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Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Living Peace

By David W. Argue
Mar. 16, 2014

Suddenly it swept over me. In a place where I had expected to enjoy a brief, personal retreat, I hit a wall of agitation.

I was at dinner, in a busy restaurant. An incredible din was building — multiple TVs tuned to different channels, patrons raising their voices in competing conversations, orders being taken and dinners delivered, a kitchen door swinging open and closed to the bustle beyond, iPhones cuing, dishes clashing.

Everything around me threatened to invade my space completely.

When have you most recently found yourself jarred by life’s incessant din?

Ours is a very noisy world. The cacophony does more than overburden our hearing. It can vibrate into our souls. The noise is not merely physical; emotional and spiritual elements complicate this onslaught.

Perfectly reasonable, then, that the peace so freely offered to us by the Savior should address each of these components.

Jesus comes to us and offers us life — not life caught up in a frenzy, but living peace at the center of our being. “My peace I give to you,” He promises. “Not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27, ESV).

Clearly, Jesus’ peace is more than noise reduction. His is the promise of an inner peace that stabilizes all of life. Jesus’ peace comes to us in many ways — through the full forgiveness of our sins, by the indwelling presence of His Spirit, by our following the life-giving patterns of Jesus’ life on earth. Peace permeates us to greater degrees as we live more faithfully like He did.

Here are some action steps that, if in place regularly, will nurture Jesus’ peace in us. His living peace.

• Seek out a quiet place.

• Create an unbounded time frame.

• Engage in deep conversation with God.

• Be still in His presence.

Find your quiet place

A quiet place encourages us to think with more care about all that is before us. A quiet place helps us listen to the voice of God. He speaks in a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12, KJV), “the sound of a low whisper” (ESV). He promises that we will know His voice (John 10:4); however, that voice is harder to hear when we are surrounded by noise and distraction.

Jesus, in constant communion with His Father and ever receptive to His Father’s voice, regularly sought out quiet places.

This strikes me as especially noteworthy, because Jesus already lived in a quiet world ... untrammeled by our multiple noises. Yet He sought out places of even more quietness to gain direction and strength. After times of particular intensity, or prior to emerging challenges, Jesus “would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16).

What were Jesus’ “desolate places”? He would walk along the shore of Lake Galilee, on one such occasion choosing several disciples. He journeyed with just three disciples to seek a very personal, transfiguring encounter with the Father. Beyond the lake voyages recorded in the Gospels, there were surely other times when Jesus found quiet moments in a fisherman’s boat. Before His arrest and crucifixion, He prayed fervently and alone in Gethsemane’s garden.

Jesus sought out a “desolate place,” away from people, with no ministry responsibility, free of distractions. In the stillness He would hear from heaven and be prepared to return to the crowds, to the noise of life, ready to meet every variety of human need.

Even among people, Jesus could carve out needed personal space. In Mark 10:32-34, the disciples observed Jesus walking ahead of them as they made their way to Jerusalem for the final time. Jesus used that place apart, even in a group setting, to prepare to talk to His closest friends about the very difficult things awaiting Him in the city.

Do you live a commitment to create those quiet spaces? To shut off the noise, the pervasive distractions, to leave the places of engagement with others ... to find a place of renewed peace? Quiet places are really all around us. They can be found in basements, on hilltops, on long walks, in easy chairs and parked cars, in boats.

We are called to “walk in the same way in which [Jesus] walked” (1 John 2:6).

In need of living peace? First, find a quiet place and go to it. Second ...

Create an unbounded time frame

Don’t get me wrong. Unbounded time is not unlimited time. Time is precious and, if managed with a plan rather than a clock, will yield much to strengthen us.

When Jesus entered a quiet place, it was for an indefinite time, unmeasured, unwatched. He would focus on His Father’s presence, He would express himself clearly, He would listen. Consider Jesus’ assertion as He taught in Jerusalem before His crucifixion: “What I say ... I say as the Father has told me” (John 12:50).

Peace comes to us when we sense we have encountered God. Unbounded time tends to keep open the potential for interaction with the divine.

A quiet place,

With unbounded time,

Should create amazing opportunities to ...

Engage in deep conversation with God

We know what it is to have conversations with others that have little depth: eyes roaming, short generalities, catchy phrases, and little or no life-giving connection. For most of us, such conversations can’t end soon enough.

Too often the corridors of our churches are dominated by such shallow communication.

In-depth conversation with God, however, is based on disclosure, exposed feelings, the deepest expressions of the heart. If time with God is dominated by our trying to get something from Him, it is nonrelational and life-taking rather than intimate and life-giving.

In-depth conversation is about the now, the eternal nature of God entering our immediate circumstances, our thankfulness for who God is and all that He does, and our humble presentation before Him of every detail of our lives — our challenges, our fears, the hopes we cling to, our disappointments and sins, the difference between our known spiritual potential and our living realities. In-depth conversation with God lets us express who we are as we truly are before Him.

Sometimes this speaking with God is out loud. Many times, it is simply our spirits calling out to Him from within. The deeper the heart is poured out, the more tender the expressions. Thankfully, we are not alone in this endeavor, even in our personal, quiet places. The Holy Spirit prays through us “with groanings too deep for words.” (See Romans 8:26-28.)

Our spirits pray, as well as our minds, until our deepest needs and fears and dreams and praise are all poured out.

And our response, after entering the quiet place, creating that unbounded time frame, and sharing in-depth conversations with God?

These three Spirit-encouraged components afford us the amazing privilege to ...

Be still in His presence

The heart, finally unburdened and sensing God’s presence, has faith to simply sit before Him in silence.

“Come, Holy Spirit ... ”

We wait. We listen. We ponder. We are still.

We welcome the embrace of His Spirit.

And there is peace.

Certainly ...

There are times of warring, of pleading and imploring God to intervene and save.

Times of holding on in faith ... even in desperation.

There are seasons of crying out and travail.

But the daily restoring of our hearts, the maintaining of the living peace of Christ is in the quiet place, taking time and treasuring in-depth conversation with God.

I hope that you will:

• Find your quiet place

• Create that unbounded time frame

• Engage in deep conversation with God ...

• And then be still before Him.

Do this and ...

“ ... the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

DAVID W. ARGUE, a former Assemblies of God executive presbyter, is an author, ministry coach, and pastor-at-large living in Colorado Springs, Colo.


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