Sunday’s Sermon From The Ranch – Having Peace With God

* Sorry for getting this to you so late, but I got it late Sunday night and forgot to repost it yesterday.  So here it is for those of you who have been following along…

This Day’s Thought is pleased to bring you Eric Elder’s new sermon series, “Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind.”  Special Note from Eric: As I mentioned in my P.S. last week, if you’d be interested in learning more about how I’ve gone about publishing my writings and books on places like Amazon.com and Apple’s iBookstore, I’d be glad to hear from you. I’m thinking of teaching a class online sometime in the next few weeks, for a donation to our ministry of whatever size that you can afford, that will walk you through exactly how you can do this on your own, uploading your writings to Amazon and other websites to help you get what you have to say about God out to others, whether in print or as eBooks. Just write me if you’re interested in such a class at eric@theranch.org, and I’ll give you more details as the class takes shape.


The Ranch: A Place of Healing and Restoration


Having Peace With God

Lesson 12 from Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind

By Eric Elder
The Ranch
God wants to give you a lift today. He wants to pick you up, brush you off, and give you a new start. In particular, God wants to give you peace—His peace—a deep peace that will renew and restore you and give you the strength to go on.

To help you get started, I’ve uploaded a new song to our website from Craig Prest that you can listen to while reading the rest of today’s message. Here’s the link:
http://streams.theranch.org/craigprest5.mp3

How can you have the peace of God? It starts by having peace with God, by coming to the place where you’re reconciled with Him, the place where you know that you are loved, forgiven, and walking in harmony with Him. The Apostle Paul tells us that this kind of peace is available to you when you put your faith in Christ:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2a).

But this message today isn’t just for those who need to put their faith in Christ for the first time. It’s for everyone who needs a reminder of the peace that God has in store for those who trust in Him. As the Bible says:

“You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in You.”
(Isaiah 26:3)

God wants you to trust in Him. He wants you to keep your mind steadfast, resolutely firm and unwavering. And when you trust in Him, keeping your mind steadfast, He will keep you in peace—perfect peace.

Why is it so hard then to have God’s peace? Sometimes it’s because we make it harder than it really is. Dallas Willard gives a simple and practical definition of what it means to trust Christ:

“Trusting Christ means you want to be with Him as much as possible.”

When you trust someone, you’re happy to be with them. And when you realize what Christ has done for you—and what He’s still capable of doing for you—it makes it easier to trust Him and to want to be with Him as much as possible. As the Apostle Paul continues his letter to the Romans, he gives us some reasons why we can trust Christ so fully—and why we would want to be with Him as much as possible, too. Paul says:

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

Let me unpack that for you for just a minute, because it will help you understand just how very much God loves you. If you think about it, you’ll realize how very rare it is for one person to die for another, even if the person they’re dying for is “righteous.” Yet in some cases, it’s possible that someone might die for someone else if the person they’re dying for is truly “good.” But then think about what Christ has done. He’s gone further still, not just dying for those who “deserve” it, but for those who don’t deserve it at all—which, as it turns out, happens to be every one of us.

You see, Christ loves you with an overwhelming love—a love that He wants to pour out on you—not just once when you first get saved, but continually for the rest of your life here on earth and on into eternity.

When you realize that Christ loves you this much—and wants to continue loving you this much—you’ll see why you you can trust Him completely, and why you would want to be with Him as much as possible.

Trusting Christ brings you peace with God. And when you have peace with God, this opens the possibility for you to have the peace of God in many other areas of your life as well.

I was sitting at a table last week with some men who were discussing how God had brought His peace into their lives. Their stories were not only interesting, but interwoven.

One of the men had gotten out of jail about a year ago. After having lived a life of self-destruction for years, he finally put his faith in Christ while in prison. He found that the hours he spent there alone with God were some of the sweetest hours of his life.

But his greatest fear was what would happen when he finally got out. What would happen when he came back into the reality of this world, facing those whom he had wronged so horribly? What would happen when he had to face his wife and kids again, whom he had led into a destructive lifestyle? What would happen when he had to face his in-laws, whom he had pushed away time and time again?

As it turned out, this man’s father-in-law was also seated at the table with us—the father-in-law who knew how much trouble this man had caused for his daughter—the father-in-law who was so upset with this guy that he even paid for a lawyer to help his daughter start divorce proceedings.

Yet when the son-in-law put his faith in Christ in prison, something changed. The father-in-law realized that his son-in-law was now his brother-in-Christ. Rather than condemning his son-in-law when he came out of prison, he found himself forgiving him instead. He went to visit his son-in-law at home and offered his forgiveness instead of the divorce papers. He told his son-in-law that God had wiped the slate clean between them, and had given them a new start in their relationship.

When God reconciled these men to Himself through Christ, He also laid the foundation for them to reconcile with each other down the road. Once they each discovered how they could have peace with God, they also discovered they could now have peace with one another. You can see how having peace with God can help you experience the peace of God in other areas of your life. God wants you to have both.

God wants you to be at peace, and He says that you can have that peace by keeping your mind steadfast and trusting in Him. If you want to renew your mind and experience God’s peace, I want to encourage you to do what Isaiah said to do: to keep your mind steadfast and continue to trust in God. Remember:

“You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in You.”
(Isaiah 26:3)

Also remember that,

“Trusting Christ means you want to be with Him as much as possible.”

If you have areas in your own life where you feel unrest, or areas where Satan has tried to steal your peace, can I encourage you to bring those areas to Jesus again today? He really does love you. He is for you. And He wants you to experience His peace, not just once in your lifetime, but throughout your lifetime, a peace that “transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

As you read your Bible this week, I want to encourage you to read it with three thoughts in mind. First, read the text for what it says, filling your mind with God’s words. But don’t just stop there. Take time to meditate on the words that you’re reading, mulling them over in your mind, reflecting on what the words mean and what they might mean to your life today. And third, be sure to pray while you’re reading, asking God to speak to you about the words on the page, realizing that His word really is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12). This is one of the best ways to spend as much time with Him as possible.

Remember that the Bible is not just a textbook on living. It’s a textbook that comes with a built-in teacher, the Holy Spirit. It’s like taking a class in school and being taught by the author of the textbook himself. While you can learn a lot by just reading the text, you can learn so much more when you go to class with the Teacher, asking Him your questions, letting Him give you more insights into what He’s written, and letting Him correct your thinking in those cases where you’ve possibly misread the text or missed a crucial word here or there. Don’t just read the text and miss spending time with the Teacher! You’ll love your classes more, and He’ll love spending the extra time with you, too.

I pray this has given you a lift today, and I pray that as you put these words into practice, God will give you His perfect peace.

Will you pray with me?

Father, thank You for offering Your peace to us through faith in Your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to put our faith in Him again today, trusting Him with our salvation and everything else in our lives. Help us to give over anything in our lives that is causing us unrest right now, and truly trust You in that area, too. Forgive us of our sins, and lead us into the fullness of life that You offer to us, both here on earth and on into eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Awakening 2P.S. If you listened to Craig Prest’s music today and would like to get the whole CD, whether on a physical disc or as downloadable MP3 files, I’d be glad to send you a copy for a donation of any size to our ministry this month. The CD is called “Awakening 2,” and it contains over 50 minutes of peaceful and relaxing instrumental music. To make a donation and get the CD on disc or download, please visit:
http://theranch.org/Get-the-CD.359.0.html

Questions for Reflection
1. Read Romans 5:1-11. How does Paul say we can gain access to the peace that God has to offer us?
2. According to verse 5, what means does God use to pour out His love into our hearts? How might you invite God to pour out His love into your heart in a new way today?
3. How can Paul’s illustration of the different kinds of people that someone might possibly die for help you to understand better Christ’s love for you and what He has done for you?
4. If you’ve never put your faith in Christ, trusting that He died for your sins so that you could have peace with God, is there anything holding you back from doing it today? If so, can you confess it to Him and let it go so you can put your faith fully in Him? And if you’ve already put your faith in God, but are still struggling to experience His peace, is there anything holding you back from trusting Him more fully with every area of your life today? If so, then ask God for His help with those areas, and ask Him to fill you with His peace—a peace that transcends all understanding.

To read more from this series, Romans: Lessons In Renewing Your Mind, please visit:
The Romans Study

To get more inspiring books and music like this, please visit:
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To make a donation of any size and get a CD as our way of saying thanks, please visit:
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A Miserable Life

 

From heaven even the most miserable life will look like one bad night at an inconvenient hotel.

Teresa of Avila

 

When your life is miserable
and you think nobody cares
those you’re not thinking of
are the ones watching upstairs.

When you feel all alone
and life seems at its worst
don’t give up or quit
thinking that you’ve been cursed.

When life seems too much
and it goes on too long
remember in heaven’s concert
it is but just one song.

Before you look for a way out
when your taste for life goes sour
think of our Lord Jesus Christ
when He met His final hour.

He lived and died for us
that we may one day see
the miserable life we lived
was but a minute in eternity.

Teresa Marie 5/4/11