Want to know one of the greatest addictions in life? One you might overlook. It’s our addiction to understand what’s going on before we’re willing to believe. Now, you might tell me, doesn’t the Bible say, “Get wisdom, get understanding…” (Proverbs 4:5, NIV) True! But there’s a place God wants to take us beyond our understanding. It’s called peace, and we can only get there by faith. In Philippians 4:7, God promises “…the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding…” In verse six, He guarantees this kind of peace if we are willing to do one thing: refuse to “…be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let (our) requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6, ESV) Break free from your addiction to understand what’s going on, pray about everything, and God promises to give you His peace. 


There is a big difference between God’s grace and His mercy. They are the North and South Poles of His heart. On the one hand, God gives us His grace: “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.” Grace is truly miraculous because we don’t receive what we deserve. We receive mercy, what we don’t deserve. The Bible says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” (Lamentations 3:22-23a) We deserve judgment, but God allows mercy to triumph over judgment. Because of our sin and rebellion against God, we deserve total rejection. Because of His merciful kindness, which is great toward us, He gives us His unconditional, unmerited love. When you see it, it will make you cry. When you receive it, it will change how you see every day of your life. 


The most foolish decision I made in my youth was rejecting countless moral and spiritual boundaries. Over time, each choice caused me to sink further and further into a life without safeguards. It almost killed me. The Bible warns us: “do not remove the ancient boundaries.” (Proverbs 22:28) They are there for our safety and protection. It is also why God made them non-negotiable. Attempting to remove a God-given boundary to accommodate our lifestyle always ends badly. The only spiritually healthy option any of us have is to change our lifestyle to live within the safety of God’s love and boundaries. Every society from the beginning of time that removed God-created moral and spiritual boundaries eventually destroyed itself. Live safe! Don’t mess with God’s boundaries, and He will protect you.


Do you ever get the impression God is trying to make you more dependent upon Him, and not less? If you do, it’s for a good reason. He is. We were created and exist for God and for Him alone. The Bible says, “…you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created!” (Revelation 4:11, NET) For this very reason, God is not trying to shape any dimension of our lives so that we will no longer need Him. Because He is a God of relationship, everything He does is meant to draw us closer. For only He can fulfill the deepest longings He has placed inside each of us. It is life’s ultimate “win-win,” and the only thing that will ever satisfy us. “…For in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28, NIV)


God has no greater desire for each of us than that we become like Him. There is no loftier goal. It should be the Mount Everest of all of our hopes and dreams. Thankfully, the God of love always chooses the best of all options. Sadly, for many, it is easier and far more common to become something infinitely inferior to God Himself. We become dried-up springs, settling for living an illusion. The truth is, we become like the idols we serve. Serve Jesus and you will become like Him: loving, caring, compassionate, kind, and selfless. Live for yourself and you will chase the mirage. I choose Jesus. “Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.” (John 6:68, NLT) In the end, Jesus is the only game in town. All others will be rained out. 


We were made to worship. We are all worshipping someone or something. If you look back over your life you will see the greatest revelations you ever had surfaced during worship. You were adoring and revering God, and He began to speak to you. For better or worse, our spiritual health is always determined by what attracts or distracts us. In worship we discover who we really are. The eternal cost of worshipping Jesus is miniscule. Whereas the price tag of worshipping anyone or anything other than the One true God is incomprehensibly tragic. If it wasn’t a prevalent temptation trying to seduce each of us, God wouldn’t have said, “I am the Lord thy God…you shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2,3) He made it the first commandments for a good reason. Worship God alone and live blessed.


The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are as relevant today as they ever were. He said, “Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” “In some not-too-distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation…” “…the means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.” “Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation…” “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” 


Have you noticed the pace of change has been speeding up? Look at where we were a year ago and imagine where we’ll be in twelve months. We are racing to the back of the Book. The Bible says, many things are waiting for us there: temporary pain and eternal hope, battling the lie of discouragement and fighting to receive the victory of courage. God promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes, eliminate death, mourning, crying, and pain. (Revelation 21:1-4) If we allow Jesus to be our Lord now, God promises us “living water” for our thirsty souls, a tree of life to feast on forever, seeing Him face to face, and basking in His everlasting light. (Revelation 22:1-5) But, Jesus also promised that, “In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33, NET)


We live in an age where what one person considers obvious, another considers  absurd. Clear to one, confusing to another. Liberating to me, bondage to you. One opinion is said to be so right that whatever is said or potentially done on its behalf is considered justifiable. The lines of permissibility and appropriateness became so fuzzy during the time of Jesus, they killed Him and thought they were doing God a favor. Jesus said that this crazy thinking would continue into our day. “…the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.” (John 16:2, NLT) If we disregard God’s Word and resist His Spirit, personal preference will morph into prejudice. Satan’s delusion has always been to believe he has a higher thought and a better way than God. Take heed.


Jesus Christ changed my life, and I can’t and won’t stop proclaiming that reality. In the first century, the powers that be commanded the disciples. “…never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.” Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than Him? …we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20) The devil has been trying to silence the Church since its inception. But don’t be fooled or intimidated. Sure, it will cost us. Perhaps, even our lives. But Jesus made it crystal clear. “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33) 


There’s an enigmatic verse in the Book of Revelation. You say, “Just one?” HA! I know, there are quite a few. But one caught my attention because it really convicted me. Revelation 22:15 talked about those who were outside of the heavenly city and it mentioned one group that startled me: “those who love living a lie.” The reason I found those words chilling was because it made me wonder how many lies I am living and even loving. I don’t have an answer for the question because the question looms as long as I’m on this fallen planet. This unanswerable question serves as an endless prod, provoking me to circumspection, reflection, and humble pursuit. “Jesus, most of all, I want to finish well. Live the truth, because that’s who You are, and I love You.” 


We’d all love to live and die in peace. But did you know there was someone in the Bible God made that promise to? In Genesis 15, God told Abraham, “…you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.” (Genesis 15:15, NLT) Wow! To die in peace at a ripe old age! What a promise! What if I told you it’s a promise God wants each of us to believe for and ultimately experience? But, what’s it going to take for that to happen? Let’s do the obvious math. We have to be committed to live in peace in order to have any shot at dying in peace. And so that’s what I’ve resolved to do. To pursue walking in the peace of God, every day, so that I may eventually, by the grace of God, die in peace. Hopefully, at a ripe old age.