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June 1, 2006

A woman apparently frustrated by slow traffic on Santiago Canyon Road (Orange County), took out a baseball bat and began swinging at a truck when she couldn't pass, authorities said. Then she hurled an aerosol can at the driver's door.

The California Highway Patrol officer who chased the driver, 26-year-old Lisa Lind of Lake Forest, noticed that her personalized license plate read "PEACE 95" and asked her about it. "She told me she got it because she thought there was so much violence going on in today's society," Officer Peros Doumas said. (1)

Will Iran agree to curtail its nuclear program? Will Iraq ever be stable enough for the United States to withdraw its forces? Will the Palestinians and Jews ever live in peace? War, violence, and destruction mar the greatest of manís peaceful intentions. One cannot help but view manís inhumanity with disgust, sorrow, and despair.

In manís quest for peace humanists philosophers have continually informed us that an will eventually work out his problems.  Many Christian and religious leaders, echoing these teachings, tell us that ďman is by nature good.Ē

While it is true that man, working by principles God has revealed to us in the Bible, may achieve temporary peace and the imitation of Godís Kingdom, thousands of years of human misery have only proved what Godís word tells us of ourselves: Man is sinful and corrupt. (Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:23). The writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that the evil we do is a kind of insanity which grips humankind (Ecclesiastes 9:3).

We desperately need peace. Peace within the races of man. Peace with our homes and families. Peace in our hearts.

The first step towards the true and lasting peace we crave is to have peace with God. God, who is the source of peace, is the only one who is able to restore us to peace with Himself and so with each other.

Jesus said, ďPeace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give to you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried or upset; do not be afraidĒ (John 14:27 GNB).

We can try by our own ingenuity, cleverness, reasoning, and self-will to create peace. But, with all of our efforts towards peace we continually stumble over our own limitations. The peace Jesus offers us can never be achieved by our own efforts. Jesusí peace is given ďnot as the world gives,Ē since its source is in God.

The peace which Jesus gives comes as we surrender     our lives to God.  We need to give up our self-focused strivings.  We need to give to God the wounds, bitterness, and anger in our hearts.  Our will and the very core of who we are must be surrendered to Jesus as the Lord of our lives.  He must be the one to renew us and lead us to peace with God and with each other.

There is great assurance for us as we learn to surrender ourselves to the God of peace. Because God is in control I donít need to be. My anxiety in present circumstances fades as I remember that God is in control of all things and He will work things out according to His perfect plan. He sees and understands every situation I am in. As I seek Him, He will guide me through every circumstance of my life. In all things He will take care of me.

Perhaps the greatest assurance, for those of us who have trusted in Jesus as our Savior, is that someday we will experience a life of eternal peace with God. In the midst of a crumbling world of sin and manís self-delusion we know that there is more to life than this present age.

It is easier for me to make peace with those around me when I remember how Jesus died on the cross so that I might have peace with Him. We need to follow His sacrificial example of peacemaking in our relationships with others.

Ultimately, it is God who must be the one to make us into people of peace. (Galatians 5:22,23).  Jesus said that peacemakers would be called the ďsons of GodĒ (Matthew 5:9). That we are peacemakers is evidence that God is at work within us and that we have given Him authority over our hearts.

If you donít know His peace ask God to show you what keeps you from it. May each of us learn to accept the peace which God offers us through Jesus. May we learn to dwell, looking forward, to His eternal peace. As He leads us, may He teach us to be bringers and sharers of the peace which is ours in Jesus.

1. Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1995.