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The Lord has been teaching me a lot about living in His peace lately. His peace is not simply the absence of trauma or the absence of worry. It is something tangible from God that is very rich and it is accompanied by a quiet joy and by the sweetness of His nearness and assurance of His love. Peace is one of the things that Jesus left to us in His will. Are you surprised to hear me say it that way? The truth is that Jesus made a will where He took several of the things that belonged to Him when He walked the earth and He left them to us, His church. Jesus knew He was about to die. And in John 14, He bequeathed several things to us. You might say that He recorded His last will and testament in that chapter, listing some things He wanted us to inherit from Him. When Jesus walked this earth, He was filled with the Holy Spirit without measure or limit. John 7:39 tells us that the Holy Spirit, who lived inside of Jesus, could not be given to the church until after Jesus ascended into Heaven. Why? Because it was God's desire for Jesus to be in sole possession of the Holy Spirit while He lived on this earth. But in John 14:16-17, Jesus bequeathed that same Holy Spirit to us (to those who are called by His name). And He sent Him to us shortly after He ascended into Heaven. Jesus also bequeathed the authority for us to do the same works (miracles, healings, deliverances, etc.) that He did in John 14:12. And Jesus bequeathed supernatural peace to us in John 14:27. When Jesus bequeathed these things to us, He did not intend them as things to use when we get to Heaven, but as things He wanted us to have/use here on the earth. And that is the context in which Jesus has given us His peace. He says this in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you." His peace was never intended to be only for the "sweet by-and-by after I die." It was always intended to be for our day-to-day use in the here-and-now. Jesus' "will" in John 14 is not that different from the human wills we write today (except that His inheritance never went into probate). The will is prepared by the person who is going to die before they die, and it dictates who the person's assets will go to after he is gone. The beneficiaries of the will have to receive their inheritance -- they have the option of refusing it. Now you might say to yourself, "What idiot would refuse an inheritance of a million dollars?" Yea, the concept of refusing a good thing that is left to us by someone who loved us seems like a crazy idea. Yet, it is possible for a person to refuse their inheritance. Now, here is the sad part -- many of us in the church today are refusing the inheritance of peace that Jesus has given to us. He has bequeathed it to us, He has offered it and made it available to us, but some of us simply refuse to receive it. Another thing about will is that some wills have conditions in them, and the person has to meet the condition in order to receive their inheritance. Hollywood has had a lot of fun with that concept and has given us some great comedies about people who have to find a spouse and get married within a short amount of time to receive their inheritance. And there is the comedy called 'Brewster's Millions' about a guy who had to waste a million dollars in 30 days to receive an inheritance of several hundred millions of dollars. The concept of conditions in a will is not at all foreign to us. Jesus' will to us is conditional. The part about receiving His peace had a condition. This is spelled out in the second half of verse 27, which says, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." That might sound like a next-to-impossible task, but it really is not that hard. Jesus spelled out how to do that in John 14:1. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me." The word "believe" is the key to it all -- believing Jesus. God has made certain promises to us. He has promised that He will not abandon us like orphans in a storm (John 14:18) and that He will give us grace sufficient for any situation we find ourselves in (2 Corinthians 12:9). He has promised to provide for all of our needs (Philippians 4:19). And yet, when the storms and trials and problems come in our lives, we forget all of His promises and we panic. We start to focus on the problem and worry about it instead of focusing on God and His goodness. And we allow our heart to become troubled and afraid. The choice is ours...we can choose to put our attention on the problem or we can choose to put our attention on the solution -- Jesus -- and believe in Him. Jesus has invited us to trust Him in John 14:1. And as we begin to take Him up on that invitation, then we stop allowing our hearts to be troubled and we begin to inherit His peace. It really is that simple. When we choose to trust Jesus and believe in Him, He begins to fill us with His supernatural peace. Sometimes it can be hard to trust God, especially when He intentionally stretches us by pushing us in an area of our weakness. Let me share an example from my own life. The example will sound a bit humorous now, but at the time it was difficult and terrifying for me. This happened many years ago. I had a bad misperception about God The Father, and He wanted to correct that misperception. My own father had been distant and hard to please when I was growing up, so naturally, I saw God The Father as distant and hard to please. I had read Romans 8:34 about Jesus making intercession for us. I had this mental image of the Father being mad at me for my sin and shortcomings and wanting to clobber me, but Jesus stood between us and prevented Him from doing that to me. I saw the Father as judgmental, condemning and very dangerous, and I saw Jesus as My ally, protecting me from the wrath of the Father. Of course, my misperception grieved my Heavenly Father, and one day He decided to correct it. I always prayed to Jesus because He was "safe," and I almost never prayed to the Father. So God began to mess with me in that area. He brought me to John 16:23, where Jesus said, "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you." I did not like that passage because going directly to the Father did not feel that "safe" to me. Then God gave me the instructions that for the next three days I was only allowed to pray to God The Father, and I had to call Him "Daddy." That freaked me out. I had been taught to respect God The Father, and somehow calling Him "Daddy" seemed disrespectful. I spent two days double-checking these instructions with God before I began to obey them. I was terrified that maybe calling the Father "Daddy" would be akin to blasphemy. The first time I tried it, I half expected God to strike me dead. But instead, God The Father met me with love and warmth -- and those three days were one of the most amazing times in my life. I came to develop intimacy with the Father and I got to know who He really is a bit better. I discovered He was my loving Father -- that He loved me, and my own love for the Father grew immensely. It turned out to be a wonderful experience for me. But it required that I trust God in order to begin to move into personal intimacy with "Daddy" God. It was very hard and scary for me. But when we put our trust in Him, He will reward our faith. That is an important principle in every aspect of our Christian walk. At times we face situations that are scary or difficult, and it may seem hard to trust God in them. But He is asking us to believe in Him and not to allow our hearts to be troubled over these things. And as we do, He will meet us with His supernatural peace and provision and deliverance. It's time to stop letting our hearts be troubled. It is time to start believing that He can and will take care of us. And it is time to start trusting God and living in His wonderful peace.