I picked up a tract one time that had Mark 6:31 on the cover: “Come away with me to a lonely place and rest a while.” It held great promise at a time when I was experiencing great turmoil. I couldn’t wait to get home to see the verse in context. Then I would find out about real peace.
Imagine my disappointment when I read that 5,000 families invaded what Jesus intended to be a quiet place. All four gospels tell the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Three of them follow it with the disciples struggling in a storm at sea.… Read the rest
In the Beatitudes, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). It seems straightforward enough. But then when Christians say anything controversial, they’re open to criticism of not being peacemakers.
Take heart; when Jesus sent out the Twelve for ministry, he said,
Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-36 ESV)
And on the night that he was betrayed, he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.… Read the rest
Jeremiah 29:11 ranks high on the list of favorite Old Testament scriptures. As much as we love it, do we really understand how much it promises? “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)
“Prosper” translates the Hebrew word shalom, a word (a noun, by the way) so rich it has no good English equivalent. It usually appears in English translations as “peace.” In fact, many English translations of Jeremiah 29:11 say, “plans for peace” or something similar.
Lewis Carroll wrote, “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” (Through the Looking Glass, 1871). Wouldn’t he be amazed at now much faster we have made the world in the nearly century and a half since he published his observation?
No one literally has to run any more. We have fast cars and superhighways. Communication must be instant. We have made computers that can multitask and expect that we can and should as well.… Read the rest
Fear is one of Satan’s weapons to keep Christians from living in the freedom that Christ purchased for us. Fear keeps the lonely from reaching out to other people. Fear keeps us all from leaving our comfort zones to reach out for any goals at all.
We naturally experience fear when we experience adversity, obstacles, or failure. We shouldn’t give into it just because it’s natural. We have supernatural advantages, just as Jesus did in the Garden.
We all want peace. I’m sure we all really do. But what does it look like?
For as long as anyone living can remember, America has been either at war or in serious rivalry with other country.
Our government has also operated a long-running Middle East peace process. Is there peace there?
Bumper stickers proclaim “Give peace a chance,” and “War is not the answer.”
I well remember the unpopular war in Vietnam and attended peace rallies to protest it.
What was peace like there? People would take turns shouting angry slogans into a microphone. Occasionally, in the name of peace, some people threw bricks through windows or even burned down buildings.… Read the rest
David made some strong claims for himself in 2 Samuel 22:21-25:
21 “The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I have not done evil by turning from my God.
23 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
24 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
25 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to my cleanness in his sight. (NIV)
All of us who have ever read it know our own hearts and question whether we could make such a claim.… Read the rest