It’s Memorial Day and I’m home. Last year, I was in Afghanistan. Already, I had prayed over the bodies of Soldiers assassinated in their offices and worked alongside medical teams from two other nations in trying to identify remains after a helicopter crash. Soldiers had committed suicide, leaving stunned comrades and grieving families behind. I’m home and I’m glad to be alive. I rejoice that finally I can eat steak again. Elsewhere, families still grieve and comrades still grapple with the absences of those with whom they worked. I pray for those families and friends who grieve that God will comfort them. Sometime today I will call a cousin whose father died in Vietnam. I pray for peace. Most of all, I pray that all will be reconciled to God through Christ. I’m home. I don’t see my grown children as much as I would like, but we’re all alive. My wife is here with me. It’s Memorial Day and I’m home.
I was a young, young child when it aired but even I know the restaurant commercial that’s had such a lasting effect with the lady asking, “Where’s the beef?”
The emphasis, or point, was about how the talk didn’t match the walk, and now the punch line is used to make the same point on various topics. This morning I’d like to take the word “beef” and replace it with the word “peace” when it comes to the topic of Islam.
There’s a story out there (which isn’t getting a whole lot of press attention due to something about the IRS, Benghazi and something else about the AP and wiretaps, but you can read the story here if you’d like) about two men who may be asking, “Where’s the peace?” One man has been sentenced to receive 300 lashes with a whip and a 6 year prison term, and the other man has been sentenced to 200 lashes and a 2 year prison term. And for what? For helping a woman “convert to Christianity” and escaping the country to find asylum in another nation. With a reaction like that, I “wonder” why she had to seek asylum somewhere??? Hmmm.
I do not completely agree with the doctrinal stance of the two men or with the stated theological experience given by the woman as a part her conversion, but placing that to the side for a moment I can’t help but ask, “Where’s the peace?” I guess it all depends upon one’s definition of peace.
When one leaves “Christianity” it’s tears that get shed by others (Philippians 3:18), not blood!
So where’s the peace? The peace is found in Jesus and in no other.
“May peace be with you; my peace I give to you: I give it not as the world gives….” (John 14:27 – BBE)
Last Sunday evening we studied Matthew 7:1-6 in relation to judging and those who find fault with others. We noticed that there is a standard that is applied by the fault finder that is not in accordance with the Holy Spirit and, unfortunately, there are some fault-finders who identify themselves as Christians guilt of the same.
A fault-finder is one who is blind to that which he (or she) is actually guilty of. It has been said that the fault-finder is rather quick at finding fault in others because they are guilty of the same; they know for what to look. Whether that is true or not in every respect, I don’t know. I can, however, see it being true in many respects.
We can overcome guilt any one of us have in this area by recognizing the evil of such behavior and making a point to look at (or find) the good in another. That change of focus allows us to see a white sheet of paper (representing that which is good in a person) rather than a single black dot on that sheet of paper (which represents some bad in another person). All to easy it is to single out the smallness of the bad more than the largeness of the good.
If we are the victim of an overly critical person, implementing the Lord’s approach (1 Peter 2:21-23) and the Holy Spirit’s exhortation (Romans 12:17-21) will bring much peace of mind. RT
There is uncertainty regarding the author, time, or circumstances of these Psalms, but it is apparent Psalms 120-134 work together, and are called the “Songs of Degrees,” and sometimes “Songs of Ascension.” This Psalm appears to have been written by David, and sung when Israelites went to Jerusalem 3 times a year (Deuteronomy 16:16).
Verses 1-5 show why Jerusalem is the Royal City;
Verses 6-9 show how Jerusalem is the Holy City.
Verses 1-5: (Verse 1) True worshippers are “glad” to “go into the house of the LORD.” The “house of the LORD” under Moses was the Tabernacle, until Solomon built the Temple where sacrifices were offered to God in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 3:1). Before the Temple was built, David, when his child died, “went into the house of the LORD and worshiped” (2 Samuel 12:20). In the New Testament, the “house of God” is “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15), “the temple” “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-22). (Verse 2) How privileged worshippers were to be in that city. In the New Testament, how privileged worshippers are to be in “the heavenly Jerusalem.” “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24). (Verse 3) Jerusalem was fortified when built (2 Samuel 5:7-9), and walled when rebuilt (Nehemiah 12:27). The church of Christ, as the “new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2), is walled by obedience which keeps the corrupt people out of it until they repent and are baptized into Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:9-27; Acts 2:38). (Verse 4) Jerusalem was a place for uniting the “tribes” of Israel who obeyed the “Testimony of Israel” and gave “thanks to the name of the LORD.” The people were one as a people, in obedience, at worship. Isaiah prophesied about the church of Christ in Isaiah 2:2-3: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:2-3). (Verse 5) Jerusalem was the place for “the thrones of the house of David.” Solomon was on that throne (1 Kings 2:24); and other Kings of Judah, until Coniah to whom God promised “none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Jesus Christ was preached on Pentecost, in Jerusalem, by the Apostles: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:29-31).
Verses 6-9: (Verses 6-7) Jerusalem was to have been ruled by “peace,” they “prayed” for, “prospered” under, and were ruled by in their “walls” and “palaces.” The church of Christ must “let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
(Verse 8) The customary greeting from the Jews is “Shalom” (Peace to you). The Apostle Paul in the New Testament repeated this constant desire for brethren (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 3). (Verse 9) “Because” God’s House could draw His people together at times, they were able to “seek” each other’s “good.” The church of Christ assembles to “hold fast the confession of our hope,” and “consider one another” (Hebrews 10:23-25). When this is not the case, the Devil has prevailed, just as he did in the Old Testament.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
If the message in this photo is correct, what’s the point in going on? Where is hope? Where is peace? Depression would be the only logical answer.
Thankfully, it is a lie straight from Satan’s blackened heart (John 8:44). We can help ourselves in minor ways, but we must depend on God when we do so.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
If you have ever visited the ocean then you know about the raw power it contains. Other than its shere size, the other thing that sticks out in my memories about the ocean is the sound. The strength and sound of the waves are truly something to behold! There’s no confusing it with the traffic noise from across the street. Can you hear it?
In Psalm 65 David describes the power of God by saying, “Who established the mountains by His strength, Being clothed with power; You who still the noise of the seas, The noise of their waves,…” (Psalm 65:6,7). David says the power and noise of the ocean waves become silent at the command of its Creator.
When I read those verses I couldn’t help but wonder if the apostles would have thought about them after Jesus stilled the raging wind storm on the sea that’s recorded in Mark 4:35-41. In the midst of fearing for their life Jesus told the storm, “Peace, be still!” and it listened. What a sight, or rather, what a sound that would have been to have witnessed that voice still the noise of the stormy sea and its waves.
The same God who stilled the noise in the Psalms is the one who stilled the noise of that stormy sea from that little boat. That’s the confidence and faith Jesus wants us to have in him. The next time you visit the ocean, let that thought bring you peace and make you be still for a moment, for this God whom we read about in the Bible can still bring peace to our lives in the midst of terrible storms.
“Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41 – NKJV)
Can a person understand peace without understanding conflict? They can no more understand it than they can appreciate it. Peace with God does not come from ignoring the problem of sin. Peace with God comes from confronting the problem and finding the way of reconciliation.
“Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:9-11)
“For it pleased the Father that in [Jesus] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard….” (Colossians 1:19-23)
Peace with God can only be found in one way; the hope of reconciliation with God comes only through Jesus. Is it not true that the most important peace-sign the world has ever seen came in the shape of a cross? It is if we understand the conflict. It is when we know who has won the war!
Several years ago a submarine was being tested and had to remain submerged for many hours. When it returned to the harbor, the captain was asked, “How did the terrible storm last night affect you?” The officer looked at him in surprise and exclaimed, “Storm? We didn’t even know there was one.”
The sub had been so far beneath the surface that it had reached the area known to sailors as “the cushion of the sea.” Although the ocean may be whipped into huge waves by high winds, the waters below are ever stirred.
Even though the waves of the world surround us each day, as Christians, we remain calm and secure in the cushion of Jesus — He blesses us with peace.
(Psa 85:10) Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.
(Psa 85:11) Truth shall spring out of the earth, And righteousness shall look down from heaven.
(Psa 85:12) Yes, the LORD will give what is good; And our land will yield its increase.
(Psa 85:13) Righteousness will go before Him, And shall make His footsteps our pathway.
“Thoughts For Today To Brighten Your Day”
From: Glenn, Mercedes & Lauren Hitchcock
Don Blackwell shared this photo on Facebook. It is indicative of the mindset of the religious world in our age. Satan has taken division and dressed it up in a disguise so that it appears to the uninitiated as unity. To those who accept this lie, they appear comfy and warm in their delusion. So much so, that when those who see through the ruse, warn them of the dangers, they are called haters, mockers and dividers.
The division monster dressed as unity is therefore more popular than the true unity described in Scripture and the Lord weeps at our ignorance. Meanwhile, Satan foments the lie and more sheep are led to their slaughter.
Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Ephesians 4:4, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling.”
When will we learn?
I am never “hit hard” by news – at least I have not been (as I interpret the phrase). However, though never having been hit hard, I am quite reflective, perhaps overly so. I will sit in front of my “man cave” garage) with the radio on and just look out into the quiet surroundings, reflecting on many things, but one that is always on my mind – why is it that I keep failing! I know why, but I ask and reflect on the same thing continually.
In this quiet surrounding there is peace. whatever turmoil I may feel, for a little while I am not.
What is a peacemaker?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” (Matthew 5:9).
We call our policemen and soldiers peacemakers, but why? It’s because they risk their lives to save others, isn’t it?
The American Heritage Dictionary definition of “hero” is a person, often of divine ancestry, endowed with courage and strength, who is celebrated for bold exploits and favored by God. How is a peacemaker in the church someone like this? Specifically, what is a peacemaker in the church? Is it someone who extends mercy to others, or is it someone who extends the truth to others?
There are those who teach “peace,” but not the pursuit of it. A peacemaker to them is someone who disdains conflict and seeks to approve everyone’s concept of religion. To them, it doesn’t matter what teaching is followed, as long as everyone can agree, or better yet, agree to disagree.
These are reminiscent of those people in Jeremiah’s day who “have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace,” (Jeremiah 8:11 ASV). Israel wanted the prophets to let them alone and allow them to continue living in sin. Just insisting upon conformity and peace outside the precepts of the Bible is no peace at all.
We must remember true peace only comes when we are doing God’s will (Matthew 7:21). How can we be happy with our lives if our conduct is ruled by “looking the other way” in the presence of sinful conduct? That’s not peace. That’s slow suicide. People in sin do not wish to see their mistakes. They want an absence of conflict. That, my friends, is not peace.
When the Bible speaks of peace, it is speaking about reconciliation with God. Peace is made with God upon the repentance and cessation of sinful practices in God’s sight. Peace with God means getting out of the sinning business, which means we’ve got to tell people who are in sin they are serving the devil and they need to stop. They may call us unloving when we do this, but if they want peace with God, they’ve got to be told the truth.
We’re soon beginning our Vacation Bible School to teach about the unsung heroes of the Bible. Peacemakers, heroes in the greatest sense, are not people who only extend the mercy of God to people. Peacemakers are those who tell others the truth about their sin and urge them to be reconciled to God. Such teaching takes courage, along with mercy and love. A peacemaker is a hero because he/she rescues people from sin and leads them to peace with God.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader (1929-1968), from his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech
O Lord, for you a locked door is but an invitation to bring your peace. May our closed hearts be ruptured by your invasion.
Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.
John Wooden, Head basketball coach for the UCLA Bruins
A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.