Stand Firm in Christ’s Peace

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umbrella in stormEphesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil… 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 

Is 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.

October is scary movie season. As a kid I spent a lot of Saturdays watching Creature Feature movies. I loved the classic psychological thrillers. Honestly I liked the old fashioned monster movies as well. I was so excited to introduce my kids to the Creature from the Black lagoon and the Blob. Somehow they weren’t so impressed. The approach has changed but there is something in the human heart that is drawn to scary stories. Something in us likes to be started and frightened for our entertainment.

Real life is a different story though! Fear can be fun in a movie theater or Halloween haunted house. But not in real life. Real fear in real life drives us to fork over the bucks for insurance and security devices. Fear leads to paralysis and panic. Fear makes us withdraw and worry. Sometimes is hits us with sudden intense emotions. Other times it is a low grade worry. It almost always holds us back. For followers of Christ too often it keeps us from moving forward in our walk with Him. God’s enemy uses fear to keep us from living the full abundant life Jesus calls us to experience.

We need to Recognize Fear & Worry as Key Weapons of Spiritual War.

Satan schemes to choke us out with fear & worry. In a parable Jesus describes worry as weeds that choke out the good seed God seeks to plant in our lives. Faith begins to sprout, but worry rises and chokes it out!

Fear causes us to make bad decisions, to lose our courage, focus or sense of reality. Through worry & fear, Hitler rose to power. This weapon also disrupts peace in our relationships. This lack of true inner peace drives us to stiff arm others in ways that hurt our chance of harmony and wholeness with them.

Worry is low grade fear that doubts God’s care or strength for us. It is a pollution of faith. It fertilizes doubt and distracts us from our true hope in Jesus. It causes us to lose our footing. It sets us up for a fall. It doesn’t have to be like that.

Rest in the Ultimate Peace Jesus’ Cross Brings.

Rom 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Mark 4:40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

It seems contradictory for God to tell us to dress for battle by preparing our feet with the gospel of peace. Peace seems incompatible with war. Biblically however, we cannot stand firm in war without soul deep peace. This peace calms the storm in our hearts so we can face the storms of the world with a clear head.

This peace means standing firm in the face of the enemy or uncertainty. It is an inner calm and tranquility, a clear-headed confidence. Peace with God is the source of our peace with others. Peace comes from confident faith in Christ.

The gospel is the foundation of true peace. Jesus is the prince of peace. His cross makes ultimate peace possible. Peace with God settles our hearts so that we can be at peace with others. When we are securely loved. We are free to love others… even those most difficult to love! In Christ, we have nothing to fear. The key is to continually, intentionally remember our security in Jesus.

What fears keep coming up for you? Keeps you up at night? Paralyzes your heart in the day? What low grade worries drive your work, decisions, approach to relationships. What are you afraid of? Why not release your fear to Jesus to settle your heart in His peace?

Ps 56:11 In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?

Phil 4:7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Recognize & name your fear. Release your fear to Jesus through intentional prayer. Stand Firm in Life’s Battles by Anchoring your Heart in Christ’s Peace.

To catch the whole lesson go to www.parkviewfamily.com. Even better, join us this weekend at 9 or 10:45 to experience God’s life changing presence and take in the next part of the lesson.

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Jesus Centered Relationships

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friends laughingCol 3:12-17 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you

The Carnegie institute states the 90 percent of all people who fail in their work fail because they can’t get along with people. Something in us makes relationships hard. Our gut instinct, annoyances, and distaste for conflict drive us to avoid, eliminate or control others. Those we deal with most often are often the most challenging. We wish they would change. But we can’t make them. If we force it, we probably aren’t following Jesus in that moment.

Shouldn’t we have better relationship through our relationship with Jesus? Theoretically yes, but we must be intentional about following His lead. Three things become possible when we center our lives on Jesus. I encourage you to pick on as a starting place to start today an experience the difference He makes.

Embrace Jesus’ Heart of Grace Towards Others.

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Peace in Life’s Hardships

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umbrella in stormThe existence of hardship is one of the universal proofs of our fallen condition of the world we live in and our own nature as human beings. Ongoing trouble is a life reality that we cannot control or stop. We must find a way to deal with it.

This is why Jesus & His message are so critical and powerful. Through Jesus we can have a life that rises above the fallen nature of this world. Through Jesus we can Choose real Joy in the face of Life’s hardships. But it requires intentional actions of the heart that play our in our habits.

Last weekend’s message focused on four responses to hardship that deepen Jesus’ peace in your life no matter what you face.

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Choosing Joy- Pursuing Peace

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sad facesLast week we raised the question without the answer… How do we stand firm in our peace in Christ when we have genuine disagreements amongst ourselves? One of the joy killers for Christ followers is tension between fellow believers. Sometimes low grade frustration over personalities or other differences push us apart or drive us to open conflict.

Here are the answers we discovered in Philippians 4.

Col. 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 

BOTTOM LINE: Keep Your Heart Anchored in Jesus as Lord.

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CAN’T WE ALL GET ALONG?

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fruit of spirit chalkRom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Rodney King’s famous plea in the middle of the 1992 LA riots seemed silly to me at the time. “Can we all get along? Can we all get along?!” Of course not. Haven’t you been paying attention? Under pressure people get pretty self-centered. In a mob setting all sanity is lost. Even the Bible notes that there will always be wars and rumors of wars.

Still we all know that all conflict is NOT equal. And some should be more easily resolved and avoided than they tend to be. Just think, haven’t you walked away from an intense conversation scratching your head and wondering how in the world did it get there? Why did I get so defensive? Why were they so intense. Too often it is our response NOT the actual situation that blows things out of proportion.

Perhaps Rodney King’s silly statement is needed when the situation itself is just silly!

1Corinthians 6:1-11 deals with a problem of Christians making a big deal of their struggles in the wrong arena. Many in that church were taking each other to civil court rather than just working things out. Keep in mind this was a pre-corporation, pre-insurance society. Real harm was done to each other AND to the reputation of Christ in the secular world as a result. Relationships were lost as was the credibility of the message that Jesus changes life & relationship.

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