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

Where’s the Peace?

I was a young, young child when it aired but even I know the restaurant commercial that’s had such a lasting effect with the lady asking, “Where’s the beef?”

The emphasis, or point, was about how the talk didn’t match the walk, and now the punch line is used to make the same point on various topics. This morning I’d like to take the word “beef” and replace it with the word “peace” when it comes to the topic of Islam.

There’s a story out there (which isn’t getting a whole lot of press attention due to something about the IRS, Benghazi and something else about the AP and wiretaps, but you can read the story here if you’d like) about two men who may be asking, “Where’s the peace?” One man has been sentenced to receive 300 lashes with a whip and a 6 year prison term, and the other man has been sentenced to 200 lashes and a 2 year prison term. And for what? For helping a woman “convert to Christianity” and escaping the country to find asylum in another nation. With a reaction like that, I “wonder” why she had to seek asylum somewhere??? Hmmm.

I do not completely agree with the doctrinal stance of the two men or with the stated theological experience given by the woman as a part her conversion, but placing that to the side for a moment I can’t help but ask, “Where’s the peace?” I guess it all depends upon one’s definition of peace.

When one leaves “Christianity” it’s tears that get shed by others (Philippians 3:18), not blood!

So where’s the peace? The peace is found in Jesus and in no other.

May peace be with you; my peace I give to you: I give it not as the world gives….” (John 14:27 – BBE)

#christianity, #conversion-to-christianity, #current-events, #islam, #jesus, #peace, #religion

Fault Finder

Last Sunday evening we studied Matthew 7:1-6 in relation to judging and those who find fault with others. We noticed that there is a standard that is applied by the fault finder that is not in accordance with the Holy Spirit and, unfortunately, there are some fault-finders who identify themselves as Christians guilt of the same.

A fault-finder is one who is blind to that which he (or she) is actually guilty of. It has been said that the fault-finder is rather quick at finding fault in others because they are guilty of the same; they know for what to look. Whether that is true or not in every respect, I don’t know. I can, however, see it being true in many respects.

We can overcome guilt any one of us have in this area by recognizing the evil of such behavior and making a point to look at (or find) the good in another. That change of focus allows us to see a white sheet of paper (representing that which is good in a person) rather than a single black dot on that sheet of paper (which represents some bad in another person). All to easy it is to single out the smallness of the bad more than the largeness of the good.

If we are the victim of an overly critical person, implementing the Lord’s approach (1 Peter 2:21-23) and the Holy Spirit’s exhortation (Romans 12:17-21) will bring much peace of mind. RT

#criticism, #fault-finder, #peace

Psalm 122 Jerusalem, the Holy City

There is uncertainty regarding the author, time, or circumstances of these Psalms, but it is apparent Psalms 120-134 work together, and are called the “Songs of Degrees,” and sometimes “Songs of Ascension.” This Psalm appears to have been written by David, and sung when Israelites went to Jerusalem 3 times a year (Deuteronomy 16:16).

Verses 1-5 show why Jerusalem is the Royal City;

Verses 6-9 show how Jerusalem is the Holy City.

Verses 1-5: (Verse 1) True worshippers are “glad” to “go into the house of the LORD.” The “house of the LORD” under Moses was the Tabernacle, until Solomon built the Temple where sacrifices were offered to God in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 3:1). Before the Temple was built, David, when his child died, “went into the house of the LORD and worshiped” (2 Samuel 12:20). In the New Testament, the “house of God” is “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15), “the temple” “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:19-22). (Verse 2) How privileged worshippers were to be in that city. In the New Testament, how privileged worshippers are to be in “the heavenly Jerusalem.” “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:22-24). (Verse 3) Jerusalem was fortified when built (2 Samuel 5:7-9), and walled when rebuilt (Nehemiah 12:27). The church of Christ, as the “new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2), is walled by obedience which keeps the corrupt people out of it until they repent and are baptized into Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:9-27; Acts 2:38).  (Verse 4) Jerusalem was a place for uniting the “tribes” of Israel who obeyed the “Testimony of Israel” and gave “thanks to the name of the LORD.” The people were one as a people, in obedience, at worship. Isaiah prophesied about the church of Christ in Isaiah 2:2-3: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:2-3). (Verse 5) Jerusalem was the place for “the thrones of the house of David.” Solomon was on that throne (1 Kings 2:24); and other Kings of Judah, until Coniah to whom God promised “none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Jesus Christ was preached on Pentecost, in Jerusalem, by the Apostles: “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption” (Acts 2:29-31).

Verses 6-9: (Verses 6-7) Jerusalem was to have been ruled by “peace,” they “prayed” for, “prospered” under, and were ruled by in their “walls” and “palaces.” The church of Christ must “let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).

(Verse 8) The customary greeting from the Jews is “Shalom” (Peace to you). The Apostle Paul in the New Testament repeated this constant desire for brethren (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 3). (Verse 9) “Because” God’s House could draw His people together at times, they were able to “seek” each other’s “good.” The church of Christ assembles to “hold fast the confession of our hope,” and “consider one another” (Hebrews 10:23-25). When this is not the case, the Devil has prevailed, just as he did in the Old Testament.

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

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #church-of-christ, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #heavenly-jerusalem, #jesus-christ, #new-jerusalem, #obedience, #peace, #temple, #throne-of-david