Keeping Your Peace in Difficult Times

We are living in un-precedented times right now. I believe that we are living in the last of the last days.
The Last Days began when Israel became a nation. People can believe what they want to believe, but Israel is the key to every thing about the end times.
Hamas, Hezbollah, and others all supported by Iran are dedicated to the eradication of Israel and every Jew on the planet. The Jews have been the most persecuted people on the planet, but they are God’s people and they are not going anywhere.
As far as what’s going on now, there are about 6 million Palestinians living in the area. 2 million of them live in Gaza, and about 4 million live happily in Israel as citizens working and having a good life. Hamas killed Palestinians in their attack as well as Jews when they attacked.
When people cheer, like they are doing on many college campuses and downtown that Palestine will be free from the river to the sea, they are saying they want to destroy Israel. Let me tell you. That will not happen. God will not let it happen.
Through in Russia and the Ukraine. A democracy is under attack by Russia. They are actually winning their war but you have always got to factor in the Nuclear threat Russia is and the insanity of Putin.
Then there is China raising it’s head and threatening the world as we know it.
At home, we have a government that can’t get along with itself. It not just the Democrats verses the Republicans any more. Both parties have extremes that will not cooperate with the rest.
There seems to be a lot of what if’s going on. As a matter of fact, every where I look, I see people who are afraid and depressed over the condition of the world. That’s not the way Jesus wants us to live.

Jesus wants us to live a rich and satisfying life.

Jesus said this in John 10:10
John 10:10 NLT
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Someone once said, Never waste a good crisis. It was a politician, but he was quoting the devil. He probably didn’t know he was quoting the devil, but the devil is working over time to rob each of us of our peace, our joy and a fulfilling life.
Jesus was saying in the verse that he wants us to live a rich and satisfying life… no matter what’s going on.
So what I believe god wanted me to do today is to go over some principles that will help us to live the rich and satisfying life Jesus talked about… even with all the crazy stuff going on around the world .

1. To live a rich and satisfying life, we need to live to honor Jesus every day.

As you read the Bible, you can find many lists of do’s and don’t’s but Paul nor the OT writers covered everything. Instead, Paul gives us a powerful principle to live by in 1 CO 10:31
1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT
31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
IOW, everything we do should be for the Lord. If you are mopping a floor, you are doing it for the Lord. If you are taking care of someone, you are doing it for the Lord. When you get up and go to work tomorrow, you are doing it for the Lord. You may be assigned to a business, but you are working for the Lord.
Paul also said we always represent Jesus all the time. Look at Col 3:17
Colossians 3:17 NLT
17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
As Christians, we represent Jesus… either in a good way or in a poor way. I believe we are to represent him well.
ILL - Years ago, Alexander the Great was conquering the world. During one of his campaigns, he was visiting his wounded soldiers and he came to a young man who had deserted his companions and was just plain scared. Alexander went to him and asked the boy his name to which the boy replied, “Alexander.” Alexander the great paused for a minute and then said, “Son, you either need to change your name or change your ways...”
So how do we live a life that honors God all day every day?
Wake up in the morning & commit to honor God in all your words and deeds that day.
You just say, Lord I give you this day. Help me to bring you honor with my thoughts, words and deeds today.
Ask God for self control in the cace of temptations.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
What we are going through is no different that what others have gone through. The devil wants you to think this is different, that you are the only one that feels or thinks or even acts like you do and that’s just not true.
Paul also says that God will give us a way around the temptation so that we don’t fall into sin.
However, we know that we will all mess up, so we need to take this next step.
Ask God to forgive you when you fail.
1 John 1:9 NLT
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
You will be amazed at how often when you are tempted to dishonor God, how often you will be reminded that you committed your day to honor Him.

2. We need to allow God to reprogram the way we think.

We need to change our thinking pattern, or re-program our minds and that won’t happen on social media. It will only happen as we get into the WOG.
How do we allow God to reprogram our minds?
Reprograming our minds begins with a personal relationship with Jesus.
Everything begins with a relationship with Jesus. Paul said
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
When you become a Christian, you are not just reformed, you are transformed. The old you is gone and you get a new identity.
Jacob - Israel
Simon - Peter
Saul - Paul
Reprograming our minds involves changing the way we think.
Romans 12:2 NLT
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Transform is to begin as one thing and become something else. caterpillar to butterfly.
We receive a new identity when we accept Jesus but God transforms us a little at a time as we allow him to change the way we think.
We change the way we think by reading, studying, meditating on, memorizing and applying the Word of God in our lives.
You need to make time for the WOG every day. We all need to read it, study it, meditate on it, and even memorize it. When you are facing situations, God will brig into your memory a verse you have learned that will help you in that situation.
Psalm 119:15 NLT
15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
Psalm 119:27 NLT
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
If you ask God to speak to you through his word, He will.
Psalm 143:5 NLT
5 I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.
Days of old. When you read the stories of how God came through over and over again, it will build your faith.
When you review the times God has come through for you in your “days of old” it will strengthen your faith.
God tells us to study it.
Joshua 1:8 NLT
8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
The WOG will direct your thoughts and actions causing each of us to become more and more like Jesus.
Another way we change the way we think is by monitoring what we allow into our thoughts.
Philippians 4:8 NLT
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
We need to filter what comes in. We can’t always control what we hear or see, but we can decide what we focus on.
Our thoughts determine our emotions and our emotions usually determine our actions. So monitor what you allow in.

3. Get rid of grudges daily.

This is a choice, not a feeling. If you wait until you feel like you never will.
Paul said,
Ephesians 4:26 NLT
26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,
How do we keep anger from controlling us? We deal with it quickly. Notice, Paul doesn’t say to never get angry. He says to handle it in a proper way, a way that will honor God. If you don’t handles it quickly, it will turn into bitterness.
Matthew 5:21–24 NLT
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. 23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
You probably think, even after 2 messages on forgiveness, that you cannot do this, and you are right. You can’t. But you can with God’s help.
Philippians 4:13 NLT
13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

4. Spend time with those you love.

Be thankful for them. When you come to the end of your life, you will not be worried about work or anything else, you will think about those you love.

5. Spend time each week with other Christians.

Go to worship services… small groups… Wed dinners… go out with friends from church.
Proverbs 13:20 NLT
20 Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.
Proverbs 17:22 NLT
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
We have to choose our friends wisely. Hang out with people who value what you value and who are going the same direction you are going.
Lug group in HS has impacted my life until this day.
Hebrews 10:24–25 NLT
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
You don’t do this by jumping around to different churches. You do this by plugging in and working for Jesus together to accomplish what He wants in our world.
Proverbs 27:17 NLT
17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
We are always better together. We make and challenge each other to become better.

6. Develop a daily routine

You may think that doesn’t sound too spiritual…
Psalm 90:12 LBP
12 Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.
How many of you remember the lock downs. All of a sudden you had no structure to your day… it didn’t feel good.
Set aside time with the Lord.
Set aside time with the Lord
Set aside time for your personal mental health
Set aside time for important relationships
Set aside time to work
Set aside time for ministry

7. Do something good for someone else every day.

Boy Scout motto - Do a good turn daily
Hebrews 13:16 NLT
16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 10:24–25 NLT
24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
As we do something good for someone else, it takes our focus off of ourselves and allows us to focus on helping someone else. And that’s a healthy thing for us to do every day.
Wrap up.
1. Live your life to honor God
2. Spend time in the WOG… Let it transform you
3. Get rid of grudges every day
4. spend time with those you love
5. spend time with other Christians
6. Develop a daily routine
7. Do something for someone else every day
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