Peace is Practical

John 14:27 (AMP)

Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

(MSG)

I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left-feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

I love this time of year. Coming out of the thanksgiving holiday into Christmas. Everything seems to change, the weather is changing, the season is changing, the focus of almost everyone is changing. It’s exciting all the hustle and bustle, and life just intensifies.

We have lots of family moments, friend moments, and fun moments.

On the other side of the coin there are those for whom this season is difficult. It stresses them to no end. People who’ve had loss, people who are in tough situations, families who’ve broken up, lives that are disheveled.

Really, this month to six weeks to me is like a microcosm of life, packed in and intensified.

This season or at least what believers celebrate in the upcoming weeks is not one of stress or anxiety, pressure or fear. Rather, it’s original purpose was all about peace. Peace on earth. Good will toward men.

Many times we take this to mean the absence of war, and in a broader context that’s true, but it really refers to something much more individually internal, Gods peace in the heart of man. Today I hope to help us all understand that inward peace, the peace the Bible describes as incomprehensible, is available to all of us at all times. There is a source of this peace, and actions that perpetuate it, but there are also peace stealers and peace killers.

Before we get to far into the season lets learn how to keep our peace, because “PEACE IS PRACTICAL”

One of the words to define peace means

the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is…could be better said this way. “free from fears, agitating passions, and moral conflicts”

The idea that now that I am following Christ, have been born again, my eternity, my relationship with God, my rejection of sin, my submission to His will as I turn my back on the spirit of the world, has been forever settled. I’m whole, I’m complete, I’m free.

Fear- a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger. Concern or anxiety.

Agitating passions – to disturb or excite emotionally with strong negative desires.

Moral conflicts – to internally fight or do battle over what is right or wrong conduct.

This word peace also means harmony among people, so in order to have harmony interpersonally we must first have peace personally.

God wants us to have peace internally and interpersonally, that precious absence of constant conflict.

The question is, will we embrace it or will we sabotage it? The truth is, although God is the author of our peace, the originator of it, he has left the obtaining of it up to us.

Before we talk about the practical steps to living in peace let’s identify peace stealers, and peace killers.

(Peace Thieves are attitudes and mindsets)

Thieves

>Thief # 1: guilt and shame of the past

Guilt, shame and condemnation can be mindsets we learn to live with, but should be free from. They hold us hostage and steal our peace. Under their reign we are in a constant inward turmoil.

>Thief # 2: anxiety and stress

Are results of either not knowing how or refusing to trust God. This robs more Christians of their peace than any other thing. Stress & worry are completely opposed to peace, that calmness of spirit and soul. Anxiety results in emotional turmoil. To the point of physical dysfunction which creates more anxiety.

>Thief # 3: people pleasing

There is simply no way to be at peace and attempt to please everyone. Focus on pleasing God who accepts and lives you, don’t get caught up trying to please everyone, because it’s impossible and it will steal your peace.

>Thief # 4: fear

Fear directly opposes peace. They can not coexist in your life.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 NKJV)

(Killers are behaviors and actions)

Killers

>Killer # 1: attempting to control others

This behavior is to assume the role of Jesus over someone else’s life and world. To make yourself their Lord. We are not equipped to handle such RESPONSABILITY, and this kills your peace. Murders it.

>Killer # 2: Personal perfectionism

Since you can not be perfect your continued fruitless attempts at it only result in killing any opportunity for peace.

>killer # 3: peer pressure, keeping up w/others

Comparison is a killer of peace. Will result in behaviors that will steal your peace now in and in the future.

>Killer # 4: selling out the long term for the short term.

lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. (Hebrews 12:16, 17 NKJV)

Overfilling your life with things and activity now because you want it now at the expense of your future.

Instant gratification is a killer of peace and can kill the peace in your future.

>> Practical steps to walking in Peace. (the beautiful absence of internal conflict, and anxiety)

1. Daily prayer. A leaning of your entire self on God. Submitting to his Will while surrendering yours.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV)

2. Daily study of the word to renew your mind to Gods way of thinking.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8, 9 NKJV)

3. Daily simplify your life by planning your priorities not your time

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33 AMP)

4. Daily Say no to your selfish desires, to your emotions, and to emotional controllers in your life, say no to worry.

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34 AMP)

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV)

It’s required to say no to some things, some issues, and some people in order to have peace. You are not obligated to say yes to everyone and everything.

God is on your side and you can have peace, because peace is practical.

First step to real peace is to know Jesus.

Hope this helps you walk in peace every day.

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Insecurity=Fear=Distortion

When insecurity rules us, it equates to seeing the world through the lens of fear, which is a distorted view.

It’s hard to know where to go when you can’t see clearly. It’s hard to believe in yourself when your view of you is like looking in a funhouse mirror.

That’s what insecurity (fear) does to you.

Let the lens through which you see life be faith in God. He will give you the proper perspective on life and your self

Say no to insecurity it’s a success and relationship killer.

Something to Say about Leading Progress

“Leading to Progress Takes Courage”

Joshua 1:6-9 (NKJ)
6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

(MSG)
In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

Question: Why do we need courage? We need courage to be brave in the face of fear. Fear is our enemy. Any kind of fear is our enemy. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of resistance, fear of opportunity, fear of people, fear of leadership. Fear is going to raise its ugly head in us any time we face a challenge, courage is the answer to that fear. Courage is important.

In Chapter one of Joshua it says be strong, take courage, and not fear four times. God is trying to get across to Joshua that Courage is important to leadership.

Why do we need courage?

1. For the pursuit of the dream vs 6
a. Owning the dream takes courage.
b. Think about the disciples after Jesus ascended. They had to rely on the Holy Spirit to give them power to be courageous, most of them all the way to their death.
c. The enormity of the dream can intimidate you (just another word for fear)
d. The enemies of the dream can sidetrack you.
i. Distractions
ii. Procrastination
iii. Personal doubt
e. others opinions of the dream can scare us.
i. The only opinion that matters about the dream is Gods.

2. To do what’s right vs 7
a. It takes courage to be a leader because real leaders do what’s right even when its not popular. Even when its hard, even when no one else is.
b. It takes courage to stick to the plan
c. Joshua did what was right even when those following him didn’t.
d. Think of the Apostle Paul when he called Peter out for his obvious hypocrisy.

3. Fear itself vs 8-9
a. You have to have courage as a leader simply to combat fear. Not fear of things but fear itself. Fear paralyzes, it puts a pause in your purpose.
b. You have to have courage to push fear back when all your circumstances are screaming you should be afraid. God said to Joshua do not be afraid do not be dismayed. In other words don’t let anxiety rule you.

4. Fear of leading people vs 16-18
a. Jeremiah 1….do not be afraid of their faces.
b. Courage in the face of responsibility for people
c. Courage in the face of the inconsistency of people
d. Courage in the face of the complaints of people
e. Courage in the face of the imperfection in people.

Courage is the ability to look fear in the face, and keep moving forward. If we are going to lead to progress, then fear can not rule us. Opinion can not rule us. Courage must be our central charecteristic. Progress is necessary but not inevitable. Someone has to lead to it. So lets lead, and see people’s lives changed because we are not afraid to do it!

Something to Say About Leadership…What is Insecurity?

In life we hear the word insecurity often. We use this word to describe people who lack confidence, people who wear their emotions on their sleeves, and people who are enamored with the idea of pleasing other people.

What is insecurity really? The dictionary defines it as an unsafe feeling. A state of mind characterized by self-doubt and vulnerability. So insecurity is a feeling of not being secure. It is a feeling of being a target for hurt or harm, when you get right down to it insecurity in its true meaning is just plane fear, the fear that we are not safe.

We’ve thought of insecurity as an overly emotional state, immaturity, and a lack of confidence. All these things characterize insecurity. They also Characterize fear. Insecurity simply means I’m afraid I’m going to be rejected. It means I’m afraid I’m going to fail. It means I’m afraid I’m going to hurt. It means I’m afraid to risk. It means I just don’t feel safe.

We can all see how this can sabotage a leader. This type of thinking paralyzes a leader. Keeps them from moving forward. Keeps their focus on their performance not the vision. What we need to do however is remove the mystery from the word insecurity and just call it what it is, Fear. Say it after me. “I am afraid.” We all go through this at different times. It’s what we do in those times that matters. Will we see insecurity for what it is and eliminate it, or will we see it as a small weakness and let it stay. It’s fear, and if you are a leader fear is your mortal enemy!

Fear is the enemy of the leader. That’s the way we should look at it. We need to listen and believe the bible. Romans 8:15 says, “we have not been given the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry abba father. It says in Timothy, “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of love, of power, and of a sound mind. So Fear does the transverse of this passage. It eliminates love, makes us feel weak, and paints us into a corner of confusion. Fear is an enemy to the leader.

We need to understand the power Insecurity and fear can have if we allow it in our lives. What does it cause? If I fear people’s opinions than I can’t lead with a clear vision, If I fear taking a risk, or failing, then I will stick with the status quo. If I fear rejection from people I will be obsessed with my performance and never feel like I’m good enough. It really is a killer of leadership. We must force it out of our lives.

I taught our staff today, on the idea that leading progress requires courage. Its possible to lead and not be moving forward, Moses did it for 40 years in the wilderness. It took courage for Joshua to get it moving forward. God told Joshua in the book of Joshua chapter one, to “be strong and of good courage and not to be afraid” four times. He was getting the point across to Joshua that it was going to take courage to lead to the fulfillment of the dream, to do the right things, to stand against fear itself, and bottom line it takes courage to lead people. It requires us to do the uncomfortable, to confront, and to influence others.

When I was starting out, I wanted everyone to like me. I thought that was leadership. It made me second-guess my communication. I wondered constantly if I was measuring up. It caused me to compete with others in my own mind, and to compare myself with others. I was afraid I would be rejected or I wouldn’t succeed. It wasn’t until I realized leadership is a “stand alone” place much of the time and It takes courage to help people. You can’t help people if you are constantly seeking their approval, because then it’s all about you and not them.

There are ways to defeat this fear. There are perspectives we must have, and perspectives we must change to defeat this enemy. It can be done.

Next blog I will talk about the first way to overcome insecurity, and how our perspectives can create either a vicious cycle of fear, or a victories cycle of confidence.

Hope this is helping you. Please comment on fears you have faced in leadership and how you have overcome them.

-David