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Posts Tagged ‘peace’

We are asked to cultivate unity by using the “bond of peace.” A bond is something like a rope, handcuffs or Gorilla Glue. It’s a connection, a relationship, a hookup. It’s a union, an agreement, a promise. With these, unity is possible. And without, what do we have? Just watch CNN.


Ephesians 4:3-6
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

A bond of peace cannot be achieved alone. It takes at least two. Oh, I suppose there is inner peace, but even that comes from an agreement between the mind, soul & spirit. Peace is not achieved by threat, dictatorship or commandment. That is just an absence of conflict. A true bond of peace comes out of mutual desire, love, commitment, and compromise.

There are a couple of people I know from my work who have learned one of the first steps toward creating bonds of peace. One of their distinguishing characteristics is not taking personal offense (even when it’s intended). I watch them in difficult or tense situations and it’s like the verbal attacks or innuendos float across their spirit lakes. They know how to listen fully. They don’t grab onto words or tone of voice and prepare a response ahead of time. They know how to wait. It’s disarming in the best way. In this way, they open a door to unity and understanding.

I want this but I’m not very willing to practice. I confess, I’m always taking offense. I’m always expecting the worst in a situation. I critique the tones, the eyes, the body language and if I come up with an attack assessment, I ready my own arsenal. I’m quick. It doesn’t take long to raise the battle flag.

Unity is all those “ones.” One body, one spirit, one God and so on. Can I let go of mine long enough to enter the One? It begins with small steps, I think. Bonds with family and friends. A peace driven by love.

And so I take a breath today. I take a breath and ask for mindfulness again, to remember, to make peace.

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Print by Missy Mohn Schwartz

In how many ways do I have to be told that the essence of walking after Christ is birthed in the Spirit. This is an inside-out faith, not the outside-in. The law was created to initiate the “external” expression of faithfulness. The Messiah finished this work by planting it within.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

If I can operate in the center of love, joy, peace, etc. then the law is unnecessary because I wouldn’t break the essential laws (10 commandments at the least). One doesn’t lie or covet or kill someone we love or cherish. The gentle soul does not rage or participate in sexual orgies. Self-control brings all things under its umbrella.

At the same time, none of these Spirit fruits can be manufactured externally alone. I can’t act in a patient way without being patient. I can’t exhibit kindness without knowing what kindness is . . . or goodness. . . or peace. Love (in this context) is not just a that girly-boyfriend feeling, it’s “agape” and carries the deepest of meanings and expressions. There are inner motives that drive these fruits of the Spirit. They are fruits that must come directly off the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

And as these fruits become ripe within, they become ready for harvest. And when they are harvested, they are distributed freely to all those around us. . . slave or free, gay or straight, black or white or brown or red or yellow or mixed media, Muslim or Hasidim, Mormon or Witnesses, young or old, male or female, . . .

If we are fruitless, then there is nothing to harvest and the only protection we have, the only way to curb our less admirable desires, is the law. First, there is the spiritual law that God gave as a covenant to the people. But, if that fails, then there is the secular law. Neither is particularly known for mercy or grace.

Perhaps we should be more like those cliche mothers who are reaching out encouraging others to “Eat, Eat, Eat,” or like Jesus, “Take, eat; this is My body.” [Matthew 26:26b]

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When is the end? I always wonder if I’ll know the end. I mean, maybe the end has already come and I’m just treading water. Has “death” been destroyed by the Christ? I mean, He got to pop back up from the tomb, but what about the rest of us?

I Corinthians 15:24-26
Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

I have pretty much assumed that “believers” die, resurrect immediately after death, get to be with Jesus in heaven, and have a big meet-up with our family members who took an early exit. But, reading this portion of Corinthians, I’m having to rethink these assumptions.

Of course, I’m not speaking of any academic evaluation of this verse or comparing it with others in the Bible. I’m not an eschatologist. I’m just thinking about the words and looking for an application for me today.

I do believe Christ has full control over the kingdom (in the whenever). And this kingdom exists now but is not “handed over” until the sifting has been completed: the destruction of the other powers/enemies. Death is the final enemy.

So, is death destroyed now? Are people who are dead, not dead? But if not dead, then are they only in heaven not dead? Jesus made a re-appearance in our 3-D world. What about the rest of them… or us?

I still don’t think I get it. The deal with humans and death and Christ, that is. Jesus promises that we “can” be like him [Romans 8:29] and manifest even more works/miracles than He did [John 14:12]. So, what’s up with that?

I’m guessing we’re still in Seth Godin’s “Dip”. People are having trouble “sticking” with it. We have grown discouraged like the servants who were told to take care of the vineyard while the master was away [Luke 20:9-20]. We don’t really believe that death can be conquered in our “time.” We don’t really believe we, humans, can do those miracles. For those who get excited about this possibility and start seeking out that capability, they may begin to look like charlatans and snake-handlers. If people look for the miracle working power without the foundational stuff in place, it gets distorted. Pure and simple.

What’s foundational? The Sermon on the Mount stuff: all the PARADOX stuff like humility, mercy, cheek-turning, selflessness, poverty, purity, peacemaking, and gentleness.

OK, it’s not the end because God is giving us a chance to work this out. To practice a little more. I know I need practice.

This is when I wish I had those “matrix” eyes so I could see what is really “real.” That’s where the kingdom is – it’s here around me. I just can’t see it because I am blinded by my attachment to life as I have known it, not life as the Christ wants me to live it.

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When people say, “it’s all in your head,” that’s more true than not. The mind is at the core of who we are. The mind is quite mystical and unpredictable. The mind thrives within, not just in the head, but also in the heart, the gut, and the soul.

Romans 8:6
Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
[Amplified]

The mind is also a lover. The question is with whom or what? The mind can be seduced. The mind can be fooled. The mind can be capricious (changing from one behavior to another). The mind can be a slut or a saint.

Joyce Meyer has an entire video series on the “Battlefield of the Mind” but sometimes I think it’s a little more like “speed dating.” Going from one thing/person to another, the mind is looking for the current fit, the “feel good,” the curious, the challenging, or the appealing.

Thank God the Spirit is patient.

It is in the mind that the story of Hosea and Gomer is truly played out on a regular basis. Gomer, the prostitute, who breaks covenant with her prophet husband, and yet, he forgives her again and again.

My mind is too much like Gomer. I am linked by promise to the Spirit, and yet I stray. Each year, I stray less and less. As my mind becomes more submissive, by choice, to the loving Spirit, the relationship strengthens. My mind is becoming more content.

God is teaching me how to feed my mind with prayer, scripture, music, reading, nature’s beauty, koinonia relationships, love, hope, rest, and solitude. When I feed my mind well, I am not so hungry for the “next new thing.” When I am disciplined and consistent, my mind experiences peace.

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Why is peace so elusive? Positionally, I should be good. And I certainly have faith in God. But peace of heart and mind eludes me more often than not.

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .

What challenges my peace? I think it’s my over committed mind. I fill my days with so much activity, how can I expect to experience peace with God? I’m so good at “doing” while I’m terrible at “not doing.” I mean purposefully choosing to be quiet, to be still, to commune with the Holy Spirit.

I used to go away for a long weekend to All Saints Convent, just to be still. But I confess, the first day, I usually slept most of the time. My mind tends to be like a light switch: on or off. And when it’s off, I crash.

Oh I know that “peace with God” is not just being still. It has to do with relationship. That I am not in an adversarial relationship with God because of my faith in Jesus who opened the door to the inner sanctuary. But, all the same, how often do I really walk deeply into that sanctuary?

Having access to a place is one thing but actually using the ticket to go in is another.

It’s like going to the health club … or rather, not going. I paid the money up front and I was given cart blanche to use the facilities anytime. And I started out great but eventually, I lost my momentum. Other new activities take away my time. And soon, I’ve disconnected from both the routine and the desire to go.

Theoretical “peace with God” is useless. It’s experiential “peace with God” that can enhance my daily life. Oh heart, seek peace and dwell there.

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