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Extra! Extra! Get your peace right here

"Extra! Extra! Read all about it," newspaper peddlers shouted, trying to sell papers with breaking news.



Well, I've got some breaking news today - news for you. It is about peace -

oft elusive in this day and age. 

Not talking about the absence of war, because there will always be war...

or the absence of violence, because well, human beings ...

but rather the state of inner tranquility. 

Peace is peddled in many ways, and people are willing to do just about anything to get it. Aromatherapy, self-help books, yoga, relaxation techniques, marijuana, anti-depressants, wine, essential oils, even light therapy ... we cast about trying to get a sense of calm.

 

The only true and lasting peace is the peace of God, peace with God. God's peace is not man-made, can't be trumped up with enough good will, and cannot be bought. No, our loving God freely offers his children a peace that is beyond understanding or description. His peace makes it possible to be in a very difficult situation--including war or heartache or loss, yet defying all logic, remain at peace. Interestingly, when I think about that kind of peace, God's peace, a smile lights my face; my breathing slows and my being lightens.

 

Paul writes about this peace in the letter he wrote to the Philippians while under house arrest in Rome. We remember that Paul had established a church about 10 years earlier in Philippi, recorded by Luke in Acts chapter 16. (Here is my Morning Briefing from his visit to Philippi--http://pastorwoman.com/ReadArchive.aspx?id=2914 ).


The Philippians heard about Paul's imprisonment and sent someone to Rome to tend to his needs. You see, of all the churches Paul had established, he enjoyed the sweetest relationship with this Philippian church; oh, how he loved them! And they were devoted to Paul because they understood that he had brought them life - not through oppressive Rome or through the Jewish Law, but through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

 

Opening our Bibles to the latter part of the New Testament, turning the pages carefully, so as not to miss the four short chapters, we discover it with the other letters Paul wrote while under arrest. 


He writes, "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons; Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ ." Philippians 1.1-2 

 

Notice that Paul begins his letter by saying who was writing --just the opposite of our letter-writing style; we sign our names at the end. He claims Timothy has the same thoughts as he does, since Timothy had been with him on his original visit to Philippi. Paul also refers to the Christian Philippians as 'saints'-those who were leading lives radically changed because of their relationship with and love for Jesus Christ. Referencing overseers and deacons, the church had clearly grown since Paul had originally founded it.  

 

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," he extends. We know that both grace and peace flow from the heart of our loving Heavenly Father, made possible through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. But there is more to this chosen expression of 'Grace and Peace.' Paul combines two greetings of his day, which is brilliant. 'Charis' is the greeting the Greeks used to begin all of their letters, while 'Shalom' is the greeting the Jews used to greet one another. Used together, we see how each is enriched by the other because of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  

 

'Want peace in your life? 'Want the smile of inner contentment on your face? Follow Jesus, and stick closely. And this study of the book of Philippians is sure to aid you in living with peace and experiencing joy, growing closer and closer to your Lord. Grace and Peace can only come through Jesus Christ. Amen. 


New song - God be the Glory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFf2gTbM_7U


Grace and Peace,

Christine

 

 

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