Posts Tagged ‘peace’

How To Become A Peacemaker

In my last post we looked at the topic of peace and the Fruit of the Spirit.  We learned that we need both the peace of God and the peace with God.  But what about having peace with other people.  What happens when the peace between you and another person no longer exists.  How do you restore it?  It’s by being a peacemaker.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (NIV)

Today we’re going to look at five ways to become a peacemaker.

1. THROUGH COOPERATION

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV)

Not only are we to be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also “with everyone.”  What does Paul mean by the phrase, “as far as it depends on you?”  He means that it’s our responsibility as individuals to do all that we can do to live in peace with all men, and not wait upon someone else to take the first step.

Psalm 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (NIV)

You need to take the initiative and not wait for the other person to make the first move.  In 1979 Anwar Sadat was given the Nobel peace prize.  Why?  Because he took the initiative.  He broke through a 2000 year barrier and was the first Arab leader to fly to Israel and set down and talk.  Peacemakers always take the initiative.

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (NIV)

One of the most basic reasons why peace does not exist between husbands and wives, church members, and churches is because someone is too proud to take the first step, and refuses to initiate peace.

Yet even when one party is willing to have peace, it takes two to make it complete.  That’s why Paul begins Romans 12:18 with the words, “If it is possible”.

Even though one party might do everything in their power to bring about peace, there are still those who refuse this offer of peace.

For example, even though God has made it possible for all mankind to be at peace with Him by giving His Son, Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for our sins upon the cross of Calvary, there are still millions today who refuse to accept this offer of peace from God.  While we might not be able to be at peace with everyone all the time, we can certainly try.

Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (NIV)

While many people might be seeking ways to bring about dissension, strife and hatred, the Bible teaches us to do the things that will lead to peace.  What is another way we can be peacemakers and bring about peace?  Second, we can be peacemakers…

2. THROUGH FORGIVENESS

Matthew 5:23-24 So if you… remember that your brother has something against you,   24 …go at once and make peace… (TEV)

If you want to have peace you will need to set up a meeting so that you can talk about the offense.  When should you do this?  Jesus said, “go at once”.  That means, don’t put it off.  You might think things will get better over time, but actually, the longer you put off talking about them the worse things are going to get.  So “go at once”.

That doesn’t mean you run headlong into an argument.  It doesn’t mean you go mad.  There are some things you need to do before you go.  One of the things you need to do is pray.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Without prayer you can’t have peace in your own heart or achieve peace with others.  But what do you pray about?  Before you confront the person you need to pray for and seek God’s wisdom in the matter.  Make sure you ask God for direction and insight so you can achieve peace.

James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is… peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.  (LB)

Whatever you plant, you’re going to reap.  That’s the law of the harvest.  It’s a universal principle.  If you plant inflexibility, dominance and insistence, you’re going to reap conflict.  But if you plant the seeds of peace, you’re going to reap the blessing of peace in your life.

Something else you pray for before you go to confront someone is humility.

1 Peter 5:5b All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,  “God opposes the proud  but gives grace to the humble.” (NIV)

Doing these things before you go and confront the person is vitally important.

Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves.  If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.

That doesn’t mean you attack the person.  Instead you need to focus on the problem that exists between you.  It takes courage and boldness to confront someone.

Proverbs 10:10b …bold reproof leads to peace. (LB)

The question is, “What if the person keeps causing problems?”  What if they say they won’t do it again, but then they… do it again?

Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”   22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (NIV)

Why do we have to forgive each other so many times?  Look at what this next passage says about that.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.   32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (NIV)

It’s because Christ has forgiven us!  You’ll never have to forgive some else as many times as Christ has forgiven you!  So, I can be a peacemaker through cooperation and forgiveness.  A third way I can be a peacemaker is…

3. THROUGH GOD’S WORD

Psalm 119:165 Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. (NLT)

When you’re following the Lord’s commands and doing what He wants us to do, then you’re going to be at peace.  The reason why we have so many conflicts with each other is because someone isn’t listening to God’s word.

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord,  he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. (NIV)

Yet, what does the Bible say about those who are wicked, and refuse to obey God?

Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.” (NIV)

2 Peter 1:2 Do you want more and more of God’s kindness and peace? Then learn to know him better and better. (LB)

That means we need to ready and study the Bible.  That means we need to memorize the Bible.  That means we need to practice the Bible.  That means you need to come to church and hear the Bible.

So, I can be a peacemaker through cooperation, through forgiveness, through God’s word and fourth…

4. THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT

Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (NIV)

When you set your mind upon the things of God, and yield yourself to the Holy Spirit to be used by Him as He sees fit, then you’ll have peace.  The natural result of being filled with the Holy Spirit is having peace in our lives because the fruit of the Holy Spirit consists of peace.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (NIV)

The key here is surrendering my life to the control of the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to fill my life each and every day.

So, I can be a peacemaker through cooperation, through forgiveness, through God’s word, through the Holy Spirit and lastly, I can have peace and be a peacemaker…

5. THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace… (NIV)

This shows us that the source of all peace must come through God Almighty.  The closer you get to God, the more peace you’re going to have in your life.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (NIV)

Is there any circumstance where God isn’t able to give us peace?  God is able to give us peace in every circumstance in life.  It makes no difference how bad the circumstances are, God is able and wants to give us peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)

The peace that God wants you to have doesn’t come from the world or the things of this world. The peace that the world offers us is temporary, and only able to help in certain circumstances, but the peace that God offers through His Son, Jesus Christ, is eternal and able to help under any CIRCUMSTANCE.

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)

Jesus can take the broken pieces of your life and replace them with His unbroken peace.  He’s the secret of peace.  When you get Him in your life you’re going to be at peace with God and then you’re going to have more peace with other people.

God is the original peacemaker. He made peace with us through His son Jesus Christ and has given you the ministry of being a peacemaker.  When you’re being a peacemaker and restoring relationships, you’re doing the work of God.

Who do you need to seek reconciliation with?  A Husband?  Wife?  A daughter?  A son?  A neighbor? A church member?

Before you try to seek peace with someone else, you first need to have peace within yourself.  Where do you find the peace you need in your heart in order to make peace with others? It’s through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.  You need to ask God to put His Spirit of Peace in your heart.

Your life is like a tube of toothpaste, whatever’s inside is going to come out when you’re squeezed.  If you’re filled with God’s peace, His peace is going to come out when you’re being squeezed and feeling the pressures of life.  But if you’re filled with yourself, ego and pride, that’s what’s going to come out when your being squeezed.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives… (LB)


 

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – PEACE

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to update my blog lately.  Over the past month our website was under attack from viruses and then my Mom passed away.  But our site is healthy again and it is time to move on.

We’ve been looking at the “Nine Secrets Of Healthy Living” based on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23-23.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,   23 gentleness and self-control. (NIV)

Today we’re looking at the characteristic of peace.  Basically there are two aspects of peace.  One aspect is called the “peace with God”.  Another aspect is called the “peace of God”.  Having “peace with God” means I have a spiritual relationship with God through his son Jesus Christ.  Having the “peace of God” means that my life is characterized by peace.

Both of these are very important and necessary in the life of a child of God.  That’s because a person who has both the “peace of God” and “peace with God” is going to live a spiritually healthy life.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (NIV)

Jesus said that if you want to be blessed in your life you have to be a peacemaker.  As Christians we are to be the “peacemakers” of this world.  After all, we have the message of peace, and know the Prince of Peace and have experienced both the peace of God and with God.

Out of all the people in the world, we as God’s people ought to be the first ones to seek after and pursue peace, yet sad to say, we often are the last ones to do this.

Proverbs 29:8 Fools start fights everywhere while wise men try to keep peace. (LB)

It’s foolish to start arguments but it’s wise to keep the peace.  Over and over in the Bible we are commanded to live in peace with each other.

Mark 9:50b Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other. (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 5:13b Live in peace with each other. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 13:11 And now, my friends, good-bye! Strive for perfection; listen to my appeals; agree with one another; live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. (TEV)

1 Corinthians 7:15c God has called us to live in peace. (NIV)

So, how can I be a peacemaker?  It’s by doing five things which we will look at next time.


 

3 Days Until Christmas Devotional

[buzzsprout episode=”37945″ player=”true”]

Welcome back to our Christmas devotional.  There are only three days left until Christmas.  No during the last few days we’ve been looking at the comparison of a Christmas tree decorated with beautiful physical ornaments to the cross of Calvary which is decorated with beautiful spiritual ornaments.

So far we have seen how God has decorated the cross with the ornaments of love and grace.  Today we’re going to look at how he decorated it with the ornament of peace.

When Jesus was born, the angels in heaven sang praises to God in Luke 2:14 saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

According to tradition, a Christmas song once brought peace to a battlefield. It happened on Christmas Eve during the Franco-German War (1870-1871) as the two sides faced each other in their trenches.

A French soldier jumped up and began singing “O Holy Night.” The surprised German soldiers did not fire. Instead, one of them stepped forward to sing “From Heaven Above To Earth I Come.”

For a brief time at least, peace on earth prevailed and goodwill was shared among men whose job it was to kill each other.

Think about the words of “O Holy Night” and see how they can bring hostilities to a end. “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.” Who knows about the world’s ills better than soldiers who are facing the consequences of war, killing, and death?

“A thrill of hope” is what those men needed in the darkness of that winter night. Hope is what “the dear Savior’s birth” provides. Because of Him the “weary world rejoices.”
Even though we may not be engaged in physical combat, we all face the battles of everyday life. We can let the peace of that holy night—the night of our dear Savior’s birth—reign in our hearts the whole year through.

Romans 5:1  Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Without first having peace with God through Jesus, we can not experience the peace of God in our hearts on a daily basis.

Philippians 4:7  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It is difficult to put into words and describe the peace that a Christian has because it is a divine peace, not a worldly one.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

The kind of peace that people experience based upon their circumstances in life is temporary in nature at best because circumstances are always changing.

One day your life might be floating along on cloud nine and you are thinking that life couldn’t get any better.  But in just a matter of seconds the bottom could fall out and your entire life could be turned upside down.  That has happened to me on several occasions.  How about to you?

During those times it is the peace of God that you need more than anything else.  During those times it is the peace of God that remains with you when everything else has left.

That my friends is why this decoration of peace is so important.


 

19 Days Until Christmas Devotional

[buzzsprout episode=”37179″ player=”true”]

Yesterday we started looking at the topic of Christmas joy in Luke 2:8-20 and we saw how on the first Christmas the angel made a JOYFUL ANNOUNCEMENT.

Today we’re going to look at how the choir sang a JOYFUL SONG.

Luke 2:13-14  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  14″Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

I’m sure that any choir director would enjoy leading this choir any time of the year.  One reason is because it was a great choir.  It was large and it was heavenly.  But also it sang a wonderful song about Jesus.  That’s what makes a choir good.  Not how good looking the people are but who they sing about.

John Wesley was not only a famous preacher but also one of the greatest Christian song writers that ever lived.  He once said, “Beware of singing as if you were half dead or half asleep.  Lift up your voices with strength.  Be no more afraid of your voice now, or more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sang the songs of Satan.”

In an article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled “Hassled For The Holidays,” Bill Hendrick describes the tensions of the Christmas season. For millions of people, he writes, “going home for the holidays has become an arduous, stress-filled ordeal in which grown men and women unconsciously revert to childish roles, elderly parents bark orders like tyrants, and somebody else . . . makes all the decisions.”

Even in the best of families, holiday reunions can be a stressful time when we experience anything but peace.  But Galatians 5 says that as a new person in Christ, you have a choice about your thoughts and actions, no matter where you are.  If we live according to our sinful nature, the result is “hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions” (v.20).  But if the Holy Spirit controls us, we can show “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (vv.22-23).

A lot of people are longing for “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” during this holiday season.  Let’s take it home with us, and by the power of the Holy Spirit give to family and friends the gift of God’s peace.

When the Holy Spirit fills us,
He will energize our life;
He will help us serve each other,
Spreading peace instead of strife. —Sper

To be a peacemaker, let the peace of Christ reign in your heart

Psalm 71:23  My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you– I, whom you have redeemed.

Psalm 95:1  Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.


 

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