onepeaceAugust 16, 2009
One of the most astonishing difficulties in discussing the deep things of God is that of trying to define undefinables and place them into a clever series of quotes. The term “from everlasting” is an excellent example of this. We know what it means and yet none of us can possibly wrap our minds around the concept. The understanding that God has always been and has never altered his character is so far beyond our grasping that we find ourselves reduced to speaking of it, as it were, in woefully inadequate cliches. Likewise the fact that God is everywhere at the same time; filling the heavens and the earth is beyond our ability to fathom or explain. We can quickly locate the scriptural references to these truths, however these concepts fall into the catagory of “things too wonderful for me.” Yet, without a doubt, our God does inhabit eternity and he fills the creation. He sees the hearts of all and knows the full accounting of those deeds which are performed under the cover of darkness.
Proverbs 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Romans 11:33-36 “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things” to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
When it comes to the peace of God, we once again find ourselves striving to discuss something that’s not definable with words. We know what it’s like in relation to where we are spiritually (we encounter it in stages as we grow in Christ) and we can quote Philipians 4:7 in our sleep. Yet trying to describe what the peace of God is like to someone who’se never known it is all but impossible. It’s so real; so complete that a person finds themselves in a place of absolute contentment and wanting for nothing. The trappings and campaigns of a temporal world cannot compete with the supernatural peace of God which passes understanding. It’s like a city of refuge in the wilderness; unseen by those of a fearful lot, wherein the remnant saints can enter in and find refreshing. Just beyond its walls, the heathen rage and the devils broadcast deception, but those that do know their God have entered into his perfect rest.
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth,give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
To be in a place where our heart is not troubled or afraid. It’s probably safe to say that few of us have reached a fulness in this. When the enemy is assaulting us from every angle with a clever mixture of threatenings and alurements that call out to our old man, it’s easy to lose focus and quickly forget the words found in Isaiah 26:3. The enemys campaigns are “in our face” so to speak, while keeping our thoughts upon the Lord require a continual dying to self, a walking by what we know as opposed to what we see, and a sincere hunger for the deep things of God. A lukewarm form of godliness may offer good feelings, which are oftentimes equated with the peace of God and being spiritual, but it will not sustain those given to it during times of trying. (A notable aspect of one who’se given to a form of godliness is that they will require a steady supply of external stimulation. A week on a deserted island with nothing but a bible would drive them nutty) A real shaking from on high will make manifest that which is authentic and that which is show.
Recently I’ve contemplated the various stages of Gods peace that we encounter along the pathway. Our first encounter with this peace takes place the hour that we first believe. The moment where upon realizing our lost sinful state, we believe on, and surrender our hearts to Jesus, who bore our sins on the cross and rose from the dead on the third day. We accept him by faith and trust that “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The moment has a special sweetness to it. Our understanding is minimal and there’s a whole new world lying ahead of us wrought with trials, victories, growing pains, and what have you. But here we rejoice as one who has just exited the broad road leading to perdition and now has their name recorded in the book of life.
My first few weeks as a christian were incredible. Understanding was at a minimum, but just talking with a God who beforetime had just been an ambiguous idea, was incredible. Furthermore the scriptures which had never seemed coherant in past times suddenly made sense to me. All of this brought about a peace that I had never experienced before. A fulfilment that none of the other devices had been able to deliver and none of my former masters could take away. A joy in knowing that when this life has run its course, we have an inheritance incorruptible wherein we shall dwell in the presence of the Lord Jesus throughout the eons to come. This thought alone causes all of the former passions to lose much of their appeal. When our thoughts and conversation is focused upon the Lord, the contrast is beyond description and we begin to see just how “lacking in life” the former lustings are.
The peace of God that’s in my heart today is different than it was in the earlier seasons. Despite being born of the Spirit, I wrestled for years with being fearful of physical happenings. Fear of losing trappings, fear of becoming unemployed, fearful of a whole list of “what ifs.” And despite being very interested in bible prophecy, I was fearful of what the saints may have to go through. I used to be a hard-core pre-tribber; not only because everyone else was (and I believed their interpretations of I Corinthians 15:51-52 and I Thessalonians 4:16-17) but also because the thought of going through the tribulation was “unthinkable.” I remember a preacher on the radio in Virginia who was probably the first post tribulationist that I had ever heard. I enjoyed the discussion of prophecy, but the notion of going through the tribulation and possibly being beheaded was more than my carnal mind could handle at the time.
There was fear in my life that hindered me for a lot of years. It wasn’t until the spring of 2004 that the peace of God began to really manifest in my life on a grander scale. It began after an abandoning of the pre-tribulation doctrine, coupled with an embracing of what the saints may have to endure as the return of Jesus draws nigh. (To many, that would seem really backwards, but the peace of God will abide; even in the midst of trying circumstances) Over the past five years, despite having a life filled with uncertainties and riddled with drama at every turn, I’m at complete peace. It really is a peace that defies all of the experts and all of the nay sayers. It’s a peace that depends only upon walking close to Jesus and hiding his word in our heart. There are moments (increasingly frequent moments) where I come before the Lord with a list of petitions, however, the peace of just being in his presence is so overwhelming that it leaves one speechless for a duration. A single syllable of mine seems an intrusion of this communion. A place of absolute serinity and completeness.
In such moments, it wouldn’t matter if somebody came by with one of those huge cardboard checks for a hundred million dollars or if the earth opened up and swallowed everything with our name on it. This felloswhip with the Lord does not hinge on any of the worlds conditions of promises; only on our letting go of that which we can never keep and laying up real treasure which can never be scattered. And I need to be going because this post is now approaching 1400 words. The passages of scripture at the bottom of this post have appeared much in the history of this blog, but they are being brought forth once again. The first one is in relation to this post, while the second one has been on my heart for the past three days; even to the point of seeing it appear in unexpected places.
One more thing that I would request prayer concerning. Although it’s over two months away, CR and I are planning another trip to Chicago. The plan is to spend the entire day of October 30 in the streets for the purpose of reaching the lost and whatever else may come up. (This trip may actually begin on Oct 29; depending on how much time is available) We haven’t been over there since last spring and this particular time frame has been on my heart for about a month. Nonetheless, there are souls in every venue who are in need of Jesus; even in my own household. May the Lord open our eyes to the war that’s raging all around us 24/7.
Blessings always in Jesus name.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Malachi 3:16-18 “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”