Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Way of Peace.

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Lately I've been begging and pleading with God for peace. Maybe you can relate. Whether it's busy-ness, every day stress, additional stress, worry and anxiety, agitation, angst, anger, discouragement or depression, many of us would just like some peace of mind. Or maybe a mere five minutes of peace and quiet. 

When I get stressed out, I return to Paul's letter to the Philippians. Lately I've been begging & pleading with God to grant me peace. I ask Him for it as one of the fruit of His Spirit; "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness & self-control." (Galatians 5:22-26). I've even asked Him to guard my heart and mind with His "peace which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

But today, as often happens, God helped me see that I've been getting things wrong. 

I've been making the mistake of thinking I have to be ready for God. Thinking that I have to be good enough for Him. Imagining that there's something I have to do different. As if there's anything I could do to become good enough for Him.

Leave it to a crusty old Lutheran preacher to help me recognize that it's not about me, it's always about God.

See, the peace Paul's talking about in his epistle to the Philippians isn't the calm or lack of stress that so many of we Westerners think that life is all about. It's a cessation of hostilities in our war with God.

"For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" Romans 5:10

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior." Colossians 1:21

I can be at peace with God, instead of waging war with Him, because of what His Son Jesus did for me on the cross. Like Doctor King's quote at the top of this post, peace is not an ends to be attained or acquired by us and for us. How shallow and selfish would that be? 

Peace is a means by which we reach other ends. Peace is not a destination, it is the starting point. Maybe that's why when he's describing the armor of God in Ephesians 6, Paul talks about  having our "feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (v.15)."

Because Jesus already won the peace, we can approach God's throne with boldness (Hebrews 4:16 & Ephesians 3:12). We can have a confidence which only comes from Him. 

With that in mind, we should want to PRACTICE peace.  As Paul directs in Philippians 4:5, "Let your gentleness (peace) be evident to all." 

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

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone...." Hebrews 12:14a

It may sound more Buddhist than Christian to talk about how we should "practice peace" and to live from a place of peace. Our more temporal, materialistic, Western worldview still thinks that peace is something we want for us, not somewhere we operate from when interacting with others.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13

If you'd like to explore Philippians more, visit my old blog:

Lutheran Surrealism

Lutheran Surrealism

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What's Happening on my NEW Blog

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Admiral Establishing New Central Command Location

I'm not abandoning ship, but I've been wanting to streamline &/or consolidate all of my fleet of blogs for a while now, so I've started something new:

Please follow the link and take a look. I'm hoping to revitalize my blogging by making doing it more consistently and having each post be more brief and focused. I hope you'll like it and follow me at the new single blog site. Thanks. See you there.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reflections and Thoughts: Worshipping a Differently-Abled Christ

Reflections and Thoughts: Worshipping a Differently-Abled Christ: Each Masters Senior at Princeton Theological Seminary is eligible to give the message during the weekday service. I gave my message on April...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

What do you have to do to please God?

Believe (see John 6:29)

God is so demanding! (Note sarcasm).

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Faith of a Criminal

I was reading the story of the crucifixion and noticed something I never have before. The thief on the cross beside Jesus in Luke 23:42 had more faith than Jesus own disciples.

Think about it. Peter, John, & Mary who came to the empty tomb all thought His body had been stolen until angels or Christ Himself tell them otherwise. 

But the thief expects Jesus victory over death. While they're both hanging there dying, he asks Jesus to "remember me when You enter into Your kingdom." That request presupposes that there's a kingdom, that Jesus is the king, and that in spite of the fact that He's in the process of being executed, He will STILL triumphantly enter said kingdom.

That, my friends is faith.

I for one am far more likely to deny Him three times like Peter. How about you?

Lord, grant us faith like a thief- that even as we suffer, we still trust that Yours is the victory. That even though we know we deserve death, we can be bold enough to ask You to remember us. Amen.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Your Checkered Past

If you're trying to find things to be thankful for during Lent, here's an idea: your personal history.

What you've gone through has made you who you are and brought you to where you are.

Even if it was painful, even if it included some ugly choices or mistakes that you wish you could change & need forgiveness for, you can still thank God for it because He's used it all to shape who He needs you to be.

Above all, thank Him for being with you through it all and for bringing you through it all.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Give Thanks for People

So for Lent, you're trying to develop your attitude of gratitude? Great. Giving thanks not only gives God His due credit, it helps give us perspective. Make it a point to give thanks daily and experts say you will become more positive. 

May I suggest keeping a gratitude diary? Force yourself to write down things you're grateful for. One benefit of a keeping a journal will be when you're down, reviewing it may help lift you back up by reminding you how much God's blest you.

But don't just thank God for things. Thank him for people. Thank God for people He's put in your life; who have been a blessing to you somehow, have taught you things or have meant something to you.

Mentors, examples, inspirations, helpers, just good company. Friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors, whomever.

Oh, and here's an idea- if you're grateful for them, why not take a minute to pray for them? At least ask God to bless the and their families, even if you have no idea what any of their specific needs are for intercession. Just blessings.

Those blessings will multiply and you'll have even more to be thankful for!