Peace left at my door?
You might be asking… are these the kinds of gifts one receives from strangers living in Bend, Oregon? If so maybe it's time to move to Bend! Before you book your moving truck let me explain.
Peace, “Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility…” the dictionary says.
“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.” This is said by Jesus in John 14:27 NLT
The MSG version says it this way, “I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you are used to being left-feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
This time of year is filled with a lot of “want to’s” and a lot of “to do’s”. Sometimes the list starts to drive me (and you?). It can be easy for me to slip from being one who is enjoying the season and the people that are gifts all around me, to managing the people so that the list can be accomplished more efficiently.
Taking Time To Reflect.
Several times in the last couple of days I’ve stopped myself to just think and reflect on the people around me and why I enjoy them. A week ago we had several tragic events hit our lives very quickly. We don’t have a guarantee of tomorrow. We don’t have a guarantee of the next breath. We don’t have a guarantee that we will have the chance to say, “I love you!” again…
In light of this, I want to remind us all to take a quick moment to speak peace to our surroundings; speak peace to our lives, hearts and families; maybe say NO to a couple of nonessential commitments; enjoy the intangibles that are in our hand - the gifts of life, friendships, joy, love, etc. … to name just a couple; and enjoy the gift of peace in the midst of managing our many, many blessings. And maybe, just maybe, sit back and meditate on how to position ourselves to RECEIVE this gift that has been freely given. It’s not earned. It’s given. I must receive peace.
Peace - The Gift Left At Your Door
Yes, peace is a gift to me today. Peace is a gift to you today. You may not live in Bend, OR, we may not even live in the
same state or experience the same circumstances but we can all choose the instructions of Philipians 4:6-8 MSG,
“Don’t fret or worry;” (reminds me of the song, “Don’t worry…Be happy!”) “Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Or, the NLT version of the same verse…
“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.”
Jesus, be the guard over my heart and mind today. Let peace pervade the atmosphere where I live. I choose your gift. I choose PEACE. I choose PEACE that transcends. Take all the weights…I receive peace. Peace is the gift I cherish this Christmas! Thank you, Father.
Pastors Phil Harris of Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.