Tuesday, August 2, 2016
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My wife and I had been staying at a friend's house at the New Jersey shore. It was a great setting to be working on a book about "Peaceful Living in a Stressful World". One night this powerful storm hit the area, and we heard the wind howling and the rain was bombarding that house all night long. By morning, the storm was over, and I wanted to go to the beach to see what the storm tide might have deposited there. Even though the sun was out and the storm was history, the sea was still churning all brown. In fact, even when there wasn't a storm that week, the ocean never rested.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Peace Deficit."
There are times when the sea is more turbulent than others – like during and after that storm we experienced – but it's never really calm. Not unlike what's going on inside a lot of people's hearts - maybe yours. There are times that are more turbulent than others for sure, but there's never any lasting personal peace. It's not that we don't try to find something that will give us peace. We try all kinds of antidotes, all kinds of anesthetics, all kinds of escapes, all kinds of experiences, relationships, or people. But still there's never any lasting peace.
The Bible tells us about a condition that's described in our word for today from the Word of God very graphically in Isaiah 57:20-21. What a picture this is! "The wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud." Now, we can all picture that. If you've ever been to the ocean, you can picture this. That's a human heart. "'There is no peace', says my God, 'for the wicked.'"
Now, we don't want to think we're part of the people God calls "the wicked". But I am and so are you. Because God is referring to all those who have broken His laws, who have run their own lives, and who have missed His standard of perfection. Hello? That would be every one of us. And the Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And God's X-ray of what's going on in our heart reveals a two-word bottom line – "No peace". It may be a feeling that you know all too well. No relationship has ever given you lasting personal peace, no accomplishment, not even a religion or spiritual experience.
After golfer Payne Stewart died in a plane crash, a lot of us learned about a personal commitment he had made to Jesus Christ about a year before. In that last year of his life, he said "I'm so much more at peace with myself than I've ever been in my life. I don't understand how I lived so long without it." Maybe you've lived long enough without that peace. You'll find it where Payne Stewart and millions of others have found it...in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
There's no peace until you have peace with God. And there's no peace with God until that sin that separates you from Him is forgiven. And there's no forgiveness without the Savior who died to pay for your sin. As the Bible says, "The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him" (Isaiah 53:5).
Are you ready for some peace in your soul; the peace that has eluded you all these years? Then you're ready for Jesus. You're ready to begin your personal relationship with Jesus Christ – the love you were made for. And you begin it by giving you to Him. You can tell Him that right where you are, "Jesus, I'm done running my own life. I deserve the penalty for that, but you took it on the cross. And because you love me that much, I love you back and I'm giving me to you beginning today. I am yours."
At that point, I can say, "Welcome to the family of God." I want you to go to our website and there find the information that will help you be sure you belong to Jesus Christ. It's ANewStory.com.
Like the ocean that never rests, your heart may have never really been at peace. But it's about to be if you'll claim this promise from Jesus Himself, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you."