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The peaceful image above - compliments of my friend Anna DeLoach from her recent trip to Wyoming.

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to Israel. It was amazing! We will never read the Bible the same again. When we read the Word of God now, everything comes to life and feels so "real" and different, having walked where Jesus and the apostles once walked. It was a trip of a lifetime for us. I highly recommend you go someday if you can.

One of the words we heard a lot while in Isreal was the word, Shalom. It means Peace. At its core, it's a greeting - like when we say "hello" or "goodbye" or even "peace" [if you're a child of the '60s]. But it is so much more than that to the Jewish people. I think of it more as a blessing than a simple greeting.

Peace - it's something everyone longs for and yet, for most, it's elusive, intangible, momentary and fleeting at best, never truly something they attain. Many think that peace is something that exists only when there is the absence of conflict, strife, difficulty or general dissatisfaction, and there certainly are those moments of peace. We all welcome those times in our lives. Unfortunately, though, that kind only lasts for as long as things are "perfect" - you know those rare, fleeting moments that are here one minute and gone the next. As Christians, however, we can have peace even in the midst of conflict, strife, and difficulty, and that peace comes through our relationship with the Prince of Peace - Jesus Christ.

As I was studying that word - Shalom, I was taken to the book of Numbers 6:22-26 where you find God talking to Moses about how He wanted to bless His children of Israel.

"And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”

The last word in that verse, is the Hebrew word, Shalom. That word means - wellness, happiness, friendships, safety, rest, health, prosperity, and favor. Talk about a "blessing". That blessing, however beautiful, was for God's people during Old Testament time while they were still under the Law, and it was bestowed upon them by the priests of that day.

But Thank God, we now have a High Priest, the Prince of Peace - Jesus Christ, and through a relationship with Him, we can have real, lasting peace, now and forever.

It's the only kind of peace that lasts even when there is no "wellness, happiness, friendships, safety, rest, health, or prosperity". If you are a believer, you can have the peace of God when it seems utterly impossible. His peace isn't contingent upon outward circumstances. His peace comes from within. From the Holy Spirit that resides in every believer. Paul describes it as being "the peace that surpasses all understanding...". That peace is a gift from God. However, not all Christians are enjoying the benefits of that gift. God offers it to all, but not all accept it. Most people are still searching for "peace" in other things, people or circumstances.

One way for a Believer to experience more peace in life is to draw closer to the Lord. The closer we are to the Prince of Peace, the more of His peace we will experience in our lives. Like the shade from a large oak tree on a hot and humid day, the closer you get to the tree, the cooler it is and the more relief you get. You can get some relief on the edge of the shade, far away from the trunk of the tree, but the closer you get to the actual tree, the more relief from the scorching sun you will experience. It's the same with Jesus Christ. The closer we are to Him, the more of His peace we will experience.

The only way to consistently experience God's peace in our lives is to surrender completely to the Lordship of Christ. Give Him our hopes, our plans, our agendas, and our expectations, our everything, and ask God to replace them with HIS. The great exchange!

And it's an exchange worth making. We hand over our worries, anxieties, concerns, desires, expectations, etc., for the Peace of God. And friend, if you've ever experienced it, you know there is nothing in this world that compares to the peace of God!

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.” -Pascal

Imagine if you will, a small child sitting on the floor with one of those 3-D puzzles where you put the right puzzle piece in the corresponding hole. The child keeps trying to cram the square shape in the round hole or vice versa and after some time, s/he gets quite frustrated and throws a tantrum. That's what we do sometimes in life - we keep trying to cram these other things into that Jesus-shaped hole in our heart, and then when none of them work, and none of them ever will, when none of them bring us the satisfaction or peace that we're longing for, we get frustrated and we throw a grown-up tantrum. We give up or give in to anxiety, worry, fear, depression, etc. When all along, Jesus is standing there, His hand extended to us with that perfect puzzle piece that we need for life, the gift of His peace, and we just ignore Him. In essence, we're saying, "Thanks Jesus but I got this!"

I thank God for His never-ending patience and His everlasting love toward us. He will not force us to take what He's offering; He simply offers it out of His love for us. The choice to accept it is ours.

Are you experiencing the peace of God today? If not - you can.

If you want to experience the peace of God in your life on a consistent basis, no matter the circumstances, the first step is to draw closer to Him. We've all heard the phrase - "stop - drop and roll". If you want to experience the peace of God in your life - stop - drop and pray. You can talk to God anywhere, any time. Just talk to Him. He is present. If you are not a Christian, if there has never been a time in your life when you asked Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart, before you can have the peace of God, you must make peace with God. And the way that you make peace with God is by realizing you are a sinner in need of a Savior - turning away from those sins and asking Christ to come into your life.

Once you are born again, in order to experience the on-going peace of God in your life, the first step is to draw close to Him daily. Turn your thoughts toward God. Read His Word daily. God's Word is alive and powerful and it is what God uses to transform our minds to be more like Christ. Pray daily - talk to God - Anywhere, any time about anything. He already knows what is going on in each of our lives and what is to come. He is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present. He wants you to bring your concerns to Him so that He can give you His wisdom and discernment and His peace in any and every circumstance of life.

Oh, friend, I pray that you are experiencing the peace of God in your daily life, but if not, just know - you can! Right now, at this very moment. The Prince of Peace is standing there, His hand extended to you with the puzzle piece you need for this life, His gift to you, the peace of God. The question is - will you accept it?



Father God, I thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace Who offers each of us the peace that surpasses all understanding. I thank you that we can come to Him any time, anywhere with any concern and I pray Father, that you would draw us closer and closer to You every day. In Jesus' precious and holy name I pray. Amen

[ if you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior - visit this site - ]

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