“Steve Stephens, the so-called “Facebook killer” who sparked a multi-state manhunt after he openly gunned down a Cleveland man at random, killed himself on Tuesday morning in Pennsylvania as Police closed in on him, authorities said.
“Russia has claimed it can disable the entire US Navy in one fell swoop using powerful electronic signal jamming. A news report said the Russian technology could render US planes, ships and missiles useless.
“MS-13 and their taste for violence, bloodshed and their ability to infiltrate the border and extend their reach within the US are just a few reasons the Central American street gang could be considered more dangerous than ISIS.
“In Sheikupura, the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab claimed to have killed eight terrorists in a gunfight in the Narang Mandi area late on Wednesday. Two personnel of CTD were also wounded in the encounter with terrorists, officials said.”
I have just highlighted some examples of the conflicts and impending dangers being reported in the media on a daily basis. We live in a world of uncertainty and vulnerability and in an environment of confusion and disputations.
There are a number of things in this world that cause turmoil and conflict or that can weaken our personal peace.
War, armed conflict and terrorism are constantly taking their toll somewhere in the world, and crime, gang violence and other illegal activities affect the peace in our cities and towns.
Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters cause disruptions to peaceful lives, and the instability of the world’s economies in recent years has left many struggling and entire economies on the verge of collapsing.
Some threats to our peace are more personal. Physical or emotional problems, pain, debt, addictions, fear, worry for others, and sins, either our own or someone else’s that affect us, can seem to obstruct a peaceful outlook in our lives.
Two types of peace are referred to in the scriptures and we hope for these in our lives as well. One is the absence of war, turmoil and strife between nations, groups or individuals. The other is the inner peace of the soul.
Though we can’t completely control war, disorder and strife, we should do all we can to proclaim peace and work to alleviate conflict and suffering in the world around us.
However, inner peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance…” (Galatians 5:22-23)
These ‘fruits of the spirit’ can help fortify us against the chaos and disorder around us and help bring calm and stillness into our lives.
Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Inner peace is a gift. We don’t determine the conditions upon which this gift is given. Our Saviour Jesus Christ has set the terms. Sometimes our quest for inner peace becomes so focused on the peace itself that we forget it is a gift or a blessing of a righteous life.
Our best course for finding inner peace is to live righteously and do our best to be good and to do good. This is the true course that leads to that inner peace we all desire.
“Mercy and truth are met together…righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”
To his followers the Saviour gives peace, obtains it, preserves it, and establishes it. He is the author, keeper, promoter, and the Prince of Peace.
He alone is the Prince of Peace. He alone gives the peace, contentment, tranquillity and joy our souls long to experience.
In our constant quest for peace, and our endeavours to lighten our load, Jesus proclaimed:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ”
(Matthew 11:28 -30)
“Labour” refers to the work that we voluntarily choose: ambitions, initiatives, plans and goals, our true desires.
“Heavy laden” refers to the work placed upon us: the burdens we carry, and responsibilities we shoulder - accountability.
When we bring our labours and our burdens to Jesus, he promises: “I will give you rest.”
How? “Take my yoke upon you,” he explains. The yoke was used to direct a pair of oxen and together they shouldered and shared the burden and it lightened their load.
When we are under Jesus’ yoke, following his lead as our Master and Lord, he promises that he will help you to carry the weight of your concerns and challenges, the discouragements and disappointments. He will bear you up, he will strengthen and uphold you and take away all your fears.
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee…”
No matter how daunting the challenges are in our lives or in the world around us, we know we can be blessed with peace in our hearts through the power of God’s love for us and through the infinite Atonement of His son, Jesus Christ, because Christ overcame the world. Faith in Jesus Christ and in His atonement encourages the hope of deliverance and the promise of a better world to come.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
I leave you with this statement by Gordon B Hinckley, former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said…
“We know not what lies ahead of us. We know not what the coming days will bring. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment.”
“For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know.”
“But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives.”
“He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith, even Jesus Christ.”
May God bless us all.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints