Blessed are the Peacemakers

September 15, 2015

James 3:17-18
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Blessed are the Peacemakers

Romans 14:7 says, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Peacemakers are a kingdom people who sow after the spirit and not after the flesh. Their intent is to reap a spiritual harvest of righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. There are not a lot of peacemakers out here in the body of Christ. Most of us have our own agendas, our own opinions, doctrines of men and will to see things go our way. Therefore our agenda isn’t peace; it is warfare, perhaps not physically, but often verbally and psychologically. We want to manipulate things our way, because that is the way we think they should be. But when you think one way and I think another and when we both think that we are right, are we going to have peace? No, we are both going to strive to establish our own opinion as right.
A peacemaker works out of the wisdom that comes from above. He or she grasps a concept that life isn’t just about the here and now, but what perpetuates into eternity. Their concept isn’t about their way; it is about God’s way. Strife, envy, division and disunity cannot accomplish the purposes of God. That is why the enemy tries to sow them in our midst. We so often speak, move and find our expression out of the emotions of our flesh rather than out of the peace and spirit of the Lord. We need only to look to the Holy Spirit to see the example of the peacemaker. The Holy Spirit is with us to help us, comfort us, teach us, empower us and guide us into peace and righteousness. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the perfect gentleman. He doesn’t override our will. He doesn’t force us to learn of Him. He won’t force comfort on you if you don’t want it. The Holy Spirit, as awesome and Holy as He is, is not forward in His dealing with us. He will work with us when we are yielded to allow Him to have control, but He doesn’t force His control upon us. Hopefully we are wise enough to realize that we are far better with Him than we are without Him. Yet how many of us keep the Holy Spirit locked in the closet while we continue to do things our way and for our own end? If we are peacemakers we are going to operate like the Holy Spirit. We can’t force peace on those who are bent upon war. Often they must go their own way until they come to the end of themselves, but the mature ones will always be there ready to help, assist, comfort, counsel and move in God on your behalf, but their nature is considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit. They are not judgmental or prejudice in their dealings, but are impartial and sincere. The end and the fruit of what they do is righteousness. They are not in this walk for themselves; they are in it for you and me. If we are one of them, then that is where our heart must be also. One of the definitions of a peacemaker from the Lexicon is this, “of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.” Are we at peace with God and man? Are we at peace with ourselves and with what God has given us? If we are not at peace how can we be a peacemaker? Find your rest in God, the Holy One. When you are at peace with Him and in your relationship with Him, then you are in a position to communicate that peace through your life, words and actions. You will stand in the gap to reconcile men to God and to one another. The body of Christ is in great need of a lot more peacemakers who walk in the Spirit and the love of the Lord. If you want to win your argument and your way by being louder, more aggressive and insistent or through the use of manipulation and subversives, you may win the battle but you will lose the war. In order to get your way you may end up proving yourself to be the enemy of God rather than His friend.
Matthew 5:9 says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” If sonship is what you long for, then learn to be a peacemaker.

Blessings,
#kent

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Strife

November 22, 2013

Strife

1 Corinthians 3:3
for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?

Isn’t it unfortunate that this statement so often defines us as we try to walk and live spiritual lives? Strife comes into to pollute so many of our relationships, both spiritual and natural. Really it is the outward manifestation of an inward condition. James 3: 14 and 16 in the King James version speaks of strife with this: “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth… “For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.“ The Amplified version identifies more of the root causes of this strife, “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” Verses 17-18 of the Amplified version goes on to say, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” We all know what it is like to be around a contentious person that is trying to provoke strife. It is often difficult to ignore and continually walk away from because it is continually antagonizing and provoking you. Strife is described in Galatians 5:20 as an attribute of the flesh, but it is one that has a hard time existing by itself. It needs someone to partner with. It needs an adversary and someone to contend with. It loves company and to get others caught up in the fray.
What are strife’s root causes? James has already identified bitterness, envy, selfishness and self-seeking. Proverbs 15:8 says, “A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife.” Proverbs 16:28 says, “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:14 tells us, “The beginning of trouble is like letting out water. So stop arguing before fighting breaks out.” Have you ever noticed how strife can result in a diarrhea of the mouth? We get started and before we know it, all kinds of putrid things are spewing out, which usually only serves to bring the same vile venom out of the other’s mouth.
We know that the perpetrator of this strife is demonic in nature and spirit, and yet we so easily fall into the snare that serves to only hurt, divide separate us. Disunity and strife strikes at the heart of family, fellowship and community. It has destroyed families, marriages, churches, and nations. It is at the root of our wars. In spite of its immensely destructive power we continually allow ourselves to be manipulated by it. Perhaps it is destroying the relationship you have with the person or persons you started out loving. It can only be stopped as we realize and acknowledge within ourselves the weakness and the flesh that is giving place to this deceptive destroyer. It needs our flesh to feed off of to even exist. The more we can enter into Christ and walk by the Spirit, the less power and influence it can have. It needs our ego, our pride, our selfishness, our jealousy and envy. It needs our anger, meddling, gossiping, and tattling to fan its flames.
Philippians 2:2-4 says this, “2Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. 3Nothing should be done because of pride or thinking about yourself. Think of other people as more important than yourself. 4Do not always be thinking about your own plans only. Be happy to know what other people are doing.” Strife has very little to build on when our motives are based in unselfish love toward one another. If we all have this mind to live for and bless one another, then the flesh has little place because our selfishness and pride aren’t in the way. Love the person that is so intent on striving against you. Return good for evil, compliment for insult and be of a gentle and quiet spirit. It is a spiritual battle waged through human agents. See it for what it is and let the weapons of your warfare not be natural, but mighty through the Spirit to the tearing down of strongholds.
Moses lost his entrance into the promise land because he responded out of the flesh to the strife of the people at the waters of Meribah in the wilderness. Responding to strife in the flesh will always cause us to lose by robbing us of the higher way. Let love rule in your hearts, mercy and peace in your actions and willingness to count others above yourself in your thinking.
“Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).

Blessings,
kent

Unity in Diversity

August 13, 2013

Unity in Diversity

Romans 12:16
[Be] of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Why is it we struggle so much with our human relationships with other people? Wouldn’t it be so much easier if everyone thought just like us, even if they could just see that the way that we think is the best way to do things? Unfortunately and maybe fortunately, we are quite diverse in how we solve our problems and deal with the issues of life. While that is not so much a problem if we are dealing with just us, it becomes quite a challenge when we are in relationships where we need to be in one accord concerning decisions and policies of how things are to be done. We all have different ideas of how something should be. Often it is not a question of one being right and one being wrong, except perhaps in their own eyes, it is more a matter of being in one accord and reaching a common ground where we can share and come into agreement though we differ in opinion and logic. This is the crux of life, whether it is in business and working relationships, marriage, family, the body of Christ, no matter what the relations, it is often a challenge to come into one mind. How do we find unity in the diversity of our personalities and ways of thinking and viewing things? Well, obviously the world has come up with many ways of dealing with these issues, monarchies, dictatorships, socialism, totalitarianism, democracies and even theocracy.
Perhaps you are struggling in a relationship today. We seek to have the mind of Christ in non-Christian relationships and as Romans 12:18 puts it, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” What about our Christian relationships with other Christians, our marriages and our families, these areas that we all struggle with daily? Unfortunately we don’t have a much better record at these relationships than the world does, but we should because we have what they don’t have, Christ. If we have committed ourselves to live our lives under the theocracy of God’s will then what our efforts should be focused on is not what my will or my way is or what yours is, but what is the mind of God concerning our decisions. Do we come to the bargaining table with different agendas and different priorities? How do we arrive at peaceable solutions? First, are all parties willing to lay down their rights and opinions and submit to what God’s will is in a particular area of dissension? Are we willing to approach our differences with respect for one another and our differences of opinion, realizing that we are all made up of strengths and weaknesses? Are we willing to give place to someone else’s gifting or strength in an area? Are we willing to lay these differences at the altar and unselfishly pursue the Lord’s will through praying together and seeking the mind of the Lord? That’s probably not normally our way, but it should be. Are we all honest in our dealings and can we bring our feelings under submission to the Lord? We often want to resolve our differences emotionally which usually only further polarizes us rather than unifying us. Are we willing to come with unselfishness in our hearts and pursue the end that best meets the needs of all concerned? Our God is a God of Peace and He wants us to pursue peaceable means through His love that is within us by being longsuffering, courteous, respectful and giving place to one another.
It comes back to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5).” He became a servant though He was Lord of all and laid down His life for us. We need this mind to be the servant of one another working, living and giving what is best for the benefit of others and not just ourselves. When we get ourselves out of the picture then resolution to our conflicts and differences becomes much easier. Love is about our desire to give and not just to get. The more this love is working in the hearts of all concerned the easier our differences will be resolved and we will find unity in our diversity.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:13-16).”

Blessings,
kent

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