Archive for February, 2015

RECEIVING Peace

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you;

not as the world gives do I give to you.”

John 14:27 NKJV

1. What Jesus’ peace is NOT:

  • Merely the absence of strife
  • Favorable circumstances, things “going your way”
  • Escaping or denying realityWhen I was a kid, it was called “Calgon, take me away!” Today it’s sometimes called “going to my happy place.”  This often means distractions – like shopping, or hobbies, or even chocolate (I’m all for chocolate! J ).  The problem is, when you come back from your happy place, the problems are still there! 

We all enjoy the “mountain top” times when life is easier and things are going our way… But if that defines peace for us, our lives will enjoy precious little of it.  We need a REAL peace, one that works in the valley as well as the mountain top.

2. What Jesus’ peace IS:

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat… Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

Mark 4:37-38 NIV

  • It doesn’t depend on calm waters – in fact, it’s the most obvious amid the “furious squalls” of life.
  • It doesn’t require things “going your way ~ it’s peace that works even in the hardest of circumstances, like an Iranian prison cell (http://beheardproject.com/saeed)
  • It doesn’t deny the facts – it simply takes the facts to the Father, and waits on His answer:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

(Note: Paul was a prisoner in Roman custody when he wrote these words). 

  • It’s based solely on the unfailing love and flawless care of the Heavenly Father.  Jesus’ peace came from knowing His Father was watching over the tiniest details of His time on earth… And the same is true for you and me.  We may see many storms in life – but we’ll never see one of them alone.  He said, Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you”… and He keeps His promises.

SO HOW DO WE GET JESUS’ PEACE?

How can you and I experience and enjoy what Jesus promised us?

  • Cease looking to other sources, including self.  The Lord is your Keeper (Ps. 121), and Jesus Himself is your peace (Eph. 2:14).  We cannot experience HIS peace while trying to manufacture our own, or while looking to any source other than Jesus.
  • Don’t deny the storm – just bring it straight to JesusHe’s not afraid of our problems, but desires that we bring them right before His throne – “by prayer and petition” – where we remember His love and celebrate His faithfulness – “with thanksgiving.”
  • Lastly: RECEIVE, RECEIVE, RECEIVEJesus said “MY peace I GIVE to you” – and like any gift, it cannot be earned, worked for, or wrestled from His hands.  It must simply be received. 

Jesus wants to give us His peace even more than we desire to receive it.  So cease looking elsewhere for peace, cease trying to manufacture your own peace, and come boldly before His Throne of Grace with childlike trust.

Remember that He loves you – right now – with a faithful, caring, unfailing love… Then receive by faith what you cannot earn. 

Salvation is a gift… His love for us is a gift… and His peace is a gift.

May Jesus’ very own peace fill and flood your life this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015

The Lord will give strength to His people;

The Lord will bless His people with peace.

 Psalm 29:11 NKJV

When FIRE = LOVE

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

GOD IS LOVE full of mercy, quick to forgive, slow to anger, and abounding in compassion.  Hallelujah! 

GOD IS FIRE ~ a holy, consuming fire… Although this truth isn’t as popular in our generation as “God is love,” it’s just as real.  As He was in the Old Testament:

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire…

 Deuteronomy 4:24 NKJV 

So He is in the New Testament: 

For our God is a consuming fire…

 Hebrews 12:29 NKJV

God still uses cleansing fire in His children’s lives today, but only from a heart of love, and with our good in mind – never as an expression of anger toward us.

Malachi reminds us that precious things go through fire… and your life is precious to your Heavenly Father:

He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver;

He will purify the sons of Levi…

That they may offer to the Lord

An offering in righteousness. 

Malachi 3:3 NKJV

So when you feel the heat of adversity, suffering, mistreatment, rejection, or some other painful situation you’d love to escape, realize that you only see the flames, but God sees the silver.  He sees the precious result of the trial, the riches and blessings He will work in and through your life as you keep yielding to Him. 

Also remember:  submitting to God’s will amid a fiery trial can be painful and costly at times… but the cost of self-will is always much higher.  Consider:

  • Jonah ran from God’s calling on his life (ministry in Nineveh)… Only to find a much greater trial awaiting him (a ship, a storm, a swim, and a great fish).
  • King David chose to escape the sacrifices of life on the battlefield, preferring instead the comforts of the palace rooftop… And the consequences of his self-seeking were tragic for himself, his family, and all Israel. 
  • Peter tried to get Jesus to escape the “fire” of betrayal and crucifixion awaiting Him (“Never, Lord! This shall never happen to You!”); but thanks be to God, Jesus didn’t take the bait.  Jesus never sought to free Himself from the flames of affliction, to secure His own safety or guarantee His own well-being – He chose His Father’s will instead.

There is something precious at stake in the fire that your Father is allowing to touch your life right now.  I exhort you: don’t try to save yourself, don’t try to escape, and don’t run from your Father’s presence.  Rather, ask Him for the grace to stand in the midst of the fiery furnace you’re facing, and for the grace to trust His heart of perfect love.  On the other side of this trial are a blessing, an increase of anointing and fruitfulness, and a level of friendship with Jesus you’ve never known. 

May the Lord cause His grace, joy, and love to abound to you this week,

Pastor Matthew Casey

© Springs of Life Ministries, 2015