Friday, October 25, 2013

Peacemakers

I wrote this essay for my column, "God's Words for US" this past April. I realized I had this piece when I was looking for something else. I believe I will do more of this as time goes on. 
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Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”
Matthew 5:9
1 Peter 3:8

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another . . .” Peter speaks to everyone who reads this letter. He tells those chosen by God to live at peace with one another.
 “ . . . be sympathetic, love as brothers. . .” Peter advises us to treat each other as you would a beloved family member. Also, the Golden Rule states that we should treat others as we wish to be treated if we were in their place. My favorite passage for this rule starts our ‘. . . so in everything. . . ‘

 “. . .  be compassionate and humble.” Compassion means that we take on the suffering of a friend as if it were our own. Paul writes in 1Corinthians 12:26 that if one part of the body of Christ hurts then the other parts hurt.  If our neighbor hurts, then we hurt also. We are not supposed to think of ourselves any better than those who live around us.

 “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.’’ As followers of Christ, we are to be the bigger person when we are confronted by another. We should not respond to any verbal attack or we will be guilty of stooping to the other person’s level.

 “. . . but with blessing, because to this, you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
Our response to insult and rudeness should be to not respond in kind. We should look for the path that Jesus wants us to travel. Because we are human, sometimes we fail at being a peacemaker. Our human nature stands in our way of being Christ-like. Jesus Christ is the best peacemaker. If we ask, He takes our fears and our temptations from us and deals with them on our behalf.

“Whoever would love life and see good days. . .” God’s children appreciate all He has given them and they experience good times. Yes, there can be good come out of bad. We gain strength from climbing up the mountain and out of the valleys.

“. . . must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” We have to be careful what we say. Also, we have to be sure our lips will not put our witness in doubt. I come from a background where people viewed minced oaths on the same plane as blue language. Do you remember the children’s song, “Oh Be Careful Little Feet”? It teaches children that we all have to be on guard where we plant our feet, focus our eyes, and say with our mouth.

“He must turn from evil and do good. . .” One who has a relationship with the Lord needs to break away from evil behavior, turn his thoughts 180* in the opposite direction and aim his walk toward goodness.


 “. . . He must seek peace and pursue it.” A person who loves the Lord finds ways to search for quiet times in which to spend time with God. That person works at maintaining serenity in his or her surroundings.  


Graphic: www.emblibrary.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

His Love Will Be Steadfast









“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed,

yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant be of peace be removed,’ says the Lord who has compassion on you.
All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace.”
Isa. 54:10, 13

”’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills removed. . .”  Even if the world would come to an end through earthquake, leveling the mountains and hills God will be there beside us.

” . . . yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken. . .” God will still love us as our world falls apart- the spiritual, the emotional, as well as the actual.

” . . . nor my covenant be of peace be removed,’ “
God says that he will keep His pact of peace with His people. Where would we be if we didn’t have this inner strength when we definitely need it—as our world, both figurative and literal, collapses?


”. . . says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” God speaks here. Isaiah reminds us that He has (tenderness) for His children. Where would we be without God’s desire to look out for us?

"All your sons will be taught by the Lord. . . " This will be nice. Our sons and daughters will learn of God and learn from God.

". . . and great will be your children's peace." I dream of the day when we all can live at peace with one another. I realize that the Lord has to return to earth and set up His kingdom before we will have true peace.

Graphic: bloginthenow.blogspot.com

Monday, October 21, 2013

Live At Peace





“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you,
those who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you.
Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
Live at peace with each other.
1 Thess. 5:13

The Apostle Paul makes a request here of the believers in Thessalonica. He asks them to respect those who work hard. Have you ever seen someone who works so much on a project that they make you tired just by watching them or of hearing what they do? These folks will be working for the Lord for as long as they can. 
Next, he tells his readers, then and now, to have respect for those who are over us—our supervisors, our mentors, our pastors. We need to pray for those who guide us through our days and those who minister to our souls.

He tells us to hold them in high regard because of the work they do. Most of the time, those in roles of leadership have to deal with issues that cause a lot of pain and discouragement. They find themselves in stressful situations and have to continue on as though nothing was wrong.

Paul asks his readers, then and now, to live peaceably with those around us. In order for us in the 21st. Century to live in peace, we need to ask God to give us His eyes. We sometimes need to take ourselves out of the equation; step back and watch the scene unfold.

Prayer
Dear Father God; Thank you for your great love that bring us through the rough times in our lives. Thank you for allowing us to have people in our lives who guide us to You.  We praise You for those whom You have called to lead those who love You. Please allow us to have Your eyes when we view our surroundings. We give You praise for all things. In the name of Jesus, we pray. AMEN

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Graphic: foundationsforfreedom.net

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