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In Pursuit of Peace: 21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear, and Discontentment

(Hardback - Sep 2004)
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Overview

The #1 bestselling author explores the myriad ways readers can experience a life overflowing with tranquility.

Details

  • SKU: 9780446577359
  • SKU10: 0446577359
  • Title: In Pursuit of Peace: 21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear, and Discontentment
  • Qty Remaining Online: 83
  • Publisher: Faithwords
  • Release Date: Sep 07, 2004
  • Large Print: Yes
  • Pages: 512
  • Weight lbs: 1.69
  • Dimensions: 9.24" L x 6.34" W x 1.58" H
  • Features: Price on Product, Large Print
  • Themes: Theometrics | Charismatic; Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: LARGE PRINT BOOKS
  • Subject: Christian Life - Inspirational
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Chapter Excerpt


Chapter One

PEACEKEEPER #1

Trust the Lord of Peace

God wants us to enjoy life and see good days. In fact, God's Word tells us to search for peace, and seek it eagerly (see 1 Peter 3:11). We are not to merely desire peaceful relations with God, with our fellow men, and with ourselves, but we are to pursue and go after peaceful relationships!

The first way to find peace is in learning to trust God through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. We cannot have peace with God, others, or ourselves without His lordship in our lives. The Bible says that Jesus is our wisdom from God (see 1 Corinthians 1:30). His Word teaches us how to live properly. He doesn't just give us wisdom-He is our wisdom. Through trusting the Prince of Peace and having a personal relationship with Him, we actually have indwelling wisdom from the Lord's presence in us.

If we would get still long enough to let that wisdom rise and minister to our minds, we wouldn't do so many foolish things. Too many times, we react through our emotions and we don't pay any attention to the wisdom in our hearts. We tend to make decisions according to our thoughts rather than living by discernment and according to what the Holy Spirit is placing in our hearts. Consequently, we get ourselves in trouble.

I believe that Jesus is everything we need in any situation. He is sufficient to meet the need for every circumstance that we will ever face. So, we certainly must learn how to go to Jesus for much more than just salvation or a ticket into heaven. We need to take Him as our everything in life, including as our Prince of Peace.

JESUS GOVERNS OUR LIVES

Isaiah 9:6-7 says, "For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and of peace there shall be no end" (italics mine).

The government that is upon the shoulders of Jesus is not a political government; the verse is referring to the governing of our lives. We are not supposed to be running our own lives. In fact, we are not capable or qualified to run our own lives. Not one of us is intelligent enough to know what is best. That is why we should be thankful for God's interference.

I like the promise that there will be no end to the increase of His government and peace. The more His government increases in my life (the more He governs my life, my thoughts, my conversations, my decisions, and my actions), the more peace I am going to have.

Peace doesn't come from success and money and promotions and feeling good about everything in life. We find peace in the kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace, and joy within us. Being right with God, knowing we are right with God, and doing the right thing out of knowing who we are in Christ is a process, but it leads us to peace, and peace leads us to joy.

And if we don't have righteousness, peace, and joy, then we are not enjoying the kingdom of God as we should. Sometimes we may need to take a vacation from all the other things we look for and instead seek the kingdom. Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides" (italics mine).

We work and struggle and strive at "all these things," such as food and clothing and position in society. But what we should be doing is searching out God's kingdom; we should seek Jesus and His government in our lives. Colossians 1:10 says, "That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things."

BE A DISCIPLE OF JESUS

Jesus said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34 NIV). If we want to have peace, we have to stop following other voices; we must be God pleasers, not man pleasers, and we must choose to follow Jesus on a daily basis.

For many years, I was in a church that gave me a great foundation about salvation, but I never learned much past that. I had many problems in my life, but I wasn't getting any victory over any of them. I certainly didn't know how to pursue or go after peace. Satan distracted me by getting me involved with many activities that did not produce good fruit in my life.

I was not taught to study God's Word myself, and because I didn't know the Word of God, I wasn't aware of the many deceptions that can grossly mislead people. For example, before I was in ministry I worked at an office where a coworker studied astrology. At the time, the things she talked about seemed to make sense (because I had no knowledge of God's Word on this subject). She believed the position of the planets and stars directed her life. She said there were even optimum times to get a haircut to have the best results.

Today, advice is easy to obtain from psychics, tarot card readers, sorcerers, and people skilled in divination who would like to run people's lives. They may give information that seems to make sense, but it will not produce lasting peace in a person's life. As I look back at those early years of being a believer, I am sad to say that nobody in my church told me not to follow these voices of deception. No one warned me that the Bible clearly says those who practice these types of things will not enter the kingdom of heaven (see Revelation 21:8). We are to follow God, not psychics, astrology, mediums, tarot card readers, or any such thing. God's Word actually says that these things are an abomination to Him. To enjoy peace, we must be led by the Lord of Peace.

To be a disciple of Jesus means to study His teaching, imitate His life, and correctly analyze the Word of Truth (see 2 Timothy 2:15). We will have God's power to live our lives well if we devote our attention to God's Word and allow Jesus to transform us by following the peace that He alone can give.

Peace is our inheritance from Jesus, but we have to choose to follow Him daily. Colossians 3:15 teaches us that peace is to be the "umpire" in our lives, settling every issue that needs a decision. To gain and maintain peace in our hearts, we may have to learn to say no to a few things.

For example, if we don't feel peace about something, we should never go ahead and do it. And if we don't have peace while we are doing something, then we shouldn't expect to have peace after we have done it. Many people marry others they didn't have peace about marrying, and then they wonder why they don't have peace in their marriages. Many people buy expensive items they didn't have peace about buying, then continue to lose their peace every month when they have to make payments on them.

I want to repeat the text I used previously because it is vital to living life well. Colossians 3:15 says to let the peace from Christ "rule (act as umpire continually)" in our hearts. The presence of peace helps us decide and settle with finality all questions that arise in our minds. If you let the Word have its home in your heart and mind, it will give you insight and intelligence and wisdom (see v. 16). You won't have to wonder, Should I or shouldn't I? I don't know if it's right. I don't know what to do. If you are a disciple of Christ, He has called you to follow peace.

Dave, my husband, and I were trying to make a decision on a large purchase we needed to make. We called some of our board members from the ministry and presented the need to them, asking, "What do you think?"

They all gave their opinions, but as I listened to them I knew suddenly that I didn't have peace about going forward with the plan. We have learned by experience to wait if we don't have peace for something. Everyone agreed to wait on God to give us all peace before we proceeded.

I was out shopping recently and went into a children's clothing store. It was one I had not been in for perhaps a year or more. I saw some items that I thought would be perfect for two of my granddaughters. They were little pink shirts with rhinestone hearts on them. It was Valentine's Day and I wanted to give them something, so I called my daughter to check on their clothing sizes before making my purchase.

She said, "I cannot believe this! I was in that shop last night, looking at those exact shirts, but I didn't have peace about spending any money. I really wanted to buy them for the girls but felt I needed to honor God by not doing something I did not have peace about." Then she said, "Mom, I believe God is blessing me because I obeyed Him." She was very excited.

Letting her girls receive the shirts as a gift was much more fun than purchasing them. Had she disobeyed what she felt in her heart and done what she did not have peace about, she probably would have been uncomfortable in her spirit, perhaps even miserable. We both got to be part of a miracle because she chose to follow peace!

Following the Lord of peace may mean that you have to make some adjustments in your life. You may not be able to do everything your friends do. You may not be able to buy everything you want. You may not be able to have something just because a friend, or a sister or a brother, has one. You may have to wait. But I believe that peace is the most important, the most valuable thing we can have. If we follow peace, we will end up living holy lives and thoroughly enjoying them.

Many people cannot hear from God because they have too much turmoil in their lives. Their insides are like a freeway during rush-hour traffic. They literally don't know how to be peaceful; it is as if they are addicted to turmoil. They keep things agitated and stirred up, seemingly on purpose. In fact, they get comfortable living in a state of chaos. It has become their normal state, even though in God's economy it is not normal at all.

It sounds strange, but when I started learning to be peaceful, I wasbored at first! I was so accustomed to having something major going on in my life all the time that I wondered, What am I supposed to do with myself? Romans 3:17 says, "And they have no experience of the way of peace [they know nothing about peace, for a peaceful way they do not even recognize]."

That describes how my life used to be. I had no experience at all in enjoying a peaceful life; I did not even know how to begin. I had grown up in an atmosphere of strife, and it was all I ever knew. I had to learn an entirely new way of living.

But now I'm addicted to peace. As soon as my peace disappears, I ask myself how I lost it and start looking for ways to get it back. I am believing that as you read this book you will become so hungry for peace with God, peace with yourself, and peace with others that you will be willing to make whatever adjustments you need to make in order to have it. I am also believing that you will begin to follow peace at all times, because peace will lead you into the perfect will of God.

Jesus said that if we follow Him, He will give us peace (free of charge). In fact, He said He will bequeath His own peace to us (see John 14:27).

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS BRINGS PEACE

I want to see people love God's Word and put it first place in their lives. I believe there is an anointing on the Word; it has inherent power that makes positive changes in us. The Word of God is truth, and John 8:32 says, "And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." Truth sets us free from turmoil and leads us into a life of peace when we follow it.

The gospel of salvation through Jesus makes peace available to us in all areas of our lives. First Corinthians 1:21 says that when people failed to find God through earthly wisdom or by means of their own philosophy, God saved people through the preaching of salvation "procured by Christ." Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible says the Greek word translated as "save" in that verse is sozo, which means God "delivers, protects, heals, preserves, saves and makes whole" those who believe, trust in, and rely on Him.

We will experience peace in our personal lives when we stop trying to do so many things ourselves and just rely on God to deliver, protect, heal, and save us, as He wants to do.

And God will also lead us to peace in our relationships. Ephesians 2:14 is an awesome Scripture that says, "For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us." Where there is no unity, no harmony, God Himself will break down and abolish the walls that divide people. He has broken down walls between so-called classes of people. He makes equal those who have higher education and those without any education at all. Somebody with a lot of money is no better to Him than somebody without money. The preacher is no better than the person who cleans the toilets.

The Lord loves each of us unconditionally. The hand of God uniquely created and personally designed each of us. That doesn't mean that we don't need some sandpaper to smooth our rough edges or polishing to make us shine. We all need to change and grow, but we can still be at peace about who we are without comparing ourselves with somebody else. We can stop thinking we are flawed because we are not like anyone else we know. We must have peace with ourselves before we can have peace with others.

I believe God wants you to have peace about where you are in your spiritual growth and to realize that you won't always stay the way you are. Anyone seeking God regularly is always changing, but we can enjoy where we are on the way to where we are going.

In the next chapter, I will share more about how we can surrender our will to God's leading. He doesn't want us to wait to have peace until we have all the things that we may want and desire or think are necessary to our lives. He doesn't want us to be jealous or envious of those who have the things we want and don't have, or those who can do what we can't do. He wants to prove to us that He is our peace.

God has an individualized, customized plan for your life. As you trust Him, He will bring it to pass in His timing, not yours. Waiting on God's plan and timing is wise because His ways are always best. He is the Lord of peace, and as you surrender your heart and life to Him, you will experience the peace that passes understanding.

(Continues.)

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