Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Defending Peace

In a recent speech President Obama shared that in the best interest of negotiation between Israel and Palestinian, Israel needed to pull back to its 1967 borders with mutually agreed swaps. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that this would prevent Israel from being able to defend itself. He went on to make the statement, “A peace you cannot defend is a peace you cannot hold.”

I’ve wondered as of late as to why so many individuals live without peace? I realize we live in a day of so much uncertainty.
Financially, average American families are doing everything they can to simply make it from day to day.
Job loss is rampant all over our nation.
The norm is no longer the norm in our world. The very core of our lives is being tested in every way. So I can understand as to how so many live in an unpeaceful setting.

(Rainy Days)
But I feel that our lack of peacefulness goes far much deeper than the surface of what we see. Scripture does teach us (Hebrews 12) that only the unshakeable things will remain when turbulent times come. 

Marriages are in turmoil. Families are being broken and torn apart. I propose that doubt, worry, and pain is taking over the thought processes of more and more because so many have tried to build their peace with things that don’t last.

* Many have built their hopes around that certain rung on the ladder, while the ladder has been leaning on the wrong wall the entire time.
* If I could only date and marry him/her, then I know we will live happily ever after.
* Moving to that certain city…that would answer all my desires.

The problem with these, or any other reasons we could come up with, is that there is nothing in this world that will give us complete joy and peace. You might find yourself in a ‘happy place’ for a period of time, but let life happen, and our peace can quickly be turned into chaos.

(Inner Harbor)
Baltimore City, MD
Remember, “A peace you cannot defend is a peace you cannot hold.”

The only real peace you will ever have is when we develop an attitude that…we will not move our ‘borders’, no matter the cost. Voices around you might try to convince you that another way is best. Your own flesh might even try to deceive you into following the broad way…but the only peace that lasts is the one we can defend. You will never defend it with the things of this life.

(Back Roads)
Forest Hill, MD
Philippians 4:6-9 says, 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Wondering why your peace process is not working? Why not make a decision to change your motives and desires? I think you’ll find that kind of peace is truly defensible. 

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Stuck in Security

Jane Wagner once said, “I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”

* The weather can be too cold or too hot.
* Our boss is just too this or that.
* Life has thrown a few curves that were not ‘planned’ for.
We could go on and on about any number of things that cause us to grumble about how ‘mis’treated we are.

(Forest Hill, MD)
And yet, we shake our head and point a finger at the children of Israel, wondering how in the world they could complain about being set free from Egyptian bondage. God sent Moses to deliver His people from under the hand of Pharaoh and lead them to a land of promise beyond anything they could imagine. 

- They witnessed the plagues brought upon the people of Egypt.
- They walked across the Red Sea on dry land, then saw Pharaoh and his army drown in it.
- They were led by a cloud during the day and fire by night.
- They were given manna from heaven when they got hungry.
- And they even had clothes and shoes that grew as they did, never wearing out. (That’s pretty cool, I might add)

Even after experiencing all of this, they still complained.

In Numbers 14:2-3, Their voices rose in a great chorus of protest against Moses and Aaron. “If only we had died in Egypt, or even here in the wilderness!” they complained. “Why is the Lord taking us to this country only to have us die in battle? Our wives and our little ones will be carried off as plunder! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?”

How could they desire to return to a place of punishment and slavery after all that God had done for them?

I believe it’s because their slavery was actually their security.

Sheep in Pasture
(Jarrettsville, MD)
Even though the bondage they woke up to every day was punishing and degrading, it brought a security to their lives because they knew what to expect. There was no depending on God because everything they did and received came directly from Pharaoh. Slavery was their security.

How could God see into the future and desire to lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey? Why not just leave them in slavery and bondage?

We point a finger at them, yet when we have to walk by faith and not by sight, many of us complain just the same. God places a call deep within us to break out of our present security into a life based strictly upon dependence on Him. And so we jump. We start out on the journey with such zeal and excitement, and then when our path winds through the valley, we begin questioning whether we should have ‘jumped’ in the first place?

Cherry Creek Bridge
(Rocks State Park)
Let us be careful that we don’t become a slave…to our security. It might just be the thing that keeps you from experiencing your ‘promised’ land.

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