12-10-2015 Baby Jesus #2

This time of year, in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, many don’t seem to understand some things. For instance, when Jesus birth was announced the shepherds, suddenly there appeared “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'” (Luke 2:13-14 NKJV)  But Jesus’ birth did not mean there would be “peace” all over the earth. Moses’ Law was “to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:24-27 NKJV). “Peace, goodwill toward men” is for those who are “baptized into Christ.” Do you have that peace?

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptized, #goodwill, #peace, #shepherds

Christ’s peace

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” Luke 2:14.

Described in Isaiah as the ‘Prince of Peace,’ the ‘God of peace,’ who in Romans 16 will soon crush Satan under our feet and who had just taken on flesh, would later say, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

In that passage, Jesus makes it clear that He did not come to tell us it’s OK to be comfortable and ‘at home’ with this world and still be at peace with God. Glory needs to go to the sovereign and just God in the highest, who did not need to offer men an opportunity for peace with Him, but to do this, we must sever our ties of friendship with the world. Sin, after all, is what got mankind in such a struggle that we needed a Savior anyway, and so any peace can only be achieved by leaving our sin.

The same offer of peace, the offer of His Son, is made today as then. But, to have His favor rest on us, we must use the sword to sever our ties to this world as our home. The reason we do not see peace in the world today is because so few are willing to accept God’s offer.

Do you have Christ’s peace?

Douglas Kashorek

douglaskashorek.com

#peace

11-18-2015 Worthless Preaching

“Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the LORD. They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You shall have peace”‘; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you'” (Jeremiah 23:16-17 NKJV). God condemned those who: (1) only follow their heart and not God’s Word; (2) promise “peace” to “those who despise” God and His Word; (3) promise “no harm” will come to everyone who does as they please, and not as God commands. Sounds like many preachers and priests today. God said, “They make you worthless.”

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

 

#despise-god, #peace, #worthless

3-12-2015 Peace-Haters

Psalm 120:6-7: “My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace. 7 I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war.” People who preach hatred when a white policeman kills a black person, but completely ignore all of the black on black violence and murders “hate peace.” People who headline a few white boys who utter a racial slur, but completely ignore all of the black people who slur whites “hate peace.” People who feel situations overseas can only be solved by war “hate peace.” Have we not lived “too long” with those who “hate peace.” Isn’t it time for the rest of us to obey God. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#black, #haters, #overseas, #peace, #war, #white

(#105) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:7-Real “Peace Accords”

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 16:7: “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Obeying God’s Will toward our “enemies” is the straightest, simplest, most successful method for producing “peace” than any and every plan and method ever tried before in the history of mankind! Under Moses’ Law: “Three times in the year all your men shall appear before the Lord, the LORD God of Israel. For I will cast out the nations before you and enlarge your borders; neither will any man covet your land when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year” (Exodus 34:23-24). Israelite men had to journey three times a year to the place where God’s sacrifices were to be offered, but God promised no one would “covet” (and therefore steal) their land while they were gone to do God’s Will! After the Israelites had settled in the Promised Land, had kings, then divided, the king of the Southern Kingdom knew “the fear of the LORD fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat” (2 Chronicles 17:10). Under the Law of Jesus Christ, though persecution had arisen against the church of Christ (Acts 8:1-4), there came a time when “the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31). Truly, “peace” exists when God’s people obey His Will, not when world rulers sign papers!

An “enemy” is defined in the last verse in the Bible where the term is used: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Anyone who is antagonist against God, God’s Will, and God’s People is an “enemy!” Surely one must not rely upon encouragement from an “enemy:” “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).

In complete contrast to everyone who follows the worldly way of human power, war, and control, all Christians who follow God’s Will would respond with good for evil, which is never better stated than when Jesus Christ taught it in His Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5:43-46) The best way to get rid of an enemy is to show him/her a better way of behavior, like God, Who gives even the wicked some blessings!

What Solomon taught is applied to Christianity by the Apostle Paul: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, And the LORD will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21-22); “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:18-21). The wisest way to dispose of enemies is by returning good for evil! Any enemy with conscience cannot ignore the Christian’s response to his/her ugliness. However, it is prefaced with the understanding this may not work in every case when he said, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you.” This hallmark of Christianity is easily distinguished from Islamic beheadings, Catholic tortures, or Socialist destruction.

Clearly, no one should rise up haughtily when something bad happens to an enemy: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him” (Proverbs 24:17-18). God can punish pride from His children today by misfortune passed from enemies.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#beheadings, #bible-study, #church-of-christ, #destruction, #enemy, #jesus-christ, #peace, #please-the-lord, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #tortures, #wisdom

Peacemaker or Peace-Breaker

Percival Wilde once described a man with these memorable words: “He made enemies as naturally as soap makes suds.” Think about soap and suds for a moment. You don’t have to work very hard to get soap to make suds. Just mix a little water with the soap and agitate it slightly — and presto — out come the suds. Some people are like that. They make enemies easily. Agitate them ever so slightly and they are ready to go to war, if not with weapons at least with words. It just seems to be in some people’s nature to make and see other people as enemies. Thousands of years ago the psalmist found himself living around people who didn’t care about getting along with others — “My soul has dwelt too long with one who hates peace. I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war” (Psalm 120:6-7). Sadly, daily headlines and simple observation reveal that our own world is populated by far too few who are for peace and far too many who are for war. The proof of that is all around us. The God Christians worship is called the “God of peace” (Romans 15:13). The Christ Christians seek to follow was described by a prophet as the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). And the gospel Christians preach to the world is referred to in the Bible as the “gospel of peace” (Romans 10:15). All the more tragic, then, that we live in a world at war. Unless you are from another planet and just arrived today, you know there is war between nations. And here at home in America there is a lack of peace on our streets. The FBI “crime clock” reports a violent crime is committed every 23.5 seconds (huffingtonpost.com, 1/16/13). We are disgusted and stunned that violence now frequently enters the hallways and classrooms of our public schools, turning them into war-zones and killing fields. TV programming is saturated with violent acts. In many homes in America children and spouses are abused and even murdered. And thanks to “a woman’s right to choose,” violence has invaded and destroyed even the peace of the womb, making the womb, statistically, the most dangerous place to live in America. As some anonymous wag has noted, the most amazing thing about someone being arrested for disturbing the peace these days is that they found any peace to disturb.

How challenging, then, the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called the children of God.” God’s children are known for trying to make peace. Now, while there is more to being a child of God than being a “peacemaker” (see John 3:3-5; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38, etc.), there certainly is not less. That’s why an inspired writer directed us bluntly in Hebrews 12:14 to “Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” To be God’s sons and daughters is to take on His nature. And the gospel forcefully demonstrates His nature is to make peace, even when the cost is supreme (see Ephesians 2:12-17 and Colossians 1:20). It is no surprise then that Romans 14:19 lays down this directive to Christians: “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” Christians must seek to make peace, even as we wage “the good warfare” and “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 1:18; 6:12). Get real and search your heart: are you making war or peace? Are you a peacemaker or a peace-breaker? Think about it.

Dan Gulley – Smithville Church of Christ

#beattitudes, #christianity, #culture, #god, #jesus, #peace, #peacemaker, #violence

It’s Memorial Day and I’m Home

It’s Memorial Day and I’m home. Last year, I was in Afghanistan. Already, I had prayed over the bodies of Soldiers assassinated in their offices and worked alongside medical teams from two other nations in trying to identify remains after a helicopter crash. Soldiers had committed suicide, leaving stunned comrades and grieving families behind. I’m home and I’m glad to be alive. I rejoice that finally I can eat steak again. Elsewhere, families still grieve and comrades still grapple with the absences of those with whom they worked. I pray for those families and friends who grieve that God will comfort them. Sometime today I will call a cousin whose father died in Vietnam. I pray for peace. Most of all, I pray that all will be reconciled to God through Christ. I’m home. I don’t see my grown children as much as I would like, but we’re all alive. My wife is here with me. It’s Memorial Day and I’m home.

#grief, #grief-recovery, #memorial-day, #peace, #prayer, #reconciliation, #reunion