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THE KEY TO PEACE
Intro: There are three basic types of peace mentioned in the Bible.
1. The peace of God that comes with salvation, Rom. 5:1.
2. The peace of God that come through total surrender to God in all things, Phil. 4:6-7; John 14:1, 27.
3. The peace on earth that will come when Jesus Christ comes back to reign in glory and power, Isa. 2:1-4.
The passage before us today deals with the peace of God that comes with total surrender to God in all things.
1. It is the peace of God in the times of trouble.
2. It is the peace of God that overwhelms our worries and that helps us to rest in the will of God even when we cannot see what lies ahead.
The key to having this kind of peace lies in possessing a thankful heart.
Thanksgiving is an important theme throughout the Bible. It is mentioned over 140 times.
· David spoke about it – Psalm 103 – The list of His blessings is inexhaustible and makes Him worthy of our thanksgiving.
· Daniel practiced it – Daniel 6:10 – Daniel demonstrates the power of giving thanks even when you are in the midst of trials.
· Paul wrote about it – 1 Thes. 5:18 – God deserves, commands and expects our thankfulness in all areas of life and at all times.
The key to experiencing the peace mentioned in verse 7 lies in possessing a thankful heart. I want to preach about The Key to Peace. I want to show you some reasons why I say that thanksgiving is The Key To Peace.
I. THANKSGIVING COMES WHEN WE LOOK UP
· Verse 6 references the cars of this life. The word “careful” means “to be anxious or worried”. That word reminds us that sometimes the cares of life can make thanksgiving difficult.
· We all go through those times: John 16:33; Eccl. 2:23.
· When we take the time to stop in our struggles and look to God for His assistance, we will discover that we have many reasons for thanksgiving.
· When we look up, we will discover:
1. God is at work in our pain – Rom. 8:28
2. God is ever-present in our pain – Heb. 13:5
3. God will provide in our pain, both materially and spiritually, Matt. 6:25-34; 2 Cor. 12:9
4. God is interested in our pain and He invites us to bring our concerns to Him in prayer – Heb. 4:15-16
· Ill. Our modern Thanksgiving observances grew out of the experiences of the early pilgrims to America. The first Thanksgiving Day celebration was held in 1611, after the winter of 1610 had reduced the number of settlers from 406 to 60. They prayed for help and God answered in the form of a ship filled with food and supplies from England. They thanked Him!
In 1621, another band of 46 Puritans and 91 Native Americans held a special day of thanksgiving to praise the Lord for a bountiful harvest. The previous winter had reduced their number from 102 to 46. We may wonder what they had to be thankful for: they were thankful for God’s grace, His provision and His mercy! The Pilgrims looked up; God’s blessings came down, and they were thankful.
· When we learn to pause in our pain to look up to God, we will discover and ever present for thanksgiving.
I. Thanksgiving Comes When We Look Up
II. THANKSGIVING COMES WHEN WE LOOK AROUND
· Verse 6 suggests a life that is lived in a close, fully dependent relationship with God.
· When we take the time to stop and look at all the blessings we enjoy because of our relationship with the Lord, it is easy to see why we should be a thankful people. We need to stop and take a spiritual inventory of all the blessings we enjoy in the Lord. Earlier I mentioned Psalm 103. In that Psalm David catalogues the blessings of the Lord and calls on the people of God to remember those blessings, v. 2, and to praise the Lord for those blessings, v. 1.
· Those blessings include:
1. Forgiveness – v. 3, 8-12
2. Spiritual health – v. 3
3. Redemption – v. 4
4. Blessings – v. 4
5. Satisfaction – v. 5
6. Strength – v. 5
7. The Word of God – v. 7
8. God’s infinite mercy – v. 8, 17
9. Our family relationship with God – v. 13
10. His patience – v. 14
· Think of all you have in Him:
Ø His love, His mercy and His grace
Ø His salvation and forgiveness
Ø The Word of God
Ø The Church
Ø The privilege of prayer, v. 6 – Ill Thanksgiving adds the element of expectation to the act of prayer. Thanksgiving allows faith to expect an answer to the prayers it offers.
Ø Now, stop to think of how the Lord has blessed you:
Ø With family and friends
Ø With a home in Heaven
Ø By answering prayer, moving mountains, meeting needs, comforting your heart, offering unconditional love and forgiveness.
· When we take the time to look around at all the blessings we enjoy as God’s children, it is easy to see that we have ample reason for thanksgiving!
I. Thanksgiving Come When We Look Up
II. Thanksgiving Comes When We Look Around
III. THANKSGIVING COMES WHEN WE LOOK AHEAD
· Verse 6 mentions anxiety and worry. Anxiety and worry flourish anytime there is doubt and fear. The area of life most often consumed with doubt is the future. We just don’t know what tomorrow will bring and that lack of knowledge fills us with fear over the unknown.
· Doubt cringes and cowers in fear over the disappointments, losses and troubles tomorrow may hold.
Ø Faith, however, welcomes the future with grateful optimism.
Ø Faith looks to the future with confidence because faith know who controls tomorrow, Rom. 8:28.
Ø Faith knows the God Who plans tomorrow, Isa. 46:9-10.
Ø Faith knows the God Who safely leads His people through today and through all the tomorrows of life, Psa. 37:23.
· Why can faith be so hopeful when it looks ahead? Verse 8 tells us that faith focuses its attention on the things that glorify God and on the things that lead the saints closer to God.
· Faith is thankful when it faces the future because faith does not concern itself with tomorrow. Faith contents itself to look into the face of God, knowing that while tomorrow might be filled with its share of pain and disappointment, faith knows Who He holds all the tomorrows of life in His hand.
· When your eyes are on the Lord, you can face the future with thanksgiving!
Conc: Thanksgiving is the key to lasting peace. When you look up you will find abundant reasons for thankfulness. When you look around, even more reasons for thanksgiving present themselves to the saint of God. When you look ahead, you can do so with thanksgiving when you know Who holds your tomorrows.
· What do you have to be thankful for? Come to the Lord and render to Him the thanks He is due!
· What prevents you from being as thankful as you should be today? Come to Him and deal with the issues that hinder your thanksgiving today!