Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake, Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”
Not everyone believes the same way I do. If they did there would be no need for me. There are those who disagree so strongly they cast arrows of disdain and rejection in my direction. There have been times when I had to patiently bear disgrace, persecution, malice, defamation, mockery, privation and ignorance. I write into oblivion in the slow meanderings of my own river of life and I am content. I am blessed. I am at peace. I am well assured of the ultimate end of my personal flowing. If there is no other reason to have joy and gladness it is this: there is a reward in Heaven for me.
Take time and listen to the blessings and reasons for life. I feel the same breeze that Jesus felt on the edge of a mountain. A breeze that cools the brow. Yet, Jesus knew there would be a time when that cool breeze of refreshment would become a storm. A storm filled with revulsion, slander, lies and a cross. But first he had to tell us it is OK. I sit at his feet and listen; it is enough for now. “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.”
Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the light of the world…”
The world that we know is in turmoil. I am in a black room with no window or door. I try to bring figure it out. I have tried philosophy to understand why I am in this room. I have tried psychology to determine my thinking process of living in a dark place. I have tried education to learn enough to know all the characteristics of the blackness. Medicine has no hope to lighten my room it only lengthens my lives in this blackness. Drugs to enlighten our surroundings create shadows, but they do not last. Politics do not seem to help; they have no program of support for the dark. I can depend upon myself with a humanistic outlook and say “to thine oneself be true”, but it is still black. I can feel for the sides of the room and slid down the wall and give up. Agnosticism in a dark room says there is nothing more. A realist would say, “what is, is.” The only answer to the world’s bewilderment of total blackness is Jesus. Any other answer is simply darkness.
Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God”
I can’t let this one slide by. Here is the proof in the pudding, the real test of my faith, the revelation of my belief system. It slaps me in the face: If I have been justified, I will have peace with God. It is a sweet, overpowering, incomprehensible, calming, cleansing breath type of peace. A peace where the struggle is over. It is a peace of experience, peace of knowing that I am in the family of God. The war is over. All the conflict between God and me is ended; I am at peace with him.If you do not have a sense of peace, it is impossible to restore it by working on your feelings or sitting in a dark room, or self-focus. Peace with God is about acceptance of God’s gift. Go over the facts again, remind yourself of what God has declared. When your faith is restored, then you can handle these doubts and fears. Then you can have peace.
Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessedness: a joy filled response to God’s intercession of grace and mercy to the ultimate fate of man. The introduction to a message given on a side hill by a unique and often misunderstood Rabbi, starts with the word Blessed. He goes on in his introduction to give nine characteristics of a believer. The one that keeps hitting me in the face is number seven: blessed are the peacemakers. There are only two types of people; those who see others as different from themselves and those who are peacemakers. Who is a peacemaker? A peacemaker is someone who views all as a fellow traveler.
Who is NOT a peacemaker? It is one who sees our culture only through exclusion. A cultural mindset of division, separation, sides, criticality, and enmity. An anti-peacemaker draws lines between people based on crazy criteria. Those who would divide only see others either as being better and privileged, or less and a victim.
Peacemakers are the ones who live with all humanity in peace. It is a mindset of inclusion and not division. It is harmony because of the similarity and not the disparity. Peacemakers are those who would see the need for all to have peace. Blessed are those who advocate peace for all.
John 14:26-27 “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Praise God! My sins are forgiven. I have declared to be at peace with God. God is at peace with me. Today I will experience the peace that is simply incomprehensible. I trust in a God that loves, cares, draws, forgives, restores, destroys fear, and limits trouble within my heat.
I live with peace within myself, I live in peace with one another, I live at peace with God.
We close August with a sweet peace only God can provide.
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.
Jesus, The Prince of Peace, at the end of his disciplining of his disciples. He knew there were terrible times ahead. He knew that He could not keep them by his protecting, loving, caring, gentile, patient arm. He had to go. And if he had to go, Jesus would impart something to them and to me: Peace.
I am a believer in Jesus. I put my full confidence in a loving God. I am thankful in every circumstance because of a gift presented to me in love. I have an inner calm that dominates my soul. Only a believer will ever experience this inner peace. Despite all the cares, woes, and raging tempests around me, I have peace. No one outside of Christ will ever be able to fathom this peace. To most, it will remain a mystery. They will look and marvel at the peace that passes understanding. I pray that those who don’t have it, will come and partake of it.
Finding Peace August- day 223 of 365 Wednesday, August 11, 2021
Philippians 4:4-7 – Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It was no easy time in Philippi when Paul wrote these words. In hard times it is very difficult to “rejoice”. Even more to “rejoice in the Lord, all the time”, without ceasing, continually, without interruption. It is simply crazy talk. How can I rejoice when the car needs tires, my children are being overwhelmed by their own trials and health situations? When I get close to anyone in any meaningful conversation, I keep feeling their pain, their struggles and, it robs me of my joy. How can I be full of peace and joy in a world that is all about division, and selfishness? Then Paul piles on with “don’t worry about anything.”
Then when life seems so frustrating and less than meaningful, we find the solution: “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” God’s guarding peace is promised to who pray, with thanksgiving, about everything. No matter how bad or troubling is our situation, we are to pray and give thanks about it all. Then we will have peace in our situation. And this peace will transcend our ability to understand it.
John 5:21-23 – For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
Jesus is totally just; there is no injustice in Him at all. I look forward to the time when righteousness and justice will be the order of the day and injustice will be banished forever. My concern is in the delivery system. I often would like to either speed it up or slow it down.
God delivers justice in different ways. There are times of conviction and resulting repentance. Occasionally justice is served through routine personal and peaceful interaction. There are times when confrontation following normal church procedures result in a just solution. And sometimes justice will not be revealed until after our deaths, recognizing that God sees an eternal picture that we cannot comprehend while wrapped up in our temporal, earthly matters. But do know this: God will bring about justice. Maybe it won’t be as dramatic or as timely as our expectation. But in the end, God’s justice will most certainly be done.
John 5:26-30 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
In the world today, I sense a tension between the implementation of Justice as man sees it and justice as demanded by a God. One a man-centered approach and the other a God-centered approach. The vision of the current man-centered justice is one of bringing a utopia through policies. To see government as the savior to all the world. They would legislate morality, through laws and regulations.
The God-centered approach sees Jesus as savior. Jesus bringing heaven to earth when He returns. At His return, Christ will restore all things and execute perfect justice. In the meantime, I will express God’s love and justice by showing kindness and mercy to those who are less fortunate. I will be the hands and feet of Jesus to my little world around me.
Luke 16:10-13 He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous 1awealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
My belief includes a concept of stewardship. I am called do many things in the name of my God. One of them is to give to others. If I have a Christian heart for the unborn, I can support charities that promote the sanctity of life. If I have a Christian heart for the hungry, I can work in a food pantry distributing food. If I encounter someone who is broken down along the road, I can stop and see if I can provide assistance. If I am prompted to mow my neighbor’s lawn because she can’t physically do it, I can pull the lawnmower out. I listen to the voice of God, that little, small voice within me revealing my responsibilities. It is not the responsibility of the local government. It is not justice warriors standing on the steps of the capital holding signs for justice who dictate my love. It is not those people or the sum of all these people that dictate to me what I can do for my neighbor. I do because that is what God expects of me. It is not your picture of justice, or some politician. Lord give me a heart for those you want me to help.