Friday, February 22, 2013

Pursue Peace

Pursue Peace,The Believing Woman: Scriptures for the Soul: Pursue Peace!
Pursue Peace (image courtesy of The Believing Woman)

Whoever would love life and see good days...must seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11, NIV)

When I think about the word “pursue”, I associate it with “chasing” or “being chased”. I think of Moses and the Children of Israel being pursued by Pharaoh's army as they stood on the shore of the Red Sea. I think of David being pursued by Saul after being anointed king by Samuel. I think of Elijah pursued by Jezebel and taking refuge in a cave. In all three instances, the pursuit of these men and people (the Children of Israel), the aim was to cause harm. Some of you may have dreamed of being pursued and fleeing from a captor.

This is how the word pursue triggers memories and prior experiences in my mind.

But what does Peter mean when he says we ought topursue peace?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “pursue” as a transitive verb with the meaning, to follow in order to overtake, capture, kill, or defeat. To overtake, capture, kill or defeat all seem to be in opposition of the biblical concept of peace.

Am I to overtake peace? Capture peace? Kill peace? Defeat peace?

I don't think Peter had this in mind.

The Greek word for seek is zēteō (zā-te'-ō), it means to seek in order to find:
  1. to seek a thing
  2. to seek [in order to find out] by thinking, meditating, reasoning, to enquire into
  3. to seek after, seek for, aim at, strive after
The Greek word for pursue is diōkō (dē-ō'-kō), it means to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after:
  1. to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal
  2. to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire
I have the impression of woman Christ described who lost a coin and searched for it in her home, diligently sweeping the floor until she found it; she pursued that coin! She was motivated so that nothing hindered her progress. The goal being to find her lost coin!

I believe Peter is encouraging us to pursue peace with the same enthusiasm and attitude. We should be eager to have peace, we should be earnest in our efforts to maintain peace and we should be focused so that our aim is to maintain peace.

Why is peace so important in the life of a Christian?

I believe it is so easy to sink in the quagmire of contention and conflict. I’m driving down the street and the car behind me continually blows his horn for me to move. I become upset and begin to respond to his behavior. A situation like that cries for peace, yet instead, I engage in conflict.

I believe that when I act from my emotions in a negative way that contradicts the Spirit of God, peace flees from me.

I must remember to focus on obtaining peace, I must learn how to maintain peace, I must practice the pursuit of peace.

Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:10-12, NIV)

Three changes in my life allow me to have peace:
  1. Keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech
  2. Turn from evil and do good
  3. I must seek peace and pursue it
written by MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Our Peace

He is our peace, Eph 2:14
Image courtesy of http://ibibleverses.christianpost.com

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselvesthe circumcision’ (which is done in the body by human hands)—remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

(Ephesians 2:11-22, NIV)

He is our peace! What comfort it is to know that Christ is our peace. There is no need to negotiate peace between God and me; I couldn’t possibly do it anyway. The wall which divided Jew and Gentile was eliminated; the same God of the Jew is God of Gentiles as well.

We don’t often think that at one time there was a great distinction between the Jew and Gentile. The Jews were the recipients of the laws of God, they received the revelation of God’s promises and circumcision was their outward sign of their special relationship with God.

What about the Gentile?

We were separated from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel, foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in this world. We who were hopeless were given hope; not by right but through the act of God’s amazing love.

Our peace is not exclusively ours; it is inclusive of both Jew and Gentile. God through the sacrifice of Christ has united humanity into a body of believers who have citizenship in Israel, heirs to the covenants of the promise, having hope and having God in this world.

I remember hearing the song The Solid Rock, sung in church:
"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand...
"

In August, 2011, I felt an earthquake for the first time in my life. I didn’t even know it was an earthquake until someone said, “This feels like an earthquake.” I couldn’t believe it because I live in Virginia. I thought, when has Virginia ever had an earthquake? Nothing felt certain, my stability, my thoughts; for that moment, there was no peace. I prayed and felt peace; God’s peace comforted me!

Oh, He is our peace!

When I’m worried…He is my peace.
When I’m troubled…He is my peace.
When I’m weary…He is my peace.
When I’m weak…He is my peace.
When I’m afraid…He is my peace.
He’s my peace…in the storm.
He’s my peace…in the valley.
He’s my peace…in all things.

Do you need peace?

He’s your peace!

Are you lacking peace?
He’s your peace!

Do you want peace?
He’s your peace!

Christ is, our peace!

written by MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sundays

Friday, February 8, 2013

Peace, Be Still

Peace Be Still
Peace, be still

"On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them,Let us cross over to the other side.Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him,Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea,
Peace, be still!And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them,Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another,Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!

This passage in Mark 4, documents the event which occurred while Christ and His disciples were out to sea, in the midst of a storm. As I read through these verses in Mark 4, I was reminded that just like the disciples, my attitude has at times been similar toward Christ when I was in the midst of distress.

I had thoughts such as:
  1. Does God hear me?
  2. Does He care?
  3. Has He forgotten about me?
Like the disciples, I thought so easily, don’t You care that I am perishing?

How easy is it to allow myself to think Christ doesn’t care about me? To assume, He sleeps while watching over me.

The truth however is that Christ is ever vigilant, always watchful; totally concerned and invested in my life.

As I pondered these verses, I realized that Christ spoke the word of peace to the wind and sea. Note, He said, “Peace”. Though the winds stormed, and the sea rose up in opposition, Christ said, “Peace”. He greeted the wind and sea with the word of peace.

Shouldn’t we have that mind when we are faced with the storms of life?

Upon greeting the wind and sea, He simply said, “Be still”. The wind and sea obeyed His voice.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Should we obey Christ as the wind and sea?

No matter what the circumstance, no matter how dire the straights appear, I believe Christ will speak to it. Your job is laying off employees, let the word of Christ comfort you with peace. The Israelites stood afraid before the Red Sea as the army of Pharaoh pursued them. Moses reminded them to:

Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

Your child is afflicted with an illness; hear the word of Christ speak peace to you. You cannot pay the rent, hear the word of peace. Hear the word of peace spoken in your life, whatever the situation or circumstance.

Let us always remember that Christ says, “Peace, be still.

written by MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Spiritual SundaysNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Chance for Real Peace

A Chance for Real Peace
A Chance for Real Peace

“…All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance”
-- John Lennon

During 1969, John Lennon released the song, “Give Peace A Chance” as a protest song against the Viet Nam War. There were many songs written during this period of American History in response to war, but this is easily one of the most recognizable.

The sixties were really a time when communism reached its apex. Today, the Berlin Wall is just a memory, The Soviet Union, no longer a world power, doesn't even exist and China no longer sees itself as a communist empire. In spite of this, the world remains engaged in warfare. Africa, India, the Middle East, it seems as if no matter the time of day, some armed conflict is occurring. Even in America, there is something called an ideological war taking place between political parties, religious groups and other philosophies. The world’s view of peace is far different than God's. We easily see the opposition, our human enemy, but we fail to see how we oppose God. Though Lennon sang about peace, he railed against everything which he opposed; even God.

With all the warring taking place, does anyone really understand what peace is? Does humanity want a chance for real peace?

We think of peace as a state of tranquility and quietness. Peace to us is harmony in relationships; it is an agreement to end hostilities. That kind of peace involves two opposing sides. Spiritual peace is totally different. It is something beyond my reach. No ability on my part can possibility attain it.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (John 14:27, NIV)

When Christ was about to leave the world he made his will. His soul he committed to his Father; his body he bequeathed to Joseph, to be decently interred; his clothes fell to the soldiers; his mother he left to the care of John: but what should he leave to his poor disciples that had left all for him? Silver and gold he had none; but he left them that which was infinitely better, his peace. “I not only give you a title to it, but put you in possession of it.’’ He did not part in anger, but in love; for this was his farewell… as a dying father leaves portions to his children… Peace is put for all good, and Christ has left us all needful good, all that is really and truly good, as all the purchased promised good. Peace is put for reconciliation and love; the peace bequeathed is peace with God, peace with one another; peace in our own bosoms seems to be especially meant; a tranquility of mind arising from a sense of our justification before God. (Matthew Henry Commentary)

The Greek word for peace, eirēnē (ā-rā'-nā) means, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot. Security, safety, prosperity, felicity (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous).

Who among us is capable of negotiating peace with the Everlasting God? As a species, humanity has no capability of initiating peace with God!

The real war has ended though. In that war, Christ died so that all might live. All humanity was on the wrong side of righteousness; none stood right with God. But God revealed His plan…a way that maintained His holiness, integrity and word, while providing humanity with the way of peace.

Peace with God.

I am no longer a prisoner, held captive by sin. When Christ died on the cross, He made the way accessible for me to stand before the throne of grace. I myself have access to the Holy of Holies, I have peace with God. Christ has given me the chance for real peace.

written by MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sundays