This is post #9 of a series entitled Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace. We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here you’ll find very practical and biblically-sound advice on building bridges instead of walls, offering hope instead of despair. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Click on the link below to listen to the podcast version of this blog!
Truth #3: Peacemakers Take an Honest Inventory of Themselves.
Today’s Lectio Divina: For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness (Peace). His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness (Peace) He brings. Isaiah 9: 6-7a (MsgB)
“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you.” (Jesus said) “The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at My request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” John 14: 25-27 (MsgB)
Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then He showed them His hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated His greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.” John 20: 19-21 (MsgB)
A careful reading of what we call the Old Testament points very carefully to the fact that when Messiah comes, one of the major by-products of His coming will be an earthly manifestation of peace. In Hebrew, the word is shalom.
As we see in today’s Lectio Divina, both the Old Testament and the New point to Jesus as being a bearer of peace, the Prince of Peace, the distributor of shalom, God’s agent of wholeness and goodness to all He comes in contact with.
So, what about you?
As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth?
What peace, what shalom, what wholeness and goodness has occurred in and through your life as you’ve embraced this Good News message of Jesus?
I’m guessing if you’d take the time to stop-look-and-listen, you’d be able to put together a pretty impressive list of blessings of wholeness that have occurred both in and through your life because Jesus has come to set up His rule and reign inside you. Am I right?
So, before we go any further, let’s do just that.
I’d like to give you an assignment* right here, right now.
*This is the second in a variety of practical suggestions/resources we will make throughout this blog/podcast series. We call these exercises:
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 9 (NIV)
Tool #2: Taking An Inventory of Good.
I’d like to invite you into a time of reflection with Jesus. A bit of retreat, if you like, where you can sit down for a moment or two, take some deep cleansing breaths (some call that Breath Prayer or Centering Prayer), and simply invite the in-breaking presence of God’s Kingdom (Jesus’ presence) to become evident to you.
Now, I’m not getting Pentecostal on you here, but I’m simply inviting you, as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, to stop your ‘busy’ long enough to give you a time to reflect, with the Holy Spirit sitting alongside, on all the “good” that has occurred in and through your life because Jesus is your Lord and Savior. You might want to take a pad of paper and a pencil with you and simply jot down what comes to your mind as you ask yourself a few simple questions. Below is a sample of what this time with Jesus might look like.
- Find a quiet place (and time) where interruptions will be minimized. I’d suggest giving yourself at least 15 minutes (or more, if possible) where you can step out of the traffic, allowing you and Jesus to be uninterrupted. Turn off your cell phone. Get yourself comfortable and settle in. This place can be in your home or outside in Creation. You choose the most inviting place that speaks to your soul.
- Take a few deep and slow cleansing breaths. Generally in the busyness and stress of our lives, our heart rate goes up, our breathing gets shorter and faster, and our body tenses up. Both those who teach healthy medicine and vibrant spirituality suggest you give your body a much needed break by simply sitting in quiet for a few moments, intentionally slowing down your breathing, allowing your body to dial down and relax.
- Invite the in-breaking presence of God’s Kingdom to join you as you ponder on these things concerning your life. Again, this is not an invitation to Pentecostal goofiness, but simply a way of expressing your honest desire to have the loving presence of God, your loving Father, Jesus, the precious Son, and the Holy Spirit to be there with you as you give time to this effort.
- Replay in your mind, seasons in your life when you found yourself being drawn closer to Jesus and His peace that passes all understanding. For some, you might recall the time in your life when you first discovered Jesus as your Savior. For others, it might be times when you knew that you knew that God loves you, cares for you, and showed His love for you. Allow your imagination to be involved as you recall these special moments from your past.
- Next, ask yourself to honestly identify some areas of your life (both internally and externally) where Jesus has brought an upward lift (i.e. His peace and wholeness) into your life. Maybe it’s a freedom you feel to be your true self, or the gift to live freer from past hurts and wounds. Maybe it’s a sense of unmerited forgiveness or grace that’s been extended to you by Christ. Or maybe, it’s a blessing in your life (i.e. your family, your livelihood, etc.) where you know Jesus has brought His uplift to you. Jot these things down as they come into your remembrance.
- Finally, give Jesus a big ‘Thank You’ for all He has done. Invite Him to do even more, and ask Him to give you the indwelling and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to go into the remainder of your day as a witness to His ongoing work in and through your life. Amen.
So, how did that feel? Hopefully, it’s been worth the effort and you felt Jesus of Nazareth uplifting you even in this short time of reflection. If you dare, I invite you to try this exercise out again tomorrow, and the next day, and see what more the Holy Spirit might bring from it.
My Prayer: Father God, thank You for the gift of self-awareness. Thank You, that when I take the time to recount Your working in my life, I can find a number of instances where You were there, working Your goodness, Your wholeness, Your peace in and through me. I thank You, Jesus, for Your faithfulness in opening this door of transformation, and Holy Spirit, allow me the strength and willingness to keep it all alive. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Questions to Ponder: As I go over my list of blessings, my inventory of peace, what additional points of awareness are here waiting for me? Are there some bigger picture ahh-hah moments awaiting me here? What am I discerning about how God seems to work in and through my life as I put all these things down on paper?
So, how are you experiencing God’s presence as you are becoming a peacemaker for the cause of Christ?
Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace.
We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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