Can You Find Peace?


My wife and I were dining at a local eatery yesterday when we struck up a conversation with our waiter about Christianity. He had opened the discussion by commenting on my shirt and the words written on it; “I Read the Red Letters.” We touched on several points but the key theme was how un-Christian like many of their customers were, and it seemed even more true, especially on Sundays? Are Christians truly living to be an extension of Jesus, as He directed us to be? Or are we no different than the Jewish Leaders of Jesus day who knew the Word of God, and worshipped Him, but did not apply God’s message of love, peace, responsibility, and charity, to themselves?


The conversation led us to numerous random thoughts that I felt were appropriate for this message.


There is a self-proclaimed “Gay” waiter here, and I’m guessing in a lot of places, that feels “So-Called Christians,” as he stated, treat him terribly and do not tip very well at all. This prompted us to wonder why Christians do this.

· Do Christians feel that God’s love is only for some and not all?

· Do Christians feel that their mission is to somehow punish, or look down on, those whom they feel are sinners?

· Do Christians feel that only some selective people should earn a fair wage for their work?

You see, there is a lot of truth to this waiters’ comments, we have seen it ourselves. So, I wonder how can Christians do this?

Last week I read about a very successful business man who was fired because it was found out that years ago, he spent some time in jail for a crime he committed. The terminating employer stated it was because he had lied on his application. It was revealed, two days later, that he in fact did not lie and he did state on his application that he had been convicted of a crime. When the employer was asked about it, they stated that they unfortunately missed this on his application but they stood behind the termination because they did not want a person with a criminal record working on their leadership team.

It should be noted that this conviction occurred 26 years ago and that this man had been a school volunteer, a church leader, served on several local councils, and was very well loved, respected, and admired by all who knew him. In fact, this man had been awarded several accolades from the employer themselves, over the 20+ years he worked there. Not one person had a negative thing to say …except the employer’s sudden change in their ethics.

· This man clearly learned from his errors and made a new life, so are only the perfect people to be employed or in leadership?

· It seems this man did exactly as Jesus told all of us to do, repent of your sins and go forward never to sin again – Why was he not forgiven?


It also occurs to me that our government continues to do some very strange and often what seems like crazy things. These events anger us and make some of us crazed to a point of near insanity. We lash out, we attack certain individuals who say or do things we don’t like, and we make numerous snap judgements, harsh statements, personal attacks, and vow all sorts of revengeful actions.


· Don’t we know that the government is not the end-all-be-all for our lives – we were not created for the government but for God and one another. Is there something the government can do for you that God cannot?

· Yes, the government plays a role in our lives, but they cannot give us peace, they cannot give you a spouse, friends, a great family, love, grace, and/or peace. Did Jesus say that the only way to heaven and the Father was through the government?


One only has to gage the pulse of today’s culture to understand we are surrounded by all sorts of problems. We have a press whose sole job is to frighten us. Social media which is always attacking, tracking, and policing our values, and a world witnessing missile launches in the middle east, growing tensions in Korea, and a murderous Russian leadership spreading destruction, at their will. Murders and killings throughout the world are on the rise and even driving down the street is now a very risky activity.


I don’t mean to spread a doom and gloom view, in fact, just the opposite. Our only focus needs to be on God. We need to be praying, serving, and talking with Him every chance we get. Yes, we need to be watchful, and take care to protect ourselves and our loved ones, but God loves us and He will never leave us.


More than anything, we need to be TRUE Christians and spread God’s Word and love to all. All of the non-Christian like behavior I’ve listed above, is in fact happening today. And far too much for us to truly say we are Christians. To those points and questions above:

· Do Christians feel that God’s love is only for some and not all?

o Paul tells us in Romans 8:39 (NIV): “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

· Do Christians feel that their mission is to somehow punish those whom they feel are sinners?

o Luke tells us in Luke 6:37 (NIV): “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

· Do Christians feel that only some selective people should earn a fair wage for their work?

o This is really the same as Luke stated above and is proclaimed over one hundred times in the Bible, we are all equal in God’s kingdom and should all be treated fairly.

· This man clearly learned from his errors and made a new life, so are only the perfect people to be employed or in leadership?

o Matthew told us in Matthew 6:14 (NIV): “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

· It seems this man did exactly as Jesus told all of us to do, repent of your sins and go forward never to sin again – Why was he not forgiven?

o Matthew tells us in Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV): “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

· Don’t we know that the government is not the end-all-be-all for our lives – we were not created for the government but for God and one another. Is there something the government can do for you that God cannot?

o Paul reminds us in Romans 13:1 (NIV): “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

o Jesus made it clear to us as written in Matthew 22:19-21: “Show me the coin used for paying the tax. “They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

· Yes, the government plays a role in our lives, but they cannot give us peace, they cannot give you a spouse, friends, a great family, love, grace, and/or peace. Did Jesus say that the only way to heaven and the Father was through the government?

o Jesus made this clear to His disciple and to all of us as written in John 14:1-7: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

When you know our God, how could you ever not love Him and worship Him. Because love is all He has and wants for us. Yes, He provides several thoughts on how to live, treat others, and how to grow in our lives. But above all else, God wants us to love Him, ourselves, and one-another.


Can you find peace? There is no doubt to the answer. You find peace through God and His son Jesus Christ. You find peace through being a true Christian and treating EVERYONE, with the very same love and grace given each of you by God Himself.


Want Peace – Find God. Find God, you will always be able to live in the ultimate Peace.


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


Amen.

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