Thursday, February 03, 2011

Peaceful Sheep

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33 (NIV)

I received a really nice e-mail the other day from a person who was doing a little digging into Christianity- it was a lovely message, and I thought I would take the opportunity to post a bit of a response out here, because when I think on the idea of Jesus, being a Christian, and the idea of peace, it just fills me with happiness- and of course, peace.  For peace doesn't come from within- it doesn't come from inside of me.  And peace doesn't come from the circumstances around me.  And actually, peace doesn't even come from just being a Christian and being a part of organized religion in a way.  When I go to church on Sunday morning, there isn't an automatic sense of peace.  But peace comes only from the Savior.  Peace comes from Jesus Christ, who has been invited to be a part of my life.  It is His peace that runs in my veins and fills me with peace every single time I need it.  By asking Jesus into my heart and my life, I opened the door for His peace to come right in with Him.

That peace is always, always there.  The more time I spend getting to know Jesus and His precious peace, the more I am able to use it too.  His peace keeps me from getting scared, nervous, or keeps me from panicking in those kind of moments.  But there are times where I feel not-so-peaceful, and those are the times where I can very clearly see the enemy trying to come at me and rob me of my peace.

"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  John 10:10 

He tries often to rob me of my peace.  Quite often in the area of money, actually.  I shared just the other day how I have that mid-month assessment of not having enough and that begins to fester and cause me troubles.  But those thoughts and feelings never last long, because my Jesus is so much bigger than that.  When I remind myself that Jesus is peace, it's almost like taking a cough drop for a cough- I feel instant relief, and I literally feel a wave of peace wash over me.  Peace is one of the realities of having Jesus in my life. Here's a couple of the verses in John that tell a little bit more about why Jesus brings peace into my life.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep."  John 10:11-15

Jesus is the good shepherd, and He will always, always be there for me.  He will never leave me, nor will he let me be led astray by a wolf for very long before He comes dashing after me to bring me back to the fold.  As these verses foreshadowed, Jesus did lay down His own life for me.  For me!  Jesus died on the cross so that I could choose to spend an eternity with my Father in Heaven.  These days that I am living in now are just the beginning of that eternity.  Look! Here are more of Jesus' words:

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”  John 10:27-30

Jesus gave ME eternal life.  It says right here in the book of John that I shall never perish, and that I don't need to be afraid of being snatched away by evil.  I belong to God! 

A shepherd or a farmer marks their livestock.  They'll use branding or attach a tag somewhere on the body of the animal to designate that animal as belonging to them.  So in the event that a sheep wanders off or gets snatched up, someone can see the mark on the sheep and return them to their rightful owner.  The day I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life, to come and live inside of me and help me to learn to be more like Him, was the day that I received my mark.  I bear the seal of the Most High God on my heart, and it belongs to Him and only Him.  That seal shines bright in days of darkness, when the enemy would try to do harm.   That seal is the ultimate protection against evil, and because I know that I carry that seal on my heart, I am full of His Peace.  Nothing can get to me, nothing can snatch me away, and nothing can come between me and an eternity in Heaven.  That is the ultimate peace.

Do you know the best part about this peace?  It's for everyone who wants it.  It's literally for every single person on this planet who wants it.

"I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness."  John 12:46

Jesus says "whoever".  Anyone who wants the ultimate peace simply has to open their heart up to the love of a Heavenly Father.  That's it! A simple prayer to ask Jesus into their hearts and lives is the only requirement to receiving the peace that passes all understanding. Jesus is the secret to living in peace.  It's not my church, it's not my religion, it's not my family or money situation, it's not my job or my hobbies, it's simply Jesus.  Jesus gave me peace when He came into my life, and He offers it freely  for anyone who wants to ask Him in. 

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  John 14:27

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