May great peace of heart and mind be with you
By Rev. Derek Forseth
It is a blessing we have so often heard.
Whether heard in literature or delivered from a pulpit by a member of the clergy, it is a phrase we have almost become deaf to. In a world full of confusion, violence and mind-numbing background noise it has become increasingly harder to grasp the concept of peace.
Factor in the thousands of troops taking up position in the Mideast and the rhetoric in the newspapers and on television, the phrase becomes almost ironic as we enter the New Year.
The world defines peace as the absence of conflict. But in John 14:27 (NLT) Jesus says, "I am leaving you with a gift . . . peace of mind and peace of heart! And the peace I give you isn't fragile like the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid."
The peace spoken of by Jesus is a confident assurance not dictated by circumstances. Why then do our difficulties seem so overwhelming while "the peace of God which passes all understanding" seems almost impossible to obtain? The answer is quite simple.
Troubles have a way of finding us. We make bad decisions and others make bad decisions which affect us. If you don't believe this to be true, spend a day in family court.
Finding His peace, on the other hand, takes diligence and effort on our part. Paul gives us the formula in his letter to the Philippians.
In Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Paul says, "Don't worry about anything, instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
"His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus."
Simply stated, turn your worries into prayers. Do you want to worry less? Pray more! In all my years as a follower of Christ I have yet to see a "worrier" with a strong prayer life.
Because a person who spends tie with God knows His nature. A person of prayer understands that God cares and is ultimately in control. Prayer also takes our perspective off of temporal things and places it on eternal things.
We are then reminded that, for every difficulty we are probably experiencing fifty blessings.
The peace that so many long for cannot be legislated. It won't come from stiffer penalties on criminals nor will it come from negotiations or well-planned treaties. True peace must come from within and it can only be granted by our Heavenly Father.
Maybe you have seen this bumper sticker in your travels. "No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace." Eight simple words, but the message is powerful!
As you look forward to the New Year may the words of I Corinthians 1:3 ring true in your life. "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you all His blessings, and great peace of heart and mind."
Let us all look to the true source of peace.
Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie