Joseph A. Bias
A Thanksgiving for Peace
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:2
Peace is freedom from war; mental calm and serenity with no anxiety; the absence of violence or other disturbances; freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups, a treaty agreeing to an end of hostilities between warring parties.
Peace can sometimes seem to be an elusive, if not unattainable, pursuit. Because we live in a fallen world most of the things around us are positioned to drain our energies, distract us from more fruitful endeavors or occupy our minds with things that are mundane, routine, uninspired or trite. The end result is unrest, boredom, agitation, depression, anxiety, fear, feelings of un-fulfillment, a constant hungering for what can never really satisfy us or some combination of any or all of the above.
The only peace the world can offer us is shallow at best because it is not lasting and it proceeds from the minds and ways of fallen humankind. We take it in a drug that soon wears off leaving us with unwanted and sometimes dangerous side effects. We seek it in relationships that are not sure, that tend toward impurity, promiscuity and fornication, that are sin and only satisfy for a moment. Afterward we are more empty and less at peace than before because now we have to wrestle with the torment of condemnation.
We can seek peace in money or material things, gadgets, vehicles, houses, the life of luxury but it never pays off. How sad is the individual who sits in a mansion surrounded by his or her possessions with neither family of friends to share them. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul?
But God the Father, our creator, knows what makes for peace, lasting peace in our lives. He wants us to have it all, the fullness of blessings promised in His Covenant for us, and the peace that passes all understanding. There is a fundamental peace that is found only in the acknowledgment of our need for salvation and then the confession of faith in Jesus Christ by whose sacrifice (death, burial and resurrection) the dividing wall, between us and God, between us and the Covenants of God, between us and the promises and benefits of a right relationship (righteousness) with God, has been broken down. Behind that veil is the place of God’s presence. In His presence there is peace. (Eph. 2:14)
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
Jesus told His disciples “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“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.” John 14:27
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Peace is the absence of fear, torment, and unrest of any kind. The key to all these things is love. This is the meaning of Isa. 26:3 “You [God, The Holy One] will keep him [everyone] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he [everyone who] trusts in You.”
Perfect peace is born of perfect love. Love is made perfect in us by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us both to will and to do of God’s good pleasure. Phil. 2:12-13
There is a peace that is the absence if war. But Jesus promises a peace even in the midst of war.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;…” Ephersians 6:11-18
We are indeed in a warfare of spiritual dimensions that directly affects our circumstances in the natural world. Into this fact of life Jesus offers peace that passes all understanding. How do we enter into this place of peace? Here are some pathways.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
"Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God which passes all understand will keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me [The Apostle Paul] do: and the God of peace shall be with you." Philippians. 4:8-9
Consider these passages.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua. 1:8
And that success includes peace.
“The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace”. Psalm 29:11
“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14
“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm. 37:11
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. Psalm. 37:37
“My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee”. Proverbs. 3:1-2
“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Romans. 8:6
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans. 14:17
This then, is our hope and prayer.
“Father, God we are from time to time bombarded on every side with the wars and rumors of wars in the world. We are acquainted with strivings within our own minds and hearts and strivings of those around us. Yet in the midst of these things, in the midst of this upheaval and unrest You have promised us peace.
You are our Great Shepherd so we shall not want. You make us to lie down in green pastures, in pleasant places of comfort, abundant provision and rest. You lead us beside still waters where we can drink of life freely without fear, stress, strain or threat of danger and you restore our souls. You lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death we will not fear evil of any kind. Your rod, Your word, Your covenants, Your promises in Jesus Christ our Lord and You staff, The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which has made us free form the Law of sin and death, they comfort us.
You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies and you give us peace on every side. No evil shall befall us neither shall any plague come near our dwelling. You anoint our heads with oil so that our cup runs over. You refresh us daily and You renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Surely goodness, peace, health, wealth, favor, wisdom and all spiritual blessings shall follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in quietness, rest and peace in the house of the Lord forever.
So, Father this Thanksgiving we turn our heats fully to you in an attitude of gratitude and humility making mention of couontless blessings You have given to us. Thanks you for life and that more abundantly in Jesus, Christ our Lord. Thank You for Love that perfect love that casts out all fear and by which we have unwaveruing assurance that You are for us and not against us. Thank for our loved ones, for spouses, for children, gradchildren, great grand children and generations of family anf friends whom you have given us in trust to love to nurture and to enriche each others lives with You spirit working through us.
Thank for our brothers and sisters in Christ, the body of Christ, at home and abroad. Thank You for health, and strength, for energy and vitality, for wisdom and understanding, for love for joy and for peace, today and every day in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank You Father that this day we do indeed walk in divine health, divine wisdom, divine favor, divine prosperity, divine overflowing increase of good things, divine rest, divine joy and divine love and peace in the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Father for Your immeasurable grace. Thank You, Father for your incontainable gift. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.”