Without God's divine armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) I know I would not be able to withstand the challenges and trials of this world or the attacks from God's enemies, especially Satan, the diabolical enemy of God and His people.
Without God's protection, grace and peace, this blessed season of the year would be even more emotional than it is, as I am missing my dad, mom, brother, sister and son, as well as other dear family members and close friends. Life seems to be moving too fast and I am having to say "goodbye for now," to so many I have loved.
Christmas has always been the "most wonderful time of the year," for me and for my family. Living with the loss of those I love and am remembering past Christmases when we were all together brings a smile to my face, warms my heart, but also hurts my heart, if I let the losses overshadow the reason for the season.
During a Bible study by Priscilla Shirer on the"Armor of God," I was reminded that our battle ". . . is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12-NIV)
It is settled for me that I belong to God. I have given Him my heart, soul, mind and body to Him, and In order for me to enjoy the protection of His armor and His favor (grace), I must be in a right relationship with Him. At peace with Him and others, as well.
As important as being armed with God's divine armor, I must not only believe in Him, but I must honor Him, trust and obey His commands and rely on His promises as absolute truth. These steps are just the beginning of what it means for me to live in peace.
In one of the daily sessions of Priscilla Shirer's study she encourages participants to contact someone we admire who lives a "peaceful life," and to "ask them "how they effectively apply the peace of God to their life."
Before contacting some women I know who live a peaceful life, I had to answer the question for myself . . .
"My peace is disturbed when I am not consistently in God's Word or when I wander away to go my own way. My belief and faith in Him requires my all, as I desire to "love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and body." (Mark 12:29-31. The shoes of peace are an important piece of God's armor and is a practical symbol that shows me He expects my faith to be active. I must be willing to give my all and to invite and include Him in every aspect of my life and then I am living in peace." -AnG
The following are excerpts from the responses I received after asking women I admire for the way they live a peaceful life. What remarkable iron-spirited women God has brought into my life! May their application of the peace of God in their lives encourage you to consider this important question for yourself.
"Honestly, I believe it was God (not me) who applied His peace into my life. And fear was the biggest barrier to receiving peace. As He has revealed aspects of me buried in the mud of guilt and sin, He has shown Himself to be the great deliverer, the ultimate peace-giver! Peace has been the byproduct -the gift - of knowing and experiencing His mercy."
- Lana Gray, Poet
"Living in peace is a work in progress for me. I am just coming out of a few days of interrupted peace and frankly, I think that is just part of being human and imperfect, Peace, as we know, is a fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23), which means as believers, we already have it! The enemy of our soul comes to steal our joy and rob us of the abundant life and peace Christ died for us to have, For me, peace starts with a mindset. It starts by replacing my troublesome thoughts with the truth of God's Word. It starts by thinking about what I'm thinking about . . . . Jesus Christ was spot on when He told us to take every thought captive. So, if I don't FEEL peace, than I have to stop and think about what I am thinking about. The bottom line for me is that my thoughts drive my feelings and feelings drive my actions. I like the "well" analogy that when we accept Christ, we receive all the fruits of the Spirit and they go into our well, but, life has a way of throwing rocks into our well; rocks like un-forgiveness, jealousy, sin, compromise, etc. These rocks block the peace in our lives. My simple solution is to ask God to show me what those rocks are so that I can do something about removing them."
- Annie Starke, "a mom like me" and retired Co-Director of Hearts of Hope grief support ministry, Connecticut
"When I sense anxiety arising in me it helps me to go to a Scripture that gives me peace. Memorizing and saying the verse out loud throughout the day has a calming affect on me." -Jacque Valdez, "a mom like me" and Licensed Family Counselor, "a mom like us"
"What helps me live a peaceful life amidst the chaos of today's world, is allowing the Holy Spirit to help me stay present in the moment and not allowing the past or future to rob my peace and joy. Romans 15:13 has become a daily prayer and lifestyle, as I ask the God o living hope to fill me with all joy and peace by the Holy Spirit, as I trust in Him so that I can overflow with hope. How do I do this? I'm mindful of moments when I feel anxious that my peace is being robbed and I ask God to reveal what it is, and then I trust Him with it. Sometimes I do this multiple times a day,"
-Kathe Wunnenberg, "a mom like me" and Author
May we all live in peace with God and others.
Love in Christ Now and Always,
Angie "a mom like you"