The Power of Peace…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome

From Isaiah and Jonah:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation and saying to Tziyon, “Your God is King!” Listen!  Your watchmen are raising their voices, shouting for joy together.  For they will see, before their own eyes, Adonai returning to Tziyon.

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Out of my distress I called to Adonai, and he answered me; from the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.  For you threw me into the deep, into the heart of the seas; and the flood enveloped me; all your surging waves passed over me.  I thought ‘I have been banished from your sight.’ But I will again look at your holy temple.  The water surrounded me, threatened my life; the deep closed over me, seaweed twined around my head.  I was going down to the bottom of the mountains, to a land whose bars would close me in forever; But you brought me up alive from the pit, Adonai, my God!  As my life was ebbing away, I remembered Adonai; and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

Those who worship vain idols give up their source of mercy; but I, speaking my thanks aloud, will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay.  Salvation comes from Adonai!

Then Adonai spoke…

 

In distress, the call goes out to the One who can deliver.  The situation is described, consequences named but there is still hope!  And the prayer continues in hope and ends with thanksgiving.  No matter how bad it gets, there is room to be thankful for who God is. And God answered; God delivered.  His peace within, given freely enables victory.

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“This is how we put on the shoes of peace – we trust and express gratitude.” ArmorofGodStudy

“Note the progression: trust leads to thankfulness and gratitude activates peace.”   ArmorofGodStudy

Jonah was set free to be in motion.  He delivered God’s message and the people of Nineveh responded.  God’s judgment was withheld and His peace reigned.

“The Christian was evidently intended to be in motion, for here are shoes for his feet.”  — Charles Spurgeon

“Leap up at the sound of this promise!  Believe it.  Let it go down into your souls.  “The Lord looseth the prisoners.”  Psalm 146:7  He has come to loose you.  I can see my Master arrayed in His silk garments.  His countenance is as joyous as heaven, His face is as bright as a morning without clouds, and in his hands He holds a silver key.  ” Where are you going, my Master, with that silver key of Yours?”  I ask. “I go,” He says, “to open the door of the captive and to loosen everyone who is bound.”  Blessed Master, fulfill Your errand…”- Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon on Prayer and Spiritual Warfare.

Pray – You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God, You turn my darkness into light.  With Your help I can advance  against a troop!  Lord God, I will shout for joy when You make me victorious, and I will lift up a banner in the name of my God!  Please, Lord, grant these requests!

Repent – I repent for the times I neglected to acknowledge Your peace given to me for my benefit.  I repent for actions and words expressed in anger in response to the tension around me.

Ask- I ask, ” Do not be far from me, Lord, for trouble is near and there is no one to help…Guard my life and rescue me, O Lord, Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You.  I will put on Your peace and shod with that peace I will advance in calm, gentleness, compassion and love.

Yes – Let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach me!  You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”  Though the enemy would try to steal my peace, my gift from You, through the actions and words of others, he will not succeed for I am hidden, surrounded and blessed by You.  I advance with the shoes of peace on my feet.  Thank you!!

Reference: Psalm 18, 20, 22, 25 and 32; Images from Google Images.

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Children of light…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Colossians 3:1-17

 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.   In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.   But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 

 

 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,   bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

How shall we live?  With compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiving with love, allowing peace to rule with the word in us teaching and admonishing, singing songs and giving thanks to God, this is the picture drawn of genuine believers.  Does the description fit us?  Time to reflect and search our hearts, minds and souls.  Time to ask of ourselves, if we were the person crossing our path what would they see, experience of us? Is there light?  Is there salt?  Or do we carry the opposites of these descriptors?  Help us Lord this day to exhibit the list of traits that say we are your children, children of light not darkness.

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Do we care?

Luke 7:11-17

Now it happened, the day after, that He went into a city called Nain; and many of His disciples went with Him, and a large crowd. And when He came near the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”  Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.

 Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.”  And this report about Him went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region.

 Another version says…His heart went out to her…  Jesus responded from the heart to her sorrow.  What does this say of him?  He is busy, He is teaching, He is going somewhere, He has plans…  we also get involved in all of these types of activities and actions.  Do we get too busy to sense the deep sorrow of another, a stranger?  His willingness to stop what He was doing, to comfort and give back life shows what is important.  He gave.  He laid aside His plans long enough to respond to the deep need of another.  He was alert and aware of the need on a deeper level, not just nodding to the obvious pain and wailing and moving on in His own world.  We sympathize with those around us, we truly care sometimes but do we lay aside our business long enough to give to another in need?  Can we sense the times when the pain or suffering of another is too great for them and they have need of someone to give acknowledgement of their status long enough to provide a breath of life.  We possess the life-giving Word of God, the love of God; do we share it?  Are we aware of those times when it is desperately needed by someone else?  Take from this a stirring in the spirit to sense more closely the needs of those who cross our paths.  Be quick to drop what we are doing long enough to share life, the source of life with that one.

Jesus said:”Don’t weep,” then walked over and did something.  We often say something similar then walk away…

“Why criticize…?”

Mark 14:1-11

It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”

 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating,  a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.

Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.

 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?  You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.  I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them.  They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

 This woman’s gift and action brought comments such as “waste of perfume“, “sell and give the money to the poor.”  A gift and act of love and kindness are judged and rebuked.  We see judging and a  pious attitude. How quick the human race is to point the finger, show a heart of covetousness, judge another on our terms. 

 We also see denial that He would be taken.  Though God said, “Listen to Him,” they are still full of the worlds’ ways of thinking.  They are not listening to Him. Do we stop to listen, really listen before judging another’s position and drawing a conclusion? This was enough of an issue to send one of them to the religious leaders to arrange for betrayal. The very thing they were in denial about; one of them was making arrangements to accomplish it.

Take away – This is the Lord’s work, not ours.  We receive the assignment and are faithful to execute it.  We are not to stand in judgment of others; rather if we spent more time in really intense listening, we would be more likely to consider their position in terms of compassion, kindness and concern.

Faith; alive and active…

Mark 6:30-44

The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.

So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone. But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late.  Send the crowds away so they can go to the nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.”

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”

“With what?” they asked. “We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!”

“How much bread do you have?” he asked. “Go and find out.”

They came back and reported, “We have five loaves of bread and two fish.”

Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of fifty or a hundred.

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftover bread and fish. A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed from those loaves!

 The apostles have returned from their tour and Christ sees the need for rest.  Getting away to a quiet place for rest finds the crowd already there, some having run on ahead while they came by boat!  Jesus has compassion and resumes work, as do the disciples.  It gets late and everyone is hungry but they are in an isolated place.  The disciples voice concern, Jesus tells them to provide.  Caring, Compassion, Concern, Provision.  All attributes of a shepherd taking charge of his flock.  

Jesus did not just step up and take care of the need he saw, he involved the disciples.  They had just returned from  an assignment,  continued to work alongside him upon their return.  They were responsible for finding the resources to feed the crowd and for the distribution of the food and collection after.  Jesus provided the power, they were the arms and feet, reaching and going.  They were his voice speaking his word.  

We are the church.  He is the power behind us.  He has the message; we share it.  We care, have compassion, provide – he directs.  We pass out the ‘food’ of the Word, sometimes the real food to the hungry, His power multiplies it.  He works through us. 

What is required for this to be possible?  Our obedience, willingness to serve, and the foundational knowledge we receive from Him through His Word, teaching and prayer. 

Let’s be active, sharing the message, doing what is needed to show care and concern.  Let God’s Word be active and alive in us!