Blessed are the peacemakers…

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

I think all too often we seek justice at the expense of reconciliation.  We want to feel vindicated, but not restored.  We want someone to feel our pain, not experience our hope.  Reconciliation is hard and often reveals hurts we either forgot about or did not realize were there.  But the gospel is about reconciliation.  And as people of the gospel—people who have been reconciled to God—we are to pursue reconciliation even if it is not reciprocated.

So whether it is a night club in Orlando; or an African-American man in Baton Rouge, St. Louis, Baltimore, or Minneapolis; or Police Officers in Dallas; or wherever the next news story breaks may we be marked as peacemakers who champion the Gospel of Reconciliation because we are all created in and bear the image of God.

 

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Faith

FAITH…

  • Believes without seeing
  • Acts without all the answers
  • Hopes in the cross
  • Lives in the resurrection
  • Grows in the field, not the classroom
  • Enables my steps
  • Conquers my fear
  • Requires true belief
  • Pushes me beyond my abilities
  • Mandates trust in the power and sovereignty of Jesus
  • Trusts that His ways are always better than mine
  • Knows that He will never leave me or forsake me
  • Understands that you may not know all of the answers on this side of heaven
  • Leads you to places you never dreamed
  • Makes your feet move to His heart beat
  • Moves mountains
  • Awakens the heart
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see. Hebrews 11.1
How do you define faith?
Where has your faith (or lack thereof) lead you?
Enter your comment below.

Not The Brightest Crayon In The Box

I like the disciples. No, really, I like them. Mainly because they do some pretty dumb stuff and then I’m dumb enough to think that there’s no way I would do that if I was in their shoes. Think about it: these guys are rabbinical school dropouts, they couldn’t make the cut; academics weren’t exactly their strong suit. Yet Jesus saw something in them, some intrinsic value that he knew he could mold and shape into an unstoppable force.

The disciples had their highlights:

  • When Peter responded to Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?”
  • When Peter walked on water
  • When the disciples left everything to follow Jesus

And then they had more than their fair share of lowlights:

  • When Peter continued his reply to Jesus’ question and he was called Satan
  • When Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and sank
  • When they couldn’t heal the boy possessed by a demon because of a lack of prayer on their part
  • When James and John argue about who is the greatest
  • When Thomas doubts
  • When Peter denies Jesus not once, not twice, but three times
  • When judas betrays Jesus
  • When They don’t see how it is possible for Jesus to feed 5000 hungry men, plus the women and children with them

And there was the time that Jesus fed 4000 men, plus women and children. In Mark chapter 6 the disciples watch Jesus take 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish and after praying there’s enough food for everyone to be comfortably stuffed and still have 12 baskets full of leftovers. Fast forward to Mark chapter 8 and the disciples find themselves in a very familiar situation…you could almost call it déjà vu.

Except this time there are fewer men, 1000 fewer to be precise. One would think that if they found themselves in a similar situation they would respond differently the second time around…not so with this band of ragamuffins. They had the exact same reaction this time as the first.

I imagine it like this:
Jesus: Alright guys, here we are again. A large, hungry crowd at a remote location and it’s the end of the day. What should we do?
Disciples: Jesus we’re more tired and more hungry than they are because we had to put up with them. Let’s send them away and let them fend for themselves.
Jesus: Guys, have we ever been in a situation like this before?
Disciples: Yes…..siiiiiiigh
Jesus: Well guys, what should we do?
Disciples: Let’s see what we can find and we’ll bring it to you.
Jesus: Well?
Disciples: So, last time there were 5000 men plus women and children and we had five loaves of bread and two fish. This time we found seven loaves of bread and a few small fish for 4000 men, plus women and children.
Jesus: In a similar situation, guys, why did you think I was incapable of providing for you again? You have to believe. You have to trust. It is in my nature to take care of my people. Don’t you remember what Abraham said after my Father provided the scapegoat for Isaac? Abraham said: “The LORD will Provide.” And he even made an altar there. Don’t you remember what Moses said as Joshua was set to assume leadership? Moses told the Israelites, “He (meaning Me) will never leave you or forsake you.” And guys, seriously, what about when we were on that huge grassy hill beside the Sea of Galilee where I said: “If my Father takes such good care of birds and flowers why would he not take even better care of you.” Guys, believe in me.

The timelessness of the bible is beautiful. The timing of God when he speaks through the bible is perfect. I find myself in a situation I experienced a few years ago. Except this time I had the audacity to think that there was no way God could provide in a similar way in a similar situation. And then, in the perfect timing of beautiful timeless truth, God spoke. I read Mark 8 that day in my time with Jesus; not because I remembered the story being there, but because I am working my way through the gospels. The moment I thought there was no way God was capable of providing this time, He, in His infinite wisdom and complete sovereignty led me to read this story.

The next time you-as I often do-find yourself held hostage by a lack of confidence in the abilities of God to provide for his people, remember that Jesus once fed over 5000 people and then followed it up by feeding over 4000 people on a separate occasion just days apart.

Often the disciples were not the brightest crayons in the box, but then again, neither am I. Indeed, the LORD will provide and He will never leave you (me) or forsake you (me).