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Do You Know Where Your Peace Is?

September 8, 2005

Here is a question I pose to people often: “Can you really make good decisions when your heart isn’t in a place of peace?” We are told in Scripture that we should “let the Peace of Christ rule in our hearts”. We are reminded by Him also when we enter a new town to “find the Man of Peace and stay at his home”. We are to have peace as our ruler and landlord it seems. But how many people find that peace at all? Doesn’t that help to explain why so many decisions are foolish and ill-advised?

Several years ago, I was approached by a friend and he asked me some tough questions about my future. We were both involved in something together and he was concerned I was about to jump ship and leave him holding the bag, so to speak. As it was, I really was considering leaving and it would have put him in the position of being left to carry on without me. I didn’t want to tell him, but I also didn’t want to lie either. So I told him what I was considering. He didn’t answer for a long time. Finally, he looked me in the eye and asked me if I would let him know what my plans were before telling anyone else. I assured him I would. At that moment, there were like these alarm bells going off inside of me. Something didn’t feel at all right, and I knew it deep in my gut place.

What was happening? Peace had left and in its place was this anvil sitting on my stomach. You know what I’m talking about. I spent the next days analyzing to death what I had promised. Why was I feeling so out of sorts? I put it down to stress or bad pizza or any number of other non-sequitors. But I couldn’t shake that feeling I had screwed up royally. As the next two months unfolded I indeed did decide on leaving that ministry and moving to something else. I also decided I couldn’t let him know ahead of some other people – so I told them first. My friend was furious at me, and since that day has not really had much to do with me.

I think back on it all and wonder what I did wrong. Now that I am not in the middle of it, there is clarity. I should never have promised to tell him before others. I made the promise more to appease him than out of any sense of rightness. There were others that deserved to know first, and I should have just asked him to trust that I would tell him when the time was right. He may not have liked my answer, but it would have dissolved that dagger of doubt sticking out of me.

Peace accompanies the path of correctness. It is like a Guide walking us through a minefield of mistakes. It is meant to be our constant companion, and when we notice that our Tourguide Peace is missing, we should go back down the path and see which turn we diverged from each other.

I saw the grandest picture of this on CNN last night. A woman in Houston, along with her husband, decided to take in a displaced family from New Orleans being housed in the Astrodome. As she brought the family (with somewhere near 20 people total) into her home, she realized that God was telling her to allow them to stay for as long as they need to. She told them they could count on her hospitality for a year if they required it. When asked how she could make such an offer, she responded “I have peace about it. If I hadn’t told them that I would now have no peace.” I had tears listening to her. But the situation didn’t get easier…it complicated quickly. More family members found out where they were staying and they asked if they could move in also. It seems this is a large family with many coattail relations. Each time someone requested sanctuary, this woman would go to prayer and ask the Lord. The cameras showed her place of repose: Her walk-in closet. They also showed her husband crawled up under the covers afraid of how many more people would be in his house when he awoke. This lady would go into the closet and close the door and stay there until “I find the peace I’m looking for.” So far, she has taken in 53 people. Yet, there is miraculously enough room, enough food, and the house feels so “homey” according to its new residents.

I like this woman’s closet. It is a visual representation of where God wants us to go whenever we lose our peace. If we are to “follow the peace” there must be times when we consider where and how we lost it. Maybe it was by bringing in personal offense at someone’s words. Maybe it was by being sarcastic, hateful, lustful, envying. Maybe our peace left because we made a hasty decision…or because we neglected to make a quick decision.

If your peace is gone, go find it. Fast. There are people waiting.

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6 comments

  1. Cheya: “Can you blame them for hating us?” (Translation: We deserved the 911 attacks). Innocent people never deserve to die. How about: Can you blame us for hating them? I find it harder and harder to not, dare I say “hate”, atleast seriously dislike, certain religious factions around the world that kill, torture, and ruin the lives of innocent Christians. I have to surrender my mind to God often and allow His peace to renew my mind so that I can genuinely love my enemies with the love only God can give, though I have failed. Should I fly airplanes into buildings and kill thousands of innocent people even if they “deserve” it? Well, the fruit of ones religion is more telling than the papering over of responsibility and shallow “condemnations” of other terror attacks around the world by the leaders of particular religious factions. The peace, and love, of God must rule our hearts in the face of terror so that those who perpetrate such acts will see the virtue of one of the greatest countries that has been, is, and will ever be. In addition, Christianity is proven true on this point alone: There is peace that comes about knowing our faith is the One, True faith; and our God fills our hearts with the promise of His Spirit who is our calm in the most horrible and life threatening circumstances. No other religion can make those claims. Outside of Christianity there is nothing but emotional rationalizations and avoidance of ultimate issues. No hope, no peace. Praise God for his promises, presence, and peace.


  2. I agree with both the Cheya comments (notice her “defense” for her lousy comments were that they were “honest”, but honest comments can be misguided, baseless, and false). The terrorism comments are good too.


  3. First off, readers here may not know what Chaya said. She was quoting her mother on 9-11 who told her daughter that she didn’t blame other people for hating us because of the sin that has so beset our country. Chaya then went on to say she wrote a song about America that bemoaned (in a semi-prophetic way) how far we have departed from our godly historical roots. That is the background of the comments made here.

    I do agree that Chaya’s mom was wrong. Not just wrong about giving credence to others blowing up the World Trade Center, but for misinterpreting why they did it. They didn’t effect terror because they think we are steeped in sin. They blew us up because they believe we are in cahoots with Israel and their policies to control the Middle East. They had declared personal Jihad (Holy War) on the United States and its allies and this was their way of showing their power.

    The question in this context is” Does Islam allow for violence? All but the most revisionist Muslims would say “yes…but only under certain conditions”. Islam allows for Jihad, but it must be called by an Imam…not by a self-declared leader. The two grounds for a Jihad are 1) To protect other Muslims from those who would destroy them; 2) To prevent the spread of another religion. Al Qaeda claims that their Jihad is based upon reason #1 – that is, that the US supports Israel’s claims to Palestine.

    Should we hate them? Obviously not. Do many in this country who are believers struggle with that? Obviously they do. I don’t believe that 9-11 has anything to do with God’s judgment or Satan’s attacks. It is the evil of men’s hearts revealing itself.


  4. Yes, Cheya was quoting her mother, and for that I should have been clear. Thank you.


  5. Cheya did seem to agree with her mother’s comments though and appeared to use them as a justification for why the 911 highjackers had atleast some reasonable excuse for their actions. Would she have made those same comments in a church in Manhattan last Sunday? Even if they were her sentiments, they should have been chosen more carefully or not said at all.


  6. I do agree that Chaya seemed to agree with her mother’s comments. I will say again that it is ludicrous to believe that anyone can be justified in blowing up other people for any sin in general. She did seem to think that our sin was the reason bad things are happening to us. That idea is not only bibilically wrong, it raises another question: Why doesn’t God judge every sin that every person commits? The answer is that God will judge every sin. But not before its time. However, some sins have consequences already built into them. The sins of our nation are not necessarily causing us immediate problems, and no amount of Al Qaeda justifications can suffice to say that we “had it coming”



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