Perfect Peace

December 22, 2017
by John Stuart

Psalm 85:8 – Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to His faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. (NRSV)

Sometimes, we get so busy at this time of year that we forget to listen to what God is saying to us. We get so wrapped up in meeting deadlines — personal and work-related — that we set God aside and promise within our hearts to get back to Him later. It's not that we mean to diminish God's presence or lessen His influence over us. Rather, we are just too busy for our own good and end up harassing ourselves with stress and pressure, which keeps us awake at night and makes us tired throughout the day. We become our own worst taskmasters, and we complicate Christmas in ways that were never intended by God.

When I came across today's verse, I knew that it was meant for me. I've been listening too much to other things — the nightly news and political panels, the urgent cry to get everything done, the clamour of crowds, and the voice in my head that keeps telling me that I'm not doing enough to make things perfect for other people. I listen to them all and buckle under the burden of those relentless sounds. Yet somewhere, God is saying something substantial and is patiently waiting for me to listen. He is speaking peace to me and to everyone around me. He is gently and quietly offering His gift of shalom: the perfect peace for our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. We're just not listening, which is sad because God really wants us to know, receive, and experience this perfect gift of this holy season.

So today, I've decided to let go of all those stressful things and loud noises around me. Instead, I'll let God do what He does best: to speak quietly to my heart and breathe peace into my weary soul.

Point to ponder: How much peace do I need from God?

Prayer: Lord God, speak quietly to our hearts and help us to free ourselves from ourselves. Help us to stop, wait, and listen so that we may hear Your beautiful and loving words of peace. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Very inspiring, John. Have a Merry Christmas.


    Thanks John for this devotional reminder to let go of business and give first place in our hearts and lives to God. Blessings.


    A very thought provoking message for us busy folks today John. Thanks for taking the time to share!
    (Ontario. Canada)


    Amen to your prayer. I especially need that to happen in my life. I need to make that choice and not let other stuff interfere. Blessings to you and your family.


    Great devotional!! We all get too busy this time of the year and need to do just as you said, stop and listen to His still voice!! Merry Christmas to you and your family.


    Thank you for all of your messages but especially today’s. So often I forget to stop and listen. Your message was a wonderful reminder to do just that and came at a much needed time.


    John
    Thank you for the inspiring words as we approach Christmas and thank you for your time spent writing for the PresbyCan Daily Devotional.


    Thank you, Rev. Stuart, for your timely words of wisdom and encouragement. Thus does the Holy Spirit nudge. Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas.
    (BC)


    I always enjoy your Devotionals, John. May God bless you with His peace this Christmas, and through the coming years.
    (Ontario, Canada)


    Dear John,
    Thank you for the reminder that accepting God’s peace is our choice that we have to consciously make every day.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours! I always appreciate your insightful devotionals.


    Merry Christmas Rev Stuart. Thank you for today’s devotional the title of which immediately brought to mind the hymn based on Isaiah 26:3, that we so often used to sing at church in or out of the choir…. and an endless search on the internet for the same rendition that we used.
    May you and all your loved ones have a Peaceful, Safe, Healthy Christmas that lasts throughout the entire New Year 2018.


    Hello John. Thank you so much for your devotional today. I have been out of circulation with a cold the past few days and have been fretting about my undone Christmas shopping and other preparations for Christmas Day. But you have reminded me to focus on the peace that I can experience during this time. That I can be thankful for this time of rest and peace and let go of the plans I had. God has no expectations that we celebrate Christmas in a certain way.
    I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. I look forward to more of your writing in the New Year.


    Listen: This is what I tell my children and grandkids and now my Great grandkids. I have had this “gift” for more years than I can remember. I did not use to feel it was a gift, in the years past. But since we had an accident I do now listen. I felt we were not to go on that trip and I didn’t listen.
    I used to be concerned about these feeling and a grandson stated that is your “leading of the Spirit”. Oh then, I felt better. I had always been uncomfortable with it. Now I live it every day.
    When I was working as a nurse an elderly lady would repeat over and over “Oh, Lord, where to go and what to do” I would tell her you need to be quiet so you can hear the Lord speaking.
    Thank you for your message.
    May you have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.


    Hello, John. I want to thank you for your thoughts today as they fit me well. I recently celebrated becoming 93!! I am still driving but my driver’s license would expire and I decided not to tell my family. For several weeks I had many talks with my closest and most loved friend, the Lord. I knew from the start that I wanted His will done, but we talked about all of the reasons why I needed to have my car and they were all v right. Then we would talk about the reasons it possibly was not a good idea. You know where I’m going with this. I’m not one to get stressed out and didn’t let it happen, but it was on my mind a lot. Finally, 3 days before my birthday, I felt a great release and gave it totally to the Lord, was full of joy!!! Then I went the DMV, took the tests, walked out to my car praising and thanking the Lord for the temporary driver’s license in my hand!!!
    This means much as I can still be independent. But I have promised that the time that I feel unstable in any way, I will give up my keys and never drive again.
    Thank you and have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.
    (Ca.)


    John – excellent devotional. Thanks for sharing this important message. Merry Christmas.


    Thank you, John, for this devotional. I have felt stressed all day and needed the reminder of what is truly important.


    Thank you, John, for redirecting our focus at this wondrous time of year. Too often we get swallowed up in all the unimportant tasks, and lose sight of God’s desire for us, His all-encompassing peace and love. I’m looking forward to our Christmas Eve service tonight, on my journey to seek out the Christ-child in all His glory. I pray we will all experience God’s presence, in Jesus, sent to us so long ago. Leaving behind the busyness of the malls and parking lots, may we truly sense the fullness of God’s incomparable love, and rest in His everlasting Peace. Merry Christmas to all.

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