Monthly Archives: August 2012

The pursuit of peace

In our workplace, we are trained on the ethics (politically correctness) for peaceable work conditions. Schools expel students for fighting, and parents oftentimes will do almost anything to “keep the peace” at home.

We search for peace in Yoga classes, in art forms or in counseling sessions.

Our leaders convene to talk about peace, make laws to “keep” the peace and compromise our safety in the name of peace.

But, despite all of this effort – voluntary or not — people are more angry, impatient and violent than ever before.

I won’t deny that peace is very important, but perhaps we are looking for peace in the wrong place.

In the New Testament alone, this phrase: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, is repeated word for word in Romans 5:1, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 6:23, and 1 Thessalonians 1:1 and probably in many other verses throughout the rest of the bible.

In fact, if you run a search at www.biblegateway.com for peace, it pulls up 420 references for “peace” in the bible.

I could be wrong, but it seems like God IS trying to tell us something. He gives peace. Genuine, everlasting peace.

If each individual pursues peace through faith in God and His son, Jesus Christ, what affect would that have in our workplace, schools, home life, and even in our local, national and international politics?

You might not think that this would have much of an affect on a large scale, but think about what happens at work when you fly off the handle, or what happens at home when your child(ren) jump on your very last nerve?

I’d bet your whole department or office, and definitely your whole house walked on eggshells around you the rest of the day.

We do have more of a ripple effect in life than we think no matter what we’re doing, so I challenge my friends and family to pursue the kind of peace that comes from pursuing God.

Don’t worry. I’m doing it right beside you.

Praying today that we do it with complete abandon.
Beth

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The hunger

I can remember when the first food commercial ads came out that said we could “Have it your way” (1974) and tennis shoe ads that told us to “Just do it” (1982).

I can also remember thinking how great those slogans were because they affirmed and promoted self-fulfillment and self-confidence and that perfectly fit with my teenage and young adult mindset because afterall, I was the most important person in MY life. But I hate to admit, I’ve felt this way much of my adult life.

I won’t go so far to say that the commercials are to blame for the totally self-involved and immature-thinking society that we’ve become, but our culture has fed us a steady diet of commercialism that feeds our needs, wants and desires but it always makes us “hungry” for more and the more. And the more we indulge our desires, the emptier we are so the more we indulge.

For example. When the Kindle came out, I wanted one right away. Once I got my Kindle, I heard about the Kindle “touch” and I thought it would sure be nice to have one, but told myself I’d wait a year or two before upgrading. In another example, I have plenty of clothes to work and play in, but The Loft clothing store always has new merch that I feel I must have in order to look trendy and nice while at work and play.

I’m not saying it’s bad to have nice stuff. I’m really not. What I’m noticing though is how quickly we (people) respond to or get hungry for the latest, greatest of things. It is completely self-centered and me-fulfilling and if we’re aren’t careful, it makes us ravenously so (lust/envy).

I expect culture to keep driving the hunger for self-fulfillment, but the one place I never thought I’d see the “me” culture is in church.
It started just as innocently as the Burger King commercials of the mid-1970s did only with coffee bars, casual dress and a choice of contemporary service over a tradition one. Over time, the contemporary services have won out.

Don’t misunderstand me.

I’m not against contemporary music or churches, but most of the worship music in church now is about what God can do for “me.” Churches cater to us in a way that we’ve learned to expect from culture — That we can have things “our” way. The pulpit messages are feel-good, motivational speeches that only talk of God’s love for us, rather than a message that makes us eager to go home and sink our teeth into God’s word and study His will for our lives.

Be honest with yourself.

When is the last time you heard a sermon that you a) wanted to takes notes on, and b) wanted to study scripture more because you were so excited after hearing God’s truth?

More realistic is that twenty minutes into the sermon, your tummy started growling and you looked at your watch and began thinking about what you wanted for lunch and how fast you could jet out of the parking lot to beat the rush at the restaurant you want to hit, or maybe you are one of those who starts thinking about all the things you wanted to get done once you get home.

We live in such a self-centered culture, that even our churches try to give us a short message that fits into our 45 mins that we’ve allotted to God every week. We are living in the times God spoke about in Amos 8:11-12 – vs. 11 says “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”

We go to church hungry for what, we aren’t sure, and we leave even hungrier but instead of turning to God’s word, we satisfy the physical hunger with food and then with activities. We all need food, but there is so much more that we need to sustain our Christian lives.

John 6:35 says “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

John 6:32-33 – 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”

I’ve written about this before, but God’s not done with me yet. I am still hungry and seeking fulfillment in the wrong places. Not always, but I’m human, so I do.

The only way I feel full and satisfied is when I spend more time reading about God’s truth and less time on whether the new shirt I want will go with the pants I already have.

Today, I’m asking the Lord to fill me with the eternal “bread of life” instead of the stale bread of earth.