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Heavenly Peace

Why is it that songs like Silent Night are so meaningful during the Christmas season, yet their message doesn’t always transcend into many of our New Year moments? I heard, sang, and hummed this particular tune countless times last month; you could probably sing it by heart too:
Silent night, holy nightAll is calm, all is brightRound yon virgin, mother and childHoly infant so tender and mildSleep in heavenly peaceSleep in heavenly peace
But already the news on television isn’t good, bills are arriving in the mail, and someone in the family is struggling. Sometimes it seems that our harmony and bliss get packed away with the holiday decorations. We enjoyed the respite-but now reality has set in.Yet this isn’t the way life has to be! In fact, in the book of Philippians we find a recipe for experiencing peace, even in the midst of the most challenging circumstances:
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4-7
The Apostle Paul relayed this recipe for peaceful living to believers centuries ago, and it’s just as reliable now as it was then. Heavenly peace can be found by:
  1. Striving to be filled up with joy that comes from God.
  2. Being thoughtful in everything that we do.
  3. Rather than worrying, pray-often and always.
  4. Be specific in our prayers: tell God what we need, then thank Him for what He’s done.
These steps appear to be so simple, but in everyday situations, they can be a bit daunting. We often get sidetracked, and the enemy is working overtime to keep our focus off the Lord. We must endeavor to put these steps toward peace into practice on a regular, consistent basis so they’ll become habits in our lives.Paul wrapped up his thoughts about finding heavenly peace with verses 8 and 9 of Philippians 4. Let’s look at them to discover how they might help us too:
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me-everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
So, we can add two more ingredients to our peaceful recipe:
  1. Concentrate on good things as much as possible. Don’t put anything into our minds-or ruminate on thoughts-that do not exemplify God’s standard of excellence.
  2. Practice, day-in and day-out, what we’ve learned about our faith.
While we’re bound to have many circumstances that could bring us down, make us anxious, and rob us of our tranquility during the days and weeks ahead, God has given us specific concepts to implement so we can stay wrapped in His heavenly peace. The steps are here to help you, so spend time praying about how you can put them into practice-starting today!May you find His peace in abundance throughout this wonderful New Year!

Thought of the Month

Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, Lord. You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.Psalm 4:6-8