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THREADS | The Peace of Jesus

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The Peace of Jesus

 

Peace. World peace. We’ve turned it into a buzzword, haven’t we? Until two years ago, I thought peace was a pipedream. It sounded great on paper, but I was sure I had never truly experienced the peace the Bible talks about. The peace that Jesus experienced as He slept like a baby in the stern of the ship as hurricane force winds whipped around him and everyone else on board lost their ever-loving minds trying to weather the storm; the peace that rebels against all circumstances that threaten to rip us clear out of our foundation like a fallen tree after a tornado. I didn’t know it really existed. To be able to stand firm and immoveable in the midst of an all-out war seemed absolutely impossible.

 

In the fall of 2015 I ran across a verse in Isaiah 26 that challenged everything I had ever believed about peace. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” I set it as my Facebook wall-paper and forgot about it, if I’m being totally honest. Through a string of circumstances, the Lord brought that verse back into my life time and time again and I never could have imagined how much I would need it in the year to come.

 

Throughout this last year I have lost a job, gotten a better job only to be a part of a thirty-person layoff three months later, was subsequently jobless for 6 months, lost a dog of 15 years, and someone very close to me attempted suicide three weeks ago. It has been the single hardest year of my life, and I’ve seen the Lord more clearly and gotten to know Him more dearly at the same time. If we never had to the weather the storm, how would we ever know the power of His presence and His peace?

 

“Perfect peace,” … what did it mean? As I prayed about this perfect peace and asked God to help me understand the perfect love that He says casts out fear, He began to reveal to me that the perfection of His love is best realized in the fact that He recognizes our sin, calls it what it is, and yet chooses to love us endlessly and to never leave us. When our sin overtakes us, He’s there to point us toward His truth and empower us to make the right decision. Knowing that we are protected from punishment allows us to live freely inside of His love and to be brave as we trust His heart for us. So, if ‘perfect love’ was all encompassing, ‘perfect peace’ must be as well. Perfect peace acknowledges the storm, yet holds fast in the truth that victory belongs to the Lord just as much as we do. His power and peace reside in His spirit and He has the power to hold us and cover us as the storm rages around us.

 

We have the choice to either partner with fear or partner with the Lord and receive His perfect peace in every situation. It takes trust to partner with the Lord, and He loves to show us how trustworthy He truly is. In His word, we find out the true aspects and power of who He is. Get to know His word, and you’ll get to know Him better. Knowing your Father will help you to trust Him and rest in Him as the war rages around you. Anxiety, fear, and thinking you have to ‘fix it’ ALL bow to the great name of Jesus. He wants to teach you about His perfect peace, but more than anything else He wants you to get to know Him and His love for you.

 

Dearly beloved, open up & let the light in.

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The Joy of Jesus

Joy

A word we often confuse with happiness, but note, they are not the same thing. Although these two words are used interchangeably the majority of the time they are starkly different. Joy is a continuous response to Jesus, happiness is an emotion that can change on a dime.

To be completely transparent, joy has been on of my biggest struggles and a lot of it came from fleshly discontentment. Wanting to be a better athlete, a smarter student, have more friends, have a better job with more money, travel the world more than I do now were all things I sat on and allowed to steal my joy. Learning to shift my perspective and thinking of what “joy” really is and what it means to the believer has been a long road, and honestly the battle continues on.

So what’s our definition of joy? Let’s use John Piper’s definition on DesiringGod.org

“Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world.”

Joy comes from the Holy Spirit, it’s our response to the freedom and forgiveness we received from Christ. It should be a daily view of gratification. On the other hand happiness changes based on our environment, it’s ok to be sad. Because we live in a broken world, happiness isn’t always an option. We suffer from loss, pain, brokenness, injustice and so on that hurt us and cause sadness, however, it NEVER erases what Christ did.

Let’s look at a few scriptures.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:2-4

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul” ~Psalm 94:9

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13

No matter the trail being faced, joy can and should be present in our life, because Jesus is ALIVE and we are FREE. When you wake up in the morning remember that even on your hardest days the victory has already been won, so allow your soul to be overwhelmed with the joy from the Holy Spirit and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 

 

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The Faithfullnes of Jesus

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The Faithfullnes of Jesus

The Faithfulness of Jesus

Woven in between and through every single 61 Exchange story is a common theme : Faithfulness.

Jesus is faithful. We believe that truth, we cling to that truth, and we have seen that truth play out time and time again. But what is faithfulness? What all does it incapsulate?

Here is the definition of faithful (adverb)/faithfulness (noun) according to Merriam-Webster:

 

1 full of faith

2 steadfast in affection or allegiance :  loyal a faithful friend

3 firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty :  conscientious a faithful employee

4 given with strong assurance :  binding a faithful promise

5 true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original a faithful copy

So which definition are we looking at in regards to Jesus and His faithfulness to His creation.  Let’s look at (2) and (3) steadfast in affection or allegiance and firm in adherence to promises.

God is steadfast, never changing, always love, always beside us, and He is FIRM in adherence to His promises. What are His promises?

*to love us

*to rescue us when we call on His name

*to those who have entered into relationship to be our guide

*to answer prayer (whether it’s the answer we want or not)

*we have purpose for His glory

*we will enter into eternal life alongside Him when we accept His grace and walk with Him.

And those are just a few; but God’s faithfulness is His firm adherence to do all of the above and so much more no matter our situations or circumstances. No matter where we have been, or where we are right in this very moment.

So let’s look at some scripture ~

Psalm 145:13 “The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

 Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”

 The greatest example of this is in the cross. For centuries God had used prophets in the Old Testament to foretell that a messiah would come and walk on the Earth, die an unjust and brutal death, and rise again in three days and reign overall. Fast forward to the New Testament and you can see all of this unfold as Jesus comes down from heaven as a baby, does ministry until age thirty three, although he lived a perfect life dies on the cross for OUR sins, rises again after three days, and now sits on his throne in heaven in control of it all. That means he saved you, and He is in control of your life no matter where you might find yourself today. He’s got you and He’s ready to carry you through if you surrender to him. That is the faithfulness of God, and it will remain for eternity.

Praise the Lord!

If you want a more in depth breakdown check out this link on Bible Study Tools - http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/faithful-faithfulness.html

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