prince of peace

Another name for Christ that should bring a calming to your soul when you really think of Him being is is The Prince of peace.

What does it mean that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)?*

“In Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming Messiah, he says:

   “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
   And the government will rest on His shoulders;
   And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
   Eternal Father, Prince of Peace
.” Isaiah 9.6

In a world filled with war and violence, it’s difficult to see how Jesus could be the all-powerful God who acts in human history and be the embodiment of peace. But physical safety and political harmony don’t necessarily reflect the kind of peace He’s talking about (John 14:27).

The Hebrew word for “peace,” shalom, is often used in reference to an appearance of calm and tranquility of individuals, groups, and nations. The Greek word eirene means “unity and accord”; Paul uses eirene to describe the objective of the New Testament church. But the deeper, more foundational meaning of peace is “the spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s restoration with God.”

In our sinful state, we are enemies with God (Romans 5.10). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5.8

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are restored to a relationship of peace with God (Romans 5.1). This is the deep, abiding peace between our hearts and our Creator that cannot be taken away (John 10.27–28) and the ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s work as “Prince of Peace.”

But Christ’s sacrifice provides more for us than eternal peace; it also allows us to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, the Helper who promises to guide us (John 16.7, 13). Further, the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself in us by having us live in ways we couldn’t possibly live on our own, including filling our lives with love, joy, and peace (Galatians 5.22–23). This love, joy, and peace are all results of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer. They are reflections of His presence in us. And, although their deepest, most vital result is to have us live in love, joy, and peace with God, they can’t help but to spill over into our relationships with people.

And we desperately need it – especially since God calls us to live with singleness of purpose with other believers, with humility, gentleness, and patience, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Ephesians 4.1–3. This unity in purpose and gentleness would be impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit in us and the peace we have with God thanks to the sacrifice of His Son.

Ironically, the lightest definition of peace, that of the appearance of tranquility in a person, can be the most difficult to grasp and maintain. We do nothing to acquire or maintain our spiritual peace with God (Ephesians 2.8–9). And, while living in unity with other believers can be extremely difficult, living in peace in our own lives can very often feel impossible.

Note that peaceful doesn’t mean “easy.” Jesus never promised easy; He only promised help. In fact, He told us to expect tribulation (John 16.33) and trials (James 1.2). But He also said that, if we called on Him, He would give us the “peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” Philippians 4.6–7. No matter what hardships we are faced with, we can ask for a peace that comes from the powerful love of God that is not dependent on our own strength or the situation around us.

And when we receive it, it helps us…

be.the.church

*from got questions

find peace

Today, September 21 is International Day of Peace.

Many cultures use all kinds of different symbols for peace: the dove, the olive branch, and the rainbow just to name a few.

These all have Biblical symbolism as well and I believe it is where the original peace meanings stem from.

Sometimes these symbols are stolen, distorted, and no longer represent the peace they were intended for.

Do you know what the Peace flag is? It is simply the rainbow.

This flag was first used in Italy with the word ‘peace’ in Italian on it.

The rainbow represents the promise that God would never flood the earth again (Genesis 9.13). For most, it is no longer seen as a symbol of peace of that promise but rather used as symbol of gay pride.

Often the good intent ends up being used irreverently. For now, we no longer associate the rainbow with being whole or God’s creation or even that it is the symbol of His promise of peace.

It is true, people get confused even if you try to tell them otherwise.

I do wish they find true peace in Christ alone.

I love this representation for international peace:

Perhaps, a Christian designed it. I am not sure, but it does incorporate peace, don’t you agree?

If it had a rainbow, then it would have all three of the above mentioned Biblical symbols of peace (the dove, the olive branch, and the rainbow).

Another example of peace is the swastika. It is an ancient Eurasian symbol. Then, it became a symbol of good luck and now, of course, no one would associate it with peace or luck!

When I was in Korea, I was surprised to see it on ancient buildings over 5,000 years old and learn of its roots which are so far from the racism of white supremacy and intimidation we think of today when we see it.

If you think of the upside down broken cross as a peace symbol, well, there is more to that story too. You see, Nero who despised Christians would crucify them head down on a cross (including Peter).

So, could it be that the peace symbol really is a reminder of martyrs? I am not entirely positive, but I do know Germans used it in the graves of their SS Officers who they believed were martyrs for their cause.

Supposedly the bottom half of a peace symbol represents a broken rifle – or broken ‘arms.’

The internationally recognized peace symbol – variously known as the nuclear disarmament symbol is a combination of the signals for the letters “N” and “D”, standing for “nuclear disarmament.”

The letter “N” is formed by a person holding two flags in an inverted “V” like this:

The letter “D” is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down.

These two signs form the shape of the centre of the peace symbol.

If it is the other way with arms up it is suppose to represent life. Arms down – death. Makes sense death will come if evil prevails.

So for me, this is what I see: peace is not possible in this fallen world without Christ. It also says look at sacrifices others have made as martyrs like Peter being crucified upside down.

Let the peace symbol remind us to pray for those who have been lead astray. Pray they find the peace that passes all understanding which finds its roots in Christ alone.

Most will look at this symbol and instantly identify it as peace. If someone thinks it evil, we must remember so is the cross!

It was a sadistic, most horrendous, and evil thing. It was a curse to hang on a tree; even Scripture so says in Deuteronomy 21:23 and Galatians 3:13.

It was a symbol of shame and of evil.

The cross was never a symbol of good, at least not until Jesus came.

When Jesus spoke of taking up our cross and following Him, the imagery would not have been seen as a good thing by the vast majority of people. It would be as if the syringe became the symbol of euthanasia and then we all started to take the syringe as the symbol of our new religion. However, the death of Christ transformed the symbol of death into a symbol of life.

I used to wonder why did we wear crosses. I thought how strange it would be to wear an electric chair. But the empty cross reminds of Christ’s conquering of death and seen in the peace sign, it can also remind us of the post our Lord was whipped on prior to his death.

Let it remind us He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities as it says in Isaiah 53.5.

We can find peace in Christ alone and when we do, others will ask about that peace they see in us as we strive to…

be.the.church

Find peace – find it in Christ alone.

By the way, all of the above was inspired original by this peace symbol I saw on a wall in a clothing shop in an airport terminal:

I encourage you to blog or journal and write down the things God lays in your heart and mind even as this as I rushed through hallways while traveling. You might be surprised at the learning adventure you might go on by taking the time to explore what you have been exposed to. Happy adventuring with our Lord. I pray you do in Him alone!

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

it is the end of be kind to humankind

Well, of course, we still need to be kind but today marks the end of be kind to humankind week.*

Did you even know?

I didn’t!

But, regardless, it is no excuse for us not to be kind. After all it is one of the fruit of the Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5.22+23: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

I love the enriched meaning in the amplified version: “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” ‭‭Galatians ‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Bottom line: let’s exhibit all the fruit and start by just being kind.

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good – crucified.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Yes, let’s kill the stuff that needs to go and cover everything else with kindness. Being kind will allow us to…

be.the.church

So, go 🐝 kind each and every day.

Just…

as you…

be.the.church

*thanks Lorraine for beginning this ‘kind’ journey 30 plus years ago – check out the Be Kind to Human Kind website http://bk2hk.org/week/ for ideas to implement each and every day of the week and I would suggest not just this week but each and every day the whole year through.

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

i have a dream

On this day in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. met with President John F. Kennedy. After that meeting, Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd estimated to be 250,000, but I bet it was many, many more. Regardless, it is one of the most famous speeches in history.

Most probably don’t remember that the March on Washington that day was for Jobs and Freedom, but do remember some of the speech’s content that was “aimed on ending racial discrimination in schools, the workplace, and protection of civil rights workers from police brutality.“* It was a different era; a different time, yet sadly discrimination still exists. If it is not color then it is religion. If not religion then color. And the issues butt heads and go round and round.

I have a dream this will all end. I know it will as one day the lion will lie with the lamb, but until Christ returns and there is a millennium of peace, practice peace and live out the fruit of the spirit as found in Galatians 5.22+23: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.

What a dream if all who confess to be Christians, try to do this daily!

Here’s a link to listen to the whole speech:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=smEqnnklfYs

That speech is filled with such hope and passion.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!'” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. August 28, 1963

I have often wondered what would our world look like now if Dr. King was still alive. Would we still have the racism that seems to be moving backward instead of forward? Would we still be listening to his speeches? I wonder.

He was a picture of what the church looks like when we get up and support something we believe in which we still should be doing today.

“Let’s not judge people by the color of their skin but the content of their character” as Dr. King said some 56 years ago today. In doing so, we will…

be.the.church

What a legacy!

What an example!

What a great man of God used mightily in the short life he lived. Be a Martin. Be a leader, be an example, and be a person of love and influence.

be.the.church

Some posts to look back on:

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/27/what-will-you-remember/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/28/what-will-you-remember-part-2/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/22/dream-small/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/04/04/what-if-the-assassination-never-happened-today/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/02/28/be-peace-makers-dont-judge-but-love/

*wikipedia more on the famed speech https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_a_Dream

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

another wedding

This year certainly will have its fill of weddings and sadly funerals too. So far, I have attended 4 funerals and missed one when out of town. Today is wedding number 4 with another next month.

To attend a wedding says: I am included, I am a part of an extended community to support the newlyweds, and I matter to those who do the inviting. The opposite is true of a funeral as we don’t get invited but rather just show up.

Yet, attending still says I am included, I am a part of the extended community to offer support, and I mattered to the deceased but also to those left living.

We can be great ministers of encouragement as we offer hope in both scenarios.

Yet, most of us might agree attending another wedding might be a wee bit more easy to do so.

However, that is not always the case. There could be past hurts or broken relationships you stumble upon. There could be people in attendance that have years of heaviness against another. That was the case at my own wedding as my folks hadn’t literally talked in years let alone be in the same room.

I prayed they would be on their best behavior yet I also knew I needed to meet them where they were at – no pushing for group photos or sitting them next to one another.

That can be tricky to navigate but it got me thinking. It is tricky because we humans make life messy. We don’t always follow the plan set out before us nor desire to seek it. We want to do our own thing. I pray this new union I will witness today puts God first and then each other. So often our own sin rooted in selfishness sabotages our ability to function as Christ desires us to.

If you are married and feel your marriage has gone stale or there is nothing left in common:

  • revisit your dating days
  • take turns planning special evenings together
  • rekindle the flame that got the fire burning in the first place

I pray you can stick it out and be a living testimony of faithfulness and love.

(Of course, if you are in an abusive relationship this does not apply. Make sure you and any offspring are safe is the priority.)

Married or not, we all will partake in the wedding feast of the Lord one day.

What are you doing now to secure your place in heaven?

Well, there is nothing you can do except accept the loving grace and forgiveness God offers. And that, my friend, is a precious gift and so needed to transform our lives to be more Christlike.

So, now ask yourself, who am I sharing my faith with so they too can acknowledge the saving grace of Christ?

Everyone of us on planet earth are in need of a Savior.

Everyone of us need His grace, love, and mercy.

Everyone of us have the opportunity to be kingdom bound and kingdom minded.

Lay up for yourself treasure in heaven…”. Matthew 6.20

The only treasure I know worth storing up is what we do serving the Lord and helping others come to know Him.

Remember: The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3.9

So if you find yourself at another wedding or funeral for that matter, try to be a peacemaker to whomever you find yourself sitting with or conversing with.

Offer hope, peace, and help them see their need of a Savior.

That is how to…

be.the.church

Here’s some previous posts about weddings and funerals:

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/11/weddings-and-funerals/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/17/wedding-month-learn-to-communicate/

https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/05/31/funeral-clothes/

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved

miles may separate but…

Prayer unites!

Have family or friends far away? No matter, as miles may separate but

Prayer unites!

Know someone in need but can’t visit? No matter, as miles may separate but

Prayer unites!

Don’t know what to do when someone is sick and laid up? No matter, as miles may separate but

Prayer unites!

I think you get the picture now.

No distance can separate us from those we are praying for.

Prayer is the answer to so many problems.

Presently, there are over 10,000 miles between me and my loved ones. Yet, every phone call or text brings us closer, and every prayer makes those miles dissipate.

Peace

Revealed

As (we)

Yield

When we pray, peace abounds.

When we pray, love prevails.

When we pray, healing begins.

So, when you don’t know what to do or say: just pray!

I have often taken another’s hands and prayed right then and there when they have said: pray for me.

Instead of asking: Can I pray for you now?, just do it.

Less resistance, less awkwardness, and more boldness for our Lord. Take up the challenge and when opportunity arises to pray don’t ask, just do!

He is the one that can truly heal and bring peace. Go to Him and help others see your trust in Him. It will make a difference as that is how we can sincerely…

be.the.church

when we pray!

Remember…

Don’t short change yourself by not praying.

Remember, miles may separate but…

Prayer unites!

Look back at this post to learn more about putting God in every day: https://bethechurch.home.blog/2019/06/22/a-summer-without-of-floaties/

© 2019 be.the.church aclearberry all rights reserved