Shalom to all who enter.

Tag Archives: peace

Peace be unto you!

Peace be unto you!

Behind locked doors

Fears shake and rattle hearts.

What does the future hold

Persecution? Death? Trials?

Peace be unto you!

I, the Lord

Who holds the keys

Of death and hell,

Stand among you and say –

Peace be unto you!

Within locked hearts

Questions seethe and rage

Who am I? Where do I fit in?

What is my calling now?

Peace be unto you!

I called you by name

Before the world was made

To be my witness faithful and true;

As my Father sent me

So send I you.

Within locked minds

The pendulum swings

To trust or not to trust

Where can my mind find rest?

Peace be unto you!

Touch My wounded side and hands

Be at rest in the Truth

Abide in My love

Come alive in My Spirit

Peace be unto you!

Our God is merciful and tender.

He will cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us

to shine from heaven on all those who live in the dark shadow of death,

to guide our steps into the path of peace.

Luke 1:78-79

I give you peace,

the kind of peace that only I can give.

It isn’t like the peace that this world can give.

So don’t be worried or afraid.

John 14:27

May the Lord himself,

who is our source of peace,

give you peace at all times and in every way.

The Lord be with you all.

2 Thess 3:16


Last week was a very eventful week. My daughter turned 21, and she graduated.

21 precious years of hugs, shared secrets, sticky hands, tickles and laughter…

21 glorious years of seeing God’s faithfulness and His mercies unfold day by day.

When my daughter was born, something went dreadfully wrong at the moment of her birth. The doctors could not find her heartbeat or detect movement for over twenty minutes. They told me they would do all that they could to save the child, but they wanted me to be prepared for a still-birth.

‘Still-birth? That couldn’t be? It couldn’t be happening to me… could it?’

Where does one go when all the help at hand expresses helplessness?

God. But why should God hear my cry? I had forgotten Him for years without number, wondered if He even existed.. My lifestyle certainly was way out of sync with what He would want for me.

Yet, didn’t He run to welcome the prodigal son? Didn’t He forgive David after he’d murdered Uriah and slept with Bathsheba? Didn’t David say that he’d rather trust himself to the hands of God than to the hands of man? What about the thief who hung on the cross, all he did was turn to Jesus and say ‘Lord, remember me…’?

I dragged my thoughts together to pray:

‘Lord, there is no reason at all why You should listen to me. I have lived a sinful life. There is nothing that I can bring You as an offering. All I can think of at this moment is that I’ve heard You are a compassionate God and that You are merciful. I know that as God You are the One who has the power to give life to my child. I’m asking You not to hold my sins against me, I am asking You to have mercy on this child that is to come into the world. Give this child life. Let this child be normal in every way. Lord, if You have heard and answered my prayer, would you give me a sign? Let the baby cry the moment it’s born ’

As I prayed I felt a deep peace enfold me, and this strong conviction took hold of me, that all was well, that my child would live.

Not long afterwards, my child was born. A girl. I could see her as the doctor held her up. Ashen and still.

‘Please God,’ my heart breathed, and even as my words were forming, she cried.

The neo-natal surgeon cried out, ‘Praise God!!! She lives!!!’

I held the precious bundle for a few seconds, before they rushed her off to the incubator.

Grace. I learnt about God’s grace that day. I deserved NOTHING, and yet, God chose to hear my prayer and He answered me so marvellously.

A month later I met the neo-natal surgeon who had attended my daughter at her birth. He was thrilled with her progress, but he cautioned me, ‘You are not out of the woods. Your daughter did not receive oxygen for 20mins when her heart was not beating. That is a long time. There will be an inevitable impact. Her physical reflexes seem to be ok. She most probably will be a slow learner and she will definitely be stunted in height.’

Again I felt that amazing deep peace and conviction flood my heart that all was well, and I replied, ‘My God does not do things in half measures. I believe that she is completely well, and she will be tall.’

The surgeon looked pityingly at me, but he let it go.

I wish I could meet him now.

My daughter graduated with a double major in psychology and anthropology, and she’s taller than me, and is taller than most of her friends.

Grace. Amazing grace that does not do anything in half measures. Amazing grace that responds to the broken, helpless cry of a sinner. Amazing grace that is willing to forgive my doubts, backsliding and neglect.

Grace. I’ve been reading through Jeremiah, and beneath the prophecies and indictments, one can hear very clearly our loving Father God’s heart – His longing to pour out grace and healing the moment His people turn back to Him.

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus,
Praise His Name!

Lyrics: Haldor Lillenas

But God,

being rich in mercy,

because of the great love with which he loved us,

even when we were dead in our trespasses,

made us alive together with Christ…

so that in the coming ages

he might show

the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us

in Christ Jesus.

Eph 2:4-7 ESV


It seems that we are living in a season of rebellions, revolutions, resistances and uprisings. Why?

There is a profound discontent all over the world with the governments, their policies and their impact on the common people.

In every case right through history, where there has been a rebellion/revolution, it has been against a government that has proved itself to be:

  • Uncaring of the needs of the people
  • Greedy, seeking only personal gain
  • Lawless – applying laws for self-benefit, subverting laws to maintain power, while the members of the govt. themselves refuse to submit to the law.
  • Oppressive and exploitative

So the people rise up, because they hope to establish a government which will be the opposite of the one they have been enslaved by. They hope that the new government will be:

  • Caring of the needs of the people
  • Seek the prosperity and growth of the people
  • Just/lawful – where the law is applied justly, tempered with mercy; where the govt. itself subjects itself to its own laws.
  • Engages in dialogue with the people so that systems can be continuously bettered

Why? Why would you want such a government?

When a government cares for its people and is just and free, a climate is created where people can enjoy peaceable lives, trade prospers, the standard of living improves. In this world there is already so much pain and suffering – either through sickness or relationships. People long for peace on at least some front, so that there is a sense of stability and security.

When I read through the prophets, especially Isaiah, I see a picture unfolding of a government, a world system that we are all longing for.

A world in which there is no war,

Where everyone can carry out their trade peacefully,

Where all our labours bear good fruit,

Where we have the time to enjoy the fruit of our labours,

Where there is no more sickness or death,

Where there is no more pain of broken promises,

Where love has made all things complete and perfect,

Where the lion can lie down with the lamb,

Where none will make us afraid.

Utopia.

It is interesting that every author who has tried to create an utopia, finds that it ultimately turns into a dystopia, because of one incorrigible factor – human nature. At some point or the other, covetousness – the desire to be the one in power, calling the shots, enjoying privileges –kicks in, and then the inner corruption of man is revealed.

Who can forget William Golding’s book ‘The Lord Of The Flies’? I think it has to be the most spine-chilling book I have ever read. A group of boys stranded on an island try to work out a system so that each one is fed, protected and taken care of. What happens is that in time, privilege systems evolve, a tyrant emerges and lynch mobs develop. (I won’t say more, because if you haven’t read the book, I think you should get hold of it and read it.)

The sad thing today, is that people desire the original vision and plan of God for life on earth. But we reject His government. We have seen the outline of His blue-print and we are trying to take it and build it our way. It’s not going to happen. We only have the outline. He has the true, complete blue-print.

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is within us. Meaning – each of us has the capacity within us to decide which government to choose – the government of satan or the government of God.

We have read this a thousand times at Christmas –

…  A son will be given to us.

The government will rest on his shoulders. …

His government and peace will have unlimited growth. …

He will uphold it with justice and righteousness now and forever. …’

Isa 9:6-7

What if we really accepted the kingdom of God, took Him at His word and we asked Him to govern our thoughts, emotions and will?

Human nature is the greatest stumbling block to utopia – the kingdom of peace and righteousness. Jesus deals with that Himself by dwelling in us and setting to work from within to bring about a government that is just, fair, honest, upright, kind and complete. There is no place for our human nature if Jesus dwells within us.

Day by day Jesus sets about dismantling the ruinous impact of the corrupt decrees that ruled us, guided our thoughts and initiated our behaviour. We experience greater circles of peace within us. We experience greater circles of peace around us, as our responses to situations and people are now being formed by thoughts which are governed by a throne of True Wisdom and Righteousness.

Jesus said that one does not get a light and hide it under a bushel. We have taken it to mean that we should go out and talk a lot about Him.

But I think what Jesus meant was that if you receive a truth, you cannot tuck it away, hoarding it away as a miser hoards pennies. A truth is given to light your path. To become light for others. That can happen only if we allow that truth to shape our thoughts and govern our behaviour. The change in us will bring a ripple effect in the communities where we are. Jesus said that men would look at our actions and glorify God, not that men would listen to what we have to say and glorify God.

If each of us who professes the name of Christ, actually submitted to His Kingship, listened to His voice and submitted to it, the spread and sway of satan’s kingdom would diminish. We would see the kingdom of peace and righteousness (that all the world wants but is rebelling against) being established.

We spend a lot of time whining and protesting against unfair world systems. But nothing is going to change unless we Christians, ourselves begin to truly submit to the kingship of Jesus.

Would people be so anti-Christian if our walk matched our talk? If they actually saw kindness and grace, truth and integrity in the ordinary Christians they encounter daily, and not just in a lonely Mother Teresa?

One day, God is going to require it of us Christians. He is going to ask us – ‘I gave you My Son. Cleared all your debts. Gave you a new life, all that was needed for life and godliness through My Holy Spirit. Taught you every truth that you needed to know, why then did you continue in rebellion to me? Why did you not trust me? Why did you continue to rule your life in co-operation with satan? Why did you cause my Name to be profaned among the nations? Why did you take My Name in vain, if you did not intend to honour me by obeying me?’

We need to stop and think deeply. What would we answer?

 

 

Related Post:
http://lifegivingwater.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/the-public-servant/


Repentance. Rebellion. These two words have been buzzing around in my head the last few days.

I’ve typed paragraph after paragraph only to hit the ‘delete’ button once I was done.

Then I realised that what I wanted to say was this:

Repentance is our rebellion against the false king (satan, self, flesh, sin… whatever you may want to call it).

It is that moment when we decide that we will no longer obey the dictates of a corrupt throne that only brings misery by its decrees.

It is that moment when we look at the cross and realise that the marionette strings are broken and we are no longer helpless slaves/puppets helplessly jerked about according to the whims and fancies of our former slave masters.

It is that moment when we stop eating the food that is being fed to the swine and remember that there is a banqueting table in our Father’s house.

It is that moment when we decide to step through the torn veil, the broken body of Jesus and enter into the loving embrace of our Father in heaven.

It is not about beating our breasts, tearing our clothes and crying ‘Woe is me!’ It is about receiving the grace that is being given freely to us by the Father through the shed blood of Jesus.

It is about recognising that the True King is Jesus, and that His throne, His kingdom is of righteousness, joy and peace, that His decrees always bring shalom – peace, wholeness, a sense of well-being.

It is about realising that to be yoked to Jesus, to be under His command is a place of peace and rest for the soul.

His decrees only lead one in the paths of righteousness which lead to peace and life.

His commandments can be trusted, because He instructs us out of love, out of a desire to see us walk in freedom, no longer under the yoke.

There is a little phrase that God is very fond of. You find the Old Testament peppered with it, generally in the context of God promising to rebuild Israel if they return to Him after their apostasy. It is that little phrase –  ‘and none will make them afraid.’

That is the heart of God. To see you walk tall. To walk free. To enjoy life to its fullest. Not to indulge in fleshly pleasures that promise much, but only leave dust and ashes behind. But to savour each moment, to truly enjoy each person one encounters, to experience life. Not afraid of men, seeking always to win their approval, but set free to be exactly who you were meant to be.

Satan deceives us into thinking that we will enjoy life to the fullest, and be the freest if we do what pleases us, and do things ‘My Way’. But as the Indians say – that is ‘maya’ – an illusion. Satan hates us. He doesn’t want anything good for us. His greatest desire is to use us and then slowly crush and destroy us.

GOD is the One who loves us. He desires GOOD for us. He is the One who actually wants us to have life in its fullest. He is the One who breaks the chains, draws us out of the pit, gives us a home we can go to. He stands with us in our War of Independence.

Some weeks ago I had re-blogged Bruce Buchannan’s post – When we get our friends and enemies confused. We tend to do that a lot. We get our friends and enemies confused. God is the One who is on your side. He is your friend, not enemy. He is not the party-pooper you think He is. Right now, He is preparing the greatest party ever known – the Wedding Feast of His Son.

Rebel, by all means. But rebel against the government that must be brought down – the one of darkness, deceit, sickness, death – the kingdom of satan.

Merriam Webster says “Rebellion is an open, armed usually unsuccessful defiance of or resistance to an established government”

But if a rebellion is successful, it is then called a War of Independence.

So let’s put on the armour of God, and rise up in a War of Independence from the tyranny of satan, self, the flesh. Jesus is right with you. The power of His life, His inextinguishable life, He gives to you. And that power de-thrones the most persistent Master Puppeteer. What hideous irony that satan convinces us that God is the Master Puppeteer, while all along satan is the one pulling strings enjoying the sense of power that brings him.

Repentance does not end with rebelling against the unrighteous kingdom.

Repentance is completed when we submit to God, accept His rulership, willingly obey His commandments knowing that they come from a heart of love, which truly desires our freedom and wholeness.

When Jesus said, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand’ He was saying:

Rise up, throw of the chains that are holding you down from being the person you were created to be. Why are you seeking the living among the dead? Why are you labouring for things that cannot satisfy? Things that are temporary and only leave you feeling deflated, used, discarded, worthless?

Receive instead the Love that will complete you, satisfy you. The Love that treasures you. The Love that can be trusted to lead you safely home. The Love that will cause you to blossom and fulfil every potential that is hidden in you. A Love that never fades, and will last into eternity and beyond. Don’t listen to the sower of weeds. Listen instead to the Voice of One who loves you.

… because of the blood of my covenant with you,

I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.

Return to your stronghold,

O prisoners of hope; …

Zec 9:11-12 ESV

So then,

submit yourselves to God.

Resist the Devil,

and he will run away from you.

Jas 4:7 GNB

Related Post: http://letmarinateonehour.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/lingering-sin/
http://jonlilley.com/2013/04/04/gifts-and-trophies/
http://murmursofmyheart.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/surrender/


Watchmen waiting for the morning

Lift up your voice in praise

The Sun of Righteousness has dawned

The stone’s been rolled away.

Watchmen call out in joy:

“Our God reigns! Our God reigns!”

Sin’s curse is broken, the Law fulfilled,

The stone’s been rolled away.

Watchmen declare the new world order

Life triumphant, death defeated

Sun of Righteousness, God’s revealed Glory floods the earth

The stone’s been rolled away.

Watchmen proclaim on mountain tops

“The war is over! Peace with God declared! Free pardon given to all!

New names, new clothes, new parentage,

The stone’s been rolled away.

Come one! Come all!

Drink of the Fount that ne’er runs dry

The Living Bread of heaven’s been broken,

Come eat, be satisfied!

Rise up out of corrupt flesh and death

Rise into the heart of Christ

Live in love’s unending morning

The stone’s been rolled away.

But God,

being rich in mercy,

because of the great love with which he loved us,

even when we were dead in our trespasses,

made us alive together with Christ

–by grace you have been saved–

and raised us up with him

and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

so that

in the coming ages

he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace

in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:4-7 ESV


Coals flowering red

pip dawn’s yet sleeping light

nets breaking with fish at a stranger’s command

pungent smoke

barbecued fish

broken bread

hungry men being fed by the Risen Lord.

Love gave Him eyes to see

their empty boats

heavy discouraged hearts

tired, weary bodies.

Love which knelt to wash their feet

now prepared a meal for them.

Love saw a need and reached out to fill it.

Pungent smoke

eyes meeting

memories stir of broken promises.

Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?

Do you get what I am saying?

Simon, can you hear, really hear what I am saying?

I am not testing your love, do you get it that I love you? I trust you? Put your failures behind you.

Love me, love what I love: My lambikin and sheep.

If you love me, you will see with My eyes: their brokenness, their hunger, their pain

And your heart will melt with compassion

I know you love me Peter.

Are you willing to be bread that is broken in My hands?

Do you remember that moment when the multitudes were in the desert, hungry for food, yet driven by a deeper hunger for the Living Bread?

Do you remember how my heart was moved with compassion because they were like sheep without a shepherd? –

Sheep – Not knowing which road to take for green pastures, vulnerable to the preying wolves, wounded with no one to tend their wounds…

Mute, helpless, tossed in stormy seas, caught willy-nilly in the dragnet of schemes of men, helpless to resist the chain-tug of the evil slave master of sin…

Simon. Do you hear me? Do you really hear me? Does your heart leap in response? Do you rise to action?

Do you see my people? Really see them? Do you see how satan holds them captive to do his will, pulling them in like fish caught in a net?

I am placing in your hands the keys of the kingdom. I am calling you to go out in My name to be fishers of men.

Go, go in My Name to draw them out of the nets and the snares, the pits and the holes. Go to tell them of peace between God and man. Go, tell them that the price of their sins has been paid.

Sin has paid its wages of death, and I received it on their behalf, now I give to them freely the gift of eternal life. The veil is torn, the net is broken and the captives are free.

Love them as I love you.

See their need. Are you willing to lay down your life, step off the throne, give up your rights that they might find life?

Are you overcome by the knowledge of your weakness and your lack of love? Don’t despair. As you are I love you.

It shall be required of you according to what you have, not what you don’t have.

Remember I have promised you the Comforter and Teacher, He will supply your needs, and fill your areas of lack.

Remember you are my lambikin, tender, beloved of me. Now go with that heart to feed My lambikin, My sheep.

(This is an imagined monologue that I have put together from John 21: 1-17, Mark 6:34-44, Hab 1:13-15, 2 Tim 2:26, John 14-17 and many more verses…)

 

The Sovereign LORD has filled me with His Spirit.

He has chosen me and sent me

To bring good news to the poor,

To heal the broken-hearted,

To announce release to captives

And freedom to those in prison.

He has sent me to proclaim

That the time has come

When the LORD will save His people …

He has sent me to comfort all who mourn,

To give to those who mourn in Zion

Joy and gladness instead of grief,

A song of praise instead of sorrow.

They will be like trees

That the LORD Himself has planted.

They will all do what is right,

And God will be praised for what He has done.

Isa 61:1-3 GNB


Watchman, what of the night?

The cock’s crowed thrice heralding the dawn.

Light may begin to streak across the sky

But deep and dark is the night that has filled my heart.

“Lord, I’m able and willing to die with You,

Though all forsake You, I will be with You,

You can count on me.”

All my boasting has been vain and empty.

I could have fought and died at Gethsemane,

But here… mocked, stripped, flogged?

There is nothing heroic or glorious about that.

No, I don’t know Him.

I am seeing Him for the first time.

I thought I knew You, Jesus, Son of God,

All I can say now is that Your ways are not as my ways

Nor are Your thoughts as my thoughts.

I stand at the edge of the dark empty abyss of my heart and search:

Where is love? I thought I’d show Him

There is no greater love than mine,

I am His friend, and I’ll lay my life on the line.

Oh that the earth would open and swallow me.

Where can I run from You, Father in Heaven,

Even in the deepest depths of hell and despair

Your right hand holds me and sustains me.

Who can I run to but You, Lord,

For You have the words of eternal life.

The cock crowed piercing the fog of fears, reminding me of my vows.

You lifted Your head and looked at me.

Every word of denial, You’d heard.

But Your eyes, my Lord, did not accuse me.

They offered me strength and hope.

Your eyes reminded me that You’d prayed

That my faith would not fail

And that I’d come forth as wheat separated from the chaff.

I weep, for now I know, that there is no love greater than Yours.

Yes, the dark night of despair is within me,

But the spreading light of dawning grace

Is showing me that I am a prodigal who has a home.

The cock has crowed and heralded a new day.

I never knew it, but I was one of those who sat in great darkness.

A great light has shined in my heart –

Lo, the Sun of Righteousness rises within me,

The dark kingdom of enthroned self and sin

Retreats in the light of Your glory,

And I find there’s a welcome into the kingdom of heaven

And comfort, grace and strength to make a fresh start.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:

though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow …

Isa 1:18 ESV

Peter’s three years with Jesus had not been in vain. He had ears to listen, and he listened. At the Last Supper that Jesus and His disciples had shared, Peter had taken hold of the words Jesus had spoken, If you have seen me, you have seen the Father… What I say isn’t said on my own. The Father who lives in me does these things.” John 14:9-10

Every parable that Jesus had told His disciples revealed the Father’s heart of grace. Every healing He performed revealed the Father’s heart to make whole and restore. Every person he blessed and sent on their way with the words, “Your sins are forgiven you, go and sin no more,” revealed the Father’s tender heart of mercy.

Peter’s name was originally Simon. A name which means, ‘He has heard’, and comes from the root word ‘shama’ which means ‘to hear, listen to, obey’. Simon Bar-Jonah had spent three years hearing, treasuring and submitting to the Word of God. Now he stood and acted upon the Word that was planted in his heart. God could be trusted. God would welcome him. God desired for him to come home. God was waiting for him, seeking for him.

Jesus had told the parable of the wise and foolish man. The foolish man thought everything was okay with him merely because he’d heard the word of God. The wise man however submitted to the word of God, acted upon it, obeyed it. The result was that when the storms came, the foundations held, and the house stayed standing.

There was a mighty storm which engulfed Simon the hearer and doer and he emerged from that storm as Peter, the one whose foundations stood firm upon the Rock.

Maybe today there is a storm in your life, caused by your own actions/words, and you don’t see how God can forgive you. Child of God, nothing can separate you from His love. To know His heart, look at the cross, look at Jesus. In Him you see the glory, the heart of God revealed. Jesus has prayed for you as he has prayed for Peter and me, that our faith should not fail.

Don’t let satan feed you with lies about God. In Jesus you see the Truth about God revealed. Let faith arise in your heart, and move you to the arms of God. It is only in the dark night of brokenness, bankruptcy and the sense of utter failure that the kingdom of God, heaven, light can dawn.

But for you who fear My name,

the Sun of Righteousness shall rise

with healing in its wings.

You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

Mal 4:2 ESV



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