A man was walking on the beach one day and found a genie in a bottle.  The genie said, “I will grant you three wishes.”  The man thought and decided, “I want world peace.”  The first wish was granted.  There was peace all over the land, no more wars and fightings.  Then he said, “I want everyone in the world to be healthy.”  The second wish was granted.  No more cancer, no more diseases and the hospitals and drugstores went out of business.  Then he thought long and hard for his last wish.  He had to wish something for himself.  After all, it was he who found the genie.  And so he said, “I want to be irresistible to women.”  The third wish was granted.  He turned into a box of chocolate.

Jesus knows us so well that he gave the only medicine that will cure our anxieties, depressions and problems.  Jesus knows us well enough that he left us the only prescription that will make us sleep soundly at night and feel refreshed in the morning.  God knows us so well that he showed us the antidote to restlessness and distress.

That medicine, that drug, that prescription is peace.  John recorded him as saying, “not as the world gives do I give it to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

Isn’t that what we all need?  Peace of mind.  Peace in our hearts.  Peace in our souls.  Peace in our world.

Peace is not the absence of war and tribulation.  It is the presence of God.  Peace is not the absence of conflicts and division.  It is the presence of Christ among us.  Peace is not the absence of discontent and dissatisfaction.  It is the presence of the Holy Spirit, who gave us one of these gifts when we were confirmed.

How do we attain peace?  How do we find real peace? 

It is when we trust in God that we attain peace.  It is when we start forgiving and begin loving that we attain peace because peace is love’s response.  If we surrender ourselves to God, if we follow his will, then we find real peace.  The first commandment given to Moses says it all.  No other gods other than him.  When we have other gods in our lives, we will never have real peace.

Go with the gods of money and the gods of power; obey the gods of sex and the gods of possessions, follow these gods and you will never be at peace.  You will be tossing off endlessly at night because all these gods are false realities.  All of them give us security but only temporarily.  They never last.

Finally, two things will never bring us peace.  These two are often the cause of war among nations and among us.  They are selfishness and pride.  Pride destroyed the paradise that was Eden.  Selfishness is destroying our world that we call Earth.  One detracts, the other distracts.  One controls, the other is controlling.

In order to conquer pride, we need to be centered on Christ.  In order to conquer selfishness, we need to be concerned for others.  Pride has no room on earth and in our lives if we only love God as we should love him.  Selfishness has no place in our hearts if we only love others as we love ourselves.

Chocolate, health or peace.  Only one of these things lasts--the peace that the world cannot give, the peace that Jesus left, and the peace that Jesus gave.

5 May 2013

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