Visitors felt God’s peace in our home

In recent telephone conversations I was told by two different friends of ours about their very separate visits to our home many years apart. They each had been accompanied by friends of theirs who, just the other day, testified that they had sensed a quite tangible atmosphere of peace.

American Stuart was brought to us for a few hours during his ministry trip to Poland by Mariusz, our regular interpreter. During their weekly Zoom-chat Stuart must have asked Mariusz if he had any up-to-date news of Hugh and Rosemary, adding how he had felt enveloped in God’s peace as he entered our home on that one-off visit.

Our other recent visitors live here in the U.K. A long-standing friend we’d not seen for decades came with her pastor and his wife who were meeting us for the first time. Afterwards they made the same observation. In fact, the wife is normally very shy, so it was a surprise to the others when she actually crossed the room to ask my wife for the recipe for the home-made scone she was so enjoying!

[] God’s peace can be imparted on a home . . . or withdrawn

When our Lord commissioned twelve disciples to take the ‘message [that] heaven’s kingdom is accessible’ and to ‘bring healing to . . . those who are sick’, he instructed them to ‘let your peace come upon the house’ of each ‘family’ who ‘welcome you’. However, ‘if you are rejected,’ he told them, ‘that blessing of peace will come back upon you’ (The Passion Translation of Matthew 10:11-13).

Rosemary and I were taken pleasantly by surprise by these observations because we can have our moments of misunderstanding and verbal disagreement as most other couples experience. In the early days of our 62-year-old marriage we tended to relate as we’d been taught in our church upbringing – a wife was expected to submit to her husband’s headship over his wife and family according to Ephesians 5:22 in our King James Version: ‘Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as unto the Lord’  (compare Colossians 3:18 KJV). We taught ourselves to communicate more freely and frankly over the years that followed, with help from colleagues too.

[] How can we attract or repel God’s peace?

Here’s how Paul advised Christians in Greece to live constantly in an atmosphere of divine peace:

‘Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding will make the answer known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honourable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. Fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always . . . and the peace of God will be with you in all things’ (Philippians 4:6-9 TPT).

Peace doesn’t just ‘happen’ automatically within a Christian home – it requires of us some godly discipline. Here are some of Paul’s guidelines.

  1. Don’t worry about anything

‘Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing . . .’ because ‘the God of peace will be with you in all things‘! I recall an American preacher ‘getting into the zone’ of his message by developing the refrain concerning any matter that we could get unduly worried about: ‘It ain’t nothing but a thing’! Paul (in The Passion Translation) could have used that turn of phrase in his counsel: ‘Don’t be worried about a thingbecause ‘the God of peace will be with you in all things’!

  1. Tell your concerns to the Lord – in detail

However, we must not leave any space in our mind and emotions for worries to land and roost, then nest and breed! Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of distressing information, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding . . . will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.’

  1. 3. Focus your thinking on divine reality

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that displays these ten qualities:

– the ‘authentic and real’

– the ‘honourable and admirable’

– the ‘beautiful and respectful’

the ‘pure and holy‘ and

– the ‘merciful and kind’

Indeed, fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.’ And ‘follow the example of all that we have imparted to you, then the God of peace will be with you in all things.’

* Use these five pairs of lovely qualities to check up on your spiritual health

P.S. Peace is definitely not numbness, and although it can exist in stillness, it is not obligatory silence. Rather, its essential meaning in Greek is harmony. And it appears throughout Scripture as the conjoined twin of righteousness (see Psalm 85:10; Hebrews 12:11; James 3:18 etc.). Pause when some situations seem unsettling and ask the Lord, ‘Am I doing this right? (= with a righteous attitude). Even when circumstances are stormy one can still enjoy God’s peace, as Jesus clearly did when asleep in a boat on a turbulent sea, that he calmed with a word on being wakened up (Mathew 8:26; Mark 4:39; Luke 8:24).  * So, let’s praise, pray and peg away!

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