PEACE, one of the most valuable and important things in our lives. Peace is so important that Paul, in II Thessalonians 3:16, says, "Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." This is exactly what I need and want for every aspect of my life... Peace. And, as Paul tells us in this verse, Jesus is the Lord of peace Himself.

            AS I spoke about on Sunday and then again on Wednesday night, peace is something that comes from meeting with God. Those who have prepared themselves to habitually meet with God on a daily (devotions) and weekly (church) basis not only learn Jesus is the only source of genuine peace in their lives but they also seem to have a lot more peace and less stress than those who have not prepared themselves to meet with God. Funny how that works.

            I was talking with a friend the other day about a fairly big decision he has to make. As I listened to him weigh the pros and cons of each direction he could take I thought of a good idea that might help him with the decision making process. I asked him, "Which decision will produce stress in your life and which one will reduce stress in your life?" Because Jesus is the Lord of peace Himself, any decision we make that produces stress more than likely does not include Jesus, thus is contrary to His will for you.

            EVERY husband, wife, father and mother should ask this question when approaching situations in the home. For example, a husband can come home from work and open up a conversation that will produce stress in his wife and kids or he can come home with the goal and intent of reducing stress within the family. I love the passage of scripture in I Chronicles 16:43, when David, after a celebration in Jerusalem, "...Returned home to bless his family." Obviously this mindset was one that reduced stress rather than producing stress.

            OUR words play a huge role in either reducing or producing stress. In Proverbs 15:1, Solomon wrote, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." A gentle answer reduces stress, a harsh word stirs it up. We choose which type of words we will use in every situation. Solomon also says in Proverbs 12:18, "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Wise people know how to reduce stress in others while fools are reckless and produce stress.

            ONE of the most important things we can do in order to reduce stress in our lives and to pray for help. God knows you know. He knows what is adding stress and subtracting peace in your family life, your work or business life, even your physical and health struggles. But we gotta ask. The other thing we need to do in order to have more peace and less is to find the answers we need for life in God's Word. But we gotta read it. Ezra wrote in Psalm 119:165, "Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble." I love that Ezra says "great peace". Not some peace or simply peace, but great peace for those who love God's laws. By the way, the word "law" Ezra uses means the Bible.

            WE are living in a world that is producing stress and not reducing stress. We have to counter act this in every way possible. God will keep us in perfect peace, as He promises in Isaiah 26:3, but we have to look to Him. Again, it's through prayer and reading His word.

            IN John 14:27, Jesus leaves us with this promise, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you..." The peace Jesus gives will always reduce the stress in our lives. Chasing after other things tends to produce stress in us.