Category Archives: Peace

Be Neighborly

Proverbs 3:29

“Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.”

Neighbors

Some neighbors can be the worst examples of humanity. They know how to push your buttons, make you angry, even make your dog bark. Some neighbors have trees that were intentionally bred to shed their leaves when the wind blows in your direction. They’re evil. They even look at you through their windows.

Then again, there are other neighbors who respect your privacy. They watch your house when you’re gone, bring you breakfast in bed, and loan you tools, never expecting to see them again. They’re great. You envy them.

Unless you are one of the few who still live in the wilderness and and drive five miles to collect your mail, you probably have neighbors. And if your neighbors have been around a few generations, they’re not going anywhere, so why be mean to them?

What goes around…

You have probably heard the saying, “What goes around, comes around.” It’s not karma, or fate; it’s common sense. It is a statement born out of experience. When you treat your neighbor poorly, it will come back and bite you in the cul-de-sac.

That is the wisdom to be found in this verse.

When it is obvious your neighbor is settled and “dwelleth securely,” the best thing to do is make friends, or at least keep from being enemies. Romans 12:18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

You never know.

The neighbor you’re trying to run off today may become your in-laws, tomorrow. Solomon had a lot of experience with in-laws (but that’s another story).

Lord, help me to be mindful of the needs of my neighbors. You have put me here next to these people for a reason. May I be a witness and a shining example of what it means to be a neighbor. After all, it was You who said “love your neighbor as yourself.” 

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Sweet Sleep

Proverbs 3:24

“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”

Expensive Sleep

Have you priced new mattresses lately? Good grief! For what one costs you could feed an entire village in South America for a month!

Companies offer mattresses made with foam that cools, numbers that adjust, and frames that fold you into a sandwich. You can choose from pillow top, memory foam, no-flip, innerspring, or latex. You can even return them if you don’t experience “the best sleep you’ve ever had.”

Lack of Sleep

Yet, with all the money being spent on fancy mattresses, Americans (and I can only assume others) are sleeping less. As a matter of fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) published an article on their website claiming “Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic.”

Citing a study by the National Department of Transportation, the CDC said “drowsy driving [is] responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually.” If you consider chronic disease, the numbers are far worse.

Sweet Sleep

Looking back at 3:21, nowhere does it say that a $2000 mattress is the key to peaceful, sweet sleep. No, all Solomon suggests is “sound wisdom and discretion.”

When you have done all things wisely, with discretion, and for the glory of the Lord (Colossians 3:23), you should be able to lay your head down without fear, without regret, and sleep like a baby.

“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Faith Mattress

Now, I would be leaving out something very important if I didn’t add one thing. Those who put their faith in Jesus can sleep peacefully, no matter the storm (Luke 8:25). The peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) can make the roughest straw or the hardest concrete feel like bed in a Ritz-Carlton.

Dear Jesus, I am tired, I am week, I am worn. Much of it is because I try to do too much, when wisdom and discretion would say, “Be still.” My rest, when it does come, is not always peaceful, for I worry and fret over the waves crashing against the hull. Savior, speak peace. Help me to rest in the knowledge that you are in the boat.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 3rd Week of Advent – Day 5

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. – John 19:25, KJV

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What was the whole reason Jesus made His first coming to the Earth?

To die as a propitiation for our sins on the cross.

And of all of the thousands who followed Him during His ministry, the 120 disciples who remained the most faithful, the remaining 11 Apostles, and His family, who remained nearby at His death?

The Apostle John and a few women, including His mother, Mary. She may not have understood everything Jesus did or taught, but she stayed near Him even at His supposed end.

And there is our example: like Jesus’ mother, we do not always understand how God is moving, how what is happening can work out for good, or how His Kingdom will come to full fruition; but we do know He has promised to return to fully redeem us and banish all evil pain and suffering, though we may not understand the whole plan.

And we, too, shall remain faithful until the end, by the power of blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

Our great God, strengthen our faith, because You are faithful, and grant us peace, patience, and wisdom as we wait for Your return.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 6

Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.
For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. -Zechariah 3:8-10

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The great news of Zechariah is that the Branch of Jesse, the descendant of David, the Servant King of Israel, would be coming to His people, and in a single day He would manage to remove all the sins of His people.

Through this Branch, all people will be able to come together in peace and love, living by the fruit of the Spirit in all facets of life and relationships.

This is not simply some feel-good story, but the source of the peace we celebrate at this time of year.

It is also the hope that we will one day see this fulfilled completely. It will be fully realized when our Lord returns to reign on Earth for eternity.

Lord of hosts and Righteous Redeemer, thank You for taking our sin upon Yourself and reuniting humanity with You. Guide us in bringing Your Kingdom to this world.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent

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Welcome to the first week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the first week of Advent reminds us of the importance of prophecy and that we are desperately in need of a Savior. The Hebrew Bible – the Old Testament – reveals much through the Prophets and Wisdom literature and poetry.

If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;
If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.
For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:
Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.
And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
Job 11:13-18

We first need to see our need for cleansing from sin. Then we need to remember that, through Christ, we have already been cleansed of our sin.

This knowledge gives us hope.

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

Therefore, we no longer wait, as Israel did, for an unknown Savior. Rather, we wait for the return of our Lord, when all misery, pain, and tears will cease. He shall reign as God and Lord over a remade and perfect Creation.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Heavenly Father, we have sinned against you, but You sent Your Son to save us from our sin. Thank You for revealing Jesus’ first coming through Your Prophets of old and His immanent return through the Apostles. Give us a grateful heart and a sense of urgency to spread this Good News with the world with humility and grace.


Am I disabled by the fear of what you think of me?

Image result for fear disables

There is a fear that paralyzes me. It is the concern about what you think of me. It can be very disabling.

Will I post this on Facebook and Twitter?

Will I speak out at work?

Why am I afraid?

The answer is staggering. I don’t trust God is why. If I did trust God, I wouldn’t care what others thought of me. The only opinion that would matter would be God’s.

God has promised to be with me. If God is with me, who can be against me?

The fear of human opinion disables;
    trusting in God protects you from that.

Source: Proverbs 29:25 MSG – The fear of human opinion disables; – Bible Gateway

Jesus the Messiah, by his atoning death, resurrection, and heavenly intercession for believers, is the unique liberator from fear. The apostle Paul encouraged the Romans by informing them that in their conversion to the Messiah, they received the Holy Spirit, not as a spirit of fear and bondage, but as the spirit of adoption, whereby they could address God as “Abba”.

This is the word by which our Master Jesus addressed his heavenly Father and which Christians, by virtue of their adoption into the family of God, may also use in speaking to God. Recipients of God’s love have received a dynamic force for casting out their anxieties. A sense of God’s intimate love inspired Paul to say, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom 8:31).

Unwarranted fear may harm the efforts of the people of God. Jeremiah was warned by God not to fear the faces of his opponents lest God allow calamity to befall him. Similar calls to courage were given to Jeremiah’s contemporary, Ezekiel, and to a great many others. We realize that even godly people are tempted to fear and may be temporarily overwhelmed.

So, God repeatedly counsels his people not to succumb to that temptation. He tells them to heap their anxieties upon the God of their redemption, whose care for his sheep is infinitely great. Faith, then, is the indispensable antecedent of fearlessness as seen in the words of Isaiah: “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Is 26:3). The psalmist repeatedly stresses the role of faith in conquering fear (37:1; 46:2; 112:7).


Trust THE King

The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass. -Proverbs 19:12, KJV

Let’s keep this short and … sweet … today.

No one likes to make the leader of a nation upset, because it could be really bad for your freedom and/or health.

But we must also remember that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, is the King of Heaven.

If you fail to believe in His lordship and sovereignty, that He is the Son of the Living God who sacrificed Himself for our sin, then you are under His wrath and should fear His mighty roar.

However, if you have faith in Christ, you can know true peace and find yourself refreshed each moment in His grace.

Trust the King. His love, mercy, and grace are everlasting and oh so sweet to the soul.