Peacemaking (Part 2): Living From a Posture of Peace

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”–Matthew 11:28-30

I am so incredibly thankful that our God is humble. He is the great Creator, Lord, Master of the Universe, and yet, He chooses to relate to us as a friend and as a father. We call Him “Lord,” but He doesn’t loom over us like a taskmaster. He draws us close in intimate relationship. As we seek to walk out our faith as peacemakers on this earth, it’s good to remember that God doesn’t want to punish us, judge us or be angry with us. He actually invites us into a place of peace and rest.

In the Biblical tabernacle days, there was the practice of the peace offering. The Levitical priests would take and slaughter goats or sheep, offering them as the representation of good will between God and man. Then Jesus came as both the Great High Priest and the Lamb of God, forgiving sin and forging a bond of friendship. He took the low road, met us in our mess and made us free.

As we walk in the Spirit today, God’s peace flows from our hearts. In the face of that peace, all fear and anxiety has to leave. We don’t fear the power of people, because we know our Jesus is much more powerful. We cannot fear our own sin or even death, because Jesus has conquered them both. All He asks is that we come to Him, learn from Him and follow His lead. We live glorious, impactful lives, tied at the heartstrings to Jesus, secure in the loving relationship we have with Him.

Reposted from “Unlocked Words,” October 19, 2014.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”–Matthew 5:9


Peacemaking (Part 1): the Name of God

Starting with this post, I’m beginning a series on peacemaking. In the Sermon On the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” I fully believe that I am a peacemaker at heart, so I want to find out everything I can on the subject. The Bible has a whole lot to say about it, and I’m excited to explore the many dimensions of what it means to be a peacemaker.

With any study of a Godly character quality (progressing into Godly action), one of the best ways to start is by looking at His Names. These Names are given to God by the Biblical heroes, prophets and even by God Himself. They reveal incredible truth. They are a declaration of God’s character by His people, the ones who have received incredible revelation of His nature.

In Judges chapter 6, we read about a scared farmer named Gideon. He was scared of the community around him, scared of the occupying armies of Midian, scared of his own father, scared of God. But one day, an angel came to him and declared, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” After giving Gideon a sign by burning up some meat and bread with fire, God Himself spoke, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” In that moment, the fear in Gideon’s heart was confronted, chased out and replaced with supernatural peace. So overwhelming was this peace, that Gideon did this:

“Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.”–Judges 6:24

He declared a Name of God never before uttered in the Bible: The Lord Is Peace. When that peace entered Gideon’s heart, he accepted the mission to which God had called him. He was empowered to do it, because he knew that he was going with the almighty power of God. No army, no neighbor, no family member could strip him of the fellowship with God into which he had just entered. God had given him a gift of peace. We read in the following chapters that Gideon continued trusting God, ultimately delivering Israel from its enemies through God-decreed action.

When the prophet Isaiah prophesied of the coming Messiah (the Lord Jesus), he mentioned a very similar Name:

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Isaiah called Jesus the Prince of Peace, because that is who Jesus is. Jesus came to break the walls of division between humanity and God, to bring salvation, redemption, life! As we continue in this series, remember this first: intimate relationship with God is the most peaceful place on earth. He Himself is the definition, and we discover what peace is by looking at Him and listening to His voice. Join me for the next part of this series!

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”–Matthew 5:9


I’m not worthy to be called Yours, and yet,
That is what You call me. You say, “My own,”
And the very words are true, because You said them.

What is bone and flesh, joint and ligament,
Even thought, unless Your life-breath makes it true?
I have tasted Your flesh and drunk Your blood. You are altogether good.

One word, one brush-stroke, one ink-blot–
Each is a finished work.

inkThe unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.“–Psalm 119:130




I first read through the Bible cover-to-cover when I was nineteen years old. I’d been a Christian since I was four, baptized in water at twelve, but I’d never read the entire Bible before. My campus pastors encouraged me to carve out devotional time every day, and so at nineteen years old, I set out to do just that. I read four pages a day out of my thousand-page KJV Bible, so it took me two hundred fifty days (about nine months) to finish.

It was during this period that I experienced something that I never had encountered before. As I was reading, the Holy Spirit highlighted specific verses to me that impacted my heart–so much so that I had to write them down on index cards and keep them close. I didn’t really know what to call the phenomenon, so I labeled the first one “Prayer Card,” since the verse was about prayer. I knew that it would fuel my prayers as I reread the verse in the future. By the end of that first read through the Bible, I had three prayer cards. They are verses that continue to grip my soul, and I’ve read and reread them countless times. Here they are for you to read:

“The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.”–Matthew 9:37-38

“Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; because I Myself am with you, and no one will assail you to harm you, because I have many people in this city.”–Acts 18:9-10

“How then shall they call on Him whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!'”–Romans 10:14-15

I encourage you in this: when you encounter the Holy Spirit impacting your heart through the Word, remember those times well. God may be laying out the foundation of your calling. These verses have stuck with me through trials and joys, both the mundane and the glorious times. The words still burn in my heart. Read, and let His Word burn in yours, too.


“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”–Philippians 3:20-21

I grew up in the Church, and it seems like I always knew that Jesus was my Savior. However, I distinctly remember the night when I received the revelation of Jesus as Lord. I was nineteen. I was in a weak place in life, scared, wanting to obey God but not knowing how to overcome the sin that was creeping in. I heard an incredible teaching on Matthew 6 that night: “Do not be anxious… But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Those words hit me like some glorious bricks, and I found victory in the days following.

Every kingdom has a king. The Kingdom of God is found first by submitting our hearts and lives to the lordship of Jesus. He is the One King, and He holds all the authority in the universe. Authority means power. What He says goes. By submitting to His lordship, we freely enter His Kingdom, freely receive His righteousness and freely walk in His power, overcoming sin.

I am amazed every day by the gentleness with which God reigns. In this Kingdom, under His Rule, we are the farthest thing from slaves, for we are His daughters and sons. In fact, He shares his power and authority and makes us all kings and priests. Our daily challenge is to walk in the center of His heart. In that place, His will and authority become ours. As we take the Gospel message to the world as citizens and ambassadors of the coming Kingdom, His light never stops shining through us. We ourselves are the evidence of our message of peace and reconciliation. We are friends of the King.

Reposted from “Unlocked Words,” July 13, 2014.

A Conversation Along the Path: A Short Story

“Hello,” said the man sitting by the side of the stream.

“Hello,” said the stream.

“Hello to you both,” I said, as I walked steadily towards them, coming to rest beside the clear water. The path had taken me by this simple stream, which was apparently starved for conversation, despite the talkative man sitting on its opposite bank.

The man looked somehow malnourished, even though his body was in prime physical condition. When I looked closer, I saw a large indentation in the spot where he was sitting. He had been there for some time, and the earth was packed and stale beneath him.

“Seventeen years.” He spoke up, happy to share with me. “I can tell what you’re thinking. Everyone asks the same thing. But it’s worth it.” He smiled, and there was no hint of deception or craftiness in his voice.

“Why?” I asked. I didn’t want to doubt his integrity, but it seemed strange. If anything, I was insanely curious as to why someone would sit in the same place for seventeen years straight. I quickly received my answer.

“This, my friend, is a healing stream.” He paused and let that piece of information sink in a little. He could tell that I didn’t quite get it. After all, I was new to the Kingdom. He continued: “Seventeen years ago, I barely made it here. My right leg was rotting away, muscles degenerating more every day. When I washed in this stream, I was completely healed. I owe it everything, and I stay here, telling travelers my story.”

“Amazing,” I replied across the water. “It really is amazing. You two must be great friends by now.”

“I really wish we were,” said the man, “but he doesn’t even talk to me any more. You know, I wish I could pick up these banks and take him everywhere, to all the hurting people in the world. I wish I could take him right back to my hometown. They need him there. But his borders are stuck here, and earth is a hard thing to move.”

I sensed the longing and frustration in the man’s voice. The stream was such a source of comfort to him. All he wanted to do was share it with the world, but he was entirely powerless to do so. He didn’t even have a shovel or bucket. All he could do was sit there. Even as he sat in the dirt, he fell asleep. I didn’t have a heart to wake him. His existence seemed so meager, and I thought that maybe his dreams would be a more comforting place.

Even as the man drifted to sleep, the stream bubbled to life, and I turned my attention to it. I peered into its clear waters, happy fish swimming freely within, light shining through, dancing on polished stones. In the daylight, it shone with an elegance I had never seen before, and I could imagine it shining all through the night as well. It was pure. It was a good stream.

“He doesn’t listen to me.” The ripples and current of the water spoke with a tone of sadness. I watched and listened in awe. “He doesn’t listen…” The voice drifted away.

“Tell me more,” I said softly, dipping my hand in the cool water. In that one touch, I felt refreshing and renewal coursing through my heart. The stream carried such power, such love. I wondered, what could have happened to bring such sorrow to it concerning that man? With another swell, a sighing swell, it continued to speak.

“Seventeen years ago, I met a broken man. I gave new strength to his limbs, but he is still broken. Still he sits there, and his limbs rot away again. When it becomes too unbearable, he returns to my water and is renewed again. But those times are becoming less and less. He thinks he knows me, but he’s going to die there. He speaks my praises, but he doesn’t listen to me.”

I thought I saw tears forming on the surface of the water, small drops rising, then returning to the rippling current.

“There is a Source, far upstream,” the tone of the water rose with delight as it spoke of its great joy. “I tell this man, ‘Go to the Source!’ There he can become like me. He can carry the same power, take it back to his family. Still he sits here, unmoving.”

Suddenly overcome with emotion, on my knees, I plunged both my hands into the stream and dipped my forehead in the cool water. “Is this Source the King I’m looking for?” My words buried themselves in the sound of the rushing water, and my heart leaped in my chest.

“Go to the Source,” the sound whipped through my ears, and the passion of love hit my whole being. I sat back softly on the bank, tears streaming lightly down my cheeks.

“Thank you,” I said to the stream. I stood up and walked back to the path. I ran for a while, then walked again.

God Is Not…

God is not a moral code or a set of rules. He definitely has rules and laws that He’s given to us, but they are not Him. He is the Way and the Truth, and His beautiful boundaries and limits are unmatched in all the universe. His ways are meant to be followed, from the core of our being unto eternity, but they are not Him. We cannot “figure God out” with a mathematical formula or a rule book. He is not an equation or a game, a number, symbol or shape.

God is also not an experiential emotional high. When we seek Him, we are not looking for an intense feeling. We may experience feelings when we are aware of Him, but He Himself is not the feeling. He cannot be controlled or drummed up. Guitar riffs and electronic beats do not create any part of God, because He’s already whole. He was there before the feeling, and He’ll be there forever after. Emotion exists because He was the one who set everything in motion.

God is a person with whom we can have a relationship. The “rules” are part of that relationship. God has things that He likes and things that He doesn’t. He has an original perfect design for His creation. As we get to know Him, we understand what those things are. As we get to know Him, He reveals His mysteries to us. As our heart draws close to His heart in love, these things become valuable to us, because they are important to Him. His ways are only good, and I hope that we all can follow them perfectly.

The emotions are experienced within and because of our relationship with God.  As in any good relationship, we feel good when we are close to Him, when we feel His acceptance. Because our relationship with God is the most important relationship in existence, it stands to reason that we should feel the deepest and most intense emotions when we communicate with Him. When He talks to us, hangs out with us and shows us His goodness, I hope that we are all overwhelmed by the Nature and Beauty of the God we love.

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”–Hebrews 10:16