As December approached and all the activities that accompany it, my thoughts turned towards peace. Peace on Christmas cards! Peace in Christmas Carols! Peace on earth! It seems that there could be no better season to embrace peace, than this season that we are celebrating.
Unfortunately, like so many other words, peace can be misconstrued to mean something that it doesn’t. So what is peace? Peace can be defined as tranquility, harmony or security. Variations of the word peace are found in the KJV Bible 429 times. There are different sorts of peace. There is inner peace, false peace, peace with God, peace with man. There is perfect peace, perceived peace, peace offerings, peace covenants.
In the Old Testament the primary word for peace is shalom. That word applies strongly to relationships – relationships between people, between nations and with God. It is often tied to a covenant, a promise. It indicates a level of trust, a true friend. Perhaps as many refer to such relationships, a safe place.
Our PEACE is a covenant between us and God! It is not about trying to keep people happy. During the holidays we are sometimes expected to sacrifice the peace of our own hearts for the sake of others who refuse to enter into the covenant of a trusting relationship that produces peace. We are tempted to compromise our peace to satiate the peace thieves. (aka joy-stealers , hope-grabbers.) Do not compromise your covenant with God and forego ‘Perfect Peace’ for the sake of a ‘Perceived Peace’.
During the last weeks leading up to this week of Christmas and gatherings with family and friends, I have posted almost daily a verse of scripture that deals with peace. Each time I shared my thoughts and then reminded myself to ‘Hold my #peace – Avoid the #peacethieves’. Likely, every one of us will face awkward moments of stress in the days to come because we will see people we don’t usually see or on the flip side, not see people that we want to see. It is not uncommon to dread some encounters during what we all wish could be a joyful and peaceful time.
Below are only a few of the peace scriptures I posted on Facebook and an excerpt of thoughts concerning each of them. I pray that you will be encouraged.
*For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (Ephesians 6:15 NLT)
Walking in PEACE is no stroll upon a manicured lawn. Sometimes it means taking the road less traveled. Sometimes it means taking a firm stand when it would be easier to give in. Sometimes it leads to lonely moments.
*Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. Proverbs 17:1
I would rather my children remember a simple celebration with PEACE than elaborate celebrations without it.
*Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT)
You must guard your peace because it is HIS PEACE that will guard your hearts and minds. When we allow our peace to be stolen we have invited the enemy to come in and create confusion, dismay and discouragement.
*You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV
GOD’S part – He guards (keeps) us in perfect (constant) peace. Our part – Steadfast mind (stayed on Him).
*Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:3 NLT
Before we face the next storm, we need to stop and take time to bind ourselves together with peace. Don’t be in such a rush to move on to the next destination that we don’t create a safeguard.
*If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
“If” changes everything.
‘If’ indicates agreement.
‘If’ promises consequences.
‘If’ creates opportunities.
If it is possible = it may not be possible.
*I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
Today, choose to unwrap this freely offered gift. Claim it as your own. Do not be troubled or afraid.
*All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. Isaiah 54:13
Every day I attempt to teach my children. But my best efforts often fall short. I would impart peace to their souls if I could, but, I’m a human just like them with my own shortcomings.
I am trusting the Lord to do what I can’t.
*Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,” Ezekiel 13:10
Just because someone talks about peace, declares peace and appears to want peace, does not mean they are willing to change their destructive behavior, their treatment of others or their deceiving ways.
*Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak peace, they are for war.” Psalm 120:6 NIV
We can call for peace, talk about peace, desire peace and make efforts towards peace. We can choose our words carefully, consider our actions thoughtfully, and still those who hate peace will reject our best efforts.
There are many more, this is just a sampling. I’d like to close with these powerful scriptures of blessing that should remind us of the value of peace.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16
‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’ (Numbers 6:24-26 NLT)
Whatever you do!
Hold your #peace
Avoid the #peacethieves