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There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror, for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest... perfect peace.
Which picture do you think won the prize?
The King chose the second picture. "Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace." (Catherine Marshall)
Seems to me that most of us would have chosen the first picture- I know I would have. And do you know why? Because we've been deceived into thinking that peace is a by-product of circumstances. That at some point we will get all of our stuff together, and all will be as calm as a mountain lake on a perfect day
So we toil and strive trying to find tranquility in our lives by trying to remove all that seems difficult. In the back of our minds is a little voice saying: "if only..."
Meanwhile, God in Heaven is longing to give you the stillness you are looking for...and He is whispering "If only you would look to me for true peace, I would give it to you".
The King in the story is right. True peace can be found even in the midst of the most difficult and trying circumstances, because God lives inside you. He really desires for you to live life the way He designed it, which is to be at peace with yourself and the world around you.
So how do you get there?
Not by changing your circumstances, because you really don't have a lot of control in that area. Oh sure, you have choices, but you cannot control the choices that other people make-which is usually what ends up trashing our tranquility.
The secret to internal peace is changing your perspective. Here's the advice God gives:
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)
Simple principle, don't you think? Yet sometimes very difficult to apply. Basically, if your mind is constantly fixed on God and His Word, there remains no room for the attacks of worry and stress that kill any hope of peace in our lives. Like the little bird, we need to quit looking around and start looking up to our Creator, and repeating over and over what He has already promised us.
Where to start? Here are a few promises that you can stash in your nest for future study:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27)
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
But the fruit of the Spirit is...peace (Galatians 5:22)
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6)
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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