The Wrong Battle; the Wrong Weapons

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”

Let peace reign

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”

No peace but God’s peace

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”

Sin, sorrow, and the only real solution

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”

Who’s driving?

“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?”

When there is no peace

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”

Humility is the way to peace

Why do Christians at times struggle with each other? Why does it seem we sometimes have more patience and understanding with those outside of Christ rather than with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Could it be that we have our focus on the wrong person?

“What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3 CSB)

Why do we fight with other Christians? James identified the problem for us: it is because we are focused on ourselves. We cannot have peace with others if we are self-centred. Continue reading “Humility is the way to peace”

Flipping the coin

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Mt. 10:34).

Almost any picture we paint of Jesus is lacking. It is especially true of the canvas, but also of the heart. Jesus is complex – infinitely so. When we think we have captured him, some other piece of him floats by and we must pour out all the other pieces and try to put them back together again. Haygood put it this way: Continue reading “Flipping the coin”

Pursuing peace

Peace is not produced by passivity. Harmony is not a settled state. Man tends toward discord. A close reading of Genesis 3 will reveal that sin caused disharmony between man and his Creator, disharmony between man and creation, and disharmony between man and man. We live in a world where sin is the settled state. Where sin is, there is disunity, discord, and disharmony. Peace must be something we work toward, something we pursue.

The blood of Christ has the power to heal the divide between God and man (Colossians 1:20). But man must be willing to pursue that peace (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Denying self and following after Christ are basic prerequisites to reconciliation with God. Peace with God through salvation does not simply come to us, we must come to God in faith. Once we have been unified with God, we must continue to live by faith to maintain that fellowship with the Divine (1 John 1:3-7). Continue reading “Pursuing peace”