Friday, July 22, 2016

Happiness for Peacemakers

Chuckle: A pastor visiting a nursing home said to a resident, "Do you know who I am?" The lady replied, "No, but the person at the desk can probably tell you."
Quote: “Anyone can love peace, but Jesus didn't say, 'Blessed are the peace-lovers.' He says peacemakers. He is referring to a life vocation, not a hobby on the sidelines of life.” --Jim Wall

"Blessed (happy) are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9 NIV).
The term "peacemaker" occurs in Scripture only in this passage. Sadly, it seems we live in a time when hostilities, disagreements, feuds, and suspicions are the rule rather than the exception. Even the stress of life's daily routine can cause a person to explode in hostility and anger. To those who restore relationships by calming the troubled waters of human conflicts, Jesus promises happiness. Also, the reward of this beatitude is to be called the children of God. Being a peacemaker is one of the most obvious characteristics of a Spirit-filled person. Unfortunately, too many "Christians" are "troublemakers" rather than "peacemakers."
Peacemakers enjoy an indescribable peace with God. This beatitude has as its foundation the six previous ones. We can only be effective peacemakers when we admit our spiritual poverty, mourn (sorrow) over our sin, submit to God's control (meekness), hunger and thirst after righteousness, show mercy, and become pure in heart. Our need to make peace with God does not mean God is angry with us or that he is standing aloof and unwilling to interact with us. The only barrier between us and God is our sin and willful unbelief and disobedience.
Peacemakers have an inner peace with themselves. Those who are always at war with fellow workers, family, and friends are fighting a battle within themselves. When there is a pattern of saying hurtful words, whether true or false, it is obvious to everyone around us that we are not at peace with ourselves. Peacemakers must begin with themselves. When Jesus was about to leave his disciples and go to the cross, he said, ". . . my peace I give you. . ." (John 14:27 NIV). Peacemakers enjoy the peace of our Lord in their hearts.
Peacemakers are at peace with others. Jesus had this to say: "If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to (make peace with) your brother; then come and offer your gift" (Matthew. 5:23-24 NIV). The acceptability of our worship depends upon our relationships with others. Here, Jesus is telling us if our worship through offerings are to be pleasing to God, we must be at peace with others.
Peacemakers recognize that the ending of overt hostility and absence of conflict is not necessarily peace. Two people may stop unkind speech to one another, but retreat into long periods of bitterness and angry silence instead. They are neither friends, nor at peace. They simply refuse to communicate or associate with one another. Two countries might declare a cease fire, but that does not guarantee peace. Peace is a positive thing. It is wholesome relationships from which constant goodwill is produced. Peacemakers reach out -- they take the initiative. Their concern is not who is to blame, but how can peace be attained or restored. They are not faultfinders or criticizers -- they are healers. They are the children of God.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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