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Another Side of Sunday: “Peace”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV

Pastor Bonnie reminded us Sunday, peace is only one part of the fruit of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is one fruit with nine different characteristics. We do not get to pick and choose from its attributes. It is one holy fruit.

Just as a peach is fuzzy, round, juicy, orange, sweet, fragrant, tender to the touch, edible, and tasty. The peach is all those things wrapped up in one. You cannot separate its elements from itself. So the fruit of the Spirit is identified in the same way, by all nine of its attributes in one.

She showed us the word for peace in American Sign Language. Watch the YouTube video to see what she demonstrated.

She saw in the sign a connection to coming to God in prayer, turning our anxieties over to Him, and letting them go…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Yet I see something else too…

Watch the video again.

The hands start palms together, but crossed. As they rotate around they briefly come into the traditional symbol for prayer. They continue to rotate to a horizontal position, then spread apart and out from one another.

What I see is what happens in our relationship with Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

We start at crossed purposes with God. It is only Jesus who makes the way for us to be at peace with the Father where we can come to Him in prayer. [Palms together but crossed, then rotate to the position of prayer, hands pointing together up to God.]

Once Jesus brings us into peace with God the Father, we then can turn and reach out to the world, offering His peace to others. [Palms rotating to a horizontal position, then stretching out away from ourselves.]

Jesus as the Prince of Peace is the ONLY source of peace: spiritual, relational, physical, emotional.

He alone rules over peace. Who has it and who doesn’t.

Do you know peace in your world? your heart? your mind? your spirit?

Maybe it’s time to let the Prince of Peace rule in your life.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-17 ESV

[Feature Image Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash]

Contemplation for Your Weekend

We heard the invitation last Sunday…

Are you hurting and broken within?
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling. 

O Come to the Altar–Elevation Worship

Have you hurt lately? Are you weighted down by your sin? Thirsty? What is God calling you to do with your burden?

We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry, we were thirsty
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us
He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thiefs
There’s no one unwelcome here, no
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
And let mercy draw you near.

Come to the Table–Sidewalk Prophets

Do you remember the moment Jesus opened the door for you? He invites every misfit, liar, and thief. No matter their status or condition. What is Jesus inviting you to do? Is there hesitation in responding to His invitation?

And His outstretched arms are still strong enough to reach
Behind these prison bars to set us free

So may peace rain down from Heaven
Like little pieces of the sky
Little keepers of the promise
Falling on these souls the drought has dried
In His Blood and in His Body
In this Bread and in this Wine
Peace to you
Peace of Christ to you

Peace-Rich Mullins

May your weekend be filled with peace as you trust His outstretched arms are wide enough, and strong enough to carry you through.

Songs of Praise: Psalm 120-122

Today our reading covers three songs, Psalm 120-122. (Click on the link to read the verses.)

Three songs read, three reminders given.

In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
Deliver me, O Lord,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.

Psalm 120:1-2

Who do you call when you are in distress? Better yet, who is your Deliverer? When others hurt you with their words and you feel alone. Turn your prayers for deliverance to Jesus. He is the only one who can save.

 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Are you yearning for help, feeling weighed down with all the to-do of this season? Lift your eyes up, look to the hills. Focus on the finish and not the climb. Cry out to Jesus for help in each step.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
“May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.

Psalm 122:6-9

Let’s make our camp within the walls of peace this day. For the one we trust to deliver and help us is the the very one whose name is Prince of Peace. Peace to you this day… Peace of Christ to you.

Lord Jesus, whatever I face this day, remind me to call on You.

[Featured Image Photo seen on website by Jeremy Cai on Unsplash]

Songs of Praise: Psalm 119:145-176

We begin the week with the final stanzas of Psalm 119. Read the verses in your Bible or click the reference to read online: Psalm 119:145-176.

At the heart of our passage today is a verse I discovered several years ago and hold onto as a promise and precept to pursue.

Great peace have those who love your law; and nothing shall make them stumble.

Psalm 119:165 ESV

The King James Version was the one I found first and memorized:

Great peace have they which love thy law: And nothing shall offend them.

If I found myself offended by another, my peace disturbed, then I concluded I must not be loving His law. I would search my heart, ask Him where I was failing to love His law, and to fill me with the great peace He promised in return.

You see, the whole of His law is wrapped up in loving Him by loving others the way He calls us to.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14 ESV

When we find ourselves offended by someone, we are most likely looking out for self, loving ourselves more than Him or others.

To be offended by another is to stumble in the law when the whole law is fulfilled in: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

His definition of love does not leave much room for being offended by another. Jesus also told us:

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

John 15:13 ESV

When we lay down our lives, we lay down our rights, our way, our pride. We trust God’s sovereignty, His judgment, and His setting all things right in the end. We will not miss out on what really matters. And peace will be ours in abundance, no matter how others treat us.

Have you found yourself offended lately? Did you sin in your anger? stumble over your pride?

To love His law is to give others the same grace He gives us. When we love His Word in all the ways described by the psalmist in these 176 verses, we love like Him. Without being offended.

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:24 ESV

Oh Lord, teach me, grow me, to love Your law, Your Word, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Fill me with Your love for others. Fill me with Your great peace.

[Featured Image Photo seen on website by Chelsea Bock on Unsplash]