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Peace of Mind

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The Keys To Peace of Mind

AM Worship                                                   March 18, 2007

Text: Jn. 14:7

Introduction: We're in a stressful world.  Are you under stress?  Quiz:  How well do you understand stress?  Complete these sentences:

I'm ready to throw in the.... towel.

I'm at the end of my ... rope.

I'm just a bundle of ... nerves.

My life is falling ... apart.

I'm at wit's ... end.

I'm about to come ... unglued.

I feel like resigning from the human ... race.

The Bible has a different way of dealing with stress.  (Read Verse)

He says a couple of things here.  First, peace is a gift.  God's peace is a gift.  Circle "gift".  Peace of mind is not something you work for, you earn, you buy, you learn, you search for.  It's a gift.  And God's peace of mind is different from the worlds. In the first place, it's not fragile. 

Human peace is based on circumstances. If everything is ok, then I'm at peace.  But if everything's in chaos then I'm not at peace.

The Bible says peace is an internal thing.  Today we want to look at how I can be at peace under pressure.

I.      Five Keys To Peace of Mind

A.  Accept God’s Pardon. (Rom. 5:1)

  1. You were made to live in harmony with God.  When you're out of harmony with God it causes stress.  When you're out of harmony with God, nothing else clicks.
  2. The number one source of stress, psychologists tell us, is guilt.  Is anybody perfect?    
  3. Because we all make mistakes, we all feel guilty and that guilt causes stress in our lives.  The Bible says we need to accept God's pardon.
  4. God wants to justify you. That means God wipes the slate clean. Since guilt causes stress you can get rid of a lot of it may accepting God’s pardon.
  5. When Christians forget about God’s wonderful pardon they can feel the same stress. (Micah 7:18)
  6. God is eager to clean your slate.  He wants to.  He's willing.  He's ready to clear your conscious.  There is no peace of mind without a clear conscious.
  7. Settle this issue.  God wants to forgive you.  He wants to wipe the slate clean.  He wants to forgive you of all your past.  He wants to start over.  It's called being born again. 

B.  Recognize God’s presence.

1.   Realize that He's with you all the time.  Focus on Him.  Stress comes when you feel like you're facing everything by yourself. (Is. 26:3) 

2.   Peace is a mind set.  It is determined by what you focus on.  What I want you to learn today is to make your first response to every crisis "Lord, I realize You're here with me."  (Ps. 46:1,10)

3.   Notice there are two steps to recognizing God's presence.

a)   Be still. It means "let go, ease up". Hurry aggravates worry.  The more hurried you get, the more worried you get.  We need to be quiet.

  b)   And know.  There's a difference between knowing about God and knowing God. One is just facts but know God is about a close relationship. God wants you to know Him.  Not on a far off basis -- "God, You're on Your side of the fence.

4.   When we truly focus on God’s presence our stress level will go down.

C.  Obey God’s principles. (Ps. 119:165,166)

1.   The Bible is God’s owners manual for life.  If you disregard the owner's manual, it's your own tough luck.

2.   You buy a car -- you can either follow the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual or you can ignore it.

3.   There are principles all through the Bible.  There are principles on personal happiness, on success, on how to build strong relationships, on how to build your business, on finances, on health, on marriage, on parenting.  Every different area.

4.   You can choose to ignore every principle in the Bible and guess who it is going to hurt? The Bible is God's gift to us by which we can live the kind of life He says we're meant to live.

5.   Some may say – Doesn’t the Bible restrict my lifestyle?"  Not in the slightest.  Every command in the Bible is there for your own good.

6.   When are like a train on tracks. The train could say, They are so confining. I can only go where the tracks go.  I can't jump off there in the field." 

7.   The train can jump the tracks to its own detriment and destruction.  The tracks are made so it can run on.  It's what it was made to do. 

 8.   You were made to abide by certain principles.  If you ignore them, the result is STRESS.  Stress comes when you ignore the way God has told us to live.

9.   Obey God's principles.  You won't stumble -- you won't make a bunch of dumb mistakes.  They don't restrict you, they're for your own benefit.

10.What has God told you to do that you haven't done yet?  What has God told you to do that you're still putting off.  Some of you need to be baptized.  Some of you need to find a church home and get involved.  Some of you need to start reading the Bible. 

11.Peace comes through obedience.  The more I do what God says, the more at peace I am, the less stressed I am. 

D.  Trust God’s plan

1.   I must trust God when I don't understand why things happen the way they do.  Even when it doesn't make sense. (Pr. 3:5,6)

2.   The first three are things we're supposed to do and the fourth is a promise that God says He'll do if we do the first three.

3.   First it says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart" That means depend on Him.  When?  Even when it doesn't make sense.  "Why did I get fired, God?  I don't know!"  Trust in the Lord even when everything's out of your control.

4.   Then it says, "Don't lean on your own understanding." This is one of the number one reasons why even Christians don't have peace of mind.  You're trying to figure everything out.

5.   The fact of life is, many, if not most of the things in life you're never going to figure out.

6.   God does not promise an explanation for everything in life. If you understood it all you would be God. Some things you're just never going to figure out why.

7.   The third thing it says you do -- "You acknowledge". You admit some basic facts.  You acknowledge God is a good God, God is a loving God, God knows all about my problems, God is in control, God has the power to change my problems, God knows what He's doing, God has a plan and purpose, God does not make mistakes.

8.   The result God says, "I will direct your paths."  That will bring peace.

9.   One of the chief causes of stress is indecision. "I can't decide.  Which way do I go?  Do I go this way?  Do I do this or that?  Do I hang on or let go?  Hold on or give up?  What do I do?"  When you acknowledge, you trust, and you don't lean on your own understanding, then God will direct your paths and that brings peace.

E.  Ask for God’s provision

1.   The great destroyers of peace of mind is worry.  We worry a lot.  Most of you are professional worriers. "What if I don't have the time?  What if I don't have the money? What if I don't have the energy?  What if..."     

2.   Worry is the exact opposite of peace of mind.  They're in conflict with each other.  When worry comes in the front door of your mind, peace of mind goes out the back door.  (Ph. 4:6,7)

3.   You have two options in life.  One brings stress.  One brings peace of mind.  The two options are panic or pray.

 4.   You can worry or you can pray.  If you're not praying, you're worrying. The point is this:  Turn your cares into prayers.  That's the antidote.  Don't worry about it.  Worry never solves anything.

Conclusion: Peace is not problem free living, because you're always going to have problems.  Peace is not absence of conflict, because you will always have conflict.  Peace is not having everything go your way, because it won't.

Definition of peace:  "A sense of order that comes from ordering my life according to God's will."

What's got you uptight this morning?  Your kids, a problem at work, your finances are going down the toilet, your health isn't very good, you've got a relationship that's on the verge of splitting up.  What's got you uptight today?  Does Jesus Christ have anything to say to use today?  Yes, He does.

(Jn. 14:1) The antidote is a person.  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.  You will never have ultimate peace in your life until the Prince of Peace is invited in to become the resident president of your life.  

God makes this optional.  You can walk out of here having heard this and do absolutely nothing about it.  If you're living under stress, it's your choice.  God did not mean for you to live that way.  Peace is not a problem-free, deadline-free, conflict-free life.  Peace is a sense of order in my life when I order my own life according to God's will.  That freedom and peace I can have under pressure in spite of stress. 

Prayer

"Jesus Christ, be the Prince of Peace in my heart this week.  First I want to ask You to forgive everything I've ever done wrong in my life.  Please wipe the slate clean.  Thank You for dying on the cross so that I could be forgiven.  Help me to understand that more.  I want to be clean in Your eyes.  I want to feel forgiven.  I commit my life to You."  Some of you are doing this for the very first time today.  "Help me to practice Your presence, to realize that every minute of this next week You're going to be with me.  Help me to spend some time reading Your Bible, to apply the principles in my life, to obey them, to do what it says.  When You tell me to do something, help me to do it."  Some of you need to make a public statement of your faith by being baptized.  Some of you need to join a church.  Or you have other decisions. "Lord, I've been putting it off but I'm going to make that decision today.  I want peace in my heart.  Help me to trust Your plan and to ask for Your provisions rather than worry. In Jesus' name.  Amen."

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