We have been reminded yet again of the volatile world that we live in by the latest threats that have emanated from North Korea toward our ally South Korea as well as the threat of nuclear annihilation against the United States by North Korea. The New York Times reported on March the 9th the following threat from a North Korean general. "With their targets set, our intercontinental ballistic missiles and other missiles are on standby, loaded with lighter, smaller and diversified nuclear warheads," said the North's Kang Pyo-yong, a three-star general. "If we push the button, they will blast off and their barrage will turn Washington, the stronghold of American imperialists and the nest of evil, and its followers into a sea of fire." In addition to these international threats against our country we face our own internal threat of financial instability and upheaval as a result of trillions of dollars of debt and continued deficit spending. Perhaps the beginning of our financial upheaval is being felt now through sequestration that was implemented March 1.
It is often in times of national and international crises that we are confronted with the question of the basis and meaning of life. Most individuals aspire for three basic things in life. Peace (happiness), wisdom, and success. As terrorism, war and financial collapse are constant threats it seems as though peace, wisdom and success are becoming more elusive each day. Add to that the challenges that we face daily in our interpersonal relationships that are at times filled with disagreement, misunderstanding, confrontation and separation, we are left to ponder the thought-is there any hope of true peace, wisdom and success?
The Apostle Paul lived in challenging times as well. He was also faced with the challenge of annihilation at the hands of extremists who wanted him silenced. Paul knew what it was like to have friends betray him, to be stoned and left for dead, and to be imprisoned and falsely accused. Paul endured beatings and ship wrecks, yet he was a man that had attained all three of life's greatest aspirations of peace, wisdom, and success even in the midst of tumult.
Pastor Randy Mason
Paul says in Philippians 4, "for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." How could Paul say this, he was sitting in a Roman prison at the time he penned these words? Paul found peace in the midst of persecution and threats because his peace and happiness was not derived from his interpersonal relationships, but from his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul goes on to write about this inner peace that he found in Christ. Paul writes in Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Every person who receives Jesus as their savior enjoys peace with God. When we acknowledge Christ as savior we have met God's demand for righteousness and we have made peace with God through Jesus Christ.
As Paul was sitting in a Roman prison waiting to appeal his case to Nero, Paul says, "I have learned to be content." Paul had made peace with God when he received Christ some thirty years earlier on the road to Damascus, but over the course of the past thirty years he had learned something he had not realized at the start of his spiritual life in Christ, which is irrespective of the threats and persecution he had learned to enjoy the peace of God.
There are many people that enjoy peace with God, but I believe far too few enjoy the peace of God. The peace of God is what sustains us in the midst of threats and persecution. The peace of God can only be attained when we give our lives in total surrender to do the will of God and trust him totally to work his divine purpose in our life no matter how large the challenge. There are many frustrated and anxious Christians today because they have never truly understood what it means to walk by faith and enjoy the peace of God which passes all understanding.
We would do well to do as Paul did when he was confronted with the threat of annihilation. We need to learn as Paul had learned that the peace of God can only be achieved by surrendering our will to do His will each morning that we awake, knowing that God is in control of my life and no threat, or problem is greater than God's ability to sustain me through the trials of life and guide me to the finish line of life having found true peace, wisdom and success through knowing and enjoying the peace of God.
Pastor, Randy Mason