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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

What does the peace of Christ look like in your life? The Apostle Paul tells us, in his letter to the church in Colossae that we are to let that peace be the governing rule in all we say and do. Peace is to be the one defining characteristic of the body of Christ.

It’s important to remember that the body of Christ (what we refer to as the church) is not a building. The body of Christ is not a set of rules and doctrines designed to brainwash us into being clones of one another. The body of Christ is simply NOT church as we think of it today. The body of Christ is like any other body. It’s a living organism made up of many parts that look different, act differently, and perform different yet work in complete harmony with one another for the good of each other.

A body that is not at peace is a sick body. It is unable to function properly and fulfill its duties to one another. If you have ever hit your thumb with a hammer or stubbed your toe in the dark you know how great a body is affected when one part is not at peace. The same is true in the body of Christ. When we set up rules and regulations that exclude people or take us on a path away from the word of God we weaken the entire body.

Wherever Jesus went on earth, he brought peace. He did not bring peace in the way the religious community wanted peace. He did not bring peace politically. Jesus brought a peace that can not be acquired through religious dogma or sacrifice. He brought a peace that can not be dictated and controlled by government action. Jesus brought peace to the soul. He brought peace to the soul of the woman caught in adultery; to the parents of the demon-possessed boy; to the parents of the little dead girl.

The peace of Christ will dwell in us only when we come to a realization of who we are and grow in relationship with Him. His peace comes when we confess our anger, our guilt, our shame or bitterness. His peace comes when we admit to Him our doubt, our judgmental spirit, our pride. His peace comes when we leave the emptiness of religion and enter the freedom of relationship.

The defining characteristic of a body in which the peace of Christ rules is being thankful. A heart at peace with Christ is a heart that in the midst of any tragedy can be thankful. Not thankful for the pain or the loss, but thankful that Jesus loves and forgives us and promises to walk with us along the path of life.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Son of God, Savior and Lord of the world. I confess to you that there are many times I exchange your peace in my life with rules and regulations that keep me from experiencing all the joy I can have in relationship with you. I get angry. I let my past or the brutal, stupid attacks of others get in my way. I retaliate rather than let you protect me. I judge other people. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to live in peace because of the relationship I have with you. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.


And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. Acts 2:44-45

“Where do you go to church?” Unfortunately the answer to this question immediately labels you in some people’s minds. We judge a person’s character, religious beliefs and morals on the name in front of a building!

The greatest period of ‘church growth’ was when it first began. Read about it in the second chapter of Acts. Literally thousands of people were added to the church daily. People who were tired of religion the way it was, people who were struggling in relationships, people who had heard of God but had no idea that He loved them and forgave them of the bad choices in their lives.

The real church isn’t a building, it’s people. If you are a true follower of Jesus Christ, you don’t go to church, you ARE the church! A defining characteristic of the church (the body of Jesus followers) is that they were of one mind. There was only one goal in the early church and that was to tell others of Jesus forgiveness and love. There were no denominations. There was no discussion of the theology behind baptism or scriptural interpretation or worship styles. There was only Jesus.

The method of church growth was simple as well. No fancy programs. No seminars on how to reach other people. No discussion on how to be a seeker church. There was only generosity in the name of Jesus. The motto of the early church could very well have been “All that I have is God’s therefore I will share it with you!”

People didn’t join the church because they were able to jump through a bunch of denominational or doctrinal hoops. They didn’t join because they realized they were hopeless sinners. They joined the church because it was the one group that gave them the love, compassion and physical, emotional and spiritual help they needed. And they found all they needed in Jesus.

If you love Jesus, if you have experienced the healing, comfort and forgiveness only found in relationship with Him, you are a member of the body of Christ, or what we call the church. Don’t go to church; take the church with you into every situation you find yourself in. People may go to a building because you invite them, but they will join the church because you love them and show them Jesus.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I pray that you would forgive those of us who claim to follow you for seeing church as a building or an activity. Instill in me, and my fellow disciples, the realization that church is an organism and not an organization. Help us to show Your great, undying love to those around us so that they can become one with us. In your name I pray, Amen.


Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:7-8

I still hear it on occasion. I heard it often while growing up. Someone is going through trouble. They are in so deep they can’t get out. For some it’s addictive behavior. For others it’s abusive behavior to themselves and/or others. Still, there are those who just seem to have adversity follow them for no reason. They struggle with health issues, broken relationships and suffer the consequences of their own irresponsible behavior.

When we see someone like this that is outside the church, the first thought that may come to our minds is, “They need to find a good church.” Don’t get me wrong. Corporately worshipping together with other Christ-followers is essential for growing as a believer. But there are two problems I have with the philosophy that going to church will solve their problems.

First of all, there are plenty of people who go to church each week ‘religiously’ who suffer from addictions, health and relational issues and doubt about God’s existence. Going to church doesn’t solve our problems, in fact, sometimes it enhances them.

Secondly, if you think about it, there was very little healing in Jesus day, that went on inside ‘church’. Healing came from Jesus during the normal routine of life when He reached out to those in need while they were in their normal environment.

When Isaiah went before the people of God in Isaiah 58, they were a people who were diligent in offering sacrifices and doing all the ‘things’ or ‘activities’ that God commanded them. The problem arose in their expectations and attitudes. The Israelites assumed that God would bless them because they did ‘all the right things’. In the mean time, people were going hungry, naked and becoming desperate in their search for comfort.

Isaiah’s message to the ‘righteous’ then was the same today. If you really want to see your faith as being relevant, put it to work! When you see someone in need do what you can to walk with them along the way. Praying for them is great, but praying and giving a hug or a warm meal or some of your extra clothes puts action to your prayers.

Building relationship with those in need makes being a Christ-follower relevant to those who see you, not just a religion.

There’s an added bonus to putting your faith into action. Isaiah says ‘your righteousness will lead you and guide you and God will be your rear guard.’ Effective enemy attack almost always comes from behind. The Bible says that Satan is like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. Lions like to sneak up from behind. When you are putting action to your faith you may be attacked, but your righteousness will help you see the attack and God will protect you in your efforts.

Don’t tell someone in need how relevant your faith is. Show them. Building relationships makes your faith more relevant to you as well as others.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven. I confess to you that so much of my walk with you is book knowledge and not action. I’m surrounded by people in spiritual, physical, relational and emotional need. I’m overwhelmed by the task. Help me to build relationships with those in my circle of influence so they know you are real and relevant and earnestly seek a relationship with them. Amen.


For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:1

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I have the tendency to hesitate to ask for help. It doesn’t matter how heavy the object is to lift or how hard the task is, if there is any way I can do it on my own I’ll do it! I’ve had plenty of sore backs and pulled muscles to prove it!

The ridiculous part about being driven to do things by ourselves is that it often causes physical pain, frustration and even damage to people and property. Still each of us is inclined to risk our physical and emotional health to do things on our own.

Sometimes we do that because we see the need for help as a sign of weakness. Sometimes we do it ourselves because we have that ‘pride thing’ going on inside us that says: (1) My way is the best way; and (2) No one can do it as well as I can!

What is true for us in the physical realm can also be true in the spiritual realm. In fact the two intersect in some ways. Those of us that are Christ-followers agree that we are sinners and willingly rest on God’s promise of forgiveness and grace for our eternal lives. However, for some reason, if we aren’t careful we think that once we receive this ‘free gift’ of grace we need to work hard to keep it or earn it.

We do this by taking responsibility to make sure our job is right, our kids are healthy and responsible, or homes are fancy and well kept, we have all the right toys and latest gadgets. We even work hard to make sure our ministry or church is stronger, larger and has more technology than the people across the street. Not all of these things are bad unless they become the sole reason for our existence. When they become all we live for then frustration sets in because we can’t possible achieve all we want!

Jesus says, in Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus isn’t necessarily talking about physical rest here. He’s telling all of us who are spiritually tired and emotionally spent that we can come to Him for rest. He wants to comfort us and encourage us when we are struggling to keep afloat.

One of the mysteries of our human existence is that when we are at peace with ourselves on the inside, the things that bring stress on the outside aren’t as powerful. When I allow Jesus to completely control my thoughts, my attitudes and my feelings about people, places and things I have the strength to endure the attacks that are thrown at me.

God’s rest is both present and eternal. His rest gives us freedom to live life to the fullest while we are here on earth. When we rely on God’s power nothing that comes our way brings complete despair. This is true whether the circumstances we face are a result of our own failures or the attacks of others.

God’s rest is also eternal. As Christ-followers we have a hope that reassures us that no matter how bad things are now, someday all the pain and frustrations will be gone. Our physical lives will end, but will usher in an eternal life of peace, happiness and health, all in the presence of God Himself!

PRAYER: Father God. I’m tired. I’m tired physically, emotionally and spiritually. The things that are happening around me have taken away the joy I thought I was supposed to have in you. I confess that I’ve been struggling at my spiritual life all alone and not accepting the help you have promised. Forgive me for trying to do it alone. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to accept your comfort, your power and your help to make it through the daily grind that seems to pull me down. Thank you for your understanding and your rest. Amen.


Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Some people think of confession and would rather have their toe nails pulled out with no pain killers or have surgery with a dull butter knife! The very word ‘confession’ conjures up visions of sitting in a dark room talking to a voice behind the wall or having all your secret thoughts, feelings and actions put up on the big screen for everyone to see. Following the confession you are led out and stoned by those around you.

The picture most of us have of confession is painful at best and terrifying at it’s worst. One of the reasons confession is hard is because confession is often seen as an attack on who we are as a person. If I have hatred in my heart I’m a bad person. If I have thoughts of lust I’m a bad person. If I get angry or struggle with an addiction or am hopelessly in debt I’m bad. I’m a failure and I’ll never amount to anything

Sad to say, the church (note the small ‘c’) has had a part in the negative press confession gets. Confession is really just agreeing with God (and other close friends) that we have faults, failures and struggles in our lives. Confession is not a statement of our worthiness. As Christ-followers our self-worth is wrapped up on the arms of Jesus. We will still struggle with sin. We will still fail. We will still make poor, even stupid decisions. We only need to take a look at some of the greatest Bible heroes like David, Paul, Peter, Abraham, Moses and a whole list of others who have made terrible mistakes either unintentionally or through rebellion.

James tells us that in order to be healthy spiritually, emotionally and even physically we need to live a lifestyle of confession. Prayer, confession and repentance are the three actions that lead to the forgiveness of sins committed by church members.

Earlier I referred to the church with a small ‘c’. The true Church, the body of Christ, operates in a way that makes confession personal and effective. It’s not a liturgical event, nor does it even need to be public. It should be an act of cleansing that says “I know I’m okay. I’m a child of God. But I have issues. I’ve failed and I need to make things right with God and others that I’ve hurt.’

Confession isn’t a trial. It’s to be done with close brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn’t need to be in front of a pastor or priest or congregation. It’s an agreement with you and someone you trust to open yourself to the healing power of prayer. Some have even experienced physical healing by living a life of confession.

PRAYER: Father God. I thank you for Jesus and His love, forgiveness and understanding. I confess to you that the faults of my past and the mistakes I’ve made haunt me like ghosts. I’ve been abused by those in your church that claim to be helping but have ended up being judgmental and making my life miserable. I claim the freedom I have in you. Show me the areas of my life that need healing. Empower me to find trusted friends who will openly and honestly accept me with all my faults and pray with and for me. Amen.

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