The recent terrorist attack in Paris drew attention to the perils of modern times. The six mass shootings, three suicide bombings, and hostage-takings were coordinated and synchronized.
The attack resulted in at least 129 deaths and the wounding of 352. Seven terrorists died. Victims were innocent civilians. The objective was fear and terror. News stories and images were horrific. Sympathies and prayers were sent from around the world.
The economy also has troubling signs that the economy is weakening. Industrial commodity prices are in a free-fall. Oil, copper, aluminum, and iron ore have fallen dramatically. World trade is collapsing. Emerging economies have huge problems. The U.S. dollar is strong and getting stronger which will hinder U.S. exports and increase imports. Inventories to sales are burdensome. Junk bond prices are falling. Profit margins are weak. Stock market price/earnings ratios are historically high.
In times of turmoil, kingdom citizens have an advantage. We can have peace. We can have an inner assurance that we will be victorious. When people of the world are frightened, anxious, nervous and frustrated, we can be calm, joyful and peaceful. When others are making decisions out of desperation, we are prayerfully operating in wisdom and the power of the Spirit. With peace, we can operate in love, wisdom, compassion and power without hindrances.
We have no excuse to not operate in peace. Jesus paid the full price. We do not need to be troubled or fearful.
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful" (John 14:27).
The Holy Spirit empowers us to appropriate the peace which Jesus bought for us. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. The kingdom of God was described as consisting of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23).
"For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17).
From prison, Paul wrote to the church at Philippi describing how to obtain the promise of peace. The severe persecution suffering and trials which Paul faced allowed him to speak to the subject with authority, revelation and experience. Specifically, we should:
- Rejoice in the Lord always
- Have a gentle spirit
- Do not be anxious
- Pray with thanksgiving
- Make requests of God
- Dwell on things worthy of praise
- Be obedient (practice what Paul said and did).
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you" (Phil. 4:4-9).
Let us seek, obtain and enjoy the peace of God is every circumstance.
"Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all" (2 Thess. 3:16).
Dr. James R. Russell is professor of economics and chair of the Undergraduate College of Business at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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