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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Okay. I admit I'm a little slow to pick up on some things, especially the little things in life that can go unnoticed. But I just love the way that Scripture seems to be never ending in its treasures. For those of you who don't know, I've been in church my entire life. There have been few Sundays in my 39+ years where I wasn't somewhere in some church worshipping with other Christ followers. So, I've read every story in the Bible, many of them numerous times. However, it's not an uncommon thing for me to read a passage of Scripture and have it jump off the page at me in a way that I never understood it. That's a wonderful thing.

Take this verse for instance: 27I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn't like the peace that this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid. John 14:27 CEV
These are great words of promise and hope from Jesus himself. I have used them on many occasions to comfort people and to affirm those who are going through difficult times. I read them myself as I went through the aftermath of the wreck and the loss of my wife and son. Every time, they strengthened my hope and my resolve. I found myself back there again this morning, only with a different perspective.

Catch this. The words are huge and powerful just as they are. But you know what I noticed for the first time this morning? The time and place that Jesus said this to His followers. Jesus had just told the guys about His coming arrest and crucifixion (John 12 and 13). He had just informed Peter (one of His closest friends and followers) that he would play a role in all of this by denying Jesus three times. Within hours, Jesus would stand face-to-face with accusers and the worst form of capital punishment that existed in His age. The topic of the day? Peace!?! I'm sure the disciples did not understand the gravity of what He was saying. But you and I surely can as we look back. Peace--so hard to find and understand in the 21st century. Is there some kind of formula? Some kind of plan for how it should happen? Well, as a matter of fact, yeah. You want to know how Jesus could face His problems with this amazing peace. It's found all over the Bible in different books, different chapters, different phrases. But here is just one way this "mystical" formula is addressed...

4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. Psalm 40:4 NLT
Did you catch it? They trust in the Lord. The joy they have--the peace that consumes them as the world tries it's best to remove them--comes from an unwavering confidence in the Lord. Their stability and security and health and wellness do not depend on the traditions of men, the circumstances of life or the findings of the latest religion poll. They trust wholeheartedly in the character of God. As those final hours for Jesus came to a conclusion, we see a real man with unreal confidence and peace. Facing His own certain death and the painful events that led up to it, Jesus knew peace like you and I can know peace. And He found it in the intimate relationship He held with His Father. It's still there that we find our source. Unwavering, unfaltering, unchanging--the power and strength of God can and will carry you through the most difficult of times. Will you trust Him?

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