Bishop Rob's Message
The 5th letter to all in the Parish from Bishop Rob Gillion, who has been licensed as an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Lincoln and is half time Interim Priest in Charge of our parish of St John's.
The Joy of Bible Study & Prayer
‘The peace of the Lord be always with you’
Every week in Church we share God’s peace with each other. It can take a while but it is always a special time in our worship!
The word "peace" itself stirs calming and pleasant thoughts and a platform for action and adventure.
Hearts yearn for peace. In fact, a common greeting in many languages is to wish someone peace. Jesus Christ used it many times in the Gospels (John 14,27)
How about your life? Are you stressed out with life’s pressures and wanting more peace? Most people would say yes!
The Bible focuses on three areas of peace: personal peace of mind; doing what we can to have peace in our relationships with others; and eventual peace among all nations.
True peace of mind is an inner calm, contentment and confidence no matter what the outer circumstances. This seems impossible, but “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).
A planet without peace
We live in a frightening and frenzied world. Tension, anxiety, depression and panic attacks are the common designations today.
I will have attended a Conference in Lincoln concerned with Mental and Spiritual health in October and hope to be encouraged to promote healing and wholeness throughout our Diocese to bring peace.
Finding peace in a world of conflict can seem hopeless, but Scripture tells us to “seek peace and pursue it” (1 Peter 3:11). Seek it by taking time to read the Bible, by far the greatest book on peace ever written, (and perhaps join me on Wednesday evenings for some in-depth bible study through the Acts of the Apostles!) We learn in this book of the Bible that followers of Christ are often protected from many trials and dangers, but not all. In fact, some trials, like persecution, happen because of trying to live godly lives in Christ Jesus
The key is to rely on Christ, the source of sublime peace and the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He can “guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79).
Practical principles and spiritual dangers
To experience peace, we must take responsibility for our thoughts (Philippians 4:8). With God’s help we can quit reacting with anger or self-pity. It’s not our circumstances or other people that determine our mood; it is our attitude about them. “Whoever has no rule over their own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (Proverbs 25:28)
Today, many good books and websites have practical advice on reducing physical and mental stress. The advice encourages us to learn good interpersonal skills, be positive and flexible, exercise, get good nutrition and sleep, learn to relax, and rest one day each week. But I believe the ‘Good Book’ tells us that and more!
As people have pushed the Bible out of their lives, they have been filling the spiritual vacuum with a counterfeit spirituality.
Learning and living by the Bible brings more mental and emotional benefits than any alternative teaching as one is draws closer to the true Creator God who inspired the Bible.
Fear and worry versus faith, courage and peace
I’m sure you can guess what single command in the Bible occurs more often than any other? ‘Fear not!’ 365 times, for every day of the year!
We must replace fear with faith —a childlike trust in our heavenly Father. “Trust in God to be your shelter and shade, your refuge and fortress (Psalms 61:4; Psalms 121:5; Psalms 91:2). David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me” (Psalms 23:4).
Worry is a type of fear, and Jesus repeatedly said, “Do not worry” (Matthew 6:25-34). Worry is a waste of time and energy. The Creator provides for all His creatures, and “you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).
We cannot experience true faith and peace without obedience to God. His perfect commandments define the way of peace. God said, “Oh, that you had heeded my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea” (Isaiah 48:18).
The issue of fear is not primarily about emotion. “Fear not” means to have the courage to do the right thing even when it seems frightening. Knowing “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” will give you the needed “good courage” to go forward anyway (Joshua 1:9).
The greatest key to peace: God’s Spirit
True peace of mind depends on attaining “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
We need to humbly turn control over to God. Trying to manage our lives on our own generally brings only frustration and confusion, yet “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Do as Peter instructed: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
These two great gifts of God—forgiveness and the Holy Spirit—result in “righteousness and peace and joy” (Romans 14:17). In Galatians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul is apparently likening the Holy Spirit to a tree of life. He said, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4:6-7 beautifully summarises this wonderful subject:
“Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Amen!
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