Category: Shawn Akers

Why is the Peace of God Sometimes Elusive?

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“Oh God, why is your peace so hard to find, and the answers to the questions that are on my mind?” – Steve Camp, from his song “Living in Laodicea”

By Shawn A. Akers

As a Christ follower, the pursuit of inner peace can sometimes seem like an arduous and elusive task.  During our most challenging trials and tribulations, why is the peace of God so hard to find?

The problem may be in how we define the word.

Many believers may think of peace as simply feelings of calmness and tranquility—a somewhat temporary emotion. But what peace with God really means, according to Romans 5:1, is that we have been reconciled with Him. When we come to salvation, there is no more hostility between us and the Almighty, no sin hampering the relationship.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (MEV).

When speaking to his disciples, Jesus himself said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (MEV).

Jesus made peace with God possible when He paid the price for our sins through His death on the cross. If we remember that the ultimate victory already has been achieved, we can, as Christ followers, claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times.

 

 

 

 

Scripture of the Day – Proverbs 4:23-27

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“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left; remove your foot from evil” (Prov. 4:23-27, MEV).

We must keep a watchful eye and a strict hand upon all the motions of our inward man. We must maintain a holy jealousy of ourselves, and set a strict guard, accordingly, upon all the avenues of the soul; keep our hearts from doing hurt and getting hurt, from being defiled by sin and disturbed by trouble; keep them as our jewel, as our vineyard; keep a conscience void of offence; keep out bad thoughts; keep up good thoughts; keep the affections upon right objects and in due bounds. Above all, we must keep our hearts with more care and diligence than we keep any thing else. We must keep our eyes, keep our tongues, keep our feet, but, above all, keep our hearts.

“Lord, help me to meditate on you and your word today. Help me not to worry, for if I do, I am meditating on things that only You have control over. Help me to ponder my paths today and to keep my eyes strictly on you. I love You, Lord Jesus, help to keep focused on you every minute of the day.”

Scripture of the Day – Philippians 4-5

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“Lord, give me a gentle spirit.” (Lightstock)

“Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5, NKJV).

We are to be gentle (reasonable, fair-minded and charitable) to those outside the church, not just to fellow believers. But when you can’t even be that way with fellow believers, how will those outside the church see Jesus in you? Remember, the world is watching us. Don’t be haughty in your attitudes. Be gentle. It’s a commandment we all need to heed to.

“Lord, please let people see you in me every day. I don’t want to be harsh; I don’t want to be critical. If I somehow portray that, please, Holy Spirit, convict me right away and help me to repent. Don’t let me stir up anger and strife, but also please don’t let me cause bitterness and resentment in people I deal with, especially my wife and children. Give me a meek and humble spirit.”

 

 

Scripture of the Day -John 13:34-35

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“Lord, show me how to love others as you have loved them.” (Flickr)

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NKJV)

To love others was not a new commandment, but to love others as much as Jesus loved others was a revolutionary idea. We are to love others based on Jesus’ sacrificial love for us. Such love will not only bring unbelievers to Jesus, it will also keep believers strong and united in a world hostile to God. Jesus was a living example of God’s love, as we are to be living example of Jesus’ love.

Lord, show me how to love others as you have loved them–even when it seems that they are unlovable, even when they cut me off on the road or say bad things about me. Search my heart for anything that is unpleasing to you such as bitterness, envy, strife and hatred, and remove those things far from me. I want only to do Your will, and that’s to love others unconditionally. Open my heart and how me how to do that every day.

 

 

 

Scripture of the Day – March 1, 2017

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“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always accuse, neither will He keep his anger forever” (Psa. 103:8-9, MEV)

This scripture is convicting. If God deals with us this way, then why can’t we deal with others in the same manner? He is always forgiving toward us and slow to anger. Why is that, many times, we give into our flesh and want immediate justice? For me, guilty as charged.

Lord, forgive me for the times when I immediately became angry at someone and forgot how you consistently deal with me–with grace and tolerance for my sin. I ask that you give me a heart of grace and tolerance and allow people to repent, but NEVER condone sin and an unrepentant heart. Thank you for your mercy every day.

Scripture of the Day – February 21, 2017

“This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night so that you may act carefully according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way successful, and you will be wise” – Joshua 1:8, MEV

Note: This is a scripture that my brother and spiritual mentor, Kevin, taught me to confess frequently.

The command for care in keeping God’s laws is not works righteousness. The keeping of the law was the external evidence of Israel’s faithfulness to God. A right relationship with another person will show in actions and attitudes pleasing to that person.

 

For Christ Followers, This Counts Most

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What makes you cry? (Flickr)

What makes you laugh? What makes you cry? What makes you angry? When answering these three questions, the character of a Christ follower can be revealed.

Godly character shows up—or the lack of it is exposed—in our daily values. Whenever we choose to respond to a situation God’s way instead of following our flesh, we develop godly character.

It is the most attractive personality trait a believer can possess. Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Georgia, says in his book, Louder Than Words, “Character is the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost.”

But what does Christ-like character look like? The nine qualities the apostle Paul wrote about in Galatians 5:22-23 constitute a good start: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law” (MEV).

We are given further instruction in 1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Examine all things. Firmly hold onto what is good. Abstain from all appearances of evil” (MEV).

Because we live in a sinful and broken world, Christ followers cannot avoid every kind of evil. But it is our character—and our godly values—that allow us to shun Satan and his temptations and to concentrate on obeying God.

Pastor Rick Warren says, “God builds character in our lives by allowing us to experience situations where we are tempted to do the exact opposite of the character quality. Character development always involves a choice. When we make the right choice, our character grows more like Christ.”

Remember Christ followers, the world (including our children) is watching us—especially when we laugh, cry and become angry.

Shawn A. Akers is the online managing editor at Charisma Media. He is a published poet and published a story about Dale Earnhardt in NASCAR Chicken Soup for the Soul. You can read his blog here. To sign up for his newsletter, “Step Out of the Boat,” and other Charisma newsletters, click here. You can also listen to his podcasts, the Javelin Sports Show, on the Charisma Podcast Network.