Peace is one of the deepest longings of mankind. We long for peace in our world, peace in our country, and peace with our closest friends and family. But how about peace in the depths of our souls; a peace that transcends our understanding because we know that our good God, the Prince of Peace is in total control.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 4:7 that when we relinquish our anxiety to our mighty God, pray, thank, and ask, then the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.” What an amazing comfort! Our hearts are guarded, and protected by God’s infinite peace! Then verses 8-9 take it a step further. Paul says that if we dwell on “whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable … excellent and praiseworthy” and then we practice these things, the God of peace will be with us! Paul is providing directions for practicing peace. This peace of God is a promise of presence. It is an awareness of Emmanuel, God with us, throughout every aspect of our lives.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Prince of Peace. You are quite possibly headed into a time of chaos or loneliness; tension or peace. Yet the reason we celebrate is to usher in the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world. Jesus is our Savior and he has come to bring hope and peace to a lost and confused world. So let’s practice, as Paul commanded, inviting his presence into our lives.

As you head into whatever Christmas may bring for you, try practicing the presence of God. Following are some practical questions to ponder as you do so:

Do I abide in Jesus?: Do you find Christ in your joy, sorrow, emptiness, and fullness? Develop a rhythm of living that brings God to mind throughout the day. Acknowledge his presence in every aspect of your life. Meditate on John 15:4-5 and Romans 11:33-36.

Where do I set my mind, my thoughts?: When you find your thoughts wandering away from the truth, bring them back to Scripture. What does God’s Word say? To what thoughts is the Holy Spirit calling you? Meditate on Romans 8:5-8 and 12:1-2.

Am I remembering God’s faithfulness and provision? When anxiety builds within your soul, remember God’s goodness. Dwell on his faithfulness. Read Deuteronomy 8:2-3 and Psalm 94:19.

Do I have a heart of gratitude? Do I notice even the smallest of blessings and thank God for them? Do I thank God for the challenges, inviting God to walk with me, trusting that his plans are perfect? Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Hebrews 12:28-29.

Practicing God’s Presence is practicing what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy. Practice these things, and the God of Peace, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, the tiny baby born to save the world, will be with you.

Blessings to you and your loved ones. We hope to see you at one of our Christmas Eve services tomorrow at 1, 3 or 5 or on Christmas morning at 10 am. Merry Christmas! Our Savior is born!

Lynette Fuson
Care & Counseling Director

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