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Archive for the ‘Peace.’ Category

Peace amidst chaos…

By Pastor Fred Gillett

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” 
-Romans 5:1

Throughout this Christmas season, I have been looking around me at the traffic and the crowded stores, and hearing about the doubling of air travel fees, the striking unions leveraging the holidays to get attention, I wondered, “Isn’t this supposed to be a time of peace?” We are celebrating the coming of the Prince of Peace and here we are in the middle of chaos.

As I read in the Bible about a young couple who was forced by a government census to travel from where they lived to the young man’s birthplace, quite a distance, I am reminded that they had no car. They walked about 80 miles with a group, the wife pregnant, riding on a mule. It would take them at least two days on foot. By the time they got to their destination, all the hotels were full. The wife was starting labor, so the husband furiously looked for a place to, at least, get her under cover. They had to use a stable and she gave birth to her baby boy while lying on a dirty stable floor. No midwives available, no sterile birthing table, just the husband and wife with a bunch of animals watching. They then had to wrap the baby in swaddling cloth and lay him in a feeding trough used by the animals. While trying to recover from having just given birth, the visitors arrive – sheepherders, lookie-loos, astronomers, you name it. All came looking for the Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father in the flesh.

The bright light shining in the sky all night, a mass of angels singing, people bowing, everyone in awe…and I am complaining?

Prayer: Dear Lord, even amidst all the busyness of Christmastime, please allow me not to complain…but to rejoice…experiencing your peace in everything I do. Amen.

Devotion: How are you experiencing the days leading up to Christmas?

Peace amidst difficulties…

By Pastor Bobby Schuller

“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.” 
Luke 1:14

I remember two years ago when we had our second baby, when my wife Hannah went into labor, we arrived at the hospital to find that all the beds were occupied. So, they put Hannah in a bed in the hall, in full labor, with nurses scurrying around. We felt uncomfortable, angry, frustrated. We wanted to be in a private, clean, nice room to give birth to our baby.

I think about how uncomfortable that was – a very scary and painful experience. Then I imagine what it was like for Mary, in labor, no room at the inn. There’s nowhere for her to have this baby, which, especially in those days, was a very dangerous situation. And the best they could come up with was a stable out back.

There, Mary gives birth on a bed of straw. And Jesus is laid in a manger, a feeding trough, where the horses and cows eat. To make it ready for the baby, they had to clear away all of the dirt to make it as clean as possible for the newborn. There’s Mary with all of her injuries from having just given birth to a baby, and yet do you feel, when you read that story, any of the aggravation and anger I experienced when Hannah was giving birth? You don’t see that. You see this peace. You see peace in the midst of a very difficult situation.

Prayer: Father, when I read the Christmas story, every part of it is filled with your peace. No matter what the difficulty or challenge, your peace filled every heart that came close to the Savior. May my heart come close and find your peace in Jesus. Amen.

Devotion: What can rob your peace…and restore your peace…at Christmastime?

Amid Palestinian protests, Gaza militants fire rocket into Israel.

• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The rocket launch ended a cease-fire with Israel. Palestinian Authority President Abbas faces powerful voices who say another uprising may be the only way forward after days of large protests.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas strained to tamp down tensions in the West Bank as Palestinians protested by the thousands and called for a third intifada, and militants in Gazabroke a November cease-fire by firing a rocket into southernIsrael.

The Israelis want chaos…. We will not allow them to drag us into it and to mess with the lives of our children and our youth,” Mr. Abbas said, according to Reuters, as he sought to cool tensions and cast the uptick in Palestinian anger as a result of Israeli incitement.

But Abbas is up against formidable voices who seem to see another uprising as the inevitable result of days of large-scale protestsacross the West Bank against conditions for Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, sparked by the Feb. 23 death of one such inmate.

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This is the new intifada,” said Mustafa Barghouti, a rival to Abbas in the 2005 presidential election, according to Bloomberg. “A popular resistance has started.” Calls for a third intifada come despite the fact that public sentiment still largely opposes a full uprising.

The Christian Science Monitor reported yesterday that the most recent protests come on top of frustration about the seemingly endless Israeli occupation and settlement growth, as well as Israeli and international inaction.

“The issue of the prisoners is only one point that created this eruption,” said Sheikh Issa Jaradat, the former mayor of Sair, at the funeral for deceased prisoner Arafat Jaradat. People filled every rooftop, balcony, and open patch of grass surrounding the village square as Jaradat’s coffin was carried through the crowd, sparking fierce whistling and a few gunshots.

“The fact that so many people are here shows that this is not just about the suffering of Sair. The whole West Bank is suffering,” says the sheikh. “This could easily be the beginning of an intifada.”

But, as the Monitor reports, only 32 percent of Palestinians support a third intifada, according to a poll taken before the death of Arafat Jaradat, the Palestinian inmate. Sixty-five percent oppose it, with 41 percent of them saying it will hurt the Palestinian cause.

Indeed, such an uprising could work against Palestinian interests in several ways. It could bolster Israel’s argument that it has no partner for peace, enabling it to continue expanding settlements in the West Bank unfettered by negotiations. It could also provide Israeli justification for maintaining or increasing checkpoints, arrests, and administrative detention in the name of security.

Reuters reports that international leaders had hoped the unrest in the West Bank was dying down prior to the rocket attack from Gaza, for which the militant group Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility. The news agency described the attack as “an apparent show of solidarity” with the protests. It was the first such attack since a cease-fire was signed in November to end eight days of Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “Israel is taking the unrest seriously,” with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holding “security consultations” yesterday and sending a representative toRamallah to urge the Palestinian Authority (PA) to calm the protesters.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Mr. Netanyahu, pinned blame for the protests, some of which turned violent, on PA officials, the Journal reports. “There were elements within the [Palestinian Authority] who were actually encouraging incitement and violence,” Mr. Regev said. “The Palestinian Authorityhas an obligation to maintain law and order.”

And Amos Gilad, an Israeli defense official, told Army Radio that “It looks as if the Palestinian Authority is trying to walk a delicate tightrope: both raising unrest and displays of violence and not wanting the matter to spin out of control,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports.


By Ariel Zirulnick | Christian Science Monitor

Be shalom…

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
-John 14:27

Peace begins with you and peace begins with me. That’s the message that comes from the Prince of Peace. We may call upon the Prince of Peace to end the violence, to end the abuse of others, to end the wars. But Jesus says, “I want the brokenness inside of you to change. That’s where I want to start.” That’s what Jesus says to us.

And there’s no point in cutting down the weeds if we don’t pull up the roots. When read about peace in the Bible, we read that it is rooted in this word, shalom. It’s a greeting. It’s like aloha, good-bye, and hello. It means peace, but it also means welfare, and primarily wholeness. The word shalom means to be made whole, to be complete.

There’s a part in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus talks about loving your enemies who hate you, and turning the other cheek. He finishes by saying, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We could interpret that to mean that there’s a list of rules that we need to follow perfectly, but what Jesus is saying is to “be shalom.” Be at peace. Be perfected in the sense of being made whole, being made new, being a new creation.

Prayer: Dear Lord, pull up the roots of my fear, failures, and hopelessness. Replant me in the good soil of your love, making me whole, complete, at peace, and able to grow and flourish in your kingdom on earth. Amen.

Devotion: What “roots” of negativity need to be pulled in your life so that you can live in the peace of God?

By Bobby Schuller, Crystal Cathedral Pastor

Being an instrument of peace…

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16

On October 12, 2011, my phone rings. It was from a police dispatcher saying, “Chaplain, we need you to come. We have had multiple murders.” It was the salon murder incident that you may have heard about, the worst in Orange County, CA, history. I went to that scene, and for the next hours and days and weeks, God used me as an instrument of his peace. And let me tell you, the Seal Beach community needed peace. We knelt in the street to pray, and there were vigils, news conferences, community meetings, and then the funerals, one after another. And it’s not over yet. The community still needs people to be instruments of God’s peace.

How does God want you to be a source of peace in your community? The Bible tells us we are to pray for it.

God is the ultimate source of peace and to Him we pray. In answer, God may work peace in people’s hearts through those who know him as well as those who choose not to know him. And he may bring blessing to hearts, which thank him in return and even in those who don’t.

The New Testament makes a similar statement that we should be people of prayer for peace. In 1 Timothy 2, the Apostle Paul says, “Pray for all who are in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives.” That we may live lives that are full of shalom and godliness and holiness. So settle down in your community and seek peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be an instrument of your peace in my family, in my community, in my daily life. Help me to live a peaceful and quiet life. Amen.

Devotion: What is peaceful in your life, today? What do you do to help encourage peace in the hearts of others?
By Don Shoemaker, Crystal Cathedral Guest Pastor.

Peace In Believing.

“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. – John 14:1

We should all learn how to comfort others. No duty of Christian love requires more delicacy. We may study our Lord’s way of comforting to learn to give comfort ourselves to those who are in trouble. We see that he did not go over the cold platitudes we are so accustomed to use when we try to console our friends in their grief.

One writes that “Other friends remain,”
That “Loss is common to the race,” –
And common is the commonplace,
And vacant chaff well meant for grain.

That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter, rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore
To evening but some heart did break

But not in this empty way does Christ comfort His people. Here He offered no explanations, answered no questions, gave no reasons; He told His disciples simply to believe. They could not understand this terrible grief. They could see no star in the sky.

But they did not need to understand, did not need to see any light. They were to do nothing but believe – just cling to Christ in the darkness and believe. In all deep grief this is the truest way to find comfort. There is no use to ask questions, for no one can answer them.

There is no use to strain our eyes trying to see the light, for as yet there is no light to see. All we can do is just to throw ourselves on our Savior’s bosom and lie there till the light breaks. We may always be sure of the love and the faithfulness of Christ.

We may nestle down, as John did that same night, upon the Savior’s bosom, and be quiet and confident in the time of our sorest calamities. “In the world ye shall have

By Vine

Bible In A Year: October 24th…

By Book Old Testament New Testament Proverbs & Psalms
Luke 1-3 Jeremiah 50:11-51:14 2 Timothy 3 Psalm 119:89-96

Peace & Prosperity – Wisdom from the Psalms 10/15.

October 15
Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
Some people’s homes are war zones. Families in conflict abound in our society. So much unhappiness comes from people no longer knowing how to share and give.
Too many people are looking out for themselves, and they aren’t willing to look out for each other. Mothers fight with daughters, sons with fathers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, each feeding the beast of hurt and discord.
We are lost without a peacemaker, one who knows our hearts and can pave the way to reconciliation. Luckily, Christians have such a peacemaker.
Christ came to unite all God‘s children, brothers, and sisters in the faith. He works in the home to call us to a deep love that is consecrated in blood. If we strive for peace within the walls, then we are one step closer to peace between our nations. God will heal all wounds, if we will only welcome Him in.
Prayer: Christ, You have broken down the dividing walls of hostility, and You are waiting to build bridges of love. Begin with me, Lord, and move forth in love. Amen.

Ah, the Peace.

Here’s a question. What’s a five-letter word for peace that starts with a b? Stumped? Let me offer some clues. It’s a place where treasures can be had for free. Both children and adults love to go there (dogs do too). And now for the clincher—it’s a word that rhymes with peach. By now you know I’m thinking of the word beach. Some of the most peaceful moments of my life have been spent walking along a beach, feasting my eyes on sparkling blue water dancing in the sunlight. Ah, now that is my idea of peace.A beach

But to be sure, it’s a fleeting sort of peace, an interlude between times that are more hectic, tense, or difficult. But even with these, there is a kind of peace that can endure. The only catch regarding this brand of peace is that it doesn’t come easily. In fact it is often the fruit of struggle.

Martin Luther once made a rather surprising statement: “My temptations,” he said, “have been my masters in divinity.” Rick Warren supports this idea, pointing out that temptation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Why? Because it can become a stepping stone to spiritual maturity, presenting not just an opportunity to do wrong but an opportunity to do right. Every time you choose to do the right thing, you become more like Christ.

“Character development always involves a choice,” Warren says. “And temptation provides that opportunity.” He goes on to say that “God develops real peace within us, not by making things go the way we planned, but by allowing times of chaos and confusion. Anyone can be peaceful watching a beautiful sunset or relaxing on vacation. We learn real peace by choosing to trust God in circumstances in which we are tempted to worry or be afraid .”[1]

In light of these truths, it looks like I may need to revise my theory that peace=beach. Or maybe it does, as long as when we’re enjoying the beauty of creation we take the opportunity to resist temptation, becoming more like the Lord we love.   More

By Ann Spangler

[1] Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 201-202.

(Image courtesy of Balaji.B at

Peace through adversity…

“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust.”
-Psalm 4:8

I remember a stage in my life when I started doubting many of the things about my faith, and a lot of tough things began to frustrate me. Then, in the midst of the struggle, I had a dream:

I was walking then running down a road and, all of a sudden, I came upon this massive wooden wall. It was knotty, big, and one solid piece to the left, right, and above. It seemed to go on for eternity. And it frustrated me. I wanted to break through the wall, or climb the wall, or go around the wall, or dig under it, but I couldn’t. What was I going to do with this big wall?

I started to weep. Then, I started to hit the wall repeatedly with my fist until my knuckles bled. Screaming at the wall, I asked it to fall down, to let me go, to allow me to continue moving. Finally, the weeping ceased. I stopped hitting the wall and stepped back to see that I wasn’t hitting a wall; I was hitting a giant tree.

I looked up as this massive tree that reached up into the sky and into the clouds. With a sense of calm and rest, I sat down under the tree, allowing its shade to shelter me, and it brought me peace.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your insight when I am going through hard times. Even when I feel trapped, help me, instead, to lean into my problem and allow your strength to bring me peace. Amen.

Reflection: Have you ever had a spiritual dream? Describe. What did it mean to you?.

By Bobby Schuller, Crystal Cathedral Pastor

Peace In Storm.

He got into the boat with them; and the wind ceased, and they were very amazed among themselves, and marveled.Mark 6:51

When Jesus comes to us our trouble ceases. At His command the wildest storm instantly becomes calm. The trouble itself may not leave us but it is no longer troublesome when He is with us.

The wind may not stop blowing and beat upon our lives but He makes peace within us.

It is far better to have so much grace that our hearts can be calm and quiet in the fiercest storm, than to have the storm itself quieted while our hearts remain restless. Peace within is far better than calm without.

In a gallery in Italy there are two pictures side by side by different artists. One represents a sea tossed by storms. Dark clouds hang over it and the lightning-bolts pierce the sky. The angry waves roll in anger. In the turbulent water a dead human face is seen.

The other represents a sea similarly storm tossed; but in the middle of the angry waters is a rock. In the rock a gap, or cleft with green plants and flowers and in the middle of these is a dove quietly sitting on her nest.

These two pictures tell the whole story of human life in this world. The first is the story of life without Christ, unblessed by His presence and peace. There is storm everywhere with no shelter. The other picture paints the peace which Christ gives. Life is just as stormy. The waves roll just as high but now there is peace. The rock represents Christ; it is in the cleft of the rock that the peace is found.  It is just like the old hymn states:

Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.”

It is in the redemption of Christ alone that we can have peace. If we take Christ into our boats on the stormy sea, we will ride on in safety through earth’s difficulties to heaven’s shore.

By Vine.

Bible In A Year: July 20th…

By Book Old Testament New Testament Proverbs & Psalms
Isaiah 1-3 Hosea 1-2 Romans 6:1-14 Psalm 87:1-7

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