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Posts Tagged ‘peace

[Part 3 of 3]

As we left off last time, I was positing that we could have Jesus’ peace the same way He achieved peace.  The key to achieving it lies in understanding:

The world’s peace is the ‘absence of conflict.’  God’s peace is perspective in the midst of conflict.

The ‘perspective’ I am talking about is the way of realizing and acknowledging that:

  1. God is fully in control,
  2. God is fully able to accomplish everything He wants to accomplish, and
  3. this same sovereign, omnipotent God loves you and has the best ever plan for you!

It is a perspective that flows from truths such as;

  • “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)
  • “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Phil. 1:6)
  • It’s the perspective that you are only here for a little while longer, and then Heaven forever:   “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14b)

[Side Road:  Where do you find the perspective that leads to peace?  i) Studying the Bible, ii) the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you, iii) investing in prayer, and iv) hearing testimonies of those who have gone before you . . . but all that is another blog for another day . . . .]

Get it?  If not, stop here and meditate on this:  God’s peace is perspective in the midst of conflict.  It was never the plan that Jesus would bring worldly peace on this earth with His incarnation.  (“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division . . . .” Luke 12:51)  It was, however, His idea to leave you in the midst of the conflict with “His peace.”   (“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”  John 14:27)

Let me try to illustrate this point this way:  What are you going through today that is robbing you of peace?  (Finances?  Health?  Relationships? Name it to yourself or write it down.)  Now, use your imagination with me a little:  If Jesus walked in and said to you — right this moment, while you are on the computer:  “I know that thing you are going through is tough, but – now don’t tell anyone – I’m coming back in a few hours . . . and that problem will be gone forever.”  Then He continued:  “Can you hang on a couple more hours?”

You’d say:  “Yes, Lord, I can certainly trust you for a couple hours!

Jesus:  “Could you for those two hours have peace, even though your problem was still there?

You:  “Absolutely!  Knowing what I know now, I could have peace because I’d know the problem was only temporary!

Jesus:  “How about a couple days?

You:  “Well, the two hour plan was better, but, sure, two days?  I can do that as long as I know the plan!

Jesus:  “If I told you there were some things I’d like for you to do before you go, things that would really mean a lot to me, could you hold out for longer . . . say a couple of years?

You:  “Um, years?  Wait a minute, sure, I mean, I can probably do that.  Little harder, but yeah, pretty sure.  I’ll get a two year calendar out and mark off the days every evening and as long as I know the exact date then I’ll be able to do it.

Jesus:  “Can you trust Me if I don’t tell you the exact date?

You:  “Um . . . .

Jesus:  “Can you trust Me if I don’t tell you even the approximate date?

Brothers and sisters, that’s where we’re at.  It is the same promise by the same omnimpotent God:  It just doesn’t have a set calendar date for your Blackberry!  If you can just keep this perspective, though, I can assure you that you will have His peace.  Let me leave you with some Scripture and a prayer — and this may be the most important section of this three-part blog:

These are Jesus’ words to his disciples toward the end of His ministry (as found starting in John 14 proceeding through 16, selected verses):

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe  also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.   If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also . . . .  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you . . . .  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.  You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’   Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.   I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here . . . .  These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Let’s pray:

Lord God, You are in control.  You are able to accomplish exactly what you want.  You want the very best for us – Your plans for us are better than our own.  We are only here for a little while, and then we’ll be with You forever.  We know we’ll have tribulation here during our short stay, but we believe You when You say You’re coming back to bring us home, to resolve every conflict, to wipe away every tear, to heal every wound, to meet every need.  Help us to keep this perspective every moment of our lives, that we may know Your joy, that we may know Your Peace, and we pray, as You promised in Phil 4:7, that the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

Shalom aleichem,

— M. Glenn Curran, III, Esquire

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[Part 2 of 3]

When we left off, we were considering how strange it was (to me at least) that our Holy God, while incarnate on the depraved earth, could have ‘peace’ and want us to have that same peace — ‘His peace’ — as well.  I asked you to think about what it was in your own life right now that was keeping you from ‘peace.’  (Remember it?  Good, hold on to it a bit longer.)  As we pick up today, we need to start with the question:  What is ‘peace’?

Peace is a central concept in the Scriptures.  The words translated as ‘peace’ in the Old and New Testaments appear more than 360 times.  I found that I was able to group or categorize most of them as follows.

  • Many were used as greetings or farewells:
    • Peace to you!
    • Peace be with you!
    • Go in Peace!
  • They were used as part of benedictions:
    • The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.  (Num 6:26)
    • Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!  (2 Thess 3:16)
  • Peace was to be sought after:
    • Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)
  • Jesus is specifically identified with peace:
    • For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)
    • There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, (Isa 9:7)
    • [F]or God is not a God of confusion but of peace . . . . (1 Cor 14:33)
  • But peace is very elusive on earth.  The Old Testament in particular makes this clear:
    • They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.  (Jer 6:14)
    • They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.  (Jer 8:11)
    • When anguish comes, they will seek peace, but there will be none.  (Ezek 7:25)
    • It is definitely because they have misled My people by saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace.  (Ezek 13:10)
    • ‘. . . along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace,’ declares the Lord God.  (Ezek 13:16)
    • Too long has my soul had its dwelling With those who hate peace.  I am for peace, but when I speak, They are for war.  (Ps 120:6-7)

So, we know a little better what the Bible says about peace, but the question remains:  How can we have peace when we have conflict?  (. . . when we have unmet needs?  . . . when we don’t know how we’re going to pay the bills?  . . . when we don’t know what to do with what the doctor just told us?  . . . when we have sin in our lives that keeps showing up . . . again?)

How do we have peace like Jesus had peace?  How do we have “His peace”?

Answer: The same way Jesus found His peace.  How is that?  Well, that would be in the third (and final) blog on peace (I promise).

Shalom aleichem,

— M. Glenn Curran, III, Esquire

[Part 1 of 3]

A friend of mine, Robert Barron, recently led an excellent devotional at a Board of Directors meeting for Sheridan House Family Ministries.  One of the points he made struck me anew even as he was making it:  Robert was explaining that Jesus wanted us to have not just joy, but His joy.

His joy?”  I thought.  How could Jesus – the All Holy One, the Sinless Savior – describe His time on the earth – the fallen, groaning, sinful earth – with a word anything like “joy”?  Do we really understand the vast separation between the holiness of Jesus and the depravity of man?  I’ll answer that one for you:  NO.

Being finite, fallen creatures, we are not able to comprehend the extreme holiness of God.  The best we can do (if we close our eyes tightly, cover our ears, and strain our brains) is think of someone who is a whole lot better than ourselves.

If we cannot fully comprehend the holiness of God, can we at least comprehend the depravity of man?  Well, even though we start out closer to the goal, we still cannot really comprehend it to even a reasonable degree.  Remember, except for the sin that is in our own hearts (which we fancy to be not as bad as the sin in others . . .), we typically can only see the effects of sin.  Even then, we can only see a fraction of the effects of sin as we happen to witness them ourselves (or hear about them on the news, etc.).  Jesus, on the other hand, sees not just the all of the effects of sin, but as God He actually knows men’s hearts  — in other words, He sees the sin itself.  What, then, does God know about men’s hearts?  Well, He knows that they are more deceitful than all else and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9) for starters.

So I move the previous question:  How can Jesus, who is more holy than we can comprehend, while living with more sin than we can comprehend, describe anything about His incarnation with the word “joy”?

Suppose you got up from your computer right now and walked outside to the nearest septic tank or sewer and jumped right in.  (Got that visual now?)  Do you understand that that doesn’t even compare to Christ leaving heaven in the incarnation?  Now, while you still have that sewage scene in your mind, picture yourself barely floating, up to your neck in . . . it, and calling your friend on the cell phone saying “Boy, I wish you had ‘my joy’ right now!”

Right after that thought, I began to recall that Jesus not only wanted us to have ‘His joy,’ but also ‘His peace.’  (John 14:27)  Peace?  Seriously?  Here?  Now?

As a Christian litigator and mediator, my thoughts about peace on this planet were more like:

“[They cry out] saying ’Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace!” (Jer. 6:14)

“Too long has my soul had its dwelling with those who hate peace.” (Ps. 120:6)

or

“I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war!” (Ps. 120:7)

So then, whence cometh this Peace of our Lord?  Well, that answer would be in the next two blogs . . . .

In the meantime, think about what is in your life right now that is keeping you from peace.  You’ll need that thought for later.

Until then, Shalom,

— M. Glenn Curran, III, Esquire


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