After the church service, one woman shook the Pastor’s hand and said, “Today your sermon really made clear to me the peace and love of God!” The pastor was thrilled. “No-one has ever said anything like that about my preaching before. Tell me why.” “Well – it reminded me of the Peace of God because it passed all understanding and it was like the Love of God because it endured forever!” ”
I like the advice one guy gave…. When you hit the bottom, stop digging!
Is that deep or what!!?
Well, today my message title is “How To Stay Sane When Everything Is Falling Apart”
There is a very powerful verse which I want to lay as a foundation for the message today, in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”.
Something very interesting happened to me on Monday as we were scurrying around getting everything ready for the storm to arrive early Tuesday morning. So, Winnie grabbed the recycling to drop off as we were going out. I had my briefcase with my computer, which I was going to drop off to get fixed, and something in my other hand. We went down in the elevator and I took the bag from her, to empty in the recycling bin and set my briefcase down while I did it. We then went shopping and when we were finished I was going to take the computer in to see about fixing it…. but it wasn’t in the car… I had left it setting by the recycling… (PANIC TIME) When I look back, I laugh at myself, but I wasn’t laughing then!
We rushed back only to find it gone… I called the manager to inform him so he could check with the staff, or if someone had turned it in, and before I had a chance to go to the worst casescenario in my mind… (in the natural that’s what we do) The Holy Spirit said to me…. “The story Jesus shared about the lost son, the lost sheep and the lost coin, was not about the loss, but about the recovery!.. Say it with me… “It wasn’t about the loss, it was about the recovery”….. TOTAL PEACE CAME INTO MY SPIRIT… The manager, called and said he would check the video surveillance… to see who had taken it, and within an hour there was a knock on our door by one of the staff, with the briefcase in his hand!
When God spoke to me, I’ve got to tell you…. I couldn’t get panicky if I tried…. There was such peace that entered into me….Ihad received a transformed mind, by the mind of Christ…..God will give you such peace that you can’t get upset if you tried!!!
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus”.
We have a guardian and a watchman, who stands ready to transform our minds and give us the mind of Christ… our peace isn’t a philosophy or a mental discipline…. Our Peace is a person!
Staying sane in an insane world is about aligning ourselves with the Prince of Peace Himself ….Let Go of Things You Can’t Control, so you can focus on things you can do to bring about the best outcome that God wants for you…He’s right there making His peace available!!
Years ago, when the kids were small, we decided to go to Canada. The idea of driving to a foreign country got everyone excited. It was a great time and we got to lunch time and picked a restaurant. I parked the car, we went in, ate and came out to find that someone had vandalized our car. Along with other things, they took all of our 8 track tapes. (back then cars had 8 track players) They were all our favorites! As I begin to launch into a tirade, Holy Spirit said “Give it to them”…. I said, I can’t, they stole them… “No, give them to them, and bless them”… WHAT!!! “Do it” Holy Spirit said again….. So I stood there and said I give them the stuff, and I (choke, choke) bless them with it”…Let the message on them bring them to Christ…. Immediately, my anger ceased, my spirit calmed, and peace came! One of the kids said, “Great, Maybe we can listen to our music now”…. (Don’t push it, I’m at peace, not brain dead)
But God let me know that I was not to allow something I could no longer control, begin to control me and ruin the rest of my trip! LET THE PEACE OF GOD GUARD YOUR MIND AND HEART!
Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
We are called to peace, as agents of peace, to be ruled by peace… Isaiah 9:6 “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." -- Jesus is referred to as the “Prince of Peace”…. Seven centuries before the birth of Christ, God pulled back the curtain on the future. He told Isaiah about the coming Messiah, the One He would send to save his people from their sins, the One whose birth forms the tipping point of all history. All of history would be recorded as occurring before or after the birth of this “Prince of Peace”… BC and AD….
And then you realize that everywhere Jesus and His followers have been and it’s still true today…. Conflict and controversy, accusations and violence have followed….
We know that Herod began to kill all Jewish babies up to 2 years old….trying to destroy this “Prince of Peace”…. His followers were murdered, Christianity has been the thing of wars and even genocide… The slaughter of the Jewish people by Hitler, was really just another attempt by Satan to silence the Prince of Peace once more….
Yet with all the persecution, the attacks and attempts to silence…. Our distinguishing characteristic is to be that we are a people of peace…. Matthew 10:16 “Behold, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves, therefore be as wise as serpents and as peaceful as doves”. It’s important to have the qualities of peace in our lives…. It doesn’t say do this, it says BE THIS!!
Peace is a quiet conscience….Peace is a restful mind
Peace is a surrendered will….Peace is a hopeful heart
Peace is caring and understanding… Peace is our position in God
Peace is the gift of God….Peace is proof that Jesus is Lord
This Peace which the bible speaks of is not just something we do or the way we do something. It is about the fact that we are constantly living out, who is the Lord of our lives.
Peace at any price is not peace, it is surrender…. If our peace comes at the price of compromising our values and principles, then the Prince of Peace, no longer rules our hearts. That’s why our Lord said, “where your treasure is, there your heart is also” Peace is never worth sacrificing the truth to attain it. Truth, presented in love, is a priceless treasure….
One of the former presidents of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences along with historians from England, Egypt, Germany, and India have come up with some startling information: Since 3600 B.C. the world has known only 292 years of peace! During this period there have been 14,351 wars, large and small, in which 3.64 billion people have been killed. The value of the property destroyed would pay for a band of solid gold that could wrap around the world, 97.2 miles wide and 33 feet thick!
The theologian Matthew Henry wrote…. "Our safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God. Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but it is rather the confidence that He is there with us always. Peace is such a precious jewel, that we should be willing to give anything for it, unless it cost us the truth”.
We are built for battle, and we are fashioned for conflict…Paul said it well Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. This wrestling is about who will rule, and we must actively fight that battle!
Ships were not built for the harbor, but for the wind and waves, the currents and the dangers of the open ocean…. Airplanes were not built to park at the airport, but to be launched into the storms and jet streams, and thin air of the heights of the open heavens. We were not built to live a passive existence, but we were fashioned for battle against powers and principalities who wish to rule the hearts and minds of mankind!
A famous painter announced a contest in which artist would present their ideas of what peace looked like. It finally came down to two artists.
The paintings were covered over until a winner was decided. One had painted a tranquil lake that reflected the trees along its banks. There were sheep grazing on the rolling meadow, as azure skies with cotton clouds hung overhead. Surely this was a picture of peace…. But the last painting to be unveiled was a stark contrast… it had dark, ominous colors which revealed a storm with streaks of lightening. A rocky cliff with rushing dark and dangerous torrents rushing down. And there, growing out of a crack in the cliff, was a twisted tree that grew out over the water fall. But in it’s straggly branch a little bird had built a nest and was nestled there on its little hatchlings, safe and secure in the midst of all the dangers and turmoil…. A declaration of peace!!
Judges 18:6 “He said to them, “Go in peace, the way in which you are going has the Lord’s approval.”
It’s not about the comfort or lack of it, It’s not about how easy or how difficult, and it’s not about what you pictured it aught to be and if it is or isn’t like you pictured…. It’s about the Lord’s approval!!!
OH YES, THAT’S SHALOME! You are familiar with that word for peace… but did you know it also means “fulness and completeness in mind, body and circumstance”. It also means “well-being, wellness and prosperity”. This is spoken as “Shalom Lehkhem”..(Say it to someone)…
So many folks today are looking for peace in all the wrong places. Jesus said “My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives”…. He was letting us know that the kind of peace we’re all looking for, does not find its source in this world or the things of this world…. A fellow found a solid gold turkey wishbone. Engraved on it was the instructions for the finder, that they would be given 3 wishes. For his first wish, heasked for money, SHAZZAM, he got millions… For his secondwish, he asked for world peace, POOF, all politicians around the world disappeared. For his third wish, he asked for his family to be happy together and just get along, The genie scratched his head and asked the guy if he was sure…. He said that he was very sure, and ZAAP, the guy immediately disappeared! Now his family can have peace….
How often do we think that if God would just change everyone else, we could have peace. If this or that would change… if my mother or father had been different, I would be better off…. If I had better kids, a different boss or job…. On and on and on…..
David had it right…. Psalm 51:10 “Create in ME a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from Your presence; take not Your Holy Spirit from me”.…
It’s me, it’s me, it’s me Oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer…..
2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to righteousness without regret, but worldly sorrow leads todestruction”.
Let me say it like this… Repentance leads to God’s approval!
Every time I run my debit card at the store and the scanner says “You’re approved”…. I tell the cashier…. “Yeaaaa, I’m approved”, and I have a little celebration…. They don’t understand, but I just went way beyond a debit card approval…..I’m celebrating God’s approval…
Repentance leads to Righteousness which brings God’s approval!!
We can stay sane when everything is falling apart if we know we have God’s approval on our lives!!
We need to be careful about whose approval we see as important in our lives. Jesus caused a lot of conflict because He only sought the Father’s approval in His time on earth….To Him, the Father’s will, was more important than comfort, money, fame, or Face book friends…..
There was a brilliant genius who invented a computer whose artificial intelligence surpassed any that had ever been created…. It’s creator claimed it could solve any problem…. The leaders of the world asked it, how to solve the problem of poverty… It factored in vast amounts of information and produced a paper which it submitted to the UN, and in a few months, everyone was living a better life…Impressed, they asked it, How can we achieve world peace?... The computer produced a paper which they followed exactly, and Walla, in a few months, wars and conflict ceased and the world was filled with love…. Next, they asked the computer, “Is there a God?” … The calculations were made and the answer was… “Insufficient information”…So they gathered all the scientist and engineers and gave the information to the computer. Again it said there wasn’t enough information…. So they went out and gathered all the theologians of every religion and belief system, and they gave THAT information to the computer and It responded…. They awaited breathlessly…To the question, “Is There A God”…. The conclusion is… “THERE IS ONE NOW!”….
God is whoever you give power and tribute to…. So the question still remains for all of us to answer…. “Who Is God to us”?
Elijah challenged the nation with the question “Choose you this day whom you will serve, if Jehovah is God then serve Him, if Baal is God, then serve Him…. Elijah knew that if folks would just make the choice, then God would prove Himself time and again… The trick is to find people who will make that commitment and refuse to be distracted….
One Teen ager, said “Give me the strength to change the things I can, the grace to accept the things I cannot, and a great big bag of money. – Bill, Age 13.. (Well, we know that money is Bill’s God)What’s your God…
Oh, here’s one….My young brother asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth--that most people go to hell and burn eternally --but I didn't want to upset him. –Jimmie, Age 10 (We can see that Jimmie’s God is people’s favor, and pleasing people) What’s your God…
One more…. Often, when I am reading a good book, and oh, I love reading, I like to stop and thank my teacher. That is, I used to, until she got an unlisted number. –Lisa, Age 15 (Lisa’s God is knowledge, and she can’t get enough of it) What’s your God…
On one occasion, God told the people, “You shall have no other Gods before Me….
God told Moses to tell the people in Deuteronomy 10:12
“What does the LORD require of you, but to hold the LORD yourGod in the highest esteem, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD God with all your heart and with all your soul, and all that is in you.”
That’s the Peace of a quiet conscience…. The Peace of a restful mind….
The Peace of a surrendered will….The Peace of a hopeful heart…It’s the peace of honest self-examination….It’s the peace of God’s approval… It’s the peace of a clean heart and a right spirit… And it’s the peace that comes from the confidence that God is with you….
May God give us Transferrable Peace, Jesus said “When you enter a home, declare peace upon that home…. (the Shalom Lehkhem) is a deliberate transfer….. Remember it means “fulness and completeness in mind, body and circumstance”. It also means “well-being, wellness and prosperity”. Let’s start a peace pandemic…. This is also a generational peace…. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever…. If you commit to walk in it, the next generation will see and receive His favor, and His blessing and walk in it too… I’m not talking big money, big homes, luxury cars, fancy clothes, etc…. You can have all that and not have peace! You can be in a crowd and be alone…. A house is not a home, You can have money and be poor in spirit….You can be at the party and be depressed and lost, because you’ve lost your way…..
You can start right where you are…. Whatever has happened, wherever you’ve been…. This is the first day for the rest of your life….Everything starts from here…. This is your new beginning….
Let it all go, leave it all behind, the hurts, the failures, the condemnation, the injustice, and the pain of the past….and decide to walk in His Peace.
MY Peace I give unto you…. Hear Him today….That’s the Alpha and Omega speaking, the beginning and the ending, the author and finisher….
Now, take your place with Him above it all, in heavenly places, in Christ Jesus our Lord…..You are above not beneath, You are over it not under it.
Take your rightful place, child of God!