Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Peace With God

Last month I was given the opportunity to share a devotional once a week in a local newspaper. I figured since the articles were already written, I would also post them here on my blog. During July I shared 5 articles about the importance of being a person of peace. Here is the first article I wrote, which speaks about the fact that we are able to be at peace with God and have relationship with Him.

We are all capable of being a person of peace. No matter what we have done, we are not too far gone. God used people in the Bible that were murderers and adulterers. By today’s standards, Paul would have even been considered a terrorist, and he ended up writing 13 books of the New Testament! So don't you dare think you're a lost cause! God still wants to be in relationship with you. Don't count yourself out!

To begin, I want to introduce the idea that we can be at peace with God. God wants to be at peace with us. God wants to be in relationship with us. We were created to have relationship and fellowship with Him. In Romans 5:1 it says that we can have peace with God through Jesus Christ. So, peace with God is possible because of Jesus!

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When my wife and I have an argument, we are no longer at peace with one another. The argument isn't resolved by avoiding it or sweeping it under the rug, that only allows it to fester and get worse. Instead, we need to come together and speak with one another in order for peace to be reinstated.

In First Corinthians 1:9 it says that we were called into fellowship with God. That word for fellowship means “communion, communication, joint participation, and intimacy.” So we are all called to be at peace with God. Part of our purpose in life is to be in an ever growing intimate relationship with God. We need to be at peace with someone before we will want to have a relationship with them. And we need to have a relationship with someone before we begin to share our lives with them and our deepest secrets and most intimate moments.

When I first met my wife I didn't air out all of my dirty laundry right away, I would have scared her away! But over time, as we built trust and intimacy, I shared all of my life with her. The good and the bad. My wife and I know everything about one another. That is intimacy. But that kind of relationship doesn't just happen over night. It takes time and it takes work. It takes commitment.

There are no shortcuts in getting to know someone, including God. Fellowship is vital to relationship. Building a relationship takes quality time AND quantity of time. My wife and I spent MANY hours on the phone as we got to know one another and as we built our relationship. And within those many hours we shared our hearts. We shared our dreams and hopes and desires. We understood that we would never have a deep relationship until we knew deep things about one another.

The same goes in a relationship with God. We know God only by having fellowship with Him.

I enjoy learning about WWII history. I've read some books, watched some movies, and attended some classes that taught on the subject. Because of my studying and the time I've put into the topic, I know some things about Adolf Hitler, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Benito Mussolini, Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, and Douglas MacArthur.

History talks about what these men did and about some of their character traits. But reading all the history books in the world on the subject does not mean I know these men personally. I could even be an "expert" on the subject without ever knowing the real people. Even though I know some of the history and some of what is recorded about them, I DO NOT know them.

Just because I read a biography or watched a movie about someone doesn’t mean I know them personally. Getting to know someone comes from spending quality time with them. If all you ever do is read your Bible and never fellowship with God, then you will know a lot ABOUT Him but you still might not KNOW Him.

How many religious people are so called "experts" about the Lord, yet have never had a genuine real experience with God!? This shouldn't be the case!

So I want to encourage you to be at peace with God. Pursue a relationship with Him and grow in intimate fellowship with Him. Get to know Him and join a community of believers (a church family) that can join you on that journey. You will not be disappointed!

Until next time, shake the earth!
- Joel

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