. For He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.