Peace and Joy When the World is Falling Apart.

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One of the greatest mistakes that modern preaching made was getting us all to seek peace and joy.  Peace and Joy are not things we are to go after.  They are things that God adds to those who are going after the right things.

Let me make the case by using the story of the Wise Men.  Imagine the world they knew.  Tradition says they were from the school of the Magi in Persia.  They were Kings and likely billionaires.

They came under the influence of Judaism because of Daniel centuries before and because an edict from Solomon that the whole world should have knowledge of the Lord God Jehovah.

Let’s imagine the turmoil in their souls when they saw the star.  They knew it signaled the birth of the King of Kings because they had long before come under the Spirit’s influence.

Should we go or not?  How do you prepare your kingdom for a prolonged absence?  What if our enemies invade?

Then the real question hit them.  “What if we do not go?  Imagine living out the rest of our days knowing that we were invited to the greatest event in history and we stayed home.”

They found profound peace because they said yes.  Isaiah 26:3 says,  “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

The person kept in perfect peace is not focusing on peace, they are focusing on God and in trusting God.

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The Wise Men learned that God gives peace to those who willingly endanger themselves in a divine quest.  Peace has no place with bored believers seeking escape.  Matthew Henry said, “we cannot be safe so long as we are secure.”  No matter how hard you try to secure yourself against the upheaval in the world you will still battle anxiety.  You cannot ask life to leave you alone and think God will add peace.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Peace is clearly a byproduct in this verse.  It comes from believing in what Christ did on the Cross and what He did before His Father.

Here is the danger of seeking peace while ignoring God’s call:  Luke 19:41 “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”  Let that be a warning to us all.  We must pursue the things that make for our peace.

Joy overtakes those who obey orders.  Matthew 2: 9 “After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

Again, joy is not a feeling you work up but a gift God adds to those who are walking by faith and not by sight.  Two years before the star rose signaling the location.  It was their duty to get there and then they could see the star once more.

1 Peter 1:8 says, “whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”  Loving Him even though you cannot see Him releases joy.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Never forget: Peace and Joy are not things we are to go after.  They are things that God adds to those who are going after the right things.

We already have proof that Obama’s policies are not going to turn the economy around. Consider these two examples.

Obama Policies Copy Moribund California, Not Texas

ByJohn Merline Investor’s Business Daily

 

Anyone who thinks that President Obama’s economic policies will spur strong growth should consider U-Haul rates between California and Texas.

Renting a 20-foot truck one-way from San Francisco to San Antonio, for example, will cost $1,693. But the U-Haul tab to go in the opposite direction is just $983.

To University of Michigan economist Mark Perry, who has tracked this “U-Haul Index,” the difference in these rental rates is the result of straightforward supply and demand.

Put simply, far more people want to leave California for Texas than vice versa.   Why? Because California’s economy is moribund while Texas’ is thriving.

“The American people and businesses are voting with their feet and their one-way truck rentals to escape California and its forced unionism, high taxes, and high unemployment rate for a better life in low-tax, business-friendly, right-to-work states like Texas,” noted Perry, who is also a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.  American Enterprise Institute.

California Nation

The problem is that Obama’s economic policies are pushing the country to be more like the California people are leaving and less like the Texas they’re flocking to.

“Every dream program that the administration embraces — cap and trade, massive taxes on the rich, high-speed rail — is either in place or on the drawing boards” in California, notes Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.

Like President Obama, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for a substantial new tax on the “rich” that raises the top rate to 13.3%, a hike voters approved in November. Even before these taxes kick in, California was the fourth most heavily taxed state, according to a ranking by the Tax Foundation.

Also like Obama, the state is regulation happy. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks California as one of the four worst states in terms of regulations. The state also imposes one of the heaviest tax burdens on businesses.

As a result, California consistently ranks at or near the bottom for business friendliness.

And like Obama — who has pushed federal spending up to historic highs for the past four years — per-capita spending in California has climbed 42% from 2000 to 2010, even after adjusting for inflation. The state is now one of the biggest spenders in the country.

The contrast in economic policies between California and Texas — which otherwise share many things in common, since both are big-population border states with lots of immigrants — could not be more striking.

Sandy-Ravaged New Jersey Families Face $6,933 Tax Hike in Fiscal Cliff Stalemate

By  Christopher Goins
November 21, 2012
christiePresident Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Families in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged New Jersey will face the highest tax increase as a percentage of their income – 6.82%  or about $6,933 more in taxes — if Congress does not reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff tax issues during the lame-duck session, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation.

In its study of how the fiscal cliff would affect typical families in each state, the Tax Foundation reports that if the numerous tax provisions that are due to expire on Dec. 31 are not changed, a four-person family in New Jersey with a median income of $101,682 will see its taxes go up at a rate 6.82 percent of its income, which translates into about $6,933.

The tax issues in question are the expiration of the Bush tax rates, which also include the elimination of the 10 percent tax bracket and the reduced deduction for married filers; ending the 2 percent cut to employee-side Social Security taxes; and the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Maryland was ranked second by the Tax Foundation because a four-person family there, with a median income of $106,707, would see its taxes go up 6.74 percent as a percentage of income, or about $7,194.

Connecticut, ranked third, would see taxes for a family of four go up by 6.62 percent, or $6,653.

All five states with the top tax increases are “blue states” which President Obama won in the 2012 presidential election. But so are four out of the bottom five states with the exception of Kansas.

Top Five Tax Increases Tax Increases as % of Income

#1 – New Jersey $6,933                                6.82%

#2 – Maryland    $7,194                                 6.74%

#3 – Connecticut $6,653                                6.62%

#4 – Massachusetts $6,632                           6.53%

#5 – New Hampshire $5,660                          5.81%

Forty states would see tax increases between $3,000 and $3,999. Six states would see an increase between $4,000 and $4,999 and three would see increases between $6,000 and $6,999.

New Hampshire would be the only state to see a tax increase between $5,000 and $5,999 and Maryland would be the only state to see a tax increase over $7,000.

Bottom Five Tax Increases Tax Increases as % of Income

#50 – Washington $3,362                                4.12%

#49 – Hawaii    $3,453                                    4.16%

#48 – Colorado $3,646                                    4.29%

#47 – Kansas $3,227                                      4.31%

#46 – Illinois $3,417                                        4.32%

The potential for tax increases on millions of U.S. taxpayers is still possible, the Tax Foundation explains, and would be especially devastating for lower-income families because of the changes to the child tax credit; the elimination of the 10 percent bracket, which would go back to 15 percent; and the reduced standard deduction for married filers — all of which are provisions in the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts.