Peace and Encouragement
– by John Lysaught
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
In these troubled times, the followers of our Lord and Savior need peace in their hearts and encouragement to endure and keep going. It is hard. It isn’t just negativity towards Christians but everything else going on that troubles our hearts, stemming from the world we live in.
The stress of the world falling apart around us is disheartening. Abortions, gender confusion, war, violence, etc., all give us trouble in our hearts because we know the truth and others don’t. We want to just grab people and shake some sense into them, but they are blinded by the enemy. So, we are left to ourselves to navigate the waters of life knowing that many will be lost, to include close friends and family.
To have the peace Jesus desires us to have, we must be encouraged in our faith. We need encouragement. We need motivation. It can be hard to find motivation to stay strong when we are facing an uphill battle with those that oppose us and a world falling apart all around us. It is tough. It is difficult. It can discourage us at times, and this can affect our relationship with Jesus.
Joshua 1:9 tells us, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
We can forget this now and again. This verse should remind us that God does not abandon us but is standing with us at all times. This encouragement gives us the strength and audacity to hold our ground, even as society continues to test the boundaries of decency and morals.
You see, society wants to discourage us and stir up our hearts to not have peace. Has this been successful? Of course it has. Satan has been shaping society to his evil ways since Adam and Eve fell. This is coming to a head now as Satan’s ploys are exponentially getting worse day after day. The day will come when we will go to our Savior, and we must not have our peace or encouragement negatively affected until then. To do so gives Satan power, and we don’t want him to have that.
During these last days, we must continue to stand our ground and not lose our oomph for our Lord Jesus.
John 16:33 explains to us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Just because we face tribulation does not mean that we cannot be encouraged or have peace. This is telling us just the opposite. We can have peace in the midst of tribulations which we are in the middle of. Yes, we will face troubles. Jesus knows this and assures us that, even though we do and will continue to have them, He is still there and He is still our Lord, worthy of our praise and worship.
In Isaiah 43:2 we are told from God through the prophet Isaiah that, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”
It is in the fleeting moments of despair when contemplating the rate of decline in morals and human decency that we can lose peace in our hearts and the encouragement we need to drive on. What is this verse telling us? It is simply saying God will not leave us and He is with us every step of the way. We can be assured that He is there, even in the moments when we question His presence in our lives and in the world. We can take heart that God IS all powerful and IS in control of human history.
When we find ourselves in moments of discouragement, we need to remember that God is in control, and praise Him for His power and glory.
Psalm 69:30 reminds of this when it says, “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”
To do anything less than praise God, even in moments of discouragement, would be doing a disservice to our faith in Him. He is worthy and deserving of our praise and worship, not only in the good times, but even in the bad times because He is God; He is the great I AM.
When we give our praise to Christ, we cannot help but be encouraged. I’ve personally never met someone who has said after they gave praise to Christ that they felt more discouraged. No, they felt more encouraged and at peace in their lives. Giving praise allowed them to keep moving forward when others would fall behind.
With all that is going on, doesn’t our Savior deserve praise? Of course! When we face a trial or tribulation, doesn’t Jesus still deserve praise? Yes! When we give our praise to Him, it reassures us that He is still in control. We will find peace when we give Him praise, and we will get encouragement. It is when we stop giving praise to our Savior that we will find ourselves in the pit of despair and feel hopelessness in life.
Psalm 34:1 says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
This does not say only in the good times or when things are all hunky-dory. No, it says at all times. Even in the environment we live in now, we must continue to give Him praise. Why? Because God is the God of everything; and by doing so, we can attain peace in our hearts.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Isn’t this a wonderful statement? This verse assures us of perfect peace for those who trust God and keep mindful of Him all the time. One cannot think of God and not have peace; and with peace comes encouragement to continue in Him and stay the path.
Look, Satan doesn’t want us to have peace or encouragement in God. Satan wants us to be troubled by events and how we are being treated and looked down upon in the world as believers. He wants to shake the foundation of our faith. He wants to throw a wrench in our relationship with our Lord. He wants to destroy us.
We can’t let Satan do this to us. We can’t worry about this or that or have our peace in God taken away. If our peace is taken, then our trust will be shaken. When our trust is shaken, then our faith can be shaken as well. He is wily for sure, but we can overcome by doing what Isaiah 26:3 says above. When we keep our mind on the things of the Lord, our resolve will be increased, and Satan will lose in his battle to destroy us.
Part of being encouraged and having peace is to renew our minds (Rom 12:2). This renewing is an act that needs to be done continually. This act of renewing our minds will keep us focused on the prize ahead, not on the troubles we are now facing in these last days. It can be hard, but it is an exercise we need to get into the habit of doing to keep our faith and attitude towards God and our circumstances in the Light of God.
The unbelieving man and Satan don’t like us for this aspect of our faith. The unbelieving man wants to drag us down to their level of suffering – they can’t stand that we can have peace in the middle of a storm. Satan wants to ruin our relationship with our Savior. Between the both of them, we do face a difficult time, but it doesn’t have to be so.
By constant prayer, praise, and study, we can be encouraged and have the peace of God in our lives and hearts. This isn’t to be taken lightly. We must stay focused and practice this. By doing this, our relationship with Christ will only move forward, and we will have more resolve to stand against those people and circumstances that can work to discourage us.
Take care and God bless.