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"Peace on earth."

That's a popular phrase this time of year. It's scriptural. It's short. It fits nicely on the front of Christmas cards and looks great in gold script.

But let's get real.  That phrase, as spiritual as it might sound, isn't worth the card it's printed on if it's not a reality in our lives. Peace on earth doesn't mean anything to us when our stomachs are in knots over unpaid bills.

Peace on earth is just a cliche when our minds are troubled and our lives are in turmoil. For the Good News of peace on earth to have real meaning, somehow that peace—the wholeness that Jesus provided for every person's spirit, soul and body—must become real in our own, personal lives.

The question is: How does that happen?

Do we ask God to do it for us? Do we just keep begging Him to give us peace and deliver us from our troubles until He finally gives in? Do we just keep pleading with Him on and on to heal us and prosper us and bless us?

No. Quite frankly, that's a waste of time. The scriptural fact is, God has already done all He is going to do about our deliverance. He's done all He is going to do about healing, prospering and blessing us.

He provided every good thing we'd ever need more than 2,000 years ago through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. We inherited all of it the moment we made Him our Lord.

As children of God, our heavenly Father has already blessed us "with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). What we do with those blessings now is completely up to us.

A Determined Enemy
I realize your flesh doesn't care to hear that. Neither does mine. Our flesh doesn't like to take responsibility for anything. It would rather wallow around helplessly waiting for Jesus Himself to descend from heaven, pat us on our pitiful heads and say, "There, there, honey. You just sit down, watch television and I'll take care of all your problems for you."

But it doesn't matter how long we cry and moan, or how sad and desperate we act, Jesus is not going to do that for us. In fact, the New Testament speaks specifically to us about that kind of thinking and tells us:
Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)...The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.
(Rom. 10:6-8)
God has already sent us His Word. It's up to us to put that Word in our hearts and in our mouths. It's up to us to believe it and act on it so its power can be loosed in our lives.

"But, Brother Copeland, I just don't feel like doing that. I'm too busy. I'm too tired. I'm too overwhelmed."

Then get ready for a lifetime of defeat because you have an enemy who is determined to keep you from ever enjoying peace on this earth. He is totally committed to stealing from you, killing you and destroying you.

His name is the devil, and if you don't rise up and resist him by faith in the Word, you will never fully experience the blessings Jesus came to earth to give.

Four Simple Instructions
That may not sound like a very nice thing to say at Christmas time, but it's the truth. And the best gift I can give you is to tell you what to do about it. So I'm going to share with you some simple but powerful instructions from Isaiah 7.

There we find an Old Testament king named Ahaz facing much the same situation we face. Although he is one of God's covenant people, a king of God's own nation of Judah, Ahaz is about to be attacked by an enemy that is bent on his destruction.

Naturally speaking, Ahaz didn't have a chance. Two hostile armies had made an alliance against him. Although he might have been able to handle either one of them separately, together they were sure to defeat him.

What's worse, the people of his nation also heard the news and it struck fear in their hearts. They were shaking like leaves in the wind (v. 2). The situation was desperate.

What did God do for Ahaz in that dark hour? He sent him His Word through the prophet Isaiah. He gave Ahaz a set of supernatural instructions that, if followed, were divinely guaranteed to bring him victory and peace.
Then said the Lord unto Isaiah, Go forth now to meet Ahaz...And say unto him, Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted...Thus saith the Lord God, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass....If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.
(vv. 3-4, 7, 9)
Look carefully at that passage and you'll see that in essence, God gave Ahaz four simple commands.
  1. Take heed
  2. Be quiet
  3. Fear not
  4. Believe
Although all four are as relevant to us as they were to Ahaz, today I am going to focus on the first two. I will show you how they can empower you to live a fearless life of overcoming faith—a life where peace on earth is not the exception but the rule.

Take Heed!
Notice the very first thing God said was take heed or, in other words, pay attention!

What are we supposed to pay attention to? The Word of God!

Maybe you already know what the Word says. But it's not enough for us just to know it. We must meditate on it and keep our attention trained on it until revelation arises in our hearts. Then, and only then, will it become real in our lives.

Giving the Word that kind of undivided attention isn't easy. It takes determined effort. It requires us to watch diligently over our minds and refuse to give our attention to any thought that is contrary to that Word. We must choose to think only thoughts that agree with it.

I realize that's a challenge but the New Testament not only assures us it's possible, it commands us to think that way.

Philippians 4:8 says plainly:
Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
"What about those thoughts that just pop into my mind uninvited?" you may ask. "What can I do about those?"

Get rid of them without delay. As Brother Hagin once said, "You can't stop the birds from flying over your head but you don't have to let them build a nest in your hair." The devil will see to it that ungodly, unbelieving, fearful thoughts come your way. When they do, refuse to entertain them.

Instead, do what 2 Corinthians 10:5 says and cast "down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God...bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Decide To Be A Champion
You won't be able to do that if you're constantly flooding your mind with things that violate the Word of God. You can't bring every thought into captivity when you're continually feeding on hours of foolish fables on television and reading stacks of what the world calls news.

So, before you can fully pay attention to the Word, you'll have to make some decisions. You'll have to ask yourself, "Am I going to just do what comes easy, or am I going to stand up and be a champion in the things of God?" If you decide to be a champion, you'll have to turn off some of that trash you've been watching and start spending time in the Word instead.

I know what I'm talking about. I made that decision myself 37 years ago. Back then I was just getting started in ministry and I was in the habit of reading the newspaper every morning like my life depended on it.

One day I realized I was wasting valuable time. I thought, Dear heavens, look at this mess! I haven't found one word of good news in this rag yet and I've been reading it cover to cover every day!

I decided to not read the newspaper for two weeks and spend that time in the morning reading the Word. The first morning I started at Matthew 1:1. My flesh didn't like it but I didn't care. I just took authority over my flesh and kept reading.

For the first few days, my mind would try to wander while I was reading the Word. It would pull at me and say, Hey, let's at least look at the front page to see what's happening in the world. But I'd just tell my flesh to shut up and go right back to reading my Bible.

By the time two weeks had passed I didn't care about the newspaper anymore. I was totally caught up in the Word. In fact, I haven't read a newspaper through since.

It Takes A Press
Most people never experience the thrill of victory and the blessing of true peace in their lives because they never press in enough to take heed to the Word this way—and it does take a press.

It takes pressing into the Word the way the woman with the issue of blood pressed through the crowd to get to Jesus.

It takes the kind of press the Apostle Paul was referring to when he wrote, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14 NKJV).

I'll warn you right now. You will encounter resistance when you begin to give the Word your undivided attention. Your flesh is going to resist you. The devil is going to resist you. He is going to put hindrances in your way and you'll have to exert spiritual pressure to move them.

That's OK. You can do it because He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). If you resist the devil, the Bible says he will flee. So when he starts putting pressure on you, turn things around on him. Press back with greater force.

How can you do that?

Spend extra time meditating the Word and praying in other tongues for the specific purpose of moving your flesh out of the way and strengthening your spirit.

Make a quality decision to fix your mind on the Word of God. Start training your mind by bringing it back to the Word again and again until you can "fix" it on the truth and keep it there. Listen to teaching and preaching tapes and practice paying attention to every word.

If you'll do these things, the devil will not only start backing off, he'll be sorry he ever messed with you!

Be Quiet
The second thing the Lord commanded King Ahaz to do was this: Be quiet! Or to put it in blunt, West Texas terms, "Keep your big, blab mouth shut!"

Why is it so important for us to be quiet in times of trouble?

Because our words have power. They are always working—either for us or against us. Most Christians don't realize that. So when they hear the Good News that God has given them the victory, they ruin everything by opening their big mouths and talking about their defeats!

Don't do that! When you read in the Word that Jesus was made poor so that you might be made rich, don't start saying things like, "I just can't see how God could ever make me rich. After all, I'm up to my eyeballs in debt. I can't get a good job. I don't have enough education. I'll be stuck in poverty for the rest of my life."

Even if those thoughts are flying through your mind, don't give voice to them. Just cast them out, keep your mouth shut and agree with God!

We have a New Testament example in Luke 1 of a man who should have done that and didn't. The man's name was Zacharias, a Jewish priest who was married to a woman named Elisabeth.

The Bible tells us that Zacharias and his wife "were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years" (vv. 6-7).

About a year before Jesus was born, Zacharias was tending the altar of incense in the temple and an angel of the Lord appeared to him to give him some very good news. The angel said:
Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
(vv. 13-17)
If You Can't Say Something Good...
If Zacharias had taken heed to the Word that had been given him, if he had given it his undivided attention, he might have done all right. He might have ended up obeying the second part of our scriptural instructions for success. But he didn't.

Instead, he focused on the problems in his life. He started thinking about all the reasons why God's Word wouldn't work for him. After all, Elisabeth was barren. She had been barren all her life. On top of that, both she and Zacharias were too old to have children anymore.

With those things on his mind, Zacharias opened his mouth and started talking. He interrupted the whole plan of God by saying, "Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years" (v. 18).

Those were the last words Zacharias spoke for nine months:
And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
(vv. 19-20)
God didn't have any other choice. He had to force Zacharias to be quiet. He had to physically ensure that Zacharias kept his unbelieving mouth shut.

This was a situation where God's Word had been given for 4,000 years concerning the destiny of this child. God's time clock was ticking and that Word had to be fulfilled. He had to shut that old man up to keep him from ruining everything.

You and I need to learn a lesson from that story. If we can't say something good, if we haven't grown spiritually strong enough yet to respond with words of faith, we shouldn't say anything at all.

We should just be quiet!

Otherwise, we will just keep opening our big mouths and talking ourselves right out of the blessings of God.

God is not going to do to us what He did to Zacharias. He is not going to force us to be quiet. He doesn't have to. He has already completed the work of salvation through Jesus. He has fulfilled His promise to mankind.

Now He is giving us a choice.

We can either choose life or death. We can choose to believe the Word or not. We can choose to take heed to the Word or take heed to our circumstances. We can choose to be quiet about those circumstances or we can yap on and on about how awful they are.

It is totally up to us.

If we'll make the right choices and follow God's instructions, "peace on earth" will become more than a pretty phrase on a Christmas card.

It will become a powerful, personal reality in every area of our lives!

Eagle Mountain International Church, Inc.
aka: Kenneth Copeland Ministries

Author Biography

Kenneth Copeland
Web site: Kenneth Copeland Ministries
For the last 50 years Kenneth and Gloria Copeland have been passionately teaching Christians all over the world how to apply the principles of faith found in God’s WORD to their lives.

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