Thursday, March 8, 2012

One Minute Devotion: Matthew 5:9

Matthew 5:9

Blessed are the peacemakers:  for they shall be called the children of God. 

To fulfill this verse, one must first be at peace with God. How is this achieved? It is through justification foremost that one begins the journey toward peace with their heavenly father. To recognize that justification comes only from God's grace and utterly nothing that we bring to the table. It is to fully believe that it was God's choice to forgive and free us from the bondage of sin for no other reason but His love for us. The result of reconciling with our creator allows us to develop a desire to live in peace with others. Both processes are lifelong, and neither will be perfected until our reunion with God in His heavenly kingdom. The goal, here, is to seek peace while forwarding His kingdom on earth. It is this peace that moves us from antagonist in sin to ambassador of Christ. So one may ask, what is peace? What does peace actually mean? According to the dictionary it is categorized into six definitions. One, freedom from war. Does that mean that we will never experience conflict? No, it means we can obtain a supernatural peace during any conflict through faith in God's providence and sovereignty. Understand that God is always bigger than any issue standing in front of you and that issue quickly diminishes in His presence. Goliath towered over David and was a master of war. He did not fall because of the power of one tiny stone. He fell because of the power of David's faith in God's promises. Second, it is defined as tranquillity: a calm and quiet state. One of the most well known of the Psalms, number 23, creates a beautiful picture of God as the loving shepherd who allows us to lie down in green pastures, leading us besides still waters, restoring our souls. This is a beautiful view of perfect tranquility. This peace is found while the author is literally facing the valley of the shadow of death with fearlessness because he knows God is in control. Perfect peace is letting go of our false sense of control and submitting ourselves wholly to God's perfect will. Third, it is a state of mental calm and serenity, with no anxiety. Worry is sin. Did you know that? God says not even the ravens concern themselves where there next meal is coming from, so why should you. Do we genuinely believe we can solve any problem better than God can? That our timing is superior to His? Calm comes from trust in our Lord and worry results from lack of confidence in an Almighty God. Seems silly when you read it, but how many times do we fail in just that matter so easily. Fourth, it means harmony: freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people. This is where the peacemaker fails most times. In the new culture, where the actions of those on reality T.V is the new norm, is it any wonder why the presence of peacemakers seem few and far between. Peacemakers are not popular, to a sinful world they appear weak, useless and profoundly sad. Those who choose to walk away are called cowards. Those who seek a logical end are seen as trite and lame. Those who look for God's answer to an issue above all else are considered illiterate, unrealistic, and ignorant. To strike back, strike first, and often is perceived as bravery and strength. Courage is measured by how fast one comes to putting themselves in harms way rather than finding a better way. Conflict and stress are marked as valuable time spent, significant ad revenue, and larger audiences. I wonder at what point we will move from the bad girls clubs, drunken roommates, and extreme fighting tournaments to gladiators and lions. It may seem absurd to consider, but remember even God says there is nothing new under the sun. The Romans exacted their pleasure from watching the pain and suffering of others. They used coliseums and grotesque violence. We use alcohol, scantily dressed woman, drunken violence, and a spotlight on the worst of behaviors to drive entertainment. How far is our Lazy Boy really from the cold marble seats of the coliseum? Fifth is an agreeing to an end of hostilities between two warring parties. Again, the last place modern civilization promotes is to be the first to apologize for errors in judgement, bad behavior, or to resolve conflict, rather winner take all no matter what the cost and pride and ego rule the day and airwaves. Finally, the absence of violence or other disturbances. In a sinful world, the absence of violence and disturbance is a fantasy. However, to have peace that God has His hand on us every moment of every day, is peace that passes understanding. God is called our refuge, fortress, shield, and strength. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He dwarves every and any conflict or foe easily. They have no power against Him, except the power we give them. God says those who seek and obey peace are his children, His sons and daughters, citizens of His holy kingdom. I would rather hold that honor than any offered as a real housewife, on the Jersey or any other shore, in sin's version of the real world, or the myriad of other dribble that fills a typical day of television viewing. True T.V is an oxymoron and reality T.V is about as authentic as artificial grass. God's truth is this, find peace with me and you will find peace period. How high is obtaining peace on your daily agenda? Can you give up anger, surrender grudges for the sake of a deeper relationship with your creator? Your answer says more about you than you realize.

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