Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual health and growth. The series is peace, on peace, in peace, by peace, internal peace, external peace, mind peace, heart peace, life peace.

The world is completely torn asunder at this moment, whether by disease or by war or conflict. We may be sitting at the very edge of the end of the world. You’ve heard the old song which says, “What the world needs is love, sweet love.” But I think the world is really looking for peace. Real peace. We’re wishing the whole world peace right now. Peace upon the world, peace upon the nations. Peace upon every individual.

We live in a world of volatility. The doomsday clock is just being set this morning as I speak to you and record this message. At 100 seconds before midnight, the doomsday clock has brought together. And every year, about a dozen Nobel laureates look at the world situation and place the minute hand as close as possible to midnight as the moment of apocalypse. They look at various factors from nuclear threats to diseases. And has become a recognized symbol all over the world, an indicator of how close we are to final destruction. And in this morning’s release, they said the nuclear threats are real, they are present, and they’re dangerous.

So how does one find peace and keep peace? Peace is one of the key ingredients of Welling. The process of Welling is how we’ve entitled this project of RREACH, the program of RREACH, of Welling.Life.

This year’s Bible verse is going to be my anchor verse for this series. It is found in a remote part of the New Testament, the end of 2 Thessalonians. 2 Thessalonians, chapter 3 verse 16. I had not seen it till COVID came along. And it’s been of great encouragement. To those I’ve sent that verse and they often repeat the verse back to me. Please listen very carefully.

It says “Now, may the Lord of peace himself continually give you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all.” This was Paul’s farewell wish. It is found at the end of his epistle. The usual practice was to have a scribe write down what the author was saying and then, at the very end, sign it.

In the following verse, verse 17, the apostle Paul actually signs his greeting and says, this is my distinguishing mark, my handwriting. Handwriting, after it was written by somebody else, authorized and authenticated this letter. I do that often in my own communications. For example, to all our donors over the last 34 years. I have not only written the receipt, I’ve signed each one, thousands of them.

There are jokes at Dallas Seminary that my handwriting allowed students to buy prescription drugs with it at the local pharmacy. But a handwritten note has a uniqueness. Paul is sending a farewell wish to the Thessalonians. But it’s more than a farewell wish, it is also a prayer request. It’s a prayer upon the Thessalonians.

They had exhibited some spiritual growth in the past but ran into some doctrinal issues. Therefore, he’s hoping for a future growth curve that will allow them to mature in Christ, with peace, in the hearts and minds and souls and between them in conduct. So it is a prayer request, a benediction. Many of you know that great Aaronic blessing of number six which we treated from Psalm 67 some time ago in the Welling.life series.

“The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you. The Lord give you,” What? “Peace.” Peace. But beyond a wish and a prayer request, this is also a unique promise. That the apostle Paul is giving to the Thessalonians unique to the one he is going to talk about in the next important phrase. And we will consider it next time.

This one has two sides in this experience of peace, of those who believe and follow him. And these two sides are causally related. Not just correlated but as cause and effect. It talks about his presence and talks about the gift of peace. His presence is the cause of peace in our lives.

We’ll address that towards the end of this series, because it comes at the end of the verse. It is a huge connection, even a causation. The presence of the one is not a variable. The experience of the one is variable. In the meanwhile, why don’t you send a farewell wish to someone in your life, where you can greet them with a farewell wish? May the Lord of peace himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all.