In the movie “Miss Congeniality,” Sandra Bullock plays an undercover cop that is placed in a beauty pageant. She makes fun of the fact that most of the contestants, when asked what they want in life, will reply “world peace” And, she’s pretty much right..
Well, everyone wants peace. In the sixtie’s, when the United States was involved in the war in Vietnam, hippie’s wanted “peace.” Many would flash two-fingers which was a symbol for peace.
Maybe we should flash two-fingers, signifying we want peace in our hearts and mind. All of us want peace. The opposite of peace is anxiety and no one wants to live with constant anxiety.
So, how do we get peace? Many people will try to get peace through drinking alcohol. Lots of people, after a stressful day on the job, will stop at a local bar and have some drinks to settle their nerves… to help them forget their problems. But, when the alcohol gets out of their system, the problems come back.
Some may take medication… trying to get peace.
Some may get out and take a ride… and if the car is a convertible, maybe they roll the top back and let their hair blow in the wind… looking for peace.
But the best source of peace is Jesus. In the gospel of John, Jesus said to His disciples, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.”
Jesus wants to give us peace so how do we get it? First, by trusting Christ as our Savior and second, by letting the Holy Spirit reign in our hearts. As the Spirit fills our hearts, we have peace. The apostle Paul said that one of the fruits of the spirit is peace.
Today, if you are struggling to find peace, you don’t have to struggle. Give your life to the Lord and let Jesus give you peace. That may mean taking your problems and giving them to the Lord. That may mean being content with what you have instead of trying to keep up with the Jones’s. That may mean accepting yourself and not comparing yourself to someone else.
Jesus wants all of us to have peace. You can live in peace today.
We are followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our master, Savior and Lord. So, as followers of Christ, we want to live like Jesus. We want to emulate our Lord. How do we do that?
Do we do it by arguing with one another? We must think so because we do it constantly but no, that’s not how we model Christ-like behavior.
We model Christ when we love one another. When we read the gospels, Jesus loved people… all people. Jesus forgave… Jesus healed… Jesus loved..
In John 13:34-35, Jesus tells His disciples, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Jesus tells us to “love one another..” Then He added, “…Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
So, as the world looks at us… Jesus said they should see our love for one another. Is there another Christian that you are bitter with? Go to them and either grant forgiveness or ask to be forgiven. We should be known by our love.
Is there someone who has made a mistake but you haven’t loved them or accepted them like you should. Go to them and ask forgiveness.
We should be known by our love. Not our hatred… not our bitterness…. not our condemnation… but by our love.
“Love one another..” by this the whole world will know we are disciples of Jesus.
Ok.. transparent post this morning. And I admit in advance I’m not proud of this but, it happened… I hope the Lord uses this to help someone….
Recently I had a job that required me to take out the trash and vacuum every morning. I admit, I wasn’t really fond of that part of the job nevertheless, every morning, I emptied the trash and ran the vacuum cleaner.
One morning, the Lord spoke to my heart; “this is not beneath you…. no one is so important that they can’t empty the trash and vacuum the floor.” I was ashamed and I should have been.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus was referring to humility. The first step in becoming a Christian is to humble ourselves and confess our sins. So, “blessed are the meek…”
In John 13, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Jesus’ action stunned His disciples. Washing feet was considered a very menial task. It was the task of a house servant. Yet, Jesus, Lord of all creation had humbled himself to the point of a house servant to wash His disciples feet. Jesus did this to teach them a lesson in humility. Jesus told them, “…since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet.”
The word “ought” in that verse, means “indebted” or “obligated” to. Jesus was telling His disciples they should follow His example in service.
This world teaches us that status and prestige and position are what’s important. But Jesus told His followers, the Christian life is about humility. The Lord reminded me of that as I took out the trash. Let’s you and I follow our Lord’s example today and serve those who need ministry.
Are you a people-pleaser? Most of us have a little of it in us. Being a “people-pleaser” means making decisions and doing things for the approval of people. Some of us, have a lot of it in us.
As children, we want to please our parents. It’s normal to be this way. It’s God’s will for everyone to have a home and parents and it’s normal for children to want their parents to be happy with them.
At work, we want to please our boss. Everyone wants to feel like our boss… our supervisor… is pleased with our work. That’s normal.
But, what’s not good is when we want to please people rather than God and that can happen. John 12:43 says, “…for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God…”
So, whose approval are you seeking? Be honest with yourself. Maybe you are a people-pleaser but you are embarrassed to say it. It’s normal for us to want to please our parents or our boss or teacher or coach. What isn’t normal is when our lives are governed by the approval of men.
Maybe you are doing something strictly for the approval of men. You don’t like to do it and you don’t feel you are very good at it but, you do it because someone else expects it. Well, stop doing it! It really doesn’t matter what someone else thinks. What matter is if you are happy and doing what God wants you to do.
If you have to please someone in order for them to love you, then, they don’t really love you. Real love is when someone loves you regardless of what you do or who you are.
If you are a people-pleaser, ask God to help you move on. You shouldn’t live your life for the approval of others. Live it for the approval of God.
In the television mini-series “Lonesome Dove,” Jake Spoon was a Texas Ranger who had been to Montana. As he described it, Captain ‘Call (Tommy Lee Jones) decided he wanted to take a herd of cattle to Montana and start a ranch. He was county on Jake to show them the way. But Jake begins to waver and doesn’t sound like he’s going on the trip. At one point, “Captain ‘Call” asks his side-kick, “Gus McRae” (Robert Duvall) if he thinks Jake is going to go on the trip. Gus replies, “What I do know is; Jake is far too leaky a vessel to put much hope in.”
I’ve known some folks like Jake… they are far too leaky a vessel to put much hope in. I’m guessing you’ve known some folks like that as well.
Psalm 114:8 says, “It’s better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” David had been let down. He knew how it felt. He knew that you shouldn’t put your trust in man.
Maybe you have been let down. Maybe a spouse disappointed you. Maybe a parent let you down or… a very close friend. It happens. People are people… they are flawed and they will let us down. Because of that we should keep our trust in the Lord.
Some time back I was talking with a Preacher friend and I told him how disappointed I was in some people. He said, “Always keep your eyes on Jesus..”(Hebrews 12:2).
His point was; people will always let you down. Judas and Peter let Jesus down. But God never lets us down. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
“Shoot straight with me.”
That was an expression Daddy used fairly frequently. If he was walking with someone and maybe he had a question about something, he might preface it by saying, “Shoot straight with me.” That was his way of saying, “Be honest with me.” I use the phrase at times, as well. My intention is the same as Daddy’s.. I’m telling someone to be honest with me.
Years ago, I was talking with a man who worked with an individual I knew. I asked him what the guy was like? He responded, “He’s a straight shooter.”
Being a “straight shooter” means being honest with people. It means keeping your work.. doing the right thing.
In Proverbs 15:21, the Bible says, “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight.”
Think about that verse… “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense…” “Folly” means doing something that is not smart.. .not wise… something foolish. And, there are people who at times, gloat in their folly.
“Man, I got wasted last night…” That’s folly.
“Man, I just spent a lot of money at the poker table..” That’s folly.
But then, the text reads, “… a man of understanding walks straight.”
“A man of understanding…” Not a foolish man but a man of understanding… a wise man… walks straight.
Jesus challenged us to walk “the straight and narrow way.” That means to live a Godly life. It means to live for Jesus… to be honest.. caring… reliable… and more.
Today and everyday, I challenge you to walk straight. Be a straight shooter. Be honest and live an upright life.
Recently I was talking with an individual who was an atheist. I explained “Pascal’s wager” to her. If you aren’t familiar with that, Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher once said that if you believe in God and live for God throughout your life, when you come to the end of life, if God doesn’t exist, you’ve lost nothing.
This individual replied, “Yeah, except, if God doesn’t exist, I want to be with the fun people..” They were referring to partying with non-Christians.
“I want to be with the fun people..”
The world’s idea of fun is drinking, maybe getting high on drugs… sexual immorality etc… Today, when many people get off work, they will stop by a grocery store or convenience store and buy a case of bar. They will spend the weekend, drinking that case of beer… That’s considered fun.
But, Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The word that is translated “abundantly” means “more than enough.” So, Jesus is saying the Christian life should supply more than enough happiness for us.
Ok, so,… question.. are you enjoying the Christian life? Are you finding peace and fulfillment in the Christian life? I’m going to be honest here… lots of times our Christianity can simply be a religion of “do’s and don’ts.” “Don’t do this.. don’t do this… etc..”
But there is no joy in that. When we give our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit working in us takes away our desire for the things we once did. We find no joy in getting drunk… in sexual immorality…
Instead our joy is found in having fellowship with other believers… in learning more about God.
You can have fun as a Christian. You can laugh… some of us need to laugh at ourselves more.
Country comedian Jerry Clower was from East Fork, Mississippi. I had the opportunity to meet him two or three times. He was a very good comedian.
He would often close his shows by saying something like this… “I love laughter and I have made arrangements to miss the one place on earth where there ‘ain’t gone be no laughter..” He was talking about hell.
I agree with Jerry. I love laughter. And you can laugh and enjoy life and have fun as a Christian.