“And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. … He himself went on before him, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother” (Genesis 33:1, 3 ESV).
When we have been separated from someone for a long time, it is never certain what kind of reception we will confront when we are reunited. Jacob left Esau at a time of stress and enmity. His older brother had actually threatened to kill him. Jacob fled to the country of their ancestors. Continue reading “Reunions”
Do you ever have moments, hours, or even days when your mind is troubled? In an earlier part of my life my mind might race over inconsequential things. It was as if I could feel my mind moving inside but I could not slow it. I have not felt that in years, but now I feel something different.
These last two days my mind has been troubled, not as a roaring engine, but as an agitated body of water. This is not the first time I have felt this. When some friends walked away from Christ, and when others seemed to follow, my mind was troubled. Perhaps you have felt similarly. Continue reading “A quiet mind”
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men’” (Luke 12:13-14 NKJV).
No word is more descriptive of the ultimate impact of the coming of Jesus than the word “peace.” It was proclaimed in the announcement of his birth. It is part of one of his many divine and royal titles (i.e., “Prince of Peace,” Isaiah 9:6). Through Jesus who “Himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), we are reconciled with God and with other humans. Jesus “preached peace to you who were far off and to peace to those who were near” (Ephesians 2:17). Continue reading “Peace on earth”
The most desired of conditions, peace is by far the most elusive.
Peace – in its simplest definition – is the absence of conflict. But there has always been conflict. There was conflict among the angels of heaven. There was conflict in the Paradise of Eden. There has since been conflict between all clans.
We know and appreciate the concept of peace. We crave and long for it. We write and sing about it. We fight and die for it. We want it as much as anything, yet we have no earthly idea how to both obtain and keep it.
The human being is conflicted. He is conflicted with his world, and with his self. Life is a search to ease the stress, curtail the strain, scratch the itch of conflict. But the itch returns, the scratching ensues, and the cycle continues. Continue reading “The Wrong Battle; the Wrong Weapons”
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hears, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 ESV).
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. It is important to consume a healthy diet and exercise adequately. Those who are at higher risk may have a doctor examine them. Some tests examine the heart from a distance, while others can look right inside the heart while it pumps.
While our physical hearts are essential to our physical well-being, there is another heart that is essential to our spiritual well-being. Merriam-Webster defines this heart as “one’s innermost character, feelings, or inclinations.” Imagine if you could look inside this heart while it pumps. What would you see? Continue reading “Let peace reign”
Peace is not merely an inner sensation, but an objective state of being. In the Bible it is, first of all, peace with God. This peace does not depend upon a person feeling that God is near or convincing himself that God is bringing him peace. A person can feel peaceful but in fact be in a state of rebellion against God and not be at peace with the Creator.
Such was the case in Jeremiah’s day. The prophet condemned the priests and false prophets who denied there was any danger, when in fact destruction and devastation was approaching. Continue reading “No peace but God’s peace”
Every day sorrow strikes somewhere. Every day people experience loss, pain, and grief. The prevalence of such tragedy does not lessen the importance of – nor should it dull our senses to – the sorrow.
Today, Monday the 18th, the lives of three people ended in a Walmart parking lot. The early reports are that it was a domestic dispute and not the result of a mass shooter. The only reason I’m writing about this is that this particular parking lot is just down the road from where I live. I once worked in the store, and my family shops there most Monday mornings.
When these incidents happen, and they happen frequently in many places all over the world, it is important to recognize the cause and the solution. Continue reading “Sin, sorrow, and the only real solution”
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV).
A major U.S. bus line advertised for many years with the slogan, “Leave the driving to us.” I have found that to be a comforting motto when on Nepal’s mountain roads. The local drivers who deal regularly with the narrow, rough, twisting, precipitous roads through the Himalayas and their foothills are far more capable of dealing with dangers than I. I do my best to “cast my anxieties” on them and just let them handle it. I’m not always completely successful (I do worry sometimes about certain stretches) but for the most part I have been much more relaxed and able to enjoy the scenery since adopting that attitude. Continue reading “Who’s driving?”
Do you long for the beauty of community dwelling in peace? Sick of divisiveness? Many are. What’s the solution? We would do well to take a page or two from the apostle Paul.
Continue reading “Unity – taking a page from Paul”
They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).
God desires peace. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He came to bring peace between man and God, between man and himself, and between man and his fellow man. We are to seek peace and pursue it. But how far should we pursue peace?
As forth-tellers, prophets often had the difficult job of reminding God’s people of the covenant that they had made with God. As fore-tellers, prophets often had the difficult job of warning the people of coming judgment due to their refusal to repent.
The weeping prophet, Jeremiah, was God’s messenger leading up to the Babylonian captivity. Judah’s sins were full, and their punishment was imminent. Jeremiah’s task was to speak God’s word to a nation who was dull of hearing and who would “fight against” him (Jeremiah 1:19). This task was a great burden to Jeremiah. He wished for deliverance, he tried to shut God’s words up within him and not speak (Jeremiah 20:8-9). But God was true to his promises to Jeremiah, he was with Jeremiah every step of the way (Jeremiah 1:19; 20:11). Continue reading “When there is no peace”