The Path to Peace
One of the great benefits we receive from Christ as believers is peace. We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ for through faith in Christ our guilt has been removed. This is an objective fact for all who have true faith. However, we do not always experience peace subjectively in our hearts and minds on a daily basis. If we are not experiencing peace, there are certain modifications we need to make in our lives. In his letter to the Philippians St. Paul tells us what to do to experience the peace that is rightfully ours as God’s children.
If you want to experience peace, you must be a person who prays. St. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…” (Phil 4:6) We are to pray to God our Father remembering that He is the most loving and caring Parent there is. If we are consumed by anxiety and lack inner peace, it is an indication that we lack the faith and trust we should have in our heavenly Father. Jesus the Son of the Father told us, “Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith. Therefore do not worry, saying `What shall we eat?` or `What shall we drink?` or `What shall we wear?` For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Mt. 6:30-32) God is our Father, therefore, we His children should talk to Him on a regular basis trusting Him to meet all our needs.
If you are to experience peace, you must also be a thankful person. St. Paul wrote that we should pray, “with thanksgiving.” He then went on to write, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7) A lack of gratitude to God is one of man’s most basic sins. You should always pray with a thankful heart, even when the Father doesn’t answer your prayer immediately or in the way you wished Him to answer. We may be thankful because we know that our Father will always do what is best for His children whom He loves more than we are able to imagine. Unthankful people are never happy people.
If you desire peace of mind you must meditate and think. The apostle told us, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” (Phil. 4:8) The point is we need to control our thoughts, rather than being controlled by our thoughts.
As Christians we need to make a conscious decision to think in a certain way. In fact we need to meditate or focus our thoughts and direct our thoughts in a certain way. And what should be the subject of our daily meditation and mental discipline?
At the top of the list and of primary importance is, “whatever things are true.”
M. Scott Peck the noted psychiatrist described mental health as, “an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs.” (People of the Lie) Satan is always trying to pull us into unreality with his lies. Focus on the truth that God is your Father, Christ is your Savior and the Holy Spirit is always with you.
We should also think about those things that are noble, which mean honorable and worthy of reverence and respect as opposed to those things that are flippant and frivolous.
Next comes “whatever things are just.” God is a just God, therefore, we His children should be just as well.
“Whatever things are pure” follows. There is much around us that is not pure. We must be careful not to allow the filth of this world to get a foothold on our thoughts.
We should also think on “whatever things are lovely”. Look for the lovely. If there is something unlovely in a person refuse to dwell on it. And concentrate on “whatever things are of good report.” Some people are always eager to hear a negative report. If you want peace don’t dwell on bad news. The apostle adds to this list, “if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.” (Phil. 4:8) What a difference it would make in our lives if we always thought this way.
Finally, if you wish to experience peace you must be a person who follows a good example. St. Paul went on to say, “The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9) The apostle set himself up as an example to follow as he followed Christ. As humans we are natural imitators. There is a connection between our thoughts and our actions. In Proverbs we are told, “For as man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7) If we fill our minds with negative examples, we will act accordingly. If we meditate on positive role models, we will tend to act that way.
If we follow St. Paul’s advise and pray, are thankful, think about the good and follow good examples we will experience peace. Furthermore, people who live in a world that produces anxiety and fear need to see the peace of God in our lives. In so doing they will be drawn to the God of peace.
By Rev. F. M. Levi
St. Andrew’s Preschool Open House was held Sunday afternoon, Sept. 3, 2006. Class for this year began Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2006.
Sunday School Rally Day was held on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2006. A picnic on the school grounds was enjoyed by all following the services.
Oct. 29, 2006. Potluck luncheon in the Parish Hall following church.
The Woman’s Guild Spaghetti dinner will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2006, from 5-7 p.m. Come and enjoy the evening with friends and family!
Missionary of The Month
Bishop Oommen Samuel & Family. Reformed Episcopal Mission. Lalitpur, India.
Oct. 1 - Diane Alverson
Oct. 5 - Janet Novak
Oct. 8 - Louise Rich
Oct. 12 - Cheryl Yapp
Oct. 17 - Carla Yehnert
Oct. 27 - Annamarie Sellers
Somebody cares and always will,
The world forgets but God loves you still,
You cannot go beyond His Love
No matter what you’re guilty of –
For God forgives until the end,
He is your faithful, loyal friend,
And though you try to hide your face
There is no shelter any place.
That can escape His watchful eye,
For on the earth and in the sky,
He’s ever present and always there
To take you in His tender care.
And bind the wounds and mend the breaks
When all the world around forsakes...
Somebody cares and loves you still
And God is the Someone who always will.
- Author Unknown